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Old Forum Training the KB swing for strength,power and conditioning.

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Now if I use the swing BOTH ways is that counter productive, many swings for conditioning and fewer heavier swings for strength. And can I use them both for the PM from ETK?
No it should be fine. I use heavy swings in one session and do Max vo2 training with the snatch in another.
This is great stuff Mark, thank you for sharing.  One of the best lessons I took from RKC2 was hearing Dan and Pavel talk about doing 20 reps or less with a one handed swing, and 10 or less with doubles. Reading about that in Easy Strength took it even further. It led me to a very similar approach to what you describe, which has worked out very well for me. I find the strength carryover from this approach is excellent, and applies to lots of things, including deadlifts, pullups, and my bjj practice as well.
glad you like it Jason. My strength took a big jump once I let my self stop focusing so much on volume and more on the loading. No big surprise there but I had to actually do it to experience it.:)

32 kg doesn't feel heavy enough for sets of five, but it is my heaviest kettlebell. I weigh about 160 lbs.  My 24 kg will weigh about a third of my weight, which I guess makes it the ideal size for maximum power production.  If strength is my goal, should I swing with the 32 for both swing workouts, or alternate the 32 and the 24?  And, since the 32 feels light for sets of 5, should I stick with sets of 10, or does it still make sense to also do sets of 5 with it?

sets of five with one arm isn't enough? If your goal is strength with the kb as the main tool you just might need a heavier bell? I always like to alternate weights as I noted above in a comment. Each weight and power output develops a different quality.

ANd yes, sets of ten with 32 would be fine, that's what I do with it. Also, if it's too easy, cut the rest periods down until it's hard enough.
I have been doing two arm swings.  I haven't done single arm.  That would make it hard enough, but in a different way.  It seems to me like more total body strength would be developed with two arm swings since I would not be limited by grip strength.  I would be interested in your thoughts as to the different effects of one vs. two arm swings.
Very informative post  Mark. Do you have experienced Grease the Groove with moderately heavy swing (five repetitions sets throughout the day avoiding fatigue), the best strength protocol with the most fundamental kettlebell move seems like a deadly combination. For conditioning, I really like your idea to maximize quality and total volume work over density.
Is there any reason not to combine two variations in one period of exercise?  I have been alternating sets of one armed swings with a 16kg bell with sets of two armed swings with a 20kg bell during a single workout.

Actually, during  my most recent work-out I did 20 sets of swings, 10 reps per set.  For the first 12 sets I used a 20kg bell for both one hand and two hand swings alternating.  Then I continued to alternate one hand and two hand sets, but I used a 16kg for the one hand and a 20kg for the two hand sets.  The main reason that I couldn't continue with the 20kg for the one arm swings was due to grip strength.

total body power can certainly be developed with one arm swings just in a different way. Yes the grip will be a limiting  factor but remember the key neural generators of  force are the hands, abs and glutes. All hit hard in the one arm swing.

I couldn't use the two hand swing until last year and build some serious strength and  power with one arms ( 400 1 arms with the 32 kg and 600 with the 24 kg - in a session not all at once)

You could also do deadstop ( power) swings with two hands to make the 32 kg harder.

I haven't done grease the groove with swings but it would seem that it would work


you could certainly do that but I have never done it that way. My OCD would get in the way :)

I would do as many one arms with the 20 kg noting  how many I did the last session before my grip fatigued and try to progress it just a little,even if it's only 1 or 2 extra sets,THEN go onto the two hand work.

One thing you can say about doing exercise where hands could be a limiting factor, in the "real world" strong muscles are no good if you can't hang onto something.
exactly Jeffrey; and, when the grip is the limiter there is  a safety factor built in. Usually your grip will give out before your shoulder

This is slightly off topic, but as I am new here, I did not want to start a new thread.

In Stuart McGill's writings, he states that lumbar/trunk musculature endurance is more important to protecting the lumbar region from injury than strength is. But, I have found no reference to what he considers the best approach, or what the parameters are, for developing endurance. He does give praise to the KB Swing in regards to back health.

My question is, what are the parameters of proper endurance training for lumbar injury prevention. And how could this "KB program" explained in this thread be used for that purpose. As a previous poster stated, there is a hip hinge "continuum", going from strength to endurance. Is there a happy medium to give the necessary endurance for back health, and yet be adequate for improving strength?

Or am I looking at it incorrectly? Does even low rep/strength oriented training like in this program provide muscular endurance due to the volume and limited recovery/time factor?

Thanks for any guidance on this issue.




in my own experience, yes. the one arm swing and snatch were the key exercises I used coming back from a lumbar injury. I used low reps , medium reps and high reps(not all at the same time) and varied the loads regularly.
As far as the 'happy medium' for back endurance and health which will still provide strength increases( we won't get into what kind of strength) I think Pavel sets the parameters well with 100-200 rep workouts in the swing(s) with an appropriate( to your current strength level) bell.

the interesting part of this type of training is that even though you are doing relatively low reps per set the overall volume of load provides a 'background' of endurance.

It's one thing to do ten hardstyle swings, quite another to do 20 sets of them:)
Thanks for the reply Mark.

I was reviewing McGill's books last night and found where he states to keep the reps under 10 second duration and rest briefly between reps. He says to increase the number of reps as you progress, rather than increase the time length of the rep. I believe he is referring to exercises that are more of the static hold type (Bird dog, stir the pot, etc), thus the 10 second rep limit.

My interpretation of this is that a swing is a brief static hold with a rest period within each swing. So, it qualifies, no matter what the protocol. Just keep adding reps to progress.

Thanks again for your input. It really helped clarify the issue.


It just occurred to me that Rif's approach makes sense in terms of intensity/volume/density.  It doesn't make sense to push the weight of the bell; it depends on bodyweight.  Maybe 30%, maybe more, but it makes sense to stick with one size for a long time.  So the intensity is fixed.  The next logical way to make progress is by adding total reps: volume.  Then, if a person is somewhat advanced and finds they can do unhurried sets for 45 minutes or an hour, the volume and density will both increase as you keep adding reps in a fixed amount of time.  A very logical progression.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself...

This wasn't obvious to me:  The intensity is fixed, & work the volume before the density.
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