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Kettlebell Volume swings or snatches?

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Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
I’ve been snatching twice a week and swinging once a week, after (or on another day) press ladders. The pattern so far:
  • Monday: High volume press ladders (currently working up ladders to 4)
  • Tuesday: 30-40 minutes 32kg one-arm swings EMOM
    • Last time was 40:00 in sets of 5; next would be sets of 7, starting at least 20:00 working up to 40:00
  • Wednesday: Medium press ladders (5 x 1-3) + 15:00 20kg snatches in sets of 10+10
  • Thursday: Off
  • Friday: Light volume press ladders (5 x 1-2) + 24kg snatch density (currently working on 15 sets of 5/5 EMOM)
(I may switch Wednesday and Monday)

The goals are:
  • Solid 32kg press each arm
  • 100 24kg snatches in 5:00 by TSC time
I just got a 28kg bell (happy early birthday to me). I took it for run of 3 reps EMOM for 30:00 and that went fine (HR peaked between sets at 145 which is below my MAF).

Would it be better to:
  • Continue with 32kg swings, or
  • Switch to 28kg snatches
I feel my best during and after these A+A style sessions. I feel recharged with either movement in that session format.

If volume is the key, I would get more of it with swings. But if snatching heavier than test size helps make the test size feel lighter (moreso than heavy swings), that’s a compelling case for heavy, high volume snatch sessions. Probably can’t go wrong either way, but I want to optimize my training time.
 

NoahMarek

Level 6 Valued Member
For the snatch test with the 24kg, I think strength plays a much larger factor. If you build volume/strength with the 28 so that you can snatch the 32 confidently, I bet the snatch test would be in the bag after a few peaking sessions.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I agree, snatch the 28kg, you'll get more out of it!

First, about progressing what you're currently doing 40:00 in sets of 5 1H swings EMOM with 32kg, instead of going to 7 swings, I would suggest:
  • 20 x (5 1H swings R, rest, 5 1H swings L, rest) with 32kg (just restating what you are currently doing), progressing towards 30 x (5 1H swings R, rest, 5 1H swings L, rest) with 32kg
I think 5 swings is effective, I would say more effective, for A+A power development, than going to 7 swings or more. I found that 12+ weeks of repeats of 5 swings with the 32kg set me up very well for Sinister swings (10 x 10 w/ 32kg in 5 min) despite doing VERY few sets of 10 swings with 32kg in my training. So the building of volume works better to extend the duration of the session than to try to get more work in each repeat. Just make sure each set of 5 is POWERFUL and EXPLOSIVE.

As for working on snatches in similar sessions, here are some options:
  • 10 x ((5 1H swings R, rest, 5 1H swings L, rest with 32kg) + (3 snatch R, rest, 3 snatch L, rest with 28kg)), progressing towards repeats of 4 then 5 with the 28kg snatches
  • 10 x ((5 snatch R, rest, 5 snatch L, rest with 24kg) + (3 snatch R, rest, 3 snatch L, rest with 28kg)), progressing towards repeats of 4 then 5 with the 28 kg, then progressing towards all 28kg 5 snatch repeats
  • 20 x (3 snatch R, rest, 3 snatch L, rest with 28kg), progressing towards repeats of 4 then 5 with the 28kg
For best A+A results I would suggest 3 sessions per week, varying the duration from 30-60 minutes and also varying the total volume week to week, gradually building that over time also.

Also don't hesitate to go longer than EMOM, which only gives you about 45 sec rest. Sometimes 1:15 rest is needed and works great. HR and body sensations (breathing etc.) and power in the next repeat are all things that can guide you. The amount of rest needed will be different for swings and snatches, and different depending on the number of reps in each repeat. Ditch the clock and tune into the internal signals...
 

ali

Level 6 Valued Member
Anyone ever do snatch/swings hybrid in the same session?
Not doing so just now but I was playing with 5s of 32 swings, l, rest, r, rest, 24 snatch, l, rest, r, 32 swings etc......really liked it as I had been doing snatches and my hands started ripping up a bit - fatigue/technique - after 20 odd minutes and did that for 30 minutes. Never really worked it fully overtime - so just thought if anyone else has experimented or any thoughts on the matter.....cheers
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Thank you @NoahMarek and @Anna C as always.

I’m bookmarking your post Anna.

I do worry about time constraints. RoP ladders take 45+ minutes on the heavy day and at least 20-25 minutes. I don’t have time to add 30-60 minutes for A+A in the same session.

BUT - now that I have a 28kg bell, the formula in Craig Marker’s Science-Based SFG Plan works for me now. The Strength plan template calls for 80-90% days and if I assume 32kg is 100%, 28kg fits there, 24kg for 70-80% (80% of 32 is ~26, so I would round up?). And I don’t believe those sessions would take more than 30 minutes? I could alternate strength and conditioning days...

I like your third option for snatches. With 28kg I did 30 repeats of 3 “to a comfortable stop” right out of the gate, so maybe take that up to 40 repeats (with back-off sessions later in the week), then recycle it from 20 repeats this time of 4 reps?
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
If volume is the key, I would get more of it with swings. But if snatching heavier than test size helps make the test size feel lighter (moreso than heavy swings), that’s a compelling case for heavy, high volume snatch sessions

Hey Sean, I was going to suggest Brett Jones SFG 1 prep plan for swings and snatches until I read Anna's post. Depending on how much time you have to TSC I think those 2 options are pretty good. Heavy 1H swings are great base builders for snatching, definitely made it easier for me to qualify for SFG 1


For best A+A results I would suggest 3 sessions per week, varying the duration from 30-60 minutes and also varying the total volume week to week, gradually building that over time also.

Hi Anna, is this the usual scheduling template for A+A or is it more an individual thing? I was thinking it would be like S&S with respect to frequency of training. Is there a 'too much' point? I suppose it would come down to recovery and the ability to deliver uncompromised and consistently sharp, explosive technique during your sets, and that would be the most important factor in determining training frequency.

I know doing VWC is different and has a higher recovery cost. I'm training by feel with it lately and erring on the side of caution as I don't want to feel 'burned out' from training. Two days/wk seems about right for now.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Hi Anna, is this the usual scheduling template for A+A or is it more an individual thing? I was thinking it would be like S&S with respect to frequency of training. Is there a 'too much' point? I suppose it would come down to recovery and the ability to deliver uncompromised and consistently sharp, explosive technique during your sets, and that would be the most important factor in determining training frequency.
My question is similar but from the opposite end of the spectrum: is it worth it all to do just one day of A+A (with other protocols the other 2 days a week), or does it need to be 3x to be effective at all?
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
is it worth it all to do just one day of A+A (with other protocols the other 2 days a week), or does it need to be 3x to be effective at all?

My guess:

1 day/wk A+A
- Aerobic = not enough
- Strength = you can make progress

3 day/wk A+A
- Aerobic = enough (with LED)
- Strength = steady progress
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
My guess:

1 day/wk A+A
- Aerobic = not enough
- Strength = you can make progress

3 day/wk A+A
- Aerobic = enough (with LED)
- Strength = steady progress
So to make aerobic progress it has to be 3x 30-60 minutes per week + additional LED walk/jog/row/bike? Does A+A remove the need for separate strength training (it’s a “total package” protocol?)? The hours are adding up...
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
So to make aerobic progress it has to be 3x 30-60 minutes per week + additional LED walk/jog/row/bike? Does A+A remove the need for separate strength training (it’s a “total package” protocol?)? The hours are adding up...

No, I'm not saying it's a strength training replacement program, only that you will slowly gain strength over time as @Harald Motz and others have over an extended period of time. I know he does LED and believe it helps with his recovery.
Regarding method and volume of aerobic work I'm only stating what I know has worked for others. I am experimenting with different KB aerobic concepts and have some decent results but in no way do I claim to have it wired.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Anyone ever do snatch/swings hybrid in the same session?
Not doing so just now but I was playing with 5s of 32 swings, l, rest, r, rest, 24 snatch, l, rest, r, 32 swings etc.

Yes I've done it, Al approved ;), it worked well.

I do worry about time constraints. RoP ladders take 45+ minutes on the heavy day and at least 20-25 minutes. I don’t have time to add 30-60 minutes for A+A in the same session.

Yeah you'll probably have to pick a priority there, ROP ladders are too much to go along with a full A+A program.

BUT - now that I have a 28kg bell, the formula in Craig Marker’s Science-Based SFG Plan works for me now. The Strength plan template calls for 80-90% days and if I assume 32kg is 100%, 28kg fits there, 24kg for 70-80% (80% of 32 is ~26, so I would round up?). And I don’t believe those sessions would take more than 30 minutes? I could alternate strength and conditioning days...

Yes, that sounds like a good option. I did that program for presses, it's here in my training long. 30 min for the presses sounds about right, and it won't tire you out too much. Probably do the presses first, then the A+A, if you combine in a session.

I like your third option for snatches. With 28kg I did 30 repeats of 3 “to a comfortable stop” right out of the gate, so maybe take that up to 40 repeats (with back-off sessions later in the week), then recycle it from 20 repeats this time of 4 reps?

Yes, that sounds good!

Hi Anna, is this the usual scheduling template for A+A or is it more an individual thing? I was thinking it would be like S&S with respect to frequency of training. Is there a 'too much' point? I suppose it would come down to recovery and the ability to deliver uncompromised and consistently sharp, explosive technique during your sets, and that would be the most important factor in determining training frequency.

Yes, 2-4 sessions per week of 30-90 minutes, varying. Not every day. There's not a hard-stop "too much" but you have to increase overall volume of the work being accomplished (meaning duration and weight used in repeats) over weeks and months and years, as Harald can attest.

I know doing VWC is different and has a higher recovery cost.

I would venture to say the recovery cost of WVC is higher for the same volume of work because it's so glycolytic, but I can't cite any proof of that.

is it worth it all to do just one day of A+A (with other protocols the other 2 days a week), or does it need to be 3x to be effective at all?

Great question. I don't know the answer. Maybe Al does... @aciampa

So to make aerobic progress it has to be 3x 30-60 minutes per week + additional LED walk/jog/row/bike?

That is what has seemed to work the best for the years-long A+A practitioners like @Harald Motz and @Neal Sivula . Steady progress, great results, no injuries that I recall. Quite impressive.

Does A+A remove the need for separate strength training (it’s a “total package” protocol?)? The hours are adding up...

Yes, I would say it does, and is a "total package" protocol. I did 5 total A+A protocols of 6 weeks each; 3 with heavy swings and 2 with heavy snatches. During each of these I did no strength training, yet I didn't seem to lose anything in pressing, get-ups, etc. It's been a while since I did them but most of them are in the early days of my training log, 2015 and 2016.

I forget what your SFG Prep timeline is, but you'll want to do specific SFG prep for the 2 months or so leading up to your cert. Before that, this would build a great baseline. I feel like it prepped me very well for SFG II, which is almost all overhead work (jerk, push press, bent press, windmill, double snatch, plus the strength test of the required press and the snatch test and re-testing SFG I skills).
 

Harald Motz

Level 8 Valued Member
No, I'm not saying it's a strength training replacement program, only that you will slowly gain strength over time as @Harald Motz and others have over an extended period of time. I know he does LED and believe it helps with his recovery.
as for A+A sessions:
For best A+A results I would suggest 3 sessions per week, varying the duration from 30-60 minutes and also varying the total volume week to week, gradually building that over time also.
that is solid advice. The other thing is the duration of A+A, were we can speak of months, years.
In March this year I snatched 40kg 5rx20 for 20 days straight, for no other reason than to snatch. One day of snatch rest after a session can never be false. For the last seven days I had no snatch sessions, but upped my time on the rower for instance. Now, that September is almost there nice snatching times are waiting as the climate will be more pleasant to snatch. And for strength gains the snatch served me well, as I got a 2,5 bw deadlift at TSC without touching the bar for half of a year.

That is one big asset for A+A: to have a program without programming. It can be standalone or combined with other strength work. A+A is "just" a reliable and durable workhorse, that can be loaded, literally.
 

JCORN

Level 4 Valued Member
@Sean M Love the questions! Sounds like a great program you have going, I'm about to finish up ROP with 16kg and was thinking about something similar for progressing to 'simple' swings before doing ROP with the 20kg.

@Anna C and now I have the perfect plan! Will start this in the next few weeks!
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
@Anna C Thanks again

I can’t travel to Chicago for the TSC this year, but there may be a local one. Even if not, I intend to do my own 5:00 test on that day at home.

For SFG Cert - “The Dome” in Chicago in April 2019 doesn’t seem to work logistically and financially right now, so it would be April 2020 at the earliest.

So the 32kg press and 24kg snatch test are just personal goals, not for a cert or competitive TSC standing.

Curious what Al says about the effectiveness of one A+A session within the RoP press ladders program (does it have to be all or nothing of one or the other?). I agree 3 days of high volume press ladders plus 3 days of high volume A+A snatching is excessive.

Since A+A feels so good I may flip the 80/20 ratio of presses/snatches to mostly A+A snatch and a bit of Plan Strong style pressing...
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
Something Al has said in another post has stuck in my mind, it was along the lines of, 'to do the program you must be strong first'. I knew before that you had to be strong enough to snatch/swing a load heavy enough to drive up the HR in about a 10 second effort, and light weights won't do the job.
That's why I'm working hard with VWC to get to the A+A snatching start line. When my shoulder can withstand and thrive under the load of 28k snatches 3 days/wk I'll be very happy, in fact I may have to drink some extra whiskey to celebrate :D.
 

Sean M

Level 6 Valued Member
Something Al has said in another post has stuck in my mind, it was along the lines of, 'to do the program you must be strong first'. I knew before that you had to be strong enough to snatch/swing a load heavy enough to drive up the HR in about a 10 second effort, and light weights won't do the job.
That's why I'm working hard with VWC to get to the A+A snatching start line. When my shoulder can withstand and thrive under the load of 28k snatches 3 days/wk I'll be very happy, in fact I may have to drink some extra whiskey to celebrate :D.
I thought A+A was supposed to be a steady "Zone 2" HR session...the spike after the effort wouldn't go over MAF and it would drop down to "warm-up" level by the next set, along with breathing back to normal, talk test, tension/"acid" shook out, etc.
 

NoahMarek

Level 6 Valued Member
My question is similar but from the opposite end of the spectrum: is it worth it all to do just one day of A+A (with other protocols the other 2 days a week), or does it need to be 3x to be effective at all?
Absolutely from a strength standpoint. I know Al had said that an average of 30 repeats works best for A+A but that is referring to the conditioning effects. In my opinion, the increase in strength and confidence with heavier bells in the snatch will help a lot even in lower volume.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I thought A+A was supposed to be a steady "Zone 2" HR session

It's supposed to be low-ish HR... MAF-ish over the average, though the specific number is not that important, and there are no zones to stick to.

the spike after the effort wouldn't go over MAF and it would drop down to "warm-up" level by the next set

Not necessary, no. The spike after the effort can be over MAF. However if it's WAY over MAF, this might indicate too long of an effort in the repeat.

It will drop down to a certain level, but there's nothing set as to what this will be. Low enough that you are fully recovered for the next set, and the spike and overall pattern tends to be consistent over time (after the first 4 or 5, anyway).

breathing back to normal, talk test, tension/"acid" shook out, etc.

This is the key. HR and/or the clock are only proxies for this.
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
I thought A+A was supposed to be a steady "Zone 2" HR session...the spike after the effort wouldn't go over MAF and it would drop down to "warm-up" level by the next set, along with breathing back to normal, talk test, tension/"acid" shook out, etc.

Yes, the HR goes up probably around MAF for me and down of course, but for me snatching a 20k won't get the spike height I need to be effective.
The lactate should be no issue as you are stopping before the glycolytic system kicks in as I understand it. Alactic + Aerobic means skipping the middle glycolytic energy pathway as much as possible and recovering through the aerobic system.
 
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