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Kettlebell Volume swings or snatches?

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Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
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Sinister
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.

Possibly just semantics, but I wouldn't think of it in terms of needing a certain HR spike to be effective. Rather, you need to deplete the ATP and do some explosive power work to be effective. The HR is just a response to this work.

The lactate should be no issue as you are stopping before the glycolytic system kicks in as I understand it.

This may be just my own opinion and I'm not sure anyone really knows, but I think there's a lot of glycolytic energy demand with A+A, so the name is a bit of a misnomer. It's just that the heaviest demands are on the alactic (PCr) and the aerobic is used for refueling.

As Pavel explains at Strong Endurance, all AGT protocols including A+A are not avoiding glycolysis, they are just avoiding deep and prolonged glycolysis. It's actually part of their effectiveness that we create a "mild acidosis" with the glycolysis that is occurring.

So I believe there is actually a lot of lactate being produced. (I was lab tested one time in the early days doing A+A swings, measuring blood La. It was up around 4. But it didn't get to that point of rapidly accumulating).

Other slow-twich fibers in the body use up the lactate, as fuel. This includes the diaphragm. Score for quality recovery breathing! I make the diaphragm work hard with good deep recovery breaths, and picture it like a sponge using up all that lactate and buffering the blood H+ ions, restoring homeostasis, practicing and getting better at recovery with every repeat. No, I can't prove any of that is happening... but it's sort of the theory behind it, and it rings true to me.
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
Possibly just semantics, but I wouldn't think of it in terms of needing a certain HR spike to be effective. Rather, you need to deplete the ATP and do some explosive power work to be effective. The HR is just a response to this work.
This HR response is what I thought the program was mostly created for, as in building the aerobic base and eliciting certain CVS adaptations.

This may be just my own opinion and I'm not sure anyone really knows, but I think there's a lot of glycolytic energy demand with A+A, so the name is a bit of a misnomer. It's just that the heaviest demands are on the alactic (PCr) and the aerobic is used for refueling.
As Pavel explains at Strong Endurance, all AGT protocols including A+A are not avoiding glycolysis, they are just avoiding deep and prolonged glycolysis. It's actually part of their effectiveness that we create a "mild acidosis" with the glycolysis that is occurring.
Yes I suppose there is really no separation per se, rather a reduction of the less desired lactate component.

Other slow-twich fibers in the body use up the lactate, as fuel. This includes the diaphragm. Score for quality recovery breathing! I make the diaphragm work hard with good deep recovery breaths, and picture it like a sponge using up all that lactate and buffering the blood H+ ions, restoring homeostasis, practicing and getting better at recovery with every repeat. No, I can't prove any of that is happening... but it's sort of the theory behind it, and it rings true to me.
I like it :) And visualization works well for me too
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
This HR response is what I thought the program was mostly created for, as in building the aerobic base and eliciting certain CVS adaptations.

Well, Al could probably speak to this better, but I would say no, it wasn't created for the HR response or even the CVS adaptations, primarily. It's about building a certain kind of work capacity in a healthy, non-stressful, sustainable way. Strength, power, and muscular endurance to go the distance. Mitochondrial development is one primary objective because increased michondrial density has health benefits. Aerobic adaptations, yes -- but I think mainly of mitochondria and aerobic energy processes meaning fat-burning and aerobic glycolysis -- the energy to replenish PCr being supplied by aerobic processes rather than the increased sugar-burning and H+ production in anaerobic glycolysis fueling the work. Maybe also aerobic enzymes and increased capillaries. Heart and lungs - CVS? Sure, but sort of as a by-product -- they too become more effiencient to fuel the work being done and deliver oxygen and clear by-products (thus, lower HR for same work, and/or more work with same HR, as one gets stronger and better through the training).

That said, if a healthy heart is one's primary concern, it seems like it's a productive way to work towards that, too, and also get a lot of benefits. Personally in that case I would also make sure to do some traditional LSD cardio for good measure.
 

Deleted member 5559

Guest
Anyone ever do snatch/swings hybrid in the same session?
I've done variations of this too. One variation I like is using the same movement with ladders of heavy bell with rungs increasing by 1 alternating with medium bell rungs increasing by 3. 1x32kg, 3x24kg, 2x32kg, 6x24kg, etc.
 

fractal

Level 6 Valued Member
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.

I’ve gravitated towards sets of 5 swings with a heavier bell myself recently and completely agree with the benefit (based on more limited experience). It just feels right. Thanks for sharing this.
 

Sean M

Level 7 Valued Member
Well, Al could probably speak to this better, but I would say no, it wasn't created for the HR response or even the CVS adaptations, primarily. It's about building a certain kind of work capacity in a healthy, non-stressful, sustainable way. Strength, power, and muscular endurance to go the distance. Mitochondrial development is one primary objective because increased michondrial density has health benefits. Aerobic adaptations, yes -- but I think mainly of mitochondria and aerobic energy processes meaning fat-burning and aerobic glycolysis -- the energy to replenish PCr being supplied by aerobic processes rather than the increased sugar-burning and H+ production in anaerobic glycolysis fueling the work. Maybe also aerobic enzymes and increased capillaries. Heart and lungs - CVS? Sure, but sort of as a by-product -- they too become more effiencient to fuel the work being done and deliver oxygen and clear by-products (thus, lower HR for same work, and/or more work with same HR, as one gets stronger and better through the training).
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Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
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.

Why don't you try flipping your script? Base your training in higher volume A+A snatches and then mix in some low volume, increasingly heavy presses at the end of most sessions. Some have had success pressing by "not pressing a lot". Can't guarantee it will work for you though.
 

Al Ciampa

Level 7 Valued Member
Possibly just semantics, but I wouldn't think of it in terms of needing a certain HR spike to be effective. Rather, you need to deplete the ATP and do some explosive power work to be effective. The HR is just a response to this work.

It's not just semantics; good response, Anna.

W/r to loading and A+A; too light and you just might as well just do traditional capacity work; you can't really go too heavy (because of the loading of KBs) but if it is too heavy you're not creating enough power per rep.

The art is in figuring out where you need to be.
 

Sean M

Level 7 Valued Member
Why don't you try flipping your script? Base your training in higher volume A+A snatches and then mix in some low volume, increasingly heavy presses at the end of most sessions. Some have had success pressing by "not pressing a lot". Can't guarantee it will work for you though.
Yes, that makes sense (flipping it). Strength work after power work (A+A), right?
 

Bret S.

Level 8 Valued Member
Well, Al could probably speak to this better, but I would say no, it wasn't created for the HR response or even the CVS adaptations, primarily. It's about building a certain kind of work capacity in a healthy, non-stressful, sustainable way. Strength, power, and muscular endurance to go the distance. Mitochondrial development is one primary objective because increased michondrial density has health benefits. Aerobic adaptations, yes -- but I think mainly of mitochondria and aerobic energy processes meaning fat-burning and aerobic glycolysis -- the energy to replenish PCr being supplied by aerobic processes rather than the increased sugar-burning and H+ production in anaerobic glycolysis fueling the work. Maybe also aerobic enzymes and increased capillaries. Heart and lungs - CVS? Sure, but sort of as a by-product -- they too become more effiencient to fuel the work being done and deliver oxygen and clear by-products (thus, lower HR for same work, and/or more work with same HR, as one gets stronger and better through the training).

That said, if a healthy heart is one's primary concern, it seems like it's a productive way to work towards that, too, and also get a lot of benefits. Personally in that case I would also make sure to do some traditional LSD cardio for good measure.

Thank you for the detailed answer Anna, I had it 180 degrees off in my guess as to what the main focus of the program was. Knowing this helps me understand a little better what's going on as I was amazed by the great strength and work capacity improvements possible if the program is done correctly over time while still looking at it as mainly a conditioning tool. That's why I've been so obsessed with questions on recovery vs other methods, the difference is I was missing the main point the whole time. Thank you thank you :)
 

Ryan T

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Well, Al could probably speak to this better, but I would say no, it wasn't created for the HR response or even the CVS adaptations, primarily. It's about building a certain kind of work capacity in a healthy, non-stressful, sustainable way. Strength, power, and muscular endurance to go the distance. Mitochondrial development is one primary objective because increased michondrial density has health benefits. Aerobic adaptations, yes -- but I think mainly of mitochondria and aerobic energy processes meaning fat-burning and aerobic glycolysis -- the energy to replenish PCr being supplied by aerobic processes rather than the increased sugar-burning and H+ production in anaerobic glycolysis fueling the work. Maybe also aerobic enzymes and increased capillaries. Heart and lungs - CVS? Sure, but sort of as a by-product -- they too become more effiencient to fuel the work being done and deliver oxygen and clear by-products (thus, lower HR for same work, and/or more work with same HR, as one gets stronger and better through the training).

That said, if a healthy heart is one's primary concern, it seems like it's a productive way to work towards that, too, and also get a lot of benefits. Personally in that case I would also make sure to do some traditional LSD cardio for good measure.
Something I may have been missing here too...

Since A+A style training trains and increases your mitochondrial development/efficiency as well as your ability to clear lactate, will it help you deal as well or better for a predominantly glycolytic event without a peaking cycle? For example, if I am training primarly in A+A fashion for a solid stretch of time and built up a good foundation of work capacity (like @Sean M's 40x5 @32kg etc...), and I go to a smoker session kettlebell class, is the A+A work going to equally or even better prepare me for it? Sounds like A+A uses higher loads than a typical smoker session so the increase in strength and focus on explosiveness is there, but still I'm curious. I'm still nursing my pride of getting totally owned at a kettlebell class 4 months ago and want to reclaim my honor. @Sean M, my apologies if I have hijacked your thread. I'll return to observation mode :).
 

Sean M

Level 7 Valued Member
Something I may have been missing here too...

Since A+A style training trains and increases your mitochondrial development/efficiency as well as your ability to clear lactate, will it help you deal as well or better for a predominantly glycolytic event without a peaking cycle? For example, if I am training primarly in A+A fashion for a solid stretch of time and built up a good foundation of work capacity (like @Sean M's 40x5 @32kg etc...), and I go to a smoker session kettlebell class, is the A+A work going to equally or even better prepare me for it? Sounds like A+A uses higher loads than a typical smoker session so the increase in strength and focus on explosiveness is there, but still I'm curious. I'm still nursing my pride of getting totally owned at a kettlebell class 4 months ago and want to reclaim my honor. @Sean M, my apologies if I have hijacked your thread. I'll return to observation mode :).
No worries, I have the same question. @NoahMarek hinted at the answer - being stronger makes everything easier. So I image a 24kg snatch test is relatively easy with 6-8 weeks of 48kg or 2x24kg swings and 28-32kg snatches done in A+A format.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Since A+A style training trains and increases your mitochondrial development/efficiency as well as your ability to clear lactate, will it help you deal as well or better for a predominantly glycolytic event without a peaking cycle?

Yes, it did for me. Here are my results from 2 cycles of A+A snatches. As you can see on the bottom right box testing summary, my 5-min snatch with 16kg went up, but my 5- min snatch with 20kg went WAY up. So, was the increase more metabolic/energy systems, or pure strength? I don't know the answer, but I felt like it was some of both.

upload_2018-8-30_11-3-43.png
 

Ryan T

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Yes, it did for me. Here are my results from 2 cycles of A+A snatches. As you can see on the bottom right box testing summary, my 5-min snatch with 16kg went up, but my 5- min snatch with 20kg went WAY up. So, was the increase more metabolic/energy systems, or pure strength? I don't know the answer, but I felt like it was some of both.

View attachment 6197
That's some nice progress, esp with the 20kg! Thanks for the info.
 

Sean M

Level 7 Valued Member
Yes, it did for me. Here are my results from 2 cycles of A+A snatches. As you can see on the bottom right box testing summary, my 5-min snatch with 16kg went up, but my 5- min snatch with 20kg went WAY up. So, was the increase more metabolic/energy systems, or pure strength? I don't know the answer, but I felt like it was some of both.

View attachment 6197
Love it! Is there a system/formula for waving the number of repeats in a session and total repeats for the week? Looks like you were mostly in the 20s but with several above 30 and a few below 20.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Is there a system/formula for waving the number of repeats in a session and total repeats for the week? Looks like you were mostly in the 20s but with several above 30 and a few below 20.

Yes. It was Al Ciampa's plan, and from what I understand the waviness of the sessions is based on the Plan Strong approach. I removed the column I had for the actual plan numbers in case we don't want the plan itself to be publicized, but what I actually did was pretty close to it.

The plan doesn't specify the weight -- basically you use the weight that is "right" for you based on certain guidelines. As you can see I had to work up to using the 24 kg as the regular workhorse.
 

Sean M

Level 7 Valued Member
Yes. It was Al Ciampa's plan, and from what I understand the waviness of the sessions is based on the Plan Strong approach. I removed the column I had for the actual plan numbers in case we don't want the plan itself to be publicized, but what I actually did was pretty close to it.

The plan doesn't specify the weight -- basically you use the weight that is "right" for you based on certain guidelines. As you can see I had to work up to using the 24 kg as the regular workhorse.
If I wanted to "program" A+A work for the next 6-8 weeks for myself without access to the official protocols (and no book yet :(), is the 15%-20%-30%-35% formula from this old article a valid wave structure for this?

So like:
  • Average of 3 sessions/week, 30 repeats per session (720 repeats in 8 weeks, 360 x 2 segments)
  • Week 1 (20%), ~72 repeats, 3 days (session repeats in the range of 20-40, centering on 24-36)
  • Week 2 (35%), ~128 repeats, 4 days
  • Week 3 (30%), ~104 repeats, 3 days
  • Week 4 (15%), ~56 repeats, 2 days
  • Similar-but-different wave for weeks 5-8?
  • Never the same volume % back-to-back, and always alter the number of repeats from session to session?
 

Harald Motz

Level 8 Valued Member
if I am training primarly in A+A fashion for a solid stretch of time and built up a good foundation of work capacity (like @Sean M's 40x5 @32kg etc...), and I go to a smoker session kettlebell class, is the A+A work going to equally or even better prepare me for it? Sounds like A+A uses higher loads than a typical smoker session so the increase in strength and focus on explosiveness is there, but still I'm curious.
I think I can contribute something interesting to this question, what A+A did for me:
in spring 2016 after 2 x 6 weeks of Al's lazy endurance swing protocols, where I used a 50kg bell for swings only for 5reps per repeat. This was my conditioning, no aerobic work then (and did no endurance work for quite some years prior) these were my measured results:
I improved on the SSST with a 24kg, scoring a 200, up from 181 (+10,5%); and my 10min running test improved from 1950m to 2250m (+15,4%).

fast forward to spring TSC this year in April, 1,5 years of fairly consistent A+A snatch work and aerobic locomotion (rowing and running well below my MAF):
5min snatch test April 2018.PNG
5min snatch test 24kg 109 reps in 5min. The number is not that impressive, but considering…
1. I used no speed switch, swing switch every 10 reps
2. I did my last snatch test two years ago
3. As I had no real clue about my pace I went for a "relatively" comfortable pace and I was able to breathe completely through my nose using two breaths per rep
4. as the hr graph indicates I did not maxed out, on the last minute, my hr seemed to go down just slightly. Hands were fine.
no comparison to my very first snatch test at my SFG1 in Oct 2015 where I passed, but made a noise, that was quite annoying and afterwards I had the "snatch test lung" because of the hard mouth breathing, and my hands were both torn.

Another telling result was that I got a 2,5 bw deadlift without a belt and without touching a bar for half a year prior TSC. In relation to my bodyweight my DL stayed at its max with this result.

In June this year I had my SFG1 recert in Italy it was quite hot there the whole weekend, and as the best comes last, there is the snatch test after lots of work through the long days. I was pleased, that I got my 100 reps in just a bit over 4minutes, breathing like at TSC as described above. Despite the heavy demand through the test and weekend no blister.
 

Ryan T

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I think I can contribute something interesting to this question, what A+A did for me:
in spring 2016 after 2 x 6 weeks of Al's lazy endurance swing protocols, where I used a 50kg bell for swings only for 5reps per repeat. This was my conditioning, no aerobic work then (and did no endurance work for quite some years prior) these were my measured results:
I improved on the SSST with a 24kg, scoring a 200, up from 181 (+10,5%); and my 10min running test improved from 1950m to 2250m (+15,4%).

fast forward to spring TSC this year in April, 1,5 years of fairly consistent A+A snatch work and aerobic locomotion (rowing and running well below my MAF):
View attachment 6198
5min snatch test 24kg 109 reps in 5min. The number is not that impressive, but considering…
1. I used no speed switch, swing switch every 10 reps
2. I did my last snatch test two years ago
3. As I had no real clue about my pace I went for a "relatively" comfortable pace and I was able to breathe completely through my nose using two breaths per rep
4. as the hr graph indicates I did not maxed out, on the last minute, my hr seemed to go down just slightly. Hands were fine.
no comparison to my very first snatch test at my SFG1 in Oct 2015 where I passed, but made a noise, that was quite annoying and afterwards I had the "snatch test lung" because of the hard mouth breathing, and my hands were both torn.

Another telling result was that I got a 2,5 bw deadlift without a belt and without touching a bar for half a year prior TSC. In relation to my bodyweight my DL stayed at its max with this result.

In June this year I had my SFG1 recert in Italy it was quite hot there the whole weekend, and as the best comes last, there is the snatch test after lots of work through the long days. I was pleased, that I got my 100 reps in just a bit over 4minutes, breathing like at TSC as described above. Despite the heavy demand through the test and weekend no blister.
Pretty amazing results. Thanks for adding your experience; it's really helpful to see.
 
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