Question What's the purpose of nonstop swings?

Discussion in 'Simple and Sinister FAQ Questions' started by Bauer, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    I am curious, what's the backgound for the nonstop swing sets every two weeks (after achieving simple for the swings)?

    Is it a just test or is it supposed to train something specific, like work capacity or the lactic acid threshold?
  2. Jared_G_85

    Jared_G_85 Triple-Digit Post Count

    The way I started to consider non-stop swings is sort of like testing out your 1 mile or 5k run time. The typical 1 arm swing protocol in S&S feels more like sprinting since it's typically a 30 secs work to 30 secs rest for 5 minutes. The non-stop swings, depending on grip and endurance, can last longer or shorter than 5 minutes. They also don't seem as demanding on my body but I've only ever done them with a 55 pound bell and I got 150 reps a month ago. One week later I was able to achieve "Simple" with an 80 pound kettlebell. Just need to try them for yourself and see what kind of training effect you get from them.
    Phil12 likes this.
  3. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    First off, a clarification, "after achieving simple for the swings" is not necessary.... it is when "your normal training weight is 24kg if you are a woman and 32kg if you are a man." (S&S p. 90) So you don't have to have met the Simple standard in order to start the non-stop swings, just be working with the 32kg.

    As for the background, I can't speak to the intent of it, but IMO here are the effects:

    - Coming at the swings from a slightly different attack angle, makes you find out different things about the swing such as efficiency, breathing, grip
    - It gives you another way to measure your progress
    - It's a nice mental break from 10 x 10 every day
    - It gives you a little glycolytic work to push your HR up and make you breathe hard... something not for every day, but good once every week or two (either with a time test of 10x10, or with the non-stop swings), and a dose of glycolytic work from time to time is beneficial.

    You might enjoy this post from long ago (my first thread on this forum, almost 3 years ago): S&S Continuous Swings
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  4. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    For me, grip endurance. Grip is the first thing to fatigue for me and long swing sets help prevent grip fatigue in the heavier swing sets.
    Alexander Halford and Bauer like this.
  5. The Nail

    The Nail Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    After two hand non-stop swings (non-stops), breathing for my regular sets of 10x10 is easier. Stress testing your system with the non-stops makes breathing during 10x10 seem like no big deal. The non-stops must raise the upper limit of your lung or general cardiovascular system somehow. I'm not a Doctor and don't play one on the internet, but that's my guess. I like doing them two hand, as nothing gets a rest. When I get to 32k x 100, I imagine that training for 24k x 100 snatch standard will be easier.

    I agree with Anna. It might seem torturous on paper, but when you get going it does feel like nice break.
  6. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I just stumbled upon this thread and noticed this statement. I have an additional guess at why the continuous swings might have this effect on breathing. "Stress-testing" is a great description here, and the connection to breathing is a great observation.

    Here's what I speculate may be going on. In regular practice, we are trying to control stress, recover sufficiently between sets, and normalize breathing and heart rate. Sustained elevated breathing and heart rate are undesirable and therefore threatening (on both conscious and unconscious levels). In the non-stop swings, we get more comfortable with sustained elevated breathing and heart rate and blunt any threat response they elicit. It's taking something threatening and getting comfortable with it.

    There may be other physiological adaptations associated with the non-stop swings, but I think these neurological (and maybe psychological) adaptations are probably very significant as well.
    The Nail and Anna C like this.
  7. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    From Simple & Sinister Progression Tactic | StrongFirst

    "Most of your S&S sessions do not rush the clock and wait until you can pass the talk test before your next set. On the last session of each week push harder and occasionally all out and test yourself."

    For me, someone who ran for 25 years:

    "Push harder" session is like the weekly tempo run I used to - 20 minutes of effort at around 92-93% of 5k race pace. (For a 20:00 5k runner, this meant about :30/mile slower than race pace so, e.g., race at 6:30/mile, tempo run at 6:55-7:05/mile.) In the above-linked blog, Pavel says, "Runners are familiar with this effect when their slower fibers grow some more mitochondria from training just below the anaerobic threshold. The AnT refers to the exercise intensity when lactic acid accumulation suddenly starts speeding up. Training right below this threshold produces the desired condition of mild local fatigue/acidity."

    "Occasionally all out and test yourself" is the 5k race I'd do every month or two.

    In all things, balance. A+A doesn't mean never train the middle energy system, just do it relatively infrequently.

    banzaiengr, Bauer, ShawnM and 2 others like this.
  8. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @Anna C made a good point in another thread a while ago - strength and aerobic take a long time to develop but the middle system is the fastest to develop when the other two are developed. If it takes 4 years to build the strength and aerobic systems but only 4 months to develop the glycolytic system, it would make sense to only train it 1/12th as often or once every two weeks.
    Anna C and Sean M like this.
  9. Denny Phillips

    Denny Phillips Triple-Digit Post Count

    In the 80/20 scheme of things continuous swings certainly have a place in the 5-day approach. I recall Mr. Ciampa saying that is desirable to "step on the pedal" on occasion. My MAF cardio is largely running/walking out of personal preference, I step on the pedal with swings or snatches. In my neophyte world this has worked quite well to date.
    kiwipete and Steve Freides like this.
  10. dnguyen411

    dnguyen411 More than 500 posts

    I'm curious for folks who are doing the nonstop swings... how many swings are you getting in before stopping? I'm currently getting up to about 50+ swings with a 24 kg bell before either my form feels like its ready to break down, my grip is loosening, or my heart is ready to jump out of my body. I think I read that some can reach 100+ swings but I can't believe that was with hardstyle swings.
  11. jca17

    jca17 More than 300 posts

    The "volume knob" is an important concept here. By definition, you can't use your "10 rep max" technique and weight to get 50+ reps.
    But if you use a lighter weight, where you don't need your highest tension to finish the swing, then you stay at that pace.

    For example, for someone who can do a one arm pushup, the tension involved in doing a one minute regular pushup test will be nothing like what they use for oap.
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  12. dnguyen411

    dnguyen411 More than 500 posts

    I'm pretty sure I'm really only giving about 15% max effort during these swings sessions, so I think I'm swinging at the right "volume" for me. Maybe I could go a touch lighter but my goal is to still meet the Hardstyle swing standard.
    jca17 likes this.
  13. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Forum Administrator Senior Certified Instructor

    Video, please.

    TravisS likes this.
  14. dnguyen411

    dnguyen411 More than 500 posts

    I finally had a chance to record my as many swings as you can practice today. 4 videos... 50 swings, 20 swings, 20 swings, 10 swings

    Sorry about the bad angles on these... I will need to bring a tripod next time.
  15. dnguyen411

    dnguyen411 More than 500 posts

    Bonus videos - 36 kg TGUs

    Michael Scott likes this.
  16. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Nice technique. The only thing I would critique you on is bent arms in the swing, and I think this may have something to do with the energy expenditure.

    Can you swing with straight arms? Practice using the minimum amount of energy required to swing the bell to chest-height with your arms straight (and shoulders packed) at the top of the swing. Project power forward so that the bell pulls your arm out. Plank your body against that pull. Feel the float at the top.

    What I'm seeing with your current technique is that you are projecting power up, and the hands are slightly arresting the ascent of the bell, as we do with shadow swings. This increases the cadence and increases the total energy required for the swing.
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  17. somanaut

    somanaut More than 300 posts

    As far as I understood the continous swings in S&S (which I actually didn't do first time on the program, and only discovered a few weeks ago), one can do them as one like, 1h, 2h or h2h. But the "test" part is 100 2h swings with whatever bell that is your current working bell, correct (but not before your working bell is the 32kg for men)?
  18. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor


    No, there's no test with 2H swings in S&S. Do you mean the test to see if you're ready to move up to the next size kettlebell? This is 1H swings, sets of 10, in 5 minutes; i.e. every 10 seconds do a set of 1H swings, switching hands with each set, as I'm doing in this video.
  19. somanaut

    somanaut More than 300 posts

    @Anna C
    location 1505 of 1588 in my kindle version:

    "Wrestling a kettlebell
    - 100 two-arm swings withouth setting the bell down
    - eventually 24kg for ladies
    - eventually 48kg for gentlemen
    - any rep that does not fulfill even one of the swing standard does not count"

    We can call it a test outside of S&S, but it is still a benchmark of the program.

    Edit: Whether or not 100 2h swings with your current working bell is part of S&S, I have introduced it into my own criteria for when I can move up in weight. I have 2 criteria:
    1) Be able to do the 5 min 100 1h swings, 1 min break, 10 min. 5x1 TGU STRONGLY almost any day of your choosing.
    2) 100 nonstop 2h swings with your current working bell.

    I can do no. 1. any day, but not strongly. Not yet no. 2.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
    Michael Scott likes this.
  20. Anna C

    Anna C More than 5000 posts Elite Certified Instructor

    Hmm yes, good point... maybe it was meant to be another sort of benchmark along the way. Interesting that no one ever talks about it. In this whole forum that I've been reading for 4 years now I don't every remember anyone talking about reaching a benchmark of 100 continuous swings when they do the non-stop swings every 2 weeks. Probably becuase hardly anyone even does the nonstop swings.

    I like your idea and the criteria. I would just caution not to hold yourself to a standard of 100 continuous swings of the same type and power as the sets of 10 swings. Continuous swings are different -- they have to be. As Pavel told us long ago in this thread, "your swings should still be explosive, although take a lot less effort. Like an experienced fighter who decides to work on a bag for 10min or more and is having a good time."

    I think the beest way to get a feel for how to do continuous swings is to take a very light kettlebell (or even a kettlebell substitute, anything light with a handle) and just do continous swings with it. I mean, everyone can move from hinge to plank 100 times in a row. The kettlebell is incidental. Practice making it as easy as possible.
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