Tag Archives: work capacity

Nice Snatch

The kettlebell snatch is one of my favourite movements.
 
While there are many subtle tweaks you can apply in your form they all stem from two styles of snatch with a kettlebell:
 
1 – Hard Style
2 – Sport Style
 
The first is meant to generate more ‘power’ and make you stronger overall while still getting a good solid amount of volume in and increasing your work capacity.
 
The second is all about efficiency of movement so that you can get the most reps in a given time period (typically 10min in the snatch section of the Biathlon, only one hand change is allowed).
 
You might want to know which is better.
 
The classic answer is this; it depends on the goal.
 
While this is indeed the case it’s a cop out answer for people who don’t want to state a preference. Over the years I’ve done both many times and these days I lean towards doing the sport variation more.
 
Why you ask?
 
Because it feels more comfortable with the sport bells.
 
When I grab my cast iron ones I will often opt for the hard style snatch as the handles and dimensions are more forgiving for it.
 
Here are the two in action side by side:
 
 
Notice how the sport style on the left emphasises fluidity and pacing which the hard style is more about oomph.
 
Both are good, both have pros & cons, you simply have to decide which is better for you and your goal.
 
Snatching works well in many ways.
 
– Ladders: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 both arms
– Time Blocks 5-20min
– Intervals 30/30-60rest
– Straight Sets 10×20 per arm
– Pacing per min: 60 seconds for 15 reps L/R x10min
 
The options are endless.
Snatches work best when largely focused on density in training.
 
One things both can agree is that there will be a great benefit to your shoulder health, strength, conditioning, body composition and overall athleticism when this glorious movement is added to your training.
 
Hitting some snatch work 2-3 times per week will truly be a massive benefit.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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Swing for the win!

I love a good old kettlebell swing, don’t you?
 
It hits the majority of your muscles in your posterior chain, improves your core bracing, your grip strength, firms up your glutes and strips fat like there’s no tomorrow.
 
Yep, swings are great
 
The 10,000 swing 4 week program
 
Have you ever done it?
 
I first learnt of this from reading the fine writings of Dan John, his work/writing worth looking up if you haven’t already done so.
 
Here is how it works:
 
– 500 swings a day (50-30-20 x5 rounds)
– feel free to add in one strength movement of 3-5 reps in-between each set of swings (50 swing – 3-5 presses, 30 swings – 3-5 presses etc)
– perform this 5 days per week
 
Simple enough, right?
 
While it may indeed be simple it’s far from easy as it requires a rather large amount of both physical and mental fortitude to stick at.
 
If you saw it through to the end you’d find you stripped fat, added a nice amount of lean muscle and and built a cast iron grip.
 
The mistake many people make with this is using a kettlebell that is way too heavy from the start, this leads to things getting difficult very quickly.
 
My advice would be for ladies to grab a 12kg kettlebell and for the gents to start with a 16kg, even if that isn’t anywhere near what you currently swing, I know some ladies that are chucking around a 32kg for sets of 15-20 solid swings, however it;s not a good idea to go in that heavy, trust me, you’ll thank me by week 2.
 
Depending on your experience level you could scale this protocol, which personally I’d advise, and start off with say 5000 total swings (this means 25-15-10 x5 rounds, 5 days per week).
 
You may even want to start off at 2500 swings in month one (125 swings 5 days per week).
 
Then 5000 in month 2 (250 swings per day, 5 days per week).
 
On to 7500 in month 3 (375 swings per day, 5 days per week).
 
Finally go for 10,000 in month 4 (500 swings per day, 5 days a week), it’s entirely up to you.
 
^^ I’d aim to keep the set up of:
 
X swings- 3/5 strength- X swings – 3/5 strength – X swings -3/5 strength -rest, repeat 5 times
 
You’ll just need to break down how many swings that will be each set in the 2500/7500 months.
 
Pick a kettlebell that you can handle, and build ups o that 10,000 target. If you choose to do it over the 4 months, you’ll have something to stick to, just make sure you change up the strength movement to add in some variety.
 
I’d suggest the following movement patterns:
 
– Pushing (press, bench, dip etc)
– Pulling (chin, row, high pull etc)
– Squat (FS, SQ, Lunge etc)
– Loaded carry (bear hug variation)
 
Deadlifting in this time might not be advised, however it’s your choice if you want to do it or not.
 
If you’ve found yourself a little lost then this might be the protocol you need, you can always feel free to crack straight on with the 10,000 swings from the start, just being with a much lighter bell and perhaps work up to your standard shining weight over the next 3-6 months.
 
*It’d be worth taking a few days off perhaps at the end of each block of 10,000, no sense in crippling yourself just so that you start each month on the 1st.
 
Give it a go and enjoy,
Ross

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Get More Done.

Morning Guys,

When it comes to building muscle I have noticed that there is a distinct difference between those who do and those who don’t.

The difference?

    Work Capacity (not to mention general hard work), or for those who haven’t heard that before – How much you’re doing in a given amount of time by manipulating rest periods (this helps increase various anabolic hormones such as GH, IGF1 to name some).

One of the best ways to manipulate your work capacity if by dropping the rest in-between each set from say 60 seconds to 45 seconds, reducing the land lifted to continue to perform strict reps with maximal contraction or by the application of drop sets.

Here is an example:

– Ramp to 8RM
– Rest 60 Seconds, Reduce weight by up to7%
– Perform 8 Strict Reps
– 30 Seconds Rest
– Repeat Until From/Speed Slows or Loss of a Rep
– Reduce weight up to 7% & Continue Until Fully Fatigued

Pretty simple right?

This was a favourite of people such as Boyer Coe, Vince Gironda and others of their eras. Try it yourself, simply pick 3 exercises per muscle group, pre workout (Compound, Accessory, Isolation) and work hard.

Enjoy,
Ross

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More for Less

The more knowledgeable people become the more they start to understand the importance of increasing training session volume each time they venture to the gym, this is so that they can keep progressing.

 
Keeping this in mind there are several ways to add that little extra to your workouts so that you ensure some positive adaptation, the obvious ones are to add one of the following 3:
 
– More Set
– More Reps
– More Weight
 
If you are not constrained by time then these three are quite viable options. You would potentially spend more time in the gym while you accumulate more total volume, however this would eventually reduce when you come to a much needed deload, then this process will be repeated until you either stop making progress or get bored of lifting weights.
 
What happens if you don’t have the luxury of spending extra time in the gym due to work, family or other time constraints? Simple, you do some density work or as it’s otherwise know Escalating Density Training.
 
What is EDT?
 
EDT is the process where by you select a perform an exercise in a certain time frame with appropriate loading and get out as many reps as you possibly can. Depending on what your overall training style is you can add anywhere from up to an extra 50% (possibly more) to your overall workout total. If you’re unsure of what this means take a look at the example below.
 
Pressing Day –
 
Bench Press 5x5x100
Flies 3x12x20
Dips 3x12xBW – 75kg
 
5920kg total volume
 
Now lets say you had a 45min window to workout and that took you 35min leaving you 10min spare, this is where adding in a density set will help boost that volume.
 
10min – Press Ups – BW 40kg (because you don’t use as much as you think) – If you achieved 100 in time limit that would give you an extra 4000kg of volume, almost as much as the session. Not a bad little addition for 10min of work is it.
 
Using this technique can help you provide some more stimulus in the same time period. For upper body days press ups, pull ups or any body weight exercise are a great addition to finish your workout, when it comes to leg day there is another option you can use, it involves loading the bar with 80% of your top weight for the day and doing one of the following – As many reps as many as possible in a specific time limit while resting as necessary or using that same load and setting a rep target such as 50 for example. You can do this for upper body days if you want to as well.
 
*Always regulate your weight based on your top set(s) of the day. You can lower the amount of time you have once you hit a specific rep goal, this will help you further increase your density of work and overall work capacity. The variations are endless truth be told.
 
It’s actually quite easy when you think about it, isn’t it. There are a lot more methods of EDT, but they all adhere to the same principle which is to help you increase your overall work capacity.
 
A word of warning however, be sure to keep a track of all your volume and how you’re recovering from it all. Everyone has a limit, once it’s hit you can push it for a touch more but then you will need to take your foot off the gas and deload, if you don;t you may just burn out, go backward and even get injured.
 
Try adding some EDT your workouts and break through your plateaus.
 
Enjoy
Ross

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