Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Story of 10x10, and The 5x6 Christmas Workout

When I first started to train kettlebells, sets and reps, traditionally, is how one keeps track of the work completed, or of the work yet to be done, so that's what I did. Ten swings. Only ten swings....ten was hardly anything! Then it hit me...10 sets of 10 swings was 100 swings....100 swings! No one was doing hundreds of swings at the time (that I knew of), but I knew how deceiving a big number like 100 was. How you ask?

In my 30's I learned how to cook by taking classes at a cooking store/cooking school called Home Chef. I volunteered to assist and help prep all of the food and ingredients for as many classes as I could at least 2-3 days per week. One of my duties before class started was to set up the chairs for students. I had to set up 50, fifty! That seemed like alot people for such a small room, until I saw the pattern.... Five rows of 10 chairs! Five rows of ten? That was nothing....five, so close to one, and ten, so far away from 50. At that moment I realized that 50, or even 100, was no where near the grand number I thought it was.

Well, now that I have been teaching the kettlebell swing for more than 3 years, in my experience most people start the same way I started, with the goal of a set of 10 swings. Seems so little...unless you're the one learning for the first time! The next goal is another set of 10 swings....and then another set of ten, and then another.... This comes way before interval training. A beginner always takes the rest they need until their level of fitness catches up with their ego!

Good news? A few sets of ten add up quickly, and before you know it the possibility of doing hundreds of swings within 20-30 minutes becomes a regular occurence.

The Story of 5 x 6

What can be easier than 10 x 10? 5 x 6, lol In this case I'm not talking about 5 sets of 6 reps. For this workout I'm talking about 5 repeated sets done in 6 rotations for a total of 30 sets, giving me the 30 minute workout I was looking for this past Thursday morning. Lucky for me each set took 1 minute (30 sec work/rest), so 30 minutes flew by. All I had to concern myself with was completing a group of 5 sets, six times.

Getting the work done uses the same concept of breaking it down into more seemingly managable segments. It was so managable I had to repeat it again with my Sat. class for the second half of our workout. I thnk I'll keep this "5 x 6" training theme for while, so look for more to come!

Christmas Workout

15 minutes of equal work to rest swing intervals including double swings (300 swings)
15 minutes of Max Vo2 30 sets of 8 (240 snatches)

"5 x 6"

dbl sw, dbl clean x 8 30 sec work/rest x 5 (rotation #1)

dbl cl, dbl strict press x 6, 30 sec wor/rest x 5 (rotaion #2, video below)

dbl sw, dbl clean x 8, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (rotation #3, same as #1)

dbl cl, dbl push press x 6, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (rotation #4, video below)

dbl sw, dbl clean x 8, 30 sec work/rest x 5 (rotation #5, same as #1)

dbl cl, dbl jerk x 6, 30 sec work/rest (rotation #6, video below)

30 minutes of dbl swings and presses

Total workout 60 minutes

Video posted on my last blog is of the dbl sw/cl set in rotations #1, #3, #5


Fatguy said...

Interesting. If you're doing 30 seconds of work, with 30 seconds of rest, then logically, you're doing 30 reps in 30 seconds? I must be doing something wrong, I do 12 reps total (6 each side) in 25 seconds, or I'm not completely understanding what you're saying.

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'm doing,

8 double swing/cleans in a 30 second period...resting 30 seconds...repeat 5 times

6 double clean/press (long cycle) in a 30 sec set, resting for 30 sec....repeat 5 times

again 8 dbl sw/cl repeat 5 x

6 dbl clean/pu press, (long cycle) in a 30 sec set, resting for 30 sec....repeat 5 x

Etc...the videos show this.

Fatguy said...

When you first started this training, how fatigued did you get? I'm currently doing swings by alternating sets 2 handed, then 1 handed. 11 two-handed, then 6 each side one-handed. 30 sets (15 of each), resting "on the minute", thanks to your high volume swinging inspiration. I've found that often, the next day, when I'm due to do cleans/presses, and snatches, I'm pretty darn fatigued, and have been skipping them here and there. I still manage to get 3 days of swings in but not always getting in c/p's and snatches.

Tracy Reifkind said...


"When you first started this training" My training progressed over a couple of years...only then the last couple of years shooting through the roof, doing seriously amazing high volume swinging and snatching.

(my training partner was 300 snatches short of her 50,000 snatch rep challenge the week before Xmas, only 9 months since she started! Which means I probabaly have done double...100,000 since she did 99% of her snatch reps in one my classes, and I train at snatches at least twice as much!)

Amyway, back to your question....

The whole point is about progressions. I coludn't do then what I can do now. I wrote the content of my DVD to show how anyone can build their own workloads in the same ways I do...."build" is the key word.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and wherever you are is a great place to long as it's in the gym training!

If you are training swings 3 times a week for 30 minute workouts, then try and do some cl/pr or snatches for 10-12 minutes before your swings....maybe it's time to train a bit longer instead of adding in another completely new training day.