Wednesday, July 31, 2013

16kg and 20kg Roundabouts Which are Harder? Answer? Both!

Tuesday morning workout was hard!  Tons of swings, literally!  But first I thought this would be a good blog post to interject a question I often get asked about how much I train and if I do anything else beside swing!  Here is part of a question, asked by Thomasina Johnson on Facebook, and my answer:

"Besides the occasional yoga, do you only do K-bell SWINGS?if so i just think that is amazing.....I was just curious if you did any other routines. How long are your workout sessions and how many times/day do you workout

(my answer)

"Thank you for asking. Nothing comes before my swing workouts. When I started training I would spend 20-40 minutes practicing swing routines 2-3 times a week. Once you become skilled with the swing movement, it's only natural to want to move onto other skill, such as the kettlebell snatch, clean and press, and clean and squat. But the kb swing is the foundation to which all other kettlebell movements come from.

  • I had been swinging consistently an 8kg-12kg bell, twice a week for about 6 weeks, 15-20 min when I saw my body start to make some amazing changes. At that point I increased my workouts because it was well worth adding an extra day and an extra 10 minutes or so to my workouts. 

    I learned how to snatch, and then clean/press. All of my workouts started with swings, and then once a week I added snatches, once a week I added clean/press, the third workout remained all swings.

    Once I started teaching 4 years ago my training has increased two to three times the volume because I actually lead most of my classes, rep by rep through the 30, 45 and sometimes 90 minutes sessions. And over the last 3-4 years my musculature has become incredibly dense! Much more dense than most women would care to have!

    The reason why I promote the swing specifically is because the swing teaches you to "move" weight, not "lift" weight. And we can learn to use our hips and legs to "move" so much more weight than we could ever lift.

    I use the example of moving a chest of drawers across the room. Could you lift a chest of drawers? Um, no! But how strong do you think you would become moving a chest of drawers from one side of the room to the other, back and forth for 15-20 minutes three times a week? I'd guess pretty strong and fit to do that kind of work! And it would require your to use many muscles working simultaneously! I doubt you would have to do much else!

You can do as much as you want to and have time and money to do! But what do you have time and money to do? You may find that the faster you start feeling better about your health and fitness you will be motivated to want to do more and spend more on other forms of exercise, such as yoga classes or Zumba classes, or whatever!"

And speaking about "moving" weight!  Sunday and Tuesday workouts were both based on one particular combination of swings I call my "Roundabout".  Sunday I used the 20kg, yesterday I used the 16kg.  Which was more fun?  Both of them for different reasons!  Here is the workout I did, and then the breakdown and explanation of both methods of using ladders and interval timing.

A "Roundabout" is a combination of 8 swing reps.  One 2 hand swing (1), transfer swing to R (2), one R hand swing (3), transfer swing to 2 hands (4), one 2 hd sw (5), transfer swing to L (6), one L hand swing (7), transfer swing back to two hands (8), repeat.  Five Roundabouts = 40 reps. 40 reps = 1 minute of swings.

Roundabout Ladder Workout
(warm up 120-140 12kg swings approx)


5 rdbt (1 min rest)
5 + 1 = 6 rdbt (48 reps, 48 sec rest)
5 + 2 = 7 rdbt (56 reps, 36 sec rest)
5 + 3 = 8 rdbt (64 reps, 24 sec rest)
5 + 4 = 9 rdbt (72 reps, 12 sec rest)
5 + 5 = 10, NO rest + 5 = 15 rdbt! (120 reps, 3 min set, no rest, 3 sets in a row!)
Now we rest a full 1 min rest interval. Repeat and start again with;
6 rdbt (48 sec rest)
7 rdbt (36 sec rest)
8 rdbt (24 sec rest)
9 rdbt (12 sec rest)
15 rdbt! (120 reps, 0 rest)

The reason why the last set jumped from 9 to 15 rdbts is because it's really two sets of 5 roundabouts, with 5 roundabouts completed through the rest period.

25 minutes
760 16kg swings (19 min work/ 6 minute rest)
12 complete sets, 12,160 lbs moved

Compared to Sunday's 20kg Roundabout workout:

24.5 minutes
620 20kg swings (16.5 min work/ 8 min rest)
9 complete sets, 12,400 lbs moved

Sunday's Roundabouts laddered up by 10 reps per set, laddering only the one hand swing reps, always followed by an entire minute of rest.  A full minute of rest is luxurious!  The longest set was 80 continuous swings (2 min work), a 2 to 1 work to rest ratio.

Tuesday's Roundabouts laddered up the entire 8 rep rdbt, INTO the rest period, requiring more continuous reps (more work) while taking rest away, which magnifies the work to rest ratio.  Also take into account that the last 3 minute sets followed a 1 min 48 sec set with only 12 sec rest!  That equals out to almost 252 continuous reps! Ouch! The work to rest ratio is off the charts!  You can only try and average the workout as a whole, which is more than 3 to 1 work to rest (the last two sets = 4 to 1 work to rest)

Almost the same amount of weight moved, but with 25% less rest.

To calculate the ratio of the last two sets: 8 swings per Roundabout = 12 sec work.  9 + 15 rdbt = 24 rdbt = 288 seconds.  6 minutes was allowed in total = 360 seconds, leaving 72 seconds of rest.  288 seconds is 4 times 72....I think that's right!

I posted Sunday's workout w/video a couple of days ago, and you can find video demos of my Roundabout all over both of my blogs. You can also find how the Roundabout progression fits into my programs, and swing routines on my DVD "Programming the Kettlebell Swing".

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