Monday, December 23, 2013

10 x 10 Alternating bells, but not alternating tension!

Today's 10 x 10 is actually a 10 x 12!  This was taped during my own workout last Thursday morning.  I wanted to use it as an example because in this second round of my "10 x 10 Project" the focus is on strength and power, not interval training.  My own personal workouts are done using intervals and this one is no different, we are doing both.  So if you find your swings are slacking, intervals or no intervals then watch and read this post! We are swinging a super heavy weight (for us) and we are doing them equal work to rest intervals.  To explain, here's more of the story....

Since I started getting ready for my SFG last March, I added in a double 16kg and super heavy single bell bell workout once a week.  I programmed a 6 week cycle that ended about 10 days before my SFG weekend Certification.  Up until that time, yes, I had swung heavy single bells plenty, but with no real plan or purpose, but never double 16kg's more than a handful of times prior, I didn't have any reason to.  My own training is lighter and faster and higher reps.

After successfully earning my new SFG Instructor Certification that included choosing to take my snatch test with the 20kg instead of the 16kg (100 rep in 5 minutes!) I decided to keep cycling heavy swing workouts into my normal training.  That means that every 4-6 weeks I design progressively heavy swing workouts that increase in reps and decrease in rest. The first one of the cycle usually is about 450-500 reps in 30 min (100-150 reps short of equal work to rest which = 600 reps), adding in 20-40 more reps per week, sometimes increasing slightly above the 600 total reps in 30 min. Then we take a week or two off, replacing it with either a test of some sort (snatches), or maybe a trip to Croatia or Israel!  lol

Up until this last cycle we routinely used double 16kg's and the 32kg, on down to a single 16kg (28kg, 24kg, 20kg), but last week we incorporated the 36kg!  After reviewing the video from those sets I was not happy.  Yes, I did in fact swing the 36kg for 10 sets of 10, but it looked like it swung me more than I swing it!  Which is fine's a freaking heavy weight!  But it wasn't that heavy and the video showed my laziness.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should, and it certainly doesn't mean it'll look pretty!  The next week was going to be different!

I thought about alternating a single 16kg with the double 16kg's, and a single 16kg with the 32kg and 36kg. Why?  Because I wanted to find and practice a strong groove with a light bell.  A strong position of contraction and tension and hopefully use some muscle memory when I transitioned over to the heavy bell.  I do this with snatches often in my classes, but I had never thought to do this with swings!

In the video above you will see me and Brenda alternate a heavy bell with a lighter bell.  We have 5 bells lined up.  Furthest away is a 36kg, next a 16kg, 32kg, 16kg, 36kg.  This was only because we were short the other 32kg's so we had to share.  I believe we start with the lighter weights, find our strongest form and then try and translate it in our next set with the heavier bell.  Back to the lighter bell, then the heavy, etc..  It was my goal NOT to swing the heavy bells too high, it was to keep my glutes and abs as tight as I could for as long as I could with all the weights, not just the heavy ones.  Alternating the size of the bells, one that was lighter and easy for me to practice, to a much heavier one that wanted to "pull" me out of tension, helped me identify and strengthen the weaknesses.

So there you go!  You can practice effort and intensity with light bells, heavy bells, or both.  In fact you should be able to create the same amount of contraction/tension with any weight.  Homework?  If you are lucky enough to own two bells then try it out.  OR if you only have one bell try it using air swings, then the weight, it's the same idea.  And if you've got an extra minute for two more sets then please join us!  Enjoy!

Video below is our last set of 10 reps w/36kg the week before.  Can you tell a difference?  I can!

I now train 4 days a week.  My week starts with Tuesday, 30-40 minutes of moderate weights, mostly equal work to rest and slightly more (14kg).  Thursday mornings are my super heavy swing workouts, less than equal work to rest, cycling up in reps over a 4-6 week period.  Saturday is another moderate bell day and I only swing 30 minutes with my 8:30 class (14kg-16kg).  Sunday has been added and it's a super light, super high volume day (sometimes up to 100 + rep sets w/ 12kg/14kg)

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