Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday Finisher 20 x 30 in 20!

I love my Sunday morning workouts!  Sunday is pretty much just for me because I do everything I want to, as long as I want to, and if I'm really lucky a few of my students join me!  The workout is broken up into three 45 minute sessions starting at 7:15am.

The first is focused on heavy presses after a quick warm up, and usually finishes with a much faster paced "I go, you go" swing / clean / squat / press complexes that may or may not be done with double bells.  This workout has the deliberate goal of increasing press strength which is why it's done first.

The second is GS practice.  If there is a competition date on the horizon the sets are programed accordingly, which hasn't been the case of late, so the practice focuses more on maintaining base levels of grip strength and cardio endurance.

The third is a ballistic wild card, and the last chance for me to put the nail in the swing coffin!  Which is why I've started to use the concept of a workout "finisher".  Just swings, or Max Vo2 snatches, a variation of high volume snatch / swing combinations.  If I include squats, it's not for strength so they're mostly done with lighter weights and higher reps, with the focus more about increasing and maintaining hip/glute flexibility.

But to be honest, if and when I have to do this last workout by myself, which is rare but more often lately, it could be a good thing and a not so good thing!  My long time student/training partner Meg is a tough cookie!  She's capable of crazy amounts of work, hard work, and game for anything I could come up with.  A lot of times if I want to "test" how difficult something is, like the Strength Matters Swing Test, I'll have her join me in trying it out because if she thinks it's challenging then I trust it is!  In fact, she did the very first trail run of the SMST with me, 200 24kg one hand swings (10 x 20) in 10 minutes!  And neither one of us would be required to use the 24kg based on body weight, so that goes to show you how powerful regular and consistent high volume swing practice can be!

Recently I've been "testing" more variations of heavy swings, for reps and time.  Yesterday, on my own, when it came down to my last 30 minutes of the morning's training I knew 600 swings was going to be the minimum amount of work left to complete.  I had done plenty of squats earlier in the week, and I want to snatch on Tuesday...that left only swings (lol, "only"!)  Well, being alone, and without the energy of at least one other person, and already almost 2 hours of training completed, I could barely get excited about another 30 full minutes of swings!  So I decided to stay with the 600 reps, but get them done as quickly as possible.

I knew I wanted to do some 24kg one hand swings, but not kill myself, because it had been a while since I last did them.  I knew I didn't want to do all 600 swings with the 24kg because Thursday mornings are my heavy double swing training and there's just no need to do that much heavy training in the same week.  100 wasn't enough, 600 way too many, so I settled on 200 reps, 1/3 of the total.  It made sense to break up the total into thirds, heavy, moderately heavy and moderate weights since the goal was to complete them in less time, much less time, than "equal work to rest", which would have taken 30 minutes.

I wanted to do one hand swings for half of my 24kg 200 reps, and two hand swings for the other 100 reps and so I decided to do that with all three weights.  I also know that most times, for me,  the longer the set is in continuous reps the "easier" it feels (the more times I put the bell down = the more I haev to pick it up again!), so I would limit the number of reps in each set to only 20, and the rest period would not be timed, instead, random.  In my head I was hoping to finish around 20 took me 22 min 40 seconds.  But this turned out to be a good thing because now I know I could have done it, if I would have paid attention, and this first result was me not pushing myself too hard.  So you know what that means, don't you?  Yep, I gotta do it again in 20 minutes or less (probably not less!).  So I'll wait a few weeks and repeat it with this new goal in mind.  And then....I'll try it in reverse!  Starting with the lightest bell, the 16kg, and ending with the heaviest, the 24kg!  I love testing out how simply changing an up hill ladder to a downhill ladder and visa versa can drastically change the effect of ease or difficulty of a target challenge.

Guidelines of this week's Sunday Finisher; goal of 600 swing reps under 30 minutes

3 bells, heavy, moderately heavy, moderate.
one hand swings for half of the swing reps
max of 20 reps per set, no minimum (you can do sets of 10 if you choose)
rest only as long as you need to between each set. 

I chose to alternate my one hand swings sets using 5 R/ 5 L x 2 and 10 R/10 L because this made it easier to keep track of the 5 sets of 20, and I simply didn't feel ready to do my first set w/24kg 10 reps at a time, I wanted to ease into it.....see, I told you I was a weenie when I trained on my own!  lol

Looking at the video I know I could have shaved off a lot of the rest time I took between sets, in fact afterward I was able to calculate in order to get it done in 20 minutes I can only allow 10 seconds, or less to rest between sets.  But it's all good and fine because now I have a goal based on how difficult this trial test was, and I have more to look forward to in the next couple of months :)  Hmm...I should give this one a name since I'm going to do it again....20 x 30 in 20 :)


Monika said...

Reading about your workouts, I feel like the biggest slacker of all times. How much DO you workout really? Every day for hours?
And I'm so impressed by your friend Meg as well. I've seen her on your DVD's and I didn't get the impression that she's strong enough to do all that workout with you.

I'm kind of flopping around here like a fish out of water, not knowing how much workout to do (how often?), push myself, and by how much?

Do you have training plans, which go over several weeks, with improving strength in mind for sale?

I would love to work with a certified RKC trainer, but there's none anywhere near where I live, so I need to work from DVD's and what I can learn online.

Tracy Reifkind said...


Thank you for your comment :)

How consistent anybody is with a workout routine is much more important and effective than how much or how long any one workout is. I am at a point in my life, no young children and a job that involves physical training, that allows me to indulge a bit and probably spend a little more time than the average person. It may seem as if I workout a ton, but a big part of making progress, increasing cardio endurance and strength, comes by taking enough recovery time.

Currently I do my own kettlebell training Tuesday / Thursday / Sunday. I train starting early in the mornings but it's true, from start to finish is about 2-2 1/2 hours, but it's not every single second of that time. I also teach a swing class on Saturday, but I use a relatively light bell, and if I do anything at all on M/W/F it's a yoga class or a walk, those days are recovery and it's rare I even touch a bell!

I used to overtrain on a regular basis, and I've written about it over the years. When "working out" in order to just burn more calories, or because I'm afraid if I don't something bad might happen, loss of health, weight gain etc. is not a good mindset. Which is why training with short term and long term "targets" or goals is so important, otherwise, as you describe, you can feel like you are flopping around without purpose.

Other than my plan that programs how a person can learn to swing, and then train up to improving skill and conditioning to be able to swing for 2 minutes continuous, which is in my book The Swing, I only do personal consultations, via phone, skype, or email, to help clients figure out what it is that best suits them. I have that information and link on our website You can also email me directly;

Monika said...

Thank you, Tracy, for your answer!
I've read your book The Swing, but forgot about the workouts in it! (I'm an idiot). ;o)
I've read old articles on the RKC website up to page 7 or so, including two of yours and Mark's, and many others. It's so inspiring!

My goal is weight loss. Cardio alone didn't do it for me, but I had to start somewhere. Someone suggested KB, which I've been using since beginning of April. I still have 98lbs to lose, but have lost 21lbs so far. It was very slow going.
Anyway, your numerous videos helped me so much, and I did The Swing wo# 3 this morning with a heavier kb.
Since I've losing weight so slowly, even with working out every day, I was afraid I had not done enough! I'm afraid if I don't workout every day, that nothing will change. I feel fidgety when I tell myself to take a rest day, and do nothing. I still walk on my rest days.

Anyway, thank you so much for all the videos! Since there's no certified instructor near where I live, they are invaluable to me.