Friday, December 4, 2015

Set Up, Set Down, and more lessons about not being in a rush

For the  last few weeks or so I've been practicing a more solid start and stop to my swing set up...and making my students do the same!  It's been an interesting experiment!  I don't like saying something is "hard" or "challenging", or "not as easy", because I'll let you be the judge of it!  But for me, myself, and for what I'm seeing my students experience, it's an eye opener :) :) :) , so I suggest you give it an honest go and give me some feedback about it :) :) :)

A solid start and a solid stop (in the past I've referred to it as "parking" the bell) adds a few more seconds to the work set, which means it takes away from your rest between sets.  Be prepared for the result!  Putting more effort into setting up the swing, with a strong grip, engaging the lats by the pulling the shoulders back and into the "sockets", chest up and forward, and gazing forward, might be something that's forgotten in high volume interval swing training.  The focus sometimes gets put on the clock, rushing into and out of a set, and not on form and technique....I'm not saying that that's true for you, but it was true for me, so I set about fixing it!

Even though I already swing with proper shoulder placement, no matter how seemingly carelessly I pick up and put down the bell for each set (especially when I'm pushing myself hard), it may not be true for beginners, or for some that have just become lazy about the importance of the safety of our shoulders.  These demos use the two hand swing, since it's easier to apply the technique, but with one hand swing practice it might emphasize the point even more dramatically, so err on the side of a lighter bell for testing it on the one hand swing (maybe I'll post a demo of that next week).

Since I've been practicing it for a few weeks now it's not as evident in the first 10 x 10, I've gotten much better at not rushing the start and stops of my swing sets....which is the point!  But in the second 10 x 10 I really take the time to focus on this part of the movement, which is why I get more out of breath....which is great!  The more effort you put into the swing the more you are asking your body to work, no heavier bell required! A little more precision and mindfulness kicks up the intensity a notch....good stuff!

The theme of this week's workouts is "10", so in keeping with that after I did my 10 x 10 rounds I added in something that Mark helped me realize had been missing from my own, advanced, training. Longer sets, longer than 40 reps.  In The Swing I write about my experience with training with those sets of 2 minutes or longer, and the benefits of how they are at the crossroads of both anaerobic (oxygen independent) and the aerobic (oxygen dependent) systems. (pages 144-145)

In this next video I only demo the first 4 sets my own swing workout, but these will be the four sets I'll use, in addition to some 10 x 10 rounds of swings, for my weekend swing class.

Do as many rounds as you have time for, OR if you swing at an advanced level (more work to less rest) then here's the entire workout:

10 2 hd sw (15/15)
10 R, 10 L x 1 set (30/30)
30 2 hd sw (45/45)
10 R, 10 L x 2 x 1 set (1 min/1 min) (video demo)
50 2 hd sw (1.25 min/1 min)
10 R, 10 L x 3 x 1 set (1.5 min/1 min)
70 2 hd sw (1.75 min/1 min)
10 R, 10 L x 4 x 1 set (2.0 min/1 min)
90 2 hd sw (2.25 min/1 min)
10 R, 10 L x 5 x 1 set (2.5 min/done...or one more set of 100, taking 1 min rest)
10 2 hand swings + 10 R, 10 L, + 10 2 hd sw + 10 R, 10 L, + 10 2 hd sw 10 R, 10 L, + 10 2 hd sw = 100 swing reps (2.5 min/ now you're done!)

total swings, 650 reps
total time, 25 minutes, 45 seconds


Unlike the last few weeks of starting my Kettlebell Sport snatch practice before my swing workout at 5:30am (and actually Thursday workout includes squats :) ), I was busy making pumpkin caramel for some macaron cookies I'm making (at 4:45am!), so I didn't get my butt out to the gym at 5:00am :(  I had to do my set after my swings, which is long as I don't wimp out and actually do them!

Big, big, big lesson learned with this set!  I had mapped out a slow and decent progression to the end goal, of snatching the 16kg 100R/100 L in 10 minutes, over the next few weeks/months, but getting caught up in a rush I decided to do more than what I put on my program forgetting one very important!  Just because I can do something, doesn't mean that I should do something, and this set warned can't see it, but I sure felt it!  (looking at the video you can really see the decline in the very last two reps, both the swing and the snatch)

Having so much success, and fun, with my 14kg sets I pushed this 16kg swing snatch set from this week's programmed 40/40 to 50/50.  Kind of forgetting that Tuesday's 14kg (and 12kg) sets were a peak, not exactly the time to also peak a 16kg set....duh!  Argh.  What you can't see in the video is that on the last 10 reps L, the force of the descending bell, with still technique corrections to be made and strength to build, put some strong stresses on my bicep muscle....but I stupidly let my ego push me through to the end, more focused on completing the set than anything else.

I write "stupidly" because, not to make excuses or anything, I am a 52 year old woman, who has a lot to lose by tearing a bicep, compared with very little to nothing to gain by snatching a 16kg a little bit longer than prescribed.  On a positive note....if I had done a little research beforehand I would have found the video of my last 50/50 swing snatch from February and seen how much of an improvement already!  8 months ago my grip started to give out, on both my R and L, way before 50 reps (double reps), and this week's set my grip wasn't the issue at all.  In fact it was so fine, and was part of the reason I decided to go past the prescribed 40/40.  My R bicep was fine, but I think with the fatigue of over 8 minutes, combined with the extra 20 reps (dumb), my form went to shit and put too much strain on my L bicep.  I knew it at about 45 and should have put the bell down.  The good news is that I learned a huge lesson, so far without injury, but even so I'm going to really pay attention to the increases I make towards my end goal from now on :) :) :)

Here is yesterday's set, 16kg swing / snatch 50/50, and the same set from last February:


Hanneke Schiffleger said...

What a nice post. You put a lot of effort in it and there's a lot to learn here. Really thanks so much for that. You give a lot in your blog posts.

The snatches seem fine to me but hey I really don't know much about gs sport.

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