Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Medvedev recommends using 5-6 exercises performed in circuit fashion with no rest between exercises, but beginners may take up to one minute if necessary. As fitness levels improve, more exercises can be added. To assure improvement and development of leg muscles always include some squats. Either with one KB on one shoulder, or squats with a KB on each shoulder, or perform suitcase squats "hindu squat" style.
1) Good Morning, One KB held in front, shoulder width stance, straight legs, slow lowering, quick raising, 8-10 reps. Repeat with 2 KBs, one each hand, 8-10 reps
2) Squat, 1KB held by handle behind head w/ both hands, 8-10 reps, easy tempo
3) Snatch High Pull, 1 KB, two hands, from ground to overhead, 8-10 reps, easy tempo
4) Pistol Grip KB Clean to Shoulder, from ground, 5-7 reps each side, medium tempo
5) Snatch, from ground, 5-7 reps
6) Double KB Clean to shoulder, from ground, 4-6 reps, easy tempo
7) Double KB Snatch, from ground, 4-6 reps
8) Squat + Press From Shoulder (clean 1 kb to shoulder, squat recover to standing position and press) 4- 6 reps, slow tempo, repeat opposite side
9) Side Bends, KB each hand hanging to side, feet together, bend side to side, 8-10 reps slow tempo
10) Alternating Side Bend + Row, KB each hand hanging to side, feet together, bend to one side while opposite arm rows upwards; KB tracks alongside body, 8-10 reps each side, slow tempo
11) Trunk Rotation w/ KB held behind head, 3-5, reverse direction & repeat, slow tempo
12) Squat + Jump (no weight) 3-5 fast tempo
13) Twisting KB Pickup, KB outside left leg, bend and twist to pick up with right arm, replace, repeat for 5-7 reps and then switch sides, slow tempo
14) Kettlebell Swings, 2 hands 1 KB, swing above head height, 8-10 reps fast
15) KB Hip Abduction, affix kb to foot, bend knee, abduct leg, 8-10 reps, switch sides, slow
16) One legged Squat, 1 KB held behind head, 4-6 reps each leg, medium tempo
17) Side Lunges, 1 KB behind head, 5-7 reps, slow
18) Lunges, 1 KB behind head, 6-8 reps per side, medium tempo
19) Toe raise, 1 KB behind head, 8-10 reps, high as possible, medium tempo
20) Toe raise on blocks, 1 KB behind head, 8-10 reps, high as possible, slow tempo
21) Single Leg Knee Extensions, Affix KB to foot, Sit on High Bench, 3-5 reps each side, slow
22) Double Leg Knee Extensions, Affix KB to each foot, Sit on High Bench, 3-5 reps, slow
23) Elevated Single Leg Knee Extensions, Affix KB to foot, Sit on High Bench, elevate thigh off bench and extend knee, 4-6 reps each side, slow
24) Elevated Double Leg Knee Extensions, Affix KB to each foot, Sit on High Bench, elevate thighs off bench and extend knee, 4-6 reps each side, slow3-5 reps, slow
25) Seated Good Morning, 1 KB behind head, straddle bench, fold forward, 6-8 reps, slow
26) Seated Side Bends, 1 KB behind head, straddle bench, 8-10 reps, slow
27) Seated Torso Twists, no weight (face front, turn to side, return to face front all reps to one side first, then switch) 10-12 reps each side, medium tempo
28) Seated Full Twists, no weight, complete twist right to left then left to right, 7-9 reps each side
29) Roman Chair Situps, 1 KB held on chest, 6-8 reps slow
Verkoshansky has a chapter in this same text with an extensive list of mostly dumbbell exercises for the general weightraining of athletes and "developing strength endurance and power for athletes of different classifications."
Here is an interesting drill paraphrased as closely as we could get it:
Most athletes need to get from point A to point B as explosively as possible. Here is an exercise for improving that ability. Hold 2 giri of equal weight (16,24 or 32kg) one in each hand. Position two benches of equal height on either side. Benches should be between 60-75cm (24 - 30 inches) in height. Stand between the benches and jump up, landing one foot on each bench. Step down and repeat.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Pavel didn't go into great detail in RKC about what exercises the Russians used, but he did mention the great Russian weightlifting coach Medvedev recommended 24 shoulder and arm exercises and 29 leg and torso exercises as well as the contributions of other great Weightlifting coaches and sports scientists. Although I plan a more thorough treatment (one in which I hope to combine Medvedev's, Rodionov's, Verkoshanksy and Vorobyev's kettlebell recommendations with current American Weightlifting training methods) here is brief summary from A.S. Medvedev's chapter from the 1986 textbook Weightlifting and It's Teaching Methodology. Part 2 will cover additional exercises.
Shoulders and Arms
1) Double KB Clean, 10-12 reps, medium tempo
2) Double KB Clean + press, 6-8 reps, medium tempo
3) Double KB Press, 8-10 reps, medium tempo
4) Double KB Curls, 5-7 reps, slow tempo
5) Double KB High Pulls, 5-7 reps, medium tempo
6) Double KB Upright Row, 4-6 reps, slow tempo
7) One arm press from shoulder, 3-5 reps, medium tempo
8) One hand x 2KB press (overlap handles) 3-5 reps, medium tempo
9) See Saw Press, 3-5 reps each side, comfortable tempo
10) Bent over row, two hands x 1 KB, 6-8 reps, comfortable tempo, relax/stretch at bottom
11) Double KB Bent over row, 4-6 reps, comfortable tempo, relax/stretch at bottom
12) Double KB Alternating Bent over row, 4-6 reps each arm , comfortable tempo, relax/stretch at bottom
13) Double KB Shrug, arms to side, 8-10 reps, slow tempo, relax/stretch at bottom position
14) Shrug, One Arm, 8-10 reps then switch sides, slow tempo, relax/stretch at bottom position
15) Shrug, 2 Hands x One KB, bell in front, 9-11 reps, slow tempo
16) Double KB Circular Shrugs, arms to sides, 5-7 reps forward, the 5-7 reverse, slow tempo
17) Floor Press, 1KB, legs spread apart, 6-8 reps, medium tempo
18) Double KB Floor Presses, legs spread apart, elbows tight to body, 6-8 reps, medium tempo
19) Alternating Floor press, 2KB, legs spread apart, elbows tight to body, 5-7 reps each side, medium tempo
20) Pullovers, reclining, 1 KB 2 hands, legs spread apart, 5-7 reps, easy tempo
21) Reclining Shoulder Girdle "Twists", 1 KB 2 hands, legs spread apart, set kettlebell on each side 5-7 reps, easy tempo
22) Pullovers + Reclining Shoulder Girdle "Twists", 1 KB 2 hands, legs spread apart, 5-7 reps each side (pullover set KB to one side, then pullover set KB to the other side) easy tempo
23) High Bench Rows, (lying on stomach) 2 KBS, 6-8 reps easy tempo
24) High Bench Alternating Rows, (lying on stomach) 2 KBS, 6-8 reps easy tempo
Medvedev's instructions for beginners is to begin with the 16kg bells and afer 4-6 weeks move up to the 24kg bells. "Later" move up to the 32kg bells. No more than 3 "lessons" a week for beginners and no more than 30 minutes per lesson. Lessons should be at the same time each day. Beginners should also start with a conservative set and rep scheme: 3 sets x 3 reps per exercise. As strength improves over the 4-6 weeks, beginners should have worked up to 5-6 sets of 3-4 reps. The recommended rep ranges for the above exercises are for more advanced athletes.
Much thanks to Vladimir Garbovsky for his patient help translating the text and to Pavel for taking time out of his busy schedule to provide it. Vladimir is of Ukrainian descent and speaks Russian fluently. Even though he is no stranger to the weight room (he plays defensive end for West Chester University football team) much of the translation was nonetheless difficult. There were no pictures, and the exercises were rarely named, just descriptions so we had to use "translators license" quite a bit and no small amount of pantomime which, I assure you, raised some eyebrows (and snickers) from the students in the Library trying to get some studying done.
Thanks to GS athlete Lorraine Patton for her tireless and extraordinary efforts to educate us here in the States about Girevoy Sport. Here is some video she shot at the World Championship Long Cycle Clean and Jerk Competition this past March in the Ukraine. Long Cycle is a seasonal competition overseas, contested in the Spring. It's my favorite event. For the uninitiatated, those are two 32kg (70lb)kettlebells being tossed around with ridiculous ease.
This video is from the 2007 Fairleigh Dickenson University Open this past January. Lance makes a 145kg Snatch (319 lbs) in the 77kg class (169.4 lbs) and demonstrates great patience bringing it under control for a good lift.
The video below is Lance at the 2007 East Coast Gold Classic in March, ripping a 140kg Snatch (308 lbs)
Speed and precision are required to execute a snatch...and obviously great strength. I'm lucky: I live near Moorestown, NJ and get to see Lance train pretty regularly. It's always humbling and always inspiring.
Monday, April 16, 2007
I recently participated in a round table discussion on which exercise, the power clean or the box squat, was more valuable for increasing Power Production in athletes http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/422/ and while I don't think minds were changed in the course of the discussion, it did force me to revisit some notions about how strength and speed interact. When is appropriate to place the primary focus on strength training exercises with power training as a supplemental concern and when is it appropriate to shift that focus to power training with strength exercises taking over a supplemental role?
In most sports, speed is a highly valued commodity. Generally speaking, the faster an athlete can exert maximum force in his or her given sport, the better that athlete will be at a given skill level. This measurement of how fast an athlete can generate force is called the Rate of Force Development (RFD). Many coaches assume that simply getting an athlete stronger will improve RFD and for many athletes, especially beginning athletes, this is generally true, depending on the sport. However, at a certain point, as we shall see below, simply getting stronger won't make an athlete any faster or jump higher because RFD requirements exceed the athlete's ability to make use of additional strength gains.
In most sports, the time it takes to execute a sports specific movement is far less than the time it takes for an athlete to maximally express strength. In other words, for most athletes it takes between .3 and .4 of a second to develop maximum muscular force against a stationary object (Zatsiorky, Science and Practice of Strength Training). The final explosive delivery phase of putting the shot, on the other hand, is between .15 and .18 seconds. The takeoff of a sprinter from the blocks is even shorter, between .08 and .10 of a second. The term sports scientists use to describe the time difference between the ability to exert maximal force and an explosive movement is called the Explosive Strength Deficit (ESD) For most athletes a deficit of around 50% is considered the cutoff point. That is to say that highly trained elite athletes can only make use of about 50% of their maximum strength in their given sports due to the ESD. This has ramifications for how to think about strength training as it applies to improving speed. Let me provide a homegrown example. Imperfect, but illustrative.
I know two athletes...one is an Olympic Weightlifter (athlete OL) and the other is a Powerlifter (athlete PL). Athlete OL can power clean 110kg and has a maximum deadlift of 160kg. Athlete PL can power clean 100kg, but he can deadlift 240 kg. Both want to improve their power cleans. So let's do the math.
OL: 160-110 = 50 50/160 = .31 x 100 = 31% ESD
PL: 240-100 = 140 140/240 = .58 x 100 = 58% ESD
So what do these numbers indicate? Using 50% as an approximate ideal range, the higher the percentage of the ESD, the less impact more maximal strength training will have on improving the athletic movement. The lower the ESD percentage, the more likely increases in maximal strength will have a favorable impact on the athletic movement.
OL has an ESD that suggests improving his deadlifting strength may very well help his power clean numbers move up...a case for doing more strength work relative to power work. PL has an ESD that is in the range that indicates improving his deadlift won't make much of a difference to his power clean and he needs to work on improving explosiveness, doing more power cleans relative to heavy deadlifting, perhaps. Of course I'm making the assumption that deadlifts actually have value for the power clean.
Here's another example modified from Zatsiorsky's book. A young athlete desiring to improve his vertical jump is currently squatting bodyweight (BW) and leaping 50cm. He trains for a year and improves his squat to double BW and improves his vertical jump to 80cm. Two years go by our athlete has improved his squatting to triple BW but his vertical jump has not improved. Why? The ESD was optimal at double bodyweight for this athlete and additional increases in squatting strength had no impact on his RFD for vertical jumping. This is a mistake that many athletic coaches make: they assume that continuous increases in squatting strength will result in continuous improvements in vertical jumping ability. It doesn't. In the above example, special jumping exercises designed to improve RFD are called for, while strength training continues but recedes into a maintenance modality.
So, pay attention to athletic requirements and strength levels. If speed and performance start to level off, it may be time to back off the strength training in favor of more specialized training. It is balancing act. Great speed requires great strength. While it possible to be slow moving and strong, there is no such thing as a fast moving weak person.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
You may first want to read an article I wrote awhile back regarding my take on kettlebell swings and snatches here: http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/388/ to get some insight into my take on proper pulling form.
The tip I've been playing with is one that I picked up from strength coach Dan John who uses this idea in his Olympic Weightlifting teaching progression. I am finding it also works extremely well with kettlebell swings, cleans and snatches. First let me review a few things. In my opinion, the four keys to maximizing the powerful posterior chain muscles in kettlebell swings and snatches is to mimic the position Olympic Lifters assume as the bar reaches knee height in the barbell snatch and clean. As the bell swings back between the legs:
1) The knees are only slightly bent
2) Shins are vertical and even tilting back somewhat towards the heels
3) Balance is focused towards the heels
4) The lower back is locked and arched
Think of the position in the kettlebell good morning stretch or a Romanian Deadlift. The kettlebell swing and snatch are not "squatting" exercises...if your knees travel forward during these exercises you are cheating yourself out of a lot of power and diminishing the value of the movements. And don't fool yourself: squatting swings and snatches won't improve your jumping ability, if you are justifying this form break for that reason. Whether one is broad jumping or vertical jumping, the bulk of the power is generated not from the quads but from the hips and hammies. Don't take my word for it, test it. First, jump with your knees traveling forward and focusing on your quads and see how you do and next try a jump from a good morning/Romanian Dead Lift stance with minimal knee flex, shins vertical and the hips pushed well back...feel free to record your observations in the comments section.
So here's the tip: as the kettlebell reaches its furthest point in the backswing, focus on jutting your chin forward and sticking your butt back as far as you can. Visualize stretching the chin and tail bone as far apart from one another as you can. As the kettlebell swings forward and you start adding power, lead with the chin. Don't throw your head back at the top of the pull, however...you should still finish standing tall with the head in a neutral position, but visualize maintaining the distance between chin and tail bone.
If you have correctly executed the four key elements in the backswing position described earlier, your hamstrings should be almost maximally pre-stretched. By adding this tip, you will not only increase the hamstring pre-stretch even more, you will find your upper body and core more completely locked into one unit and this will facilitate more power transmission from the hips and glutes. Dan John uses the analogy of a bow and arrow. Think of the kettlebell as the arrow in this analogy and the body as the "bow". By stretching the chin and tailbone as far apart as you can, and maximizing the hamstring pre-stretch you are maximizing the tension of the "bow". The bigger the stretch, the more powerful and explosive will be the release, which is in this case, as in the Olympic Lifts , a vertical jumping motion. Try this tip. Your swing and snatch strength and power, especially with double bells, should improve dramatically.