Back to training

It took two weeks for the SI to calm down, and now I am back to squatting. I decided to reduce my training volume to save my joints. In the last session I was able to improve: I did three 1/2/3 ladders with 75.5 kg.

Very interesting observation: after two week break squatting was easy. In fact, very easy. I was very cautious about my back, but the actual lift was easy. This brings me back to the question of the frequency of training.

Drastically reducing the volume and the load and even stopping training for up to two weeks befor an event, is a common tapering practice among coaches. You get fresh to the competition and have better chances of making new PR. Would this approach work for training? Will making long breaks between loading a muscle group or going at the same lift ensure full recovery? Will it reduce the chance of trauma? There is a lot of data suggesting that reducing the frequency of loading a particular muscle group may be beneficial.

This topic has been beaten to death at Irongarm, and I have been ridiculed there for these ideas numerous times. Not that I care. The fact is that every industry is ruled by dogma. I can throw numerous examples of this in medicine: saturated fat is bad, hypothyroidism is diagnosed by TSH levels, cricoid pressure prevents aspiration and so on. I suspect the situation in sport is similar. So when Prof Sergeev conducted his experiments (for uninitiated check this blog) and got very good results, his trainees were literally hijacked from him and put into the traditional program of training, even though it was immediately detrimental to the results.

There is more data coming out from sports research suggesting that more is not necessarily better, by a long shot. For example, swimmers do not benefit from increasing the number of training sessions (check if you're interested). Glenn Pendlay once recommended reducing training volume and increasing intensity for older trainees: 

Fuck the opinions and dogmas. I am not training for the next world championship and don't mind experimenting a little. I am going to reduce the session volume significantly and see if it is beneficial. Not more than three ladders with the working weight. Frequency wise - I will try to reduce it too, though this is more difficult: I like the feeling of heavy weights on my back. One solution - to do other lifts on other days, like weighted dips, chins, rows etc. Some bodyweight exercises and yoga wouldn't hurt either. More variety, less wear and tear. Recently I read about Doggcrapp principles and I like it too: short workouts, high intensity, rotating thriough many exercises.

Anyway, follow my training log if you're interested.


Brian from Chicago said...

I appreciate your blog. You always have great information about kettlebells and fitness in general (your blog introduced me to Phil Maffetone which has changed my life). I came across a kettlebell program generator on another blog ('s blog) and I wanted to get your opinion. Here is the direct link to the Program generator:

I just finished my fourth session and I'm really digging it. I'll post another comment when I finish the 21 session macrocycle to let you know how it goes.

Rich Kahle said...

Thank you for such an informative blog. The generator Brian referred to is the source of my current program. Session 21 is tomorrow. I had to repeat one week (sessions 10-12) because I didn't make the numbers but the rest of the training has gone smooth. I will let you know how it goes tomorrow.

I read that you are a doctor. In March, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. In June, I underwent a cardioversion and have been in rhythm since (two slips out of sinus). I am taking amiodorone, pradaxa, and toporlol. What could you recommend on my GS training? Are there any specific dangers in doing GS?

Thank you again.

Rich Kahle

KalleP said...

Brian, Rich: I'm the developer of "the generator". I would very much like to hear your results, please drop me an email. My email address is in generator's footer.

Last weekend we had a workshop with Russian MSWC Igor Morozov. One of the example programs he showed us was almost the same as the one my generator produces.

What I want to do is gather as much information from people who have tried the program and mix that with the information I got in the workshop. Then I want to develop and release a new improved training program generator.

Eugene said...

Guys, I think this GS generator is great. Very much based on Ryabchenko's method as I understand.

Rich, AF can be primary and secondary. For example, AF can be the result of overactive thyroid. Other common reason - ischaemic heart disease. So it is important to exclude something important, which,I am sure, your doctor has done. Otherwise - exercise shouldbe beneficial for it. I personally would avoid extreme heart rate, or reach it infrequently. That's my modest opinion, mind you, I am not a cardiologist.

Shaf said...


What you will find is that your less frequent sessions will make you very, very sore, and each and every time. Especially in the squat. I've squatting every 2 weeks to 4x weekly. Either end of the extreme didn't work as well as something more moderate.

The way I set up the ladders for you should not leave you dreading each workout. If so, then you are doing something wrong.

Of course you have a great session after two weeks, you even mentioned the most likely reasons why.

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