I told you so

Few years ago when the OTW wars were raging I copped a lot of shit for not sharing the belief in long set supremacy. Most gireviks at the time belonged to AKC, and the only way to get better at this sport was to do GS-specific lifts for time. Anything else was blasphemy: circuits, jogging, short sets, interval training - you name it.

At the time I was quite fired up about the subject. had was my Russian. came from Russia, is most popular in Russia, Russia had (still has) most participants in sport, including highly ranked ones. It made sense then that GS materials in Russian were to be considered seriously, if not trusted outright.

Most Western gireviks disagreed, mostly because the majority of them belonged to the AKC camp headed by Valery Fedorenko. I am not taking anything away from Fedorenko, and he was an exceptional athlete in his time. However, being an athlete and being a coach are two different things, and in that area Valery wasn't the strongest.

Virtually anything I said on IGx that contradicted AKC was met with spite and resistance. Once I published a program from Rybinsk forum; Gregor Sobokan hinted that Russians lie about their programs (that pissed me off big time). Catherine Cimes got irritated by my posts quite a few times too; she said that training AKC way worked, while other ways maybe not so.

In the last couple of years, as more and more GS coaches and athletes started traveling overseas, the sentiment regarding GS training shifted. Big thing that helped to turn things around was IKSFA, organized by Alexander Khasin, with Sergey Rudnev as head coach. The title of the latter are not empty words, he is indeed a professional coach with proper formal education and huge coaching experience of many masters of sport. I have commented on Rudnev's skills many times, and, however unimportant my opinion is, I am still very impressed with his professionalism.

Anyway, in these last couple of years many amateur athletes started training under the guidance of serious coaches. At the same time the influence of AKC seems to have faded away. Where are AKC stars now? And what about timed sets?

The truth - as always - is somewhere in the middle. Long sets have their place in training, along with short sets, circuits and other training modalities. Training has to be planned, the load varied: up and down, up and down, in order to elicit adequate adaptation and reduce the chance of injury. I have been saying that for years, since 2008 to be precise. IGx, my only window into the world of non-Russian GS, seems to have accepted most things GS I have been arguing for. It would be nice to get acknowledged, of course, but fuck them, I don't care.

The real puzzle for me is the inability of people to keep their mind open. This seems a particular feature of Western mentality. You can give a Russian guy an outline of a program, such as Russian EDT: "do ten 1 minute sets with 1 minute rest, then 2 minute sets with two minute rest, and so on, until you progress to one 10 minute set". Russians will not have much trouble implementing it. Westerners, on the other hand, will need precise parameters and will still ask stupid questions, such as: "If I failed at fourth step of the program, do I have to start it from the beginning, or should I repeat the step? Should I drop the weight? Do I need to reduce the cadence?" and so on. As if one's scared to waste precious body resources to try all of these options and see what works and what doesn't. Then again, it's their problem. For me, the result is only part of the equation; training, researching, trying various things is as important and definitely more interesting.

Why am I ranting about all this? No particular reason, just too much time available for computer.
My biggest sporting challenge for now is to find the time to train. On Monday I trained after 11 hour working day, and that was difficult. Yesterday I finished work close to midnight and I am not planning to train after sleeping for 5 hours. But, overall my training is going well. I am progressing in both KB snatches and circuits Sergey abuses me with. Guess what, the next session has a 12 minute set in it, and I - the skeptic of long sets - am looking forward to it.


Ken's Kettlebell Blog said...

Welcome back to the blog as I miss it, especially when you are educated in Russian and have global incite. You also look at training for seniors which there is not a lot out there. This year I turned 70 and doing great since I got my old head out of my ass and trimmed off the fat and started to train more consistent, adding all kinds of exercise instead of just GS style Kettlebells.
You are on the money with the AKC and its conservative approach of ;we are the only true Kettlebell organization. Yes I can put all kinds of letters after my name of all the expensive certifications I have, but I never drank the “cool aid” from the AKC, five minutes after leaving the training. If you got a mind like a jelly fish to stand on a 4x4 platform covered with chalk, watching the clock, then AKC is for them. Yes V. Fedorenko,can do great things, but he knows little of the total fitness to enhance your performance just by doing set after set of the same few movements.
My self I follow Jeff Martone’s Crossfit style of Kettlebell programming. Jeff competes in Russia, in IKSFA meets all the time, with his programming and he is pushing 50years old. Jeff was always good at Kettlebells but made a quantum leap when he trained with Sergey Rudnev. Personally I am not a “hater” of anyone style if it works for them, but it has to work for you.
Ken,in cold upstate New York, USA.

Anonymous said...

I dabble in GS and totally loved your blog. It's nice to see you back

Rant said...

Smet - How about an update for your old friend Rant?

Rant said...

Smet - How about an update for your old friend Rant?


Smet said...

Ken, thanks for the insightful comment. Being 70 and not retiring to the gardening and walks in the park is simply great. Kettlebells will keep you strong and fit for many years to come.

Rant, how could I forget, next article will be about you, man!