26 October 2008

Away from home this weekend and had to train at the gym.

BB squats:
40 kg x 5
50 kg x 5
70 kg x 5 x 5 sets

3 km run
Shit, I hate running. Because I am a shit runner.

Training volume - 1750 kg

Snatch Training idea

Rashid Muftakhov is one of the posters on a RUssian GS forum http://girikms.forum24.ru/ He regularly posts interesting and useful ideas regarding trainig. I already mentioned his post on re-fatigue method for training on IGX, here is another one.

Rashid suggests when training for the snatch to always go for maximum reps. However, in a little different way: training each arm separately. In other words get your max reps for the left arm, put the bell down for several minutes, rest and then do the right arm. The rationale behind it is that after maxing out on one arm you are tired, and the technique after switching deteriorates, leading to the reduced training effect.

I think he has a point. These kind of sets may be done several times during training session. They can help doing more volume wiht better technique while still keeping the OTW principles alive. They can also serve as pre-fatiguig sets: by the time you get to the second or third set with the initial arm, the forearm is tired - maxed out - and you will have to seriously watch your technique in order not to let the bell fly away.

Just another trick in the hat.

After thinking about it for a while, I like Rashid's idea more and more. Snatching sets to the max with one arm would seriously load the forearm and the wrist, the main areas that limit reps in snatches. On the other hand, switching hands every minute or ten reps allows for longer sets which, in turn, will get cardiovascular system going along with the big muscles of the legs and back. And control sets according to GS rules - ten minutes to the max with one hand switch - will imitate comtetition. Therefore, all three may have value.

25 October 2008

20 kg snatch:
10 reps, switch hands every 10 reps

20 kg snatch:
switch hands every minute, 6 min - 88 reps
+ 30 sec each arm - 104 reps total

Volume - 4080 kg

More GS Science

I was browsing through the Annual Digest of Weightlifting of 1986. It is the compilation of articles on the subject of training in this sport in Russian (Ezhegodnik. Tyazhelaya Atletika). In that particular issue there were a few articles on Girevoy Sport. One of them touched on the subject that may spark some debate between HS and OTW gangs.

G Vinogradov and M Lukyanov from the Institute of Physical Culture in Leningrad (this is the institution equivalent to Universities in the West where coaches get their degrees, by the way; study time is five years) were evaluating the ways of assessing physical qualities of gireviks. The study was based on several premises.

One. Girevoy Sport can be classified as cyclical sport, and the most important quality required for it is strength endurance.

Two. As this sport is associated with significant strain, it is necessary to conduct special training directed to the development of strength.

Three. Research shows that the significant achievement in one physical quality is possible only when other physical qualities have reached appropriate (optimal) levels. (Remember the subordinate relationship between functions in Supertraining 1 post?) That’s why strength endurance should be developed on the foundation of general endurance.

Therefore the goals of training in GS include: development of general endurance, development of optimal strength and building of strength endurance on the basis of general endurance and strength.

The main point of the study was to study the associations between various tests for assessment of physical qualities and best results (control runs during training sessions) of gireviks of 2nd and 3rd ranks. In total 16 athletes were studied.

The parameters that correlated best with the results were those reflecting maximal strength:

Bench press (r = 0.75-0.97)
Barbell squat (r = 0.72 – 0.89)
Deadlift (r = 0.64 – 0.87)
Dynamometry of the strongest hand (r = 0.83 – 0.93)

Other correlated variables:

Dips (reps) (r = 0.74 – 0.89)
Pull-ups (r = 0.62 – 0.73)
1000m run (r = - 0.79 to -0.97) – the shorter the time the better the GS performance.

Interesting, but there was no correlation between the GS results and parameters reflecting the ability to develop explosive force – jump and 60m sprint.

In conclusion the authors note that more research is needed.

Of course, this article has flaws, the main being small group of subjects. Yet, the results indicate some trends. Better gireviks are stronger and have better endurance. Are they better in GS because they are stronger and tougher, or they are stronger and tougher because they are better gireviks and are better for some other reasons? Strictly speaking it is impossible to say based on these numbers, and only some kind of intervention study could answer this question.

On the other hand it makes sense: the person who can snatch 100 kg will be able to do more 24 kg snatches than those whose max snatch is only 50 kg. The same goes for endurance: the better your cardiovascular system, the easier it is going to be to last for ten minutes under the bells.

The point? The debates regarding Hardstyle versus OTW keep popping up on IGX. While there should be no debates. Girevoy Sport should always start with Hardstyle for beginners. One needs to build some strength and endurance base before getting onto the intensive training with timed sets.

23 October 2008

16 kg snatch:

2 x 24 kg jerk:
11 reps/ 3min rest
12 reps/3 min rest
10 reps

2 x 24kg overhead holds:
30 sec x 2

24 kg snatch:

24 kg OAC&J:

Total volume: 2944 kg


Not related to training. I just found this cool set of toys here http://whos.amung.us/ It is the site that keeps stats of your website: who's onlyne and where they are from. You can see the map on the right side of the blog, below the archive list. They say the only difference between boys and men is their toys. I say it is correct.

20 October 2008

BB squat: 50kg x 5
60kg x 4
65kg x 5 x 5

BB push press: 40kg x 10 x 2 sets
Good mornings: 20kg x 10
40kg x 10

Treadmill run/fast walk: 20 min

Total session volume - 3515kg.

19 October 2008

2 x 16 kg jerks: 15
2 x 24 kg jerks: 20 reps in a little over 3 minutes.

Headache, have to stop.

This is my personal best for 24 kg jerks. Still laughable, but getting better. My previous best was 15 reps on the 6th of September. I guess if I can add 5 reps every month in a year it wouldn't look so bad (hopefully).

Static-dynamic Method in Girevoy Sport

This title will attract attention of anybody, no doubt. Recently an article was posted on the Rybinsk Forum of Girevoy Sport by one of its members, Alexey. In case someone wants to read the original post, here is the link: http://girevoirybinsk.borda.ru/?1-1-0-00000178-000-0-0-1224153845 It is the article on the method of training applied to GS that the authors coined “static-dynamic”. Why it is called this way will be clear from the text. There are no details about the authors or where it was originally published. However, it is real, good quality sports research, and I cannot miss the opportunity to convey it to the enthusiasts of girevoy sport. Below follows the text of the article.

The reason to write this article were publications on statodynamic training in athletics, published in the journal”Legkaya Atletika”, No. 3-6 in 2003. The results of action of the static-dynamic method on the physical state of runners, throwers and jumpers were published. The works were performed by Victor Seluyanov [remember “The Heart is not a Machine” post that was based on his book?] We implemented Seluyanov’s methods in athletes and gireviks of Youth Sports School No.3 in Tambov, and we were convinced by the results and thus created modified method of static-dynamic training which allows achieving even stronger training effect in all athletes, and gireviks in particular.

First of all, what is the idea behind the “classic” static-dynamic training (SDT for the sake of space)? An introduction is necessary. It was established that work capacity in aerobic-anaerobic regime (as in girevoy sport) is closely related to the composition of the muscle. The more oxidative fibers an athlete has, the higher is the anaerobic threshold. It happens because during the contraction of oxidative fibers there is no lactic acid production. This leads to less acidosis (therefore fatigue) of the muscle compared to glycolytic fibers.

When training is planned correctly it is possible to increase the number of oxidative fibers in those muscles that perform prolonged work medium intensity, such as the anterior surface of the femur, muscles of hands and forearms, long muscles of the back, triceps in gireviks. The increase of oxidative fibers is tightly related to the strength training methods. During traditional strength training types of muscle fibers are recruited, slow (oxidative) and fast. However, only the latter are stimulated enough to cause training effect. As this is a dynamic process – the muscle periodically contracts and relaxes during the exercise – oxidative fibers receive adequate blood flow and the accumulation of hydrogen ions does not occur. However, without acidosis there is no training effect in these fibers. Therefore it is necessary to impair blood circulation in slow fibers during exercise, by keeping them tense and avoiding relaxation. In other words, in order to facilitate the process of forming new muscle fibers one has to impair blood flow through the muscle and make it acidotic. This will have more pronounced training effect and as the result better strength gains. This is the main premise behind the static-dynamic training method (SDT) developed by Seluyanov and his co-workers. The exercise should be performed slowly and without full straightening in the joints, not letting the muscle relax and keeping the capillaries compressed. The loads are moderate, so that fatigue occurs in about 40 seconds. The range of movement in the joints is reduced and is somewhere in the middle of maximal. If you look at the trainee from the side, it looks if the training part of the body performs “swinging” up and down, spending 1 – 1.5 seconds in concentric (shortening while generating force) and 2 – 3 seconds in eccentric phase. During each set the muscle works o.5 – 1.2 minutes. Therefore, SDT is the combination of two working regimes: dynamic and isometric, but without relaxation phase. The advantage of this method is that the central nervous system is not taxed as much as in isometric training alone.

Having described “classic” SDT we will now introduce modifications that have been implemented in the training process of gireviks in our Children’s Sports School No.3 and which considerably increased the efficiency of the initial method.

The essence of our modifications has been as follows. IN the 1st variant the capillaries in the muscles remained compressed between sets, and during rest the muscles were either stretched or wrapped with elastic bandages. In the 2nd variant during rest the muscles performed light work: movements without load or “punching” or “kicking” movements of forearms, upper and lower legs. These methods will be called accordingly SDT1 and SDT2. The following experiment was conducted in our institution, the Children’s’ Sports School No.3 of Tambov City in 2003-2004. The subjects were divided into 4 groups of 10: 1 – control, 2 – classic SDT method, 3 – SDT1 and 4 – SDT2. The qualifications of the participants were rank 2 and lower. The age of the subjects was 14 to 16 years and their body weight in the range between 60 and 80 kg. All were males. The experiment lasted for 6 months, at the end of which the subjects participated in regional competition (bells 24 kg) the results of which was used to gauge the efficacy of training methods.

Girevoy Sport demands serious qualities of its participants. The main load is placed on the muscles of the anterior upper legs, back, triceps, muscles of hands and forearms. Moreover, these muscles have to work not only in dynamic but also in isometric regime. This fact is what determined the choice of exercises to test SDT methods.

In the 1st group – control – training was conducted in usual fashion, and every third day the session included isometric work, i.e.holding weights in certain position for 6–12 seconds with 5 seconds rest (3-4 sets). In the 2nd, 3rd and 4th groups training regime was similar, but instead of isometric exercises work was performed with the same loads but according to the modifications of SDT methods, also in 3-4 sets.

Therefore, the 1st group performed the following exercises: static barbell half squat, static good morning with straight legs, overhead static holds of two 16kg bells overheads (arms parallel, elbows bent at 90 degrees), static wrist curls with barbell. In the other groups the structure of exercises was the same, but with modifications appropriate for the SDT methods.

After six months and participation of regional competition each group was evaluated. The following formula was used: S = N – n, where N – number of repetitions in competition and n – number of repetitions required for completion of 2nd rank. Therefore S is the excess of achieved repetitions over required for 2nd rank. Average values were calculated for each group as follows below:

1st group – 12.1
2nd group – 18.3
3rd group – 27.7
4th group – 27.9

The results demonstrate that SDT1 and SDT2 are the most efficient methods.

We have also successfully tried using these methods together with dynamic exercises by either stretching the muscles or performing bouncing movements during rest periods. For example, well known “frog jumps” were performed in the following manner. After the set of high jumps from low squat the trainee had a “rest” which consisted of performing bouncing squats with very low amplitude – not moving the pelvis up by much – for a minute. Doing frog jumps this way resulted in better physical indicators required for moving the trainees to more advanced training classes.

In conclusion we would like to mention that we have not come across the description of SDT methods used in our work in sports literature. We conclude therefore that the use of this methodology in the training process of gireviks has been demonstrated here for the first time. The end of article.

Here it is. In my opinion this article is brilliant. The hypothesis is proposed, appropriate training methods are tested and compared and conclusions are made. The results are also quite remarkable: the difference in results is not 10-20% as we often see in this kind of work. It is remarkable without exhaggeration. It is low tech and outcome targeted, measuring sports results and not some chemical intermediates, such as testosterone or lactic acid levels in blood and drawing long reaching conclusions. Any personal trainer can make research like this. At the very least it is interesting and worthwhile to try.

15 October 2008

Got some time to train only at half past nine in the evening. Inspired by the latest article by Dan John I decided to do four minutes of forgotten Tabata, as follows.

20 kg snatches: 20 seconds/10 seconds rest, switching hands every interval, about 7 reps per interval, 4 minutes total as per Maestro.

It seems like nothing while you are doing it. But now my trachea actually fucking hurts! Because time intervals are so short you tend to push the tempo - as you are supposed to. At the end it all adds together though. I think I should do it more often.

13 October 2008

We went away for the weekend, and I was planning big workout on Monday. We are doing low scale renovations at home, and I took a day of to put together cupboards from Ikea. I did put them together... But there was no chance I could lift another kilo after that. It was a combination of weight training - carrying hevy boards to the third level - and some imitation of Yoga - lots of movement with the electric driver, bending, twisting etc. I just hope there is carry over to my jerk numbers.

Stages of Training

I offer to you the translation of another article from Rostov site Main Stages of the Teaching Process in Girevoy Sport and their Characteristics by Gomonov VN, PhD, Machotkin BV, Master of Sports, Gamzov SA. Moscow University of MVD, Branch of Bryansk.

It discusses the main stages of training of gireviks and has some novel ideas. The most interesting for me was the use of static holds at the beginner stage for learning the elements of the technique. The article in Russian is available at the link: http://www.fgsrostov.aaanet.ru/Gomonov.doc

The text follows.

The distinctive quality of the initial stage of teaching is the fact that beginners assess the movements by their form and don’t take into account the dynamic and coordination structure. At best the beginner is capable to obediently copy the external form of lifts without proper coordination of the movements of the trunk, legs and arms. At this stage the reaction is slow. For instance, the athlete does not timely react to the deviation of the kettlebell from the vertical in the overhead fixation phase, and this causes unnecessary muscular strain in order to bring the bells in line. The absence of sufficient stability is typical for this stage. Another important characteristic of the beginning stage of learning is insufficient coordination of various functions, in particular muscular, respiratory and cardiovascular, which, of course, is reflected in the body’s reaction to exercise.
Taking into account these characteristics we propose the following method of teaching jerk.
While learning separate elements of the technique the emphasis should be placed on the visual aspects, using simple demonstration and conveying only basics of movements to gireviks. This demonstration should be conducted in three speeds: normal, slow and fast. One should not explain the technique in detail, as the trainees will not be able to properly follow the directions.
At initial stages the novices simply repeat the movements after the coach without experimenting, only striving to achieve maximum similarity. While teaching the elements of the technique the coach must find such exercises that are the closest to the element studied in terms of the structure of movement. For example, performing short put while emphasizing the higher trajectory or throwing a medicine ball (partner to partner) help teaching the array of movements necessary for kettlebell jerk.

Static holds are widely used in weightlifting. While imitating the olympic lift with a metal rod, the athlete stops the movement and holds it in certain position. This method is most accessible for the initial stages of training.
We have developed key positions for using this method for teaching kettlebell jerks (figures 1 and 2)
One has to remember that the method of static holds does not always bring positive results. For instance, when training the second dip position the athlete has to stop. It However when this hold is performed for prolonged period of time the athlete can get erroneous impression about the technique, as stopping during actual lift is a serious mistake.

Therefore, the method of static holds helps to learn the technique of the lift faster and more effective and understand the position of the body, but requires control over dynamics and general rhythm of the movement.

a b c

Figure 1. Key positions in teaching jerks. a – the rack (starting position, b – first dip, c – pushing up (based on the video materials of jerk performed by the world record holder M Parshov)

Doing the lift slowly allows getting better feel for the technique. Another teaching method, loosely translated as “following the movement” is used for this purpose. The athlete holds the bells in the rack position and performs the lift [at various speeds, as I understand it – Smet]. The coach is standing at the side-back of the athlete and uses his one hand to control the movement of the bells and the other to control the athlete’s pelvis. If the athlete during the first dip pushes the pelvis backwards and in order to prevent the bells falling forward uses the muscles of his arms, the coach intentionally limits the movement of the athlete’s pelvis with his hand [sounds kinky, but I think you get the idea – Smet]
Using static holds at initial stages of training and “following the movement” facilitates the development of specific learning of the girevik.

Figure 2. Static holds: second dip and fixation

General fitness of the beginner athletes is the main obstacle to increases in volume and intensity of training load. At the same time the efficiency of learning of new movements is lower when the athlete is tired. Because of that it makes sense to use not more than one or two new exercises in a session. It is also necessary to take into account the phenomenon of positive and negative transfer. In order to do tat one session should include exercises similar in terms of structure, this will facilitate the training effect.
For the next training stage, deepened beginning stage, it is typical that gireviks have general idea regarding basic components of the technique based on learned visual and, in part, proprioceptive sensation; lack of resistance of the technique against distracting factors; the ability to perform the lift as the whole while having serious weaknesses in details. At this training stage gireviks are supposed to fully learn the technique as well as doing general and special weight exercises. The athlete has to achieve sufficient freedom while performing the lift and during training session eliminate technical errors. The skill of movement in every basic lift gradually becomes automatic and becomes a habit.

Forming of specific sensation regarding the technique occurs while actually performing classical lift. First of all it is important to form rhythmic structure of the jerk, as it is basic for further improvement of coordination and dynamic structure. Learning the correct rhythm facilitates alternating tension and relaxation of the muscles which also allows learning specific neuromuscular patterns.

This stage of learning can be considered completed if the girevik’s structure of movement is stable while working at moderate speed. It means that the interaction of the athlete with the bells has reached required level of stability and it is now possible to start perfecting separate elements of movement or particular parameters of the technique.

Next training stage, the period of perfecting technical mastery is characterized by stable general structure of movement, satisfactory interaction of the girevik with kettlebells, reasonably well developed specific sensation, the ability of the athlete to change separate parameters of the technique without violating general structure of the lift and development of the individual style of lifting.

The movements used at this stage vary in speed, rhythm, the effort required, while performing separate elements of the lift. At this stage it is typical for the athlete to perform the lifts with rhythm and amplitude in his own style, including other biomechanical characteristics typical for this particular athlete. All elements of the technique are performed freely, without conscious control.

It is important to distinguish technical errors from physical inability of the athlete to perform the lift correctly. For instance, beginner girevik of microsomatic body type can perform 24 kg jerk several times but while doing it with 32 kg bells he makes mistakes – pressing at the top, deep second dip etc. In this case it is necessary to work on this athlete’s strength.

8 October 2008

2 x 16 kg jerks: 20/20/20/25/25/20/20/10
Rest - several minutes. All untimed.
Total - 160 reps/5120 kg.

Misplaced post

Scroll down couple of posts and find "Conceptual Basics of GS Training". Or click on the link: http://girevoysportafter40.blogspot.com/2008/10/conceptual-basics-of-training.html.

Due to my computer illiteracy it has been posted not at the top of the blog. Enjoy.

I am very gratefu to one of my readers from Finland for emailing the original of the article to me.

5 October 2008

2 x 16 kg jerks: 10
2 x 24 kg jerks: 10/10/10/10/10
50 kg barbell: press behind the neck - 10
24 kg OAJ: 15L/15R

Total volume: 3740 kg (lb.8228)

4 October 2008

16kg snatch: 30L/30R; 20L-20R-10L-10R-10L-10R-10L-10R (total - 100 reps). Untimed, about 17 rpm.

60 kg barbell squat: 5 x 5 sets
24 kg x 2: 30 sec overhead hold x 2

Conceptual basics of training

One of the readers of my blog posted a question related to an article from Rostov site which I missed for some reason, probably because my PC did not want to open it. The reader kindly emaild the article to me, and I did monumental job of translating it. It was worth every line. The article is called Conceptual Basics of the Training Process in Girevoy Sport and is written by Romashin YA. Honorary Coach of Russia, Master of Sports. Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Physical Preparation and Sport of Serpukhov Institute of Missile Armed Forces. As I mentioned, it is published on the site of GS Federation of Rostov District, http://www.fgsrostov.aaanet.ru/ The article is long and will require some tedious reading. On the other hand you can print it out and use it as the training manual, it is so comprehensive. Forgive the clumsy style at times, I did the best I could to convey the meaning.

Training for sports is none other that one of the most important means of “changing one’s nature”. Exercises used in training considerably change the abilities of the body. When training with kettlebells adaptation is expressed in the growth of the musculature, strength and strength endurance increases. Let’s consider the theoretical aspect of training the most important physical qualities of a girevik.

One of the most important qualities in GS is muscular strength. It has various manifestations: maximal strength, for instance in barbell squats, barbell and kettlebell presses; speed-strength – kettlebell snatch and jerk; speed – throwing of the tennis ball. For girevoy sport maximal strength and speed-strength are defining qualities.

Incorrect strength topography can impede interfere with learning rational technique in GS. Often in beginner gireviks the strength of the flexors predominates over the extensors, the leg muscles are undeveloped. They try to perform the lifts by using the muscles of the arms and insufficiently involve the muscles of the legs and the trunk.

As mastership develops the strength of arm and trunk flexors does not change considerably, and in best gireviks the strength of flexors is the same as in gireviks with first ranks, while that of extensors is considerably higher.

General endurance is especially important for gireviks. It allows handling large volume of exercises, not to get overly tired from the warm-up and prolonged competition, recover faster and train more effectively. High level of strength endurance is one of important indicators of athlete’s health.

Endurance is defined as the ability to overcome fatigue. Only training to fatigue and overcoming this fatigue can improve endurance.

In regards to the development of strength endurance the opinion is sufficiently unanimous that the best way for its development is to perform competition lifts in difficult conditions or in large volume. This does not preclude, however, the use of special strength exercises, which is confirmed by current methods of training elite gireviks. Strength endurance depends on the economy of the energetic processes and the rate of recovery of energy resources, on anaerobic and aerobic capacity of the body and on the so called “strength reserve” from max strength.

The relationship between the load and the number of repetitions has been established by Zatsiorsky in 1970. The number of repetitions is dependent on maximal strength when the load is sufficiently high and is not less than 25-30% of 1RM. That’s why if it is required to repetitively overcome higher resistance – more than 70 – 80% of 1RM – then endurance gain happens automatically because of increases in max strength, and in that case it is not important to specially develop it (for instance, for a weightlifter). However, when the load is lower, it is important to train for both: strength and endurance. Therefore, if a girevik can press two two-pooders 3-5 times then he has to pay more attention to strength training. But if he can jerk two bells 20 times and cannot do it 30 times, he has to develop strength endurance.

The following combinations of methods to develop strength and strength endurance may be used in training.

Maximal effort method.
Load: 1-3 RM
Number of repetitions: 1-3.

Repeated efforts method. Repetitive overcoming of non-maximal resistance with non-maximal numbers of repetitions.
Load: 6-8 RM
Number of repetitions: 4-6

Same but:
Load: 12-15 RM
Number of reps: 8-10

Other variants of the above method:

Repetitive overcoming of non-maximal resistance
Load: 20-30 RM
Number of reps: to failure

Same but not to failure
Load: 35-60 RM
Number of reps: 15 and more

The methods closer to the top develop predominantly strength, while those at the bottom are aimed at endurance, with strength endurance in the middle.

Depending on the exercise used and the methods and the amount of work, training load may be higher or lower and have either global or local effect on the athlete’s body.

The selection of loads that are adequate to the athlete's condition is one of the most important problems of training. The loads must ensure the best effect for improving the results.

For evaluation of the training load in girevoy sport various criteria are used, such as volume, intensity, the number and the sequence of exercises, regime of muscular activity etc.

Volume and intensity characterize training load. At the same time coordination difficulty, mental intensity and environmental factors are taken into account. The amount of weigh lifted during training session is volume, and the amount of work performed per unit of time is intensity.

By volume the total weight lifted during one session, week, cycle etc. is implied and is expressed in kilograms or tones. Volume in GS in classic lifts is often measured by the number of repetitions. For convenience of planning volume is classified into low, medium or high. Absolute value of volume change depending on the athlete’s level and period of training. Usually low volume is below 50%, medium 50 – 70%, high 70 – 90% and maximal more than 90% of athlete’s maximum.

The volume used by gireviks of high qualifications in one session can be 1 – 3 tons, in a week – 20 to 60 tons and more, in a month – 60 to 300 tons, year – 600 to 3000 tons and even more.

Volume determines the athlete’s technique. Large loads that cause fatigue have destabilizing effect. That is why it is important to find for each athlete not the maximal load but optimal, providing the best training effect. Without volume work it is impossible to create solid functional base for increasing the intensity of loads and, therefore, the improvement of the results. That is why the volume and intensity are always tightly connected.

In girevoy sport intensity is usually defined as percent of maximal result in jerk or snatch. It can also be expressed as the degree of strain during each exercise. For example, kettlebell snatch at intensity of 70% of maximal. Or as performing part of training with increased intensity in part of training session. In this instance, part of the training session – say, several sets of snatches - would be done at higher intensity. The former instance refers to the intensity of the exercise, the latter - intensity of training session.

Intensity of session is determined by the number of exercises, the level of effort while doing them and the duration of rest in between. Varying the degree of effort (the number of repetitions) and time of rest allows manipulating the intensity of training.

Increasing intensity by increasing the effort in a lift is necessary for a girevik in order to improve functional ability of organs and systems, the organism as a whole in regards to the specific demands of girevoy sport as well as general physical preparedness and development of strength. Increasing intensity by increasing the density (precise translation – Smet) of the session serves improving strength endurance.

It is well established that with increasing the load heart rate increases and vice versa. Because of that dosing the load based on heart rate is popular in sports practice, by referring to the maximal heart rate of the athlete. This method is most applicable for classical GS lifts, as they have cyclical character. In training for strength intensity is defined as percent of 1RM.

Changing volume and intensity of training it is possible to manipulate the result. The relationship between volume and intensity is established first of all by setting the goal and only then by determining the volume that the athlete is capable of. Every athlete is unique, different, that is why training load must be defined individually. Only then it is possible to achieve the best result.

Planning of Training

Continuous improvement cannot be possible without planning of the training process. The tables below contain approximate training template for a month. Do not ask me why longer tables are narrower than others, it is because of my Webdesign skills (about 2 out of 10). The columns in all six tables are supposed to be continuous.


In kettlebell exercises – numbers are percent of maximum for each set
In barbell exercises – percent of 1RM times reps times sets
C – control set (going for the max)
“+” – the quantity defined by trainee/coach

As mentioned above, the most important quality for GS is strength endurance, and the athlete must constantly monitor his strength level as well as special endurance. Because of that training session must be constructed in a way that ensures the development of both strength and endurance.

Yearly training period is divided into two half year cycles. The first one has two periods: preparatory and competitive, the second – three: preparatory, competitive and transitional.

The large training cycle general physical preparedness is built, on which further foundation is built. This foundation then serves as the stage for the development of high level of physical qualities. The process can be compared with three steps in a staircase. The stronger the first step the stronger and higher can be the second one which, in turn, will allow reaching higher level of physical qualities of the athlete. It is important to remember that the level of the first two steps must be maintained at constant level until new level of training demands their further improvement. At each new training stage volume should decrease (or maintained at the same level) and intensity must increase – this is the basic principle of training for exercises (movements) that define the success of the athlete in his sport. In GS it is obviously jerks, snatches and long cycle.

In other exercises the progress may follow different principles. It is very important to be consistent in the development of every physical quality. It means that exercises used at lower levels of training – for the development of strength and endurance – must gradually be replaced with exercises aimed at improving strength endurance, the quality that defines the final result.

In the macrocycle first two steps of training coincide with preparatory period of training, the third – with the competitive.

In the preparatory period of GS training is directed at improving health, building the base for successful learning of the technique and its improvement, improving general and special physical preparedness, developing mental qualities, improving theoretical knowledge in methodology, physiology and hygiene of the sport.

In half yearly cycle the preparatory period lasts for up to three months. During the first step of training the session (two months) is planned in such a way that half of it is devoted to the development of strength, and half to general endurance. This step is characterized by large volume at moderate intensity. During the second step two thirds of training is devoted to strength endurance and one third to strength. Volume decreases or stays the same while intensity increases.

Competitive period in the half yearly cycle lasts for 1.5 – 2 months and is divided into three periods. First two of them are pre-competition. During the first period 2/3 of the load are directed to strength endurance and 1/3 to strength. During second – ¾ to strength endurance and ¼ to strength. In the third, which is the period of competition – all loads is used for the development of strength endurance and main emphasis is on classic kettlebell lifts.

During competitive period the share of exercises for general physical preparation is decreased. Volume decreases, intensity keeps increasing. 7-10 days before competition volume and intensity are decreased, and 1 – 3 days before competition the athlete is given rest.

Transitional period in half yearly cycle lasts for up to four weeks. It completes the cycle and lies in between the yearly macrocycles. During this period the athlete performs some general exercises as well as exercises from other sports: skiing, athletics, swimming.

For athletes of high qualifications who often participate in competition and demonstrate high results throughout the whole season it is recommended to use multicycle planning of training. The first cycle lasts for 3-5 months. The number of other cycles depends on the competition calendar and usually is equal to the number of competitions.

The effect of training for strength endurance is defined by the following parameters: the size of the load (weight), the tempo, duration of work and its character, rest intervals, duration of training session, initial level of strength endurance and the capacity of the cardiovascular system. The basic means for the development of strength endurance are classic GS lifts as well as other exercises with weights performed mostly with multiple repetitions of non-maximal resistance until significant fatigue.

If barbell exercises are used for strength endurance, the weight is 40 – 60% RM, 10 – 18 repetitions and 4 – 6 sets.

If working with kettlebells for strength endurance the methods vary depending on the stage of training, as in the table below.

In kettlebell exercises the load must change from 25% to 75-80% of athlete’s maximum. For instance the load in double jerk in multiple sets may look like this: 25, 30, 80, 45 and 35 %. Endurance is better trained with exercises done at moderate rate. According to the laboratory data, in this case the individual is capable of performing work 40 times higher than at the beginning of the experiment, while if working at high rate the increase is only 4.5 times.

In the process of developing strength endurance it is appropriate to perform work in difficult conditions but in movements that by structure and coordination are close to the specialized lifts. Using 16 and 24 kg bells it is necessary to work to failure, thus increasing aerobic capacity of the body. Using 32 kg bells and heavier facilitates improving work capacity in “complicated” conditions. The athlete is forced to significantly increase the effort while the structure of the movement is more or less preserved. This trick also has certain psychological effect, and when he competes in “normal” conditions after “complicated” he is expecting good results from himself. This “complicating” should not be excessive as it can cause considerable problems with the technique and learning incorrect habits.

Depending on the period of training and goals rest time between sets fluctuates from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. For example, when doing interval training rest is decreased to the minimum while reps per set are increased.

Therefore, having the knowledge of the basic principles of GS training, methodology of the development of basic physical qualities and properly planning the training process it is possible to achieve outstanding results in this sport.

1 October 2008

2 x 16 kg jerks: 2 sets of 5 minutes (43 and 41 reps), 5 minutes rest in between, 4 min rest and untimed set of 20 jerks (about 2.5 minutes).

Total - 104 jerks.

50 kg barbell squats: 4 x 5 sets.

I like my progress, even though it is fairly slow. On the other hand I am enjoying my training and don't have painful shoulders or "sensitive" back. When I started training in May, five minute set used to be an absolute torture. As I posted earlier, I did only one timed set and then snatches and assistance exercises. After changing my training scheme I pushed myself for modestly long sets only rarely and was rather building volume. Surprise - there is progress! The first five minutes felt reasonably easy, and I could go for another minute or so if needed. Volume, baby, volume. Pavel is not wrong after all... My next intermediate goal (one of them) will be doing 200 double jerks in one workout, whatever the duration of the sets.