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Old 08-29-2007, 01:09 PM   #1
Jason Rambo
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Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effect)

Right now, I'm taking a break from the conventional free weights and working with kettlebells (with bodyweight work and some sandbag work mixed in as well). I intend to follow this program through the end of the year.

What should I expect when I return to the free weights, assuming that I've been conscientious about my kettlebell regimen? Will I maintain that barbell strength, increase it or lose it?

What have your experiences been in such situations?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 08-29-2007, 01:20 PM   #2
Skylar Cook
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

If you're doing the same movement, you'll see improvement (likely a LOT, as you're training hands independently, or should be). If you're just working the same muscle groups, you'll see it too, but not as marked.
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Old 08-29-2007, 03:10 PM   #3
David Aguasca
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

it probably depends on the exercise and on what kind of rep schemes you're working at. if you're going to do all muscular endurance work with KBs and you've been working strictly barbell strength stuff, your strength will probably decrease. if you're going to do some strength and some endurance work with KBs, you'll probably increase in strength as well as conditioning.

kettlebells are just a tool...how you implement them in a training program is what makes them effective.

also...kettlebells ARE free weights...there's just a slight difference in the center of mass, and some of the movements are different.

i'm not shooting your idea down. it's good to change up training methods, and KBs are good tools.

let us know what kind of changes you see!
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:23 PM   #4
Tom Corrigan
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

It's best not to speculate and theorize when you have no experience (no personal stats for example) with high rep KB lifting carrying over to barbell work.

Most of my KB work is high rep/timed sets with light to moderate weights (35-70#) and my barbell maxes have maintained. Just the other day I strictly pressed 202# on a barbell during a CF Total practice and almost all I'd been doing is high rep jerks, push presses and some limited pressing with mainly 35, 53 and 70# KBs. I hadn't max pressed a BB for over 2 years, but beat my previous by 2 kilos. The last time I squatted over 225# for reps was over 15 years ago, but I did 310 for 2 sets of deep triples, something I was never able to do before. I used to do partials (1/2 squats with 425-450 20+ years ago) but was never able to go that deep before. My max DL has maintained its levels also, probably due to the C&J work with a pair of 70# kbs for sets of 15 to 20 reps. Skip Chase (of Mt. BakerCF) had his DL increase from a tough 330 to an "easy" 365# after he quit DLing and did a two month period of focused high rep KB work, mainly double C&Js with 26 and 35#kbs. He also finally go a muscle up (he struggled before, even being able to do 40 pullups).

To make significant improvements in your barbell work, you will need to focus on them, but high rep KB lifting will maintain your strength, while greatly improving your work capacity and strength-endurance. My high rep jerking with the 53 has improved my pressing of the 70 (without specific practice) so that now I can press it 22 times non-stop.

The only way you'll find out is to do it yourself. Rely on info from people who have done it. Go checkout Kelly Moore's workouts. Her strength totals have maintained and/or increased, even though the bulk of her workouts have been high rep KB work with a 35 and 53# kb.

Consider doing a 4-6 week cycle of KB work, then cycle back to more barbell focused work. Or you could "cheat" by doing 1 BB w/o a week.
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Old 08-30-2007, 03:14 PM   #5
David Wood
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

Strongly urge anyone to pay attention when Tom talks about kettlebells (assuming you want to learn). He's one of the best coaches out there, with a ton of experience.
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Old 08-30-2007, 04:38 PM   #6
Tom Corrigan
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

Thanks David, I really appreciate your support and recommendation!

Cotter and Martone have written a lot of solid stuff for CFers regarding KBs, but they are both busy with their own websites, businesses and forums, so they don't post on the CF message board. I try to do my part to support the CF community by posting the best info I can find on KB training, when those questions come up on the CF message board. I'm glad you've found my posts helpful.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:59 PM   #7
Michael Stehle
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

I enjoy the 4-6 week cycles as Tom mentioned. Right now I'm on a 6 week cycle of kb's which includes clean and press/ weighted pull up ladders along with high rep swings and snatches. I'll throw some TGU's and sled work into the mix as well. After 6 weeks, I'll go back to CF WOD's w/ some kb's subbed in. I have seen gains in my bb work w/o working bb's just like I see gains in my kb work from working with bb's. It's all good!!

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:46 PM   #8
David Aguasca
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

ok, nevermind what i said...

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Old 08-31-2007, 11:46 AM   #9
Jason Rambo
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Corrigan View Post
It's best not to speculate and theorize when you have no experience (no personal stats for example) with high rep KB lifting carrying over to barbell work.

To make significant improvements in your barbell work, you will need to focus on them, but high rep KB lifting will maintain your strength, while greatly improving your work capacity and strength-endurance. My high rep jerking with the 53 has improved my pressing of the 70 (without specific practice) so that now I can press it 22 times non-stop.

The only way you'll find out is to do it yourself. Rely on info from people who have done it. Go checkout Kelly Moore's workouts. Her strength totals have maintained and/or increased, even though the bulk of her workouts have been high rep KB work with a 35 and 53# kb.

Consider doing a 4-6 week cycle of KB work, then cycle back to more barbell focused work. Or you could "cheat" by doing 1 BB w/o a week.
Tom, I agree that I shouldn't theorize in the absence of practical experience. That's why I asked here. I knew that people who had real-world experience of this would post responses.

And your responses are very encouraging. I'd be terribly happy to be able to maintain barbell strength over the course of this little cycle. If I can make small gains over time, that would be a nice bonus.

When you refer to high rep KB lifting -- what exactly do you mean by that? Right now, I'm doing a scaled-down version of the Brutal Minimalist Workout, which is a set of TGUs, followed by alternating sets of swings and Hindu squats.

(Thanks to everyone who responded!)
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Old 08-31-2007, 01:08 PM   #10
Arden Cogar Jr.
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Re: Kettlebell strength carrying over to barbell exercises (the "what the hell" effec

I completely agree with David. Tom knows his stuff.

From my personal standpoint, I have incorporated Kettlebells into my training the past 10 months. In that time frame, I've blasted several barriers I never phantomed breaking given that I'm 37 years old.

Please understand that my workouts are more CF hybrids because my training is geared toward my sport, so it's not true to the WODs etc. I incorporate KB movements into every weight workout with the primary focus being on speed movements (olympic lifting) and core strength movements (deads, front squats). I've even started doing a light KB warmup for my event training sessions.

The best weight room example I can give is my push press. This time last year, I hit a PR with 255. I can now easily do that for a set of 5. Another good example is my strength endurance - this time last year, I could have deadlifted in the mid to high sevens, but I didn't have the rep endurance I do now. For example, last year I pulled 505 for 14. A few weeks ago, I did 565 for 14.

I've done a lot of swings, snatches, long cycle clean and jerk, and other core movements with the bells as part of my normal workout. The other movements include rocking squats, halos, windmills, one legged deadlifts, get ups (which I'm very weak at), lunges, walking lunges bells overhead, walks with bells overhead, etc. The list could go on and on.

Tom has a wonderful video called "Kettlebell Fire" that includes a warm up routine that I've adopted completely instead of my traditional preworkout 20 minutes of elliptical/cardio/streching.

In my novice opinion, Tom hit the nail on the head when he said Bells will increase your work capacity. From where I stand, that's an understatement.

All the best,
Arden
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