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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 10-24-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
Michael A. Krivka
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KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

I've had a couple inquiries sent to me back-channel regarding my thoughts on Hard Style/HS (i.e. Pavel) and Soft Style/GS (i.e. Valery) KB training and I wanted to share some thoughts with the community.

What you are seeing is a differentiation being made for differentiation sake. Do you see runners differentiating between the technique used for sprinting and running marathons? No... although there are differences in technique, the end result is very different. The same holds true for KB's.

Hard style is for explosive power and for cultivating and developing the abilit to create tension i.e. strength. Soft style is for endurnace and developing the ability to conserve energy under duress. It's like comparing hard style martial arts and soft style martial arts. They both contain elements that are hard and soft but choose (based on stylistic, physiological, geographical or cultural considerations) to emphasize one over the other.

Both styles of KB lifting are very good and have their place. Neither is better than the other - they are just different. The running analogy fits well as a comparison for KB's. Sprinting is all about generating speed and power for a short distance - think HS. Marathon running is all about maintaining a constant speed and power output for a long distance - think GS.

What you are really seeing in this debate is some emotional baggage being drug around by people who have hard feelings about Pavel. Ignore them and get the information you need and don't get embroiled in silly ****ing matches.

Hope this helps! :P

BTW - On a personal level I would much rather look like a sprinter than a marathon runner though... :O
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:04 AM   #2
Garrett Smith
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Michael,
From what I have seen, I disagree.

It would appear from the videos of Valery's athletes doing non-GS exercises, that folks who are strong in the "competition" style can do everything that the HS folks can do, at heavier weights and for longer. Note the YouTube video of one of Valery's athletes doing a *200 pound* single KB jerk *in flip-flops*!!! WFS http://youtube.com/watch?v=TpvEaGkC9MA . This would make it seem that the GS guys can both "sprint" and "run distance".

Much of the bitterness is due to the perception of money-grubbing tactics. Exactly the reason I left.

This may not be a forum that is open to this discussion.
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:17 AM   #3
Catherine Imes
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Michael,

Have you ever seen the KB Lifters in Eastern Europe? They look more like sprinters than most. I've been to Latvia and competed at the world championships. Some are thin wiry, some are thin and muscular, some are heavy.

Why did you feel it necessary to start this thread?

Marty Farrell who weighs 153 lbs Jerks 2-32kg bells nearly 70 times in 10 min WITHOUT setting them down. Every rep is like a single to him. Hardly a soft approach.

I've done 231 snatches with a 16kg bell in 10 min. I've done 200+ Jerks with a single 16kg bell and 82 with 2-16kg bells in 10 min. There is nothing "soft" about it. With every jerk I think speed and get under the bells. I can do 40/40 snatches or more with a 24kg and the same number of jerks per hand with a 24kg..one switch. Oh, and I set the SSST record of 255 2 years ago before I had even hit 200 with one hand switch. I could probably do 300 now in 10 with a 16kg.

I've been to 5 RKC workshops and I'm now an AKC coach. I know the differences.

Until you've tried working for time without setting down the bells and really familiarized yourself with what is taught at the AKC, you are not speaking objectively on this subject and you are just parroting what you've heard others say.

As I've said before, If I can do the things I do at the volumes I do them and not have any overuse injuries or hand tears, someone even doing it for different reasons (not the sport), may have something to learn from me in terms of techniques.

Ask Kelly Moore who is a long time Crossfitter about this. She went to the RKC and is now an AKC Coach.

CI
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Old 10-24-2007, 08:28 AM   #4
Catherine Imes
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Oh and for the record, I've got nothing against Pavel or the RKC. I've spoken on this subject many times on many forums without disparaging them.

The RKC is good for people who want to learn the tension techniques as you described. I still recommend it to people depending on what they want to teach and what they want to convey to others.

But, they don't even teach the jerks which is a cornerstone KB lift.

CI
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Old 10-24-2007, 11:18 AM   #5
Arden Cogar Jr.
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

I really don't pay attention to the whole difference between the AKC and what's included in the RKC.

Try both, see which meets with your training demands, and discard the one that doesn't.

I like the hard style for my heavier sprint work and the GS style for my lighter strength endurance work. It's just what I do with my training to mix it up. I incorporate both long cycle and snatches into my regular workouts after my core exercises (cleans, jerks, snatches, squats, deads, etc.). I try not to do the same thing from workout to workout and I also very the weights from session to session.

Both styles are good. Ones no better than the other depending up on the purpose. I really like some parts of the GS style as they are very applicable to the longer timed sets I do with my training.

All the best,
Arden
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:25 PM   #6
Michael A. Krivka
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HS or GS?

Catherine -

My intentions are not to disparage either training methods or question yours. BTE - Your accomplishments are well documented on the Web and I respect and appluad them. My posting was not to point out the shortcomings in either method but to point out that, as in this case, it is a matter of preference.

Personally I prefer the HS mostly because of my hard style martial arts background. Others prefer GS because of the endurance aspects (and in Steve's case likely his soft style martial arts background).

BTW - the RKC does teach the jerk but does not emphasize it over any other technique. I personally don't understand the heavy emphasis the RKC places on the swing but that doesn't make it wrong or right. When I teach KB workshops I spend much more time on the clean, snatch and jerk... but that's just me.

All the best to you and I hope to meet you in person someday at a CrossFit event so that we can compare notes on KB's.

Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:39 PM   #7
Catherine Imes
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Mike, thank you for the clarification.

RKC removed the Jerk from their level 1 course. They now teach it in Level 2 . So, you are right it is still covered.

They emphasize the swing a great deal because the swing as they teach it has a good carryover to the DL but not so good carryover to the snatch in terms of bringing the bell in closer and utilizing the "pendulum" effect of the swing snatch. The swing is radically different between the 2 systems. Swing with the AKC is a beginner exercise and an augmentation to snatch training.

I think the misunderstanding in my mind is on the endurance aspect. Clearly something I can do fast for 10 min is aerobic because well it is 10 min, but not slow. But, in Marty's case, everything is a single or double to him. It's a very High Intensity effort made worse by the fact that he holds onto the bells.

My main emphasis is on technique. I believe there are nuances taught at the AKC that you won't likely find at the RKC. While the AKC is big on Pacing for endurance and going longer, they emphasize pacing as a way of verifying technique. As a martial artist, you know that speed in the beginning can hide many technical flaws. I've told people, get the technique down, get the bell to land in the right spot, do it in a way that you don't tweak your shoulder. Once you do that, then speed away if you want.

Thanks.

CI
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:46 PM   #8
Michael A. Krivka
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Catherine -

I didn't know the moved the Jerk to level II... what was the reasoning behind that? I would have moved something like the Windmill to Level II instead... :P

Anyway, I'm with you on the emphasis on technique. Speed can hide really horrible technique and inefficiencies. I work really hard to get each person to slow way down and get the technique as close to perfect as possible so that they can go either hard and fast or slow and long. I can't tell you how many pre-RKC and post-RKC people I've worked with who have really poor understanding of the basic movements...

Thanks!
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Old 10-24-2007, 12:55 PM   #9
Leonid Soubbotine
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

I agree with Garrett.

Personally I won't attend anything that has to do with kb's these days just because instead of something fun and benefitial it seems like all it is - is a bitter dog fight instead of healthy competition.
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Old 10-24-2007, 02:05 PM   #10
Catherine Imes
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Re: KB's - Hard Style or Soft Style?

Hi Mike,

I attended the June 2004 RKC. It was taught there. I came back to assist in June 2005, and they had already removed it. It reappeared at this years level 2.

Honestly, I think it is a harder to teach. Very few could do it well in 2004, let alone walk away knowing how to teach it. It took me many months and many reps to get it and I just now feel confident in teaching it.

Thanks.
CI
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