Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Hard Style" Kettelbell Training, Part II

The RKC Hard Style strength system is built around the premise that our body is a machine made of interlinked components that work together to move, lift, play etc. We work to train our body like the machine it is. Since we should work as a unit, we need to train it as one as well.

Hard Style training is about power production rather than power conservation. We use maximal acceleration in the ballistic work we do. We do kettlebell swings and snatches as fast as we can on the way up and the way down. Here’s why.

On earth it takes about 10 Newton-meters (N-m) of energy to raise a 1 kilogram mass to a height of 1 meter. Since 1 N-m equals 1 Joule, that's 10 Joules. If it takes 1 second to lift the weight 1 meter, than you have converted 10 Joules of energy to potential energy in one second. That's 10 Watts of power. If you lift a 2 kg weight 1 meter in 1 second, then the rate of energy conversion is 2 x 10 = 20 Joules per second, or 20 Watts of power.

If you can keep lifting a 1 kg weight to a height of 1 meter every second, weight after weight after weight, then you will be steadily producing 10 Watts of power. Your arm would get tired after a while.

Let's slow down. Suppose you move the 1 kilogram weight more slowly so that it takes 2 seconds to lift it 1 meter. Now the rate of work is 10 Joules (Newton-meters) of energy every 2 seconds. Ten Joules divided by 2 seconds is 5 Joules per second, or 5 Watts. Remember that 1 Watt is equal to 1 joule of energy conversion every second.

As you see, the maximal acceleration we use in the quick lifts helps generate the most power possible. A high rep with high sets with lighter weight protocol is the correct tool for the ballistic exercises and will make you tougher and harder than nails. Hard Style training challenges your will, your body and your mind.

On the other hand, for the slow grind lifts we use maximal tension for max strength, as in our estimation = strength. These are used for maximal strength gains. Low reps with low sets at high frequency will make you very strong. We teach how to gain strength using maximal contraction and with “breathing behind the shield.”

Look for Part III soon!

Sandy Sommer, RKC

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At March 22, 2009 at 7:15 PM , Blogger Bud said...

Another interesting post. What do you consider a high reps workout? 500 swings? What level of weight do you use relative to your max on that? For instance, I did a 360 rep workout today with 16kg in 30 minutes. On Friday, I did a 400 rep workout with 12kg in 24 minutes. It seemed like the Friday workout was too easy, and I should increase weight.

At March 23, 2009 at 4:55 AM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


For slow grind, 10-50 reps is high rep workout in sets of 1-5. For Conditioning, 100-500 in sets of 20 or so. Without seeing you work, I wouldn't say for sure but 12 kg is usually too light for a man.


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