13. Kettlebell Swings and a Corrective
Well hopefully you noticed that last week I forgot to post up a new article and video.
My apologies for that, it was a major brain fart on my part. So, moving onward and upward let’s jump into today’s topic.
Over the years I’ve seen a lot of arguments about various styles of KB training, mainly those who train in GS (Girevoy Sport) and the RKC School of Hardstyle KB training. Now I don’t have any bones in either camp and have nothing to gain from jumping in on heated discussions about this stuff.
Now I know some persons feel that heated debates are a good thing.
The issue is, as soon as someone starts getting loud and more dogmatic in trying to make their point, what happens?
The arms fold across the chest or the fists clench, if not physically, they do mentally.
And once that happens, both parties are only concerned with making their point and trying to get the other party to concede. The discussion goes nowhere but downhill and nothing is learned or shared that is of mutual benefit, because neither person is really listening.
It’s like two people sitting in a canoe facing one another and both paddling toward the other.
It’s just a lot of splashing that makes both people look silly and gets neither party anywhere. No headway is made.
Me, I’m not here to argue.
So why am I even bringing this up?
Well, as with many things, when it comes to the world of eating habits and training methods a lot of people on various forums are burning up the lines with heated arguments. So, thinking about what follows may in a way provide a little food for thought about other issues in the training world.
So let’s see how this goes and look at an example.
When it comes to GS vs Hardstyle, the entire debate comes down to:
“What’s the right tool for the job?”
What is your goal, what is your purpose for training in that style?
You want to compete in GS, well then train in that style.
You want to learn a broader range of skills that are not corralled into a contested sport, well then follow Hardstyle.
Here’s the thing: once a method of training and the movements that are involved becomes a sport, the training now becomes influenced by the rules of the sport.
This forces the training to become more specialized.
It has too; otherwise you could never drill the technique of the contested movements enough to win in a contest. You would train in too broad a concept to be able to develop the technique to win in that sport.
Does GS training have other benefits outside the sport?
Well sure it does.
But the whole idea is to train GS so you can compete in GS.
In order to compete in any specialized sport and contested event you have to make compromises in other areas.
The RKC Hardstyle method of training is more about using the KB as a tool to teach concepts and principles that can be used in other areas. It’s not about developing technique in which to compete in RKC Hardstyle Sport, because there is no such thing.
It’s more about developing skills and strengths in a wider variety of areas that can readily improve performance in a wide range of activities.
For a person looking to develop GPP the RKC Hardstyle method of training is a great fit.
If this is still tough for some to handle, look at it this way:
GS is like learning to race a vehicle on a track. The vehicle is not street legal. It is designed for one thing and that is racing on a track. Each racers car has to fit within certain tight parameters.
This is basically like the GS style of KBs and training. Each weight increase in GS KBs is the exact same physical dimensions. Thus, when you train with a 16kg KB its physical size is the same as a 24 or a 32kg KB.
This helps engrain technique since there is no adjustment in spatial feel (or whatever you want to call it) from one KB to the next other than the feel of a heavier load.
With RKC-style KBs each weight increase also carries a bigger physical dimension. Thus, it will feel a bit different. Try KB cleans with a 12kg KB compared to a 16, 24 or 32kg KB and this is readily apparent.
Because of this, each increase in size of RKC KBs even hits a different area of your forearm and body, for example, when you rack the KB.
Thus, at each weight increase, the body is forced to adapt and broaden out a bit in its skill for that particular movement. Not only must you deal with the added load increase but also with the larger diameter of the KB and the handle size and the length of the KB from top to bottom.
Because a larger KG is also longer it has more leverage against your body as you go up in size.
If someone is looking to develop greater GPP and is looking for a greater skill transfer to other things, RKC Hardstyle is the ticket when it comes to KB training.
Hardstyle KB training and the specific KBs used in that style of training is more like getting your license to drive a truck or car on the streets.
It has far reaching applications because the vehicle can be a work truck, a commuter, grocery getter, family run-about, a weekend amateur race vehicle, etc. The vehicle can be a four cylinder car, a four-wheel drive V-8 powered beast or a tricked out Corvette and everything in between.
There are a lot more unknowns or scenarios to take into consideration along with traffic signals of various sorts.
It involves dealing with traffic coming from different directions, dealing with road hazards like sleet and snow and sand and all sorts of intersections, varying degrees of road surface conditions, hills, curves tossed together, being on the lookout for animals and humans walking across the road, etc.
Learning to drive on the streets often exposes a person to areas unknown and roadways and even conditions that are unfamiliar.
So, GS is like racing where everyone is basically driving the same vehicle going the same direction on a groomed track, which often has been pre-run, whereas Hardstyle is more like driving in everyday life.
We might say, in a general sense, GS is specialist and RKC Hardstyle is anti-specialist.
GS is like James Bond and RKC Hardstyle KBs is like Jason Bourne.
James Bond operates primarily in a set of laws wearing dapper clothing and swilling martinis whereas Jason Bourne operates outside that in a much more chaotic environment, making do with a 4 cylinder beat-up old car wearing a sweater with holes in it.
GS fits within Dan John’s Quadrant 4 with, for example, other things like Olympic Weightlifting, Powerlifting or the 200m in track & field.
Whereas RKC Hardstyle fits in more with training that would be used for developing qualities expressed in Quadrant 1 P.E. class at lower levels and at higher levels in Q2 with things like Rugby or the NFL because the training must prepare one for much more chaotic environments.
So what do you want to prepare for?
Do you want to race on a track or do you want to be prepared to go pretty much anywhere your wheels and engine can take you and deal with whatever is around the next bend?
Training with Hardstyle KBs for a GS race would be detrimental and would hinder progress in GS.
Almost anyone in GS would recognize this fact and agree that the best course of action is if you want to compete in GS use GS style KBs and GS style training techniques.
The whole point of this is what is your goal or purpose in training?
For most people it is not competing in GS.
So if you are confused about this, hopefully it clarifies things a bit. Pick your poison and carry on and disregard those that may try to convince you that GS is the best way to train with KBs.
Well maybe not, maybe Hardstyle is the best way.
Then again, maybe not.
When it comes down to it, diet and training is a highly individual thing. Some people thrive on vegan diets and carbs. Others do not.
Some people need a structured and officially contested sport to train toward, others do not. Some people like structure and others enjoy operating spontaneously in more chaotic environments.
And some people are oblivious or could care less about either, lol.
It’s just the way it is and neither science nor archeology changes that fact.
So, what is your goal, what job are you trying to accomplish?
Remember, your goal does not have to be setting a world record, winning a medal or trying to constantly set personal records in some sport.
What tool (training implement, program, eating habit) best fits what you want to do?
There’s your answer.
For more on this and a great way to correct a squatting swing see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8VIiZRVD9o