Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Reverse Kettlebell WTH Effect

There is a significant number of documented cases of RKC style kettlebell lifters who have experienced large improvements in non-kettlebell strength and endurance feats without explicitly training for them. This cross-0ver phenomenon in the RKC community is known as the "What-the-hell?!!"or the WTH effect for short. Since beginning Olympic lifting eleven months ago, I have since learned that the Olympic lifts are well known for there tremendous impact on strength and power sports such as football and wrestling but never had direct experience of this type of carry-over. In my case, it was RKC kettlebell lifting that provided the necessary base of strength and conditioning to allow me to train the Olympic lifts especially as a 56 year old master lifter.

Well, last Saturday was the first time I had seen the Olympic lifts providing a "WTH" effect in another area and in this case it was kettlebell lifting! Jen Johnson, the 60kg lifter pictured above in a rock bottom position of a 45kg snatch, has been training the lifts for over two years. A biologist by profession, she was an avid soccer player in high school who picked up the lifts several years after college.

As mentioned in a previous post, just as I started lifting at the club I would be in complete awe as she demonstrated beautiful full squat snatch and c&j technique. When I mentioned this to her, she was very modest claiming what I was seeing was a result of year and half struggle to get under the bar quickly. Shortly afterward she broke through a number of lifting plateaus and continues to improve in all her lifts. Just recently she front squatted 71kg, snatched 51kg and c&j 61, all PRs within the last two weeks. We both laughed so hard when I realized only after being at the club for over seven months, that Jen used to baby sit for her brother and my now twenty-eight year old son when they were in elementary school. Oh boy the years fly by!

Well last week Jen asked me about kettlebells and I offered to instruct her in performing the Turkish Getup, or TGU for short, after our session. Within twenty minutes of working through the six steps of the progress, she was handling 25 lb dumbbell (I didn't have a 12kg bell with me at the time) quite easily with either hands for good crisp form as she transitioned between the six positions. To date all of my women clients have taken six months or longer to TGU this weight.

Then last Tuesday, I brought in my 12kg bell for her and 24kg bell for myself to demonstrate and teach her the two-hand swing. Honestly, she was doing them solidly withing a minute with the 12kg bell with powerful hip snap, loose arm and neutral back. However the bell kept flying up too high spinning around her hands. Wishing I had a 20kg bell as I felt it would be better suited for power generation, I went ahead anyway and for grins asked her to try the 24kg bell. Low and behold she began swinging it with excellent form to shoulder height for sets of ten reps. For the record, none of my women clients can handle the 24kg bell for anything more than
Sumo deadlifting it. In all fairness there a quite a few very strong and powerful women RKC kettlebell trainers (Andrea Du Cane, Master RKC, Sarah Cheatham, Senior RKC, Tracy Reifkind,RKC, Gabby Katschthaler, RKC to name a few) that handle the 24kg and heavier bells, but none of them, as I know of, could swing a 24kg so proficiently the first time they learned to swing. Congratulations Jen!

Below is a wrap up of my week of training:

Tuesday Sep 10, 2009

Noon Olympic Lifting Session at Excel Fitness and Sports

Z-Health Neural Warmup Level II Dynamic Joint Mobility

Snatch (kg):
20 x 1 x 5 3Standing, Ak, Bk
30 x 1 x 5 3Standing, Ak, Bk
40 x 1 x 4 3Pos,2Sn 1Sn-NoLift
45 x 1 x 3 3Pos
50 x 1 x 3 1-NoLift
50 x 1 x 2
55 x 1 x 2
60 x 2 x 2
65 x 4 x 1 1-NoLift
65 x 1 x 2
65 x 1 x 2 1-NoLift
65 x 3 x 1
67 x 1 x 1
70 x 2 x 1 2-NoLift
72 x 2 x 1 2-NoLift
72 x 1 x 1 PR

Snatch Balance (kg):
20 x 1 x 5
30 x 1 x 5
40 x 3 x 3

Front Squat (kg):
85 x 6 x 3

A very good snatch session with a double squat snatch with 65kg. After a very smooth 67kg, Coach Fuller recommended going up. I missed 70kg twice and then was asked to jump to 72kg. Again missed it twice getting under it the 2nd rep but unable to stand with it. After being told I could have made it if I was just a little more confident, I went one more time and caught parallel to the ground a little off balance and somehow saved the lift for a new PR.

Thursday Sep 10, 2009

Evening Olympic Lifting Session at Excel Fitness and Sports

Z-Health Neural Warmup Level II Dynamic Joint Mobility

Snatch (kg):

Front Squat (kg):
60 x 1 x 6
70 x 1 x 5
80 x 1 x 3
90 x 6 x 3

Snatch (kg):
40 x 1 x 3 2Ak, sn
40 x 1 x 3 3Pos
50 x 1 x 3 3Pos
60 x 2 x 2
60 x 1 x 1 NoLift

Snatch Pulls (kg):
70 x 2 x 3
80 x 3 x 3

C&J (kg):
40 x 1 x 3
60 x 1 x 3
70 x 2 x 2
80 x 1 x 2 1Jerk-NoLift
85 x 1 x 1

This is the first time I've ever front squatted first. Coach Fuller has suggested I do this once a week to mix things up. They did tire my legs but I was still pleased with a quality session.

Saturday Sep 12, 2009

Noon Olympic Lifting Session at Excel Fitness and Sports

Z-Health Neural Warmup Level II Dynamic Joint Mobility

Snatch (kg):
20 x 2 x 5 3Standing, Ak, Bk
40 x 1 x 3 3Pos
40 x 1 x 5 3Pos, 2Sn 1Sn-NoLift
50 x 1 x 3 3Pos
55 x 1 x 3 2-NoLift
50 x 1 x 1 , 55 x 1 x 2
60 x 2 x 2
64 x 1 x 2 1-NoLift
64 x 1 x 2 2-NoLift
64 x 1 x 2

Clean and Jerk (kg):
40 x 1 x 2
50 x 1 x 2
60 x 1 x 2
70 x 1 x 2
80 x 1 x 1 Clean only

Back Squat (kg):
50 x 1 x 5
70 x 1 x 3
90 x 1 x 2
100 x 1 x 2
105 x 1 x 2
108 x 5 x 2 PR (90%1RM)

24kg Kettlebell Finisher AMT Complex:
A1. 20 Swings
A2. TGU Left
A3. TGU Right
Total: 5 super sets

Heavy front squats on Tues and Thurs took their toll and I struggled. I took immense focus to complete the back squat portion of the session with a five sets of doubles with 108kg. After resting a bit, I really worked up a good sweat with five supersets of 24kg kettlebell swings and TGUs.


Howie Brewer said...

Nice work with Jen, Franklin! Just goes to show, solid fundamental training, regardless of sport, goes a long way in teaching us how to move our bodies, and other bodies, through space.

Franklin said...

Hi Howie,

Thanks! Jen is quite an inspiration with her positive approach to lifting and great work ethic. I'm sure she would probably be a decent GS athlete as well if she chose that direction.