Kettle Bell swings - who knew ??

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by edd, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. edd

    edd New Member

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    I had a bad back issue eight years ago - back would give out after a an hour or so on the bike, depending on how hard I pushed it. Anyway, had it sorted, glute meads were not strong enough or more specifically had no endurance. I worked on my glute meads and it all sorted it self out over time - About a year ago, I started doing kettle bell swings as a variation of glute mead/core exercises and found this to be an improvement of previous routines - I also noted that it had some positive effects on my cycling performance.

    I'll post the routine later in the thread, for now I wanted to talk about the bottom bit of the pedal stroke, when you have the least mechanical advantage on the crank. Well that last couple of inches of movement is impacted by standard two handed kettle bell swings (if you don't know what kettle bell swings are, Google youtube - kettle bell Dan John).

    Now I'm not sure if Rick is still monitoring ? Some years back there was a phone book thick thread on the weight training and how it doesn't help endurance cyclists, some just weren't gong to accept evidence and preferred blind faith.
     
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  2. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery New Member

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    Hello. I'm glad you found an exercise that provided remedial relief to your physical condition and an (alleged) improvement to your cycling performance.

    Do you have quantified evidence that the kettle bell exercises improved your cycling performance over and above simply strengthening your weak back such that you were able to ride again absent the initial "back issue"? From the tenor of your post, it appears the "work" (you didn't state the type or kind of "work" you performed) on your "glute meads" facilitated your recovery as you stated "it all sorted it self out over time". It would appear, again according to your post, that you possess "faith" (not going to call it "blind") the kettle bell exercises increased your cycling performance, but you never really quantified your cycling performance prior to your "back issue" other than to give the inference that you could ride for more than "an hour or so" absent the "issue" (weakness in your glute meads). Ergo, you did not provide a healthy cycling performance starting point ('before') to contrast against ('after').

    You believe the kettle bells were effectual to improving your cycling performance. That's all well and good, I suppose, but to convince others though you will need to present quantified evidence of your claim. I will state that I do not believe weight training, as a substitute for actual bike riding, will improve overall cycling performance unless, as in your case, you are rehab-ing a prior muscloskeletal injury/deficiency. And I make this statement from personal experience as well.
     
  3. edd

    edd New Member

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    The weak back got remedied quite a while ago, has been good for the last six years, took three years to get it right.

    The kettle bell swings were a change up on core maintenance exercises.

    No I didn't state what sort of exercises (kettle bell swings) I was/am doing. I will get to that. Strength work and endurance work are quite different.

    The improved cycling performance is something I noticed over the the year I have been doing them. I'm not out to convince anyone of anything, simply hoping to provoke a discussion. AND you are right, if I had a weakness/strength(or endurance) imbalance then working on it may help me but not anyone else.

    I don't train with a power meter and I don't race so evidence would be hard to procure even if I was intent on gathering it.

    I do other training, micro intervals once a week (Veronique Billat) and also started doing very short (4 x 20sec) absolute maximum effort sprint training once a week (on a different day) - it would be hard to determine what aspect of training was producing the improvement. There is also the placebo effect of doing something new - you get a lift in enthusiasm.

    There is just this mechanical shortening of the lever thing that happens at the crank at the bottom of the pedal stroke and the mechanical lever thing that happens in kettle bell swings that is very interesting on a biomechanical level.
     
  4. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery New Member

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    This was the section of your initial post that motivated me to respond as it read in a manner that you believed weight training was beneficial to cycling performance and those who didn't were ignoring the "evidence" and "blind" to the facts presented. It appeared you were presenting anecdotal "evidence" initially, but perhaps I was mistaken in your intent.
     
  5. leanman

    leanman Member

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    tony if i remember correctly, you played in the nfl.. so out of a billion people playing football, you were one of the very few that was good enough to make it.. very very impressive..i imagine you played little league football, high school football, college football and then made the pros.. awsome. and i imagine all sorts of weight training was involved.. squats from your highschool to college and to pro days. a dozen years of hard leg training.. do you feel like the super strong legs you have from squats and all other leg work do anything for your current cycling? if the case is all strong people that do years of leg work and get strong, once given a little endurance work along with the years of weights will be an animal in cycling. whats your opinion on this.. i have bodybuilding friends that were pretty good, winning state and regional contests, and 1 former friend that played 2 years in the nfl. both took up cycling and were averge at best. cat 4's..thats after a few years of riding.. seems to me all the heavy squats the two did over a lot of years did nothing at all for their cycling performance..how do you feel about your progress from an nfl guy to a cyclist. all the squats help your cycling?i say it dosent help. i know 2 guys that it didnt help. you may be the 3rd.even at the level i race at, in training these two guys were off the back a all the time..., but were animals in their previous sport..one guy, the bodybuilder was awsome at going from 5 mph and then in the 53x12 go 20 seconds all out. he beat us all, all the time. which is what i heard. squats and leg work are great for starts, and thats all..
    thanks
     
  6. edd

    edd New Member

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    No, quite the opposite, not suggesting strength training will improve endurance performance, as hard as Rick tried back in 2003 this was a hard one to put to bed. However I'm, like a lot of cyclists, not just a cyclist. I have too much upper body muscle mass and hence body mass to be a serious competitive cyclist, I'm also 64 so there's that whole recovery and age thing to juggle. I have forty years experience in strength and conditioning (professionally) and have been on the bike for a similar period. In the last ten years the bike is pretty musch all of my endurance and aerobic conditioning activity.

    I'm motivative to discuss this by the "what if", "the why not" and the idea of exploring something new.
     
  7. edd

    edd New Member

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    Never played football after the age of 14, I am 64 now - Squats won't help a road cyclist, good for a track cyclist. the 2003 thread took 50 + pages to say that.

    Squats can also be dangerous - the whole biomechanics of the squat is very different to kettle bell swings.

    You can build endurance with swings ( 20 minutes +) hamstrings, glutes, lower back. There's this kinetic chain thing.
     
  8. edd

    edd New Member

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    Sorry leanman - you were referring to tony, guess he played football !
     
  9. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery New Member

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    Thanks for the complimentary acknowledgement.

    However, the 'nature vs. nurture' position you're attempting to make concerning NFL players just isn't accurate. ALL NFL players were/are bigger, faster, and stronger than 95% of the general population - practically out of the womb. So, in that respect, I'd strongly suggest NFL players are born - not made (in the weightroom or elsewhere). Even before I ever touched a weight with the intent of doing any kind of training to increase my strength, I was already strong with big, well-defined muscles. Okay, that being said, I'm not the best example for your contention. I'd also strongly suggest that I'd be an awesome (IMO) cyclist BUT FOR the time I've spent in the weightroom increasing the size (and more detrimentally - the weight) of my already larger than average musculature. These muscles have been a significant hindrance, and if you want to take some off me, they can had for a VERY reasonable price. LOL! Actually, I'll GIVE them away./img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    The squats, deadlifts, and power cleans over the years have increased my strength - yes, but I really don't need all this EXTRA strength for cycling. Most of this extemporaneous muscle is just baggage slowing me down - up hills or accelerating. As I'm predominantly Type II fast-twitch, explosive, anaerobic muscle, this type of extra muscle is of absolutely no use/benefit in the predominantly aerobic, slow-twitch, Type I muscle world of endurance cycling. Even if I was Type I, there is definitely such thing as having 'too much muscle'. To this point, there are a number of contributors on this site in my same situation that wish we could catch a short-term case of cancer (just being facetious here, of course) in order to drop a few pounds of muscle. I will speculate the percentage to be very high of those who have built lots of leg muscle in other activities or the weightroom, would much rather not have that same muscle after getting serious in the cycling arena - regardless of having a decent sprint.

    If I had it to do all over again and was specifically a cyclist, I'd do ALL my 'weightlifting' on the bike (explosive, very short duration, low cadence work) which has much more efficacy, than in the weightroom where the benefit transfer is tenuous - at best.
     
  10. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Breaking form is dangerous - to any exercise - including kettlebell swings. How many housewives (people in general - sorry all you housewives out there) do you think are out there doing these with a rounded back?

    In early base I do trap bar deadlifts off of 1" plates. Low reps 5-6. I can focus on form keeping back locked in, etc. Used to do squats ass to floor (well at least below parallel) , box squats etc. - quit squats because negative portion of lifts would make hamstrings sore (lowering into bottom of lift - at least sore enough to take away from cycling). Never hurt lifting

    I would be more worried with KB swings - breaking form after 15m due to fatigue, boredom- rounding back, etc.

    What kind of weight can you swing for 20m? I used to do KB swings - low reps (5 or so I think) w/explosive movement - snapping hips forward

    Maybe getting off topic...

    Article by Dr. Stephen Cheung, Ph.D., he was co-author with Hunter Allen on recent book "Cutting Edge Cycling".

    In this article - regarding lifting - he talks about benefit of "Explosive type resistance training, stressing rapid movement of relatively light weights, seem to have the greatest benefit."

    I would think this is "plyo" type work - light weight (60% of max w/ couple of reps - I would not want to think you want to lose bar speed)

    Then he talks about specificity and cyclists 'sprinting ' year round - interesting read.

    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=4456
     
  11. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    Not to derail the debate, but I have lower back issues that I suspect are tied to roughly the same thing. It does not really affect me on the bike (in fact biking makes them feel better in the long run) other than having issues when I get out of the saddle, but I'm very interested in the workout you said you were going to post as a method of strengthing the glute meads.
     
  12. edd

    edd New Member

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    How do you do KB with a round back ???? If some one has chronic kyphosis it may be possible ?

    Back issues can be varied and complex, my issues was fatiguing glute meads, yours could be something eles go see several sports physio, get opinions.

    That said, you (meaning bod on a bike) are not just legs, brain and hands to hold the brake levers. Over time, atrophy will effect the muscles that are not used/trained.

    It may not be an issue for cycling coaches who are working with 18 to 30 age group. The rest of us need to consider training the rest of the body, specifically the core muscles.

    So what are we going to do ?
     
  13. edd

    edd New Member

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    There are dozens of exercises to strengthen and build endurance in the glute meads, do a Google search, better still go see a conditioning coach.
     
  14. tonyzackery

    tonyzackery New Member

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    ??? You said you were going to post the routine - now someone requests it and you go tell them to do a search? What's that all about?
    You start a thread singing the praises of using kettlebells (dumbbells, same difference), and then you state you aren't advocating weight training. I'm detecting a contradiction or two somewhere...
    Are you bored and just want to stir the pot on an already tired topic?
     
  15. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

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    I personally use kettle bell swings as a warmup before doing strength exercises like deadlifts, power cleans, squats, and overhead presses. I swing small ones for a few minutes such that it is mostly an aerobic exercise. Even with heavier weights, I don't see how kettle bell swings could be very good as a strength exercise; maybe a power exercise.
     
  16. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

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    True, and I already have, but I'd like to know the one you found so effective. And you did say you would.
     
  17. scottz123

    scottz123 New Member

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    Any KB swing 'how to' seems to start with 'do not round back'. I would bet most people have bad form without proper coaching - someone monitoring their form.

    People are intimidated by putting a heavy bar on their back and squatting - and rightfully so, without proper coaching - so they just plain don't do it and say it is dangerous. But anybody can think they can pick up a KB and start 'swinging'

    Rounded back
    http://woldfitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/jillian-michaels-with-horrible-kettlebell-swing.jpg

    Versus
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBWhlUUp6f8
     
  18. edd

    edd New Member

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    No … ( to the last question)

    I am not advocating weight training and your statement that kettle bells / dumbbells are the same is incorrect.

    I am not trying to discourage weight (resistance) training it either, as long as the person training is not misguided on what the benefits are.

    I stated quite clearly that squats (weight training) will not help an endurance cyclist, but will help a short distance track cyclist (old news)

    I'm certainly not going to recommend a training regime to someone with a back issue. That would be irresponsible.

    All training is weight training to some degree, Doing hill repeats on your bike is imposing a load (weight) on the body (legs) for an extended period of time.

    I will post my kettle bell routine, when I get a response to my comment in my first post.

    If you think I'm trying to provoke - yeah you are right. I'm trying to provoke a discussion.

    On what …

    … I wanted to talk about the bottom bit of the pedal stroke, when you have the least mechanical advantage on the crank. Well that last couple of inches of movement is impacted by standard two handed kettle bell swings.
     
  19. edd

    edd New Member

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    Kettle bell swings are traditionally done to improve explosive power - I'm exploring building core strength and endurance.

    I do three swings, I started with a light weight 12kg and built some strength over a 12 week period and then started introducing some endurance routines. I now swing 20kg for reverse wood chop move and side swings (glute meads) 24kg and 28kg for standard two handed forward swing.

    One handed standard swings are okay for endurance routines but are too much for the shoulders for strength work. I am going to stop strength work in July and move to extending my endurance routines with the 12kg and 16kg bells.

    Kettle bells should not be swung above the shoulder, All the force should be generated at the hip.


    Reverse Wood Chop:

    I start at the left side, holding the KB with both hands at hip level - I swing it to shoulder height in front of me with a twisting action with very little to no leg bending movement - lowering the KB to my right side and bring the KB to stop and reversing the movement. (if you intend to try these start very light 4kg to 8kg)

    My strength work is 20 reps with 16kg an then 10 reps with 20kg. Endurance work is with 12kg, starting with two minutes - not sure what I may build to.


    Side Swings :

    I start with the KB in right hand hanging in front of me - swing it to the side - right shoulder height with a side hip movement - let it return behind me and repeat - let return in front etc. Same weight and reps as previous swing.

    The two swings above are mine, I haven't seen anyone else do these, though it is not rocket science so others may.


    Two handed traditional swing is well practice by lots of people.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aMCIzIVmzc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVEReOq5Jgs

    Dan Johns is well respected but I'm not sure I can pull a 28kg down and effectively engage my lats
     
  20. edd

    edd New Member

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    it all comes down to posture awareness and proprioception - some people just don't have any.
     
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