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Derek Simonds 09-27-2007 10:06 AM

Long Cycle Progression
I found this article on Long Cycle Progression. I have wanted to add some Long Cycle workouts once or twice a week and I thought this was a good overview. Any thoughts or suggestions?


The part I copied starts half way down the page.


The Kettlebell Protocol Progression: One-arm 24kg Long Cycle

If you don’t have any other conditioning, then you can try out this approach because of its efficiency, economy and built-in recovery time. This was designed by myself and my two kettlebell coaches: Eric Liford, publisher of the American Kettlebell Club and Valery Fedorenko, the “Michael Jordan” of kettlebell lifting – world champion, record holder and national coach. The progression is sequential: meaning that as soon as you lock down one score, you can move to the next one on your next training day, and keep progressing until you can’t complete the step. Stay with the incomplete step until you can complete it (takes about 2-3X to make a progression when you hit one, it seemed like to me and my guys, but I didn’t isolate out any of our recovery methods.)

Eric suggested that it was possible to train every day, but I think that suggestion came from the orientation of being a professional kettlebell lifter, rather than from being a fighter for which he suggested that we need to tailor it to meet our ability to recovery for rolling. S&C being supplemental only for fighters. So, here’s the progression:

* Start at one arm Long Cycle non-stop for 3 minutes with hand switches every 5 reps. Find your base RPM (usually around 8 reps when just beginning this sort of training.) Pace is important for progression so once you find your RPM stick with it.
* When you can keep the same RPM for 3 minutes. Add one minute.
* Here’s where things pick up for awhile and you adapt to the technique. It looks like you develop fast, but I believe it’s just your technique catching up to your conditioning as a fighter.
* Keep adding one minute each session as long as you can keep the same RPM until you can get to 10 minutes.
* At 10 minutes, drop down to 6 minutes, and add one RPM. Repeat the above: add one minute per session until you get to 10 minutes.
* At 10 minutes, drop down to 6 minutes and add another RPM. Repeat the above until you’re at 12RPMs for 10 minutes.
* Then, drop down to 6 minutes and 8RPMs (or whatever your base pace was), then perform one hand switch every 10 reps rather than one switch every 5 reps. Work back up to 12RPMs for 10 minutes.
* Here’s where Eric suggested we move up in total duration, so we kept adding one minute per session as long as we could complete 12RPMs. And we worked up to 20 minutes.
* Then, we dropped back down to 6 minutes and only performed one hand switch for 5 minutes, and then 5 minutes on the other hand - finding our base RPM.
* We kept adding one RPM per session until we were up to 10RPMs for 20 minutes.
* Now, that wasn’t constant. We did a lot of jumping around. And that was back when we were adding the 32kgs into the mix for over-compensation/over-loading. But it worked me up to 100 reps in 10 minutes of 1-arm Long Cycle with the 32kgs and one hand switch. However, the 32kgs beat us up too much and we were getting slow and hurt, so we dropped down to the 24kgs again, and within two weeks we were back on velocity with no aches and pains.

Maybe it sounds complicated, but it’s really pretty simple, and there’s a lot of flexibility to it. Coach Fedorenko told me that there’s no rule to this, only tinkering with how we’re feeling that day… but to train as much as possible for only 10-20 minutes. Freaks like Marty Farrell did that several times a day, most days of the week. That would kill us because of how much we grapple, but I respect it, for sho.

Hope it helps. It did wonders for our guys.

Scott Sonnon , Distinguished Master of Sports

Scott Sonnon LIVE Blog:Ultimate Fighter Conditioning for the Cage

RMAX International, Chief Operating Officer

James Evans 10-02-2007 11:38 AM

That's quite interesting regarding the pacing involved in long cycle. I realise 8 RPM is a starting point but from those of us coming from a more balls to the wall approach that is pretty slow.

For example, in a tabata session last night I did push presses, swings, snatches and finally squats with a weighted vest. I switched arms for each snatch interval and was consistent with 9 snatches per arm per interval. When I've done this before I've average 9 left, 8 right, so about the same really.

So that's 9 snatches in 20 seconds, accepting a hand change every 5 reps, that's way faster, obviously than what we are talking about here.

But I'm not going to be continuing at that rate for 10 minutes. Just as I'm not going to sprint sub 12 seconds for 1500 metres. However, that's still 72 snatches in 4 mins. Note this is with the 16kg so it would be another matter with some serious weight.

Something I did last week was quite interesting:

Swing (two hand)
Snatch right
Snatch left
1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps

which became about 20 minutes of blasphemy. 100 swings, 200 hundred snatches and I really wasn't in a position to blast it. It really seemed to focus the mind though.

But is long cycle training worth it if you aren't competing? Just curious as to what you think.

Catherine Imes 10-02-2007 03:19 PM

Actually 8 rpm is a moderate pace in the LCC&J. 13-15rpm is very fast assuming you're getting clean lockouts. At the last AKC cert, I did a minute test to see how many clean reps I could do with 2 - 16kg bells..14 is what I got. The guys that witnessed it (Eric L mentioned in Scott's program) said it didn't look like I could go any faster.

It all depends on your goals. If you have a goal of getting clean lockouts on the snatches, then 30-32rpm is about as fast as you are going to go. That's fixing the weight overhead.

8rpm is a decent starting pace. I've done a 30 min set switching hands every 5 min (not setting down the bell) with a 16kg @ 8rpm. It was a moderate intensity effort....

The progression is sound if you want a very minimalistic conditioning routine.

The other cool thing about LCC&J is that it will not tear up your hands like snatches can (especially if you are going fast).


James Evans 10-02-2007 03:31 PM

I appreciated that 8rpm was a starting point for a progression to something more ballsy. Would you say that 10-12 would be a good (and steady) average Catherine?

Oddly I find C&J punishes my shoulders and upper back in a way that snatches don't. I sometimes do 50s (25 right, 25 left, no putting the bell down) and though the conditioning is there the body doesn't enjoy it.

PS I misunderstood in the first place and assumed we were talking snatches not C&J so my comments earlier are all out of context anyway.

Catherine Imes 10-02-2007 04:00 PM

Yeah, I just said 8 was moderate because with 2 bells, I've done 57 in 10 during a comp.Which is pretty slow (5rpm..speeding a little in the last min).. World Class competitors clock in at about 8 or 9rpm with 2-32kg bells.

Yep...10-12 is a good pace for conditioning in my opinion with one bell or 2 light ones. Especially if you switch hands. I think the slower pace may be necessary if you minimize the handswitches.

I haven't had any issues with it. Do you think there is something in your clean technique or Jerk technique that may need addressing? I don't feel it in those places (doesn't mean much i know). Just curious. Honestly, even though I'm a good snatcher :) If I had to pick one exercise it would be the LCC&J with a 24kg.

Derek Simonds 10-03-2007 06:52 AM

Great discussion.

I am adding this as a finisher to my normal workout. I totally agree that LCC&J are easier on your hands. I have done tabata snatches several times and each time I have torn up my hands pretty good.

Not being great at KB C&J I found 8 RPM to be very doable as I have started working through this progression.

James Evans 10-03-2007 07:03 AM

Nice bit of innuendo there Catherine. I think the issue with my C&Js is less technique more being fairly bashed up from rugby in the past and spending 6 years sat at a pc while the legal profession sucked out my will to live. I went on an afternoon's course organised by Andrew Stemler of CrossFit London a while back and I was quite please to discover I was doing things correctly.

Derek, you should have a stab at that 30 minute set Catherine mentioned. That really would be a finisher.

Catherine Imes 10-03-2007 07:50 AM

Oh Yes, I'm sure Rugby would do it. I only played one year; not long enough to get really beat up...I only ask about technique because I've seen people dropping the bells out of the rack in a funny way that Jerks them down. But, most of these people can't snatch well either...


Derek Simonds 10-03-2007 09:23 AM


Originally Posted by James Evans (Post 20606)
Derek, you should have a stab at that 30 minute set Catherine mentioned. That really would be a finisher.

Uh I meant it as a finisher to my individual workout not my life!

Jason C. Brown 11-16-2007 05:05 PM

I do all my C & Js from the floor. I just tested this today and can get 14 per minute for 10 minutes. 20 minutes might kill me. I'd like to get 280 in 6 weeks though.

I'll keep ya'll posted.

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