Common Questions

In regards to Dr. Phil Maffetone’s method, would the addition of Strength work to his aerobic base protocols hamper the MAF benefits due to its anaerobic nature?

Short answer, no. His main thesis is solid. I think his idea that weight training is anaerobic and detrimental to aerobic development comes from bias and fear not science. Done right you develop no acidity so it is alacticThink 10-second sprints.In the weight room this means two-rep sets but many of them, like 10×2 with a lot of rest.

Additionally, during an aerobic build phase you aren’t trying to get stronger just to maintain what you have. I’d choose FS or BKSQ and heavy, closer to 90% as well as DLs but closer to 80% because the risk with that lift is higher due to axial load. You can add some explosive jumping too. Maybe 10×1 broad jump for max distance if your knees can take the landing. Vertical jump if they can’t. .

Also, I believe one of your two strength lifts in this aerobic build period should be explosive. Clean is good, as it has similar benefits to the SQ but trains the explosive neurology, which is the way you most often express strength so it is important. Jerk is good too. Maybe do a split and alternate weeks:

Week A: day 1 DL, day 2 Jerk

Week B: day 1 Clean, day 2 SQ

Because contraction time is so short, and loads are generally lighter, which can mean less destructive, less risk, the explosive work supports endurance training really well.

Note: I will be writing more on this topic in the near future.

In regards to shoulder rotation, have you found that, from swings and cleans, there to be too much work done with the shoulder internally rotated? 

Not particularly.  There is no internal rotation (IR) in the swing (the palms should face the deck); in the clean you get into IR on the eccentric—while performing an active external rotation (ER)on the concentric, strengthening the external rotators.  In fact, several years ago one of Pavel’s coaches was working for a European swim team and successfully used double kettlebell cleans to rebalanced swimmers’ shoulders.

As an extension to the former question, To even out the internal/external rotation, I suppose the press could be the answer, however does this mean to externally rotate the shoulder you would finish the press with your thumb pointed back?

There is plenty of ER in the kettlebell press as is.  I do not recommend exaggerating it with the thumb back in the press as you are bound to develop a weird groove (OK in the get-up though).  

In summary, there is always risk, but nothing too inherently harmful to a healthy shoulder in kettlebell swings or cleans when technique is good and the load is proper. Pressing overhead will always have some inherent risks however in many cases kettlebell exercises promote good shoulder health; I know of countless success stories.

But every individual case is unique.  I suggest that you see an SFMA certified physician and then get your technique checked by and good certified strength coach.

4 comments on “Common QuestionsAdd yours →

  1. I have found in my own training and training with others, that when the focus of the participant is distracted from the movement, form falls apart. The body returns to what it knows and is comfortable with, weather it is right or wrong. If proper form and technique was not taught or learned, then the result is usually to the later. When form is lost efficiency is reduced. Be mindful of the movements performed and be willing to reduce weight to maintain proper form.

    What particular techniques do you use personally to help make sure your form is on point and what are signs that you look for to know that form is broken and either weight needs to be reduced or effort slowed?

    1. To address the former part of your post I believe “stay in the moment” is a proper cliche that applies. “Reducing weight to maintain proper form” is certainly the more intelligent approach; however, as long as no injuries exist, sometimes really stacking some weight on the bar, to the point of making the individual nervous, hones in their focus like nothing else.

      In regards to signs and techniques, that is very specific to the movement pattern the individual is attempting to perform. There are also certain progressions which should be respected, i.e. if you cant DL properly without pain then there you probably shouldn’t be doing KB swings.

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