BJJ, Kettlebells, Aging & Recovery: Are you increasing your training volume too fast too soon? 5% is a sweet number.

BJJ / Grappling / MMA and Kettlebells go together nicely. One of my favourite exercises with KB is the swing, where I am currently swinging for reps of 20, active-resting 1 minute between cycles of swings.

I have been doing this twice a week, in-between, after or just before grappling / BJJ workouts, for a few weeks* and I am getting to feel comfortable with the pace and the workload and thought to myself it was time to up it a little so recently I increased to 25 reps, keeping the active rest period to 1 minute and as they say in research terms: all other factors remaining equal.

The good news: I got training soreness in my hamstrings and adductors (the muscles on the inside of your thighs) so my form must have been good as these are the right target muscles.

The bad news: I got tons of training soreness in my hamstrings and adductors!

Getting out of bed was a pain. A disproportional pain, I thought, compared to a simple increase of 5 reps. After all, what’s 5 reps?!

That’s when it hit me. I had increased my training load by 25% (5 is 25% of 20).

I had upped my workout volume by a quarter. No wonder my thighs were sore!

Next time I do swings I will bring the reps down to 21, which translates to a more manageable 5% increase.

Take the time now to review your training, or even better your other life components such as work, hobbies or expenses. Are you taking on too much in one go? Are you blinded by the numbers? Picking up 10lb on your existing 180lb body frame is more than 5% increase. Are your joints and ligaments 5% stronger to handle this load? That’s just a simple example to get you started.

*keep in mind that I can be lazy and miss a week here or there :)

Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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KB said...

How much weight are you using, and how many cycles do you go through?

Liam H Wandi said...

Hi KB. Thanks for reading and for the comment.I'm using a 16 and doing 4-5 cycles

boks said...

Hi Liam:

More on the 5% increase, how would you (specifically for your KB swings) know if you would need to add another 5% increase?

I hope to use your answer as a gauge on how I should feel when its the right time to up the ante by a little.

Liam H Wandi said...

Hi boks,

thanks for your comment and for reading. My focus is "recovery" and yours may be different. I up the ante and see how my body reacts by the time of the next session. I manipulate nutrition, rest...etc to achieve better recovery and when happy I raise it again :)