Who does not love a new PR or PB (Personal Record or Best)?
How often do you set one? You progress fast in the beginning, then gains come at a slower rate, and some people are tempted to give up when they stop setting PR or feeling progress. I want to share my thoughts about ways to keep up the motivation by setting more frequent PRs.
We train to elicit a response and adaptation. Put simply, we train to become stronger and fitter, and by the same token, set new PRs. To achieve this, we need to keep lifting more challenging loads over time. Many people have heard of the Progressive Overload Principle. In practical terms, progressive overload is variation of 3 training parameters.
In Kettlebell Sport we have:
- The weight of the kettlebells
- The total amount of Reps, or the volume lifted for an exercise (kg*reps*sets)
- The pace: the tempo at which you lift in a set (RPM or reps per min) and its cousin, density, or how long it took to do all sets
All 3 parameters (and combinations) are important to help you progress. In short, you can lift heavier, lift more times or lift faster and this will reflect new gained strength, power endurance or endurance/ work capacity.
In GS, most people only talk about their 10 min sets PR. I think it has limitations, because it might be a while before you top up that PR, by either doing more reps in a 10 min set or with the next size kettlebell. I think 10 min sets should just be referred as competition PR (which can be sub-classified in actual competition or training setting).
What about setting PR in other time frames? 1 min, 3 min, 5 min, 7 min, 12min, 15 min? Suddenly you have a lot more ways to set a PR and challenge the body, therefore bringing new stimulus and help overall progress.
I also think PRs should be kept within the context of a training cycle or year
My PR last year ended up being 66 reps in 10 min Long Cycle with 2*24kg. Now that I have had a 2 month break and started training again, a 3min set with 2*24kg this year is a new PR. 1min with 2*28kg is another PR. You get the idea. Progress across different size kettlebells is valuable and will help further PRs with the competition weight.
Of course the plan is to beat last year’s PRs, but any gain, no matter how small is a PR in my mind. Going back to the 3 points I described above you have at least 4 types of PR: competition/ training 10min set, weight, volume, density.
It can just be a volume PR, be it 1 long set or over several sets. For example, last year, my top PRs with LC 2*20kg were 94 reps in 10 min (9,5rpm), and 96 reps in 12min (8rpm). One PR may be seem more relevant to competition but the other PR (regardless how insignificant) is still important to my overall development as a lifter!
How about 10*1min sets @12rpm with 1min rest? That’s a PR of 120 reps LC 2*20kg in 20min. Here I have a volume PR and a density PR because my original volume PR of 120 reps was done with 1min work/ 2min rest, and took 30 min, if it makes any sense…
Looking at things in a different way sometimes might help chase that feeling of having reached a plateau and give you the motivation needed to keep going :-)
All the best!