A staple in the arsenal of every kettlebell sport coach is the “slow long cycle” or “slow jerks”. In this article we are going to talk about some keys to this movement and why we program these.
Let’s talk about the why first.
- We do slow movements to simulate time under tension and to strengthen the positions without do high reps. I like to tell my athletes “if you can’t do a 10:00 set slowly, you can’t do it quickly.”
- We also do these slow holds to expose mobility issues and muscular weaknesses. If you can’t get your elbows into rack position, this is a problem. If you can’t hold second dip, this is a problem. And if you can’t hold overhead, this is a big problem. You need to be able to hold all of these positions.
- These slow holds will also expose technique issues, such as having a double bounce going into first dip, as well as the ability to explode from first dip to the catch in second dip.
- Lastly, a big key to why we do these movements is to learn to relax as much as possible in rack and in overhead lockout.
Now let’s talk about the how, here are some keys to performing slow long cycle (or jerks).
- Slow long cycle is usually programmed with three swings, but can be programmed any number of swings, this is where the movement starts, with the swing.
- After your given number of swings, it is one clean, and then a given number of holds in each position.
- The holds in each position are counted by breaths.
- The positions we are holding are: rack, first dip, second dip, and overhead lockout. You can also program extra holds in one position if the athlete needs more work in that position.
- On slow jerks, we just remove the swings and the clean.
- Another key goes back to relaxing, while in rack we want to try and be as relaxed as possible, as well as when we are in overhead lockout we want the quads and the triceps to relax, we want to expend little to no energy while in these two positions, letting your bones holds the weight and not using any muscle to hold the bells, muscle is used to move the bells not to hold them.
Check out this short video going over all of this along with some extra pieces of information…