Kettlebells for Cardio and a Dr. Schwartz Flashback

Valery Fedorenko doing Kettlebell snatch

Suppversity, that great blog that reviews sports related research, has a great short entry today on Kettlebells and Cardio… it’s near the bottom of the article… another subject is discussed at length first.

Here’s the bottom line:

Two similar groups of athletes were given 20 minute workouts designed to improve their “cardio”… either kettlebell snatches done in interval fashion (15 seconds on and 15 seconds rest and presumably changing hands!) or “circuit weight training”, each doing the workout¬†three days per week.

ONLY the kettlebell group showed an increase in “VO2Max” (the measure used to show improved ability to process oxygen as proxy for “endurance”)! Their improved by 6%!

Why the difference?

Dr. Schwartz said years ago that “circuit weight training” was only effective at raising blood pressure. He believed it did NOT actually boost endurance at all! Depending on circuit design, the transition from one isolated muscle group to the next did not meet his requirements for “panaerobic” exercise. Relatively few muscles were involved in many parts of the circuit. Too few to produce improved endurance, though heart rates were increased.

The Kettlebell snatch, on the other hand, meets Dr. Schwartz’ requirement for “panaerobics” because large sets of muscle are used throughout the exercise from neck to toe.

Dr. Schwartz, and Heavyhanders who’ve studied him, would not be surprised at the results.

4 thoughts on “Kettlebells for Cardio and a Dr. Schwartz Flashback”

  1. While not within everyone’s ability, I believe burpees (for the same time duration and the version with a pushup and a jump at the end of each rep) may actually surpass the KB snatch routine and a traditional heavyhands for improving cardiovascular conditioning.

  2. If you check Suppversity’s archives there is actually some research on burpees but not in comparison to KB but “Battling Ropes” and other things and burpees came in second to the ropes.

    So they’re great for endurance and variety if someone can do them!

  3. Not exactly a kettlebells related question, but here goes. I was watching Leonard Schwartz’s Panaerobics video and saw he was working out with Judy Chasek and Tom Auble. Has anybody thought to touch base with Tom Auble to see if he and Dr. Schwartz were doing any kind of collaborative research in the areas Dr. Schwartz was giving a lot of thought to toward the end of his life? I’d be willing to bet Dr. Auble has a lot to share about what he and Dr. Schwartz talked about related to fitness, and perhaps what fitness matters Dr. Auble has been looking into since the passing of Dr. Schwartz. I’m sure Dr. Auble couldn’t help but be influenced and inspired by Dr. Schwartz.

    1. Tom Auble recently passed away. Not sure what happened to his research. There are archives with Dr Schwartz’ papers but they change 50 cents per page to photocopy.

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