For lack of a better way to describe what I’m talking about I’ve gone with “free repping” and “planned repping.” I will explain the difference between the two terms with an example of a 5-minute Snatch Test. Anyone familiar with kettlebells will know that a 5-minute snatch test involves getting as many snatch reps in 5 minutes as possible. Pretty simple goal.
How you get to whatever number you end up with at the end of 5 minutes is another story.
Free Repping: When the timer starts I have no plan as far as how many reps to do and what rest periods to include in the 5-minute snatch test. I just do some reps and go almost to failure. Then rest until I feel I can do another set with my other hand. Repeat these steps until the 5 minutes is up.
Planned Repping: When the timer starts I have a set plan. I know how many reps I’m going to do per set. When I’m going to do the reps. How long I will rest between sets of however many reps I’ve decided on.
Every time I have tried planned repping it results in significantly higher reps performed in a 5-minute snatch test.
Previous 5-minute snatch test was 7 days ago. Results? 32 reps in 5 minutes. Yeah, I mentioned that my cardio sucks.
Yesterday I did a 5-minute snatch test with the 28kg kettlebell again. Got 13 more reps than a week ago. That is a huge increase in 5 minutes. Especially with the crappy cardio ability I’m still working to increase.
The difference was knowing what my result was last time and then devising a plan based on knowing what my body prefers and has in the past shown to work best for it.
I wrote my goal reps down on a sheet of paper. Since I got 32 reps a week ago I wrote down 40 reps for a nice round number and an increase of 8 reps.
There are 300 seconds in 5 minutes so I played around with different pacing strategies to come up with a plan for 40 reps in 5 minutes. Finally settled on doing 8 reps and then resting 40 seconds. And repeating that until I hit 40 reps. I had a bit of time left over after hitting 40 reps – about the 4.5-minute mark – so I did another 5 reps lefty to bump the number up a bit before the 5-minute timer sounded. 45 reps in 5 minutes averaged out to a rep every 6.66 seconds. Or 9 reps per minute.
I’ll continue doing planned reps every time I do a snatch test with any of the kettlebell weights I test – the 16kg, 24kg, and 28kg. I will test the 20kg and lighter kettlebells soon too to see what effect that has on my cardio over time.