Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How I Passed The SSST...EASILY



So yesterday I had full intentions on just getting in a quick 15 or 20 minute sled dragging session - hittin' up my lower and upper body - as an extra workout mainly because I just felt like doing "something". Their are numereous benefits to dragging a sled for distance or time on your "off" days, and during the summer this is one of my favorite ways to train.

However, as luck would have it, right as I was about to head on outside, it started POURING. Shit.

Not to be outdone, I still felt like getting in a quick workout and decided to do some kettlebell snatches in the form of the Secret Service Snatch Test. For those that don't know, the SSST is very simple - complete as many total snatches with a 24kg bell as possible in 10 minutes. You can switch hands as often as you'd like and set the kettlebell down whenever you want. To pass the test you have to complete 200 total repetitions.

Now, I didn't psyche up for this or do anything special to train for this. In fact, I didn't even warm up. I just went into the garage and started snatching away.

10 minutes later, I'm wondering what all of the fuss is about. I didn't break any records, but I did get in exactly 200 total reps in the 10 minutes. The cool part? I took my time, didn't really rush to get the reps in, and had room to spare. I also wasn't anywhere near to being the "hot mess" that people describe themselves being after they take the test.

So how have I been "training" for the SSST?

For starters, I use a basic strength program probably 75-90% of the year - lots of squatting, pulling, pressing, weighted chins and the like. I'm not crazy strong by any means, but I have a decent base. I've noticed on the forums that too many guys are trying specialized routines to pass the test and they can't even deadlift double bodyweight. Number 1, get stronger.

For the last few months I have also been building up my work capacity using sandbags, sled dragging, bodyweight, bands, and of course kettlebells. Sure, I'm having "fun" with my training, but don't get me wrong - this stuff is BRUTAL! Take for example a quick sandbag circuit that I did today for 4 sets:

1. sandbag shouldering x 6
2. sandbag power cleans x 6
3. sandbag zercher squats x 6

I finished with some kb floor presses and single arm rows EDT style and called it a day.

Its workouts like these that have shot my work capacity through the roof...they're short, yes, but I pack in a lot of volume in those 15-30 (rarely ever more) minutes. So I think that you have to train with a variety of intensities, volumes, and movements to get the best results...not just a 24kg kettlebell.

My point? You can use many different means to get to the end...build a huge base and usually just getting stronger is a great cure all.

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