Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Optimizing the Fung Protocol (Part 2)

In my previous post, I laid the foundational science to optimizing the Fung Protocol. We focused on two key pieces of information gleaned from my study:
  1. One must remain their kettlebell weight class to less than or equal to 13% of your body weight for metabolically aerobic exercise during the Fung Protocol
  2. Aerobic steady state kettlebell exercise is typically achieved at minute 6 during the Fung Protocol
We can now optimize the Fung Protocol for maximal metabolic efficacy. To do this, you will need two different weight classes: a “heavy bell” and a “cardio bell”.

First, during initial exercise, we need to deplete the local stores of energy to booster start our body for the duration of exercise.  The strategy is to force the body to quickly transition into metabolically aerobic exercise without exhausting our body prior to reaching steady state.  The best way to do so is to use a “heavy bell” during initial exercise. For this “heavy bell”, I suggest the weight class to be the combination of two factors – the heavy bell should be:
  1. Heavy enough to thoroughly and maximally challenge you during the overhead press for 10 isolated repetitions (10 rep max).
  2. Light enough that you will not reach exhaustion or experience injury after 6 minutes of exercise including swings, clean & presses, and snatches.

Using this weight class, begin initial exercise using the Fung Protocol 30-on: 30-off cycle of Snatches, Clean & Presses, and Swings for the first 6 minutes.  Again, the purpose of the first 6 minutes is to metabolically deplete local muscle energy stores and jumpstart the body into the aerobic system. This should be a high intensity 6 minute cycle.

After the first 6 minutes, finish with the usual 30 second “off” cycle for active recovery and then go for your “cardio-bell”.  The cardio-bell is going to be a kettlebell less than or equal to 13% of your body weight. For the next 6 minutes, continuously engage in ballistic kettlebell exercises (swings, cleans, high pulls, snatches, etc.).  Any ballistic kettlebell exercise will suffice because we want that nice ballistic cadence. The rhythmical nature of kettlebell ballistics allows the body’s exertional response to engage in the aerobic domain of exercise.  I highly suggest switching up your exercises every 10-20 reps as to not exhaust the muscles of grip.  After the 2nd 6 minute cycle, take a 30 second break and finish with the last 6 minute continuous cycle, again utilizing a diverse grouping of ballistic exercises to preserve the muscles of grip.

These three 6 minute cycles comprise the optimized 18 minutes of the Fung Protocol.  The difference is in the use of the 30-second-on: 30-second-off active recovery.  The original Fung Protocol utilized the 30:30 cycling throughout the entire 18 minutes.  However, the Optimized Fung Protocol only used the 30:30 cycling in the FIRST 6 minutes.  The 2nd and 3rd 6 minute segments are CONTINUOUS after the 1st cycle as the body is now equal to or greater than “steady state” exercise after use of the “heavy bell”. The transition from the “heavy-bell” into the “cardio-bell” allows for not only a rapid recovery but also a quick gear change into aerobic exertion (Fung 2010).

So here it is in plain English:
6 minutes: Initial exercise with the Heavy Bell
- 30 seconds on, left snatches, 30 seconds off active recovery
- 30 seconds on, right snatches, 30 seconds off active recovery
- 30 seconds on, left clean & press, 30 seconds off active recovery
- 30 seconds on, right clean & press, 30 seconds off active recovery
- 30 seconds on, swings (starting left, switching every 5), 30 seconds off active recovery
- 30 seconds on, swing (starting right, switching every 5), 30 seconds off active recovery

After the final 30 second recovery of the 1st cycle, initiate 6 minutes of continuous ballistics (with varied exercises for grip preservation) with the “cardio-bell” weighing 13% or less than your body weight.  After 6 minutes, initiate 30 seconds of active recovery, repeat the 6 minutes of continuous ballistics with the “cardio-bell”, and … congratulations! You have just completed the Optimized Fung Protocol!

Using this protocol, exercising 4 days a week, I personally lost 2 inches of waist in less than 6 weeks! Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Coming Up: Kettlebells – Bottoms Up. In this next post, I will discuss the secret to multi-dimensional dynamic upper quarter stability with combined core control.

1 comment:

  1. Will give it a shot in a few days after recovering from todays workout. tomorrow is cardio only! Great post Dr.Fung!