Saturday, December 31, 2005


An old fashioned snatch workout today. very strong and the most work I have done in the snatch in awhile.

36x8/8x2 cold this morning.

53x6/6x6 sets 72 reps not a bad workload at all. all the snatches were strong. used an olympic snatch style, keeping the bell in close and pulling vertically. I was thinking "jump" on each rep and got on my toes quite a bit. Held each rep at the top for a dead stop to strengthen that position.

114 reps with the 36 and above/

weighted pullups
18#x3x6 sets very strong!

one kb high pull, two hands
72x15x2 very strong!

biceps are tired from all the snatches and pulls.

split squats
36x8/8x3 sets

this is a really good quad stretch too.


bwx8x3 sets have to do some more triceps work to counterbalance all the bicep loads.

db extensions

dats it. not bad at all. monday I want to try two kb work outside the legs. cleans and snatches.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Havent done hi rep swings for awhile and now I remember why! Man these hurt even with low reps (relatively) and low weight,lol! NOTHING gets me in shape(CV) faster than these though so they gotta get done occasionally. Geoff trained with me for the last day in town and I got to see him power snatch, from the hang, 120 kg no problem. Ah the good ol days.

two hand swing
53x10x2 ( now where did I leave my hips?)
88x8x3 I really need to work this more regularly.
72x20 so much better than on the way up
53x30 sucking wind, ouch. out of rep shape for shure/
53x30 better but the last 10 hurt. Geoff noticed a switch from hard style swings to what Cotter calls "lazy" or GS style for the last ten. unintentional. thats all the power I had left.

164 swings ok, a starting place.

Bottoms up cleans
53x5/5 strong!
72x3/3 wow. wasnt going to do these but Geoff was here and......
72x5/5 very strong. this is a solid move for me.

Mil press
53x5/5x3 my shoulders still dont like these, but not bad.have to keep the arm very close to the chest.

Bosu stands, decom hangs, etc.

great workout! Geoff is a horse and trains like the real deal athlete he is. miss that inspiration.Of course we both have the "warped mind of strength specialists" so we must be crazy. I know, we should have thrown in a few 400 meter sprints and some muscle ups on rings in between sets so we could be really fit.

Monday, December 26, 2005

More workouts with Geoff

Another stellar session with Mr Neupert as my training partner. You can always tell who has trained and competed seriously, it just comes right through.

Two KB Circuit

2 kb clean and press
2 kb snatch
tactical pullups
2 kb clean and jerk
first round with the 26's for 8's
second round with the 36's for 5's ( first time double snatching these!! no problem!)
third round with the 36's for 5's
fourth round with the 44's! ( just did two reps with the snatch but PR!)
fifth round with the 36's

53x30x4 sets

two arm swings
2/36's x 10x 3sets

very good workout. very excited about the double snatches although the 44's were gettting ahaead of myself. need to build a solid base with the 36's before going up again. nice.

Geoff did a serious circuit of
double swings
double snatches
see saw press
double clean and press
see saw bent row

all with the 53's withough stopping for 5 rep sets. no problem

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Great workout with Geoff Neupert

Olympic lifter, trainer and RKC Geoff Neupert came out to the Rifstonian Institute for a training visit today. He also brought his incredibly athletic wife Courtney so she could get her kb training in as well

Some weight was lifted at Stones today! Geoff did some EDT training in the deadlift with 13 singles in 15 minutes with 459! Very nice, clean grip deadlifting.

Two hand Swing
( start all swings from now on from the upright position as per Steve Cotters dvd. I already know this is going to make a major difference in my technique.)

Deadlift (double overgrip,hook)
275x2 it always feel better to dl after not having pulled for awhile.
315x1 strong!
315x1 faster.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

More swings.

Didnt get to finish yesterday so here is the rest.

R arm kb deadlift
L arm windmill 4 sets of 5 each side with 36/44/53 the right arm really tightens my right lat.

One arm swings
44x10/10x2 these feel good but back still adjusts with bell in left hand. playing with different back angles,pressurization techniques and leg positions. no winners. doesnt hurt though.
72x5/5x3 sets wow. havent done these in eons. easier than I thought and harder than I thought at the same time.moved well. about navel height or a little above.

there is nothing like basic swings, done quantitatively to show you where you are in terms of posterior power and condtioning. I was much stronger than I thought. AND snatching the 1.5 for 28/28 to pass my snatch test is even more impressive now.Come to think of it I have to re cert in a year. These are truly the power squat of kettlebells. any swing.

53x15/15 suprisingly good.

these were very strong. I like doing these holistic sets-old fred hatfield training method.pick a basic exercise

e.g. squat
warmup then
3x3-5 reps explosive positive slow negative
3x8-12 medium tempo
2-3x20-30 reps continuous tension

this hit all the aspects of all the fibers. with the kettlebell it does the same thing. lets you swing heavy for absolute strength, then medium reps for strength endurance, and high reps for conditioning.PLUS the reps are SO much easier on the way down than on the way up. same for real squats.

5 handstands 10 sec ea

bottoms up cleans

LOTS of stretching, decom hangs, splits etc.
suprised I feel so strong after yesterday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Quick and Dirty

Had to work extra clients today so the workout got squeezed in.

two hand swing

96x8x2 first time playing with this monster. was very happy with the power.
72x20 strong
63x30 ouch

was going to do 53x40 but client arrived.

Lots of demos of all the basic kb moves with the 1 pood

double snatch
2/26'sx5 x3 sets woo hoo! first time EVER being able to double snatch. my shoulder would NEVER let me do this before. excellent. this is very exciting even with the light weights. felt good too.
wanted to do more but I am beat and sore. too many squats on monday and the IT bands and knee is aching. dont think as many double kb moves as we did next time.

Many Teens Would Flunk Treadmill Tests - Yahoo! News

Many Teens Would Flunk Treadmill Tests - Yahoo! News

This is why everyone needs a kettlebell!

Post Activation for Mr. Frankie: Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

Post Activation for Mr. Frankie: Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts
Very interesting physics of sprinting discussion.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

One Weight

I wonder if Pavel was totally right from the start. Only three weights. I've been thinking a lot about teaching progressions for the kettlebells and was musing about how I would train if I only had one kettlebell. Assume that it is fairly heavy( or at least perceived as) for me.

What would I do with it.?Well, first I would see if I could deadlift it with two hands. then one hand- harder- then I would try to swing it with two hands. Then one hand swing. And, if I wasnt strong enough to swing it with one hand, two hand swings would eventually strengthen me until I could use it one handed.

Then transfer it from hand to hand. Then perhaps I could clean it. If I could clean it I can now press it and strengthen the overhead postition. Now I could combine the swing , the clean and the press and snatch it overhead. Now I can train the windmill as well as the side and bent press. THen I can go to the next weight and do the same thing over. This might make for a much more systematic and progressive development of the total body than using lighter weights for exercises one is perhaps learning out of sequence. Not sure but I like the idea.

If you were to start a beginning deconditioned woman with a 26 and a man with a 36 this might work out very well; as long as their body weight wasnt too high. that would make it too easy and heavier might compromise connective tissue.Interesting stuff.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Double Kettlebell Session

I have never liked double kettlebell work because it works my weak point, your hips, so much. It also replicated my old squat stance a alot and felt it wasnt necessary . I am revisiting that now as I look to put on abit of mass with kb training.

trainer with Joe today and man what I wouldnt give to have this guys physical attributes!more muscle than he deserves and great flexibility to boot. He has to push himself more and i will see to that!


one hand swing 3 sets 10 ea with the 26

two hand swing

Circuit( with apologies to Steve Maxwell)
2 36 kb swings 10 reps
2 kb clean and press 5-8 reps
2 kb front squat pushpress 5-8 reps
2 kb cleans 5 reps

3 circuits with the 36's .
2 circuit with the 44's

man these are hard!!!! I am so stiff it takes a lot of concentration to do these and not have my back or shouldes adjust. but i took the three sets to fully warmup. found myself using GS style rack holds to rest between reps and get tight again. this full body stuff will take a while to get used to. felt better at the end than the beginning and thats good.

Farmers walk

5 sets of 2 laps with the 53's/ still love these :))

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Missing the obvious

I think I have been missing the obvious. I know I want to put back on some mass but I dont want to sacrifice the mobility and less painful movement I've achieved with the lower bodyweight from the warrior diet and kettlebell training.

I wont do bodybuilding training anymore and its obvious I can't do powerlifting. I love the kettlebell movements but dont love endless high rep swings or GS style training. I'm a max effort, high intensity kind of guy. SO why not use kb's to gain back the mass and strength and use a lower rep,multi set approach; kind of a blend of bodybuilding( high volume, semi quick pace) and powerlifting( big movements, low reps and high force movements,more rests) and some strength endurance- plain swing training like Mike C used to make us do.

Will do double kb drills tomorrow:

2 kb swing sets of 10-20
2 kb clean and press sets of 5-8
2 kb front squat and push press( thrusters) sets of5-8
2 kb squat cleans

eat up mark!

Testosterone Nation - A Talk with Tudor Bompa

Testosterone Nation - A Talk with Tudor Bompa

This time a great interview by mahler of Tudor Bompa the great researcer on periodization and strength .

Testosterone Nation - Musashi On Strength

Testosterone Nation - Musashi On Strength

AN excellent article by Mike Mahler on getting things accomplished with your bodya nd your training.

The Power Swing

The most fundamental kb movement done perfectly by Mike Castro.Study this and you will know how to swing.

Mike's swings with Bands

Putfile - MVI 119563

Mike's swings with bands. well worth a second look

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Saturday Power

Have to admit it. Been thinking of powerlifting all week long. Worked on figuring out a squat position where my back doesnt "adjust" as I ascend. But this happens with kbs as well and have to figure that out too. I did some ab work, something I havent done in five years as I was so out of balance: abs to erectors , that I felt I didnt need it. Well I need it. My lower back at L2-L3 has been actiing up and I did some cable crunches on a hunch. Pain gone. Time to work the abs again it seems.

5 sets of ten warmup with 53

bench press
lots of sets and reps with the bar up to 145 lbs trying to geta pain free movement

lots of sets and reps up to 135 trying to keep my abs tight as I descended

this is crazy for me to even contemplate.

sets of ten with 53

standing cable abs crunches
5 sets of ten. this brings back memories.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Circuits day two

Felt great all day. Walking better than I have in years. Doing less grinds really seems to make a difference in reducing the incredible level of tightness in my legs.THis seems to include even squats and lunges. The ballistics( snatch, c&j and swings) dont seem to bother them anywhere near as much. Recovered very well from mondays workout (should have, it was low intensity AND volume,lol).

I seem to get bored very easily.Had to force myself to go through the circuit again today. Sort of like the old max effort days. Had only a one week window. I could do a pr on a floor press, for example, and the next week I sucked at it. Switching exercises each workout, instead of every two or three worked much better.Maybe that's what is happening here.

Still withdrawing from saturdays power meet. step away from the squat bar mark, just step away.

ballistic circuit( did joint mobility four times today with clients.)

two hand swing 30 reps
snatch 8-5
pullups 3.4.5
darcs 30 reps
handstands ten seconds
clean and jerk 5 reps
farmers walk 2 laps

round one 26 #
two 36#
three 44#

this was harder than I expected . feeling very light and not that strong, endurance wise. the weights felt light( as they were). Doing so many reps so early really cut into the meat of the workout but that was ok as its the second day this week.movments felt clean.

datsit. a very boring post and workout.It is good not to be in so much pain, though. have to keep remembering that.

Monday, December 12, 2005

More Circuits

Decent session today. had a great weekend at the 52nd annual Ironman powerlifting meet. the oldest running meet in the country and my first meet in 1985. Coached my training partner Nick to three pr's. It was great to see all the elders still lifting big and looking huge. Made me very sad at the same time that I was not amoung them.

H2H figure eights

two hand swing 30 reps
snatch 10 reps
pullups 4 reps
clean and jerk 8 each hand
darcs 30 reps

20 kg
swing 30 reps
snatch 5 each arm
pullups 5
clean and jerk 5's
darcs 35 reps

24 kg
swings 40 reps
snatch 5 each
pullups 4
clean/jerk 5's
darcs 30

24 kg
swings with 32 kg 20
snatch with 24 5's
pullups 5
clean/jerk 5s
darcs 30

farmers walk
2/44's 6 laps

about an hour 120 minutes including 12 min warmup with one training partner( joe). fast pace though.

not bad workout at all . got pretty beat by the fourth circuit.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Quest

It sometimes seems like the whole purpose of my life is trying to understand the secret routine that will strengthen and heal this battered, beat up body. I've been injured so long it seems like I never have NOT been hurt. But, as usual it seems to lead me further down the path to understanding and knowledge( and hopefully, wisdom).

Did circuits today and I am fully aware of the fact I could still be flat on my back writhing in pain and not being able to work ( which scares me more than not being able to train does). So I approached it very conservatively. It started well, slowed down and finished strong.
I have to stay loose. Too much tension is the enemy and wrecks my mobility even if I am "stronger". I have to accept ( remember) that I have enough strength, but lack flexibilty and stability more. WOrk on you weaknesses and you will get stronger.

I do miss being BigRif though. Oh well, life goes on. If you are lucky.

H2H drills

with 26#. Rewatched Jeff Martones dvd and ordered the new one. I've forgotten how much fun I had with this. Reminds me very much of gymnastics. Freestyle routine using:

figure eights
two hand flips under
one hand flips under( same side)
one hand flips under( transfer)
two hand flips over
one hand flip over( same side)
one hand flip over ( transfer)
bottums up snatch
bottoms up cleans

about fifteen minutes. hardly noticed the time and it was great to get outside of that freezing garage. great stuff.


two hand swing
clean and jerk
tactical pullup

Started with the 16 kg and did 20-30 reps in the swing, 5's in the snatch and c&j, 4-5 in the pullup and ten second handstands. three rounds. not digging it at first and thumb up snatch did not feel good. That is my back did not like it. way too much "noise" with bell in left hand. Doesnt do this on the cleans though.

Second round with 20 kg for 30 reps in the swings, 8's in in the snatch and 5's in the c/j fives in pullups and handstands.

third round with the 24 kg for same. feeling pretty good now and can see the benefit of rotating to exercises that are very different, muscularly, than the one you just did. Peripheral heart action training by Bob Gadja in the 60's though of that. nothing new.

forth round with 20 kg for same reps, sub out darcs for 30 reps MAN are my legs weak. I cant believe I did 85 of these with the 32 kg!?! Thats the problem with not having clear cut goals. Progress fall right out your ass. Oh well those never hurt me and I can work up.

Oh, and with the snatch, since my back was adjusting on every rep on the left I used my old Olympic snatch style, a straight up pull, starting with my legs and thinking "jump". much easier on the back and keeping the bell close to me seems to be much safer for me than the long swing.

H2H drills

just went over the two and one hand flip drills a bit with the 26. ten minutes.

I definitely found a rythym though and went longer ( and hour 15 easy) and stronger as I went along. did tons of pullups too. we will see. I might need a corrective exercise version of this too.

BREITBART.COM - U.S. Life Expectancy Hits All-Time High

BREITBART.COM - U.S. Life Expectancy Hits All-Time High

Time for the boomers to get some kettlebells!

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I hate to say it so as not to incur the gods wrath but I think I feel better than before the tweak. perhaps something went in? The bextra has been wearing off and I still feel ok. Thank God.One thing I re-discovered is that my enemy is too much tension. I have too many rotations and imbalances to deal with too much muscle tension, regardless of whether it is from good muscle strength or not.

It seems that all the grind type exercises cause me problems and the ballistics loosen everything up.Of course too heavy in the ballistics and they behave like grinds.

these are the movements that seem to be ok and restorative:

clean and push press( done ballistically)
farmers walk

I would also put lunges in their as well as deadlifts if they are done sporadically,although they are grinds. I am going to try a circuit of the first five exercises tomorrow. Something is telling me I need to learn how to do kbs in a circuit and drop the bodybuilding/powerlifting mindset fully. we'll see tomorrow. just glad to be able to do the mundane things I loathe everyday(picking up weights, stretching clients, etc) without gasping for breath as my back seizes.

It truly is the little things that count when you are down. Now if I can just remember that as I feel better......


If it doesnt give me a stroke or that skin eating disease my back should survive the bextra. have to get a bottle of this for emergencies. immediate relief,although it feels like my spine 'went back in". Just another message from above NOT to mess around too heavy.

course we'll see when it wears off.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Pride goeth before a fall.

Pushed it a little too hard today on a day when my back, which has not bothered me for ages, was tight and tweaky. Felt that sickening feeling in the lower back when everything in your being says " this aint right and it aint good" after cooling off from the workout.

Moved immediately back into the gym and did decompression hangs( pelvis was waaaaay off), upward dogs,lots of stick trigger point work, some percussion massage of the glutes( which were in big time spasm-never a good sign.) and then some straddles and pikes,which seemed to do the most good.

That was a scare. Very cold, damp and miserable weather today and I swear I could feel the barometer drop in my body. Winter used to kill me a few years ago and then it stopped. This isnt a good sign.

warmups with around body passes, swings,cleans with 18#

36x6/6x2 having a very hard time rooting. weight is easy but technique is off. back is already tight
44x5/5x2 same
53x5/5x5 actually got better but back is tight. hammies are too tight. the shoe overloads my caves tweaking my knees and the flat foot overloads the hammies pulling the pelvis down.It will be fine, jsut have to stretch more.

two kb cleans
36/10x2 back is making a lot of "adjustments" as I clean. dont like.
44x8x2 switching to one arms. too much back sounds
53x8/8 much better
72x5/5 strong
88x3/3 Now here is where I lost my mind. Why would I do a max clean on a shitty tight back day when I am already cold and tight? Making it isnt the point. Surviving it is. OK God, I here you.

I think I have to do 16 kg swings until I feel totally ready to go even if it means that is all I do that day. I am rushing to get through it and that aint good.

Farmers Walk
2/36's x 4 sets of 3 laps. these are good. will do four lap sets with these next. different pace than the 53's.all good.

four of ten seconds can feel the back here too.

hopefully I got this unkinked already. we'll see how I sleep.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Thompson�s 10 Rules for Squatting Big

Thompson�s 10 Rules for Squatting Big

This is a classic. Love the hole!

It's a start.

Back to kettlebell basics. Swings today with short rest periods. settled on the very symmetrical 10x10 as the rep scheme with 30 seconds rest/sets. Was thinking Westside Barbell speed squat day; man those were some serious ass workouts!

Two Hand Swing
53x10x10 30 seconds rest/sets. this was not that tough, which what I wanted. build up some speed. the rep speed on this kept going down each set after the first four. warming up.
72x5x5 one minute rest. this was heavier and slower than I thought.
88x3x4 one minute rest/sets. this was too slow but strong. have along way to go and my swing has definitely gotten weak.
137 total reps

tactical pullup ladder
30 total reps
all with pauses and with chin over top and hold. strong. I like the ladder for these.

kb lunge

I havent done enough of these either. its a start.
Handstand pushups

5 single reps. very high tension on the negative, ascent pops up. descending half way. shoulders are far so good; no major desire to change the workout or plan.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Thumbs Up Snatch

Really great workout.My powerlifting partner couldnt make it so jonathan and I blasted though the workout. I love to train first thing in the morning.The new snatch technique( hammer grip) worked perfectly with the 53 I am happy to say. Plus I went back to wrestling shoes and it was fine.

36x6/6x2 ( 854 lbs)
44x8/8x2 ( 1184)
53x5/5x5 (2650)felt great; still figuring out the intricacies of the grip but overall great.much more natural.
44x10/10 (880) very solid
36x15/15 (1080)

total=6648 not a bad start. the 36 is my 70% weight( assuming a 53 # max). thats my speed weight. I will count those reps.

weighted pullups

BWx5 chin over bar
18#x3 all over bar
36x3( first only over)
36x3( same)
tactical bw x5 all over. man this got easier! lol!

depth squat
53x8 man I am tight!!!
88x5 tight still
x6 turned toes out a bit, much better.

these are so important for me.

Handstands/ bola snaps
five handstands x 15 sec each very solid. about 100 snaps total.

very solid workout and shoulder and biceps feel fine!

I think I am really onto something with this swing and snatch technique.the arm and shoulder in external rotation the whole time. It feels much more stable in the shoulder for me and my arm doesnt want to bend at all.

The latest plan.

Things finally are shaking out for me and my head is clearer about training than it has in a long while. Adapted to no partners again and its fine.Went through doing some powerlifting and bodybuilding and realized that that path is closed for me forevermore.

Decided to focus on three KB lifts, trying to approximate the same mental climate that I had in powerlifting without the physical problems.Also decided to let my weight creep up a bit while I focus on gaining some strength and concommitant size as well with the kbs. Plus, I am scaling back to three kb workouts per week until my conditioning comes back up.

The three lifts

Clean and press

hopefully this hammer grip snatch will let me train it hard again and establish a high number as my base.

the swing will be on monday and the focus will be on 100-200 reps in two hand or one hand swing( or a variation). the key is the basic swing and keepping track of volume. this will be on monday because I'm sure I will be sore from sat snatches.

wednesday will be clean and press variations. I am enamored of the side press now as it really works the hips as well as doesnt hurt the shoulder. I also like the 2 kb clean and continuous press. these will be the main variations.

corrective exercises such as lunges, depth squats, farmers walk, handstand and hangs will be in the mix for sure. The focus will be on the Big Three though. Hope this works.

Gaining Muscle

Havent weighed myself in many days. Was eating too much and not doing enough work, so I thought. Weighed just 162.2 this am( after two cups of coffee too) at just 10.4% bf.
My lowest was 159 at 9.5 % bf that makes for 143.9 pounds of lean mass. 15 pounds bf

Today = 145.33 pounds lean mass.17 pounds bf. a decent pound and a half of lean mass. Plus I feel much stronger and thicker now. was weak at 159 and so little food. dont want to go much higher in actual weight. perhaps 165 if I can keep 10% or so. Of course these numbers are too small to be accurate but I care about trend more than absolute numbers.

Friday, December 02, 2005


seriously tight. no training just stretching.

decompression hangs

foam roller myofascial release IT's and glutes erectors

straddles, pike and splits work.

upward dog
downward dog
childs pose
( my own versions)

hot hot bath, snatches tomorrow AM

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ground Meat.

Man I cannot believe how sore I am. those windmills required so much tension and stretched everything so hard I am toast! Not to mention the DARCS. I dont think the heels are going to work with my knee. Left calf and knee were pretty tender today. Its a better position for power but I dont think I can tolerate it. we'll see . Jury is still out.

One thing for sure, I have let my hi rep conditioning go to shit .that stuff is just plain hard . Its also possible I need to go back to three days a week and build back up to four if I am going to focus back on kbs hard again. these puppies will make you tough. or quit.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Master your own weight.

While just stretching out my very tight back, shoulder and hips in the post workout post mortum I realized a key metric for me is whether I can still maintain good performance on body weight movements/exercises such as gait, handstands, pullups, splits,pike stretches,joint mobility movements in general.

If I let these slide it seems injury is right around the corner. what kind of load and base I can maintain while keeping these qualities high is the question. again, if I seek out my limits I will find them.

Tough workout

and not in the pr way. Not enough sleep last night and although I felt great all during work I just was stiff and sore all workout. cold and damp now outside as well. did my best and took extra warmup sets. I dont know how these guys do max effort stuff without warming up. I would blow apart my joints in a heartbeat.

ah , My favorite.
18x5/5x2-3 sets of 3 right side is horribly tight. the hip wont set, the back wont rotate and the shoulder wont stay down. fun....
36x4/4x 3 sets. third set was starting to get down. I wonder if greasing the groove would help on this? probably kill me.
44x4/4x2 finally getting rotated. Kept reading on my chalk board : a STRENGTH IS A SKILL.
I need constant reminder of what I am supposed to do.

started flat footed and immediately put the heel back on. much easier to arch my lower back.
72x20 these all felt rickety and still. was very careful and not very explosive. held form though.
72x30 this was some work.pathetic.
44x40 actually this felt fluid. I am slow to warm, being a fish and all.It is much harder to get back my previous strength endurance levels than I thought. Course I aint that motivated and that makes a big difference.

Put up new poster of Capt Kirk squatting 804 with just a belt. Mutant.

Side press
44/5/5 yeaow. tight
53x5/5 better. reallly have to focus on rooting the opposite side glute and heel ane and same side lat and leaning into it BEFORE I start to press. I have to lean in. right arm left leg is critical

actually this could be the corrective exercise combo:
right arm side press( works weaker left leg/hip and right lat and arm stability overhead)
left arm overhead windmill ( works weaker left hip and stabilizes left shoulder overhead)

the right arm overhead windmill always feels bad and the left arm press is too easy. plus neck is usually messed up for days afterward on right arm windmills.

farmers walk
one arm with 72 two laps: ugh. this is not good

two 53 kbs 5 laps. much better. this exercise is one of my favorites now. I really feel it transfers directly to my walking in life.

have to think about this.


Oh and we were named in City Sports Best of 2005 issue as the recommended kb studio in the bay area. Nice.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A new Snatch technique

I love the snatch but it scares me lately. After two bicep injuries snatching the two pood I am still gun shy even with the 1.5. With the palms down grip I tend to feel it in biceps insertion when I pull too hard or get hip/leg fatigue. One of my clients has developed a technique of snatching using a thumbs up grip. She swings with this grip and it looks great on her. I had never tried it til today.

I have done LOTS of thumbs up swings when I do the bottoms up clean and it feels very natural and strong. So today thumbs up swings and snatches.

36x8/8x2 swing it hammer grip and then just internally rotate it in at the top. decent is just the reverse into the hammer swing noticed my elbows were straighter immediately.
x8/8 wow. very very natural and can really use my hip with my hand in this position.
x10/10 no problem

82 total reps.

this is a very good weight for me considering the 53 is now my 100%. its a good form and speed day workout. we'll see if this technique holds up on Sat with the 53. the real test.

one arm swing ( hammer grip)
53x10/10x2 strong. can really lay the arm across the abs/inner thigh and hip snap it off.
72x8/8 decent!

KB cleans
72x5/5 decent. being a little heavier is helping . about 164 now.solid.

all sets done with ol shoes.

kb lunges
53x8/8x2 strong but I can tell I havent done these in awhile. very necessary.

tactical pullups/bodyweight
3,4,5,3 all reps chin over bar and held. pause at bottom too. cant beleive I can do these again.

handstands: 12- 15 secondsx 4 sets/ solid.

splits work 10 minutes

bola snaps 100 reps

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Deadlifts/weighted pullups

Much more beat up from yesterdays workout( and the preceding weeks) than I had anticipated. I had skipped the last two fridays and havent done windmills in two months. Hips and legs very tired.

One arm swings
36x5/5x3 sets
44x5/5x2 warmup

185x3 wearing the ol shoe. easier to hold the arch but very different than my normal pull patten
275x2x2 not sure I like this technique
308x2x3 sets good bar speed.

weighted pullups(tactical style: dead pause hang- chin touch)
18#x3 ( two chin overs)
36x2( one chin over)
x2 added in 5 scap tractions after.

wow this is really good. havent been able to do a bodyweightpullup in years.No shoulder issues.

Depth squats
53x6 wow, now I feel the hips!
88x6x3 sets focused on the stretch. sore sore sore.

Triceps pushdowns

datsit. weekend has officially begun!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Strength is a skill.

This phrase keeps dancing around my head as I have been re-reading Power to the People, probably the best overall book on strength training ever written. AS one might notice from reading this blog I tend to overtrain and push myself too far. thinking of my strength training more as a skill to practice rather than workout to be pushed through is new to me but perhaps and idea whose time has come.

Especially for my grind lifts. Fridays is always a tough workout day for me as far as programming. Usually I am beat by then between work and workouts and I have a tough saturday to do as well . Endurance stuff I am usually not in the mood for. So I decided to focus on my kb grind lifts and it was great today. Just heavy enough, tough enough physically to focus on the skill of what I was trying to do more than just the numbers.

I have not done any weighted windmills for the last two months but have instead worked it as a stretch instead. I was very surprised the last few days when my left to right side rotation actually worked well! Time for some weight.

High /Low windmill
5 sets of 3-4 reps with the 36 overhead and off the ground. THis gets my weaker left side hips and leg and my weaker right lat.

regular style 36 for 3 sets of 5 right side opened up very well/

kb side press
53x5/5x3 this is where I really focused on technique rather than push. found out I havenet been shift to the opposite side leg strongly enough . really helped take the load off my shoulder

kb clean
73x4/4x2 no problems.

bottoms up clean

two kb bottoms up clean
2 36'sx5x2 sets these were solid.

reverse band chops( left to right only)
black dynaband 4x15

4 sets of 12-15 seconds. needed to do these, shoulder were tight.

datsit. Deadlifts early tomorrow am!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Encyclopedia of Russian Kettlebell Lifting

Encyclopedia of Russian Kettlebell Lifting
Steve Cotters new comprehensive dvd series on kettlebells. Cant wait to see this. It will be incredibly motivational and depressing all at the same time! Steve rocks.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

secrets of gold medal sports performance training: Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

secrets of gold medal sports performance training: Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

great post about training for the top in the world of cycling, coaching,politics and the desire to get to the top of sport.

back to basics- with a heel

kettlebells, that is. two handed swings and some farmers walks. wore the olympic shoe for the swings and was surprised how strong and balanced it felt. I spent so many years sprinting on my toes for gymnastics and punching the floor on my toes for floor ex and vaulting that doing anything on my heels is very wierd for me.

this is of course,why I have such underdeveloped hips and glutes. they dont work well with the foot plantar flexed( toes pointed)/. I truly beleive it is unnatural and unhealthy, orthopedically, to spent so much time loading the frame with the toes pointed.

the heels really make it easier for me to use my hips. odd.But my lumbo-pelvic rythym is such that if I lean forward my hips move back( a compensation by the body to protect the back, not uncommon) so it does makes sense.Just standing there I can feel glute medius tension, WHICH I ALMOST NEVER FEEL,especially flatfooted.

I've spent numerous years trying to "strengthen and balance" this area by going against my instincts and training flatfooted but I am going to use this shoe for awhile. I have a good feeling.

I will also so flatfooted training as well for gait and stability.cleans will be done flat as well farmers walk ,and windmills( although I will have to try the windmill with the shoe as well- I have a feeling....

two handed swings
53x20x5 sets
72x10x4 sets ( a little right forearms tightness). the hips felt great in this.

100 reps x53#=5300#
40 repsx72#=2880.
total=8180 #

farmers walk
2/44's x 6 sets of two laps. really helped to lean into this. paced picked up considerably and much less strain on my knee.mid foot/heel strike instead of just heel. 45 seconds between laps.felt great!

Handstands/deompression hangs 5 sets.
this was suprisingly hard to get up there. I could really feel how tight my left rotators were andit took five sets to get it straightened out. this and my decompression hangs are the key shoulder/thoracic region assesment for me. plus they rehab it as well.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I had forgotten

just how freaking hard kettlebell snatches are . I am sore all over in places I havent been in weeks. wow, I knew I was going to be sore but not this much. and its not like I havent been training either. Just not snatches and not with the 53. and things are just settling in. tomorrow should be fun too.

I am way out of shape for ballistics.AND I was in pretty amazing shape at the time of the RKC. Work capacity was off the hook. Its amazing what you can do when you are really motivated. Havent made up my mind yet about the ol boot. back feel oks and hips really feel worked so it should be a good thing. Will see tomorrow.

Monday, November 21, 2005

How to adjust your static training when a 60 second total is just too much: Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts
Great post by Coach Sommer on training progressions and adaptations in training the front lever.

kettlebell snatches

Just couldnt bring myself to go to golds today as much as I thought I would after saturday.Knowing for sure now benches and squats just freaking HURT my knees back and shoulders with almost any real loads. So of course I couldnt stop thinking about snatching. Is that out for good too?
The more I tried to talk myself into getting into bulking a bit again the less I wanted to actually do it. It just feels shitty . This has been my classic training conflict since the begining. Love how I feel lean and conditioned and SMALL but hate how I look. Hate how I feel pumped up but like how I look.People respond so differently too. from 125 ultramarathoner to 175 bodybuilder 2.5 times in 1977. Nuts. OCD is so much fun.

36x6/6x2 wearing my ol shoes, so much easier.

53x5/5x5 not bad at all. really scared about the shoulder but it was fine and I really concentrated on going with the hips. the shoes put me in a better lumbar position which lets me use my hips and legs more. IF my knees will tolerate it though.
44x10/10x2 wow. snatches is some hard ass work. I hadnt forgotten but its another thing to feel

114 total reps above 44#

DARCS ( with ol shoe)
72x20x2 wow, I am pissant weak in the legs. amazing how quick that went.

kb lunges
36x5/5x3 barefoot

Handstands/scapula pullups
5 sets of 10 seconds and 5x5 pulls

I havent done these in a week and I can tell . these are an essential rehab group for me. really opens up my shoulder girdle.

dats it. Have no idea how long it took,probably 50 minutes.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

this one too.

that is one freaky arm.


I remember when I first saw this picture of robby robinson. It freaked me out.Still does..

A visit to a gym

Went to a commerical gym for the first time in 8 years today to help Nick use the monolift and get ready for his meet Dec 10. I also had to try the monolift as well so I guess I squatted again. Actuallyit was very cool to use the rack as I havent had the chance since my meet in 1997 when not being familiar with it cost me my last shot at a 600 # squat.

I can tell though just how much it would help me as you can really lock into position and not budge through out the whole movment. Nick said he's never seen me squat so square. But I can also that training the squat again for real is just not in the cards. Just had to play abit a gain I guess.

kb swings
53 lbs 5x15

225x1x3 sweet. just up and down and no walking .most excellent.

255x1x3 easy.

two board bench
225x1x3 no problem

various hammer strength machines. I like these. no shoulder pain at all. incline presses and pushdowns for sets and reps.

datsit. I might just get a membership at Golds and see what happens.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I Love to squat

but it certainly doesnt love me. Its amazing to me how much more tension this little weight I used the other day can pound into my body. I probably did less than a 2000 pound workout, much less than even 100 reps with the 53 in the swing but all that eccentric loading changes the deal. way way way tougher.

I will have to stay totally loosened and stretched out or this wont work at all. thats whats good about the deadlift: no eccentric loading and a perfectly square setup: no walking. now I have to go stretch again :))

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Powerlifters mind by Kirk Karwoski

A perfect qoute for this day from none other than the power god himself Capt Kirk Karwoski, King of the Squat.

rehab necessities


scapula decompression hangs/pulls

single and double arm kb swing work
overball backbends
full body extension hangs from bar
full hamstring stretching
assymetrical supermans over ball

depth squats
farmers walk
reverse band chops
bosu stands

these are things that HAVE to get done, regardless of what else I am doing for training in order to maintain a semblence of body balance and joint integrity.

speed bench, squats

went right to it today and layed down on the bench like I have done for countless speed bench workouts. felt like home.

3 grip bench( pinky on ring, mid line and on smooth, false grip)
117x3x10 sets. 30 sec rest/sets. this felt suprisingly great.shoulder was fine
close grip
152x1 no problem
185x1 no problem, no handoff. 3 singles after speed work. I remember.It just used to be 359 for my last close grip single after 225 plus two sets of chains for speed work! LOL!!oh well.

rolling db extensions
30#x7x8 15 sec rest/set/ these are classic.

power squat
figured a way to unrack the weight without walking. I think this might work. walking out wrecks my back and knees and ankles. shit I can barely walk with NO weight!LOL!
135x3 put on OL boot. much better.can really sit back. I will say this, the kettlebells have totally changed my squat groove. for the better. WAAAAAAY more hips and way easier to use them. bizarre.
185x3 no wraps. wrapped here last time
207x3 light wrap
225x3 woo hoo. no problem
225x3 same easier. hips feel good knees too. no walking really makes a difference. If I keep doing this I will have to get a Crespinsek monolift for the garage.
135x3 pause.

two hand swing
53x15x5 sets. this really will keep things loose and open.
72x8x2 easy

farmers walk/handstand
2/53s for 30 meters do a handstands then repeat; 7 laps/handstands

It would be so nice to be able to survive this. I actually had a great workout today for the first time in a long time. felt right.just have to go very slow and build a base back.see how the fram holds up.

Hybrid training

When I found kettlebells I was a powerlifter with a bad back who couldnt handle any volume training at all. I couldnt get in shape because I was hurt which made me weaker and more unstable. Then I found kettlebell swings and snatches and cleans and found that as my kb volume increased, my ability to squat more than one rep increased as well.

And my back pain went down and my mobility increased.I combined the two for a year or more until I had to decide between heavy snatches and a competitive bench. I choose the bench and was the worst for it overall. Again, I lost my conditioning because I was powerlifting too much and swinging too little.

After training exclusively with kbs and warrior dieting for the RKC for the last year I'm now in the best condition I have been in years with much better movement, mobility,much less pain and work capacity. But I do miss the barbell and mindless bodybuilding reps are not an option. I squatted again today and figured out how to unrack the bar without walking out. It worked very well and, as I suspected, not walking had a very good effect on my back, knees and ankles. I have to keep the load even and the position perfect however. A very good challenge.

I also benched wsb style, including rolling db extensions for 7x8 with 15 sec rest/set and it felt like the old times! Man does that feel weird saying that but it is so true.

A blend of kbs and powerlifts will do I think; I hope. Workout to follow.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Been reading a lot of young, healthy guys training logs and have to say I am not impressed. Everyone is getting way too excited about pulling 405. No disrespect; it is a decent weight that I will be very happy with when I can pull it again. But not for a young, healthy and strong man.

It is impressive for a 40 year old, lifetime drug free 123lb woman. The picture of the woman above is Kelii,my training partner and protege for nine years. She not only pulled 402 in a meet but did it after squatting a strong 391, benching 231 and then pulling 402. Something to consider. I know I do everytime I step up to the bar.

GTG "greasing the groove ": Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

GTG "greasing the groove ": Kettlebells, Strength, Fitness, Martial Arts

Monday, November 14, 2005

Upper body training

Well this didnt work either. Kettlebells have ruined me for "conventional" training. I did my entire upper body workout and felt like I hadnt done anything. Training for the pump just aint gonna cut it I can tell already. So I did some darcs and snatches to get some work in.

db bench press 8x8 with 45's( left bicep tendon doestn like bench it seems in any form)
one kb rows 8x6 with 54 these are good
dips 5x5 with bodyweight( shoulder is not happy with this either)
BW Pullups 5x5 these feel good at least
lying db extensions 4x10 with 30's
seated db curls 4x8 with 30's

that was all I could take. went to:


36x8/8x3 experimented with keeping the bell in close to the crotch on the downswing and then just a regular punch through technique on the snatch itself. felt suprisingly decent. not much knee bend.


5 sets of ten seconds. these save my shoulder. what a crap workout. I am tempted not to write this shit down but I want anyone thats reading to understand this is how training in real life, for long periods of time goes. You go through ups as well as downs but they key is to keep searching for what's right for you and what works AT THAT TIME. This getting older crap has got to go. Stuff is falling off at record rates.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Legs that don't quit

Those who have been reading this blog know I have been searching for a new direction in my training since I have retired from competition. I thought just getting incredibly lean and well conditioned would satisfy but it doesnt.
My recent little forays back towards powerlifting dont make much sense either and I know it. I do love kettlebells but I will never be Brett Jones or Steve Cotter with them as that poses the same problems heavy powerlifting does.

So I've been thinking very hard about what my goals are and what I neeed from my training.Since I blew my knee out in '74 most of my training has centered around strengthening and building my legs. First size with bodybuilding, then endurnace with marathons and cycling, then strength with powerlifts. Kettlebells have done more for my legs in terms of functional, useable strength then anything has since running. Trying to barbell squat again showed me that while I might be addicted to the power it is not the way to go if I dont want to be a cripple again.

But I do miss my upper body and heavy benches arent the way to go either. So perhaps a hybrid. Train my legs two times a week with the kettlebell lifts, swings for the hips and back and swing squats and depth squats for the legs themselves. What I really need are legs that dont, a back of Iron and a work capacity of a mule. The KB is the best tool for that. But train them like a bodybuilder would, with pyramid sets and reps and short(er) rest periods.

For my upper body use dumbells and the bodyweight exercises that have shown to be so helpfull in rehabbing my shoulder; the handstands and pullups, as well as the arm work to please the wife :)).

I shouldnt even push the deadlifts as it doenst help my back anywhere near as much as the kbs. It just has that Macho factor I need right now. Hoepfully the db benches and arm work will help ease that. This is the best I can come up with now and I feel excited about the coming weeks training. Hopefully this will last longer than a week.

The Plan:
Monday: Chest back arms
db bench 10x10
kb rows 8x8

dips 6x6
scapula pullups 6x6

db extensions
db curls: superest to pump

cable curls:superset to pump


wednesdays: Legs
H2H warmups
Darcs swings pyramid up and down
two hand swings: same
farmers walks

friday: shoulders arms
Bottoms up cleans 5x5
two kb cleans 5x5
db laterals 10x10
rope extensions
seated db curls
db kickbacks
band curls

Saturday: legs
H2H warmups
swing squats 10x10
depth squats 5x20
kb lunges 3-5x10
bosu one leg stands

This should cover all the ground. Fucntional leg strength and size as well, stability for the knee and back and plenty of conditioning to tire my ass out. the upper body stuff will just be fun. Plus I can eat again although I still plan on using the Warrior Diet, just with more carbs and calories during the evening eating phase.

Legs that dont quit, a back of iron, and some decent sized guns.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

deadlifts off blocks

Havent done this ever. Loaded the barbell onto three inch high wood blocks and pulled from there. Suprisingly a great start position.

two hand swing
88x8x3 this is a great warmup .

Dl/block(belt only)
315x1 strong!
348x1 strong
374x1 (knee wraps) very very solid.

Depth squats

Reverse grip bench
117x3 feels ok
135x3 decent on descent. ascent is

put in one board
163x1 strong

two board
207x1 easy. feels solid in hands. this is a very natural groove for me. My lats flare automaticaly,my elbows come right in and I push from the triceps and lats towards the hips.

Training partner intervention.

Had a great dl workout today and told my training partners I had squatted on wednesday. They went a little nuts, having been through most of my most recent injurys, and my solemn vows never to squat heavy again. I knew it wasnt a viable option but it felt great for a couple days. Its just playing with fire and I have a history of being pretty flammable.

I will just have to create something else. But thats how it goes with me; first I imagine it, then I try it on for size( live in it) and then decide if I want to really create it. But I have to try it on first. If I cant imagine it I cant create it and that goes with bodies as well as weights.

The kettlebells have produced a really functional legs for me and with a little tweaking of volume and loads I can set it up to get some leg mass from them, with the heavy muscle tension, and resulting body torques, that I get with heavy barbell squatting. Plus it gives me the work capacity and conditioning that I need. If I manipulate my calories and protein levels correctly I should be able to get some good leg growth from my kb work and avoid crippling a knee or a back.

Two days kb legs and two days db and kbs upper body bodybuilding. Lets see how this feels. Oh and I will still keep the dl in. Need to maintain a high degree of back strength.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Power squats and reverse grip benches

power squat( medium wide stance, wrestling shoes, hi bar,belt)
117x3 these are feeling great! I am sitting back into the squat like I never have.Trying to keep the knees upright as I squat down, then back into the hip.
183x3 wow. getting warm and feeling better
205x3 a little slow but ok
135x3 paused. interesting. we'll see tomorrow how much I pay.

Reverse grip bench
I knew regular benching wasnt going to work too well with my shoulder so I tried reverse grips. I competed with this in the early ninties. works great for me raw,scares the crap outa me in a shirt. great for the triceps which in me have dissapeared.
117x5x5 sets. this took awhile to groove. my shoulders were all over the place BUT what a short stroke and no shoulder rotation. we'll see here too.

db bench
30x10x4 these felt great.tris were cooking if you can beleive that! I am so weak in some ways its pathetic.

db curls
db kickbacks
cable curls sets of 10 til pumped. wierd to train like this again but my body knows this so well its scary.

db laterals 4x12

feel good now.

Power Squats.

Hello. My name is Mark Reifkind and I am a Powerliftaholic.Did the first barbell squats I've done in over a year.And it was great fun. Made me feel like myself again: strong.

I just have no direction with my training right now, other than just showing up and hitting something hard. THis is very hard for me as I have trained for competition each year for the last 34 years. I dont know how to train unless I am going for a specific goal. And it seems that pushing too hard is what gets me injured but man just exercising and not training is killing me.

I think.Until of course I push too hard and am lying on the bathroom floor with my back out wishing I could stand without pain and not giving a damn about how much I could power squat. With no training partner except for Nikko once a week I have to figure some things out.

The kettlebells have really strengthened and balanced me in a way I couldn't have imagined. the swings the thing, thats for sure as my squats were some of the best form I have ever done, even though I had to use a pretty high bar rack position to accomodate my shoulder.

If I could survive this I would have to really maintain focus on full joint flexibility as I am doing now.I have to get on the floor and stretch ALOT. All the injured areas. I am also really light now, 160, and I'm sure that helps too but I would like to be bigger and so would my wife!LOL!! great.

" those arms," she said yesterday "used to be so big!" Man. That hurts.

We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Kettlebell Bodybuilding, the workout

one kb clean and press( long cycle)
53x5/5x2 these felt good. fast clean and press. kinda hitting the shoulder, tightening and going.

two kb clean and press( long cycle)
2/44sx5x2 these were getting tired at the end. but fast pace and , dare I say it, a decent pump!

( this is where I tweaked the right shoulder on a one arm swing warmup :(( didnt tighten up til later.
44x8/8 strong though
44x10/10 easy
53x5/5 strong too
53x6/6 solid
44x10/10 fast

handstand pushups/ scap pullups
these were hard as my right shoulder was tightening up and I was working on the trap in between sets. I can get this out I'm just tired of doing it.
about five sets of two very shallow hs pushups. was tough even holding the hs as my shoulders were so tight. good stretch though.

scap pullups five sets of five

farmers walk
4 laps with the 53's. these were strong suprsingly.

shoulder rehab; 60 minutes

A little Kettlebell bodybuilding

Pavels 'fast tens" article got me going and I played around with the concept today. I started with long cycle clean and presses with 1 kb and then went to double bells.then I snatched again.Of course the universe had to give me its smack in the head not to get to excited as I subluxed the RIGHT shoulder on warmup one arm swing set with the 36! Just too loose and trying to get TOO much range of motion.

I am reminded again that full( and relatively easy) range of motion in all the joints has to come first. If I neglect this and get too tight, bad things happen. Lots of torsion going on when one side does not felx or extend as much as the other side. My joints lock up so fast I cant beleive it. So I finished my workout and went right into shoulder rehab. oh baby oh.

I did like the workout> I added my own touches to I and pyramided up in weight dropping reps as I upped the weight. This increased volume at the lower percentages is what builds a lot of mass I am convinced. It sure seemed that way when I was bodybuilding. the heavier weights increased density but the lighter ones ,and the pump, increased the size.

I am not sure, however that I should be chasing size, as thats what seemed to mess me up in powerlifting: to much tension in the muscles.I've got too many injuries to carry that much total body tension.I feel much better staying looser and (relatively) weaker. This is why I've been trying to get my weight and bodyfat down .I think I am just getting greedy again when I should be thankful I am in so little pain and can train so much.

bw 160.6
bf 10.6

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Being Swung

Its very easy to try to manhandle the swing, especially when you get tired. For those like myself with relatively weaker hips, the desire to pull the weight is strong. I was thinking about this yesterday during the tabata sets and realized that I had to learn to let the kbs momentum do its share of the work; stomping when the time was right, not through the entire movement.

Gymnasts must realize that you dont have to work the entire part of a giant swing; instead you have to wait for the right part of the bottom of the swing to "tap" and use the momentum you have created in the downswing to go upwards. Same thing with the kettlebell. If you reach back properly and get into the right position, the stretched muscles of the hips, glutes and thighs will contract on their own reversing the kettlebell and starting it back on its upward path.

Trying to push too eary does not help, in fact it hinders the swing as you are not in the correct position to exert maximum force.I thought of the idea of "being swung" to try to focus on using this momentum to my advantage. Coach Sonnon talks about being "breathed" in his bodyflow exercises reacting to the breath movement instead of forcing it.Same thing here.

It does not mean being loose or passive, more like the idea of riding the diving board or trampoline up until its the right time to jump. Trying to jump too early; before the board is properly coming up gives you less height, not more.

Monday, November 07, 2005

When it comes right down to it

I am just like everyone else. SO much of my training is geared towards changing my body composition. Whether I am doing extra sets or more weight to gain size or strength, or doing more sets of high rep snatches or swings to get leaner and harder I am breaking one of my golden rules.

To wit: do not overtrain just to burn off calories. Changing body comp is from diet not just training. I am still eating too many crappy carbs( halloween candy). I am always trying to push to do more sets and more reps and go at least and an hour and a half, but training alone I am finding an hour is it. Not counting mandatory stretching( which I should count) . I am a classic overtraininer, always trying to kill more demons.
Of course I have stalled a bit in my weight loss and my bodyfat is not dropping either. My training volume is definitely lower than its been.

36/8/8 x2 using a very hardstyle, straight arm, flip it over at the top form. Just being very instinctive with the move. also, trying to really feel the pendulum and time the stomp off that. I'd kill for an ass.

A lot of lean but not much knee bend.I am feeling last weeks training a bit. especially the heavy dls.
x8/8 back to what I know. I love ladders, always a good workout and what got me in shape last time/

124 reps with the 44, a decent volume. decided I need more time with the 20 kg although I am embarassed I am so weak these days.

one arm swings,tabata style( ten second rest between arms)

53x10x6 sets. Man, these freaking KILLED ME!
I would do one set of ten ,rest ten seconds, then the other arm. this shouldnt be so hard. course I did just do 124 snatches.

one leg squats( rear leg elevated in power rack)
26kbx8/8x2 sets. these are tough.

handstands/15 sec each
these are the longest I have held a handstand in forever. definitely harder than ten seconds too. shoulders start to tire.

these are coming along. this helps open my left hammie like nothing else.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It seems they are right.

Ori Homflecker, Dr. Art Devany, Dan Johns and his Meat leaves and berry diet as well as the Paleolithic diet. I feel so much leaner, stronger and cleaner since really cutting my carbs( even complex) and subbing vegetables. I never thought you could use vegetable carbs for energy but I guess if you become a good enough fat burner it doesnt really matter.

And the consistent mini fasting really sets the stage for the fat burning as well. I cant beleive how much more energy I have with so much less food. and my strength is good too. amazing.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I love Frazetta. Always a great energy to get you ready to train. Savage and intense. Or, as Pavel would say; "fluid and vicious".

Heavy and slow

WOke up feeling pretty spry from yesterdays training.

warmups( with 12kg)

around body pass

around leg pass

figure eights

around body pass

did this three times. only left to right on all movements.

overhead swings





72x3 Yes. the first time I have done this.

72x5 not bad at all. fun to play with the two pood again. just have to be carefull.

deadlifts( belt only, double overgrip)





315x1 a bit slower than I would have liked. I did dl on wednesday.

337x1 better.

348x1 very solid.

359x1 excellent. this moved the fastest of them all.

depth squats off 13" boxes

53x10 72x10

88x10x5 sets ah these are great!!!! really opening up the hips and back as it torches the legs. really tight eccentric reps.

kb touches base each rep.

have to get it so I can off the floor instead of the two board( 3") the weight hits now.

arm bars 36x5/5 44x5/5 53x5/5x2


Friday, November 04, 2005

Light and Fast

Been reading Dr Art Devanys first chapter of Evolutionary Fitness and already I love it. This is just where I need to be going and right now and he is a light in the darkness. The guy is just brilliant, imo, and has an honesty and bluntness that truly smart people have. they just state their truth and its yours to do with what you want.

I will have to read and reread, as is my curse, to really grok this stuff but thats alright. Its so fascinating I cant keep away. Nothing better than something really good to sink my teeth in on the cutting edge of the state of the art. lol.

Just how I was when I discovered Mr Tsatsouline. These guys are different.They have the ring of truth and the stink of integrity on them. Devany is definitely hitting on some intuitions I have always had about training and diet and explaining them from a scientific, as well as poetic perspective. Like Joseph Campbell for mythology.

Devany is big into training fast twitch and uses lighter weights and trys to increase acceleration during his compound an sprinting movements. Like Westside barbells dynamic effort day. short intense efforts and dont train too long. this will take some getting used to!LOL!!

Its getting easier to train faster and in less time now that I am solo . I used to train very fast in bodybuilding.

one arm swings, darcs, one arm cleans, snatch, two hand swing to overhead with one pood. 8 reps each

two sets of these

Swing flip squats
53x8x7 sets. Havent done these in awhile. defiinitely a good squat position.

two kb clean and press
36x5x5 took about 30 sec /sets.
felt great. light and fast. explosive. shoulder has relaxed from wednesdays bench presses.

pullups/ handstands
alternate sets of 5 reps and ten seconds. these are getting downright easy now. almost never miss first attempts.

two kb farmers walk
2/44's x6 laps. lighter and faster. 30 sec between sets.

I like this style of training. very wsb. shorts sets and short rests. no problem. its those long sets I hate. wind is getting decent and this helps my funtional leg strength( i.e ability to actually walk!) that I will have to add in another day at some point. It is literally teaching me how to walk right. the kettlebells low center of gravity really helps me root as I walk. its definitely getting stronger.I need another 72.or do mixed sets with the 72 and the 53 for a half lap.

On the FLoor stretching
20 minutes. also training splits 20 minutes this am.have to be careful swithing from side to side and this causes my shoulders to sublux! and they dont go back easily either.
L sits
downward dog
Hammie walk ups
sumo squat stretch

deads again tomorrow am cant wait.

bw 159.6
bf 11%

Thursday, November 03, 2005

No Slack.

Man, I am old. Just a tiny little bench press and curl workout and I can feel the stiffness and restriction in my right shoulder, which hasnt been bothering me at all for months, settling back in. No thanks.

I am in the training doldrums and its not pretty to see, or be in but the only really important thing is that I keep training, no matter what. Keep training and figure it out as you go. I will be training 90% solo now and I have no excuses for not doing exactly what my body needs to balance itself and keep getting better.

I was also thinking about putting on some more mass but I really like being lighter again. It is so much less stress on my knee and back as well. very noticably. also, not loading heavy is a key thing too. Another great thing about the kb is that it doesnt increase in weight forever, like a barbell. big difference in structure stress with the kb instead of the bar.

I would like to go backwards into power training, something I know so well, but my body doesnt seem to let me. I have to find a balance and a challenge I can live with.

I also HAVE to stay flexible, as much as possible, and keep working on my splits and full pike position. these are key to releasing the knee and the back.Handstands and overhead hangs do the same for my shoulders and NOT benching or building pec mass. oh well. I think dl will be ok as long as I dont get crazy heavy.

Training now is just as much about my preventative and restorative exercises as it is the kb or barbell work.And I have to give those extra sessions their just due and count them as part of my training. Because without them I dont go very far.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Dan Johns: The Meat, Leave and Berries Diet

Dan Johns: The Meat, Leave and Berries Diet

ANother great version of the Paleo diet. this time its from Dan John

Back to the Darkside.

I just can't face another hi rep day,especially training by myself, so I did a little powerlifting again today. Feels good to do some low reps and heavy( very relative) for a change. Without a deadline and some clear cut goals its almost impossible for me to get motivated to get going these days and being able to do 100 swings is just not enough.

Getting on the bench was like putting on an old,well worn pair of slippers. Not much support but it feels like home. I am nuts its seems.

Bench press
very easy but the left biceps tendon will want some adjustment time. I will give it to it.

rolling db extensions
25#x10x10 15 sec rest/set whats this? a tricep pump? forgot about that. I love this move and didnt even know when we were doing this that it is the Tabata intervcal protocal.

deadlifts ( double overgrip)
225x1x12 sets 30 sec rest/sets. fast and easy. perfect. very close stance set up with the weight in the medial arch. strong position.

two hand swings
53#x5x15 sets 15 sec res/set. ah this is almost like Dynamic effort squat day. so much more natural for me to go really hard for short periods;even with a short rest, rather than long low intensity sets. Just no good at them. Used a long hardstyle power stroke, reaching behind me as much as possible and accelerating as much as possible.

db laterals 4x12

pushdowns 4x20

hammer curls 4x10 time for a bit more mass again

handstands 4x 10 sec holds
have to keep this in the mix to keep the shoulders open.

I think the key to me staying (relatively) uninjured is really NOT neglecting my stretching and NOT pushing the loads. Hope this works, training has been very depressing lately. Push pull guy might work.anything but the void that is now.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Classic convential dl position

Here is a great photo of John Dzurenko a solid 198'er in the 60's. It aint pretty but when the weight gets really heavy this is how most of the top guys look.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Training partners

I've always said: Good training partners are harder to find that a good woman.Nothing worse than expectiing your partner to be there to get through a tough workout, especially a squat or bench day( where you need a handoff), or, a snatch workout and have a no show. It just sucks.

If you dont have the expectation of the partner then you adapt to that and thats it. But when you expect that person, come to rely on the them, and they dont show its different. Oh well, enough whining for now. Gotta train no matter what. Its always on you anyway, training partners or no.

Been playing with a modified GS style descent to set up a better leg drive. we'll see what happens.
26x8/8 shoulders are already tight.
36x8/8x2 not too bad
44x5/5x2 a bit jerky ont he way down. not sure the biceps tendon likes this at this weight.
53x5/5 same as the 44
x5/5 it warmed up a bit, and it did put me in a very good leg drive position it is too tough on the biceps.
36x5/5 a closer in, over the top drop.a modifed hard style.
44x5/5 not bad a bit worried about catching it with a bent elbow in the bottom though.
53x5/5x2 so so
44x5/5x2 playing with technique, nothing definitive.

152 snatches. not a bad volume considering. intensity low though.form work always is.

one arm swings

these are so much less complicated than snatches! and more fulfilling in many ways.
just the simplicity of them.

freestanding handstand pushups
sets of
16 total reps. these are getting easier. LOTS of triceps.

6 sets of 6. these are coming along fine.soon I will add a kb and cut the reps a bit.

one leg squats( rear leg supported)
These are working out great! It stretches out the rear quad as you have great control on the negative portion of the rep. and I dont have to hold on either SO I can hold a kettlebell! very happys with these

18#x6/6x3 sets wow these were hard but solid. this is exciting I really got the legs and the hips working well.

handstand holds

4 sets ten second holds.I have to do these now just to stretch out the shoulders.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

the old days

Ah this photo brings back memories. I used to do a lot of standing and squatting on stability balls. Now with this bosu it is MUCH safer, although not quite as engaging. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Great training video of the Worlds Strongest Man

and one of the best athletes as well. This guy has it all. Incredible strength, power, size, agility, endurance and a physique that would make a cartoon superhero happy. Videos in Polish but just wathch the guy squat and they jump rope like a pro boxer. Pretty flexibile too.

My new Deadift exercise list

Of course I've already 'pruned and refined' the list:

1) Comp Style deadlift
2) Deadlift /knee
3) deadlift/plinths
4) good mornings
5) snatch grip deadift to knee( smitty deads)
6) trap bar dl.

much cleaner choices/

A good one.

woke up with no ill effects from yesterdays deadlifting adventure. excellent.played around with a new decent technique for the kettlebell snatch. A modified GS style descent. I've always thought if I could get the same leg and bellposition for the snatch that I get for the clean and the darcs then I would have a much stronger "jump" position.

Problem is that doing a hardstyle, over the top, descent doesnt get close to that position, it bends me over at the hips much more.SOOOOO.... I lowered to my shoulder and THEN down (without it touching the shoulder) and voila! there it was. It worked great with the 16 kb, monday we'll try the 20kg. This could be a huge technique breakthrough for me.

snatches( 5min ss test style)
36x10+10x4 or so. just playing around and warming up but it felt very interesting.know more monday.

Overhead swings
53x10x10 sets this is a great move for me. the same path my snatch takes as well.Its a very natual "jump" position for me. and very consistent. The two pood is next.

one kb press
53x5/5x5 no problem. the two pood is soon here too.

depth squat
this has helped my hip flexibility already.I am standing on 13" boxes and I am lower than last time. excellent.

5 ten second HS

Friday, October 28, 2005

cant beleive its been that long since I deadlifted but Jack and Pavels deads got me thinking about it once more. I've been missing the heavy lifts although I know I cant do too much anymore.

Deadlifts( double overgrip)
no problems at all. cant beleive it. last time I was deadlifting regularly I was using 365-385 and I'm not far off at all. kettlebells do work that posterior chain well.

Here's the basic plan( If I can stand tomorrow). Limit volume to progressive singles as I did today and work up to a training force max for a different "form" of deadlift once a week.85-90% This is essentially the max effort day of WSB, adjusted a bit, and using the other kb ballistic training days for the dynamic effort/gpp aspect.

The exercises: 1) competition style deadlift/raw
2) competition style deadlift/suit bottom
3)deadlift off 2 inch plate
4)safety squat bar good morning
5)deadlift to knees
6)deadlift off boxes( bar is 3-4 inches off ground)
7) trap bar deadlift Of course I might not be able to do this but If I can tolerate it thats the basic plan.

kb cleans
72x5/5x2! yes, havent hit this in six weeks.
53x10/10 easy. ah its nice when the nervous system turns on.

53x50 havent dont this in awhile. easy.

farmers walk
2/53s 6 laps these are really helping my leg/hip strength and gait.

6 sets ten second holds: easymoney.

decompression hangs
6 sets 10-12 seconds

splits work on floor: ten minutes. getting closer

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Depth Squats

My hips are still my weak link and they arent coming up as fast as I would like. It seems almost impossible for me to feel my hips in even the most hip centric motions- like squats and swings. even windmills dont get my hips to load well. I am too flexible and totally locked at the same time.

My hips go back immediately with any hip flexion and yet they have to push back very far in order to get any tension in them. By that time my back is not a great angle to produce force. so its always a compromise. Powerlifting didnt even build my glutes.

really strict low progection swings seem to hit it the most.really getting onto,and staying on, the glutes as you drive through the ground. focused on hip drive exclusively today in the swings and I can feel it.

two hand swings
72x20x5 sets these were kicking my ass. I am bad in this rep range. consistently.
88x10x5 sets these were much better. I was totally warmed up and could be more explosive without fear of, I am stronger in this low rep range.power not endurance.

Supersetted with left leg only Bosu stands. used right toe to stabilize instead of arm catches. works better. really driving heel into Bosu and flexing VMO.

Depth squats
We used to do this exercise when we were traiing WSB called handle squats. You stand on boxes and use chain to connect a lat row handle and then squat/deadlift it up from a deep squat position from a dead start. We used 300-400 plus pounds on this for sets of 5 or more. So I got the idea of doing them with a kb to work my hips. Worked like a charm!!! great stretch with no back sounds or adjustments in my back

88x7x3 sets wow. that really works the legs hard- front to back as well as my glutes.

5x5 touching neck on each rep except the freaking LAST rep of the fifth set.

handstand holds
5 sets ten seconds solid as hell.

dats it

Monday, October 24, 2005

Six weeks post injury

today was the six week anniversary of my biceps injury. So I did the 1.5 pood for snatches today with no problem. excellent.

44x5+5( back is making a lot of noise on the left hand)

53x5+5x5 !!

not bad. 25 reps . good start back


118 total reps. not quite there mentally though.distracted. trained solo as well, always fun.

supersetted with one foot bosu stands

26x5+5 man I am SO TIGHT on these I wonder if they are worth the effort. Left side is easy and I could do 72 no problem but the right side, between my tight right shoulder and my crappy left knee and weak ass hips just sucks. Oh yeah, forgot to mention the curved spine. Lovely. Really lovely. right side windmills always suck..
36x5+5x3 takes forever to warm these up
44x5+5 x2 halfway decent but I hate them.

One legged squat/WSB style
these are done in the power rack with one leghooked over the catch pin and the other leg in a squat/lunge. Much better for me than pistols,which are killing my calves to the pont I cant walk. Need more bosu ball stands and less pistols. but these are great.

5x5,5,8,8,10 really can work the negative on these and when I am using my right leg I am getting and AMAZING stretch on my tight right knee. Plus I can see how easy it will be to use kb for weight in one or two hands.

Handstands/hangs from rack
5 ten second handstands.
all day with these now.

bw 161
bf 10.9%

Sunday, October 23, 2005



The path this leading into is very interesting.

Devany on Water

Follow Up to "Water Bottles,..."
April 19, 2005 09:39 AM
To follow up on my post on the overzealous promotion and consumption of water.
Your thirst over the course of a day, not within a brief span of hard work, is an excellent guide to your water requirements. Research in the Journal of Physiology shows that you don't need the 8 glasses of water "authorities" recommend (a lot of this advice comes from bottled water and sports drink manufacturers).
You need water when you are thirsty. Just realize that your thirst is a bit slow to come on line when you are doing hard work. You can anticipate this effect by sipping before you become thirsty if you are on a long hike or working in hot weather. Even then, there is little risk your body will fail to become thirsty in time to keep your water balance. How could it be otherwise when our ancestors survived the African Savanna for millions of years?
A bit of evolutionary reasoning tells us: 1. that thirst is an adaptive mechanism evolved over thousands of generations of humans; it can't be all that wrong. 2. the urgency of thirst is compelling, another evolved adaptation that keeps us from ignoring this important signal. 3. humans are the only carnivore that can operate at high daytime temperatures; wild cats can't because they lack the thermoregulatory system and sweating systems of humans. This adaptation gave humans a niche in which to operate where there was less competition from other, lethal (to us) carnivores. 4. watering places were dangerous; prey (including other humans) attracted carnivores, so it would have been maladaptive for humans to have required water on a continuous basis, as some trainers practice and recommend for their clients. To do so would have entailed continuous exposure to carnivores. 5. hunter gatherers obain a good deal of their water from their consumption of plant food as well as the blood of prey. Similarly, we modern humans get a lot of it in our food. I hope this makes clear the need to think beyond proximate or mechanism-based explanations (you get thirsty to manage your water balance) to evolutionary explanations that give a deeper understanding of why the proximate mechanism evolved and how it works in a broader scheme.
Unlike your hunger mechanisms, which go awry at the low energy flux sedentary individuals live at, your thirst mechanism is pretty much spot on. There are some individuals whose sense of thirst is over-developed even to the point of craving water well beyond physiological requirements. This "water intoxication" may stem from constant water binging.
You need water when you feel thirsty and not otherwise. Excess water bloats you and is hard on the kidneys. Water does help to cleanse the kidneys, but too much puts a burden on them. When you carry extra water you carry extra weight (which slows you down and increases your work rate), you dilute the minerals in your blood which changes the chemical gradient across cell membranes (intefering with metabolism and thermal control), and your blood volume can rise to a level that stresses your heart. Exess blood volume builds up in the circulatory system and leaks through the vessels into the interstices of the body (the same thing that happens with congestive heart failure).
I could go on, but a more general point is lurking here. A lot of fitness advice is just repeated rather than thought through and it is probably true that most manufacturers go beyond the pale in marketing their products.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Testosterone Nation - Evolutionary Fitness

Testosterone Nation - Evolutionary Fitness

A very interesting article by the very interesting scientist /athlete Art Devany. His site is Evolutionary fitness.Great blog too.

Kettlebell Swing to Handstand

Got this idea off the Crossfit website: two handed kettlebell swing to arms fully over head. With all the handstands I've been doing I got thinking of this as a swing to handstand.Loved it the first rep I did with it. Very different arc than the regular swing, and very comfortable for me.

one kb full swing
44x8 this is one big arc!
53x8x8 man this is very very interesting. the bell stays higher in the crotch on the down swing and the acscent is very different than normal.

Two KB front squat
x5 paused last rep of each set. these were solid.

handstand pushups
7 sets of 2 reps ( with sets of 3 reps on set4 and 5)
these were as solid as I've been. head about 2-3 inches off floor, no spot.

16 total reps. balance feels solid.

hanging leg raises
5x12 ( leading with left leg)

very pumped about the new kettlebell move as well as how solid the handstand pushups were.

Friday, October 21, 2005

United States Olympic Committee - Eric Heiden 25: An exclusive interview

United States Olympic Committee - Eric Heiden 25: An exclusive interview

He would have loved Kettelbells.

200 snatches

Its been almost 6 weeks since my bicep injury and today I did 200 snatches as the second snatch workout of the week. These were very light but so happy I can do this again. Firdays are always a tough workout day as its my longest work day, starting the earliest, I train solo and its the end of the week.

Snatches are perfect for this because even if I do nothing more I worked everything from head to toe; legs, hips, back,abs, shoulders ,heart and lungs.As well as agility, flexibility and stability.

36x10+10x10 200 reps in about 22 minutes.

these felt great although I havent done this many reps with any weight.

bottoms up cleans
53x5+5x2 sets. left arm was tired from the snatches. I love these.

farmers walk

2-44's x2 laps, six times. 30 seconds rest/sets. these are really helping everything and actually getting better. Much help with my gait mechanics. Using 2 kbs now is helpful in obtaining more symmetry in the walk rather than the alternating single bell.


5 ten second handstands. these are great for stretching out my shoulders.

As per Pavels great blog entry this week I will strive to do fewer things better. This harkens back to my bodybuilding and powerlifting days when I would spend entire workouts on just one or two exercises( usually squats ) exploring numerous variations of loading patterns. Perfect the movement and good things will happen.


Split work is the perfect thing for releasing my hammy and opening up my left knee. So I will get my side splits back. Ten minutes.
Total workout : 65 minutes.

bw 159.6 ( first time under 160!)
bf 10.6% ( this always temporarily goes up when my weight goes down)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Squat cleans

I love doing this exercise. it makes me feel like an olympic lifter,which is one sport I really missed out on. Course, with my knee and shoulder is was never really a choice.

squat cleans, one kb
for some reason I was fluid and loose. good depth too.

KB press, one arm
these were tough at the end but overall very solid. I need a 63 pound kb at stones.soon.

one kb lunge
53x8+8x3 can feel the effect of the squat cleans here. not bad though. left hammie tendon is tight.remember to weight instep.

five handstands ten seconds( easy!)
5x5 in pullup ,left bicep tight, focus on scapula retraction and pulled to chin.

RIS ten minutes.

Trainer or Exerciser?

I know a lot of people who exercise,but very few who train. When I started this path many years ago all I cared about was the skills and the training; competition was just something that went along with it( high school gymnastics). In order to train and not just exercise you must have a goal.Doesnt matter what it is, you just have to have one( or more) and pursue it with as much zest as possible.

I realized that to justify the amount of training I wanted to do I better not only compete, but do well, or I'd have to get a real job one day and not have an excuse for being a gym bum. So I cut my teeth on training for competition and don't really know how to workout without a set goal in mind or a deadline to complete that.

Many,many years of that have now rendered me in a state where training like that is not only not feasible but nonsensical as well. training to be your best and constantly progress is very likey to push you over the edge and I can't work if I'm hurt. Plus, it hurts and I am very tired of hurting all the time.

Kettlebell training and joint mobility have brought me back from the dead with increased mobility, endurance,flexibility and recovery. Not to mention a functional strength I have not had in years, as well as reserve capacity. Finally some gas in the tank. Not being able to do cardio because of my orthopedic limitations was getting very old. KBs have certainly solved that.

But I still have to set some number goals and make my mind up to achieve them or I notice my training get laxer and laxer.Going by how I feel is not a good thing because lately I am only tired or in pain when it comes time to get started and that doesnt make for good motivation.Once I get going I feel so much better but the old powerlifter/bodybuilder set/rep guy is the only way I like to train. I know it, its familiar and it leads somewhere.

So many peoples training goes nowhere because they dont choose for it to go somewhere in particular. 5x5 with the 72 in the front squat, 10x10 with a certain weight in a certain exercise, a 45 minute 10 km,100 swings- whatever.It really doesnt matter as long as you are training for it. Because in the world of the lifestyle athlete as soon as that goal is accomplished another one will take its place and the cycle will continue. If you are just exercising its just not the same.