Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The original Kenneth Jay post on DragonDoor Re: maxVo2 training

KJ killing the Beast.

Training to increase Max Vo2 with a kettlebell.

I will share with you one of my best advanced protocols for improving VO2max and lactate buffering capacity using the kettlebell.

To improve the 10 min. SSST you need to tax the oxidative energy pathways as well as the glycolytic pathways. Basically that means that you should train to stimulate your VO2max and your lactate producing and buffering capacities.

The program below is derived from the latest research on improving 10-15 min. work bouts. Most research is done on running and bicycling for good reason but based on findings from these studies it is possible to specifically design optimal SSST programs using this data and the knowledge of VO2 kinetics during submaximal and maximal work.

I will not go into the deep theory behind this kind of training but rather just provide you with a protocol you can start doing immediately. Should you be interested in knowing in detail why and how it works I hope to see you at the RKC II where there is a possibility of discussing it further.

The first thing you have to do is to establish at what snatch cadence you come the closest to eliciting your VO2max. This is done by doing an incremental test that lasts no less than 6 minutes. Basically you just start out very slow and for each minute you increase the cadence. When you have get to the 6th minute you go all out snatching as many times as you can without stopping for at least one minute. The test might look like this but is subject to individual differences:

1st minute: 10 reps left arm
2nd minute: 12 reps right arm
3rd minute 15 reps left arm
4th minute: 17 reps right arm
5th minute: 18 reps left arm
6th minute: 26 reps right arm (all out effort)

The 6th minute reflects your VO2max cadence, hence that will be your interval training tempo. It is very important for the protocol that you continued snatching for the entire 6th minute. (make sure afterwards you balance out the numbers of snatches performed on each side so each side get a total equal amount of work).

In this example the VO2max cadence = 26reps

The interval work/rest time is determined to 36 sec. which is 60% of one min.

In those 36 sec. you need to keep your VO2max cadence = 26reps x 60% = approx. 16 reps.

So the setup is as follows:

VO2max/lactate tolerance and buffering:

Work/rest ratio: 1:1 (36 sec of work separated by 36 sec of rest.)

Number of intervals: at least 10 and the goal is to work up to 17+ sets before you test the SSST.

Number of reps per set: 16 (it is very important NOT to go faster or slower. DO NOT speed up to get more rest- it will ruin what you are trying to do.)

If your hands can take it do this at least twice per week. Only substitute with swings if it is really necessary. The program is based on the specific VO2 kinetics of the snatch not the swing.

The program is very taxing and one should always build up volume slowly.

Now go be an animal and try it!

/Kenneth Jay

Monday, July 30, 2007

Joe pulls 517 easy

Joe has been on fire lately and his deadlift forma nd strength are really peaking right on time. We have really spent ALOT of time working on proper form: linking to the bar through the hips, wedging,creating tension,taking up slack and, very importantly speed work.It is really paying of big as Joe pulled and easy 517 lb PR.
Joe really underscores the importance of being square, plumb and neutral as an athlete. Joe can handle big workloads and intensities and still recover fast as he is so symmetrical. The guy is just a horse and has just barely tapped the surface of his strength. If we had just gotten this in September I would have been happy.

450 warmup

495 five plates.

517 all time PR!

Max Vo2 day

Decided to step back after last weeks peak and only do 40 sets today. Had thought about going up to 8 reps a cycle but that wouldnt be backing off much eh?lol. So I thought if I felt good at the end I would step up and that's jsut what happened.
Really solid form and the heavy days on saturday are really blending well with this fast paced hi volume work. the light snatches are really helping my hip snap and power and the heavy ones make this weight seem like the toy it is.
The light days with hi volume really makes my form come out as well.

16 kg x 15 on 15 off 7 reps per cycle
30 cycles
210 reps
16kg x 15 on 15 off at 8 reps per cycle
10 cycles
80 reps
290 reps
10,440 pounds

This felt very very solid and I really concentrated on my over head position this time and made sure to punch through at the end. When I got to 30 sets I knew I could get 8 reps a cycle, but it was tough. DOing 50 sets at 8 reps per cycle will be one hell of a feat!!Got a way to go though.

Face pulls
stick slides
scapula pullaparts

4 cycles while Joe deadlifted.

Rack holds with 16 kg
4 sets of 45 sec each arm
these also felt solid.

Rack walks
1200 feet
switch arms every 200 feet
Farmers walk single 16 kb
600 feet.( hate these,always feel off balance)

datsit, stay loose.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

From kenneth jay's blog

3rd session, 2nd week, 2nd strength cycle
Today I did:Warm up:KB swings; 32kg/30 reps
TGU; 24kg/5+5 reps\
Main lifts:Sumo Dl; 150kg/4 reps x 4 sets, 205kg/1 rep, 190kg/1 rep
Military Press; 90kg/2 reps x 2 sets
Pull ups; bw+60kg/2 reps x 2 sets
Bench press; 115kg/4 reps x 4 sets

Auxilliary exercises:Kettlebell snatch; 48kg/25 left+24 right (one hand switch, hard style)I am OK with that.
It wasn´t the grip that was failing at all, but generating enough hip drive to accelerate the bell.- this was pretty much all out effort. In about two weeks when I come back from vacation I will train for 37+37 snatches with the beast. I think it would be pretty cool to be able to do the RKC requirement with the beast. A time estimate for how long it will take me is about 1 month of dedicated work. I LOVE KB snatches. I will probably do a video of my attempt and post it. My blog needs some more videos.

Rif's note:

that is 25 and 24 snatches with the BEAST people. with no specific training for it. Oh, how did he accomplish that without GS training?
Well done Kenneth and looking forwards to the video of you doing your RKC snatch cert requirements with the Beast.

Understanding Max O2 Consumption

This is an interesting site for explaining the O2 delivery system and why it is important for increasing endurance and work capacity. Kenneths Max Vo2 protocol is specifically designed to increase stroke volume, the limiting factor in getting more oxygen to the muscles.


Jesse Marunde Tribute Video

Jesse died this week of a heart attack at age 27.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The One True Way.

Brett hits the nail on the head. A post on Dragon Door forum:

The One True Way....the speach of domatic zealots (A fanatically committed person) every where - oh what a wonderful place the world would be if everyone would just recognize the answer that we (insert group here) hold.
The one true way is only accessable to those that believe as we (insert group) do...
Oh I have seen the light and the light is good....
The one true way to lift a barbell is Olympic lifting.
The one true way to lift a barbell is Powerlifting.
The one true way to lift is functional training.
The one true way to lift is unstable surface training.
The one true was to lift is bodyweight exercise.The one true way to lift a kettlebell is GS...
STOP - STOP - STOP the madness and take a deep breath...
If you want to train GS - train GS - as John pointed out below - The RKC used to contain a GS section - separtate from the rest of the cert - VF and others presented - The RKC group has never said don't train GS the only true way to train with KBs is our way.
The RKC has always included, respected and deferred to those GS people as an option in kettlebell training.
Now ask yourself why the people "who have seen the light" cannot do the same.Those "that have seen the light" have not dicovered the one true way to lift kettlebells - They have discovered how to train for GS - congratulations! and Period.
I have nothing but respect for GS and those that choose to undertake the demands of the sport - but stop the "one true way" speak and realize that you are caught in the business interests of those preaching this "new religion".The RKC system results speak for themselves and have always included GS as an option. Why can't the "new GS religion" do the same?


Snatches and swings

Recovered very well from Wednesdays session and was ready to go this morning. All those snatches on mvo2 day must have greased the groove as the snatches felt strong and easy today.very solid in all phases and the bell felt light.

Warmup one arm swings
16 kgx10/10x2
24 kg x7/7

16 kgx5/5

24 kg x 7/7 x 7 sets
98 snatches
5194 pounds

As I said above, these felt great, strong and powerful. Hip snap was solid as well as overhead.No bicep/shoulder issues either.

One arm swings
32kg x10/10 x6 sets
120 reps
8640 pounds

Darcs 32 kg

40 reps
2880 pounds

These were tough at the end, all the snatches started to catch up with me.The 32 kg reps were strong and fluid and were as good as they have been, but I didnt wan't to push the volume too much. It's been a rough week.The DARCs went well but the weight started to feel a bit heavy so I stopped.

Snatch Holds
24kg x60 seconds x 2 sets

Scapula Pullaparts
double mini band 3x10 reps

Stick slides,stick squat pattern, rifga stretches


Datsit, staying loose.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kenneth Jay on the Snatch protocol rep and weight schemes

from Dragon Door forum:

.... the 36/36 protocol is more suited for lighter bells, whereas the 15:15 is forgiving when using heavier bells in terms of stimulating VO2.The 36/36 protocol is set at 97-100%VO2max and the 15:15 protocol is set between 100-130%VO2max which makes them differnet in terms of stimulatory effects.
A good progression on how to use these protocols is to start using the 36/36 protocol for 4-6 weeks testing VO2 snatch cadence once every other week and after that switch to the 15:15 protocol for 4-8 weeks.
Doing the 15:15 protocol you should move up a kettlebell size once you are able to do 50 sets at 1.3 x your VO2max cadence.

-Speed is KING/KJ

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Back in the day, 1998 . The 85 lb Rifstone.

The next step off a peak.

I knew I was going to pay for Mondays little andrenaline/cns push. I was wiped all day today( delayed onset CNS burnout?). Not injured, not sore, just FLAT. Slept ok but dragged through the day. Then Joe had to cancel and it was solo time. Arggh. One arm swings with the 24 were on the menu and I needed a 20 minute power nap to get my burnt ass in the gym.It's amazing what 20 minutes in a good alpha state can do, though.

I expected the bell to feel heavy but it didnt and my groove was instantly there; which suprised me.I guess 350 snatches will grease the groove.
I knew I need to do something different on each set; 10 sets of 10/10 wasnt going to cut it but I needed to go slowly today.

One arm swings
16 kg x10/10x1

24 kgx

300 swings
25 minutes
15,900 pounds

Did the first 180 swings in 10 minutes then slowed down.Was taking a minute inbetween sets til I realized I was pushing it too hard and went to 1.5 -2 minutes rest. Not bad but I was pretty flat after the first 200.
I was suprised though at my wind; I guess all that Max Vo2 work is paying off. I have never done that ladder so easily, from a cardio perspective! Plus the groove was so good. Just like Louie says, if you learn to move a light weight very fast and explosive, when you put a heavier weight on the bar you will move that fast too.
If all you ever do is move weight slowly you will never learn to be fast nor be as strong as you could be. Force is always Mass x ACCELERATION.
Max Vo2 day is very much like squat and bench speed day for me. Love it.

Farmers walk, one 16 kg
1200 continuous feet, switching hand ever 200 feet.
Rack walk
300 foot laps x2

1800 feet total

Stick squat pattern work
Double mini band scapula pulls
Stick slides
Rifga floor work

20 minutes. I really needed this stuff too. A good ending to the workout.Gotta eat more too.

BW 160.4
BF 9.3%
Water 60.2%

Datsit,staying loose.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Throw and go.

This is how you learn new gymnastics tricks. Man I would have KILLED to have access to a pit like this back in the day.

Kettlebell arms

The thing Tracy always talked about when she talked about getting back in shape was getting arms. The real irony is that with all the bodybuilding she did back in the day she never had arms like this, doing no direct biceps work at all.Thats a bicep.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Big day at Stones Gym.

Being the Rifstonian, a nickname given to me by Big Chief McGoldrick, he of 5 time World Highland Games Champion and Best Caber Tosser in History fame, my garage dungeon gym is Stones Gym. Because it really is about 'if you have the stones' and I want to be reminded of that so as not to slack off.
Rifstonian refers to some stones Jim and I got for some practice throwing when he was getting ready for a comp and teaching me the basics of stone putting in my backyard. I got an 85 lb stone, a 100 pound stone and a 125 lb stone. These are the Rif Stones, as Big Chief told it and the gym was the Rifstonian Institute ,or Stones, for short.They now guard the entrance to Stones gym but once I put them over head ran a bit nowand gave them a shove. Great fun.

Today is MaxVo2 day at Stones; it seems , and Tracy and I are training together for this and its' surreal. Today I had set my sights on 45 sets with the 16 and it looked like Tracy was going to do the SAME!?! I definitely had to Man Up here. Little did I know.

Snatch 16 kg
couple sets of swings and snatches to warmup then

50 sets of 7 reps per arm
15 sec on
15 sec off
350 snatches
12,600 pounds

Now in and of itself this was not so bad. But the thing is; Tracy did this with me with the same DAMN WEIGHT.Same 7 reps per cycle. AND when I got to 45 sets and was ready to stop, as planned. she called me out to go to fifty! ANd I really really really did not want to.I had planned on 45 and wanted to do 45; stick to the plan.I was thinking fifty for next week .
But whatcha gonna do?
I finished my last five sets.

Two minutes in I think, stiff and slow.

ten minutes in, finally warming up

the last two minutes, past warm. cooked.

Stick slides
5 sets of 5

4x8/8 with 12 kg

Rack walks
1400 feet in 200 foot sets
30 sec between sets.

Man this kicked my ass. I could barely finish the walk, my ARMS were cooked and it was tough HOLDING the 16 kg in the rack,lol! But I love this training and the key is that the damn bell feels LIGHT and I feel like I can really THROW it around. Too tight is slow.This is really helping loosen me up an make my hip snap and snatch groove that much more explosive.

And man I cannot believe how freaking strong my wife is. she was hurting too and had trouble finding her groove at first and just toughed it out and got things under control. What she did would be at least the equvilant of me doing it with the 24 kg and there is just NO WAY I could come close.I do wonder how many sets I could do with it, hmmmm?
Now what to do next week?

Thanks to Joe who took the video for us.Plus he pulled an EASY 482 , which I will post soon.

Datsit,gotta stretch

Saturday, July 21, 2007

More High Bar

I trained under this guys father at Woodward Gymnastics Camp in 1975. His kid is AMAZING.The close ups in slow motion of the grip work and shoulder dexterity is unreal.

Solid snatches.

Decided to up the reps a bit today on the 24 kg snatch. Will work up to multiple sets of 7-8 to overload the numbers I will be doing in the MVo2 test day.Today was up from 5 to 6 reps per side.

Snatch warmup
one arm swings
12 kgx10/10x3
16 kgx6/6x2

16kgx6/6 (right shoulder is a bit tight this AM, was weird all day yesterday)
24 kg x6/6 x8 sets
96 reps
5088 lbs

these went very well except for being overly focused on my right biceps. did a bunch of stick slides(stick press on the rack) and they helped alot. TONS of clavicular adjustments. Did a lot of extension stretches as well which also helped.
The snatches felt fast and easy and the groove was consistent and solid.It just always takes me a while to really get warm on saturday mornings so early.

DARC Ladders with 32 kg
148 reps

these were tough! forgot how challenging these are with the two pood. my best is 85 continuous. I have a long way to go.45 sets of snatches on Monday( mvo2 day) so I have some stretching to do.
Snatch holds
24 kg
x45 sec
50 sec
60 sec

these took awhile to settle in with my right shoulder but it felt much better after the sets.Thats all and it was enough. Nick is training for a cert and got a good exposure to some moderate rep snatches and swings. His heart rate still hasnt come down! LOL, he's got a long way to go but he will be in the best shape he's been in since his college wrestling days when he passes.

datsit, stay loose.

Another amazing KB testimonial story

This is from Tim Anderson, RKC Level 2's wife. What an amazing testimonial to the health and strengthening benefits of basic kb training.Check out Tim's blog, too.

From the Blog of Tim Anderson:

We just got back from vacation yesterday and last night my wife decided to write a review on my dragondoor site. This is not something she would normally do. Anyway, she's been through a lot so I thought this was cool...As Tim's wife, I'm biased about his instruction skills; however, I have to write what my kettlebell training experience has done for me, especially since I have a unique health situation. I have a horrible back. I wore back braces for scoliosis during middle school and part of high school. The braces left me very inflexible and weak. Every summer since those braces, I haven't been able to get up on one ski (deep water start) at the lake - my back just couldn't handle the drag, year after year. There were other things I couldn't do, but this one bothered me the most! In my mid twenties, I worked out very regularly at the gym (traditional exercises), and I thought I was in the best shape of my life. For one time one summer, I actually pulled out of the water on a slalom ski - it was so hard to hang on to the rope, but I did it. Then within a 3 year time span, I had two kids, and then became extremely ill - hospitalized for almost a month. I lost half a lung and a section of a rib bone, plus my lat muscle was cut during surgery. At 5'11", I wasted away to 112 lbs. The last two years since my surgery have been a slow climb back up to a normal weight, and I've always considered myself in rehab mode ever since. Now, for the last 6 months, I've been training with kettlebells - swings, snatches, windmills and side presses. My back has felt the most flexible and stable than it has in years, not to mention I've made the best progress rehabbing my surgery site (shoulder and lat area). This past week at the annual lake trip, I decided to try to slalom ski starting in the deep water. I pulled right up on the second try - and it wasn't even that hard to handle the drag! I was on cloud nine! After the surgery I've been through, plus with the loss of so much muscle mass through the healing process, I never really imagined my core and upper body would have the strength that it used to have at what I thought was its prime. I still don't have all of my muscle mass back, but I'm so much more flexible than I've ever been, and I know how to use what muscle I have. I'm thrilled with the results of my kettlebell training!


Friday, July 20, 2007

Eizo Kenmotsu Olympic Champion

One of my early heroes and role models Eizo Kenmostu.I first saw him at the 1972 Olympics and he and the rest of the Japanese Team became my reference point for what was Elite Gymnastics. This was the style and skill level I was working towards at my peak.

and Sawao Kato on P Bars.I could do virtually all the skills in this routine and had a similar level of difficulty on this event.

and my how it's changed. These modern routines have so much more speed,power and difficulty it's almost a different sport.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Aerobic threshold training

I am amazed that more people wanting weight loss aren't looking more closely at what Tracy has been doing, from an energy system and calorie burned per minute perpective. Many people have lost 100 pounds or more. Some have even kept it off for two plus years or more. But I surely haven't seen anyone loose 125 pounds and end up to lean and muscular with body fat levels 20 year old females would love to have.
Now I write this NOT because she is my wife and I am proud of her but because as a strength and conditioning professional I am amazed at what I have seen her do with her body with her training and I am intrigued by what is actually happening.

She built up quickly to two minute swing sets, which is a feat in itself, with two minute rest intervals. She started with four work bouts( 8 minutes of actual work) twice a week and built up to being able to do 900 swings with the 16 kg in 30 minutes as a throwaway workout- no big deal. or 2000 swings in a hour two or three times a week. The work being done here is off the charts ; and yet it is available to so many. yet so few seem to choose it. It is very hard but ???? It is obviously working.

At whatever sport I decided to compete in I always approached it the same way. I started at the top and looked to what the best were doing. I would try to emulate them and build up to what they were capable of.
If my goal were to lose a lot fo bodyfat and get as lean as possible I would be doing these hellacious swing workouts Tracy is doing. At least I would HAVE to try.Start at the top and work down.

When she started doing them and I noted how well they were working I called them "aerobic threshold" sets. In an energy system sense, under two minutes of work is mostly anaerobic, requiring more white fibers, glucose as fuel and of higher intensity. Pretty much after two minutes the energy required to keep things going is primarily fueled by the aerobic energy system.

The anaerobic threshold is the level one can work at and NOT go into oxygen debt.The aerobic threshold is the level one can work and NOT go aerobic.I'm sure KJ can school me on my exercise physiology mistakes but one thing is true: it does work.

SO these multiple two minute work bouts she does is just of short enough duration to keep a high degree of white fibers involved but long enough to start tapping into the aerobic( more fat, less sugar as fuel). That's my theory and boy it sure seems to work.
Now that she is doing heavier, shorter work bouts she is not losing weight but gaining muscle. The one to one work to rest ratio keeps the entire time spent training shifted towards the aerobic system so she is as lean as ever. Way cool.I am just suprised more people who's primary goal is weight loss are not emulating her training.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why you should use kettlebells; a testimonial

This from a KB student of Jon Englum, RKC Team leader. Hard to put it better than this:

Jennifer Imsande
Former Division I 400-800 meter hurdler/sprinterHall of Famer
Busy Mother and University Professor

A couple of years ago, I started to get really frustrated with my running and with The Legs, as they like to be called. Although I stayed fit and continued to race after college, training had started to feel like ditch-digging - and without the ditch to show for it. I injured too often, fatigued too easily, and recovered from hard workouts too slowly. Also, I had two children and accepted a demanding job that I love. In my twenties I could burn hours each day pursuing fitness and strength; now I can't. Then Jon Engum convinced me to try Russian kettlebells, and I will be in his debt for a long, long time.

Finding kettlebells was like finally finding exactly the right key to open the door I wanted open.Why? Most athletes I know pay attention to numbers (times, splits, distances, hours, pounds, miles) more than words. So here, by-the-number, are my reasons why anyone who wants to run, cycle, swim or multi-sport faster should try Russian kettlebell.
81 The number of seconds that I hacked off my personal record in my first 5K of this season. For runners at my age and performance level, that kind of break-through is rather unusual. More bizarrely, I had reduced my weekly mileage by half this year. Granted, I'm cross-training with cycling and swimming, but cycling and swimming cannot account for that kind of improvement.
12 -The number of people in my local running/triathlon/cycling group who want to start kettlebell training because they know that cycling and swimming can't account for that kind of improvement.
0 - The number of training-related foot and leg injuries I've had since starting kettlebell. (Yes, I still trip a lot, but kettlebell cannot solve my every problem.) I do kettlebell barefoot, and it seems to be training my muscles to generate greater forces while simultaneously giving me greater range-of-motion. Strong, flexible muscles are less prone to strains, pulls and tears.
25 - the number of hours each week that my training partner - named best female triathlete in the Tri-Minnesota Racing Series for 2006 -- devoted last year to preparing for Wisconsin Ironman. This year she's taking the summer off from serious training and racing. In fact, she’s barely taking her bike out of the garage. But she just completed a sprint triathlon 'for fun'in St. Cloud, Minnesota and her cycling and swimming times are exactly where they were last year when she was at her fitness peak. She attributes this phenomenon to starting kettlebell in the winter. As she gears up for her 2008 Ironman training cycle, she's decided to put kettlebells at the center of her base training program.

2 - the rows of abdominal muscles that I can now see on my stomach-even though I've not done a traditional crunch or sit-up since starting kettlebell. Yes, it’s a 4-pack and not a 6-pack and the light needs to be right, but I'm still happy to show them to anyone who asks nicely. I haven't encountered a kettlebell lift that doesn't require and build extraordinary core muscle strength.

This is the kind of strength that cyclists, in particular, need. When climbing hills cyclists need to exert great force down on the pedals and simultaneously exert great core and upper body strength pulling the handle-bars. If that doesn't happen, downward force is dissipated and the cyclist,well, that cyclist is no angel on the hills.

12 - the average percent by which strength-trained cyclists increased their lactate thresholds in a University of Maryland study. According to Joe Friel, author of Triathlete's Training Bible, this means that "subjects could ride farther at a given intensity level after following a leg-strength program for a few weeks." Studies have shown that strength training increases the time to aerobic exhaustion. According to Friel, it helps by strengthening slow-twitch, endurance muscles. Those muscles can then carry greater workloads. This means that you won't need to rely as early or often on fast-twitch power muscles at high effort. Studies also show that strength-training improves economy of motion -- which reduces the amount of oxygen you need to expend at sub-maximal efforts. I've cribbed most of this from Friel's book, which you should read yourself. But if you're an endurance athlete and you've avoided strength training, he's going to tell you that you're dumb. Be forewarned.

1,500 -roughly the number of square feet in my home. I don't have room for cardio or weight equipment. I keep my bike rollers and my kettlebells. I can get an amazing cardio workout and certainly the best strength workout of my life with only one 12K bell - so small that the person who cleans my house mistook it for door stoppers and polished it. I've been trying to get the residue off ever since.
2 The number of children that I have. And I work full-time. My training/kettlebell partner has five boys under the age of 8, and is finishing her teaching degree. We, and our families, don't have time for inefficient or time-intensive strength programs. Our lives are better when we don't have to drive to a weight room, and when our kids can play in the yard while we train. Of course, they play far away because the kettlebells swing fast and hard and it is just not cool to brain your own child.
200 - the number of snatches that I completed during my first 10 minute kettlebell snatch test. 200 - my heart rate (I'm pretty sure) while I was doing that 10 minute snatch test. A 5K has always felt to me like someone (let's just say an older brother named Jay) holding my head under water for 19 minutes and sometimes remembering to let me up for air.

I'm not mystified why hill-workouts and running 5Ks seem a lot easier after a year of kettlebell.
2 the number of pounds that I've lost since starting kettlebells'and I didn't want to lose the weight. Many women, with endurance athletes, avoid strength training because they fear gaining mass. You can put that fear aside and concentrate on more realistic concerns ; like getting struck by lightening. Jon Engum can explain why. And in the bizarre event that an endurance athlete gains mass while doing kettlebell, the increased power will offset the increased mass to carry.In the end, why do kettlebells instead of traditional weight-lifting that is patterned on body-building? Again, Joe Friel says it better than I can.
"The triathlete or duathlete needs to improve the synchronization and recruitment patterns of muscle groups, not their size and shape. This means that resistance work must not only develop the muscles, but also the central nervous system which controls muscle use." Kettlebell work fits that bill. The lifts are all dynamic, multiple-lever movements that require coordination and rely on major muscle groups. It's training as far removed as you can get from doing a bicep curl and thinking it will help you perform better. (Parting Word of Caution: Some individuals should not train with kettlebells. Specifically, if you are an individual against whom I might compete in the future, you should stick to your traditional training methods. Kettlebells might be ruinous to your health.)
Enjoy Your Kettlebells, and Go Well,Jennifer


Training the mind.

In the 35 years I've been training one thing is for sure. What you are really training is your mind.Unless that is accepted and understood very little in the way of progress is possible. If you have great talent you might be a shooting star but if one isn't to flame and really get no where over the long haul then the mind has to be focused and concentrated on intensely.
It really is a practice, a path or, ack, a lifestyle.One develops the minds ability BEFORE the mind develops the body.It is always that way.If you can't see it, you can't have it.SEE IT. Over and over and over.
I spent so much time doing visualization training as a gymnast and it is perhaps the greatest gift gymnastics training has given me.That and a serious good eye for observing movement.The two,though, go hand in glove.
So, the battle is always against weakness and cowardice; not doing what you made up your mind to do. Not doing it because it is hard, or it is uncomfortable or you are not in the mood. After the intial break in period no on is ever 'in the mood' to go where they are weakest and most vunerable and push themselves even deeper; just to try to make oneself stronger.Fire hardens steel.
Thats why I set simple tasks that I know I CAN do. It's just a matter of actually DOING it.Which is just a matter of will. So what I am really training everyday is my willpower, my discipline and determination.I am concious of that as well so I focus on it. When I want to stop short of my goal for that day I come to a crossroads; what will win now, strength or weakness?As I said, I set my sights low so I always know I can will. It 's like getting pr's with 2.5 pounds on each end of the bar( which for some reason many deride) : "inch by inch is a cinch, yard by yard is hard".
I imagine how I will feel if I quit and have to blog it, or,God forbid, lie or exagerate in my blog so as not to look weak. No can do. That always gets me going.Or how I will feel when I can note that I accomplish my goal for that day. Winning is good for testosterone, too, which is good for health and vitality. Even little wins.

One arm mind swings

53x15 reps per arm per set
22 sets
330 reps

Was really really beat from mondays workout and work these last three days. So it was total act of will just to get out to the garage today.I decided to only do one arm at time,( just like in max vo2 test) and overload that with double the reps I want on mondays. minute to 1.5 minte rest/sets. I went right after Joe finished his set.Wind was great. Got much stronger as the sets went on.

Snatch holds
16kg x60 sec x 3 sets

These were easy finally.

Rack walks
16 kg x1200 feet.
switch arms every 200 feet.

this was not bad but I am beat!

datsit, staying loose!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

"I don't want it, I just need it."

One of my all time favorite training songs and a truly bizzare video. For Will

oh hell, another favorite

and classic Godsmack

The current favorite; Disturbed

1014 Deadlift attempt by Andy Bolton

This is an unbeleivable feat,even as a miss.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Max Vo2 Snatch training, couple style

Tracy decided to join me in my Max VO2 snatch workout today and it gave me nightmares last night at the thought of pacing it with her, lol! In reality it didnt turn out badly at all and I got my 40 sets with an honest 15 sec the whole way through. It was actually easier than I expected although I was sweating it til we started.

Max VO2 Snatch
16 kg
15 sec on, 15 sec off
40 sets, 7 reps per set
280 snatches
10080 pounds.
20 minutes exactly.

this is halfway through

this is the last few sets

rack walks
200 feet per arm, 10 sec rest then the other arm
2000 feet.

while not as hard as last week this was still a killer after all those snatches and my arms were the weak link. still havent been up to 2000ft in awhile.

Band Scap pulls
4 sets of 12 reps
red and blue bands

datsit, glad that's over!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

OK, who put the dbol in my dog chow?

This whippet with a genetic condition that doubles the amount of muscle of a normal whippet.wow, thats a mutant for sure.

Now THAT"S a Hamstring.

Rifga and primal posture work.

made sure to get on the floor today and get things opened up although I feel pretty decent from yesterdays session. realized the other day and then got confirmed by my videos that my right shoulder extension is really lacking. didnt realize how much till I saw the vids and the difference between left and right arm rear swing. The next level of my shoulder mobility and just what I need to stretch out the too tight flexors. Suprised I hadnt caught that earlier. Everything in it's time, I guess.
The more I return to the flexibility and range of motions I had when I did gymnastics the better I feel and the better I move.

rifga stretches/primal posture work:

tuck and roll
straddle stretch
pike stretch
up dog
down dog
sumo squat stretch
overhead close grip hang
hip opening stretch
close stance squat/ankle stretch
stick slide/press 4 hand spacing
stick squat stretch /close stance

foam roller

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Back to base.

My pre-cert base level of work capacity is back. I took a big hit with all the traveling and now my level of conditioning is back, just in time to get ready for September. It's cool to have a physical challenge to prepare for, even if it's much different than competing in a power meet.My training is preparing me to perform in real life, real time. A much more important function, I now realize.

One arm swings warmup
24 kg x5/5/5/5x2

16 kg x5/5x2

24kgx5/5x0 sets
90 reps
4,770 pounds

Strong and easy, just how I wanted them to go. Shoulder felt great from the start;even warming up, which is rare. Next week 100 and we'll wave it from there.AS long as I swing snatch it all is good.Monday is MVO2 day so I get lots of snatches in then. about 75 sec /sets.Did a lot of stick presses in between sets to keep the shoulder open and it seemed to work. I think its my clavicles that need adjusting more than my shoulders!As the clavical adjusts the shoulder sits right.

One arm swings/32 kg
5/5/5/5x8 sets
11,520 pounds

These started heavy and ended great. Have to REALLY focus on keeping the arm very straight as I swing and my wrist as straight as possible to keep my biceps from getting too involved.Let it swing.

I can also see, after looking at the video, that I really need to work on my right shoulders extension. I have been working on that lately a bit but now I see I really have to step it up.I am really restricted still there.At least I am on the one arm swing. The left arm snatch the right shoulder swings alright. I love being able to watch and analyze video.This makes it so easy. Wish I had this when I was powerlifting.
We taped ourselves but it was much tougher to really analyze it.
Snatch Holds
24 kg x 60 sec x 3 sets

These always suprise me at how strong they are on Saturdays as opposed to when I do them Wednesdays with the 16 kg!

What a great workout and a great day! The weather is perfect and nothing hurts. can't ask for much more than that.

BW 159.8 wow thats light. havent weighed in awhile
BF 10.1 %
Water 58.8% too early to take bf

Datsit, staying loose.

Friday, July 13, 2007

When it was Girya, The Art of Strength.

Girya Kettlebell Training opened in January 2003 called Girya, The Art of Strength.Very soon it will be five years at the same location and that's hard to believe. When I opened Girya it was done in a two week period after I quit another studio that I had worked 6 months on to get open. What I thought was the one of the worst betrayals of my life turned out to be the start of a huge blessing. You just never know.
People said I was crazy to call it Girya as no one one could pronounce it much less understand what it was. I didnt care. I loved that crazy little ball and knew it was something very, very unique. I knew I could base my clients training around it and get the best results I ever had.I was still doing a lot of 'fucntional ' training back then but kbs were at the heart of it.
I did not know I would soon be baseing all of my own training around it as well. That was a suprise.
Every day I get more calls and emails asking about kettlebell training as the word about its incredible effectiveness and efficiency is getting out.
We became Girya Kettlebell Training in 2005, after I got certified RKC. I knew I was going to be basing 95% of my training template on kb work. I just didnt know how freakily effective it would be for so many across a very broad spectrum of needs.
People WANT something that actually works and that you don't have to spend all day doing. Now people are figuring out what the kettlebell is and what it means to their training and they are digging it.
And nobody does kettlebells better than Pavel and the RKC.
The black and white shot above was the first kb art we did for the girya.net website.I wished I had saved a copy of that homemade( go daddy) site.I miss it.
Just a simple iron ball with a handle. Who'd a thunk it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Well, well, well.

Feeling strong is always a surprise for me.Especially after getting my butt kicked Monday with that little 200 rep set.Felt great all afternoon and evening until my knee locked up at midnight, waking me up and not letting me alone until I thumped,stretched,prayed cajoled and massaged my kneecap in moving up and down instead of staying in one place. The wrong place.
I broke my own rules and felt so good I didnt get on the floor and stretch,didnt thump and, it seems, didnt drink enough as I as definitely dehydrated when I was so rudely awoken.

Hammy and left bicep very tight as the fight to maintain grip pushed things a bit too far,although it didnt seem to much at the time. That is the problem. But it also showed me that pushing grip endurance in one work is not my thing. So I didnt expect much today with swings with the 24 kg. Man I was wrong.

Decided to not push it and did sets of ten on one arm followed by a 30 second rest and then another set of ten on the other arm. After doing 100 reps ten felt like nothing and I was very fast, strong and powerful. Bell was face high easy.Groove was solid and kind of a combo of my lean over GS and a sit back.Straight arm was a focus and the shoulders and elbows felt solid.

One arm swings
Left arm, 30 sec then right arm
20 sets of 10
200 reps
10,600 pounds

lower back was getting fatigued at the end and didnt want to push that at all!

BOttoms up cleans
53x5/5x 3 sets

havent done these in ages and they went great! This is an easy move for me and I have done the 88 for 1. Tricky though if I try to train it and it falls into the category of exercises that I do well in if I just do them occasionally and dont try to train them. Windmills, bent presses, presses in general, and it seems, bottoms up cleans.

Rack walks
1800 feet continuous with 16 kg.

helped a lot that it wasnt 100 degrees out.already hydrating better and have already thumped. that G5 is a miracle machine and just MELTS spasms with no effort on the users part. Beautiful and worth every penny. Holding up real well at work as well.

It's always good to feel strong.

Monday, July 09, 2007

100/100 one arm swings

PR time. Really really really didnt want to do this today but there was no getting away from the fact that I knew I could. Just didnt want to suffer that much but hey, I rarely feel like suffering that much and as they say, today was a good day to die. I had done 80/80 the last time I did this and it wasnt that hard but the grip was the hardest part. today was no exception.

One arm swings, 16 kg.

400 reps
14,400 pounds.

the 100/100 took no more than five minutes according to Joe. Not too bad a pace. I started with my right arm and the grip was cooking up real good by 75-80 reps. I had to keep relaxing the grip at the top of each rep to maintain. The wind and legs were fine. the left hand was much tougher, gripwise, than the first, suprisingly. I expected it to be the otherway around. Plus my HR and wind was getting involved at that point. I knew though that I could do it as soon as I started so there was no chickening out.
the 50/50 set wasnt that much easier as my forearms were popeye'ish by that time and loaded up quickly. wind and legs were fine. the same with the last set of 100 with 25's.I thought about doing another set but decided to play it safe.
Going to alternate this workout with the MVO2 day.

Snatch holds
16 kg x30 sec x 3 sets

Rack Walk with 16 kg
1600 continuous feet switching hands every 200 feet.

this was TOUGH, as my arms were pretty toasty by now. No way as bad as the snatch protocol day but still pretty tired.

datsit, time to stretch.


I just realized why I shouldnt do this( max out reps on one side) on a regular basis. It really loads up the forearm flexors big time.Which I can then feel in my elbows and then my shoulders.
I'm not hurt at all; I just now see the connection.
For the same reason I know longer need to test the limits of my back,knee or shoulders I should use the same approach with my hands. I use my hands constantly in my work and they can't be messed up. Using the SSST approach and not taking the grip , but the system to the higher levels seems safer and more conducive to the gains I want. In my total body work capacity, not my grip endurance. Reps still stay high, just not all one one arm.Gotta keep them loose, just like the rest of the body.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

A Simple Life.

No, not that idiotic reality show but a real simple life,balanced between work and rest, stress and reflection has been a goal of mine for many years. Having been a competitive athlete for most of my life my focus was on being able to train I needed as well as having enough real rest and downtime to actually recover and get better from my training, regardless of the sport I was doing.
My jobs, to be quite honest, were just that, jobs, and had to allow for the requirements of the training I was doing. I needed just enough money to pay my bills and I knew I wasn't going to get rich approaching things this way, but I didnt care. My main goal in life was to be the best athlete I could be and I would do what was necessary to achieve that goal.It is very expensive to be a competitive athlete in the missed opportunities at least.
I worked as a gymnastics coach and a cook for awhile before I started working in gyms and doing some personal training in 1979. The eighties were spent like that and even when Tracy and I got married in 1987 I wasn't committed to really making money. Training was still my main focus. Hell, Tracy had her own nail salon at the time and was making way more than me!
I co owned and worked at World Gym Campell for most of the nineties, while also continuing my personal training and thought I had the best job in the world; except for the fact I still wasnt making any money.
Only when the gym went under in 1998 did I wake up and smell the coffee; I had to actually WORK at making some money or my family was doomed to poverty. That's when I started training people full time and realized I still could eat my cake and have it too.
I realized if I could compress all my clients into a "morning" shift I could work hard, get it over with and have the rest of the day to myself while still making good $.
And so it is to this day; I work from 6 am- 12 noon, six clients in a row, then I come home to train and rehab. I am always done by 3 0r 3:30 and the rest of the day is devoted to the mundane aspects of managing finances and business but it is unscheduled and mine to play with.
I would prefer to train myself first thing in the morning but this is when my clients want to train and they come first now. I had to grow up sometime :))
Since I rarely go on 'real vacations' since if I don't work I dont get paid I try to have a daily 'mini' vacation every day, keeping mybattery charged and my interest in my clients and my business high.
People scoff at personal trainers but focusing entirely on another persons welfare and performance( who also happens to be your 'boss') for six straight hours is no joke. Not if you do a good job and really pay attention. What your clients want from you more than anything is your energy and boy do they get it. If you don't recharge yourself you will burn out. Trainers are always talking about what they are going to do next, after PT. I am a professional trainer, this is what I do now and what I will do for many years.I have to maintain my balance to make it the long haul and having this balance in my life is making that possible.
I love my unscheduled time and my trips around the globe via the internet. It's just easy fun and makes getting up at 4 am 5 days a week tolerable.
Weekends are great.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


My name is Mark Reifkind and I am a snatchaholic. I have hard time accepting the idea that I can't figure out a way to train the snatch without it upsetting my 'delicate' right shoulder. What I've realized,though, is that my shoulder can get upset without snatching. Swinging, demo'ing light exercises or just sleeping can get it in a cranky mood. SO as my demented, twisted and crazy mindset tells me I might as well get it upset snatching some decent weight as well as getting it tweaked sleeping too heavy.
Plus, when I follow my instinct, and not my desire to do things "right" it usually goes well. today was one of those days.

20 kgx5/5

24kgx5/5 x8 sets
80 reps
4240 pounds.

these went great. If I keep a fast pace and do a real swing snatch instead of an OL style, vertical snatch my biceps shuts up and the shoulder stays in the socket. Lots of fun. The MVo2 workout helped my confidence with it as well. I want to maintain the ability to do 100 plus snatches with the 24 kg at any time so I know I can pass my snatch test whenever I want to. Plus they are so much damn fun!

One arm swings
32 kg
10/10 x 3 rounds
162 reps
11,664 pounds

these got better every set. this is starting to feel light, that is way cool.

Snatch Holds
24 kg x60 sec x 2

this was solid as well. Had to leave early, have a rare saturday client at Girya.
Not a bad start to the day.

datsit.Lots more demos to follow :))

Thursday, July 05, 2007

The Real Keys




These three things have to be cultivated or nothing else matters. You can have the best program design in the world, the best intentions, serious goals. If you can't get these three things down then all that is for naught. Best to start very simply and make sure you can make yourself do what you say you want to and then build from there.
You also have to be able to SEE yourself obtaining the goal you are working towards. If you can't see it you can't have it.And the more you see it the easier it is to get.If someone asks you what your goal is and you don't have it on the tip of your tongue then you aren't really training, you are playing. Which is fine but it isnt training.
And getting one's goals is hard enough when one lives and breathes them, almos timpossible when the only time you think about them is when you hit the gym floor.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


That was all today was; just work. I was more fried than expected from Mondays little 16 kg sprint session and with it almost 100 degrees today I put off plans to try to do the 15 on 15 off snatch protocol with 24 kg swings instead. I am getting smarter, albeit slowly.
But I was dragging ass and literally had to pull myself up by the collar( a figurative one of course) and throw myself in the gym
Luckily Nick was there and that made it easier not to puss out.Plus he is taking up kettlebell training more seriously and joined in for the last 200 swings. Lets just say he has a new found respect for kb training.

One arm swings, 24 kg.

24 kgx5/5/5/5x 13 sets
x10/10/10/10 x 1 set
300 reps
15,900 lbs.

Did the first 100 reps while nick did some light speed squats and then we went 'you go I go' for the next 200. It was toasty in Stones today too. LOTS of sweat. Love to sweat like that, reminds me of training gymnastics in the summer in Miami,lol. Very hard to swing pommell horse when everytime skin touches you stick dead on the horse.Encourages proper technique.
Definitely using a more classic swing form now; arched back, eyes straight ahead, break at the hips and use the legs as shock absorbers.Shoulders, and more importantly my spine, seems to be tolerating it. It seems much more balanced, body wise. better distribution of force. Jumping style.I have been hoping my back would someday be able to tolerate this style and I think now it has. At least with one arm work.

16 kg Snatch Holds
90 sec PR!
75 sec
60 sec each arm

the 90 sec was solid.right arm overhead position getting better and stronger. left is cake.

rack walks 16 kg
200 feet per arm
800 feet total x 2 sets
1600 feet

Wow, this feels hard again!This is the second week back from the cert month and just getting back to my former workloads is no joke. I can do them but I can feel its harder to recover. It will come but I am definitely working my way back.
Next step off a peak is always down. You can either step back or fall off.

But even though stepping back is the right thing it rarely feels good to me.

Knee feels better and the walks reflected that,BUt the upper body is pretty toasty. The shoulder is pretty good though and thats a good sign.Its much more of an even muscle and system fatigue than connective tissue loading.

datsit, gonna stretch it loose.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Give him a kettlebell!

Sherk rocks but man a kb would fit in perfectly with this type of training

Squat: 771 x 3, belt and wraps only/ For Brett

This is Scott Smith. I saw Scott compete at Teenage Nationals back in 1990 and he was a phenom back then.17 years later he is 265 pounds and still squatting perfectly. What a beast.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Thank you Sir, may I have another?

Wow.Thought I would give Senior Instructor Kenneth Jay's Max Vo2 snatch protocol a go today,as it is my day with the 16 kg and with Joe on vaca the thought of 80 reps per arm one arm swings just didnt seem inviting. Truth be told, I had my mind set on doing this all weekend and thought it might be a good fit for me.
I have been trying to stay away from snatches as they seem to bother my right shoulder but hey, 16 kg? with only 15 second work bouts? Should be no problem. Or so I thought.When I was powerlifting I used to love speed day in squats or benches. Low reps with short rest periods were my strongest methods and I could suffer a lot for short periods if I got some rest in between sufferings.
Squats were 12 sets of 2, benches 10 sets of 3 and db dicks presses were 7 sets of 8 with 15 seconds rest/sets. Man they were tough but they got you in shape AND explosive. 7x8, let me tell you is NOT 50 sets of 15 seconds. This will take some working up to.

One of my favorite opening lines of a books is Hunter S Thompsons " We were around Barstow when the drugs took hold".
I was around set 20 when the pain set in. Bout the same feeling I imagine. Self induced suffering and a long way still to go. AND I took the easiest of Kenneth's( or so I thought) snatch protocols; the others being 36 sec of work and 36 sec of rest at 95+% max hr or 4 minutes of snatching with 3 minutes rest ,also with 95% max hr.That will really take some motivation to try.

16 kg x 35 sets of 15 second work , 15 seconds rest. Switch hands each set. 7 reps per 15 sec.
245 reps
8,820 pounds

everything was beautiful til set twenty and then the second hand seemed to bypass numbers 5 sec and 10 sec and go straight to 15. I had hoped for at least 40 sets but since I havent snatched in any volume at all in many moons 35 sets seemed a 'comfotable stop".I can see how this will build maximum oxygen update. I was breathing like a freight train.BUt that 15 second of rest is pure joy and lulls you into a state of optimism. Fat chance. the 16 is so light that you can really concentrate on speed and hip snap and the constant pace gives no quarter for rest. Very nasty Mr Jay, very nasty. But I like it.

Rack Walks
500 feet in 200 foot per arm sections x 3 sets
1500 feet total

man I wanted to go continuous but the snatches kicked my arms ass! legs were dead too ,lol. this will take some building up to. excellent. I dont' know though that I prefer this to my 100 reps per arm one arm swing goal. Perhaps alternate weeks? Joe will have to come earlier as this is not something you can stop once you get going( the snatches)

Scapula band pullaparts
red mini band 4x10 with hold

This is my new favorite scapula move! Like an old time strongmans cables that you pull apart with straight arms behind your back it really works the scap adductors and the triceps

Palms up triceps band pushdowns
2x50 reps.

ouch. good pump baby,lol.I miss my triceps.

datsit, LOTS of stretching to do now.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ok now this is some serious stability.

Dr Mark Cheng, RKC Lvl 2 taking the TGU to a new level.

32kg Snatch 18/18

No , not me ( I wish) but our own Steve Friedes. Steve is one strong dude and at 52 years old and about 150 can do this 18/18 set, 5/5 with the 80lb'er and deadlift 2.5 times bodyweight.Got to meet him at the level 2 cert and he is one very interesting guy.