Wednesday, October 31, 2007

snatch sprints, clubbell casts and work capacity.

I am going to do three different snatch workouts : a max vo2 day with 16kg,sprint sets ssst style with the 20 kg and paced, paused overhead holds with the 24 one day each week.Today was the 20 kg for fast reps with some higher reps.I tried to do each rep as explosively as possible but still hit a legal lockout for the ssst. Not as long as the paused day workout but not a touch and go like the max vo2 day either. Sprints be hard! Havent done it this way in long time and I could tell.


8/8/5/5x 6 sets
156 reps
6864 lbs

these felt very good, wind was good, teshnik was good too and speed was very decent considering I havent done max vo2 speed stuff in a few weeks and been doing more paced held snatches on wednesdays.hands are good too. Good pace as Joe and I went 'you go, I go'.HR recovery decent.

Clubbell Casts
two bell arm casts 10 #x5x8 solid, hands with no choke.This is a very natural move for me.
one bell arm cast 15 # 3x5 each arm /same as above but can really tell the difference heavy makes here.
shield casts 10# 4x8 each arm this was challenging with the tens and I dont have a lot of room for error with my right shoulder BUT I am amazed that 1) I can do this MOTION at all , 2) that I can do it with a ten # club and walk away unscathed and 3) I think it is really helping the shoulder go to the next level
Gama Casts 15 # 2x10 each side
Circular gama casts 15# 2x10 each direction
Barbarian cast to flag 3x5 15 # LOVE this one,lol,

Man these bring me back to my bodybuilding days and heavy db pullovers. I used to be able to regulary do set of 10 with a 150 lb db and it was such a great move for the lats,triceps, serratus and shoulders. Havent been able to anything remotely similar to it for YEARS.And now I can with these clubs. way cool.will have to be very careful with the wrists and elbows as well as the shoulders.These things are way more potent than they look at first. Plus you could easily take out a knee or ankle if you are not paying attention!

Rack Walks 16 kg
1200 feet continuous ,hand switches every 200 ft.
Havent done these in a month and I really need to. Back to the staples.

It was a very long day at work with lots of clubbell demos and lots of swings, pendulums casts and combinations with almost each client.Not to mention the kb demos as well and tons of Z with clients. I need to do the z my body likes it.
Lots of fun but lots of work, albeit light.So it is really nice to see my work capacity back up as well as I well at the end of the day. 200 snatches for this day will be the baseline soon.

BW 158.2 ( after workout)
Water 59.3%( too low)
I seem to like 158.2 pounds I think I've had the same reading three times in a row.

datsit, staying loose.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Its easy to forget

It's almost easy to forget;especially lately when I've been feeling so good and so strong and increasing my training repertoire almost daily, just how messed up my back was not so very long ago.I had taken my body to the brink with all the heavy weights and powerlifts and it was just saying no. Lots of things started to just shut down, almost similtaneously.When it was easier to squat 400 lbs with my gear on than get out of a chair 'raw'I knew something was very very wrong. Sounds funny now but it's the truth and it weren't pretty.
And how fragile it was;when sitting too long or in the wrong way could send me to the floor, fast.I had to constantly stretch and move and shift my weight or I would lock up hard.
And doing any training too heavy or too hard( or as I was to finally figure out) bilaterally, could put my back in serious spasm for days.And my bad knee was getting badder all the time. I knew a knee replacement was in the works, and probably pretty soon.
So when I met Brett Jones in Dec 2004,and he and Michael Castrogiovanni tried to talk me into going to the RKC and get certified I thought they both were certifiable. I could barely walk, how would I get through the weekend? I had been using the kettlebells along with my powerlifts at that point for a few years and they had rehabbed me enough to let myself get into more trouble with the barbell by prolonging my delusion I could still train heavy and compete again.
Mike trained me for the April cert with sets of 100 reps in the two hand swings with the 16 kg and I thought I was going to die. But that 16 kg soon turned into the 24 kg and by April I had lost 25 pounds and was in the best cardio shape I had been in since the late eighties.
And compared to what I can do now I still was a mess. When I got back from the cert I could only handle two days a week of swings or snatches as more volume would lock me up.I was walking on a razors edge ; to a degree I always will be, but I remember the fear of my back going out again haunting me everyday and in almost every activity.
If you've never herniated a disc or two I would say try not to. I can't really recommend it and sciatica is probably the worst and most annoying pain I've ever had. And that includes three full dislocations.
When your center won't hold, when the core of you is unstable and highly painful nothing works and you really start to see how critical this easy to forget until it hurts area really is.It truly is our center and when it says no you sit down. If you can. You really grok how everything is connected to the middle an when you try to move the extremities it anchors itself to the spine first. And if that hurts to do, you don't have a leg ,or anything else to stand on.
It's just amazing to me now that I can do the things I can do, like that crazy clubbell workout yesterday with all these moves in the frontal and transverse planes which a very short time ago not only could I not do but could put me down for a long time if I wasnt perfect. I have much more margin for error now than in years and I dont want to forget how it was. I really really appreciate being able to train as hard as I can now ;especially knowing I am still going to be able to improve for a long long time and get back more and more ability.
Not too bad for being a half century old with more hard miles than most and a pretty bent and banged up frame.
And it truly is all because of kettlebells and I know that.This is the main reason I believe so much in the RKC system; I have seen and felt very directly what it can actually do for a person.How it can strengthen and heal and literally regenerate one back to strength and health.
If it had not been for finding kettlebells and the RKC when I did I truly don't know where my back and my health and my strength would be now.
Yes I do, in the crapper. I was weak and in pain and getting weaker and hurting more when I got started down this path and there was literally NO other training that I could tolerate.And I know cause I tried.
The fact that I could use just ONE kettlebell and really scale the swing was probably the saving grace, allowing my body to balance itself as I slowly increased the loads it was capable of handling. And the main thing was that it didnt tear me apart in the process. I felt better each day, not worse.
And lets not forget what it's done for my better half.
And yes, I am more than thankful and greatful to Pavel for making this incredible tool and the system behind it available to me and mine. My clients are pretty happy as well.
It's good to remember the old pain you once had and left behind; it makes you appreciate not being in pain at the moment and the beauty and grace of the most simple movements we can do.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Push press and cb swings.

Decided to get on the schedule I wrote and today was push presses with the 20 kg.Took off the OL shoes and did a regular push press driving through the heel and hip instead of off the toes and quads with the jerk. Very different feel and it took awhile to re-adapt to the PP after getting the second dip under for the jerk down. The jerk feel more like jumping and these feel more like a longer hip snap,staying flat footed the whole way. focused as well on really accelerating the arm in sync with the hip./leg drive.

two clubbell torch swings 10# 5x10
two clubbell swipes 10# 3x 15 ( first time trying these with tens.not bad)

Push press
20 kgx 6/6
10/10 x 2 rounds.
96 reps

so different flat footed, much more hips, less quads.solid though.more technique work than anything but I need it.shoulder settled into position really well.

Two clubbell swipes 10#
definitely have a good feel for this move naturally but it will need a bunch of work to get my right shoulder to stay in the right 'line'.I do really like the close stance nature of the clubbell work.

Inside swings
10#x10 each side; these felt solid
Inside/outside pendulums 10#x 8 each side.( these need work,lol, not really sure of the groove yet)
Mills 5# x 10 reps each side
10# x8 reps each side
two clubbell swings 10#
40 reps ( these felt great and can really see working into high reps here.)
one arm clubbell swing ( left side only)
15#x20 reps another great move
Shield cast ( kind of like a one arm halo)
5#x10each arm x3 sets ( like these)
10#x5 each arm( now this is more challenging,lol. can't see anything heavy here for along time,maybe forever.

felt like a decent workout but I am definitely in the practice phase with the bells and with light ones at that. Will take awhile to really sort out the loading I should be doing with these to get more of a 'workout'.

datsit, staying loose.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

300 with the 28kg

I knew I needed a back off week from the two pood but I also felt good and wanted to push some aspect a bit.So I compromised and used the 28kg for the one arm swings but went for 300 reps(my goal with the 32 kg).

z drills 10 minutes
rifga 10 minutes
two clubbell swings 10lbsx 20 reps x 3 set

One arm swings

28kgx10/10x15 sets
300 reps
18,900 lbs

this was great. everything felt good and all the reps were strong and snappy.havent felt this strong in awhile,especially after wednesdays slog fest.Plus it was really nice to do some low reps again and focus on acceleration.Pace was strong as well and I lapped my training partners more than a few times.

torch press one bell 3x5 each arm
double torch press 3x5
torch press one bell 15lb 3x5 HARD!
clean to flag press one bell 2x5
flat press two 10lb bells 2x5 easy
clean to flag press one 15lb 2x5 hard!
side press 10lbs 2x5( not sure my shoulder is ready for this move yet)

datsit! This routine looks good, a perfect balance to the swings.The torch and the flag presses are definitely the ones that I need to work on now.Have to start winowing down the movements a bit to focus on my weak points.Nick did 2 sets of 3 with 528 in the squat and looked as strong as I have seen him.With full gear I know he can squat 650.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Balancing kettlebells with clubbells.

I've got a good idea now of how to put together a program that allows me to hit both the kettlebell and clubbells exercises I want to train with a decent amount of intensity and recovery.Its very simple

One arm kb swings wk 1 24 kg wk2 28 kg wk3 32 kg
torch press
flag press

One kb push press or jerk wk1 24 kg wk2 20 kg wk 3 16 kg
torch swings
inside/outside pendulums
Rack walks 16 kg

KB Snatches wk 1 16 kg max vo2 wk2 20 kg 10 rep ssst style wk3 24 kg pause reps
arm cast
Rack walk

I think that's it. I can vary the loading and intensity accordingly but that looks like a good distribution of kbs and clubs and alternating of shoulder and hip/back work.What I thought about the locked elbow work of the clubbell being very good for my elbows and shoulders is correct it seems. It is strengthening the joint in a very locked out position which is perfect for me as my elbows hyperextend and its hard to get safe loading on a pretty extended joint.
The clubbells seem to allow this. I just have to NOT go too heavy.

So, 32 kg swings and presses tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

And Big Bad Brad

Makes an 859 pull look positively easy.

Kenneth Jays Blog Post

You have to check out Kenneth Jays blog for some great pictures of Kenneth training with kbs in some most unusual ways.The man has an imagination as well as being just freaky strong!Strength is always the base.

I came to kettlebells from powerlifting and thought that although I couldnt lift heavy weights with a barbell anymore I could still grow my strength without hurting myself with kettlebells.A different type of strength than powerlifting but strength nonetheless. And I could have endurance and resilence as well at the same time.But it is always the strength that fascinates me. If I can lift something more than ten times I figure I should be using a heavier weight.Strength, speed and power for me.Endurance comes out of strength.


After Mondays great workout I knew today would be a bit off but after a really hard work day with tons of demos, stretching, bodywork, and 6 sessions of z I was a bit beat when I got home and had to go out to the dungeon, I mean the gym.When I weighed in at 158 again I knew it was going to be very interesting,since today was snatches and jerks with the 24 kg.
I'm lighter but I feel like I definitely have more muscle than I have had, especially in the shoulders upper back and arms from the snatch volume and the push presses.It's not like I'm dieting at all but you can only eat so many calories in 3-4 hours ( my eating window).

So it was slow going the whole way but I got through it.I could really feel how much muscle work the jerks had taken;especially in the legs and driving the 24 today took much more concentration.After two plus years of disuse my quads have little work capacity.That'll change.
The snatches felt great though and each rep had a two second pause at the top. I am getting used to doing it this way but it is much easier cv wise than my sprint style before. But by doing them slowly I am combining the snatch with all the overhead holds that I had been doing.Have to put those back in the rotation, btw.

Warmup with 5lb clubbells
One arm mills each arm 4 sets of 5


x8/8x6 sets
122 reps
6466 lbs

24kgx5/5x5 sets

These were rough ; not from a strength perspective but from keeping my form through the fatigue.No real problems though.

one arm torch swing
two bell torch swing 10 lbs
one bell torch swing 15 lbs x 10 reps each arm.
one bell torch press
two bell torch press
one bell torch press 15 lbs x5
two bell flag press
one bell flag press 15 lbs x3 HARD!
two bell front press
one bell front press 15 lbs x3
outside/inside swings
two bell pendulum to flag press 10 lbs
one arm cast
two bell casts
one bell two hand barbarian cast 15 lbs x5
two handed arm cast one bell 15 lbs x5

this new bell was way cool but I was SMOKED by the time I got to them. Have to do a workout when I'm fresh soon.

Z drills
15 minutes. I REALLY need this and didnt beleive how much less tension I had when I was done. THis never ceases to amaze me lately.I thought I would be stretching out hard for sure after this but I dont think so.excellent. still some rifga poses but not too spinal lengthening drills are so key even though they are the most basic of the basic.Stand straight, plumb and neutral and push up against gravity. and relax while you do it.
defintely have to back off the volume a bit.

datsit,staying loose.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Woo Hoo, the new clubbells are here.

The Michael's Castro and Mahler and Mr Bosu himself David Weck playing with some heavy clubbells at our kettlebell get together at Muscle Beach just a short three years ago.At the time I could not hang from a chin bar without dislocating my shoulder and could do nothing with the lightest clubbell. Things have defintely changed for the better.

Realized that I need a slightly heavier bell for the two handed work that is in the program and it arrived today. And the 15 lb'er, much like its brothers the tens is MUCH heavier than it should be for that little weight! Doing single arm work with this too will be a interesting challenge.
I also got two five pounders, as per Mrs Rifs request and I know I will be able to put those to good use as well as I try to learn the more intricate cast maneuevers.Even those seem heavy,lol.

Survived all those jerks yesterday with zero problems although I did get seriously sore pretty quickly and thought I might be in trouble. A bunch of Z drills and some floor and foam roller work and no problemo with AM.

Twenty minutes morning Z warmup this am before work and bits and pieces throughout the day.Shoulder feels very loose and I think the clubbells helped that as well.Can't wait to take this baby out for a test run tomorrow!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Short cycle jerks.

Having discovered Saturday that I have regained enough right shoulder ROM to jerk on that side I decided to play with it a little today and do max vo2 swings afterward.Part of me just wanted to see if it had dissapeared overnight but the ability held up very nicely and for some decent reps too.
After 30 years of counting reps it's hard for me to watch the clock as far as how many reps I can do so I counted reps first and then noted how long it took me.

16kg sc jerk 10/10x3
20kg x 20/20( 2.5 min each arm)
x15/15( 1.5 min each arm- warming up going faster)
x12/12 (1 min each arm)
16 kg x30 reps right
rest 45 sec
30 reps left

154 reps
6776 lbs
not a bad starting workload.

THAT was a very interesting down set,lol.When I get tired I have a hard time keeping my elbow on the ribs on the dip and not throwing my chest back as I drive.But I am pretty comfortable in the rack so I can get some decent rest there. easy to throw my hips under and rest,especially with the olympic shoe on.set back on the heel.but high reps ALWAYS suck. Give me a heavy single any day. BUt that's gone and this is here so you pick it you play it.
This is a lot of volume and we'll see how well the shoulder tolerates it. So I have a lot of z to day.

This is so ENTIRELY different than the swing based workouts I have been doing. For one there is a HUGE leg component and I have done NOTHING specific for legs in two years. Just swings and snatches and rack walks. ANd they seem to be fine and holding up for the jerks, which makes me happy. Nice carryover.
And I can see how the long cycle clean and jerk can be thought of as the best overall move there is. Can't cover much more ground than that. You have the swing componentwith the clean as well as the jump of the drive and dip under.Plus the rack is easy to rest in and the bell stays in nice and close to the body the whole time. Less torque . dont think I could handle the cleans as well as the snatches but it's just around the corner.
And I can see just how much stronger my legs they will be if I do all this 'jumping' work in the jerk.Nothing makes me happier than bigger quads. :))
My knee has come such a long way.I could barely do a left leg bodyweight toe raise a few years ago.
This was a good baseline for me.I could have done 25 each arm but thats it without going into andrenaline and I dont want to do that. But I can see 25 each arm with the 24 fairly soon if I want to go down that road.Its a lot easier to tweak things, at least for me, when I am fighting to keep form again long fatigue and thats worrisome.Especially on the backdrop of the high volume necessary to support those reps.
THATs when I usually get hurt, not on a single or double set.Thats why I like the max vo 2 protocol, because even with that short rest I can recover alot and its easier to keep form.

Max vo2 swings
16 kg x15 on 15 off one arm swings
30 sets, 9 reps per cycle
270 reps
9720 lbs

9 reps was perfect tempo, very fast but not too quick, 10 is ROUGH.There is no letup.Wind was fine today even after all those jerks,

one arm swings to torch
two bell swing to torch
one bell swing to order
two bell swing to order
one bell flag press
two bell flag press
one bell front press
two bell front press
side swings inside/ outside
two bell pendulum to flag
two bell swing to torch
one bell torch press
two bell torch press
two bell pendulum to flag press
side swing to side torch
each sets 5-10 reps

these were suprisingly therapeutic after all that overhead work and swing volume. I really like the locked elbws and spiral arm locking on the swings and overhad work. Its so much like swinging and pressing on the Olympic Still rings. Especially pressing while externally rotating. One thing you will always here in a gymnastics gym for ring advice " turn the rings OUT turn them OUT!" Same external spiral you do with the clubs.way cool.

Z drills 10 minutes

dats it, more Z and yoga later.
staying loose.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Shadow Z

Recovered very well from yesterdays session and the shoulder woke up feeling pretty loose. Knees were good too which is a good sign. Last time,a long time ago that I tried to do push presses and jerks my knees said no go before the shoulder. This is great improvement.Get some much needed quad work :))

It is a perfect Northern California sunny day; warm but not hot so it was z in the back yard under the sun. And instead of using a mirror to watch the reps I used my shadow. Even better feedback than the mirror as all I had to focus on was the outline and the symmetry. The Z routines are turning into some strange kind of yoga, tai chi routine,especially when I just listen to my body and go to the corresponding joint to work on that it tells me too. It "unwinds" me, which is exactly what the structure needed.That makes the corrective stretches/poses I do with rifga that much more productive.

One of my favorite parts in z is the lengthening postures done right in the begining.I get SO much out of just trying to put myself into square and neutral and then lengthen against gravity in that position. This standing meditation where you focus on just lifting out of the joint(s) while standing still is doing a lot to decompress things as well.Even the shoulders.
AND I get the strangest adjustments from just standing. By squaring up the left hip knee and foot the right shoulder 'moves'. something shifts and I'm more square with less tension.

standing lengthening
arms out to side
arms front
arms overhead
arms behind
lateral turns
lateral and medial ankle tilts
toe pulls
knee circles standing
knee circles swings
six position shoulder circles( this is where it gets out of 'order')
hip circles
elbow circles top and bottom( the bottom are the hardest and where my shoulder becomes most dysfunctional)
wrist and hand circles
full hip circles
thoracic circles
neck circles and tilts

Downward/upward dog
squat stretches wide/close/on toes
seated pike and straddle stretches 3 sides.

dats it feel much looser.50 sets of swings again tomorrow.

LOL! Could this be easier? World Squat record at 90kg

To say he destroys this is a huge understatement!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

One arm swings and a surprise.

Swings are the base. No where to run, no where to hide; just pure work. I should have known to be wary, I felt great this morning. Slept well, no real pain or body issues,plenty ofmental prep time but man that 32 kg kicked my ass! Of course yesterdays 30 minute clubbell workout probably didnt help as my hips and glutes felt worked much earlier in the session than normal but I hit a solid new pr and am on my way to 300 one arm swings with the 32kg.

One arm swings
16 kg x5/5/5/5x2

32 kgx
11/11/11/11( pr)
252 swings pr
18,144 lbs

niiice. but man I was sucking wind for the 9's 10 and 11 rep sets. hips were pumped and just wanted to shut down. was really concentrating on hip snap and leg drive for each rep and it make it much harder.Just the point though.This is the third week up in this cycle so I will take a down week next week with the 28 kg and some lower rep sets.
Short cycle One kb JERKS
This was a surprise. My right shoulder ROM and flexibility has been coming along so nicely, thanks to the Z work, and the push presses have felt so good, that I was wondering if I could now do jerks with my right arm.The left arm jerks have felt great and they are definitely easier than the push presses.
I was pleasantly surprised when I attempted the first warmup sets and it was no problem!LOL! This is great news.I was just happy when I could do the push press and not suffer knee or back issues but this is way cool. I have always loved the olympic lifts and with my gymnastics background the motions were never that hard for me. But my close grip overhead work wouldn't cooperate during my powerlifting years although I could barbell power snatch 70-75 kg pretty much anytime with no specific training.The wide grip was way easier.
And when I discovered the kb in 2001 the first thing I realized was one of the main differences between a db or a barbell was that the offset weight and unique handle allowed me to put weight overhead again for the first time in years with my right shoulder.
I would argue with those that think the design of the kb is primarily suited to high repetition movements. I have found that it is singularly unique for developing shoulder flexibility, mobility and stability.It's just easier to hold a kb overhead than any other free weight implement.

One kb Jerks
16kgx10/10 x5 sets 1 min per arm
16kgc20 reps ( right arm only) 1 min 15 sec

These felt great. Mainly working on technique; keeping the upper arm against the body on the dip. driving back or the jump and letting the leg/hip drive push the bell off my torso, and jumping down under the weight to lockout. TONS more work to do but this felt the best ever. very excited.Right overhead position most solid.

datsit, full body Z session in a few hours.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's all easy til it's heavy.

Wade Hooper at the IPF Worlds, giving squat lessons.His second attempt squat is what a true max lift looks like. If it doesnt take 3-5 seconds to finish it's not your real max. Being able to grind, really grind, is KEY for powerlifting and Wade is a Master.
Man, I really miss being at IPF World meets, there ain't nothing like it,even if you are just coaching.The IPF is the most uptight Powerlifting Federations there is but if it passes there,especially at a World meet; it's a good lift.I still miss squatting heavy.There is nothing quite like that either.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Snatches and push presses.

Wow. I was even lighter today. 158.4 That is really the lightest I have been in eons. Not dieting at all and not aware that I am eating less than normal.The original idea behind dropping from my weight of the last 15 years 185lbs was to decrease the loads on my knee and back.It definitely is helping.I was at the point where being lighter was way more important than being stronger.
But my strength feels great. AS well as my endurance.I had told myself that 155 would be the lightest I would get; that was the weight I had trained at during my road bike phase when I had the best combination of anaerobic and aerobic endurance as well as total body strength. I always felt( and was) weak as a runner. But cycling takes big strength to climb hills, sprint and chase down attackers.On top of a serious aerobic base.KB work always reminds me of sprinting up hills.Just plain hard. I had a very good physical balance when training for road racing.
BF read 8.5% but only 60.5% hydrated so I need a bit more H20.
More snatches today and more little pieces of teshnik are coming together. Really focused on the descent of the arm today and rearranged myself so that even with my long arms the bell stays tighter over my base of support.
Got that from the descent of my push press where I lay back a bit before I lower the bell. Did that as bit with the snatch and it felt great. I was planning on doing some faster reps and not holding at the top but I think I am too used to it now,lol. Isnt that ironic.It definitely is easier on my CV system than pushing right off and going into the next rep.
Also really focused on not what is 'right' form but what is MY form.


24kgx6/6x9 sets
108 reps
5724 lbs

Long overhead holds and strong and explosive full body extension, thinking speed and acceleration on the way up.ALso making not to forget to use the back with the hips as I stand up. Louie was always saying that in a good squat one has to 'push into the bar' as their first move out of the squat.Not pushing with the legs, as that causes one to bend over as just knee extension occurs.Push the traps into the bar to open the hips so they can extend. Knees lock you out.
I think the same is true with a good swing or snatch, the back opens the hips which open the knee .Full body chain.Stand up strongly.

Push press
24kgx5/5x4 sets
LC 24 kg 5/5x 1 set

These were strong,even after the snatches. Legs were slow getting into it though and I could really tell what a difference that makes.Overhead position is still gettting better.Descent still needs some work; a bit 'bumpy'.The long cycle was interesting.seems easier than just standing there jerking, things get distributed more but it would be harder cv wise I'm sure. I just have to keep rememering that it is a leg exercise.

Clubbell work:
rock its
front back swings
one arm side rockits
one arm side swings
front swing to torch( one and two bells)
pendulums ( one and two bells)
inside/outside pendulums (first time I tried these,solid)
flag presses one and two bells
torch press one and two bells
front press one and two bells
back position work
armpit cast( first time for this-not bad at all glad to see those millions of db and machine pullovers I did weren't wasted)
swipes with one and two bells( another first, rough but no problem with basic form,excellent!)

about 3 sets of each exercise.this needs it's own day when I'm fresh, I can see that.

datsit,staying loose. 9 short sessions of z throughout the day as well as rifga stretches.

Monday, October 15, 2007

500 swings.

Started the next phase of the max vo2 cycle, the same 15/15 ratio but with one arm swings instead of snatches. While this was easier in some ways it was also harder with the light bell and controlling it so I could get the 10 reps per 15 sec I wanted. this will definitely get the hips and legs more than the snatch cycle.

One arm swings, 16 kg
10 reps per 15 sec
50 sets
500 reps
18,000 lbs!!
wow didnt think it would be that high.
HR at end of 50 sets 192 bpm.
25 minutes

wow this was tougher than I thought it would be;especially trying to really keep the acceleration up from first to last set.really had to pull the bell down to get it to fall fast enough to make the rep count. I will do this for 2-3 weeks then switch to the 20 kg and go for 8-9 reps per 15 sec. This phase will increase strength and power.

one arm clubbell swing 3x12 each arm
two clubbell swings 5x15 ( much better overhead position than last time)
one clubbell pendulum 3x10 each
two clubbell pendulums 5 x12
pendulums to flags 4 x 5 these are hard!
torch press one bell 3x5 each
torch press two bells.3x5
one bell leverage torch press 3x5 each
two bells leverage torch press 3x5
pendulum swings 3x12

wow. still such a feeling out process but after seeing the dvds many many times and re reading the book I have a much better idea of the exact positions and muscles I am trying to get into and recruit.

datsit, staying loose!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tracy kicks butt in the USSST

It's called the Ultimate Secret Service Snatch test and the men do it with the two pood and the women the 16 kg. Tracy has been pretty nervous about it since she did 5o set of snatches in the Max Vo2 workout 7 weeks or so ago and hasnt really trained much with the 16 kg in the snatch.
Not to worry though as those mega swing workouts and insane cardio ability let her keep her predetermined pace of 7 reps each arm and NOT put the bell down the whole ten minutes.
For some reason the camera turned off in the middle and even though I got it working again it missed some reps, don't know how many.
But we had the gymboss keeping time and I was marking down each hand switch and adding it via calculator just so there was no mistakes. Tracy knew she did only 6 reps on one side in one of the sets so it was 177 reps and not 178.
Cardio wise I think she was between 85-90% of max so I know she can get to 200 reps no problem.
Here's the start:

Here's the finish. Her splits were definitely faster in the second five minutes than the first.

I am incredibly proud of her ability, her drive and mainly her grit to keep going forward no matter what.She is setting bar very, very high for all women kettlebellers with her incredible work capacity and work ethic.

Made the cover of PLUSA

Not exactly how I wanted to but on the cover nonetheless,lol! Got this from Tom Furmans link to ALL the Covers of all the PLUSA's !!I've been looking for this for a long time. This is a great find with some really rare photos of legendary lifters.That's my head next to the "S" in men's nationals.

Full body Z routine. ankles to wrist and neck. about 45 minutes. Could definitely feel I did some work yesterday, set some pr's and added something new.Rushed through the push presses to get to the clubs and was too sloppy in my overhead form. Plus increasing the time by one minute each arm from the last week was greedy.What does Z say about DOMs?

Rifga and stick stretches.
down dog
upward dog
down dog shoulder stretch
pike and straddle floor stretch
stability ball back bends
sumo squat stretch
stick squat stretch
stick press( not slide)
stick shoulder extensions( both grips)
Overhead hangs from chin bar( I have been neglecting these and can tell. my heels are about 3 inches off the ground,lol!)

this was very good, just what I needed. much looser.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Climbing uphill.

Great day today! Woke up feeling strong and ready, always a great, albeit rare, thing.Wanted to jump right into the clubbells but I had work to do first.Nick decided to do my workout with me today as his back wasnt up to heavy squats. He had quite the revelation about what 200 plus heavy swings feel like.He got my analogy to climbing hills quite vividly.
Uphill ladders make you tough, just like hills do.

One arm swings
16kgx5/5/5/5 x 3 sets
24 kgx5/5x2

32kg x

220 reps PR.

this was way easier than last week.even the 40 rep set. good, this ssst style is where I need to go.

One kb push press
16kgx 4 min each arm, 8 min total PR
37 reps each set
74 reps total
9.25 reps per minute

I was hoping for 10 reps per minute but the swings kicked my ass more than expected.This was hard but mainly cause my arms were so tired to begin with. 5 minutes is definitely doable but I will lead with this next week.boring as all hell but very tough.

My first practice with the ominous ten pounders. very warmed up so I jumped right into the basics with two bells:

rock its( the beginning sway back and forth
two cb swings
pendulum swings
pendulum swings to flag hold ( these are way cool)

same as above with one bell.

Torch press with one bell
Torch press with two bells
These are tough with my limited right overhead ROM but its such a different position it will be very complimentary to my kb work.

Side rockits
side swings

heres some video of my first set

very cool. its a great mix with the kb work and I feel very natural with it. Like everything else just need a lot of work on the basics.More studying to do for sure and Mrs Rif as requested her own pair of fives so I will get those and a single 15 or 20 pounder for the two hand/one club work. This reminds me very much of parallel bar swings. Plus I really get to lock my elbows, which feels very good to do.

datsit, staying loose.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Iron Beast Kettlebells

This guys is great.Seriously tough moves.Got this from Jason Browns Kettlebell Athletics blog

Holy shit, I'm in trouble, lol.

My pair of clubbells arrived today. Thank God I only got the tens. I thought they had mistakenly sent me twenty fives when the package arrived. This is going to be serious.Threw em around just a bit already, doing some swings and some order guard and flag positions and just feeling them out. No joke. And one HELL of a really nicely made training tool. This thing is class all the way. Has a great feel and look to it, very finished.I love that I can do really close stance swings, that will balance out the wider, more midline swings of the kbs.
Its a big ass, heavy weighted club.Excellent.Have some dvds to watch again.
More fun tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

KB Practice

Great workout today with Joe and we really got a lot done,especially in regards technique.Always trying to refine and explore how to make the movements better. Stronger, faster, more efficient and more ME.What my gut tells me what will work as opposed to what I think I am to supposed to do.Its always an amalgam, never exactly one thing or the other.
You have to really concentrate and thats why I love having the video available; it's such incredible REAL TIME feedback. You can coach yourself as if you were observing a client or training partner.
Plus you can break it down frame by frame and analyze what you actually ARE doing; as opposed to what you think you are doing or what it feels like( rarely acurate).
Joe throws that 32 kg around like a 16 kg. Its freaky how easily and nonchalantly he can just snatch, press or power jerk the two pood.and the 40 kg. kid is strong AND flexible. I hate him :))

16kgx10/10 swings x10
16kg x5/5 snatch x2

24 kgx
7/7x 3 rounds
108 reps
5724 lbs
Did the snatches with a solid hold at the top. The right shoulder is much better. I experimented with looking up at the top with the right but the video shows a better position with the eyes straight ahead. either way I have to aim my arm for my midline for it to get close to the head, and an easier lockout.Weight felt light, which is good cause it is,lol.

24 kg push press( one kb)
24kgx5/5x5 sets

This was very solid and the positions feel better than ever. I actually jerked it on my left side,quite by accident. I am amazed my heels are coming off the ground as I can jump a bit now and the knee is being very nice to me :))
I can see in the video that I am getting more knee flexion in the dip and the catch than I even thought. Good stuff for my much neglected quads. Five minutes each side with the 16 kg soon.
This will be the move that I will get back to using the two pood with again; not the snatch.

had some very cool experiences with Z with some clients. One woman came in with a very locked up levator scapula, which I would have normally thumped and shoulder slid, etc.
The AC joint area complained when we did spine lengthening with the arms out in front and scapula protracted.
Instead I had her do 6 position shoulder circles with that arm and the left side six position hip circles in each direction.
Then I retested her spine lengthening in each posititon and NO PAIN.CRAZY!
She kept doing shoulder, wrist and opposite side hip and ankle circles between sets and left with no pain. Like I said. Crazy.
Plus my stuff is feeling very good as well.

BW 159.2 !!! this is the lowest in 25 years.
BF 7.9%
Water 61.5%

I thought I was heavy, thats why I weighed,lol.

Datsit, staying loose. and skinny it looks like.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Restoring Lost Physical Function trailer

The trailer for my DVD set.Z is great but don't think I'm giving up my roller!Its been such a great year and it keeps getting better!

I can't press?

For some reason, there is a nasty rumour going around that I cannot press weight over my head anymore. This, friends and neighbors is just not true.Now, it is true that I chose to stop doing military presses for the last year or so as it made my previously injured right rotator worse and I didnt want to exacerbate the strength imbalance by continuing to press with my left.

I taught the press at the Sept cert and had no problem pushing the 24 kg overhead slow motion for the entire hour, bottoms up pressing it as well.I did use my left but it was no problem, even though I hadnn't pressed anything for months.

For the record, I can press the two pood for sets and reps with either arm,anytime, although it would not be a smart thing to do with my right and would probably overwork my 'healing nicely' right shoulder.I just did 80 push presses( 40 each arm) with the 24 kg Wednesday, the second push press workout back with no problem and it's more press than push.

I can easily say with confidence that I have pressed more weight, more often , than ANY of my detractors have done in their lives.If there is one thing I know, and have confidence in, it is my pressing ability.I never concentrated on the bench because it was such an easy lift for me. One works their weakness to bring up a total,not their strengths.

5-6 hours a day of gymnastics training involved pressing virtually every part of every workout, most of the time just to get in position to do a trick. Floor exercise, rings, parallel bars and conditioning all involved numerous presses of various kinds.

My record for handstand pushups was 22 reps on the still rings with no feet on the straps. Yes I know that was a long time ago but hey, I did it, can my detractors say the same? Could they do one? Do a free standing handstand on the rings? Hell, on the floor?

I did incline db presses with two 140 lb dbs for 4-5 reps regularly in my bodybuilding workouts and flat db benched the 150's for 5's as well.Lets not even talk about dips.Dips are like getting out of bed in the morning for gymnasts.

I have an official 435 bench at 181 pounds and 45 years old in a three lift meet as well as a few Calif. state bench records.I also did 490 in the gym, which doesnt count except to make a point:I know how to press. my gym pr is a 345 close grip incline, a 405 close grip decline and too many others to mention. You get the point.

Another thing to say though, my right shoulder injury is not the result of faulty exercise training but a gymnastics training ACCIDENT 30 years ago. The fact that I can do anything with it is a plus, but of course that will be missed by the nattering nabobs of negativity that are only looking for ways to pull others down.
It always amazes me to see those who have never risked anything and gotten knocked down in the pursuit of their goals slander those who are unafraid of failure in the pursuit of their dreams. Let 'em talk.

Monday, October 08, 2007


The new issue of Hardstyle is out and has the ads for my DVD "Restoring Lost Physical Function", an article I wrote on length tension relationships and their importance to balancing your body and part 1 of an interview I did with Dr Mark Cheng.
It's been a pretty amazing year for me and my family and it just keeps getting better!

50 sets of snatch fun

The forth time going from 35-50 sets of snatches in the 15:15 protocol. This was by far the easiest and strongest peak to a cycle yet.For some reason the video did not activate so I have no great vids of me breathing like a freight train and Tracy calm and cool.( she continued her snatch workout RIGHT AFTER doing 15 sec sets of 8 reps and a transfer each side for 7.5 minutes with out putting the bell down. Right after 400 snatches in 25 minutes.
Yeah hardstyle doesnt build work capacity :0)
My overhead position on the right wasnt as good as last time as I didnt take enough time to open it up before hand.Not bad but not as easy as I wanted.Z, like the stretches, opens me up but life closes you down until you get those old dysfunctional patterns that are producing the tightness replaced. I'm patient if I'm anything.Snatch technique felt the best ever though and I still got 7 in 13.5 sec with some decent overhead positions.

Snatch 16 kg
15 sec on/15 sec off
50 sets 7 reps per cycle
350 reps
12,600 lbs

One arm swings 16 kg
15 reps per side, rest 30 sec 15 the other side
120 reps
4320 lbs

Did these as just extra mileage, I thought, but it turned out to really tighten up my swing form, which I havent done 'light' since I started the max vo2 work 9 weeks ago.
I think I am going to do a cycle of 15 sec set swings with the 20 kilo for 6-8 weeks and really work the crap out of my swing . Only having to do one arm at a time in this manner should be interesting. I will still snatch on wednesday and I might though in some long timed sets for fun as well.

Snatch holds
16 kg x one min 3 sets( these are alwasy harder for me than the heavier ones!)
did a nice 10 minute section of Z while I watched Joe DL and opened things up. This was good.

Rack walk 16 kg( on pavement/shoes)
1200 feet continuous switch arms every 200 feet.
man the pavement is easier than thick grass and barefoot! have to alternate these.

So thats it
Timed snatch sets with 16 kg
speed swings 15 on 15 off with 16 kg
rack walks 16 kg

24 kg comp snatches: five rep per arm/ ssst style sets.
24 kg push press,short cycle for 5-10 reps/set
16kg rack walks.

24-32kg one arm swings:10 reps per arm/ssst style
16 push press for 3-5 min sets per arm
24 kg snatch holds
and I have to figure out where to put the clubbell work. They should be here in a week!

datsit,staying loose.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Back to the future

Woodward Gymnastics Camp Summer 1977.
I realized months ago that complete rest on Sundays is not only not helpful it is actually detrimental to my performance in Mondays sessions. Doing my Rifga stretches has been a great help when I made myself do them,which was pretty consistent and getting better all the time.Substituted the Z health full body workout and have to say I feel pretty good right now :))
I started out with quite a bit of body tension from yesterdays intense session and a poor nights sleep( for other reasons).
Perfect California weather today, 75+ and clear skies so I did the session in the sun in my back yard and that made it even better. I can really feel the warmth in my (old) bones and now I know why people retire to Florida or the desert. It feels goodand keeps muscles and connective tissue much looser.Especially when you're a buck sixty too.Not enough mass to stay warm.
Took about 40 minutes and I noticed a few new things:
1) I can stand much better on my left leg for the right leg drills than I have in years.many years. and way better than just two weeks ago. My knee used to constantly "adjust" when I stood on it.It hasnt been and the IT and quad stay relatively loose as well.
2) The elbow drills are really hard and have quite the effect on my shoulders, much more than I ever would have thought. I have been saying that my elbows and wrist are the best joints in my body but I can tell they have not been going through full ROMs.This is going to help my external rotation in my right arm a lot,I can tell.
3) The index and pinky lead hand circles are the same thing for the hands as the middle and outer toe pulls are for the ankles. And every bit as important.I have known( anatomy trains) that A LOT of my shoulder problems are traced right back down the arm and into the forearm flexors AND all the way into the hand and fingers.I have done TONS of intense bodywork on people over the years and it was killing me and my shoulders. Really figuring out that these finger leads were not just wrist circles was em.

Good stuff, time for food.Got 50 sets of snatches to do tomorrow, :))

Saturday, October 06, 2007

My old warmup routine.

I really didnt "get" gymnastics til I got to college and spent 45 minutes each day before practice 'playing' on the trampoline. We used to play add-on, which is a game where you do a skill and the next guy has to do your skill plus add one on.You have to do the first two skills plus add another new one. This goes on til someone misses and is out. last one standing is the days winner.We used to have 6-8 doing this and with a group of elite gymnasts the skills and combinations get hairy pretty quick but it's TOO much fun.This guy is bouncing on an "aussie web" bed where the strands are only a quarter inch wide.You stand on it and you go up and down as your heart beats,lol. Very easy to get very high in the air.

When I get back to being able to bounce tramp again I know I have fully healed.oh yeah, that and being able to run again. New knee time soon.

The Big Book of Clubbells.

The Big Book of Clubbells arrived yesterday, ahead of the bells or the dvd, which gives me some time to absorb ALL this info before I start throwing around the new toys. Really well done book with tons of great photo illustrations and very specific text.
I was a little suprised, though, to see how much emphasis is placed on the same mechanical positions and techniques as is emphasized in the RKC swing mechanics. From getting and keeping a lordotic curve in the lumbar spine, to snapping the hips and yes, you read it here too, the anal lock and glute contracions in the rooting techniques for pelvic stability,to packing the shoulders in the socket for shoulder health and strength.
from page 81
" not maintaining proper alignment, especially under the load of progressive resistance training, can reinforce and create performance impediments,as well potential injuries. Always establish proper crown to coccyx alignment before adding any load to your structure , and maintain this alignment throughout every movement while under load."
Sounds very familiar and makes total sense to me.
He also writes about how maintaining these alignments works with the principles of tensegrity our bodies operate under and optimizes the stored elastic energy in our muscular/fascial sytem when we do load the body. very interesting stuff.
" the body is built like Buckminster Fuller's Tensegrity model- it's composed of hard, compressive struts that are pushing outwards in a sea of continuous tension that is pulling inwards, finding the optimal balance to create the magical anti-gravitational act of human upright locomotion".
Can't wait for the bells to arrive.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Note the similarities

Note the similarities in form and body position while both press the Beast.Shoulder down in the socket, hip under the weight, forearm vertical. Kenneth is 6'2 and 210 and Joe is 5'5 and 170. Good leverage and technique go beyond body type in this movement.BTW, Joe will tame the Beast Challenge this February in San Jose. Count on it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is parallel

Lower than you thought, eh? And this is JUST parallel. you have to go below this level, should by at least an inch to guarantee whites.Great illustration of what the hip crease looks like in the bottom.It ain't easy.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Anatomy is destiny

Built to deadlift.Lamar Gant 661 at 132 lbs.

Snatch and push presses.

Recovered very well from mondays max vo2 work. the z is definitely having a positive effect and I find myself stretching less( although still getting on the floor), and having more ROM with significantly less tension and therefore, less pain. As the tension gears up the pain increases and vice versa.
I am purposely NOT doing many stick slides,overhead stretches, shoulder extension stretches to see what the effect of mainly z is on my shoulder. If I can judge at all by my snatch and the push press position it is working great. Just the basic rifga floor work and z . Also hardly having the thump. I still am using it but WAY less. 75% less. Hey no one is more surprised than I am.

Reading Aarons deconstruction of how to approach a locked up joint helped a lot too.Mobilize the joint itself first, then the joint above and below then the corresponding joint on the contralateral side.But I am getting a lot of just full body stuff all day too.One of the benefits of being in a gym for work.Mainly sticking to the feet and ankles,knees, hips shoulders,elbows wrists and some neck. The most basic lengthening drills I am finding incredibly beneficial. Much like the standing posture work I was doing before.
And the slow snatches today were almost fun on the right side. easily the best overhead position I might have ever had since I stopped benching and tried to restore my overhead ability.I did almost NO overhead work during my powerlifting years. I did lots as a bodybuilder and some at the start of powerlifting but as the bench weight went up they went out. Whatever it took for the number. Good for the numbers not for the body. Then I realized it was gone and not likely to come back easily.Until the kb.

So today was solid and each hold was 2-3 seconds long.each set one minute plus.

16 kgx10/10x2 sets
24 kg x10/10x5 sets
100 reps

5300 lbs

these were solid and it seems to work to use these as a warmup


24kgx7/7x8 sets
112 reps

212 reps
11,236 lbs

very solid and the lockout was the best yet.have to really focus on keeping the right arm down the midline or it drifts laterally and that doesnt help the lockout at all.Descents were easy and no hand stress,getting it into the hook better.

One arm pushpress
50 reps
2650 lbs.

wow these were very solid and I wasnt rotating on the right arm at all! The bell path was very confortable.This is much better than even saturday. really could feel my legs working and I was even coming up on my toes to finish the extension which is something I haven't been able to do without wrecking my left knee in shoes.

datsit, more z for me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Old school east coast kb training!

Back in the day those Philly guys were throwing around some heavy combinations of bells.Some classic videos from Jason Brown and the Philadelphia Kettlebell Club

Monday, October 01, 2007

More snatch hell.

How can this max vo2 thing get easier and harder at the same time?Well one way is when you make the reps themselves harder.I focused today on getting a closer and tighter lockout,especially on my right side, before punching it back over the top and that effort ate up the 1.5 seconds I was getting on my other sessions.doesnt seem like much but that 1.5 seconds rest helped,lol. Now it's gone and that 15 seconds rest seemed like 5!
And trying to go fast when you're not ready to sprint is ALWAYS tough. Don't know how Tracy cranks out NINE reps per 15 sec.Freaky! but the key is to dive in and do your best that day and that's how it went. Wind was suprsingly good, even at the end and I think my form is best yet. My stroke is just long and there are just so many ways to speed it up. I think 8 reps per 15 is my max pace..Have to play with that again next cycle after next weeks 50 sets.
Also slowly rebuilding my base shape.

16 kgx45 sets of 15 sec on 15 sec off.
315 reps
11,340 pounds.

Looks better written like that, lol. Not a bad tonnage.

here we are at set 20 my wife is a machine.She's going to take the SSST with the 16 kg for the first time in a few weeks so she is gearing up.

and the ass end of it

Once I get the shoulder to really lock in I can speed this up as well.Have to focus on keeping it close as it really wants to drift to the right.

Rack walks
16 kg barefoot, thick turf
800 feet switch hands every 200 feet
400 feet as above
400 feet as above

1600 total feet
. man this is way tough ON MY ARMS after all those snatches. plus the turf is way tougher on the knee and ankle.but it feels more natural and cushioned and like the right thing to be doing.

Scap pulls
4x10 double red mini

16 kg snatch holds
60 sec x 3 sets each arm.

Not bad over all. GPP is steadily returning. LOTS of Z before during and after sets.Plus tons of it all day long with clients. As well as 15 minutes Rifga stretches.very productive day. still more z and stretching to do before I sleep.

datsit, staying loose.