Thursday, November 29, 2007

AMAZING powerlifting video resource.

Check out this index of powerlifting videos. It has some very old, classic lifters doing their thing,including Vince Anello,Mike McDonald,Ed Coan and lots others.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Get up Stand up.

who woulda thunk we weren't designed to sit down for 16 hours a day day in and day out? Sitting not only ruins backs it seems it also keeps us fat .

Interesting article here

this also is a good reason to substitute a stability ball for a regular chair. The stability ball,because it is always in motion, requires one to constantly 'fidget" around to stay stable, which might be similar to the 'puttering' they mention in the article.It certainly is much better for your back, abs and balance.

Back to basics:Max Vo2 day

Seems like I havent done this workout in years but it's only been two weeks.Got nailed yesterday with a really bad allergy attack which kicked my ass all day. I used to have bad allergies years ago but havent had any problems at all for 10 + years. Very weird. Nothing worked but the claritan wacked my out enough to make me worry about today. No problems. 35 sets of 7 reps and 5 sets of 8 and form felt great. As did my shoulder.Good times.

16 kg
35 sets of 7 reps every 15 sec
5 set sof 8 reps
40 sets
285 reps
10,260 lbs

teshnik was solid with longer than normal overhead holds which soaked up all the 15 seconds of work.Really getting the timing of the descent down now so the bell path is closer but still goes over the top.This will be the everyweek wednesday workout for awhile now with ssst snatch work with either the 20 or 24 kg on mondays. Did it before only the opposite order, should be fine.
Snatch holds
16kg x40 sec x 3 sets

been awhile since I've done these too. time to go back.

Barbarian Cast/flag
10lbsx10 reps each side
15x10 reps each side x4 sets
need to get aheavier cb for these. 25 probably. like the two handed circular work a lot.

Shield casts
10lbs x10 each side x 3 sets
15lbs x6 each side x 2 sets
these were hard. choke to mid club.still appreciably harder the 10s with no choke.

Rack walk
16kgx1200 feet hand switch every 200 feet.
not bad but feeling mondays impact a bit on the fibula. much of my left leg pain comes from the left calf and ankle, not just the joint itself.When joints dont fully bend their normal amount, the tissue surrounding it really locks up and this causes all kinds of issues. Especially when it's cold and you're old,lol.Back to the floor.

BW 160.8
BF 8.8%
Water 60.5%

will adapt.didnt get enough floor time today and it was COLD in the studio for me. Everybody's swinigng so they are warm; I'm just standing there freezing! At a buck sixty there ain't a lot of insulation left :))

datsit.time to eat.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wow. Lance Karabel gets ready for USAPL American open

840 squat

640 bench

one scary 770 deadlift

The Key to Progress by Dr Squat.

Fred Hatfield. the lightest and oldest man to squat 1000lbs. Hatfield knew discipline and committment to the goal.

Got this quote of Dr Hatfield from Boris Bachman's blog

Dr squat says:

"Look, 'routines' are just that! I have written much on the subject. I have probably given the subject more careful thought than most. Here is yet another thought that I should've written at some time... maybe I did... can't remember.In order to achieve ANYTHING in life to the pinnacle of your capabilities, you must 'marry' the thing! Become a 'priest' to it. Live, eat, sleep and breathe it! You MUST NOT succumb to whoredom and meander from one routine to another in the false hope that one of them is gonna 'work'.

It will not! You may get a quick fix from it, but it'll only be because you re-injected some adaptive stress into your routine.Do this instead.
Now, most lifters cannot do this because they are not educated in the discipline, and because they have never been taught to REALLY think things through! So, the alternative is to find yourself a bonafide guru who HAS, and hang your hat on what that person has to say! So, find one! ONE!"- Dr. Fred Hatfield

Do not fall victim to "random acts of variety' if you have a serious goal, a real goal.You must start at the end( the goal) and work backwards( to where you are now, starting) to see what must be done to achieve the goal.If you can't or won't do what is necessary at least you will know why for real why you didnt achieve your goal, instead of pretending that it wasn't possible for you or that you 'really didnt care' about it.
Don't be afraid to care 100% about something and try 100% to achieve it in case you cannot. It's not failing that counts , its the giving up. One is either getting stronger or weaker each day with EACH act we do. We are either going towards what we say we want or deluding ourselves and going backwards.
Realizing the price to be paid is too high is not deluding oneself or failing as long as one is honest about it.Great things are never accomplished without a high cost.And while they might not be great in the grand scheme of things to others,everyone know what they consider great and whether that quest is worthwhile.

Challenges don't build character, it is said, they reveal it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Push press

I've decided to turn Mondays back into another snatch day.Even though the push presses are going well from a technical( and a pain level) sense, they just dont get me going the same way snatches do. I have to not only limit the top end weight, but also the top end effort it seems or else my shoulder protests.Yet my left side can do twice the work my right can and lately I havent felt like I get much of a workout on Mondays.
ANd yet snatches,no matter what the weight, and swings always kick my ass. As does rack walks and they are going back in too.
So Mondays will be either the 20 or the 24 kg for longer sets with solid lockouts and only one hand switch. Multiple sets.
Wednesdays will be either max vo2 with the 16 or ssst style with the 20 kg.Adding back in the rack walking for increasing distance and the cb work and it should be a good balance. I really like the cb work but it torches the grip crazy!doing volume anything with heavier clubs is very impressive to me now.I just like throwing those clubs around in circles too and it makes my 3 lb Old English Bastard sword seem like a toothpick!

Push press
20kg x5/5,6/6,7/7,8/8,9/9,10/10
90 reps
these went very well actually but they just dont move me. I feel like I could press the weights for the same reps at the same speed but know it would wreck me.the snatches are such a big ROM exercise for me its much harder but feels safer.

torch swings
2 10s x10x3 sets
2 15s x8x3 sets
the 15s,even with a modest choke were not easy,especially at the end of the set.

2 10sx20,20
2 15sx 14,12

these were MUCH better than last time,where I thought my way through the move too much instead of feeling my way through it like it did today.really have tons of respect for guys who can use 2 25s for high reps sets of these. No joke. Going to keep this move in here after snatches.the combination of the double arm cast and double arm pendulum is very interesting.

Rack walks
16kgx1200 feet, hand switch every 200 feet.
Need this again. Not only forces me to focus on gait mechanics,and overloads them but really works the wind and the arm in a safe way. this is back in..

BW 160.4
Water 60.7%

Datsit. Z drills later.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Think your training is hard?

How would you like to practice this stuff?No one could even conceive some of these moves even being possible when I was doing gymnastics.

The tide is still rising.

This is my favorite part of a cycle; when higher than ever training loads are adapted to and what was hard is now strong and easy.When you finish heavier or harder workouts than you have ever done and have plenty left in the tank.And know that you did overload enough to stimulate more adaptation but haven't paid too much for it.
While I jumped the gun on the push presses I seemed to have timed the swings and snatches well.New swing PR with the 32kg today and was strong the whole time.

One arm swings

32kgx10/10x17 sets
340 reps/ pr
24,480 lbs.

This was great. Groove was solid, power was high,the bell felt light and the workload comfortable.Can't ask for more.

Torch press
15lbsx 5/5x2
Double press
2 15 lbsx5/5x3
Arm casts
cast to flag
10lbs x5/5
double cast to flag
two hand circular casts
15lbs x12/12x3

These are a great finisher to the saturday workout and my shoulders,upper back and triceps are liking it as well.
Very happy with todays workout and can really feel the increased stretching paying off already.


Friday, November 23, 2007


Ray Benemerito. One of the all time best adfpa/usapl lifters . Legit 1900lbs at 181.He knows squat.
I am getting a much better balance now between Z and the corrective exercise/prehab stretches I call Rifga.One thing I've realized of late is that I have been neglecting my squatting. Not loaded squatting, as I have given that up for the near and foreseeable future, but squat stretches/poses.I was doing a lot of sumo squat stretches and really making gains in getting my left knee to flex deeper but when I started doing so much standing Z( and feeling so much better) that my floor work, and with it my squat training, declined considerably.
I get a lot out of holding these varying width squat stances for longer and longer times. Now this is something I dont mind training for timed sets instead of counting reps.I need to work up to five minutes or more in the bottom position.
This is waiting out the tension at it's best and the longer I hold the set the deeper I go, with the stiff knee and hip opening up quite a bit at sets end.It's also a chance to check for pelvic instability/asymmetry as it's very apparent if one hip is higher , or tighter, than the other.when one knee only bends 90 degrees it's VERY easy for your hips to go off.
By keeping my shins vertical( or close) I can really open up the knee joint without stressing it and that's important for recovery work.
This blends well with the doward dog work to open up the hamstrings one leg at a time and the upward facing dog, or prone cobras as I usually call them, for releasing the psoas ,lower abs and external obliques,recentering the spine in extension, getting the elbows to fully lock and the
very important but usually neglected serratus muscles with the arm support posture.
Doing so much standing z work has made the calves and legs much stronger in static poses but also can tighten up my less stable left ankle/knee. Getting back on the squat train is the perfect move right now.
Lots of 32 kg swings to do tomorrow......

Mas Oyama's " This is Karate."

Rannoch's Zen Girya has a great similarity to this classic books cover art.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Way of the Kettlebell

I love this Japanese caligraphy style kb drawing done by Rannoch Donald RKC, of Scotland. He says he tried to combine the elements of the circle, the figure eight( for the eightfold path) and the infinity sign. I think he did a fantastic job and this drawing captures the simplicty and beauty of the kettlebell much in the same way the actual bell did the first time I saw it.
I think we're going to make some t shirts with this on it. Its the logo for his blog and I think it's the coolest kb logo I've seen yet.
here' s his blog link:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

snatch day

As I wrote the other day, it's always the days I feel like shit that the workout seems to go well. After getting the shoulder calmed down yesterday I slept on it weird and it felt "nervey" during work. Started off with a solid 20 min of Z and floor work, which helped, but never really got it all worked out. Sometimes its the workout that screws things back on correctly and this was one of those days. 20 kg snatch day SSST style rep scheme.

One arm torch swing warmup
10#x10 each side x3 (no choke)
this really helps open up the shoulder and get external rotation going again. need to use this more often just therapeutically.


20 kg
8/8/8/8 x6 sets
192 reps
8448 lbs

This felt really good and I had a solid lockout as well as pace.Groove was good too and was getting a good layback at the start, keeping the bell in close on descent.Kept having to stop myself from sprinting.The 20 kg is a great weight for me.

Barbarian flag casts

Shield casts
10#x8 each side x 4sets

bw 159.6
bf 9%
h20 60.5%

datsit. more z and floor work later.Happy Thanksgiving day to all! I have so much to be thankful for I can't believe it! This has been the best year of many good years and it just looks to be getting even better all the time.We are truly Blessed.As are we all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Z and Floor work.

Woke up pretty sore with the right shoulder, bicep, forearm and pec minor all pretty tight from those rough jerks and sleeping on it .Got into Girya extra early (5:30) for a full Z drill session before work.
Neutral spine lengthening front/to sides
with arms front/side,overhead
Lateral and medial tilts
toe pulls
toe circles
ankle circles pointed 3 way
ankle circles pulled 3 way
knee circles closed chain
knee circles open chain
hip pendulums
open chain hip circles 6 position
back half circles
shoulder circles front, back, top,bottom, front ,side
elbow circles top
elbow circles bottom
thoracic slides side to side
full thoracic circles
full neck drills circles
wrist and hand circles.

then five minutes of rifga
up dog
down dog alternating legs
calf stretch
kneeling shoulder stretch
sumo squat stretch
stick shoulder extension
stick press and shrugs.

then today just now
30 minutes of the above z drills.

feel much better now.It amazing that prior to doing z I paid almost no attention to my elbows and wrist j as I thought they were the only joints I had left that werent damaged. And they aren't, thank God.But I didn't know they would turn out to be so valuable in loosening up my shoulders. Now when my shoulders are tight its the elbow bottom circles that seem to release the impingment better than anything else. who woulda thunk it?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Practice not train.

is what I should be doing with my jerks and push presses but,as usual, I try to go as fast to the top as I can and this is how I get into trouble. I knew I was screwed when I felt so good all morning. Never a good sign. I have never had a GREAT workout when I felt good coming in. Lots of sleep, lots of rest and low stress the day before and sometimes I just feel weak. Today was like that even though I jerked the 28kg for the first time ever for 3x4/4.
I was just off and I rushed the warmup because I wanted to get to the 28kg asap.ANd I havent been doing enough Z and I can feel it>Part of the problem is I feel so much better than usual from doing it that I am trying to see how I little I need.
Well, it's more than I am doing,lol.
Its amazing how quickly my body re 'winds' itself into old patterns and things get tight fast.Especially as I push the loads. THis is why I have stayed with the 24kg for so long in anything overhead. I can use more weight strongly, but the tensions required and the forces produced just arent good for me.At least in regular doses. Yet. At the top of my strength curve my dominant muscle systems fire much harder than the weaker ones(l knee, r shoulder) and a tension imbalance occurs. I can get it from too much weight or too many reps.
I just didnt put the time in these last few days and my shoulder was tighter as a result.
So I pushed through it today as I do and was pretty tight after todays workout. did a full 30 min Z session just now.I planned to go on the roller but I don't think I need to now although I DO need to get on the floor and stretch. BOth the Z and the rifga individualized stretches are key it seems.
The key is being able to moving through basic but crucial postures and each joint ROMs with no pain and no tension. harder than it sounds. at least for me.But when the joint moves correctly again the muscle relaxes.
SO I was just a bit 'off' as I went into jerks.never pays to be lazy.

Jerks(with OL shoes)
28kgx4/4x3 sets

Thought I would play with Dr Hatfields "holistic" bodybuilding scheme as I was thinking maybe the jerks would be a good hypertrophy move for me. Uh, no.I need to PRACTICE this move and not beat myself over the head with it as I am wont to do.Don't be greedy.Especially with heavier weights.
I am definitely liking the push press more than the jerk.driving through the heel was tieing into the kb swing hip snap very well.Took the shoes off for the last two sets and felt much better.SHoulder was just tight today.

Two hand swings with monster mini band
24kgx10 no band
24kgx10x2 with mini
32kgx10 no band
32kgx10x2 with mini

These felt good but I'm not sure its worth the risk.The bands are great though and pull you into the groove.

Arm cast into flag
2 10'sx5x2
1 15 x5
2 15s x5x3

Side swings
15x10/10x3 sets

these are cool too. very good anatagonist for elbows and shoulders for kbs.TONS of triceps work too.


BW 160
BF 9%

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Very cool :one arm box deadlifts with multiple kbs

Man, Dustin Silveri and Robert Budd of Reno RKC got some great pics of a seriously cool multi KB deadlift

check it out here

I also have to remember to do some multi KB one arm swings. I really like those.

A different kind of blog.

I got this link from my sister as she deals with the reality that her son, my nephew Josh, has just left for 7 months of combat training in the IDF( Israeli Defense Forces)and then 2 plus years of service after that. Josh has volunteered for a combat unit as has the son of the mother who is writing this blog.A very normal combination of pride mixed with fear. The same feelings I have,especially as I imagine if my own son were going into harms way the way Josh is.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sets and Reps.

I've been training with sets and reps for so long I really don't enjoy any other way.I really don't like rushing between sets as I want to be fairly recovered so I can give my next set all the intensity it needs.Starting a set with my HR still elevated doesnt feel right to me.This started in gymnastics where there are at least 4-6 guys in a group and you go one at a time.Bodybuilding was more 'I go, you go' with one training partner and while the pace could be very fast or very slow(depending on which part of the cycle you were in) you always got some rest between sets.
Powerlifting WSB style was either very fast(speed work) or you got lots of rest( max effort days).
The overall effect though was/is a solid increase in high intensity work capacity.The ability to do high intensity work,rest a bit and then repeat it. Over and over and over. There are those who feel one has to do continuous work to increase work capacity but I disagree.As far as functional carryover there have been few situations I have encounted that called for continuous work with no rest. Regardless, I have trained so long this way it is was feels the best for me, and now, in my dotage it really doesnt matter anyway. My one consession to this is the max V02 work and I still get 15 sec rest there. As close as I want to go.
So I got my 400 one arm swings today and even towards the ass end of the workout, when I was starting to fatigue, I could still keep the speed of the bell, and the height of the swing where it was on set one. This is my way of increasing work capacity and keeping power output high.

One Arm Swings

28kgx12/12 x 17 sets
408 reps pr
25,704 lbs pr.

these were very solid even though it didnt feel as easy at the start as I had hoped. Took a few sets to really get warmed up and in the groove. Then it felt light.Sets 8-12 were the toughest as it seemed like still a long way to go. Pure work. Just sets and reps.I love swings. No where to run, nowhere to hide.
I am going to try some two hand swings with a band on monday and see how they go.Keeping my fingers crossed the back says ok now.

torch press
10x5 each arm
double press
2 10's x 5
one arm torch
15 lbs x5 each arm
double torch
2 15s x5 x4 sets

these felt great, really got a solid overhead position.

Gama Casts to flag
15lbsx 20 reps x 4 sets

alternated long arm/short arm position for each set. Love these. Great shoulder, upperback and tricep work. Need a heavier club though.

datsit, staying strong and loose.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pre training prep.

Although I did a lot of Z work today I really didnt get MY Z work in;nor enough floor work stretching either.Lots of demonstrating and leading for the clients but by wasnt very focused on my idiosycracies( of course). SO it was a pretty tight Rif after work. It was a very busy week too and the training was great with heavier weights and higher volumes and lots of client work.
But I can feel the difference in body tension.I am actually putting on some muscle again, especially upper body muscle, with the push presses, jerks and clubbell higher tension work.I have to do less bi lateral work as well as my stronger right leg/hip ends up doing too much work compared to unilateral training. No problem,minor adjustment.

SO it was 40 minutes full body z drill routine just now with another 20 minutes of floor work ,concentrating on hamstring and shoulder ROM and release.A good combo as most of the tension is gone.It really takes some serious intent and concentration to unwind these unconcious imbalanced motor patterns that occur over time. No Pain, No Tension. Who wouda thunk it would be my favorite saying now? Of course ,not for lifting heavy things, lol.

Tomorrow is swings with the 28 kg and I will be shooting for 40o reps.The initial plan is sets of 12/12 for 17 sets or so.See how I feel in the morning.Then double torch presses with the 15's for reps. My triceps are still sore from wednesday,lol! This should be fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mainline Kettlebells .Com

RKC Team Leader Will Williams has really upgraded his website Mainline Kettlebells! You have to check out the video on the right hand side it's Will at his most Will!Great to see things are going well for you man.
Heres a video of Will teaching the Turkish getup in classic WW style! Can't wait to work with you at the Danish RKC, it's gonna be a blast!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Snatches and casts.

I was a lot tighter from all the volume of close stance work with the cbs than I thought I would be. Nothing major, just had a tightness in the lateral part of the quadratus that I havent had in awhile.I have to watch my volume of bilateral work whether its two kbs inside the leg or two clubbells it seems.
24 kg day today for snatches and it was feeling light.Very happy to see that I havent messed with my groove for the snatch in a long time. same with the swing. It feels right and my focus is on doing it stronger and with more power for each rep than on trying to find the correct postitions or angle.

20 kgx5/5

24kgx7/7x10 sets
140 reps
7420 lbs

this was an "I go you go" set up with Joe, who was snatching the two pood like it was a 16 kg.It was moving fast, the best he has done and his descent form is so much better of late as well . No hand issues either. He also did 2 singles with the beast weight of 106 in the pullup so he is just about ready for the Challenge in February.At 165 or so byFeb will be the lightest guy to tame the beast.

I held each rep for a solid 2 count before the descent and the overhead position is still improving with no shoulder pain, come to think of it.140 reps is the most I've done in one session in a long time.

2 cb pendulums
10lbs x15 reps
15lbs x4 sets of 15

man I could really feel where the rockets and the torch swings got me on monday: the upper hammies and across the lumbars L2-3 and 3-4. Not bad just such a different loading pattern than unilateral kbs. Its a good part of the hammie though, that hi part where you do reverse hypers and glute ham raises to hit, right under the glutes.the 15's were much easier than expected, good though.

One CB Mill
10lbs x 4 sets of 8 each side
medium choke. havent done this in awhile and it took a bit to get the coordination down.Amazed that I can even do it on my right shoulder. It is a big, full body movement with so much rotations in multiple planes .Haven't been able to do that for ages.

One cb side swings
10lbs x10 each side
15lbs x10 each side x 4 sets
this was way cool and really is such a new ROM for the shoulder and arm. I havent swung anything in the frontal plane perhaps-ever! was never really a baseball player or golfer.

gama casts 4x10 each grip
two handed circular casts 4x10 each side
barbarian casts 4x8

man I dig these cast movements.I can feel my triceps growing daily,lol.I do need to do more kb swings though on these days or get my lazy ass out there walking the kbs again.

datsit , staying loose.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

How to squat more weight.

573 @ 190 lbs and 40. 1997 APF Masters Nationals

It seems that the basics are always getting passed over for fancier,more exotic programs.The key to getting stronger in a basic lift is putting more weight on the bar whenever you can.Sounds easy but how do you do it? Way too many programs focus on complicated schedules and assistant exercises. Lets take the squat. How does one build a 225 max squat into a 400 pound max squat?

First off your form has to be right. If the bar is not in the right place on your back, if the hips aren't engaged in the lift,If the back doesnt stay arched, if the knees continue to move forward as you descend or you dont know how to drive up into the bar as you ascend no program is going to help. The mechanics of the movement have to be solid so you can maintain them as the bar gets heavier.

One of the easiest to follow programs that also works great is the basic percentage program from Louie and WSB. This is what I first followed when I converted from bodybuilding training to powerlifting . Tradtional, classic squat programs at the time only had you work up to 1-2 top sets per week. Coming from my 'as many sets and reps as hard as possible til you die' bodybuilding program that I had been on for 8 years this wasnt near enough work! But louies system had 8 work sets! That I could live with. and I did. It brought my hi bar close stance bodybuilding half squat of 405x3 to a legit 540 power squat at 181 in the Ironman competition a year or so later.

One great benefit of this program is that you get to max out every 6 weeks or so so you have realtime, accurate one rep max number to use in your percentage calculations.Its a great mix of intensity and volume and with the very low reps per set you can practice compensatory acceleration on each and every rep. Both dynamic sub maximal work and max effort singles should be considered max effort days. Submax weights should be tried to be moved with maximum speed so that the force approaches max force. Of course this isnt for beginners and your form must be very comfortable to be able to do this safely.

You can do this raw or with gear. I started each cycle with minimal equipment and added it as weights approached the top percentages.You must have a current max weight to base this on. What you did last year at your last contest will not work.A no -pysch, just work up til it gets hard effort in the gym is fine.

Week One 70% 8 sets of 3 1 min /sets

Week two 75% 8 sets of 3 1.5 min/sets

Week three 80% 6 sets of 2 2 min/sets

Week four 85% 4 sets of 2 2 min /sets

Week five 70%x2 75%x2 80%x2 85%x2 90%x2x2

Week six 70%x2 75%x2 80%x2 85%x2 90%x1 101-103%x1 103-105%x1

or if you dont want to max just up the weight 5-10 lbs and repeat the cycle.

Pick two assistance exercises that work your weak links and work them for sets and reps to increase muscle mass.Do it once a week and deadlift for the same percentages and sets/reps on the other day.

If you repeatedly do this cycle 4-6 times a year for a few years you will have seriously increased your one rep max as well as built some serious muscle. The short rest times make up for the low reps by keeping muscle tension high. If you try to move the weight as explosively as possible their is a LOT of tension that gets generated.And as we know, tension is strength.It aint fancy but it sure do work. Of course you can switch things out but I know you can keep repeating this cycle and making gains. Especially if you choose your assistance and special exericses right. The key is perfect form and small but steady every increasing loads.

You can also do this as a box squat cycle as well ( use a real box single max).If you are ready for more tension add chains or bands. Bands increase the tenions exponentially and chains challenge your stability under the weight big time.

Remember there is a big difference between a gym max and a contest max. A contest max, with andrenaline and big psychological arousal can increase the lift 5-15% if you are a good performer under pressure.

Form is everything and you must try to use the lighter weights as serious form work.every rep should be legal depth and perfect form.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Congrats to the Master Instructors and New Senior RKC's!

Great news today from Pavel that both Sr RKCs Brett Jones and Andrea DuCane are being promoted to Master Instructor and will be able to certify groups as RKCs themselves. The RKC and Dragon Door is growing by leaps and bounds it seems and demand for the certification are increasing tremendously. Being the original never hurts.Having a great product helps even more.
In accordance with that Pavel named David Whitley, Geoff Neupert and Jeff O'Connor as new Senior RKC's. I love these guys and couldn't be happier to have them as fellow Senior Instructors. They are all top notch men, instructors, strength athletes and human beings.They have great character, humility,passion and intellect. As well as a great respect for the RKC and what is about.I have enjoyed working with and learning from each of these guys and can't wait to be able to work with them more often.
The RKC School of Strength continues to grow!

Strong is good.

I haven't had anything over the 24 kg over my head in a long time. When I gave up pressing and pullups last year to really focus on getting as much pain free right shoulder ROM back I knew I decided I didnt want to snatch anything heavier than the 24. Didn't fit the risk to benefit profile well.And pressing is very natural for me and I have nothing to prove there.
But after doing 15 and 15 with the 24 last workout I got the 28 kg in my head and decided today was a good day.It is only ten pound more for gods sake( lol, this is the thinking that got me into trouble)but hey let's go and see how it feels.What can I say, I love the feeling of getting stronger and seeing the proof.
Scheduled for a back off mini cycle and supposed to do clubbell push presses for some reps but wanted to do this first.Glad I did.

5 am
20 min Z drills full body
10 min rolling on floor/rifga

Push press

28 kgx3/3x2 sets

No problem. could have done 5 reps pretty strongly and another 2 sets no problem but I wanted to be cautious.I can easily see the two pood again.It's more about leg drive than press anyway.Best not to be greedy. This was fun :))Didnt feel heavy at all and the groove was the same. Excellent.

2 Clubbell push press( from shoulder park)
5 sets of 20.
Kind of a mini thruster with a stop between reps.
thought I would like this more but don't much care for the finish angled leverage position.Sure got my legs going though.
2x8/8 with the 15 #

two cb front press with 10#
these werent bad at all. good shoulder and core work.a pretty natural motion almost like a standing hammer strength leverage press. With all the horizontal clubbell pressing it feels like I am benching standing up!

2 10# bells
3sets of 50 reps

wow, these really get the quads and the glutes GOOD with no low back work. never really get up out of the tension as you dont stand all the way up, BUT the bounce kind of releases the tension before the next ballistic drop. cool. I can see 100 rep sets no problem.these stay.

Torch swings 2 0# cbs

man these TORCH the grip,especially with zero choke,The top position is very good though and the shoulder and elbow can just rotate and lock in.Antagonistic to biceps/brachialis tension.

flag press 2 10#
1 15# cb 1x5 each arm

can't wait til the other 15# bell gets here

rack walks 16 kg
1000 feet hand switch every 200 feet

solo training today so faster than normal pace. pretty easy today.the clubbells are hard, and require lots of tension ,but its not any real weight so it is easier on the the swings are more rythmic and less ballistic so there is less downward acceleration to deal with. less changes in force than kbs. but still cool.

datsit, staying loose.

More good research on interval training vs continuous work

Another excellent blog post by Chris Highcocks looks at metabolic changes during exercise comparing interval training versus continuous endurance training.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What a great gift.

One of my clients, an avid gun and knife collector, knew I was interested in getting a Kukri blade for my own modest knife and sword collection. Kukris are the knife/short sword used the Gurka's as their battle blade and and are the symbols of the unit.One morning last week he shows up with this for me:
a beautiful Ka Bar version of the Gurkha Kukri! This is one heavy duty machete and has the heft of a clubbell; much heavier than it looks. The recalcitrant leaves in my backyard no longer stand a chance!Christmas came early this year.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tough is good.

Down cycle this week on the swings to the 24 kg so I wanted to do some volume. Been feeling really good lately, really strong and my recovery is the best it's been in ages.Plus, I am right in the middle of my volume ramp up from the Sept cert peak and high workloads feel easy again.One of the reasons I hate(and always have) peaking is that the week before and a few weeks after you are really knocked back by adrenaline let down and you feel week and tired.
I used to compete so often as much to justify the time I wanted to train as much as to get to my goals,lol.
There was an interesting blog post recently about how western training methods do more harm than good to the average persons body and to a large extent I agree.So much of this damage comes from people who are looking for fitness training using sport as their method and not training for fitness. Too many people use sport as their method of training and this is where so many go wrong.Someone is out of shape and decides to take up: tennis, soccer, jogging, basketball ,etc to 'get back into shape'. Those are all sports which need very specifc training to being able to survive them, and even then the odd are against you.
I have always said: one trains for sport, you don't use sport to train.Usually its the weekend warriors that do nothing all week and then overload every system in their body with the pickup game or hard match.
Casastrophic injuries aside,successful athletes( with smart coaches) train for their sport using gradual and progressive training, cyclical ramp ups and a multitude of modalities for the training itself as well as the prehab and recovery of the bodies. Of course high level sport,whether one trains for it intelligently or not, places HUGE stresses on the body with big risks.One bad move and you're out.
And that's the price of admission and the cost of doing business.If your 'thing' is competition and being an athlete you suck it up and do what it necessary.But for the fitness minded person to take one small piece out of the athletes training puzzle almost never works out well. Especially if they are not built for that sport.
Now that I am an ex competitive athlete I am training for different goals than just increased performance and PR's and general toughing and increased work capacity are at the top of that list.While Joe and Jane weekend warrior are killing themselves with too much not often enough solid fitness training builds a bigger and wider foundational base all the time while occasionally stepping into a peak to asses where the training should go next.
" A back of iron and legs that never quit" is still the goal.
Most people though,imo, need to be tougher.It wasnt many years ago at all that life was infinitely more physical on every level.Just getting through the day made one stronger tougher and more fit than the average present day athlete.And of course it DID grind one up pretty quickly.
So many times being tough means doing LESS rather than more, if that what the body needs.Small systemic increases over time, and total body training done consistently is the ticket.Thats why I love the RKC system so much;it really builds you up more than it tears you down.The kb is so much more forgiving to the structure than the barbell,not only because the loads are lighter.
Running can be a great way to build leg and cardio endurance but its no where near a complete system. All the factors have to be taken into account and the program designed accordingly. Not many people want to think about their fitness training that much and that's where a good trainer comes in. As well as the kb. So much can be done in so few movements.

It used to be I would be able to do a tough workout but would be wrecked for days afterward. Now I can push myself more all the time and bounce right back. The workout has been over for a few hours now and I feel I can go back and do it again. This is good. Tough is good but it takes more than just a lot of work. It takes alot of smart work.

Kettlebell training will make you tough. Period.

Warmup: 15 min Z
One arm swings

24 kgx15/15 x 14 sets
x 15/15/10/10/5/5
500 reps/ PR
26,500 lbs.

wow,that was very strong. the 15th set for 60 reps was solid and I probably should have just done the 80 to finish off the 500 but was being cautious.each rep had good speed and power to the end.excellent.

Torch press
3x 5,6,10 with one 10# cb
3x5,6,10 with one 15# cb
2x15 with two 10#cbs

Armcasts to flag
5x8 with two 10#cb
3x8 with one 15# cb
2x10 with two 10# cb

man these are the pefect finishers to the kbs/ they really open up whatever the kbs make tight.
great workout and already feel good. want to do more cb work tomorrow,really liking the behind the back work.

datsit, getting strong again.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The glock torture test.

Been thinking about finally getting a pistol and am vasilating between the sig sauer p220 and the glock 21. Found this very interesting torture test on the glock.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How to wrap the bands on the kb for speed swings.

As per your request David.You should really dig these. Talk about rate of force development training! I am close to being able to tolerate two hand swings again and when I can bands are next. Can't wait.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

swings with bands

Mike Castro accomodates resistance with jumpstretch bands and a Bulldog.This is gret for the power squat and deadlift and for anyone who wants to get faster, stronger or more explosive.

Max Vo2

Man I was dreading today. Havent done max vo2 snatches in about 4 weeks and did not have a good idea how my wind would be.Tracy is training early on mondays now so Joe and I will trade sets on Wednesdays.Today is the first time we trained this together. Max vo2 is bad but doing it solo is way worse.Was pleasantly surprised at how well it went and we did 35 sets each of 7 reps with the 16kg. I was ahead of the clock for all the sets doing 7 reps in probably 13.5 seconds. Leaves room for that eighth rep when I start feeling particularly masochistic.

16kgx7 reps x 35 sets
245 reps
8820 pounds.

A good starting back point. Felt like 40 sets would have been no problem and 45 still under 85% effort for today. not bad.The other work I have been doing has been keeping my cardio and my lactate threshold capacity pretty strong.HR at the end was 180 on the last set where I did 8 reps. really tried to focus on the same heel drive feeling I have been getting on the push presses to the hip snap in the snatch and it worked great. I could feel the bell take off when I did this and the rep was that much faster.Very good groove today.

CB arm cast
one ten pound bell 3x10 each arm
two ten pound bells 3x10( last set no choke)
one fifteen pound bell 3x8 each arm( last set no choke)

I freaking love this exercise. Just like a standing db crossbench pullover,lol!Tri are already feeling alive again.the second fifteen pound bell will make this even better. I can see 20's already.not the twenty fives though,lol.

Shield casts
one ten pound bell 3x10 each arm( no choke last set)

Two CB rockits
1x50 reps

great quad and glute work a very strong move for me but tons of lactate production potential for the legs.A very fluid, moving level of tension.I dont ski but I bet skiers would love this.

Shoulder press thrusters.
3x8 with tens.

Just playing around with these and already like them . I think I will plug them into the push press cycles. This looks like a good way to cycle these moves.
3 weeks of push press cycle weights 16,20 24 kg each week
2 weeks of 2 clubbell pushpress
3 weeks of jerks cycle weights 16 20, 24 kg each week
2 weeks of 1 clubbell pushpress
then repeat

bw 158.4
bf 8.3%
water 60.5%

I can really feel the hypertophy effect from all this push pressing, jerks and clubbell work on my upper body. Havent really had one for two years. it used to be the dominant part of my body and I really had work to get the hips to work instead of the arms. Now it seems the upper body is ready for some training of its own. very will be even more interesting when I can do double overhead work again. I know that is coming soon.Just as being able to do bilateral lower body work again. Healing is a good thing. two hands swings with bands attached are coming soon too.
Now THAT will be a blast.

datsit gotta do some z and get on the floor before dinner.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

On Static Stretching

Excellent article in Pavels latest newsletter by Gray Cook on the benefits of static stretching.After hearing Bretts presentation of Gray Cooks work at the Level 2 Cert I'll read everything he writes.I have beleived there is a definitite place for static stretching all along( my rifga poses) and have had great results in my own rehab using static stretching as a corrective exercise for length tension relationship imbalances.A lot of what I present on my DVD is right in line with what Gray writes about in this article. The stretching has to be individualized and selective but it does have it's place in helping balance out the tensions in the body ,reducing pain and restoring proper motor patterns. Read the article here.

Great post by David Whitley

Ed Coan knows what is useful and what is not and made his powerlifting totally his own.859 485 859 at 198 and 20 something years old.
David has an excellent blog post today on how to really accomplish what you set your sites on.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Things you should know.

I can't believe how many people who are "into" strength are not intimately familiar with Louie Simmon's writings and research. THings you should know is a great article.


Man today was shoulder intensive. I thought mixing the cb swings with the presses would even out the combo but the whole scapulo thoracic area was nice and juicy after todays training. Still another push press day; dont feel I got the timing the way I wanted it last week so I will stay here for awhile before I move back to jerks.Havent done much with the 24 so today should be interesting.

Nice to get an extra hour of sleep today as well. My first client was out do it was like a vacation day.BUt I got in early to take advantage and do a full body z session as well as get on the floor and roll around.

6 am
40 min z drills
15 min rifga

1:30 pm

pushpress( barefoot)

24kgx15l rest 45 sec 15 r
12 l rest 45 sec 12 r
10l rest 45 sec 10 r
72 total reps
16kgx30 l rest 45 30 r

these felt great. wanted to concentrate on one arm at a time for best coordination and power.havent done over ten with the 24's before I dont think so it was good. the 30 rep sets were done with no rest in the rack ( but locked out), almost like a thruster. felt good.

Clubell circuit 10 reps per move
pendulum swings
torch swings
arm casts
2 rounds
wow. was planning on doing two more exericses in the circuit but this kicked my ass.

Swipes with 2 10#
2x15 reps
Torch swings
2x15 reps
Pendulum to flag press 2 10's
Shield casts 5#s
3x10 each side
1x10 each side with 10#
Two handed shield casts
2x10 each direction 10#sx2

I was hoping to blend more of these moves together into a gpp type, hi rep circuit but I still need more practice, this stuff is HARD on the grip in a very unique way. much different than kbs or bb stuff. LOTS of wrist, not just forearm.

more z and floor work after dinner.

datsit.staying loose.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Marko Suomi's virtual meet video

Marko Suomi from Finland proposed a "virtual" one kb short cycle jerk competition to correspond with the GS Worlds being held in Miami this weekend.Marko did a great job and here is his video:

That coat couldnt have made things easier.Well done man!

Saturday, November 03, 2007


300 one arm swings

with the 32 kg! PR baby and it was easy. My work capacity is now back up to where it was when I peaked it for the cert in September,plus.Last weeks 300 reps with the 28 let me know I was there.This is without a doubt the strongest I have been with the 32 kg swing ever.

2 clubbell torch swings 5x10 with 10's

one arm swings
16 kg 5/5x2
20 kgx5/5

32kg 10/10x15 sets.
300 reps
21,600 pounds
10.8 tons
Most excellent.Pace was solid, reps were crisp ,fast and chin height and the weight felt light.It hasn't always felt light, to make an understatement.

Clubbell torch press
5x10 10# 2 bells
One cb torch press
3x5 each arm 15 #
One cb flag press
3x5 each arm 10 #
3x5 each 15#
Two cb flag press
3x8 10 #

these were much better than last week.really finding the groove. lockout in elbows has improved quite a lot already.
Arm Casts
3x8 each arm 10#
3x5 two arms 10#
3x5 each arm 15 #
Gama cast
3x15 15#
Barbarian flag( gama to a flag lockout)
3x15 with 15's ( I like this one)

really can feel the upper body waking up,especially the triceps, just what I want and need.THis also has a very good stabilizing effect on the shoulders, that's for sure.Need another 15 #er for the double set and a 20 for these two handed moves.

datsit, full body z session later.

Competition, training and injuries.

There is a huge difference between training for competition and training for general health and fitness.I have spent most of my life training to compete,regardless of whether the upcoming meet was 3 months off or a year, or if I didnt even know when the next comp was. I really didn't know how to approach training any other way; there was always a meet in my head I was working towards when I got to the gym. Goals and deadlines, it's the lifeblood of a competitive athlete.

Many athletes have a very hard time digging up the motivation to just get to the gym, much less train hard, once their competition days are over and there is no meet around the corner. Any corner.I was no different, and in fact it was even worse for me as I couldnt train hard without tweaking myself. So I knew I had to force myself to go to the gym to train so I didnt dissipate any more than was happening already but I couldnt really push or test myself either.One foot on the gas and one on the break. Lots of fun.Training for competition is great, training as rehab sucks.The only thing that sucks more is not being able to do anything,so from that vantage point rehab is great. And as all real athletes know in order to make progress you MUST train your weakpoints first and hardest or you will not go forward.SO you do what you need to do, not what you want to do. If you can't manage that level of discipline you won't do very well at training, nor life.

There have been more than a few blogs written lately about how pushing oneself for competition is foolhardy and suffering injuries in the pursuit of maximizing one's physical talents is also just vainglory. That one should always take a balanced approach to exercise and exertion so that one can lead as long a life as possible, free from injury or impediment.And in general I agree; the risks of competitive training and competition are very real, and as I often say; "glory is temporary, pain is forever".But each persons path is different and where would we be without those persons willing to risk it all in the pursuit of their own mastery and improvement?In the pursuit of some kind of greatness. Yes, most fall short but there is much to be had on the journey.Things one can never see from the comfort of the barcalounger or the treadmill.

The experiences I have had and the lessons I have learned from training for and competing at these various physical endeavors could not be duplicated or gleamed in any other way. Monks mediate under frozen waterfalls, warriors discipline their bodies to conform to their will.Athletes push themselves to achieve what was thought to be impossible just a few years earlier.

That is one of the things I like best about real deal training; whatever you get from it, you've earned. You cannot buy it , you have to earn it; although sometimes you pay for it with blood and connective tissue.Always with sweat and pain.And then it's yours forever.

Reading some of the critiques of my Restoring Lost Function dvd( of course from those who have not seen it,lol) a common criticism is why would someone take advice from a guy who has been injured so much?He must not know much to be injured so badly. Who should give advice to the injured they ask? Licensed professionals, was the reply. In general this is true and should always be the first stop after an injury.

Yet where does one go after those "professionals" don't know what to do, how to proceed and can't think outside their box to come up with ideas to get you back on the platform or even back to basic function? MOST of the people I deal with with injuries come to me AFTER their Docs and physical therapists have given up on them or vice versa.

After reading Louies interview I was struck by this quote:
"I invented the reverse hyper aftre breaking my 4th lumbar in 1973.No one was able to help me and I came up with this exericise out of desperation."

This has been my exact situation since I got out of what passed for physical therapy and rehab for my knee in 1975.I had to figure it out myself as the medical profession had such limited tools and, even worse, such a limited mindset.I had to take a piece from over here, a piece from over there and experiment,experiment experiment as to what would REALLY WORK, not just what " should work".

It's a long, slow slog bringing oneself back from the edge but what choice is there, really?Especially for those not ready for the recliner and a sedentary life.And, as Louie said, you learn from making mistakes first, then learning what you should have done. Everything I have in my tool box to help my clients got there from my own experiments on myself first.

Now that I am older and have gone through the gauntlet of almost full immobility and horrific pain I value the sheer beauty of the most basic movements of life much more .I have a very different perspective on athletics and competition now. BUt does that mean I wouldn't have done what I did, or tried to climb the athletic mountains that I tried to scale? Not at all.

What you see depends on where you stand and having been close to the top, even though having been pushed off the cliff most violently, has given me a unique perspective and some of the wisdom and truth I am constantly searching for.

It's a much smaller hill that I try to climb these days and that's perfectly alright by me, as I know now it's the process that really matters, not so much the height of the impasse.But the thought of no one brave enough to try to scale the true mountains for fear of failure or pain is depressing. I am too old now to risk life and limb anymore but I am glad that there are those still young and brave enough to try. These warriors still inspire me to keep pushing up my now gentle hill that at times seemed like Everest.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Friday : Z and Clubs.

I have not done as much Z drills this last week as I have been focused more on taking my clients through the drills perfectly than demonstrating them. Consequently I have not been getting anywhere near as much of it done as I have the last 2-3 weeks. I was doing some kind of drill with almost every client every day. Thats a lot of greasing the groove and it really seemed to make a difference.
And the last couple days I could really feel the difference. Old myofascial 'windings' winding up and twisting me again.This of course causes more muscle tension and more winding. Not to mention torque on the joints.Add in some pretty good DOMS from all the new movement and I had to get back on track; so twenty minutes of Z drills at 5 AM followed by ten minutes RIFGA stretches focusing on the hammies and abs and finishing up with the roller on IT and hams.If I keep those areas neutral my pelvis stays neutral and my back stays happy ;))
It seems that when I decided to focus on regaining my basic gymnastics "body" and started all the close stance stretching and standing work that rehab and the healing seemed to accelerate pace.Each new skill brings me that much closer to being fully out of pain and with as much mobility, strength and endurance as possible.The base though is the one arm swing. That is what has made this all possible, in the final analysis.
Key observations with the Z lately is that the thoracic work really relates to my shoulder much more than I thought and I can get a good release just with thoracic circles.the transverse plane work really seems to matter,especially since one side is pretty stuck.
Plus, it seems the neutral spine lengthening drills( almost like standing meditation) are some of the most effective. I get very interesting adjustments and releases of winding from these so simple drills.
Neck mobility(especially tilts/slides) seems to open up the levator and elbow circles, especially downward circles done bilaterally,really expand the right shoulder's external rotation.The elbows are intimately connected to the shoulders it seems and I didnt realize how much internal rotation I had lost. Thought it was mainly external in the right shoulder.Going out after I type this for another 20 minutes or so, full routine. Its warm outside for a change.
I also did clubbell demos all morning and it's really good for me to lock the elbows with the presses and swings.Even light clubbells work you hard.I am also digging the close stance/outside leg work. I have good leverage there. Nice for a change.So much of opening up my shoulders is about strengthening the mid back and the clubs are really getting those hard to reach between the shoulder blade area.
Intense movements but so different than kbs. kbs are more raw power; the clubs require much more of a delicate balance to stay in the arcs. A good balance of training though, I think.The clubs stretch out what kbs make tight in me. Plus this is a forth training day for me, albeit it a very light recovery one.Havent dont that since the '90's.

Nice to feel the triceps sore. The swipes and arm casts are going build some mass back there again,which I am looking forward to.The casts seem to be tolerated fine and already are doing good things for my shoulder mobility. But I can see where you can really tweak yourself with these things if you are not careful. Have to do very mindful work.

Tomorrow might take a shot at 300 one arms with the two pood if I am feeling spry.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Words of Wisdom; Louie Simmons.

From this months interview with Dr. Larry Miller in PL USA magazine. Reading, listening to or speaking with Louie never fails to get me pumped up. The man is the epitome of committment and one of the best strength training minds ever.

On how he became so knowledgable about sport,physiology and mechanics:
" To be good at anything you must fully understand what you are doing.I am a full time student of strength. I learn to do things right by doing them wrong at first.After breaking my fifth lumbar vertabrae for the second time in 1983 I had to find a more sophisticated method of training.I studied the former Soviet Union methods of developing special strength. You must learn and use all methods of training to succeed.

On how he came up with the ideas behind his equipment:
" I invented the reverse hyper aftre breaking my 4th lumbar in 1973.No one was able to help me and I came up with this exericise out of desperation.
....I also have a plyo swing known as the virtual force swing that has a US patent. We can never have enough exposive power and the swing helps provide that training effect.

On why he doesnt do many strength seminars any more:
"Very few, because I prefer to train and experiment.To do that I have to stay at Westside."

On what age powerlifters peak, if they can keep themselves healthy:

" I am not sure but at least 60 years old. I am stronger in the deadlift and squat now and will be 60 in October.Not geting injured is the key as well as having training partners.If you run with the lame you will develop a limp; so choose your training partners wisely.

What are some of your injuries:

"I broke my fourth lumbar vertabrae in 1973> I completely tore off my right bicep in 1979. I tore two holes in my stomach and a partial tear of the tendon that connects to the pubic bone in 1980.refractured my fifth lumbar vertabrae in 1983. Complete rupture of the left patella tendon in 1991.I had my second knee operation in 1991.Right meniscus operation in 1998. Shoulder socket replacement in 2004.Left shoulder scoped in 2004. Left bicep reattached in 2004."

The number one problem in powerlifting:
" Jealousy would be the number one problem and because of jealousy, we will never unite and thus it will never be corrected.