Sunday, November 02, 2008

Signing off.

If one does a workout and it isn't blogged, did it occur?

This will be my last post on this blog.My first blog post was on May 11, 2004.I was the first kettlebell athlete to blog and I probably was the first personal trainer as well. I have recorded every workout over the last 4 and a half years. This blog started out as an online version of my paper log book and it seemed like a good idea and it was. It evolved from just an online log of my training to a way to reach out and teach as well as discuss and analyze all kinds of things related to kettlebells, powerlifting, gymnastics and training in general.

But the time has come to move on. I will continue to swing, snatch and use kettlebells much as I have for the last 4.5 years but I no longer feel the need to record things online.Yoga has become a much bigger part of my training life and much of my future training and physical progressions will revolve around it.

Anyone interested in training consultations or information can contact me via my regular email.

It's been a wild ride these last four years and I don't expect the next four to be any less exciting. More in fact.And that's good.

Thanks to all who have read and commented and followed my journey via this blog.Your support has always been appreciated.

Good luck,great training and hope to see you at an RKC!

Rif out.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Double Bikrams

this is really, really, really hard to do this well,and no it's not me ,lol.
If its Sunday it must be back to back classes and that was on the menu today.This was the strongest day yet despite having one of the toughest instructors in the studio teach the class. She was cueing non stop and almost sounds like the auctioneer dude we got a few weeks ago. I much prefer this type of instruction, where you can get a rythym and a groove to the loosey goosey teachers who mess up the dialogue with WAY too much personal info or new age touchy feely crap and totally blow the rythym and hence any momentum you could get.

I realized that I need to PRE hydrate before going into class to help delay the excess water intake impulse both on Sundays and on weekdays 4:30 class( especially then) . It worked like a charm today and I got through the first class on almost just one liter.

I was very strong in all the postures and that always helps,especially when the first 90 minutes is just the warmup. As I've written about before I am very slow to warmup across the board and yoga is no exception.The second class I really hit my stride and my postures were even stronger than the first class. AND my concentration and mental focus was excellent as well.

I really dig the " out of time" aspect of this and it reminds me so much of gymnastics training in this regard. I used to spend 4-5 hours in the gym everyday and it was always a surprise when workout was over! there was SO much to concentrate on, work on and try to improve that it never seemed like there was enough time, not too much.

Same here.

Each posture is it's own universe with myriad of things to focus and concentrate on no matter how well you can do them.And I can't do them that well so there are tons of things to concentrate on.Keeping concentration up is key, as is breathing and both were spot on today.

Needed to drink a bit more between class to keep pre hydrating but I didnt eat, nor did I feel the need to eat anything between. I was in a zone and it was great.

Tracy of course kicked ass and is going to do another double tomorrow before her kb workout. Her weight has dropped down into just about to her perfect number and she is feeling lighter and stronger at every class. She is taking her practice to a whole ' nother level really working every aspect of every pose and it's kicking her butt! In a good way. Her practice has gone from active rest to a serious workout and she's seeing the benefits every day.

Yoga reminds me so much of gymnastics training and my 4 months anniversary of starting this is just a few days away. Can't wait til I have a year under my belt.

My goal of getting my pre- injury gymnastics body back looks to be a reality.


datsit. big swings tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

24 kg snatches

Decided to not go for such high reps today and settled on ten rep sets each arm with the 24 kg.With all the stuff I am doing now training even higher reps on saturdays seems like a mistake. so I will back off here a bit ( not that I have been in any real hurry to test the ten minutes) and focus on using the snatch volume and acceleration to up the body mass a bit. I love training mvo2 so that stays and swings are a necessity and with all the yoga I do now( which works the heart lungs systems HARD,suprisingly) I think this is the right move.

16 kg x5/5/5/5x2
20 kgx5/5

24 kgx10/10 x10 sets
200 reps
10,600 lbs

a great standby workout. I can remember very clearly, not too long ago at all, when I was cycling UP to 200 reps in one workout.I would start at 140 or so and build up to 200. Amazing to me now that it's a down day workout. crazy.

bottoms up cleans
24 kg x5/5
28 kg x5/5
32 kg x5/5

these were very solid and I got a good hold on the last two reps of each arm with the 32 kg. great to have these in the routine again. Being able to still do some tension moves is nice.


5 sets of 15 -20 seconds

these were even easier than last week and I did them after cleans.I've got to start putting these in on wednesdays as well. against the wall at first or have tracy spot.I can feel them coming back quickly but I've still been avoiding palms down overhead stretching. guess I can't do everything but I need to add this in for my handstands to improve..

datsit. double yoga tomorrow. yea, baby.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

36:36 x 36 PR/ goal achieved.

After the 80 set sof 8 in the 15:15 max vo2 I decided I needed a slight rest from that specific protocol and chose the 36:36 method of self inflicted torture today.My previous best was 31 sets continuous and the end goal is 35 sets( unless Kenneth has changed it again, I forget,lol). I haven't done this is awhile it seems and had no idea of it would fare. I thought about doing 17 reps per 36 sec, up from my normal 16 but decided since I haven't done a proper one since doing a pr 31 sets in september, but that was with a corkscrew grip which makes things much easier and saves the grip.
This time it was hardstyle with both hands the grip was fine.Trained with Tracy which always makes things easier even though she was doing TWELVE MINUTE sets switching movements every 36 seconds! 12 minutes is one long sets and she did 3 or 4 of them.Crazy.
I had a strong mind today and just kept focused on doing the set at hand and not get ahead of myself mentally.
I had a miserable Bikrams class yesterday on like 3.5 hours sleep and way too much food during the day. I broke my no water rule almost immediately as I was bonking after the standing series and the instructor not only had it hot as hell but didnt have any circulating air: no fan, no exhaust!
This means higher Co2 levels. No wonder I couldnt breath. Tough class for me but Tracy cruised though her second class that day. Her training has taken off again and things are changing for the better: fast.Either way tomorrows class with be better for me an Ihave to remember to hydrate more during the day.
But today was strong and I blasted through 30 sets no problem.I thought I would actually end on an even number of sets and i liked the symmetry of 36:36 for 36.

Snatch Vo2 36:36
16 kg
36 sets at 16 reps per cycle PR real goal achieved
576 reps
20,736 lbs

I think I might even do this for a few weeks in a row and give the 15:15 a rest although I can't promise anything,lol.This was all grip fatigue which made me slow down towards the end of the set to not lose it but I still made each set with time to spare. 17 reps will be doable and will take my cardio, which this did not.That is so cool to write :))
I will take my very smart wife's training advice and alternate sets of 17 reps with sets of 16 reps next time. This should be better than just doing 17 rep sets til I die,lol.

Rack walks
16 kg x 1400 feet
switch every 200

shield casts
15 lb cb x 10/10 x 5 sets


Monday, October 20, 2008

Something low rep and slow for a change.

I decided that I have to make mondays swing workout more focused on lower rep sets with longer rests. After 3 hours of intense yoga on sundays, hi rep( at least for me) ssst training on saturdays and snatch vo2 mania on wednesdays I need some slow stuff on mondays or I'm
not make my 158 pound minimum,lol.
I still wanted to hit some total volume numbers( of course) so I went with some basic combination sets to spread the load, and the pain. Two handed swings seem to be working, in the limited volume I am using them and that's great.I did the sets and rested for as long as I wanted, which wasnt that long.

two hand swing/transfer combination

24 kg x 10/10 x 15 sets
300 reps

one arm swings
24 kg x10/10x5 sets
100 reps

400 total reps
21,200 lbs

These felt great. The two hand swings really got my legs working as I took a much more upright stance and purposely tried to use my legs and hips together, instead of my back and hips as I do in one arms and snatches. I thought my back would tolerate it well and I feel fine now, two hours after the workout as I write this.
I seem to be able to tolerate the two hands now and I just have to be cautious as I build the volume.

Snatch Holds
16 kg x 60 sec
20 kg x 45 sec
24 kg x 45 sec

these went much easier the heavier I went! It felt like the extra weight was pulling my arm and shoulder back with much less effort than with the 16 kg.Maybe this will inspire me to do more of the damn things.

Two hand CB Arm cast
15 x 20/20
25 x10/10 x 3 sets

these were great as usual and the elbow was fine. the workout took about 50 minutes.

datsit. more yoga tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Air for water.

Ok, so this is the new Sunday routine, two Bikrams classes back to back with a 30 minute break. Getting ready for this is already easier than the first time last week and we continue to pare down what we bring to just the bare essentials. Food for between classes proved uneccesary this time but the juice that I forgot wasnt. I survived. But gearing up for 3 hours of continuous training definitely gets the juices and the head going. Much like getting ready for a 3 hour bike ride or run.
You know it's going to be hard, you just don't know how hard. Or how strong you'll feel. Having a partner like my love to go through this with makes this so much easier because she is just hardcore like that. If I said, 'lets do a third class at 4:30 pm today" she would go for it.Training side by side for three hours is one intense experience for a couple as well and it just keeps getting better and better. Both of our practices are evolving almost daily and it's spilling over into our kettlebell training as well. As does the kb work go the other way as well.
Having the rythym and routine of our lives back is doing wonders for our training and our health.Its really a miracle that we can now share kettlebells and yoga in addition to the rest of our family life.
I love it when my training is going well and I feel stronger each and every workout. Capable of doing more both mentally and physically.It's been months since I felt like this and it's nice.It's also nice that Tracy was the one to show me practice of Yoga afte studying almost daily for three years; it's made such an incredible difference in my body and my mind.
The first class just blew by,like last week and it was the same for Tracy. We were rested, well fed, and mentally ready.All my leg series movements, now that I am thinking of them as leg training went so left knee and hip are getting stronger in these numeous one legged postures every week and it's way cool.
I tried to drink less water and not get into 'panic' mode drinking as I've found too much water actually makes things worse and it makes the postures way harder. I was trying to drink only after each series and this seemed to work well. Until the second class of course. I just don't have enough time to really rehydrate between classes so about 1/3 of the way in I wanted water and I knew it was going to be tough,lol.Of course I sweat like a freaking pig. A total fire hose of sweat. For the entire 90 minutes.
I also am working on not wiping the sweat away and not adjusting things so much. staying stiller and just breathing.Just sit with it.And Breathe.
I'm really trying to use the air instead of the water to cool me, and to keep my mind calm. If I stay calm I can handle the heat, the fatigue and the pain, but as soon as my mind spins a bit I get REAL thirsty, real fast and if I drink too much too fast it doesnt help.Just keep focused on breathing correctly throughout every second of every pose regardless of what else I am trying to focus on.Because if I don't do that everything gets way harder way fast.No fun.
The second class was very strong as well despite both of our concerns that our strong first class would have been "it" for the day. Not to worry we blasted through it and my leg moves were even stronger than the first class as I was fully warmed up.
Actually made some progress on the split leg forward head to knee posture on my left knee and I've seemed to find the balance and rotation point for both legs to get enough lower body tension to take all the pressure off the knee. About freakin time .
Now the rest of the day is cake.

and that reminds me, I got lots to eat.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

SSST style snatch training and handstands.

I was very very very happy that I didnt break my elbow on thursday but I hadn't yet snatch or swung a kettlebell with it so I was bit aprehensive going into the warmup. I needed have been as everything was perfect.Thank God.
Wanted to run with the conditioning effect I am getting from Mvo2 so I bumped up the reps to 40 with the 20 kg.Mornings used to be my favorite time to workout but now I only train early one day a week and it seems odd.4:30 pm yoga is more the case now than 8 am. Oh well. snatches warm you up fast.

16kg x5/5/5/5x2

20kg x 10/10/10/10 x 5 sets
x10/10x 5 sets
300 reps
13,200 lbs

not bad at all. really focused on pacing today. Breathe out at the same point, hold the lockout, then breathe in at the same point. Really get a rythym with a paused lockout at the top.It's so different than mvo2. I'm so used to going so fast and with this training I really have to slow things down.especially as I move into the higher rep sets. 50s are next. ugg.


4 sets of 10-15 sec with Nick.The holds on these were good but my torso felt rotated a but with tight right lat,teres and intercostals. Three hours of yoga tomorrow should open that up :))
Here some video of the HS from a two angles. I really fell into the position so much more than last week, and really got the weight on my fingers and the heel of the hand working( which is the key to really balancing a handstand).Still need more overhead stretching.

another angle

More focus on overhead stretching and another day of these on my own, using the wall will brings things up more quickly.I can really see how I can get this skill back.

Bottoms up clean
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x5/5
28 kg x 5/5
these felt easy this week. solid.

there ya go, datsit

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just a tap on the shoulder

but I pay very close attention these days. This post was supposed to be about yesterday's Bikram class and how I conquered the standing series dread by changing my mindset about it but then while I was getting into full locust position( on your belly, both arms,externally rotated with locked elbows directly under you) when my left elbow CRACKED- big time noise- as something adjusted.

Now my elbows have been adjusting in this position more and more as I have gained more external rotation of the humerus as well as the elbow lower arm bones and wrists but this was not a good 'feel/sound'.Usually if this is bad then this type of noise is accompanied by searing pain, immediate swelling and the deep, complete, unquestioned understanding that you are messed up for real.

I didnt get that, and that was good.The elbow felt like it had adjusted "in" not out but it wasnt quite right. As I lay there in the heat trying to decided "should I stay or should I go?" the elbow was telling me that all those snatches I had done the other day had tightened the elbow IN internal rotation and that this was a good adjustment.But I also know that many times these types of injuries dont really show their ugly head tilt he next morning. Oh, that's always fun to wake up for. So, stupidly, ( as been my behavior all my athletic career) I finished the class but took it easy,lol.

No swelling, no pain on ROM of any kind so I thought I was ok. Slept on it well and today at work no problem.I have always had severly hypermobile joints( good for gymnastics style and form, bad for fucntional stablity and strength) and to really lock them out is always interesting.

I think it was just a tap from God to be carefull as I get stronger and back in shape. Hey, you can get hurt in Yoga man, be careful.Ok I got it.

It was interesting that I had really stretched out that position all day, as well, against the way working on my external rotation. THe idea that I had messed up one of my few remaining functional joints was sickening.It just cuts to the quick andputs everything into perspecitive.

Work is way more important than performance.

Instant appreciation for all current levels of strength, flexibility, funtionality and general lack of joint pain( comparitively).
The good news is that the first half of class was all killer no filler. I had decided to stop whining about how much I hated standing series because it hit me so early in the routine and I'm never warmed up enough for it. I decided to stop thinking of it as standing series and start thinking of it as my leg workout.
I don't squat anymore, even with a kettlebell, except to work the squat stretch as a pattern of movement.The standing series would become my squat work.It would balance my lack of squatting in kb workouts by really focusing just on the legs and not the back.
My standing series was strong as hell.Way cool.
Then the elbow....
But all is cool and I will snatch the 20 kg as planned tomorrow.Then another double class on Sunday, but paying way more attention to everything.
That was close.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

80 sets of 8 Max VO2.

Wow. It's been a great little couple weeks back. After last weeks pr of 65 sets of 8 in the mvo2 I was thinking I might actually attempt a 'down' day and be smart but,nah, that's really not my nature. Or at least it seems.
I knew once I started I would know how many total sets I would get that day but in the back of my little mind I knew if I got past 70 sets I would have to go for the big Eight Oh.And of course Tracy was training with me today so the pressure was on.I figured it would be 50 or 80.
80 it was.She ended up doingFOUR TEN MINUTE snatch swing sets with the 12 kg.
Woo Freaking Hoo for both of us.
This has been a long time coming. 15 months to be exact.And it makes be bow my head in awe of Mark O Madsens 80 sets of 8 with the 24 kg. Unfreakingbeleivable.
Kenneth I cannot BELIEVE how much using this training protocol has changed me and my level of fitness.Thank you for your research and your ideas. They are revolutionary,imo.

One of the hardest parts was the damn sweating on the bells,lol.Bikram kettlebells.
But the hands held up well, and Saturdays tear was not a problem. Almost no chalk either. I'm trying to get over my chalk fetish.

Snatch vo2
16 kg
80 sets of 8
640 snatches(!)
23,040 lbs(!!)

All time PR goal achieved.

Man I remember when I hit 50 sets of 7 for the first time I was jazzed! Then 50 of 8! Now EIGHTY? Crazy!What an unbeleivable increase in my work capacity.And I feel totally recoved now as I write this. Insane.And after yoga yesterday. What a blessing this is to me to be able to be an athlete again and have some of my old mobility and agility back.
ANd I swear the whole key to this was Brett Jones telling me " if you're going to have a light day, make it light" for my swing work which opened my head to Kenneth giving me 'permission' to train with 16 kg for snatches.
Light let me go fast which allowed for training intensity without injury. crazy smart. Elastic steel indeed.
And I'll give credit where credit is due: Bikrams heat tolerance work really let me relax much more as these high rep sets "heat up".Especially when the heart rate goes up so much. A lot of Bikrams poses are done primarily TO get the heartate up.So it was easier to relax it seemed.
I started out using the same 'short' stroke position of last week, with single breath hardstyle breathing and over the top technique for both arms. havent done any corkscrew technique for awhile and dont think I will return to it.

Sets 1 through 25 went be pretty easily and wasnt taht noticeable.25- 50 were strong and I was on time for all the sets. The sweat hadnt really kicked in yet.Heartrate at this point was high 160's and respiration was easy.50-60 were harder but mainly because the sweat started and I had to spend precious time and oxygen bending over to dry the bells and my forearms.
Once I got to 60 and realized I had to get at least 70 sets.I started to slow down a bit at this point and the cleaning of the bells got me 5 -6 seconds late into some sets. I did a couple sets back to back to makeup for the time lag. THAT was fun. Not.
Yeah, I ain't breathing hard enough, throw in a sprint. Once I got to 70 I knew I had to go all the way. Tracy was STILL doing those ten minute snatch/swing sets and as she says "what's gonna stop you?"
I didnt know when I would feel this strong again so I decided to do the eighty and it was cool.
I love to feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I get a real decent psych going. You are committed. Tis NO doubt that what you are going for will be done.You get beautiful surge of energy and you can cruise it on home, right though the 'pain'.The music got louder in my head, my eyes got more focused and I was yelling each rep up.
Brings back memories of the old days doing heavy bodybuilding and powerlifting. I haven't let myself get psyched in years,it was too dangerous to my health. So nice how things have changed.
So next week I WILL have a down week and then ramp back up. Doing it once is great. Owning it is another story.
And another goal. What a blessing to be able to train for real again. I don't take it for granted for even one minute. To have my life back.Amazing.

Nothing after this, it would have been anticlimatic and I have yoga tomorrow with my love:))


Monday, October 13, 2008

Swings be swings.

I have had a tough time lately letting go of my swing personal records. When I set them I was not snatching much, much less doing 65 sets of 8 in the max vo2 and I was training swings as my main movement on saturdays, first thing in the morning, with a great group of supportive training partners to spur me on.
Now saturdays are snatch days and swing workouts are relegated to Mondays, after a 7 client workday and by myself.The swing is now an assistance exercise and not the main focus but I have a lot of trouble when I look at the blackboard and see 630 24 one arm swings or 400 32 kg swings and knowing I will be no where close again today. Perhaps not any day soon.
I understand why intellectually but the warrior and competitor in my does not like excuses but the body has it's limitations(especially mine) and the mind does too as well. Monday's swing workouts are an exercise in survival not performance,especially after 3 hours of yoga the previous day, although truth be told it has been this way for awhile,even with single yoga classes on Sundays.
So today I surrendered to reality and decided there was more than one way to skin a swing and took a page from my wife's training log and used combination swing training to get the volume in, regardless of the swing variation.
After all a swing is a swing is a swing.And the key for my training is volume, NOT just doing a zillion one arm swings. Still my ass was kicked today. Was going to use the 32 kg but was not feeling it. My wife says I am not to be below 158 pounds so I have to get my weight up 3 pounds- so, lower reps and heavier weights should help. Plus more ice cream :))

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5/5/5
20 kg x5/5/5/5
24 kg x5/5

28 kg x5/5/5/5 x 10 sets
200 reps
12,600 lbs

H2H transfers
5 sets of 20
100 reps
6300 lbs

two hand swings
10 sets 10 reps
100 reps
6300 lbs

400 total swings
25,200 lbs

this turned out better than I thought it would. I was going to do more one arms but my tear on my left palm started talking to me so I went to the transfers. these always work my legs more so it was a great transition. Then I went to the two hands, which I seem to be able to tolerate in small dosages these days ( yes!) and went for just sets of ten with a short rest period. I started in on 15 sec rest but it was too short so I went to 30 seconds. Just right. 400 swing is 400 swings.

2 CB Torch swings
15 lb cb x 10 reps x 5 sets

could not face snatch holds today so I did these to focus on the external rotation and the rotator cuff. worked great. Killed the grip too, havent done them in ages. A good substitute when I can't handle the boredom of snatch holds.

two handed shield cast
15 lbs x 60 reps switching every 10
15 lbs x 40 reps switching every 10
100 reps

had delusion of grandeur and thought I would just do 100 straight reps but what little functioning brain cells I have left kicked in and told my NOT to push today. I listened.

have to eat.datsit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Double class. grease the groove Bikram style.

Wow, that finally got done. And for all the anxiety and preparation it wasn't as bad as I thought. Having Tracy coach me through it helped a bunch as well and when we got through the first class and my mind set was 'half way there' I knew it was going to be ok.It was actually two of the strongest classes I have done, period and that helped as well.
I felt very recovered from yesterdays snatch workout and carbed up especially well in preparation for the double classes.The main concern was having enough dry and clean towels and clothes as I am the sweat hog from hell during and immediately after class!It's actually ridiculous; no one should sweat as much as I do and survive.It seems like I sweat out half my bodyweight in class; any mma guys that want to cut weight before a fight should do a double Bikrams class- problem solved. So much more interesting that sitting in a sauna riding an exercise bike,lol!
I was very strong in my standing series, making the full minute on the standing head to knee and the standing bow.My hardest postures for the left knee.Not that easy on the good right one as well when the goal is a totally locked out and contracted quad for the entire minute. No joke,especially when they come back to back.
After the first class I got into sweats, ate an odwalla berry bar, had half a cup of coffee, 8 oz of apple juice and 8 oz of water with emergen c pack in it.A quick shower and it was on again!
The second class I felt suprisingly calm having made up my mind to go only as hard as I could focused on the main goal which was going the distance. I found that, slow warmup guy that I am, that I was actually STRONGER in my standing series than class one!My legs and hips had finally warmed up and I made the minute series very powerfully. Wow, would not have thought that would be the case.
Everything else was like that too,except for the floor bow where it caused my right hamstring to cramp bad and I couldn't work it out enough to get in the pose. Oh well, no worries.
My mind was focused and calm throughout the entire class which was great.
Tracy had one of her strongest practices ever and her second class was stronger than her first as well. It was so cool experiencing this intense physical challenge with my love.I am so greatful that I stopped being pigheaded long enough to go to her to this yoga. I am getting SO much out of it; not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. Not to mention the great stuff that is happening for us as a couple sharing this training as well.Bikrams talks a lot about yoga as union, as a marriage of energies and how good it is for couples to do his yoga together. I have no doubt he is right about that as well.
SO it looks like we have a new addition to the weekend training schedule: double Bikrams class. Who would have thunk I'd be able to do this much training and moving just a short year ago? with so much less pain.Not me. It 's been an amazing ride. 3 hours of yoga. not bad for an ex old man.
swings tomorrow.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

SSST training: 24 kg ,260 reps

Not a bad morning as the wave rolls on. Slept well, ate well yesterday and really took advantage of the day off to stretch, relax and just hang out, getting ready for todays work.
The bells felt light in my hand, which is always a good sign and I hoped to get some 25-30 rep sets in. I decided on sets of 8/8 and then possibly 6's on the second hand switch but settled on 5's to be cautious. Turned out it was PLENTY of work,lol.

SSST Snatch
16 kg x5/5/5/5 x 2
20 kg x3/3/3/3

24 kg x8/8/5/5 x10 sets
260 reps
13,760 lbs

This was tough but doable and the hands held up perfectly until the last set when I tore a dime sized hole in the center of the left hand. no worries, it'll heal fast.Every rep was done hardstyle, over the top and with as much speed on each rep as possible. Good solid lockouts but I was thinking max vo2 pace and not pausing at the top of each rep long. I want to work my conditioning more than anything right now.Heartrate got up there( 170's ) each set and we were working on a three man rotation, all doing snatches, so the pace was crisp.
I got to lap one of my partners and that is always fun :)) It's a good sign as to my conditioning as well.

5 sets of 20 seconds.Spotted.

these went very well and my torso rotation was minimal, which means I can train these again. I had Nick hold my legs so I could find my balance point, which has changed considerably since I was a 130 pound gymnast with NO legs or ass at all. they ain't big now but way more mass than the old days.My shoulder and lat flexibility has improved considerably since the last time I tried these 8 months or so ago. Good news.
I do plan on regaining my once proud handstand skills, starting with the basic free standing handstand and going... who knows where? I dont see why I can't regain my straight arm straight leg pressing ability was once my strongest gymnastics move of all,how great would it be to be able to do that again.
Why not?
Was planning on doing bottoms up cleans as well but need to let the tear heal so I can swing well on mondays. it was enough.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Feeling strong is so much easier.

Despite all the odds I had a very strong Bikrams class yesterday. There's nothing better for me( other than training with my love) that makes me stronger than my normal, slow, stable, sedate, built- around- my- training life. What a suprise. Not that I didn't know that, but the chaotic life that I have been leading for the last 6 months or so, where I travled more than I have in the last 6 years really showed me that for real.I now completely understand how virtually impossible it is for anyone to make real training progress with a life without any semblance of routine.
For me, progress is built upon the delicate balance of training stress and active and passive recovery as well as the regularity of proper nutrition and meals. The body thrives on regularity, at least in regards to recovering from training stress.
Even a simple thing as having enough "down time" to properly visualize the coming workout is crucial for me. I spent years and years mentally rehearsing the coming training, especially in gymnastics, but in all my other pursuits as well and it makes a monster difference for me.
This is also really true for my yoga practice where it was enough of a challenge to even remember the correct sequence much less mentally practice it for real before each class.
THinking of what my mistakes were the last practice, figuring out what I wanted to accomplish the next one and psychically preparing for a strong effort makes it so much easier to push when the real thing is happening.
Yesterday was strong and strong is SO much easier than weak. What do I mean by that? I mean it's so much less taxing of one, mentally and physically to push oneself when all systems are go.Just like it's so much easier to go in the gym and train hard when you have a good nights sleep, you ate well, you prepared mentally, your life is calm, etc. Its WAY hard to do it when you have none of those things going for you, which has been case for a long time it seems.
It's said that obstacles in life don't create character they reveal it and I beleive that. It's easy to train hard when things are good. It's tough to keep pushing as hard as you can that day when things are tough but just when you think you'll never have a strong day again - you do. I got 65 sets of 8 on Wednesday STRONG, then one of my strongest yoga classes in recent memory.
I KNOW it's because I am gaining momentum again, training momentum, psychic momentum, rest momentum, recovery momentum etc.THat makes it so much easier.
Why so many people can't be consistent on any level even when there are no apparent obstacles to that goal is beyond me. Its SO HARD to train in fits and starts. Grueling. Torturous.
That's why I protect my stable life so diligently when I can because it just feels SO good to get that momentum and actually go forwards with training instead of just going backwards slowly.
Or not so slowly.
ANother week of six days a week of training and I'm just getting started.
Strong is good and strength IS a choice.

datsit. My one training day off today!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Snatch Vo2 Pr 65 sets of 8

As I like to say, just get started training, you never know when gravity is going to be light. Or the gods are going to be kind. Today both things happened and I hit a very strong max vo2 pr of 65 sets of 8 with as little effort as I have experienced yet. If I had had my wits about me I would have just kept going , at least to 70, but I was seriously concerned about being able to hit even 55 sets today after how tough last week was.
Last nights Bikrams class kicked my ass solidly again and I got little to eat after the class so I was bit concerned about energy but things started well today and I was so happy Tracy scheduled her training at the same time as mine. I am always stronger when my love is around. Tracy kicked some serious butt as she did FIVE sets of SEVEN minutes each. We have a new strategy for her and it involves some LONG sets. Check out her blog for details
No warmup except for 4 sessions of Z today with clients and I hit 8's with 1.5 sec to spare right from the first set.
My stroked seemed to change a bit today, getting much shorter and I was more upright than I have been of late. This also helped my speed as I was just taking the bell through a shorter arc. With my long ass arms cutting the arc even a little makes things a lot easier. I was totally focused on doing a total body movement , trying to 'twitch the weight up' as Aaron Friday accused me of. One total body twitch and the bell is overhead.
This felt like a very different snatch position and movement for me. Way smaller and tighter groove. I just wonder how well it will transfer to the 24kg?I think I will need more hip flexion to generate more power. We'll see.
Oh, and the sweat bands are for stopping the flood of sweat I produce onto the kettlebells, which is a huge impediment to pr training,lol.sometimes it's impossible to keep two bells dry even with three towels.
Plus, taking the energy to try to dry off the bells sucks as well.The bands looks silly but they work.

Snatch Vo2
16 kg x 65 sets of 8 reps
520 reps
18,720 lbs!

I thought I would only go for 61 or 62 sets but it was not that bad at the end. Ending HR was prety low, in the mid 170's.Amazing.A long way to go to catch Mrs Rif's 80 sets of 8 but now I can see it will be done. Here's the last 3 sets. I make a lot of noise when I'm in pain.Not a great angle but it was a last minute decision.

Rack Walks 16 kg
1200 feet switch hands every 200 feet

THese were even better. Nice to be able to have uninterrupted training and recovery time. It's the only way I can make any progress training. I needs a rythym :)) and stabilty.

One arm CB Casts
15 lb cb x

these were good. I lost the last rep of the first left arm set( was going for 3) as it was more fatigued than expected. so I had to stay symmetrical. elbow fine.

ok, more yoga tomorrow.


Monday, October 06, 2008

There's the groove.

Ok, not a bad Monday swing day.Especially after the beating we got yesterday.As well as another 7 clients in a row and back on modified warrior. whew, the reads like a lot of stress but I felt good with little warmup required. doing z all morning with my clients always helps.

Thank goodness it's only the 24 kg and not the 32kg. Decided to try to do the same combo as saturdays ssst training only with swings instead. it was easier than I expected which is a good sign.

One arm swings/h2h transfer combination
16 kg x 10/10 x2

24 kg x10/10/10 x 14 sets
420 swings
22,260 lbs

everything felt solid and wind was good.

snatch holds
16 kg x 1.5 min per arm 3 min sets x 3

ouch ouch ouch, these suck. They are a necessity though and this is the first time I've done 1.5 min per arm in who knows when. work up to consistent 2 minute sets then go up to the 20 kg.These are really helping my bikram overhead work as well.

Two hand cast 15 lb cb x 40 reps
One arm cast 15 lb cb x10/10
Two hand cast 25 lb cb x 20 reps
One arm cast 15 lb cb x10/10
Two hand cast 25 lb cb x 20 reps

this is working very well for really warming up my elbows. about 30 seconds between sets

more yoga tomorrow. datsit today.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

2 Classes in One.

We had seriously toyed around with the idea of doing our double class today but family obligations( neices wedding) in the early afternoon made us reconsider. Tracy would have been fine but she also would have had to carry my ass around all day and that just wouldn't look right :)).
Good thing we didn't either as the guest instructor today was fresh from eight years as an instructor at Bikrams College of Yoga in LA as kicked our asses royally. In short order.
Barking out the dialogue so fast he sounded like an auctioneer at a texas steer auction he made us hold each of the poses at LEAST twice as long as usually while giving us five times as many cues and corrections as we usually get.
Needless to say we were working our butts off from the get.
Add in a totally packed room, hotter than usual( class two days ago with another guest instructor was 112 degrees!), NO BREAKS between poses, everything held twice as long and worked twice as hard, by the time the standing series was over I knew I was in trouble.
I had already gone through my first bottle of water and we had two more serious series to go through and he wasn't missing a freakin' beat.
Things turned from performance to survival very quickly for me.I knew I could put it on cruise control and just coast in but I don't like to do that. Better to pass out than wimp out.I trip a lot but I rarely fall so I knew I could do it, it just wasnt going to be ANY fun at all. Oh well , I paid the ticket I might as well get the T shirt.
When we finished 15 minutes early I realized we HAD done two classes. At least two classes worth of work and in record time as well. No one warned us about that. One beat up puppy I am but this will make everything else seem very easy and sedate.
Another thing, it's not tough at all to smoke people. Making people do twice the work in half the time is easy, then deriding them for not being tough enough is degrading.One of the things almost none of the instructors get is that when a workout has very specific instructions for the length of time of each of the poses and then they aren't carried out correctly it makes it almost impossible for each student to really master the postures.
It's like continuing to move the finish line as the racers get close.
Only one of the teachers lately has really got the dialogue down, imho, with solid timing and cueing. Everyone else is just making things harder or easier for no reason.
Its like any other training; want to smoke someone fast? the formula is simple: heavier weights than you can use for higher reps with no rest between sets or exercises.
Pukey will say hi but exactly what doest that say about you as a trainer or a designer of programs? Not much.The"killer" workout is the easiest program in the world to design.It's the proper one with the correct workload for the correct day for the given contextual circumstance that is hard to come up with.
Ok rant over.

datsit. swings tomorrow.


It turns out I was delusional and that the class actually ran 15 minutes TOO LONG, not short.He really did hold us in the poses for almost double the time,lol! I thought the class ended at 10 and we finished at 9:45. It should have ended at 9:30.When I looked up at the clock and saw 9:30 and thought we had another half hour I thought I was gonna die,lol.
more water next time,lol.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

20 kg SSST Practice

OK, things are getting back on track now although the 50 sets of 8 in the vo2 max kicked my ass much more than I thought they would. It was a nice reminder that although my lower back issues seem a long ways away now, that they can rear their ugly head in a heartbeat if you don't pay attention.
Glory is temporary, pain is forever. Or at least back injuries are.
I have not been doing enough back bends over the ball and my diaphragm and lower abs got locked down a bit. Yoga doesnt help this either as there are tons of situps and movements where the tva is activated hard. I also haven't done enough rifga updogs and back over the ball stretches and the lumbar spine said hello a couple hours after the workout. At least it was a tap on the shoulder not a baseball bat to the spine. I am greatful and got it resolved very quickly. Lesson learned.
But today went well although I had delusions of 40 rep sets I am just not there yet, even with the 20 kg.At least not at the intensity level ( low to medium) that I want in this phase of training.Rebuilding volumen and gpp , not intensity.

16kg x5/5/5/5 x3

20 kgx 10/10/5/5 x6 sets
x10/10/10/10 x 1 set
220 reps
9680 lbs

very, very solid workout and the pace was good as it was just Nick and I although Nick did try to pretend Jonathan was in the rotation . Nick is still acclimating from this being squat day to high rep snatche day, which he has hardly done at all. Nick is tough.He was a collegiate wrestler, 'nuff said.
It's good for him :))

Bottoms up cleans
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5
32 kg x5/5

these were ok but I should have taken the 28 kb intermediate step as the 32 kg was a bit shaky.Glad to have these back in my routine. I'm pretty strong on them and like them. good to somethings I'm good at back in the mix.

datsit. a double yoga class tomorrow is under discussion. It seems though,that with the amount I sweat planning two classes in a row might require more logistics and clothing changes than an assault on everest.we'll see.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Like I've been down to the whipping post

Man this song brings back memories. Looking back, the seventies weren't all that bad; oh yea well they were but the music was great.At least for me.And the snatch vo2 workout today felt just like going down to the whipping post-self inflicted of course but hey, what would the demons do with a day off?
Peaking is great but the going down the hill to start over again always sucks- but that's what makes it training and not playing. Just have to conjure the right attitude; which to me today was gratitude for having this time now to ramp back up and get to a higher level of conditioning and strength. Three days of kbs and three to four days of yoga should do the trick.What an amazing difference from just a year ago and galaxies away from two years past.I am greatful for this opportunity to kick my own ass again and train to make progress, not just go backwards slowly.

I had no real idea what it would be like today after last weeks mess with the 20 kg and a paltry 30 sets. Sometimes gravity is heavy and you just never know.

Snatch Vo2
50 sets of 8 reps
400 snatches
14,400 lbs

Went back and forth between sets of 7 and sets of 8. I figured I needed the conditioning so I should go with sets of 7 and as many sets as possible but then I thought I should just start with 8's and see how far I could go. I could always drop down to 7's and continue. Yea, right :)
Things went very well, suprisingly, up to and through 30 sets. Then it got a bit harder to keep the pace and at 40 sets it was tough.Tracy was entertaining her visiting Mom and couldn't help me. I was on my own,lol.I made a deal that 45 sets would be enough.Then I realized I had to get even and do 46. Deal.
Once I was at 46 I told myself that I wasn't hurting that bad and could always do just FOUR sets.
So there you go.Not a bad starting back place.Finishing heartrate: 200+. yeow.

Techniques were really good and I was able to similtaneously hip snap, shoulder pull and then finish through the quads with the punch out and it all was flowing very powerfully. Nice.

Rack Walks
1000 feet switching arms every 200 feet.

ouch. Hate these and can really feel how off they are. but they are back on the schedule.these also always get my hr up fast.

One arm sheild casts
15 lbs x 10/10 x 3 sets

no elbow twinges, excellent.

It was really nice to be able to put the pedal down a bit today and push myself safely.great to be able to move that fast and confidently again,especially after a tough bikrams class yesterday.I love the snatch, it's my favorite kb move for sure and has been from the first time I tried it.Fluid and vicious indeed.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Oh that one hurt.

Monday's work schedule has changed and I now have 7 clients in a row, which is a lot for this old man.Especially with a wake up call at 4 am( although my own inner alarm prefers 3 am for some reason). But one needs to make hay when the sun shines and so it goes. This means I have to hit the gym asap when I arrive home from the commute before my get up and go gets up and goes!
This is even more fun when the monday workkout is sheer work incarnate in the form of SWINGS!
Now although my wife is the swing Queen I am NOT the swing King and these kick my ass on a regular basis.Made sure to eat a bit during the day( almonds and metrx protein powder drink with milk and OJ) to have some fuel in the tank when I hit the platform
My weight has settled in at 155 which feels just fine( my old cycling race weight) and I am getting back to the warrior diet. It just feels better to me, and, as the Hungarian RKC team said,"eating just makes you hungry". SO true imo, of course in my recent experience NOT eating just makes me skinny. Too skinny and that's no good either.
As the good Jewish Buddhist I am I know the middle path is the best way so I am working towards it.
I decided to not punish myself as much as usual and let myself switch over to two hand swings after my one arms were dead to ( artificially, I know) pump up my swing volume.Hey, gotta start back somewhere.I am just excited as all getup to see that I can handle some two hand swings as well.

One arm swings
16 kg x 10/10x2
24 kg x10/10
32 kg x10/10 x10 sets
200 reps
14,400 lbs

Two hand swings
32 kg
20 reps x5 sets
100 reps
7200 lbs

total swings = 300
total pounds= 21,600

not a bad day. My love came into the gym to hold my hand as she kicked my ass into working each rep as hard as possible. Very hard to slack when she is watching me swing.especially after the 1400 rep workout I witnessed the other day. It was bad enough to struggle through my 20 rep swing sets with the 32 realizing she had done 16o continuous AFTER 600 reps with the lighter weights previously.Just inconceivable to me, really.
BUt she provides a great example of what is possible so I keep reaching.
The good news is that the 32 kg felt pretty light in my hands and on my hips, I was just beat tired but the strength was there.Good news. Hands held up very well and it definitely works for me to take a bigger "bite" into the grip in these instead of trying to maintain a upper hand hook grip. That always tears up the calluses.
I tried a few sets of H2H transfers with the 32 kg as I really wanted 400 reps but adandoned it as the calluses did start to heat up. Another day.

Snatch Holds
16 kg xone minute x 3 sets

I made sure to get these done and upped the time from last weeks paltry 30 seconds to a full minute. Will stay with this weight til I can get three sets of 2 minutes each arm. Overhead right arm position is getting much better. Bikrams is helping for sure and these are helping bikrams as well

Two hand Casts
15 lb CB x 10/10 x 2 sets
One arm casts
15 lbs x 10/10 x2 sets
two hand casts
25 lb cb x 10/10 x 2 sets

this went great and it seems the two handed warmup does wonders for alleviting any elbow issues when I switch to the one arms. more good stuff.

Cable pushdowns
25, 25

hell I just like big triceps, what can I say. They finally don't hurt my shoulders.

bw 155
bf 7.3%
water 61.8% tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The first step in the process

of getting back my strength.
Got through a tough Bikrams session on Thursday when my concentration just wasnt up to par. That's a tougher ninety minutes than on the days when my body doesn't want to participate.But I always leave feeling better than when I come in and it doesn't hurt at all that I get to spend that ninety minutes sweating and working with my love, Tracy. We figured out that she has done more than 500 plus 90 min Bikram classes in the last 3 years. Dats a lot of yoga.You can tell by her practice as well.

On to today.Today is the first day of some serious training that has been waiting for the right time to proceed.Both intensity and volume.Need to get strong again and this is the first workout in this new journy.It's amazing, as I've written,just how little backing off it takes for my hips and legs and lungs to loose strength and condition.I was scared of trying a ten or even five minute snatch test as I knew I just wasn't able to push the training volume intensity ( and yes, most importantly, concentration) to where it would have produced the results I wanted. And yes, I am still very aware of my potential to hurt myself when I start looking up at the peaks, or over the edges of cliffs and feeling I can fly.So it will be a slow process, as it always is for me but now that I have a free calender for many months I can refocus on a different challenge.

SSST Snatch training
16 kg x 5/5/5/5x2

24 kg x5/5/5/5
10 sets
200 reps
10,600 lbs

yes! this worked out great and no hand issues at all! The speed of each rep was very fast( after my slow ass warmup, as usual,lol) and the power got better each set till the end. Felt very strong both physically and mentally. I ate up a bit yesterday and that helped as well. Needed a bit more fuel in the tank than have had lately.

Bottoms up cleans
20 kg x 5/5
24kg x5/5
28 kg x5/5
32 kgx3/3

These went great and I think I can safely add them back in the mix.I stopped doing them as they were overloading my elbow flexors which was exacerbating my shoulder issues but I have got that fixed. All those external rotation postures in yoga have really sealed that deal as well.The 32 for 3's was easy and I could have done 5's> Got to make haste slowly though. Got to be smarter than before.

Bikrams tomorrow and I think I will postone the double class til next week.Not sure I am quite ready yet and we have a long time to do it.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warming up

I have always been the slowest guy in the world to warmup. By that I mean getting all systems to go so that I could really step on the pedal when I needed to. We always stretched out for 45 minutes before we started our 5 hour gymnastics practice and I needed every minute.Most of the time we bounced tramp for another 15-20 minutes if we could.
You couldnt just walk in the gym and start throwing yourself around like that. Things had to be ready; muscles, tendons. ligaments, cardio system, the mind , etc.
When I ran it was the same thing. I was a negative split racer. That means I always ran the second half of the race faster than the first half.Always.I was warming up the first half.
Same thing when I cycled only it was worse because cycling is much more anaerobic and that system really takes me awhile to start humming.The problem with warming up with cycling is that the races are so long you can really cut into your overall work capacity and be one hurting unit at the end of the race.
Powerlifting was bad too and I needed multiple small jumps to really get things going.Of course kettlebells are about the same but with one distinction: if I take too much time off or slack on work loads the comeback workouts are torture! If I can keep the momentum going and build off of that nice wave it seems I can jump into workouts much quicker than the aforementioned activities.
Of course this week coming back from the back off with kbs is not so much fun/ today was no exception it being the first Max Vo2 day back. Oh joy.
I had done the 16 kg for 40 sets of 8 on Saturday so I decided ( I ain't that smart) to do the 20 kg for some lower reps(6's). Then redecided to do 7's. Just to see if I could. Well, it was ugly. I just be tired and will have to rebuild back up slowly, as usual.
Man I can stay off upper body for a long time and still be relatively strong but my hips and legs just fall off the map asap. Groovy.getting those big areas back up when they decondition hurts so good :))

Snatch Vo2 15:15
16 kg x5/5x3

20 kg x 7x 15 sets
20 kg x6x15 sets

30 sets 195 reps
3960 lbs

man I gassed early and that damn thing felt heavy trying to go fast. just didnt feel strong or fast and the 6's at the end weren't that much easier than the 7's ,lol. Oh well, this is one of those character building days.Since I failed I had to punish myself.

Transfer swings
20 kg x20 x 10 sets
200 reps
8800 lbs

this just shows how LONG it takes me to 'warmup'. I started to feel GOOD with some kind of groove and open lungs after the first 100 reps!I felt like I had some legs and hips again! It didnt matter it was only 20 kg bell my hips had lost some size and strength and it took a bunch to bring them alive again.
Endurance falls off so much faster than strength for me.not my natural strong suit.

Two Handed Overhead casts
15 lbs cb x 30/30

these went well. much easier on the elbow.wnat to stay aways from the presses and barbarians, messing up my overhead yoga postures with too much pec and front delt tension.the rotational stuff is ok
AND I still have to get rack walks back in. they work even though they suck.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Saturday's Snatch Vo2 at the Cert and Mondays two hand swings

I lead the workout on saturday during the max Vo2 workout we gave the candidates and got a pretty decent little session in

snatch vo2 15:15
16 kg
40 sets of 8 reps
320 reps

this was pretty easy for me considering I hadnt gone through two days of millions of swings and getups already. The candidates probably didnt enjoy it as much as I did. :))

After every RKC cert it really bugs me that I cannot seem to tolerate two handed swings. They are such an incredibly powerful movement with such incredible training possibilities that it always irks me that I cannot do them. In the past I had such asymmetries in legs hips and back that they would always throw my back out.Now it seems that the close grip with the requesite internal rotation tweaks my shoulders. Can't win for losing.
So of course I had to try them again today. Was too tired for heavy one arm swings but I wanted to use some decent. I adapted some positions for my orangutang length arms and stretched out with external rotation stretches after each set. We'll see tomorrow:

Two handed swings
16 kg x10x2
24kg x10

Weight ladders
24kg x10
28 kg x10
32 kg x10

repeat each series 10 times

300 reps
100 24 kg= 5300 lbs
100 28 kg = 6300 lbs
100 32 kg = 7200 lbs
18,800 lbs

most rest periods were 30-45 sec long until last 5 sets then 20 seconds long. Not a bad workout after such a tough weekend.we'll see how things pan out tomorrow. feel ok now.Yoga will help I am sure.

Snatch Holds
16kg x30 sec x 5 sets each arm

had to bring these back.

Shield casts
15 lb CB x10/10 x5 sets

the two handed versionis definitely easier on the elbow. need this at least as a warmup before one arm work.

man thats a lot of typing :))


Team Rif September 2008

Team Rif September 2008 RKC
What an another amazing weekend this RKC was. I am never ceased to be blown away by the transformations that occur in the short two days from Friday morning at 9 am when the candidates take their snatch test to Sunday morning at technique testing. Semingly the same people that on Friday were slow and shaky and lacking confidence in their techniques , their strength and their positions have been morphed into serious Hardstyle RKCs with sharp crisp techniques, precise biomechanics and with more power than they ever have had in their life! Unreal. And of course after having done seven or eight million reps or more of each of the six drills for two solid days while defying all training and all of physiologies logic by getting better minute by minute, even as they fatigued tremendously.
It's like after a certain amount of work their minds just gave up, gave in and succumbed to the neurological groove we had been implanting with more swings,snatches and getups than they ever could imagine doing and the body just took over. And it did it right. Very right.
I saw this actually happen right before lunch on saturday during Sr Instructor Geoff Nuperts snatch training.
By now they had done SO many snatches and swings that the idea of even MORE snatches( of course right before even more snatches with my Max Vo2 workout) ,while logically inconceivable was not only doable but being done.On auto pilot.Unconcious competence. The body at work.If the mind can get out of the way.
All passed with the exception of two who will pass as soon as they get home to their own bells and send the video in.
Well done RKC's! It was a pleasure to work with you and hope to see you all again soon.
Plus SO Much thanks to my amazing assistants Zachariah Salazar and Betsy Collie.They both helped me out tremendously and are excellent instructors, kettlebell athletes and people.I will work with them anyday.

A training life.

I love being home. I love the simplicity, the routine and stability that my life has had for so many years. A life that revolved around training, and, for so many years, competing. A life that revolved around recovery so that progress could be made, and measured. The numbers of competition and training brought an absoluteness to life that few other things could provide. One could know exactly where they were at any moment.And learn how to deal with exactly where they were as well.Or not. But the numbers didnt lie. They were what they were and it was up to you to do something with them.
Or not.
But it was your choice.Everyone had a chance to get what they wanted.If they wanted to work hard enough.
And to work hard enough you had to have regularity in your life. In your rest, in your food, in your training, in the life of your mind.So that you could recover and reach further to see what you were capable of. Really capable of.
And now the line is different. Somewhere else. Inside.The numbers will come and go and the top ones; the real very top ones I used to live for don't matter as much anymore. Or at all anymore. Because the numbers that really count are the number of missed sessions more than the number of snatches in one workout or the weight of the bell in that workout. Or no numbers.
How well I can concentrate in my yoga workout, or my kb session.Or how far my hamstring flexibility or external rotation in my right shoulder is progressing. Little things that are huge things in the real grand scheme of things.
And they also require recovery and regularity and stability and inner peace as well.So that the new edges, the new lines that still hover over an abyss of some sort or another still challenge.The new goal is stability and continuity and progress that happens on it's own.
So now my travels are over for many months and although it's been a great time teaching so much and meeting so many people it is time,well past time actually, to settle in and down again . To pull all the pieces together and get the rythym going. The rythym of training and recovery. Of stress and relaxation. Of loading and unloading.Of tapping into the primal patterns that are going on all the time if I can listen deeply enough. And going with them, not against them.
Working 7 days a week every other week for months doesnt make this happen.
It had it's purpose and I made my sacrifice to the gods of work. Now it's time to go back to a much less stressful work pattern so I can soak up more stress in the gym(s).
Double yoga sessions anybody?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Off to the cert!

I get to do one of my favorite things in the world today; go to Minnesota and spend the weekend teaching RKC Candidates how to use the best training tool in the world properly. And even better, Tracy is not only coming with me, as she usually does, but will be an Assistant Instructor as well, which means we can work together all weekend. She will be assisting Team Leader Doug Nepodal but we will be on the field all day together and that will be great fun!
There is NOTHING like an RKC weekend, it always amazes me how a rag tage group of wanna-be RKC's can start off Fridays SO rough and end up so polished and impressive just a scant three days later.
Not only do they come together as individuals but they jell as a team as well.It never ceases to amaze me and I don't expect this cert to be any different. This will be the last cert of the year for me( the RKC season,lol) and it's been the busiest travel year of my life! I've traveled more in the last six months that I usually do in six years and I am looking forward to a break in travel so we can get a serious training rythym going again.

Hope to post but we will see how busy things get.


Monday, September 15, 2008

More sets not reps.

Man I hate doing reps. And by that I really mean anything over 5. I mean I'm not as bad as Brett Jones who considers anything over 3 cardio but if I had my 'druthers I would be doing low reps all the time.But ' that ain't my bag anymore, baby' and I have to get used to it. But I dont have to do them all at one time and I decided today that I didn't have to do both arms at once either, lol.
I do that all the time with snatch vo2 but never really considered it for swings. Knowing I should do at least ten reps per arm today since I was only using the 24 kg I realized I didnt have to do both arms at the same time and I could still get the job done.
SO it was ten reps per arm, put the bell down and rest about 30 seconds before switching to the other arm. Swing VO2, if you will. I wasnt strict on the rest but I felt good today and was moving quickly after the warmup.
I just much prefer going all out for short periods of time,before doing it again. Give me a million sets just not 20 reps,lol.

One arm Swings
16 kg x5/5x3

24 kg x 10 reps per arm
35 sets
350 reps
18,550 lbs

two hand sheild casts
15 lb clubbell x

still a short workout and need to add another exercise in but just not ready yet. I have to remember all the extra work and days of training I am doing with the yoga and not get freaked out with the lower volume of kb training.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just the body.

I really accelerated my journey to real rehab for my knee, back and shoulder when I decided last year to try to "get back my gymnastics body". What I meant by that was restoring the range of motions,flexiblities,center of balances, stance, gait and basic posture(s) that I had before I blew out any of my joints. I didn't know if it was possible at all, and, if I was, what level I could return to and if so what the actual effect would be on my rom's and my pain.

I just had a gut feeling that the path I had been on was right,and that this new one was also the correct direction. My rifga stretches and close stance stretching work really put me on the right path, and then Z made things accelerate even greater with the most basic of joint mobility there is.

Then I found Mr Bikrams yoga and things have just done a quantuum leap forward again. And it became very obvious that one of the things this yoga and my old gymnastics practice have in common is that it is just you and your body. No other tools, or appliances or distractions. Just you and how you can or cannot move. Naked Warrior indeed. And of course it makes sense that if you cannot handle your own body weight; your own inherent resistance, if you will, you really don't need to add additional loads.

Of course, it's so much fun but that's another story.

It doesnt get more minimal than just one kettlebell unless there are no other tools at all. Like the most basic gymnastics and the most basic yoga.Going against your own internal resistance, which is as apt a metaphor for the struggles of life if there ever was one.

The combination of the most minimalist of weight resistance tools and the naked warrior approach of yoga is an amazing combination for me. Yoga and gymnastics are also so similar in the desire to obtain total and complete control of all parts of the body similtaneously. No easy task!
Tracy has informed me that after coming back from the September cert we will be doing double classes on Sundays. 3 hours of yoga, back to back classes with a 30 minute break between.Now this should be a challenge.Had a great class today even though I slept for beans last night. Sleep is for sissies :))It was way tough, strength wise, but my focus and concentration were good and that's what really counts. Didnt't help that the teacher took us way over in time for lots of the toughest poses but oh well. I will aim for tues/thursday and double class on sunday which will mean 4 practices a week with 3 kb sessions.Now this should be interesting,lol.

I can see now where my yoga practice will be as integral a part of my training as my kb practice.I wondered what would be the compliment for the other days as I healed and now I know. Yoga.

Who'd a thunk it, but in retrospect, the symmetry is perfect.

Handstands are next. Coming soon.Plus Stones gym is undergoing a MAJOR rehaul. Rif the powerlifter is no more and Stones gym is now being reborn for Team Rif Kettlebell adventures and Tracy's soon to be produced dvd series.Pictures soon.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some decent endurance

I decided against testing the ssst today as it really makes no sense for me to risk tweaking something this close to a cert. I'll have enough physical challenges next week. But I did want to see if I could do some higher rep sets; which I havent been able to make myself do for quite awhile.
The extra energy from the San Jose TSC competitors really helped get my head right.I chose the 20 kg bell though as it was time for some crisp and speedy reps.

20 kg

276 reps

Not a bad little workout if I say so myself, although it was slower than normal due to my judging duties. No worries, I just went harder on each rep. One of the TSC competitors made my day when he said " are you trying to win the snatch race today?".Not even close but still nice to hear :))


felt the left elbow talking to me so I switched to

One CB arm cast
15 lb cb x 10/10 x 4 sets

Two hand Sield cast
15 lb cb x10/10 x3

I've decided to use the CB with two hands mostly, at least for awhile. Its a better counterbalance to all the one hand stuff I do with the kbs and my left elbow is starting to get tweaky again from the mills and shield casts.I'm NOT going to injure something for an assistant exercise. This will be the equivilant of my two hand swing and I will start using the 25 lber a lot more as well with this.

Bikrams tomorrow.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Breathing Bikram

Finally got back to yoga yesterday and was so glad I did. Travel and lost weekends play havoc with yoga more than anything as we have to travel to get there and it's late in the day.When I am short on recovery it just has to take a back seat to real rest.But I was jones'ing for a deep,stretch in the tropic heat and was ready for class. I could feel my shoulders tightening up daily and I really needed to open them, and my chest up.
It's been amazing to me that when I started class I couldn't get my shoulders into half the postures as almost ALL require a significant amount of external rotation,something I just havent had much of in the last 20 years or so,lol.
Attempting to go into poses like eagle, standing head to knee,standing bow, floor bow,half locust camel and rabbit if you don't have enough external rotation you can't even get started in the poses.Perserverence usually pays off in most things but I was very surprised when I could really get my arms to turn out enough to grab my legs.
At first my shoulder would subluxate every time I forced myself into the posture and then try to get out of it.But slowly but surely it would sublux less and less until a couple weeks ago it didnt at all and I realized I had regained lots more shoulder extension and external rotation.And, guess what, my shoulder felt better all day long as well.So much of the problem was overly tight pec minor and major from 30 plus years of pushing pressing and benching, not to mention the full dislocation on rings,lol.Nothing has opened them up better than all these behind the back poses.Crazy, who'd of thunk it.
But yesterday I was determined to breathe throughout the entire class, as I always find myself holding my breath during the hard poses and once I get into any kind of oxygen debt in that heat it screws me up for many more poses if not the rest of the class.
I am always stronger( read more rested) coming back from a layoff but my endurance sucks and I going to make sure I didnt start holding my breath even if it meant my poses weren't as strong. Sure enough keeping my concentration on breathing the entire time make a HUGE difference; not only in my endurance but in the ability to hold the poses as well.
I take the pranayama breathing much more seriously now( the first set of poses in the practice) as I know how important it is for the rest of the class to really open up my lungs prior to the harder postures.
AS with most of the physical activities that hold my interest, the possibilities for going deeper into the skill is much more appealing than random acts of variety. I am just getting started plumbing the depths of this practice.
One more week of disrupted schedule( next weeks Cert) then a nice break where we can build some training momentum and get some more energy bucks in the bank account.I am low on reserves and don't want to get into savings. Time to build up the account for the fall and winter. Bikrams should be great fun this winter when its really cold out. I was thinking of buying a home sauna the last couple years as it's so hard to get really warm lately. This should solve that problem.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

36:36 Max vo2 PR

Well ,I finally got the real Pr in the 36:36 version of the snatch vo2 with the 16 kg.As you probably don't recall last month I did a mini pr of 26 sets before quitting and going into my house to get my butt handed to me by Tracy who insisted we go out into the gym and do the last 4 sets and get it done, regardless of the time break.And we did but I never counted those 30 sets as my real pr; just the 26 sets I had done back to back.
So today, with Tracy training with me this time, I got 31 back to back sets of 16 reps in the 36:36 max vo2 protocol. No problem except for excessive sweating which really plays a number on my grip which is hard enough, thank you very much, in this routine as it is! Still not the top end goal of 35 sets that Kenneth set out but that will get done next time.
Used a corkscrew technique on both hands, which really is cheating, (it makes it SO much easier) I don't think my heartrate was high enough, but no matter, I got it done and it was legal, so there,lol.
When you have to snatch to save the grip it really makes you focus on economy of effort, and efficiency as well.That's why I like the 15:15 so much better, it really lets you hang it all out, power and explosiveness wise. It's all good though and this certainly has it's place.

Snatch Vo2 36:36 16 kg
31 sets of 16 reps PR
496 snatches
17856 lbs

One Clubbell Swipes
15 lb club
5 x 10/10

wanted to do these continuous but the sweat hurts the grip here even more than with the kettlebells.Had to stop after each set, towel off, chalk up and restart. Don't like the cold but this sucks.

Two Clubbell swipes
2 15's x 20 reps

Two hand shield cast
15 x10/10

These are great, havent done them in quite awhile. Elbow is feeling fine as well. Somewhat thinking about having a go at the ten minute SSST with the 20 kg this Saturday as Jordan and a friend are coming to Stones Gym( aka the Rifstonian Institute) to test their TSC skills.
I am completely not ready for it in any sense of the word but especially mentally but I am still considering it.
I just dont know if I will be in the mood for that particular type of suffering quite that early this Saturday. We'll see.

datsit.Bikrams for sure tomorrow! I will be strong but I will gas,lol.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Slow and easy.

The Team Rif Wine Country Workshop was a great success and a good time was had by all! We spent mucho time going over the basics of RKC style swings, snatches and presses as well as basic stretching and foam roller work for injury prevention and reduction of pain. However, I missed my Saturday snatch workout, worked most of the weekend and had to travel( albeit by car this time not plane) so I got little rest.
So of course getting back on the horse today was a little creaky.
Fell back onto my default mutliple sets of five in the snatch to make up for Saturdays miss as well as some transfers to get my legs back in the game.I will do swings proper on Wednesday after some Max vo2 work and then back to snatch work again next saturday.After that just one more travel weekend ( the Sept cert) and then I should be back in my groove with no travel till way after the first of the year.


16 kg x5/5x3
20 kg x5/5 x2

24 kg x5/5x10 sets
100 reps
5300 lbs

Man it's amazing how quickly that little weight can feel heavy. I didnt start feeling good til about 80 reps.

24 kg x20 reps x 5 sets
100 reps
5300 lbs

15 lb CB

these went well although have to start out gingerly or else my left elbow starts to ache a bit.
I hate starting over like this but it's smarter than trying to push through when I am tired and not into my body very well. A good start up workout.


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

80 sets of 7 in the Max Vo2 Snatch

Finally I hit eighty sets in the Snatch Vo2 protocol, although not the prescribed Gold standard 8 reps per set but it was a 20 set PR for me either. Add in being awake since 2 am and no food and it was a decent feat in and of itself.
I decided to do the eighty sets on a whim, which seems to be the way these days, after looking at the 36:36 protocol which was on the menu and really not wanting to tax my grip hard. Don't want to deal with tight biceps tendons getting ready for the workshop this weekend.
So it was either the 20 kg 15:15 or the 16 kg for sevens.Not having slept well and having gone extra heavy of late( plus an extra bikrams session yesterday) I didnt think I would feel fresh enough to go heavier so it was the 16 kg and 7's that was left.
7 reps per 15 sec work bout seem downright easy to me these days, even tired and drained but I knew I had to do some serious damage on the total number scale. Why? I don't know but my inner masochist was talking out again.
Go big or go home, he said.
Plus Tracy was going to be coaching me through the entire session and it's really hard to not push when she's on the platform.Especially when she's just coaching and not training herself.THe pressure was on,lol.

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
80 sets of 7 reps All time PR
560 reps!

20,160 pounds

It started out easy, as it always does with 7's but it didnt take too long to ramp itself up,especially as I was trying to go as fast and explosively as I could and still feel like I could go the distance. First goal was 80 sets, second goal was all the reps done as explosively as possible.
Left arm modified corkscrew and right arm hardstyle over the top.
I missed counted my hashmarks at 60 sets and thought I had done 70 the realized the mistake and had to do A LOT more sets.Its like moving the finish line in a race after you have already crossed it.But I didnt want to make a mistake I didnt realize till after and not get the 80 sets. The last ten sets were tough, mentally but I also started to really sprint as I saw the end was near.Tracy yelling in my ear didnt hurt either ;))Knowing she knew exactly what this felt like and had done more it helped me push that much faster.
Top heartrate was around 175-180 at the end.
Sweated like a freakin pig and that is becoming a real problem in that I can't keep the bells dry( and I use two different bells!) and that makes the grip a real issue.grip issues translate into shoulder pain for me so I don't risk it.Plus the extra time drying the bells ,re-chalking wip[ing down etc. really eats into recovery time. 15 seconds goes by FAST!
Especially when you can't breathe.

One Arm Clubbell Swipes
15 lb clubells 60 reps switching every ten
40 reps as above.

Datsit. Bikrams yesterday and 560 snatches got me. I'm done.
Tomorrow, though is another yoga day :))

Bikrams is Hardstyle.

Now everyone who knows me knows I am a very opiniated guy. Once I decide what I think it right I am pretty much unmovable unless: someone convinces me I am wrong with better facts and information , or, my experience tells me I am wrong. In that case I have NO problem admitting I was wrong and changing my opinion. This was the case with Z health drills and now is the case with Bikrams yoga.
I am now a convert and realize that not only was I wrong about what Bikrams yoga is about( the McYoga thing) but also the benefits of what it could get me. Reading about the history, lineage, philosophy and concepts behind the methods, from Bikram himself went a long way. I just wish the studios imparted this crucial information better in the classes but regardless, I have seen the light here too.
Bikram's is Hardcore, the Real Deal and, yes,like RKC, Hardstyle baby! lol.
What do I mean by that? I mean that like like RKC the focus is Deep Skill , not ADD variety training, the focus in internal not on 'having fun' in class, the focus is perection of movement and the difficulty of the task is not taken into account.
Like Pavel would say if someone says the moves are too hard: 'Tell someone who cares".

In Birkrams own words:
" If some things are too hard for the students, for their weak bodies, then I make it harder! THis is the only way for human beings to break free from their self imposed limitations and begin to understand that there are no limitations .I believed int he strength of the Western people and decided it was simply a matter of teaching discipline through the postures in order to reach them"
Now I have griped inccessantly about the teachers " dialogue" and now I understand that it's not the dialogue that's the problem but the lack of the background information about WHY things are done the way they are that makes it seem like it doesnt make sense.
There is still some basic confusion about kinesology of muscle use but now I'm not sure if that's Bikrams mistake or the instructors.No matter, like Pavel says," do you want to know how to swim or undertand hydrodynamics?"
I be swimming well lately.
More Bikram:
"Ca'nt do a particular posture today? If you persits in trying the right way, a day will come when you can.Don't cheat or change the posture to conform to your individual weaknesses. If you do the real benefit goes out the window. Would you rather suffer for 90 minutes or 90 years? The right way is the hard way( how could I not love this guy?)
Remember: "It's never too late, it's never too bad and you're never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again."
This guy is SO hardcore. I love it.
His attention to concentration, determination, focus, fighting through the pain, the struggle, not giving in, never giving up, faith,patience, perserverence and developing the body from the inside out, always working with mind, body and spirit similtaneously really appeals to me. As you can tell I REALLY liked his book. What a difference the real information makes.
One last thing; Saturday I had to help move some shelves we were giving to my sister in law.Nick and I got the first one in the back of her F 250 truck, I held the base while he jumped in the truck to bring it back into position. The next one I had the lead and when it came time I jumped in the back of the truck as well.
Without a thought, without a care, just on instinct.Both Nick and I stopped on a dime and he said " did you just JUMP into the truck? I had to stop too and realize that just months ago I wouldn't have wanted to climb into the truck without really preparing my back for a possible herniation,lol.
Now I just leaped, after a 200 rep snatch workout and had no problem at all. My old gymnast instinct took over and I just moved. What a miracle. What a blessing.
I had to do it again just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Or hallucinating.And it was just as easy.
The next day I actually RAN 6-8 steps to get something for Tracy. Ran. Me. Again.
I just looked down at my body and couldnt beleive it.
It wasnt too long ago I was ready to get my knee replaced and settle into real decripitude.
Now I am not giving any one thing, let alone yoga credit for this. I wouldnt have been able to do Bikrams 6 months ago without preparing for it with my own Rifga stretching, the Z drills and, most importantly, TONS of Kettlebell work.
But something has changed in me and I can't wait to see what's next.Yesterday was my fourth day of training in a row and I feel great.Each class gets better and better and my body is slowly molding to what it used to be.A deep transformation, inside and out is taking place and it just keeps getting better.
Who knows what's next? don't know, but between hardstyle kettlebells and my new hardstyle yoga things look very bright indeed.
My original idea to get my pre injury gymnast body back seems to be working.Who knew yoga would be the vehicle to get there?

Monday, September 01, 2008

A bunch of heavy one arm swings.

Felt pretty good coming into todays workout after a kick ass bikrams class yesterday morning.I actually got a front row spot so I could see the mirror for a change. Helped a lot.I also felt a kind of responsiblity not to suck too much being in the front as well. I think I held my own fairly well :))
Got lots of energy help too as Tracy and Jonathan trained with as well. Tracy was back in swing queen mode doing 1000 SWINGS WITH THE 24 KG in only 50 minutes. That's 54,000 lbs of work in less than an hour.Freaking crazy.
And it was 32 kg week so I really had to do some decent work.Grip held out very well as I cinched it up again and the blister problem virtually disappeared.That sucker is heavy though,no doubt about it.

One Arm swings
16 kg x5/5 x2
24 kgx5/5x2 ( this felt HEAVY in warmup !)

32 kg x8/8x19 sets
304 reps
21,880 pounds

Could have kept going but the hands were starting to heat up and my Golden Rule now is DON'T TEAR!The one time extra workload is not worth the down time or lack of intensity because of grip issues.

Barbarian Press( two handed arm cast into flag press)
15 x10/10
25 x8/8x4 sets

these were great and very strong.Solid upper body work

One Arm CB casts
15x25/25x3 sets

went for de pump! LOL.

datsit. more yoga tomorrow. got to get it in as we'll be in Healdsburg next sunday.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I still do gymnastics in my head

all the time.It soothes me and I know that doing the movement mentally teaches the body how to actually do it in real life. This way I can keep my skills up even though I can't move like that anymore :))

And most of the time I do mental gymnastics I do P bars. I don't know why but it's been this way for years. It just flows into and out of my brain when it wants to and most of the time my routine looks something like this:

This to me is the embodiment of perfect mens artistic gymnastics, the way I was taught.Not the most acrobatic movements in the realm of possibility but everything, EVERYTHING, is done to the Nth degree perfect.It SWINGS.This is 2008 Bejing's all around Gold Medalist Nastia Liukin's Dad.So cool.

Almost 200 24 kg snatches

I had the best of intentions today- to do at least 200 snatches ( hopefully more) with the 24kg.
Of course I am talking about total volume, sets and reps not all at once :))Just doing 200 total reps would be a solid comeback for me.It'll happen.

I have decided to shelve the 20 kg on Saturdays and try to go a bit heavier more frequently.I get plenty of light , speed work with on mvo2 days. So I hoped my hands were up to it and they were close.I stopped short of 200 as I knew any more and the starting to become hot spots would become real hot spots or worse. 180 isnt too bad.
I also wanted to make sure that although the rep tempo was slower,including a pause at the top, the speed of each rep was as high as I could make it; to maximze power as much as possible even here.Kenneth's article just confirmed with numbers what my intuition had already told me;the more power per rep the more work done, the more calories burned , the more speed is enhanced( and, as Pavel says many neural dis-inhibition takes place) and stronger one gets, with the same weight!
Not to mention the muscle building capability of such training.Which is precisely why I am staying with the 24 for awhile. Don't need excess conditioning at the moment.

16 kgx5/5x3
20 kgx5/5x3 ( slow to warmup today. stiff)

24 kg x 6/6
10/10= 80 reps
two rounds of this followed by
5/5/5/5x two rounds ( hands give out)
180 reps
9450 lbs

As I wrote above this went very well and my lungs opened up after the first couple sets.Each set was stronger than the last.

Clubbell Mills
15 lb CB

I'd say short and sweet but it wasnt that short,lol. We took our time today with a three man rotation. Not slow but definitely not fast. Wanted to make sure each set had good power.

datsit. Been sleeping so well. What a difference :))