Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back off snatches

Still a bit sore and quite fully unwound from Monday's swipe session so I decided to take it easy with some low rep snatches.It worked great and it was just the medicine I needed.Decided as well that I will go back to snatching twice per week and swinging once as the main movements done for volume. I will use the clubs as assistance moves and focus on the less compound moves such as arm and shield casts; this will focus them more on shoulder mobility and circular strength and less as competitive lifts.

5:30 am rifga floor work
6am-12 noon
Z drills; short cycles 6 times

20kgx5/5x5 sets
24kgx5/5x7 sets
50 reps with the 20 kg
70 reps with the 24kg

pace was steady alternating with Joe and his pullup regime.These felt strong, fast and crisp. Held each rep overhead to a dead stop as well.Nice not to do a million freaking reps out of breath the whole time ...
One CB flag press

two cb flag press

this was better than the single arm version and the lockout was tough. Have to remember to work these for time with the 10s.

two hand flag press
25lbsx10x4 sets
did each grip as it's own set. decided the second hand grip was always getting shorted. this worked much better. Elbow lock was off, havent done these in awhile.

BW 161.4
BF 8.6% ( havent seen this in awhile)
Water 60.9% ( thats why:)

I think going back to the kbs as the main lifts makes sense. One, it was working fine, as far as work capcity increase with no physical issues. Two I really need the clubs to counterbalance the kbs flexion effect on my elbows and increase the circular ROM.Plus these moves will give me the most bang for my buck upper body muscle wise :))

datsit.I needed an easy day.

so this is the latest incarnation:

24 or 32 kg one arm swings
clubbell arm cast/flag ( barbarians)
two cb torch swing

20 or 24 kg snatch with overhead holds
two handed shield cast
one cb torch swing

max vo2 snatch 16 kg
one arm shield cast
rack walks

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I might not be ready

for this much high intensity bilateral work.The main reason I can't squat or deadlift or train two hand swings is that with the strength imbalances I have from my injuries , bilateal lifts really let me push too hard with my strong side(s) and the uneven tension creates torsion.Dont like torsion.It's what caused all my back and lots of my knee problems.
Felt a bit of this today from the two club swipes yesterday.I will have to modulate the volume carefully as that is my 'intensity' gauge.I still may not be able to do them and have to use a single clubbbell centerline move like the two hand swipe, or a single arm swipe that I alternate sides. Or move the swipes back to second position after a kb move.
I am very strong in this close stance swipe position and I have to be very careful about strong posititons. I am capable of exerting WAY more force than my body is capable of handling. I don't like that but it's the truth so I deal with it.
I have also remembered just how much great lower back traction/abdominal stretching I get from my overhead floor hangs.Really tight lower abs/obliques can quickly pull my curve out of my lower back and I have to avoid that.
I have always thought I got something very positive for my back stabilization from one arm swings and snatches, right from the start. Two arm swings hurt as they overloaded my abs and glutes too much.As a flat back guy I ALWAYS have to focus on keeping extension volume and intensity ahead of flexion.Too much ab tension and I'm toast. Obliques are even worse.
Crossing the mid line like the one arms do is a pretty unique motor pattern as well.
Or maybe I'm just too tight as I did one helluva lot of heavy swipes yesterday.Gotta go Z and Rifga. Get on the floor and get loose.
More intensity = more recovery needs.
Plain and simple.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Get it done.

As is usually the case, the training day after a high volume PR day is "down" a bit, energy wise.And since today was the first day of training clubbells as the main movement I probably should have used the tens for my swipe sets; but since today was the first day of using clubs as the main exercise I chose the 15's :)) Not so bright but hey, at least I am not putting 500 pounds on my back anymore.
This was just tough from start to finish; mainly on my grip but the groove never really got going and it was a grind the whole way. I had to wait a few minutes between sets for the forearm pump to subside so I could do my next volume was good though and the work was not at capacity; it just wasnt easy.

Two clubbell swings with 10's
Pendulum swings with 10's
Arm cast with 10s
a few sets of each.

Two Clubbell Swipes
15's x50x4 sets
200 reps
20 reps per minute pace
each set faster than the last. best time :2:40

wow,these were rough.Arms wanted to pump up fast and had trouble relaxing.For some reason I wanted to make the stroke longer than it had to be at first and finally settled down on the third set.I really need to feel my way through these and not overthink them. Will work up to 300 reps, which the next goal for the 10 lb swipes next time I test.LOTS of z and stretching work to do for these forearms now.

Clubbell Mill
15x25/25x4 sets
ouch. again. Very tough. Speed of each set picked up dramatically each set. from 1:10 per arm the first set to 55 sec the last.

Two hand Shield cast

these were good and I have to remember I dont have the use the 25 on everything I can. Don't get greedy.Light is good too.

datsit. need to stretch it out.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Welcome to Girya, Jordan!

I am very pleased to announce that Girya, Kettlebell Training studio will be the new home of Jordan Vezina owner of Average to Elite Training Systems.Jordan is a serious student of the kettlebell,physical culture and corrective exercise, a perfect mix for Girya.

Jordan will train clients in the afternoon and it will be great to have the lights on after I leave at noon,lol!

I have been looking for the "right" trainer to build their business out of Girya for many years and this looks to be a perfect fit.Here's to a long and successful relationship with Jordan.Welcome and here's to your ( and our) success!
Check out his blog:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Swing Pr

Since I decided to switch saturdays back to swing days I figured it would be a good start to begin with a PR.24 kg day so that meant more than 600. OK, not exactly a small task for me but I have been feeling good so I would give it a go. 15/15 for 20 plus sets would be the plan..

One Arm Swing
16kgx5/5x4 sets

24kgx15/15 x21 sets
630 reps PR
33,390 lbs!
16.695 tons

This went great! I felt strong from the start and bell speed was still strong til the very end.I also played around with some technique changes in my hip/leg drive which really worked well and produced more force with less effort.I will have to try it with my snatches as well.It just took forever,:))Alternated sets, as usual with Nick and Jonathan.Not fast but certainly not slow pace.

CB arm cast
wow, this was very tough with the 25 for the first few sets, then I got my groove.My grip was pretty fried from the swings so that made it much tougher to stabilize that brute in order position.
Flag press
two handed with 25 10 reps each side.

datsit, I'm done :))

I think this new schedule and approach is going to work. I have clubbells on Monday which is an entirely different groove than kbs so it will be well rested when I come back to snatches on wednesday.

High Intensity Volume Training.

Saw this picture of Eric on Furmans website and it brought back many memories. I was lucky enough to meet, get to know and train with Eric in the early eighties just as he was starting his pro cycling career. I got to ride with him as part of the Palo Alto Cycling club group rides and work with him with weight training for the class I gave for the same group of cyclists. We were using High Intensity Interval training as per the trend of the day( thanks Arthur Jones!) and it was truly amazing and an honor to see the type of focus and intensity this Olympic athlete brought to bear on even the most simple of his training movements.

What was even better was to hear Eric regale us with stories about the truly insane training that he did for speed skating. Talk about dealing with pain! How about duck walking for 10 km? 600 rep leg press sets or 300 rep squat sets with bodyweight on his back? Crazy, crazy, crazy pain endurance training. Talk about mental toughness? And that stuff was just the supplemental training! His actual speed skate workouts were even more nutso. How they built up to be able to recover from this is amazing. Talk about adaptation!

What about a 60 minute wall sit he did on a bet? One look at his legs and you could tell that nothing he said he could do you would doubt. I have never seen more perfectly developed legs and that includes Tom Platz. The unique thing was although when he contracted them they split into gagillions of striated fibers when they were relaxed they were quite soft looking.The ability to relax the muscles in between high force contactions is key for endurance athletes. He sure had that ability.And you could witness it very easily.

What this picture reminded me of beside what a great guy Dr Eric( now an orthopedic surgeon)

was was that high intensity volume training is the base of nearly every type of sport/training I have done for most of my life.With the exception of my marathon/ultra phase the rest of the training has been done with numerous high intensity work bouts broken up by rest intervals of various length.

Gymnastics was like this.30-60 second work bouts followed by long rests and repeated for 4-5 hours.Cycling was as well, with a brutal mix of anaerobic and aerobic work overlaid with huge volume( 400 plus miles/week). Bodybuilding was the same.Short work bouts( 5-15 reps) followed by rest intervals of at least the same time or more. Powerlifting was even more of the same,even with the dynamic effort days with their(relatively) short rest periods. Short, high intensity work bouts, decent rest periods and repeated for very high total volume levels.

Is it any wonder then this is the style I fell into as I began my kettlebell training? When one uses short work bouts( which, of course is relative) with an appropriate rest, then the work bouts can be a much higher intensity level than if one tried to keep going without any rest. This is true across the board of physical activity.

If one runs and breaks up the work into short bouts then the individual pieces can be of much higher intensity( read force output) for longer periods of time.Think 20 intervals of 440 yds at race pace versus 5miles at a pace you can maintain for that. The 20 intervals will be much harder effort and the total volume done with STILL build solid endurance and work capacity. .

Which would be harder? 20 440's at a 6 min/mile pace or 5 miles at 8 min/mile pace? I know what would be harder for me.Plus, you get the added benefit of much more muscle development from using more white fibers than red.Think sprinter v marathoner.This is even more true when you are training kettlebells and not running.

One thing I hear consistently from my clients who do max vo2 training is that they hate having to put it down, stop and restart.It's harder, they say, than just going continuously. Breaking up the rythym and trying to keep the speed ( and thereby force) up makes it much tougher they report.

I of course prefer it as it is how I've trained, in one way or another, for the last 36 years.It's just a solid way to get a lot of volume in without having to slog through low intensity sets. A nice combination of intensity and endurance. One just has to channel Eric Heiden once in awhile to get through all the sets; not a bad thing at all :))

Friday, January 25, 2008

Time under Tension

Man, this is one LONG eccentric contraction with 1000 lbs! what control.I got to meet Dondell at Nicks APC National meet in 2006 and the guy is a class act.Perfect example of the textbook power squat.Congrats to him.

The Pain Scale

The recent discussion on Dragon Door about the pain of foam rolling and the Z health admonition about not doing any movement in pain got me to thinking about the various levels and intensities of pain. Here is my short list,from my own personal experience, of the spectrum of pain.Please note, my tongue is partially in my cheek :)) The scale is from best to worst.

1) Basic deep tissue massage
2) foam roller work
3) High rep snatches
4) climbing long,big hills on a road bike, fast.
5) 20 rep breathing squats
6) DOMS from heavy bodybuilding/powerlifting
7) Deep tissue work on psoas
8) full shoulder dislocation
9) full knee dislocation
10) lumbar disc herniation
11) persistant sciatica

and the winner

12) being forced to listen to Rap music.

As one can see, the pain from foam rolling doesnt even come close to the deep levels of insight one can get from real pain.rolling on the foam isnt pain to me, it's a joy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Max vo2

Only having to face 40 sets of 7 reps per cycle is almost an easy day for me now. Almost.Work always fills the time that is alloted to it and when I have to do 8 reps per cycle I can make it with a half second to spare. When I only have to do 7 I still almost fill the entire interval,lol. Actually I pause the lockout longer at this pace, a good thing.
The nice thing is is that this workload no longer gets my HR up to the mid 170's much less the high 180's that it did not too long ago.I can talk abit, get a drink, make my hash marks, wipe the sweat,sand the bell; whereas before all I could do was stand there and try to breathe.Of course the GOAL of Vo2 training is to create an adaptation to the high HR and that means actually doing enough work to get it up there! But this is a down week and it's cool.I've earned it.
And I've learned to go with the 'groove of the day' instead of forcing my body to do 'what it did last week'. THe differences are very subtle but noticeable to me; how much I sit back versus how much I lean,etc.I go with where the power is that day and avoid the stress positions. Been working well and nowhere does it come out as much as when I have to go fast.Can't fake fast.

Max Vo2 Snatch 15:15
16kgx7 reps x 40 sets
280 reps
10,080 lbs

hands are fine again.

Two Clubbell Swipes
10lbs x125 reps
x60 reps
x50 reps

As usual, it took the first set to really open up and find my groove. THe first set wasnt hard at all, really, but I wasnt getting my chest up enough in the back position so it wasnt as smooth as I wanted. Grip was fine.The second set of 60 was excellent and really got a good lean back and stretch into the pullover .The last set was a slog; I'm getting tired now and my triceps are toast. They were still tender from mondays arm casts and shield casts.
I am switching these to Mondays starting next week and they are up first in the rotation. It's time they had their own day. I feel like I can do some serious numbers in this move and it's got to be trained first to really improve.
So I am going back to one arm swings on Saturdays( using the percentage cycle I wrote about) with one arm mills after.
Mondays is two clubbell swipes, shield casts and clubbell swings
Wednesday is going to alternate max vo2 and ssst work with the 20 or 24 kg, two hand swipe,flag press

One arm Swings alternate 24 or 32 kg
Arm cast
Flag press

Two CB Swipes
Two hand shield Cast

16 kg Max Vo2 or SSST 24 kg
Two Hand Swipe
Shield Cast( one arm)

this looks good and is the correct progresion for me.time for the cbs to have their own day.And I do want to up my swing prs and make my mvo2 pr.These are the key points to focus on.
Of course it will evolve as I do it and find out its strengths and weaknesses. But it makes my course of action clearer. So nice to have a course of action again,lol. I have so missed being able to train for real.It's cool.

BW 161.4
BF 9.1%
Water 60.4%

datsit,staying loose.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

855 deadlift. How easy is this?

Man, this thing MOTORS>There is no one Like Ed.

Swing day, the new plan.

OK, so here's the deal: I need to narrow down the weights I use for swing day so I can focus on breaking pr's more regularly. The current plan where I cycle four different weights,one per week, is too broad. SO it's two weights: the 24 and the 32 kg.If I alternate the weight each week but keep at the same percentages the volume shifts enough to make it look very interesting. Volume loads and unloads dramatically while intensity stays pretty even.I didnt want the volume with the 24 TOO high but this looks doable.
The real question though is not whether I can do this but what else will I be able to do IF I do this?LOL.Dats a lot of volume with ,for me, pretty heavy bells.
Plus adding in max vo2 AND a 24 kg snatch day. Oh yeah, clubs too,lol.SOunds perfect. Best laid plans...

{One arm swing PRs: 24 kg 600/ 32 kg 340}

week one 32 kg 70% :240 reps
two 24 kg 65%: 390 reps
three 32kg 75% 255
four 24kg 70% 420
five 32 kg 80% 272
six 24 kg 75% 450
seven 32kg 85% 289
eight 24 kg 80% 480
nine 32 kg 90% 306
ten 24kg 85% 510
eleven 20 kg 300
twelve 32 kb 101-103% of PR
thirteen 24 kg 101-103% of PR

Monday, January 21, 2008

Heavy swings and arm casts

Bart Conner swinging inverted giants. I guess it's really no wonder why my shoulders are a bit 'loose'.

Hand tears healed up very nicely but I was still worried about 32kg one arms today. And not just for the tears,lol. That damn thing is still heavy;especially for 300 plus swings!

Although I am basing my percentages off my pr I recognize it as the Sat PR so I don't stress too much if I am not too close.Never really know what I can do that day til I get started and then till I really get warmed up.Plus it's cold and rainy again today and getting these old bones warm takes a bit.

One Arm Swings



32kgx10/10x12 sets

240 reps

17,280 lbs( always suprises me how fast the tonnage adds up with the 32!)

These went very well considering I havent done them in a month.( LOL)

Two cb arm cast

2x10 with 10s

4x10 with 15's

2x12 with 15's

these are always tough after the continually moving swipe. lots of tension stabilization necessary here.It's just such a comfortable move for me.

Two Hand Shield Cast.

10/10 with 15

10/10x25 x5 sets

now this was a handful but moved as well as it ever hand. shield casts are such a therapeutic shoulder/upperback movement. So fluid.But not vicious,lol.

Some thoughts about weight selection for this day:

It seems the time between the use of an individual bell is too far apart switching weights each week. For me to wave the loads on each bell will take way to much time to get back to 101% and there isnt as much carryover from weight to weight in terms of the prs.I think I might switch to using one weight for 4 week cycles waving the loads up each week, peaking , then switching to the next weight.ANd just cycle two weights: 24 and 32.

This method would also allow me to hit pr's without having to switch to saturdays to do it.I will alternate the 20 and the 24 kg each week on saturdays snatch workout.The 28 doesnt feel much different in perceived exertion to me than the 32. strange stuff.

BW 163( that's a surpise, I felt lighter and leaner)

BF 9.1%

water 60.3%


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Primal Patterns and Length/Tension relationships.

Part of the Scientific Back training course I took from Paul Chek that opened my eyes to the concept of balance in the body between the flexors and extensors covered the topic of Primal Movement Patterns.
Chek taught that all movements could be broken down into seven basic "primal patterns":
1) squatting
2) lunging
3) pushing
4) pulling
5) bending
6) twisting
7 gait
This made total sense to me and helped me considerably design balanced training programs that really covered all the bases.Add in his concept of the correct order of training:
1) flexibility/mobility
2) stability
3) strength
4) endurance
5) power

And how one must be 'qualifed' in one area to progress to the other(especially for newbies and or the injured or post rehab people) and I had a solid base from which to proceed. For instance, if your ankles do not bend properly) either symmetrically or asymmetrically, then your squatting pattern isn't going to work right, nor your gait.Skipping over this point just ends up with compensated mechanics,accumulated microtrauma and,eventually injury. This I found out.
Once one has covered the basics with these qualities one still must keep them 'up' by checking their capacity regularly. For they can change, often dramatically, almost overnight.
Sit on a plane for 15 hours,sleep in strange beds, drag luggage all over and then in meetings for a few days and see what can happen to all the above qualities ( even if it is just temporary). Especially if you choose to load the body in that unbalanced state.
So, for a long time I made sure to include resistance exercises for all the primal patterns in my routines focusing on using the appropriate stretching exericses to open up any tight musculature that impeded the primal pattern before loading.So there were always some form of loaded squats and presses,even as I was working so diligently to re-open the tightness that this loading produced.
Resistance squats always overworked my already too tight abs and much stronger right leg/glute and left erector. I had used assymetrical loading( left leg only lunges, r-l only chopping motions) trying to balance things out but bilateral squats and then presses always caused problems it seemed.
Slowly I dropped all the squats and presses as I focused on the kettlebell swings and snatches more as my main movements.The kettlebell swing is almost a complete Primal Pattern array in itself comprising four of the seven patterns: squatting/bending type motions,pulling, twisting( one arm kb work) and if taken overhead a good substitute for pressing. I was always worried that my legs would dissapear if I didnt load the squat but now it seems that the swings and snatches are doing a great job of not only maintaining leg strength and functionality;size is maintained as well.
Especially for someone who is "built to deadlift", not squat.
Then it dawned on me; I still needed to do the squatting and pressing patterns I just didnt need to load them! Instead of doing stretching and release work for the individual muscles that were holding back my squat and press patterns I should use the squat and press positions as yoga like poses and develop the flexibility I needed by stretching the pattern out itself!
This has worked very well, allowing me to keep developing all my primal patterns but according to each specific muscular/motor pattern need.Squats became a timed stretch activity and overhead presses were done with the stick with a focus on opening up the tight lats and pecs,deveoping the overhead position and activating the deep rhomboids that were not allowing my scapula to rotate properly.
Stretching the squat pattern also showed me just how much the ankles and calves flexibility ( or lack thereof) really influences the deep squat position as well as importance of pelvic mobility and stability in this pattern.Same with lunging. While I could do kb lunges and used mostly left leg only lunges trying to strengthen the left leg strength imbalance it never seemed to work.
The tight left leg/calf needed stretching in that position not more loading. The standard karate stance lunge position works great.
My injuries and imbalances are pretty acute and most could build up to loading most if not all these primal patterns, but the point is , they don't necessarily have to.Plus all these patterns should be checked for ROM on a regular basis anyway.It's so easy to get tight;especially when one is loading heavily or intensely.
I read about people with back problems still trying to load their squats and I would bet dollars to doughnuts they are seriously assymtrical in their squat positions!This becomes very apparent when you are just stretching this position looking for square and plumb .
Of course it was a bummer for me to have to give up loaded squats and presses after so many years of it being my favorite and strongest movement(s). But after being in so much pain after each session I realized that focusing on loading the things that my body can do and taking a corrective approach to these still crucial patterns was the smart( and mature)thing to do. Hey, I'm 50 years old, its about time I matured a bit :))
So now I realize that Cheks Primal Patterns can and should be used by all as a base level of movement ability, it's just not necessary for all of them to be progressed simply by the idea of increasing resistance or load. Sometimes all they need is a good stretch.And how very, very important the idea of real balance in the body truly is.Ignore it at your own risk.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Speed snatches, two handed swipes and mills

Back to 24kg snatches today and wanted to focus on speed and power on each of the sets. I decided to do each arm separately and do some higher reps keeping the accereration high every rep.I locked out each rep but did not pause overhead; constant motion.I was snatching at my mvo2 pace, 7 reps per 15 seconds.

2 clubbell swipes
3x10 with 10's

24kgx 15 -15
189 reps
10,017 lbs

Tore a callous on the 9th rep on that set and didnt know how bad it was so I stopped.It was my fault as I didnt shave and sand my callouses after the max vo2 reps on wednesday and going for speed really increases the forces on the hands.wanted 200 reps but oh well.

Two handed swipes
2x10/10 with 15 lbs
2x10/10 with 25
1x30/30 with 15

wow,this was tough for even moderate reps but I love it. Very good leverage here for me.Here's the video:

Two handed mills( for Adam)
Normally I do single arm mills today but adam requested a video so I figured I would do them again. I definitely need the work with the 25lber.I can be fluid with the 15 but the 25 I still have quite a lag with my hip drive/rotation.Only second time with the 25 and probably the 4th time ever doing them.I do like them though, they give a very powerfull upper body feeling.
1x10/10 with 15
2x10/10 with 25
1x30/30 with 15

datsit. beautiful cali sunny day today. I need some warmth!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Max Vo2- back off

It was very nice knowing I only had to do 30-35 sets of 7 today in the snatch.Monday's little foray into power and speed reps left me way more sore than I imagined I'd be and was glad for the break in volume with the snatch today.It was also nice to know that my conditioning level is such that 210 snatches in about 15 minutes is now light volume for me.

5:30 am
60 minutes rifga stretches, foam roller work and full body Z drills

first client cancelled at the last minute so I had a great start to the day with flexibility and mobility work first thing. This is the best way for me to start the day.I usually get 15-20 minutes but the whole hour is perfect and nothing gets left out.I love those new high density foam rollers; they're almost impossible to wear out.

1:30 pm Max Vo2 Snatches 15:15
16kgx 35 sets of 7 reps every 15 seconds.

Had seriously thought I would only do 30 sets today and get a real low volume but I felt fine at 30 and stayed on course with 35.This was the easiest this has ever been. Rep speed is fast too, power is high and my body is not breaking down but adapting. This is good news.

CB Mills
15lbx 8/8

15lbx50/50 PR!

This was tough but good.really could feel how I have to recruit the trunk stronglythrough out the entire movement as I fatigue with this weight.I can't play around with it like I can a bit with the 10lbers.

Two hand mill

WOW, this is a monster move!You gotta use everything and with moving tension.was very cautious as this takes everything through very big dynamic ranges of motion.Havent trained in the frontal and transverse planes in many years. If you told me I would be doing this type of dynamic rotational movement with heavy resistance and torque just a few years ago I never would have beleived it possible. Its amazing.

two hand arm cast to flag press( barbarian)
25x8/8x3 sets

wow. this is what I originally got this monster for. perfect. so great to lock out the triceps hard on this plane. like doing planches and straight arm gymnastics work again.

BW 161.6
BF 8.8%
Water 60.6%


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

625x2 squat/belt and knee wraps, great angle

This is a great angle to see how the back squat truly is a back/hip movement. Note how the bar travels in a perfectly straight up and down line and he keeps it over his heel the whole time.He could lock his knees out better at the start but this really shows how much hip flexion is needed to be "under" the weight in the barbell power squat, yet he still keeps a solid lumbar curve. great squat!

Monday, January 14, 2008

More than one way to skin a cat.

Saturday kicked my ass.All the fast snatches and hundreds of swipes left me sore in the legs and hips and triceps yesterday and today I was just flat.Not much glycogen left for high rep swings, and the 28 kg was on the menu.I was feeling strong, just not energetic so I decided to focus on low rep, high power swings and see what the total ended up.408 is my PR so there was lot of work to do no matter what the rep configuration.

One arm swings

28kgx5/5x30 sets
300 reps
18,900 lbs.
75% intensity

wow. this was a revelation.I haven't done any low rep, super high power swings since I felt stable enough to do higher reps but I can see I've been missing out.The more reps you do per set the less force you can exert on any one rep. Just a basic fact.Maximum force output per rep fatigues the muscle much quicker as much because the lower endurance white fibers are recruited. I totally focused on compensatory acceleration, full hard hip snap and downward compression of the floor. No holding back, hell it was only five reps.
Plus,as I warmed up, as usual, the rest periods got shorter but I wasn't concerned with that and went as fast as I felt ready.the 28 felt light and each rep was maximally powerful, for all 300.Very happy with this output as well as suprised. I will have to include more of these low rep sets for the heavier bell and clubs.
This ended well with me feeling more energized and stronger than when I began. Perfect.

One arm casts

very solid.

two handed shield cast
x10/10x3 sets

as usual anything I do with the 25, even with two hands is hard,lol.

BW 162.3
BF 9.1%
Water 60.9%


Sunday, January 13, 2008

320lb DL @ 97 lb BW.

Cheryl Anderson demonstrates a triple body deadlift and the Dive technique

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Watching the wheel,climbing the hill.

Whenever I train high reps I always get brought back to my cycling days;especially climbing hills. It's so tough, mentally as well as physically, that it always reminds me of those long climbs where you learn very quickly NOT to look up and see just how far you have to go to finish, but just at your wheel and what's immediately in front of you. Same thing here.

I put all my swing and clubbell pr's on the chalkboard and realized I should do a 5 minute SSST with the 20 kg so I decided to do that for todays snatch workout.Was scheduled for the 20kg anyway. It's so nice, and amazing, that I feel I can push myself again without fear of something falling or ripping off like it has in the recent past.All the re and prehab and the consistency of building volume is really paying off. Felt nothing after Wednesdays 50 sets and figured I was good for 100 reps no problem here.

5 minute SSST with 20 kg
warmup: Z and floor drills 15 minutes
10/10 on the minute for 5 minutes: 100 reps.

This was good. the first 3 sets I completed the 20 reps in 35 seconds and had a nice rest before the next set.The 4th set I took 45 seconds and waited 30 seconds before finishing the last 20 in 30 seconds and getting my 100 reps in 4:55.
The only problem with this is that I do really poorly if I dont get a huge warmup, cardiovascularly, before I do a max effort. THis will be obvious from the next exercises and the times performed.I just dont want to push the snatch before I test it; I probably should use the swipe as the warmup and then go into the snatches:

Two CB swipes with 10's
100 reps in 5:04
100 reps in 4:53
100 reps in 4:39

Each set get faster as I got really warmed up. Five minute rest between each set.This was good.

Mills with 10 lbs
50/50 in3:52
50/50 in 3:28

the second set I really got a groove.

Flag presses
25lbs x5/5x3

Two handed mills( practice)
3 sets with the 10

Very very solid workout.Was hoping to do more snatches before I went to swipes but it worked out fine.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Max Vo2 snatch PR

50 sets of snatches on the table today with a desired 25 sets of 7 reps per 15 sec cycle, and 25 sets of 8's, which I've never done before.With only 4 weeks in the wave lead up to the 50 sets this thing seems to come up quickly but each time I do the 50 sets it's geting easier and I have more wind so something must be going right.Solo again today which always makes things so much more fun :))
You pick it you play it.Get to work.

Max vo2 snatch 16 kg
25 sets 7 reps per 15 sec
25 sets 8reps per 15 sec PR
50 sets
375 snatches PR
13,500 lbs

This was actually not bad. The first 25 sets went by easy, almost and then the middle part, which usually sucks the most ,especially when I have to speed up, was strong.Like surging in the middle of the race and having some gas in the tank. thats nice; it's been awhile.Form has been solid and consistent.Having to go fast forces it's own efficiency on the movement.Sweatin like a dog.Love it.

Two Handed swipes

x10/8 ( second side getting
x6/6 rested between arm, 30 seconds. this is kicking my arms ass.this bastard is heavy.

I need to practice more now with this and keep the reps low and the form crisp. at least with the 25lber.The 15 was fine for reps.

Mills 10lbs

when it's light this is so relaxing to do. very fluid and releasing of the it.Slowed it down and really focused on form, on all the component parts moving at the right time. Oh yeah, did the most Z drills with clients that I have done in 5-6 weeks. LOTS of them . I forgot how that plays with your cns.

BW 161.8
water 59.6% ( I knew it was low.Every % under 61 I am represents 1% BF on the scale.So if I hydrated to 61.9% the scale would measure me 7.7 %.)

datsit, dats enough, I'm tired.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sacred Space.

Joseph Campbell writes:

"Sacred space and sacred time and something joyous to do is all we need. Almost anything then becomes a continuous and increasing joy.
I think a good way to conceive of sacred space is as a playground. If what you're doing seems like play, you are in it.But you can't play with my toys, you have to have your own. Your life should have yielded some.
....A sacred space is hermetically sealed off from the temporal world.When you are in such a space there is no penetration through the enclosure. You are in an eternal zone that is protected from the impact of the stimuli of the day and the hour. That's what you do in meditation;seal yourself off."

The gym has always been my sacred space;going back to that first impression that first day in the Miami Dade gymnastics gym.Training has always been play for me as well as a vehicle to go deeper into who I am and to change who I am according to who I want to be.Bodybuilding gyms back in the day were always semi dungeon like, either stand alone caves or some back part of the 'regular' fitness center. Where the 'real' work got done.
This increased even more with my own gym and then the power corner in the back of the power gym where only the committed( and soon to be committed) went to find out what was real and most true about themselves.
Closing the public gym and training in my garage only increased this sense of a sacred spot, a spot where only I went and where everything was exactly as I wanted it; needed it, to be.On days like today, when my partners are gone and I train alone, in silence this feeling is even greater.
My training always gets me closer, always brings me back to center, always makes me stronger. even when it beats me like a rented mule. I walk into the space in one mind and leave in another, much better one. I can't imagine not having it.

One arm swings

24kgx15/15x12 sets
x20/20x 1 set
400 swings
21,200 lbs
67% of best( 600)
32 minutes

Man, these went well but that 600 rep number is CRAZY! I certainly could have gotten 450 no problem but I will have to get some special motivation to meet,much less beat, that pr.Just kept thinking: One set, one rep at a time.dats alot of reps :))

One arm swipes
10lbs 10/10
15lb 10/10
25lb 5/5x2
15lb 20/20

wow! that 25lber in one hand is a MONSTER! Left arm was much better than right;it is easier with zero choke in some sense but right shoulder is a little less mobile in the back position with that weight.Plus the 25lb is an inch or more longer and I aint that tall.will work up to this slowly.
after the 25lb sets the 15 felt like a toothpick.

Shield casts
100 continuous reps ,switching hands every ten.
wanted something light after the swipes and this was good.Could have done a lot more reps per arm. 200 in this for sure.Lots of z drills and rifga stretches thoughout the morning shift.

One CB Rockit

these were tough too!That 25lber is a brute.
BW 162.2
BF 8.7%
Water 60.9%


Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Swing's the Thing

Tracy,The Queen of Swing

Great post by Brett Jones on his blog, which I have stolen so all can learn from :))

Applied Strength
Strength, Kettlebells, Health, Fitness, and a balanced approach
Sunday, January 06, 2008

Question of the day...Swing height? How high and why?Swings are the center of the RKC universe as Rif has so eloquently stated and as such they are essential to master. One of the recurring questions is how high to swing the Kettlebell during swings. My answer is - between waist and shoulder height with an "ideal" of chest to shoulder high.The swing is about projection of energy not elevation of energy.
So if I feel like putting a kettlebell overhead I will snatch it not swing it. Can you swing to the top? Sure - as long as you got there by projecting the kettelbell along its arc of movement and did not "lift" the kettlebell to the top. But most people will begin to lift instead of swing and miss the point of the exercise.In the swing the movement is more important than the motion - meaning a short, crisp hip snap will provide far more benefit than an incomplete hip snap with a lift of the kettlebell with the arms.
Try doing a "progressive" swing where you start with shorter hip motions (but always finish the hips) and gradually over several reps increase the amount of hip motion and kettlebell motion. See where your "best" swings are occuring. I am willing to bet it will be at chest to shoulder level.
And here are three more tips to improve your swing:Tip #1 - Connect the arms to the body
Stand straight and tall like you have finished a swing and hold your arms out in front of you at shoulder level - now bring the arms down so they connect to your body and are tight against your ribs. Leave your arms there and push your hips back like you are at the bottom of a swing and then reverse the movement with the hips leaving the arms on the ribs until the hips bump the arms off.
Tip #2 - Hike the kettlebell
If you have connected the arms to the body as described above then hiking the kettlebell will come naturally. On the descent with the KB do not let it pull away from you toward the ground but rather connect the arms to the body and hike it back behind you high and tight in the groin.Tip #3 - Hips lead the race
Once you have connected the arms to the body and hike passed the kettlebell you begin the swing by extending the hips. Obvious - however, you should finish the hip snap/extension long before the kettlebell reaches the top of the swing. And once th kettlebell is decending again and you have reconnected the arms to the body - it is the hips that push back first. Put the hips at the lead of the hip extension and the push back (once the arms have reconnected) and you will gain power and coordination with the swing.Once you have mastered these tips on the swing try implementing them on your snatches and see if you don't get a great carryover.
And my upcoming workshops...Jan 26-27 FMS workshop in PittsburghRegister on (go to courses and workshops and you will see the dates mentioned for an FMS workshop)email me at with any questions.February 1 Secrets of the Shoulder workshop at the Sporting Club in La JollaEmail Paul David - for details and to register.February 2 Intermediate Kettlebell workshop at Iron Core in San Diego

read more of MRKC Brett Jones's wisdom on his blog:

Saturday, January 05, 2008

It's about time.

Lately I feel like I have entered a new level of ability, physically and it's been great. I have lived to train hard my entire life and not being able to for the last 7 years or so has been hell. I have worked hard to really establish as deep and wide a base as I could, hoping, but not knowing, that it would allow me to really get back to a high level of strength and condition.Breaking things down to just the movements that I could do that didn't hurt me( swings, snatches, walks) and eliminating those that did( squats, presses, bilateral work) let me build up slowly without breaking me down.
Add in all the body balancing work I did and it seems that it is finally paying off.As the base grows the top end grows just by default and this is what it feels like now. I can push myself a bit again, and instead of getting wrecked by it, I can adapt and grow! I have really,really missed this.Training without being able to expect much in the way of improvement is way tough.Just doing it because you know without it you would be much worse.
There are still many things I can no longer do or should try to do.I have orthopedic restrictions that will not change.And that's all right with me. I am so happy to be able to train with the exercises and movements that I can use that I prefer to focus on that and not my limitations. And now with the clubbells and whole new doorway has opened.Another tool I can use that not only doesnt hurt me but helps rebuild me.
Plus, who knows what's next?
Today the 24 kg felt like it should, like the 16 kg feels.Light. I can't believe how much benefit I have gotten from those so light, but so fast max vo2 snatches.Mass X Acceleration really does equal force and moving light things fast really create lots of power. Power is good.
Having more gas in the tank from the vo2 work also makes things lots easier and I can really feel this effect.


192 reps
10,176 lbs
All reps done as fast as possible with a solid stopped lockout position.It really felt the same way I do when I snatch the 16 on wednesdays! exactly what I have been waiting for. Being 163 instead of 159 helps a bit too.Takes mass to move mass. I would have done 200 but I'm not greedy and I had a big set to do with the clubs next movement.

Two Clubbell swipes
10's x10x2

15'sx100 reps/ PR

wow! this was tough but very good.grip definitely much harder than the tens.Again started off slowly and picked up the pace considerably the last 30 reps.this is a very strong movement for me.Didnt have much left, though after this but next time I won't snatch first,lol! a 50 rep pr, not bad at all.

15lb Mills
40/40 pr
100 reps each arm

ouch. didnt want to do that last set of 40 but also didnt want to do 2 sets of 20 so I just went for it. also a pr.played with a higher catch position before the turn that worked well.

well, not a bad day at all!recovery after all these sets if very quick and I finished feeling like I could do more.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Day Three

Third workout in three days and was a bit worried going into today's session.Woke up more sore than expected and was wondering the effect it might have on the snatches or my endurance with the 45 sets that were on the schedule. Things stretched and Z'd out nicely today and when I jumped right in I was suprised that I was actually moving as fast as I ever have.Form was spot on.The groove was greased.
Contemplated jumping right up to 8 rep sets but realized I didnt need to push it on all cylinders. Ah the joys of injury born maturity.
'Bout time.

Max Vo2 Snatch 15:15
16kgx29 sets of 7
16 sets of 8
331 reps
11,916 lbs.

not bad at all.lockout was easy and pace was solid. actually had time to mark down sets with chalk and wipe the sweat off as opposed to just having enough energy to stand there and breathe before,lol. These are the little things that tell me I am getting in better shape.Way more reserve even though at the end of the 45 sets HR was 190!Tried to sprint as fast as I could, the last 5 sets particularly.

CB Mills with 10lbs


needed this teshnik work. Have a lot of work to do with the 10's before I do many reps with the 15's.Really got into the rythym, particularly the last set and especially the left arm . picked up speed a lot the last 15 reps.

CB Barbarians
4 sets of 8/8 with 25 lb cb

ok, now my arms are really really done. I need a rest and some food.great way to start the new year though.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

208 in 2008

Inspired by Takei's 2008 presses but not quite as insane as him I decided to do something symbolic for the first day and the first workout of 2008.This is the second time in two weeks I had a morning off so I decided upon 208 swipes with the 10 lb clubbells.
When I did 150 of these last week I thought I could have done 200 but saved something for the mills I also had planned. Nothing to hold back today for so:
Z drills warmup: 10 minutes
a few swings, pendulum swings and arm casts with two tens then

Two Clubbell Swipes
208 continuous reps in 12:40 sec with two ten pound CBs!

No rest at all even though my nose itched for the last 70 reps,lol! Went through the first 160 at a very steady pace and then picked it up for the last 48 reps.Really feel a solid groove with this movement. With someone pacing me I know I can do this in ten minutes.
Next goal, though, is 100 reps with the 15's.
Two handed swipes with 25 lb 5 sets of 8/8
I really really like this move! first time I tried it and it is serious with the 25 but I feel the same groove as I do with the two handed version of this. Will definitely add this in the mix.
Two handed circular casts with 25lb 4 sets of 8/8
this is really challenging with this weight.
KB walks 1200 feet switching hands every 200.

bout time I got this in. quick and dirty for the first day into the new year. Maxvo2 snatches should be fun tomorrow.
bad picture but a nice pump after the 208 reps!

datsit and Happy New Year!

"Scientific Back Training"

This course by Paul Chek changed my life in so many ways that looking back on it now it's hard to believe how I came to take it. I found it in 1997 totally by accident when I saw Chek's course on " squatology" advertised somewhere and, being the total squat freak at the time, I wanted to read everything and anything on squatting that might make my poundages go up.

Of course it had very little to do with competition power squatting but when I realized the whole course was little more than the price of the one tape I got and took the entire course.Little did I know it would form the basis of my corrective exercise work with my injured clients and then my injured self just a few years later.

It also introduced me to the work of Vladmir Janda and the entire concept of Length/Tension relationships, tonic and phasic muscles and achieving real balance of the musculature of the body by looking at the interconnectedness of everything in the body.the body as a total unit working together,not just a conglomeration of disparate parts.

I went back and looked over the course manual again a few days ago and really gained a new appreciation for the amount of great information included in this course that still holds up perfectly well ten years later.Here is the table of contents:

Gross Anatomy:

1) transverospinalis group

2) erector spinae group

3) Important back musculature

4) abdominal musculature

5) thoracolumbar fascia and related musculature

6) intra abdominal pressure

7) hydraulic amplifier mechanism

8) erectors vs abdominal musculature as rotators and stabilizers

9) spino Scapulo musculature as back muscles

10) shoulder girdle position and its influence on thoracic curvature

11) gleno-humeral and spino scapular force couple mechanisms

12) hip extension mechanism sagittal plane

13) frontal and transverse plane force couples

14) understanding lumbo pelvic rythym

15) posterior ligamentous system vs hyperlordosis

16) lumbar disc pressures as a % of standing and in various postures

17)Understanding lumbo pelvic rythym and lumbar lifting posture in conclusion

18) reading the back

19) facilitation of tonic muscles

20) posture curves and exercise selection

21) determining pelvic tilt and lumbar lordosis

22) recognizing spinal rotations

23) the importance of quality neuromuscular motor patterning ( flow chart)

24) facts about motor learning

25) neutral spine philosophy


1) floor exercises

2) horse stance

3) squatology the science of squatting without injury

4) squatting with a relative flexibility imbalance


Anyone intersted in taking this corresponce course can find it here on Cheks website. Pretty in depth stuff but I found it, as well as his High Performance Core Cnditioning course invaluable for my own training as well as for my clients.If you don't know your anatomy and kinesiology you will after digesting all of this,lol!