Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quick and Dirty

The snatch workout, that is. The 20 kg was on the menu today and I wanted to get some volume but not with too many high rep sets. I need to get my weight back up first before I start worrying about ssst training so I settled on sets of 10/10. A good choice.

16 kg x5/5x2
20 kgx10/10x 11 sets
220 reps
9680 lbs

not bad at all. This was a "half and half" workout in terms of technique, and I'm not referring to the breakfast drink. I ended up doing my left side with a corkscrew descent at a somewhat leisurely pace, and using pure Hardstyle technique on the right arm with a sprint style. Don't ask me why; it was just what happened today and I went with it.
Strange though, when I tried to even it up either corkscrewing or HS on both sides it felt wrong so I just went with it. Worked great.

Shield Cast, two hands
15 lb CB x10/10
25 lb CB x 5/5x5 sets

as I said in the title; quick and dirty.

datsit. time to eat. suspending the warrior diet for a while now til I get my weight back up and keep it at 160-162 for awhile.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just go.

Thats what I told myself today as I pulled my head out of my ass trying to get ready to train.Just one of those days where life gets in the way of your workout and I ended up in the gym with virtually no mental prep for the session, something that really works my last good nerve.I have always taken great care to mentally prepare for my workouts as much as possible.Obviously more so when I was competing, but still even now; planning the workouts means progress. Just going in an doing whatever, willy nilly, never gets one very far.
But when I looked at my blog and saw that my last Snatch Vo2 with the 20 kg( what was on tap today) was 50 sets of 6 I was similtaneously discourage and encouraged at the same time.
Discourage because I knew there was no way that I could match or even think of besting it, and encouraged because I knew that was starting at a peak and I could go back to just 35 sets with my honor and machismo intact.
Course I wasnt too sure how hard 35 sets would be, lol.As it turned out, not bad at all.

From 6 am -12 noon
Z drills: 6 times full body( with each client)
rifga basic stretches

upward dog front panel stretch
downward dog hamstring/calf stretch
chek horse stance
kneeling shoulder stretch
downward dog tradtional yoga style( bilateral)
sumo squat stretch
squat rack stretch with stick

Snatch Vo2 15:15 20 kgs
16kgx5/5/x2 sets
20 kgx 35 sets of 6
210 reps
9240 pounds
ending HR 175

all of these were done with completely basic hardstyle technique :single breath and straight over the top punch through . No time or energy for games today. Just cut to the chase.I was making the reps with 2.5 sec to spare so I held the rep at the top til the cutoff.The snatch holds are helping here too.

Rack Walks
16 kg
1800 feet
switching every 200 feet. not too bad, just loathe doing these until I get started then I get motivated as they are always tough. which is why I hate to get started,lol.Knee and gait mechanics are both holding up very well

single arm casts CB
15 lb x12 x 8 sets alternating non stop each arm. just playing

weight is up to 159 thank God. Eating is back on track


Monday, May 26, 2008

Swing time

A great pic of my hero and earliest role model, Japanese Olympic Gold Medalist Akinori Nakayama, perhaps the best example of the modern gymnast of all time. Pure strength, power and grace personified.And the heart of a Samurai.

I really dread swing day cause it's just plain hard work. nothing fancy, nothing distracting; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Just a lot of very basic, very straightforward work. Oh well, it's the base and if you let the base get weak the building ain't gonna stand for long so it's time to get to work.
Havent swung the 32 in what seems like ages and even though I am a skinny guy these days the weight felt light and moved well, suprisingly enough.Kept the reps low to really build back up a bit but it seems like I am back on track.

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

32 kgx
10/10=90 reps
x 2 rounds then
5/5x6 sets
240 reps
17,280 lbs( man those reps with the 32 really add up fast!)

Snatch Holds
20kgx 1 min x 3 sets each arm

this was tough but getting back on track here as well.24kg again very soon.

Flag press
15 lb CB x10/10
25 lb CB x12 x 6 sets

these were good and each rep was dead stop held for at least 1-2 seconds. LOTS of upper body tension here and I am really working to get the elbows to fully lock out and get plenty of tricep work.

BW 156.2 ouch.
BF 10.9%
Water 58.8 dehydrated.

datsit. snatch vo2 on wednesday with the 20 kg, that should be interesting.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Snatch volume pr.

Pr's have been scarce around Stones Gym lately so it was nice to pull one, albeit a small one, out today. Especially in the 24 kg snatch. Was 'scheduled' to use the 20 kg today for ssst rep training but just wasn't in the mood for that particular type of torture. Want to get my weight back up a bit too and I figured heavier would be a bit better.

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

210 reps PR
11,130 pounds

set # five
Used a combination hardstyle breathing and ascent with a bit of corckscrew on the descent for the first 100 reps then went to complete HS descent for the rest of the workout.Starting to feel like I can snatch the 24 as fast as I can the 16! Which is PRECISELY the purpose of doing 'speed' or dynamic effort training with compensatory acceleration.
Practice putting maximum force ont he bar with a lighter weight( more power) and when the actual bell( or bar) weight is heavier you will STILL put maximum force on the bar or bell.

H2H transfers
20 kg x 50
x 50

One arm CB shield cast
20/20 x 3 sets

It doesnt look like much when I write it down but it certainly kicked my butt around today.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Snatch Vo2 36:36

If Hardstyle max vo2 with one breath is training at high altitude this was medium altitude. I used just the one breath, but went with the corkscrew to save my grip, my forearms and hence my shoulders.
Last time I did this(
I only used 15 sets per 36 seconds and it wasnt too bad. Stepped it up a notch this time to 16 reps per work bout and it was no problem. Finished each 36 sec bout with at least 2 seconds to spare. As it was last time the 36 seconds rest seemed very long. that was nice. Heartate at the end was just 170ish, too time will have to do this with HS over the top and see what happens.The corkscrew reduces SO much force on the way down its incredible.We'll take this up to high altitude as well.whatever I can do I can do and will build up from there.
It's not where you are now, but where you are going that really matters to me.

Snatch Vo2 36:36
16 kg
16 reps per 36 sec
18 sets
288 reps
10,368 lbs

Rack Walks
16 kg
1600 feet switching hands every 200 feet.

will start alternating walks with the 16 kg with interval walks with the 20 kg. this is how I started originally with the 16 and built up to continuous walks.I am ready for this now. Didnt go farther than last time but stepped up the pace. finishing heartrate was 150.

Arm casts with 16 lb CB
20 20

these were good.elbow was fine and I love what these do for my shoulder mobility and upper body size.

BW 157.4 double oops
BF 10%
Water 58.8

just dehydrated. gotta eat more.

Datsit :))

Monday, May 19, 2008

Power swings.

After Saturdays killer HS snatch workout( and the realization that my pace per set was at an 8 rep 15:15 mvo2 pace) I thought I might back that up with some 15:15 swing sets as well. With the 24 kg :)) Didnt know how many I could make but I thought it was worth a go.Not in the mood for a high volume slog through 600 swings.Quick and Dirty; hard and fast. I have done 10 reps per 15 sec work bout before but not with the 24 kg,as I recall so it was a total crap shoot.

One Arm Swings
24 kg
10 reps/arm
25 sets
250 reps 12.5 min
13,250 lbs

This was TOUGH! Still not sleeping for shit and was feeling pretty weak at the start but hey, at least I didnt have to use the 32 kg,lol.Many of the sets the gym boss went off and I still had one rep to do which means lots of the sets had only 10 sec rest. Ouch. Cardio wasn't too bad actually and hands help up well too.Needed some more volume but had enough one arms. Skipped transfers on saturday so this was a perfect time to make em up

H2H transfers 24 kg
150 reps
7950 lbs

total reps = 400
total lbs= 21,200 lbs( not bad)

These went well AFTER I remembered NOT to sit back but to finish my swing flat footed NOT on the heel only.If I do that it activates too much ab/lower back,taxes my grip and my shoulder.It's just not the right mechanics for me and I have to remember it. My swing speed and ease of movement picked up considerably after I stopped sitting so much.With my lumbo pelvic rythym if I hinge forward my hips go back; if I sit back I don't get the proper hip lean. I know, I'm strange. Like that's news :))

Snatch Holds
Had delusions of grandeur; thought I might use the 24 kg for this but after my first warmup for one minute with the 16 kg I came back to earth and reality. The 16 was quite enough load for today for 3 sets of one minute. I have really missed and need this exericse. GREAT corrective drill for me.
16 kg x60 sec x 3 sets /arm

Flag press and hold
15 lb CB x 10/10
25 lb CB x8/8x3 sets
these were great and MUCH harder with a two count freeze at the end of each rep,conciously activating as much total body tension as possible I think this movement will be alright as a high tension move. we'll see but I have a good feeling about it.

BW 158.4 oops
BF 9.1%
Water 60%

thought I felt light and lean.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Training for Life.

Me with Pavel and Vadim Kolgonov at the Danish RKC. Thank you so much for everything Pavel.

Since I started training, at age 14, I have always and only trained for competition. Even when I wasn't competing that often, as when I was doing marathon, ultra and triathlon training I was always training with a goal in mind, even if the deadline wasn't that apparent. Since I started in the prehistoric days before the fitness revolution took over and people realized the health benefits to working out, I never conceived of training without a goal in mind. And that goal always included a trip to a competition or a platform or some other form of testing myself and seeing for real if my training concepts, methods and strategies were actually working or whether I needed to 'go back to the drawing board'.

It wasn't until 2002, when I tore my rotator cuff, and in addition to not being able to train the squat or the deadlift I could no longer even bench( the laziest of all exericses!) that I realized that my lifelong strategies and methods were no longer viable. Of course, at the time I had no idea of what I would ( or could) do next as everything I tried hurt more than the last thing and just getting out of a chair was hard. Walking two blocks would cause unbeleivable pain. I was truly at the end of my rope. Thank God for Mike Castrogiovanni and his vision for me getting involved with the RKC. He was the one that told Pavel about me and brought Brett Jones up to my home that fatefull Thanksgiving. As well as pushing me to become RKC and training me for it as well. That was the new begining of this unbelievable recovery that I have been able to make, thanks to Pavel, the kettlebell and the RKC methods. It truly saved my life and my sanity, not to mention the incredible tranformation it has afforded my wife. I will be forever gratefull.

But I also realized something just the other day; all my life, as a competitive athlete, my goals were to become a better competitive athlete. Everything I had was sacrificed on the alter of improvement. My jobs were all taken so they fit into my training schedule, my life revolved around my training, my recovery and my competition schedule.Pain, soreness,poverty were all things that had to be endured to accomplish my goals.

I was training to become better at training.

And even though I knew I couldn no longer go to the Olympics I was still training to achieve the highest level of accomplishment I could. "First you live like a pro, then you get to be a pro" was my mantra.

Even when, at the end, when I was so sore and jacked up from even the smallest workouts I confused that with the "good" soreness one gets from a tough workout.I hadn't accepted that the recovery from my training took eons longer than any supposed benefit I got from the training. Never quit, never surrender was my mindset and limping around for days after a pissant squat or deadlift workout was just more of the price I thought I had to pay to at least keep some semblance of strength as I got older.

SO, when a few days ago I had TONS of things to do for the day, with the heat in the 100's, lots of walking and assembling and carrying and moving and chores to do I realized that not only could I do this stuff after a full day of working, but that it was EASY; that not only could I keep on going( with no food no less and no weakness or hunger) but that the heat didnt bother me, the effort didnt bother me, I could walk as far as I needed to without limping from pain. That I didnt have to get off my feet at 4 pm and spend the next 2 hours trying to 'unwind' myself as I had done for years just to be able to work the next day did I realize that I was now fit for my LIFE, for the first time in years. Many,many, many years.

When I went to Denmark last week and had to walk miles through airports, stand all day for days on end at the cert; not be able to get my 'normal' training and recovery workouts in and was not only OK but thriving I realized that that is the real goal of my training now. Not to be fit for more training or competition but to be fit for life.

I know that if I have to miss workouts it is not only ok, but what my training is supposed to be preparing me FOR. Real world tasks that have to be done. Not just competitive , made up games and tests, as much fun as they are( and they still are for me too), but the real world tests and challenges.To be tough and resilient enough to make it the next 40+ years with vim and vigor and strength and health. " A back of iron and legs that never quit", those are my new goals.

Speaking to my training partner Nick, who, after a bad back injury last year decided that he would continue to train the squat, but not the deadlift or the bench about it said" I still want to train the squat; not to see how much I can lift but to keep myself strong for everyday life. I don't want my training to mess me up so much that I can't do normal things, no matter how much it will let me lift in competition."

Such a smart man for one so young.

Years of training for competition had skewed my point of view and references so much I had lost track of what was really important. Being injured so severely so young of course had a big impact on this but I took it too far. I was always searching for the "flow" state that I found in competition and hard training. It was the place I felt whole again, where I could overcome my injuries and debilitation and soar once more. Now I realize I was just breaking myself down even more and postponing my recovery.
When I was 21 I wrote a novel( never published) called " A question of Balance" about my gymnastics competing and coaching experience and that phrase has always stuck with me. Searching for balance has always been a key metaphor in my life, even when I was decidedly out of balance.Perhaps even more because of that.

Now, at 51, in perhaps the best shape of my life, physically and, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually, I feel like I know what that balance looks like, and feels like. I no longer have to be the biggest, or the strongest or the fastest to feel whole. I am whole.

I am so thankful to be out of pain, and be able to move and experience the joy of using my body physically again, to reclaim what I had in the beginning but never really appreciated. They say you don' really know what you have until you lose it and I can attest to that.And how what's really important is so simple and basic that is overlooked by almost all, all the time. And it's right there for everyone to have.

I won't forget this again.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Shield and Arm casts

for Bob

I start with two handed arm casts, then shield casts, the flag press.

Snatch Sprints.

The Way of the Kettlebell

Rannoch Donald has made this incredibly cool KB graphic available on these t shirts. Check them out here.

I decided a little power and speed rebuilding was in the cards so I went at the 24 kg snatch with pure Hardstyle technique: biomechanical breathing,over the top descent, hike pass through the bottom position and old school punch through with minimal false grip( I've always held the bell as low as possible on the heel of the hand). It was way tougher but my back felt great and the bell speed got better every set. Still takes me awhile to warm up enough to go fast as possible
20 kg x5/5
24kg x 10/10 x 10 sets
200 reps
10,600 lbs
set one: 55 sec
two: 53 sec
three: 50 sec
four: 47 sec
five: 50 sec ( blister came up,slowed me down)
six: 50 sec( tape wasnt righ)
seven :48 sec
eight : 45 sec
nine: 42 sec
ten: 41 sec.

This technique is decidedly harder on the hands but the workload and force output is way higher.Same with the breathing. HR was up too. This day will still be my SSST training day but really need to rebuild the base stuff as well. Perhaps alternating weeks: one week ssst with efficiency techniques for longer sets and the next week like today, shorter sets for power and speed and counting total volume
so it would look like:

1) 24 kg HS
2) 20 kg SSST
3) 24 kg SSST
4) 20 kg HS
5) 24 kg HS
6) 20 kg SSST
7) 24 kg HS( this would also be week one)

have to think this out but it seems good. a 7 week cycle is about right.

2 hand Shield Cast
15 lbs x10/10
25 lbsx 8/8x3

1 CB arm cast
15 lbs x 10/10 x 2

datsit. nice and toasty today, got a great sweat going. I am so ready for summer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Snatch Vo2, what a difference a breath makes.

Even though I spoke with Snatch Vo2 creator Kenneth Jay at the Danish RKC and got the of ok to use the super secret( please note tongue in cheek) double breathing technique that David Whitley figured out all on his lonesome,I had some reservations.
One, it was really getting hard to get my heartrate up high enough using it. Using biomechanical match Hardstyle breathing I was regularly getting high 180's and even 190's with 40-50 sets of 8 reps. With double breathing it was tough to get 170's.If I dont train with my HR in the right zone I won't get the adaptation I want so I figured it was time to go back again.I could do less work,relatively, and get more adaptation; not a bad idea. Allows for much longer progress at the least.
Two, I was starting to feel my lower back. There is much less core stabilization with an exhalation through the bottom position as exhalation activates TVA and produces a spine to navel movment! Not exactly the best thing for unstable or previously injured lumbar spines.Since in testing for max reps it will be an invaluable skill for I still have to train it regularly; just not everytime I snatch or with every weight.
Just "training at altitude effect". I just got off the phone with Dave Whitley about this very topic and told him of my plan. He said he could see using the high tension RKC power breathing for endurance work ( max vo2 or ssst training) as one would go to altitude to reduce the oxygen you could get and elicit a better cardiovascular adaptation.
Using the double breathing on the ten minute test would be like racing at sea level after training in Kenyan mountains for months.Still it is a skill that must be practiced too.
Three, the SPEED of the sets done with Hardstyle breathing were much faster than those with double breathing.As well as the power, as evidenced by the HS sets being at least 1 second faster each time. I did have to resort to some double breathing on some of the later sets as I was just gassing and I could see the set slow down a bit;only to pick right up as I held the breath in the bottom.
Makes total sense; a more rigid structure will better allow a faster transfer of force. Exactly why gymnasts work so hard to stay SO TIGHT during all gymnastics tricks.The tighter you are the better the transfer of power.
This also showed me I am not in the shape I was BUT this was the first time EVER I started with eight rep sets so I am very happy with that.

Snatch VO2 15:15
16 kg
40 sets of 8 reps
20 minutes
320 reps

11,520 lbs

wow, this was WAY TOUGH.It didnt help that it was close to 100 degrees in my fanless garage; no excuses.But the high tension breathing immediately made the difference from it's easier cousin well known. I didnt know how many sets I was going to do nor did I know when I stopped. I could barely breathe much less count hash marks but I knew it was enough. I was surprised when I realized I'd done forty. Max heartate at the end of 20 min was over 200!( it was wicked hot too, that helped.)

Overhead snatch holds
16kg x45 sec each arm x 4 sets
need to put these back in the rotation, they served me well and I still have a ways to go with my right shoulder overhead position.

Rack Walks
16 kg 1400 feet switching every 200 ft.
These have to be done but I hate them :))

BW 159.2
BF 8.9%
Water 60.8 %


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A spiritual life.

" A woman once asked Carlos Castaneda how to achieve a spiritual life. He responded: "When you go home tonite sit in your chair and remember that your child, your husband, everyone you love, and you yourself, are going to die- and that they will die in no particular order,unpredicatably.Remember this every night," Castaneda said," and you'll soon have a spiritual life."

From Judd Biasiotto's article in this months PL USA.

The fact that death is always hunting us is something I never forget and imbues everything I do with all that much more significance.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stronger or just doing more reps?

It's always an honor and a challenge to train swings with the swing queen. I always love training with my wife. She's just flat out tough. And cool :))
Just a bit of fire in the eyes.

This subject came up last year when Pavel and I got talking about the difference between lifting more weight in a lift like the bench press and actually being stronger in the move.Think about a lifter who just lays down on the bench, takes a medium grip, little or no arch and just plants his feet;doesnt stand UP on them.He will lift a specific number. Then assume this same lifter takes a wide grip, a giant arch, stands up n the feet so the butt is just barely on the bench and lowers the bar as low onto the chest as the rules allow.He could add 20-50 pounds to his lift immediately but is he any stronger? No. He is just lifting more weight with 'efficiency' of technique.
Is it legal? Yes. Ethical? Of course, as long as all the things done are allowed in the rulebook. But has the lifter gotten stronger. No again.
I've been thinking alot about this as I've made my forays into the land of the SSST and timed sets trying to 1) figure out why so many do so many more reps more easily than me and 2) how can I learn these 'tricks'.
So I learned how to corkscrew the weight down, hold the bell with the false grip, learned David Whitley's super secret double breathing technique and voila! My reps went up ALMOST OVERNIGHT! Whereas before I would start to feel fatigue with sets over 15 now I could do sets of twenty on one arm and ssst style sets of 50 with very low heartrates. In fact, using the breathing technique lowered my HR so much in Snatch Vo2 work I was worried I wasn't getting enough work!
But there is always something about going to an RKC to pull one's head out of one's ass and get back to HARDSTYLE! basics, lol.All this focus on reps and reps and longer and longer sets made me forget about the School of Strength that the RKC is and that it is the basis of all endurance as well.
Training should be hard. Competition should be easy.
Plus, after spending some time on the phone yesterday with Randy Hauer, RKCTL one thing he said to me really stood out: " when you get down to it, anything over 3-5 reps and you're not working power, you're working something else."
Exactly. I got so enamored of my new found rep ability I forgot I had to keep my strength and power base up as well. I got a good lesson today with my swings.


One arm swings
5/5 per arm focus on maximum power and acceleration on each rep. Hardstyle baby!
change weight each set
20 kg x 15 sets
24 kg x15 sets
28 kg x15 sets
150 reps each weight
450 total reps
24,000 pounds( 12 tons!)

rest between sets varied from 15 sec to quickly as I could mark it down shake it out and get going. Not bad, and as Tracy says it's WAY harder to put it down and have to keep picking it back up, then to just keep going. Which was precisely the point. Hard and fast.
I could really feel my grip giving out at the end too,mainly on the left hand.Trying to be as explosive as possible with as much internal focus( kime) as possible ain't no joke. I miss this sort of stuff and will add it in on swing day as well as ssst snatch training occasionally as well; although I still have to practice the skill(efficiency) of doing the reps with as little effort as possible to get the most reps possible.
It was great to get to train with my wife today. It's always easier and tougher when we are training together. She always pushes herself hard and it's no joke just trying to maintain ,much less keep up the pace. crazy.

2 Clubbell Rockits.
2 15 lbs x20 rep x 7 sets
140 reps

Two arm flag press
25#x8/8 x4 sets

two hand shield cast
15# x20/20

one arm shield cast
15#x8/8x3 sets

BW 160! finally back to normal.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Back to normal.

Ah, I can breathe again, lol. I thrive on stabilityand routine. Needless to say I am not a great traveler. Never have been although I have done my share. As basically a full time athlete for most of my life I always knew that my recovery was the limiting factor in my forward progress toward my competitive goalsI knew that active recovery and sheer 'feet up' rest were the keys to being able to handle heavier and harder training workouts.
It's as much a key factor for me as was any training template or nutritional program. I learned early on from the greats in every sport I trained in that training, eating, sleeping and recovering on a regular schedule, that the body came to depend and rely on, was vital for real progress.
I need to sleep, get up, train, eat, work and rest as much as possible at the same time all the time. Time and energy management are true keys to training success. So many don't understand this key component. Their workout times are not on their "books". I personally couldnt do anything that way, but hey, I'm a bit of a control freak :))
My general tenet was : first you live like a pro; then you get to be a pro.Not the other way around.
My wednesday snatch vo2 workout reset my body clock well and today just got me right back to normal. way cool.So, inspired by my Rite of Passage hi pull workout I used at the Danish RKC it was time to snatch. One day soon I will do all of this in ten minutes.

16kg x5/5x3

20 kgx 20/20
x 12/12

200 reps
8800 lbs

I got some video of my set of 12/12.

this was very easy and even the 20 reps per arm were great. teshnik feels solid as I long as I remember to use my 'stiff leg dl' style and NOT squat it.did too much of that wednesday and as before, my lumbar spine does not like worries.

24 kg
122 reps

not bad although my energy was waning just a bit. have to work these up over 200 and up

torch swings with 2 15 lb clubbells
these are great on the elbow/shoulders.

BW 158
BF 8.7%
water 60.9%

lean as I have been in 20 years.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Snatch Vo2 PR and Team Rif photos

Team Rif baby!
OK, we were a bit out of it by this point.

ok, here as well. That's top RKC assistant Maurizio Maddaloni on the left. He provided these pictures as well as all the translation duties for my seven Italian RKC candidates who spoke little or no english. They all passed and did a great job teaching.

once more with feeling.

Well, this was a suprise. Didnt get started til late and was amazed I was getting it in at all. But 13 hours of plane rides and NOT training enough all week really started to show me how vunerable my back still is- IF I don't train and keep it strong. Been sleeping perfectly again though and fell back into my normal circadian rhythym like I had never left the states, so that was good. The one arm swing and snatch is the key ingredient to keepin my lower back strong, fit and stable and going too long without enough of them is playing with fire.
Didnt know how many to expect so I just got going and ended up with this

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
55 sets of 7 PR!!
27.5 minutes
385 reps
13,860 lbs

wow. that was easy and strong. finishing HR was probably 172-175'ish. not high enough but not worries for today.When I got to fifty sets I still felt strong so I figured why not another 5 or so. Kenneth talked about working up to 60 sets or more so there it was.All done very Hardstyle with DW's double breathing.Really focused on sitting back into the hips when I hit bottom and pulling back from the upper back ala the highpull before I punched through.

Rack Walks
12oo feet with 16 kg switching every 200
this was solid too and another vital exercise for keeping my back strong and stable and my legs functional. THis was the most I have walked for cert travel ever and it was no problem,even those 6 flights of stairs down in Frankfurt airport, lol!

Shield cast/ Flag press

3x10/10/10 with 15 lb clubs
this was solid too and I really needed the work in the transverse plane for my shoulders. left elbow feels healed.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

More Damien

heres Jacob at last years TSC

This guy is a wicked smart and tough instuctor.

Here's Guarden's blog

and it seems I have been spelling his last name wrong. It's Sondergaard. Sorry man

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Danish RKC : Finito.

Well although I am typing this at 4 am Copenhagen time I did manage to get some sleep last night after not sleeping for two nights in a row. I mean NO sleep. Ugh.Suprisingly I didnt feel that bad other than laying awake for 7-8 hours in a row waiting for sleep.I havent stepped on a scale but I wouldnt be suprised to see 155 lbs,lol! Can't wait to get home to my beautiful bride( who as always, was the talk of the cert)and my normal routine.
Even though I changed the batteries in my Flip camera just prior to the day they must have been duds because the damn thing crapped out as I taped the grad workout. I did manage to get some vids of Team Rif after they crossed the finish line and some strange video of Doug Nepodal doing some snatches after the cert in his Kilt~!Just abit this side of bizzare but hey, what would you expect,lol.
The day was great, as they tend to be after two very intense days of constant training, teaching learning and practice. Team Rif rose to the occasion and Thomas LaCour( Kenneth Jays boxing coach)won the team technique contest for us with an incredible display of the strenth and finesse.I also had the pleasure of working with and teaching Dr Vadim Kolgonov, Sambo Master of Sport. what an amazing man and athlete.He's someone I won't soon forget.Here's the video of these incredidle new RKCs as they just finished their grad workout( 20 seconds of walking see saw presses, 10 sec rest,then 20 seconds of swings)

Everyone purported themselves with great strength and spirit and pushed themselves from start to finish. As usual,people rose to the occasion and taught as well as they trained! Even my seven Italian members who spoke very little to NO english managed to teach the Danish 'victims' who came out for a kb lesson with sign language, words and phrases they had prepared the night before(!)and just incredidle heart and determination. I am so proud of all of them. Five members who had failed their snatch test the previous days made their numbers!
All passed except one who will make his numbers very soon.
The RKC experience is a VERY special one and manages to touch everyone who goes through it in a unique but unforgettable way.This is true for every cert I get to go to. Unreal.So many report this is one of the most amazing experience of their LIVES! It was for me, no doubt.
This has been an incredible trip for me in so many ways and I will miss the amazing hospitality and warmth of my new danish friends as well as the my new RKC friends.As is usual the case I am sure we will stay in contact. The RKC is more than just a certification but a community; one which goes on long after the course is over.
And now, for your viewing pleasure Doug Nepodal does some 24 kg snatches inhis "utili- kilt"

some more video of my fantastic assistant Jacob Sonnenguard attempting a 32 kg bottoms up tgu! So close! This man is one incredible athlete and amazingly smart trainer.

datsit for me. time to get on a plane and get back home.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Danish RKC Day two

There was no day one entry because Rif was just a 'wee bit' jetlagged and out of his mind.The trip over was uneventful except for the incrediblly long time it took to get here although I do have to say that the flight from chicago to copenhagen was the best trip in an airplane I have ever taken!
I thought i had entered a time warp and went back to a place and time when airlines still considered real service a part of the price of admission. from the beautiful blonde nordic flight attendants (man ,EVERYONE is tall here. I mean everyone and short is six foot!), to the TWO MEALS that were served( real food too, and incredibly good) , free movies and tv in each seat( and I was in economy), and the hot washclothes given out after each meal it seamed that I was in another world.
Unfortunately the 16 hours of travel and no sleep brought me back to reality very quickly but I will say this, if all airlines were run like SAS air travel would no longer be like the bad bus ride it now is on american flights.
Day one was good but tough, my group of 16 was the largest of the cert and 7 of the candidates were Italian with virtually NO english. This, I immediately realized was going to be tough.Not Brett Jones and his full team of Hungarians who didnt speak english tough, but tough enough.
Luckily I was ably assisted by Dr Mark Cheng RCKTL and my Chinese brother,Jacob Sonnengard( henceforth know as Damien, for his sadistic use of the gym boss timer to keep everyone in pain with swings every 15 minutes round the clock),and Maurizio, my able assistant who translated my instructions to the Italian team.
I never ceased to be amazed at the transformations of the RKC canditates from Day one to Day two but this time was the most amazing of all. I thought someone has stolen my team and replaced them with ringers who had overnight become seriously compenent and expert KB athletes who swung, snatched, clean pressed and squatted AMAZINGLY better on day two than day one! The change was nothing short of miraculous.Four candidates who failed their snatch test the first day CRUSHED it the second!And by the end of day two, when one would think these poor people would have NOthing left in the gas tank they kept getting better and better!
This has been a very tough cert with Damien stopping everything every 15 minutes when the gym boss beeped so everyone could do 20 swings no matter what else was going on. FUN! 80 swings an hour from 9 am to 6 pm for two days straight adds up to a LOT of swings, in addition to the thousands of swings snatches, cleans presses and tgus the candidates also had to do.They went through it like the troopers they are; and,like at all RKC certs their form just kept getting better with each passing hour.
Grease the groove to the max eh?
Kenneth Jay put this cert on all by himself and did and AMAZING job all the way around. From the incredible hotel to the perfect training facility to the rock star tour buses that took us everywhere nothing was left to chance. I don't even want to imagine how hard it is to put something like this on.Mad props to Big Kenneth!
Even the weather was perfect and Denmark is incredibly beautiful; spring has sprung the green fields and forests were everywhere. so clean and crisp
It couldnt have been better; unless of course I could sleep but that's another story. nothing like getting up at 10 pm to go to work,lol!

Here's some video of Damien overhead squatting with the 32's while the candidates had a short break

Heres another of RKC candidate Shanti( sorry no last name) doing a tgu with the 32 kg

and last but not least Team Rif going through their five minutes snatch test to determine their Max VO 2 cadence. just a few minutes after this they went through 25 sets of snatch vo2 for their workout.
I was inspired and joined in with the hitting 9 reps
per 15 seconds for the first time ever!
It is,after all, my snatch day.

datsit for now. hopefully I will sleep tonight. slept perfectly on day one and virtually NO sleep last night.heres hoping for more z's than just ankle circles