Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Had to man up:Snatch Vo2 Pr 60 sets of 8

Wow, you just NEVER know when gravity is going to be light,and the gods are going to be kind. I had written off this entire workout early this morning when I realized I had scheduled my thursday client during my training time . We leave tomorrow for the first ever LA RKC and I usually skip my wednesday workout to taper abit before the rigors of 12+ hour days on my feet. ! I was bitching to Tracy about having to miss my workout. She said " I don't think so. You're doing it, I'll help".
And help she did. She did her 15 min progressive swing ladder along with me and knowing she had just done 74 sets of 8 in the max vo2 snatch the day before with only 10 lbs less than I was using pushed me that much harder not to embarass myself.
At first I thought my pr was 50 sets and I would aim for 52 or so.Then Tracy said at least 55. Then I checked the board and the pr was 55. Ouch.
This could be a long day.
Tracy said, " eh, no problem".
I said, I decide when I get there.
She said, " no you won't you'll just do it."

And she was right.No warmup, right into 8's with 1.5 seconds to spare on the 15 second clock and for the first time in my life I though I could get 9 reps in 15 seconds.The first 25 sets passed as easily as they ever had and my heartrate was probably no more that 155.Strange.And I knew then that 60 sets would be done . Most excellent :))
You never know when it's gonna be a great workout, you just have to be prepared to ride it when it shows up.

Snatch Vo2
15:15 16 kg
60 sets of 8 reps
480 reps ( wow.)
17,280 ( wow )
30 minutes

Top heartate at end 170 +( VERY interesting.)
My snatch groove has been evolving a lot of late. Same with my swing groove. What is happening is that I can now get my hips into the action a lot more than ever before.I am pulling myself down into the back position much more with my hip flexors and getting a much better stretch reflex in my glutes, which have never really worked to well.Same thing the other day with my swing, much more of a proper good morning/deadlift hip position.
Before if I had used that technique my lower back would howl for days and or lock up. Now it's fine, it seems.I really concentrated on staying upright as long as possible on the downswing of the snatch before pulling myself sharply into the bottom. Much different but natural and felt great and strong. faster too.
Nothing feels better than being able to do a ton of hard work strongly. Especially something that previously kicked your ass.
Here are the last 4 sets:

Shield casts
15 lb Clubbell x 10/10
25 lb clubbell x 10/10x4 sets

These are great. I am glad to be fully back on the clubs. They are the perfect compliment to kbs for me.

heres some of the shield casts and Tracy's push presses she did after her swings.She basically swung for 30 minutes straight:

So we are off to the RKC tomorrow and it's gonna be a great weekend seeing all the boyys and girls that make up this great RKC community. Plus it's in my same time zone. Tracy will be official blogger and photographer for this cert and we will have as many updates as time will allow.Most probably on her blog.

oh yes and a decent weight/bodyfat pr as well

bw 158.6
bf 7.5%!
water 61.7 %

a good day was had by all. Again so much thanks to the love of my life for kicking my ass into the gym and getting a great PR out of me. Thanks Hon :))

Monday, July 28, 2008

Swings and swipes.

Pretty tired, actually, after four days of consecutive training and working my full shift today but it was only the 24 kg and that was a relief.
Had delusions of grandeur at first, thinking I might go for 30-40 rep combination sets but reality smacked me upside the head quick and I settled for a nice uphill ladder. A pale facsimile of my 200 reps in ten minute high pull ladder but from the same source.

One arm swings
16 kg x10/10x2

24 kgx 10/10
14 /14
then 10/10 x 5 sets
308 reps
16,324 lbs

things grooved well today and the swings were crisp and above chin height,even at the higher reps but I knew I didnt want to go into any more endurance territory than this.Man, my 600 rep pr seems like eons ago. But that was when the swing was my main movement and not the assitance exercise it is now. Still 600 reps is a lot.For me anyway.

2,15 lb Clubbells x15 swipes x 6 sets
90 reps

havent done these in ages and the went very well.The 15's are now light enough to start with and play with with all my cb moves. cool. good progress,even as I have not been using them regularly of late.

Snatch holds
16 kg x one minute x 4 times each arm

ouch. still hate these but gotta do 'em.Just have to pretend I'm in Bikrams,lol


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Team Rif KB Workshop in Wine Country.

Kettlebells in Wine Country : The Team Rif Kettlebell Workshop.

Swing, Snatch, Press: The Perfect Combination.

Mark and Tracy are pleased to announce their first dual workshop in beautiful Healdsburg, California September 6 and 7, 2008. Come train with us in the middle of wine county and learn the basics of the RKC way to swing, snatch and press a kettlebell as well as fundamental information about injury prevention , how to use the foam roller as well as Tracy’s unique program designs for losing bodyfat using her original high volume swing training. Learn how just these three movements and one kettlebell can transform your body, your heart and your fitness program for LIFE!
This five hour seminar on Saturday PLUS an additional Master class with Tracy Sunday morning will be just $195 for those that sign up Sunday July 27th and Monday July 28. After that the price will be $245. I guarantee that you will get your moneys worth and more! We can only accommodate 20 people so make sure you get in quickly! This will fill up fast.

We will cover:

1) The Basic Kettlebell Swings; techniques, corrective drills, individuation for specific body types and how to maximize the most basic of kettlebell movements for a lifetime of results.

2) The Tsar of Kettlebell lifts: the Snatch. How to learn it quickly and easily, how to control the all important down stroke and how to train the lift for maximum cardiovascular, fat burning and muscularizing results.

3) The Press: The King of Kettlebell strength moves. Learn how to use the whole body to energize the press, how to protect the shoulder, and all the variations needed to keep your progress going with just ONE kettlebell.

4) Length Tension Relationships: Learn the basics of this all important concept for balancing the body’s muscle systems and staying injury free at work and during training.

5) Foam Roller: Learn how to use this simplest of massage tools to assess and address muscle tightness’s and imbalances BEFORE they turn into progress stopping injuries.

6) TracyStyle Swing Progressions: Learn how to take the three basic swing movements and program your training for YEARS of non stop progress and fun and exciting combinations. If your goal is fat loss and serious toning you HAVE to have this information.

7) The Master Class : Come out Sunday morning and take a swing class with Tracy and put Saturday’s information into practice. See the exact routines and techniques she used to lose over 100 pounds in less than a year and transform her body. Learn just how efficient (and tough) basic swing training can be when done in this new and exciting way.

Where and when:
American Karate Academy
Address 424 Moore Ln. Healdsburg, CA 95448
Saturday Sept 6th : 9 am- 2 pm +
Sunday Sept 7th 10-11 am Master Class

How Much:
$245 per person

How to Pay:
Just click on the Pay Pal buttons at the top of the post

Cancellations: Please note that cancellations MUST be made no less than one week prior to the date of the workshop. We cannot offer refunds after that, sorry.

Questions: Please contact Mark at 650-273-2637
Sign up now, can't wait to see you there!
Mark Reifkind Senior RKC
Tracy Reifkind RKC

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back on the SSST road.

Saturdays snatch training was originally( of late, anyway) was supposed to be geared towards my SSST testing.Despite all my max vo2 work I havent felt like training for higher and higher reps on Saturdays but I think now it's time.
Tracy will be testing her SSST and USSST after we go through the max vo2 and boost protocol cycles I have drawn up for her and I think I need to get focused on testing at least the 20 kg for ten minutes at the same time.Probably the 24 kg for the five minutes as well.
So did a bit of higher reps today as the start. I had delusions of 40 rep sets( 10/10/10/10) but thought better of it as I started my warmup.
This is what I ended up with:

20 kg Snatch

210 reps
9240 reps

things went very well> I used a more relaxed pace except for the last ten reps of each side where I sprinted it in.Used the corkscrew on left and hs over the top on right. Don't know why, just where it went today.Not a problem at all. If I had gotten more food last night I could have started with the 40 rep sets right away, I think. Next time more food earlier.ALmost tweaked my right shoulder trying to do an impromtu downhil transfer. Works well left to right but my right shoulder doesnt seem to like it. Of course I should actually practice it with light weights before just throwing it into a set,lol
The next two weeks I am at certs so it's a moot point for now.

Clubbell Mills
15 lb cb x12/12
Good to have these back in the rotation, elbow is feeling fine and the 15s are finally feeling light.

datsit. more yoga tomorrow and more food today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Today, the heat won.

Damn, what a difference 30 degrees hotter makes,lol. Now, I'm exaggerating that it was 30 degrees hotter than yesterday but the San Jose studio is always way hotter than Los gatos and when it is packed, as it was today, it just gets WAY hot.
Still had some good spots, got both standing bows for the full minute for the first time ever and got the full 30 seconds on the second set as well which is also a pr but man I was fading fast. This is the first time I looked at the clock and realized, to my dismay, that I was only HALF way through, lol. And I was worried about the second half.
With my mat turning into a wading pool lots of the poses were just hard because I couldnt decide to try to hold them or go swimming. If the water wasn't so hot I would have chosen the swim.
My lower back was tight from the get, though, probably from wednesdays snatches so I was careful about pushing all the flexion poses but I got through fine. Tomorrows 20 kg hi rep snatches should be very fun though. Still have lots more calories to get into tonight though before I get to sleep. Ideally todays class would be earlier but life isnt like that, as I well know, so you just get er dun and see what happens.
Definitely more tired than yesterday on top of the extra work with the heat. Just gonna make me stronger.If it don't kill me first :))


I now realize that part of mylower back tightness, and the tightness in general was due to the fact I did virtually NO z drills all day. Some days I do tons with clients, but yesterday I had lots of new people and didnt get the chance. wont happen again, doing the z drills early makes a big difference in my practice.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pr Bikrams

Man, not having it so crazy hot makes it a lot easier to really work the poses. Went to the Los Gatos studio today with Tracy and can truthfully say I did each pose the best I have ever done them.Again, the fact that I wasnt more focused on not having heat stroke than the execution of the positions helped a great deal.
But a Pr is a pr, anyway you cut it..
The balancing series was so strong and I came within 5 seconds of making the full minute on standing bow on my left leg.This makes me very happy.I can remember not so long ago at all that I couldnt not stand on my left leg by itself for 3 seconds much less 60 while in some funky arabesque like flexibility trick!
I even nailed balancing stick for the full count on both sets. Major inprovement. But the biggest change was in the second head to knee pose( dont know the name) where the lefts are split fore and aft with the knees locked out. right leg in front has been fine and I use it to work my left knee lockout but whenever I put my left leg in front I could barely stand up much less lean over and put my full weight on the leg!
But today I found my hip and got so much further than last week it was almost a different pose.
Another class tomorrow at 4:30 so we'll see what back to backs look like again.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

20 kg Snatch V02

Pr time again.Not enough sleep and not enough food yesterday but hey, what are you going to do? Saddle up and man up and git er dun.It's nice what consistent training will bring to the table when your back is up against the wall and you need some reserve strength. In fact, that is the benefit of training more than anything, building up one's reserves and making everything else just that much easier.
I had thought about 30 sets but then Mrs Rif showed up at the right time and I squeezed out another 5 sets to get to the bottom of the wave cycle barrel of 35 sets. My best previously with this has been 50 sets of 6 and that was pretty easy.7 rep sets took up the entire 15 seconds and when the sweat got in the way wiping off the bell ate into my precious recovery time even more. amazing what one extra rep will take out of you.

Snatch Vo2
20 kg
35 sets of 7 PR
245 reps
10,780 lbs

Used Hardstyle, over the top techniques on both sides as I had the need for speed. Did a few sets corkscrew style as I fatigued but 99% was over the top.Heartrate was up the entire time and finished with 195+ at the end of the 35 sets. Ouch.

Rack Walks
2000 feet( ties pr) with switches every 200 feet. Nice.havent done this in a long time.

Shield casts
15 lb clubbell x 15/15 x 4 sets.

solid workday. got to train early today which is heaven for me. I would love to train first thing in the morning but hey, gotta work first, play later.

datsit. time to eat.

Monday, July 21, 2008

300 one arms swings, 32 kg.

Nice workload today and it was strong. Was not feeling all that strong, or heavy, going into this one but it really did turn out nice. I could have done at least another 50 and my hands held up better than ever. Found, or, re- found, a solid grip position too which accounts for the no blisters or tears.
Found myself sitting back into my hips even more than normal today as it freaking IS the 32kg and that is heavy for me. Especially for sets. And reps.So I got a good sitback and a proper hip lean as well and I really felt my hips working perhaps the best ever. Great stuff.Strong is good.

One arm swings

32kg x10/10x15 sets
300 reps
21,600 lbs

I do have to admit I took at least 2 minutes between sets, as I wanted to focus on maximum compensatory acceleration for every rep and that was my goal today, not muscle fatigue. So I rested and really put as much as possible into each set of twenty.
I also took a much deeper grip into the palm when grabbing the bell and my recently wussy grip now felt like 545 deadlift strong of the old days. Very weird.Just made sure to keep my wrist as straight as possible, as well as the elbow, as that tight a grip can create wrist and elbow flexion to hold the position.
A little bit of work with the grippers appears to have paid off.
No where near my pr of 400 reps but much easier than two weeks ago and only 200.

Snatch Holds 16 kg
set one: 60 sec
set two : 75 sec
set three: 90 sec

man these are boring, but they work the rotator cuff and the strength endurance and stability of the shoulder like nothing else I've done so they stay in.I've gotten weak, endurance wise though. I used to do the 24 for almost 90 sec and now the 16 is tough. Use it or lose it.

Datsit,Bikram tomorrow.Tons of Z and some foam roller today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Six Days a Week.

I grew up training six days a week. First, it was gymnastics with five scheduled workouts plus what we did on our own on Saturdays( and sometimes Sundays as well- at least flexiblity and handstand work). Then, after gymnastics it was running which was often seven days as well. In my world view at the time nothing succeeded like excess so I did what the top guys were doing and they were training A LOT.Add in swimming and cycling and six days barely got all the work in I needed. Multiple sessions per day were added in.Life was training. And I loved it. It was my passion, my calling,my journey,my vision quest. It was what I knew and pretty much all I wanted to know, as
A journey into my soul via my body.It seemed a good path.
Then, onto bodybuilding where multiple sessions, six days a week were common place amoung the best so thats what I did as well. Start at the top and work down. Always a key Rifism.
But then powerlifting came to town and everything shifted. Now it was less, rather than more. Intensity rather than volume. I was not used to this and didnt like it at all til I found Louie Simmons and the Westside Barbell Template which at least had more than two top work sets that you could do. Add in the sled dragging, the extra reverse hyper workouts as well as special exercises for weak points and you could get a fifth day in, as well as multiple sessions. There were, as one might expect, still demons to kill.Even after all those years of demon slaying. Go figure.
Still the powerlifting template begs for less rather than more; and the heavier you go the more it is true.Normal humans just can't recover from such close approximations to total body structural limits that quickly. Especially old, high mileage athletes without the help of AAS.
By the time powerlifting had had it's way with me I was happy to be training twice a week, if you could even call it training.Both volume AND intensity were in the toilet.And I was happy to be able to do anything I recall, as I saw the writing on the wall and it didn't have spell check. I was hosed.
But Enter the Kettlebell and things changed.I could train three days a week.
Enter Rifga stretching and Z health and things changed.I could train three days a week hard.AND I could do my yoga and Z drills on the other days now too. Setting the stage.
Enter the idea of getting my gymnastics body back and things changed.Stretching out all the time became a priority.
Now, Enter Bikram Yoga to the list and things are really changing. Thank God that Tracy dragged my butt there. I never would have beleived I could do it.Even for one workout.But she did.I know what it did for her but never thought it could have even half the effect on me. But it seems to. Right training at the right time.There is a sequence and a symmetry to this all it seems. Full circle too.
I just finished my third Bikrams Class this week and my sixth workout for the week. I literally can't remember the last time I could train this much and not only survive, but thrive.
And today was the best class yet, too. Made the standing bow on the left leg for 45 seconds and only didn't make the full minute because I lost concentration. My leg would have held. Amazing.
Having to stand with so many close leg stances totally brings back gymnastics posititions and muscle memories.My adductors are getting so much stronger and that takes so much tension off the IT bands as well.Just think tucked double backs.
Same with arms so close together and totally behind the ears. I can't beleive how much my shoulders are opening up which is really working the posterior aspects of the shoulder in ways they haven't gotten in eons.
And, I'm not wiped.I actually have better energy now the more I train, which is what I remember when I search the old hard drive. But who would have ever thought this possible given my condition such a short time ago? Certainly not me.And I had hope, lol!

Swings tomorrow and back to kb basics as well. Start of another six day training week. How cool?The more I can move without pain, the more I like it.The human animal indeed.


ps and I know what's next too. Handstands. Getting my arms overhead so tightly in bikrams has given me confidence that soon I will be able to train my handstand again. Now THAT will be fun. Without a doubt the handstand was my best and most consistent gymnastics skill I could do. I never fell out of a handstand in competition. Can't wait.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bikrams then Snatches.

Got my third Bikrams class in this week yesterday and had probably my strongest practice yet. I was determined NOT to fall out of the first series one legged poses after my poor performance last time. I spent lots of time during work doing my Z drills as well as stretching out the left knee.Good performance requires good preparation in my experience. Sometimes you can do it and sometimes you can't but when you can it always seems to help.
But it was freaking way hot yesterday and I hit a bit of a wall again at 3/4 point.Need more ice in the water.Again, better preparation. Tracy of course made mince meat out of the class.It's so cool to be able to share this with her. And now not just once a week but three times. Way cool.
I also finally figured out how to get in and out of the floor bow, locusts, standing bow and camel without subluxating my right shoulder, which is no fun at all to have happen.A combination of tricep contraction, external rotator contration and slight torso rotation made all the difference. It's so much fun having totally f'ed up joints :))
But they are still improving and that's the key.Made sure to REALLY rehydrate all evening.
I don't know how a person sweats as much water out as I do and doesn't die. It doesnt make sense. My mat is literally a puddle when I am done. Crazy.
Friday to prepare for Saturday's snatches.


24 kg snatch
16kg x5/5x3
20 kg x 5/5

24 kg x8/8x13 sets
216 reps
11,448 lbs

Was thinking about sets of ten but yesterdays was a late class and I didn't have as much time to eat as I wanted. So sets of 8 it was, which worked out fine. Both arms hardstyle over the top( strange that my left has re- converted it seems) with a fast pace and as much bell acceleration as possible. But made sure to hold a solid lockout as well.No worries.

CB Arm Cast
15 lb CB x 10/10 x 5 sets

quick and dirty.

Now to prepare for more Bikrams, bright and early tomorrow at 8am

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Snatch Vo2 36:36 pr

Not a bad performance if I say so myself.Havent done the 36:36 in what seems like months and wasnt all that excited about it, as it really tends to work my grip hard.Too much grip fatigue for me always translates in to my shoulders but lately this has been better.The Bikrams is helping here too, with all the static stretches in external rotatation they require and the locked elbows everywhere you look.
SO I jumped right in with 16 reps per 36 second and was a few seconds ahead right from the start. THis was ok as I need to work up to 35+ total sets before I need to up the rep count.16 is plenty,especially towards the end.
Started out with my usual half and half technique, corkscrewing on the left and hardstyle on the right but that didnt last long as I found myself going over the top on the left as well to preserve bell speed.Plus the quickest path anywhere is a straight line and I wanted to keep the speed up.
I really focused on 'touching' the bell as little as possible on the way up and down and staying focused on providing bell momentum from the hips snap. So easy for me to forget that and just muscle it too much with the upper body.Hips baby, hips.
total number of snatches done was 480 which is an alltime total volume pr for me in the snatch.But there was a little stop which I will explain later.

Snatch Vo2 36:36
16 kg
16 reps per work bout.
26 sets non stop( pr by 4 sets)
416 reps

then after 1.5-2 minutes
4 more sets of 16 per 36 sec
64 reps
2304 lbs
total reps 480
total weight 17,280

So this is what happened. I had thought about doing 30 sets but at set 20 I realized it was a bit ambitious for the day and set my sights on 26 instead, still a pr of 4 sets.Thats what I did and then went in the house to tell Tracy and give her grief for not being outside and pushing me to 30 sets, whereupon she tells me "well, lets go. Lets go finish them" I said, " no, I've already stopped, it doesnt count"> Whereupon she said " too bad, lets go anyway."Which was just what I needed to hear.
So out we went and I cranked out four strong sets no worries.
And this is after a seriously hard Bikrams class yesterday.Hard in the sense that I couldnt balance on my left leg for crap and fell out of more poses than I ever had.Oh well, it was good workout in many other ways and I got my arms overhead, elbows straight, lined with ears for the first time and that was good. As well as prayer position with just the palms touching.All minor victories but to me the most important ones.
They are easiest to get and they accuumlate well. Like compound interest well.

Farmers walks with 2 16 kg kbs
300 feet x 2 sets
200 feet x 2 sets

1000 feet/.
havent done these for eons but just couldnt face more rack walks after all those snatches. Lately the rack walks kill my shoulders and arms way more than my legs so I decided to see whether I could tolerate these again. I used to do them but they ended up not being great for my back so I dropped them> I think they will be fine now but they are a grip smoker too!

Two Handed Arm cast
15 lb CB x15x2
25 lb CB x 15 x4 sets

these are always a good finisher.
Did tons of Z total with every client and have another Bikrams class tomorrow with my yoga partner. Will NOT fall out of poses tomorrow! Lol.


Monday, July 14, 2008

400 the easy way.

My head just wasnt in the mood for the monotone pounding of straight sets and reps of one arm swings so I decided to do some swing transfer sets instead. breaking up the straight sets and reps with some uphill ladders was just the ticket. Now this isnt the 100 reps in 30 minutes Tracy punched out this morning AFTER 50 sets of 8 in the max vo2 with the SIXTEEN KILO

Swing transfer combination with 24 kg
1 swing, 1 transfer
2 swings 1 transfer
3 swings 1 transfer = one round 15 reps

each set= 2 rounds
5 sets= 150 reps

H2H transfers with 24 kg
30 rep sets x 5 sets
150 reps

One arm swings with 24 kg
10/10x 5 sets
100 reps

total reps= 400
Total weight= 21,200 lbs

One arm CB swipes
10 lb CB x 100 reps switching every ten.

this was cake. havent done swipes in awhile. I've missed them. this is a cool movement. Have to watch the elbows though.

Gripper( left hand only)
Trainer x 5 x 2
#1 x 5 x 2 sets( getting about 3/4 closed)

left hand only because last workout my right hand, which is not feeling weak, really locked down from the grip work, which of course affected my shoulder. No biggie, I know how to release it, but it just reminded me that I don't need to work my strong sides much at all.

snatch holds
16 kg x one minute x 3 sets

these arent that much easier with 16 kg. One minute overhead with weight is hard any way I do it.

datsit.Bikram tomorrow.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More yoga.

Another 90 minutes in the sauna with my too cute yoga partner at 8 am this morning. This is getting better every time I do a class and I like that. It's nice to make progress each workout.Held standing bow for the entire count this time on the second set( yes it is a shorter set but usually I am more tired on the second round). It actually helped that the class was so crowded that I couldnt see myself in the mirror and had to rely on proprioception to do the poses.Both approaches are good at different times.
Sometimes I really need the feedback from the mirror to align my bent frame. Others I just want to go by feel and find the balance point.
One thing I have realized though about Bikrams is how many poses allow me the opportunity to really focus on my weak links. Like, there are SO many poses that require me to stand, for a long time, on one leg.My left side is getting stronger by the minute from this as well as the ability to stand on it while similtaneously locking it out and strengthening the very weak quad and loosening the very tight hamstring.
I also made it through the opening series of side and back bends without lowering my arms. This, if you havent tried it, is WAY tougher than it seems. It also has really made me work to get my elbows LOCKED out when they are being held in front of me as well as overhead.
I have another class scheduled tomorrow AM at 5:30 as I have two open slots and Tracy is up for even more practice. Now THIS should be interesting, as well as my heavy swing workout that afternoon.
I can't remember when I was capable of this type of workloads Too bad RKC hardstyle kettlebell training doesnt improve that. :))
PS Edit:
It just struck me that I am now enduro guy again.Strength guy is pretty much gone and enduro and flexibility guy is back. Kind of a combination of my running and gymnastics incarnations.I remember when I was a runner than I would think nothing of running the five miles to a friends house to visit.They always asked me how I was going to get back and I would say the obvious: 'run'.It was just an opportunity to widen the base with more miles. This was important if your goal was ultra marathons. Volume counts.
When I was a bodybuilder and powerlifter recovery was everything.Intensity is key, not volume, and everything had to revolve around as much training intensity as one needed and a concommitant amount of recovery to be able to gain from the intensity.
No more.Now it seems I can do kbs for volume, do my yoga, do 'life' stuff as necessary, work my shift and be ok the next day.
What a HUGE difference from the me just a few years ago when I was really wrecked and could barely get through work each day. Amazing.
"A back of iron, and legs that never quit". Still my goal.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

SSST training

I'm ready to get back into longer snatch sets again on saturdays but I'm not quite ready for 40 reps sets, even with the 20 kg. So I decided to split the difference and do 30 rep sets. I would alternate start arms so each set one side would get more work.
This worked out great although I was a bit fatigued from such a late Bikrams class yesterday and not quite enough time to get more food in. No worries, I had a proper workload for the day, in context.

20 kg Snatch SSST style
20 kg x10/10/10 x 9 sets
270 reps
11,880 lbs

Used single breath HS breathing, my modified corkscrew left handed and HS over the top right.This seems to be the best combination for me now,especially for longer rep sets.

Clubbell Mills
Finally made my lazy but bring home the ten pounder so I could practice this move again. Havent done it in ages and have been missing it lately. It's so fluid and works shoulder mobility in all three planes as well as the trunk muscles.Need to pay some dues with the ten again before I even contemplate the fifteen.

10 lb CB mills
20/20 x 4 sets

One CB shield cast
10 lbs x 10/10
15 lbx 10/10x 3 sets


Friday, July 11, 2008

Bikram PR

LOL, Today I did a Bikrams class for the second day in a row and I'm claiming a PR.I brought it up to Tracy yesterday after the kick ass class and she was game.Although I don't think she expected me to actually follow through.Tomorrow is snatch day and I have always been crazy ocd about resting as much as possible before my main day workout but things are different lately.I used to train everyday. In fact,when I started training, at age 14 in gymnastics we always trained 5-6 days a week. Right from the start. So that is what I thought training was about.
I was always my happiest in the gym, moving, flying , being strong, so it was no problem spending most of my day there.And the better I got the easier it was to go and train as I had the most control in there than in any place in my life.
So the idea of being able to do three days a week of kettlebell training and perhaps three days of yoga is very very enticing to me.So I thought I would saddle up and see what back to back days felt like as well as snatching tomorow on little rest and little food( only two hours to eat tonight- you dont train on food, anyway. You train from your mind and your heart).
Todays class was even better than yesterdays and either the class was not as hot or I am getting heat adapted quickly. Tracy says it wasn't as hot. Oh well. Still I only went through one bottle of water today instead of my normal two.
I really am suprised at the progress I am making and I know, from many years of stretching and gymmastics training that greasing the groove, doing movements over and over and over really makes them easier each time.I could see doing yoga everyday and getting a real carryover in flexibility and strength from one workout to the next.You dont' get a real chance to tighten up again.
Don't know if I'll go that far ever; three days sounds just fine now.
Ok got to eat :))

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bikram External

Did my first "second" class of the week in three weeks and it was a good one.We alternate studios and this one is definitely a lot less intense than the San Jose one.It isnt so freaking crowded, hot and the instructor is way better with more respect for the student and the speed of progressive in movement that is actually possible.MOre time to work into the poses. Plus she holds us much longer in the poses and we get more time to really settle in,
One thing I noticed today is just how much external rotation of the shoulders that are involved in so many poses.From the heel cup position in the forward bend part of half moon series to the eagle pose,floor bow, the standing bow,triangle,locust, the camel and even the arm postion in savasana, the lying pose the arms are externally rotated.
Which just points out to me just how LITTLE external rotation my right shoulder still has and how unwilling it is to let it go.BUT it still is getting better each class. And still has so long to go.The hardest part still is getting 'unhinged' from locust pose without the shoulder subluxating.Still have to figure that one out but I can now get my own left leg on floor bow, standing bow and camel.
Going to do my first two classes in a row tomorow at the 4:30 class at the 'tough" studio, Bikram San Jose.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Sometimes come when you least expect it. I had Snatch Vo2 on the menu today and it had to be sets of 8, hand tears and all because last week was an easy week of sevens and MRKC Jones, SRKC Whitley and Peter Lakotos are chomping at Mark O Madsens bit of 80 sets of 8 with the 24 kg. I have a lot of catching up to do.Not to mention Mrs Rifs assault on the 12 kg SSST record( coming soon)
So I showed up, taped up and saddled up and went to work. I was planning a very modest 35 sets of eight when my bride showed up at set 30. All of a sudden my bell speed goes up by a second per 15 sec block and I have surge of energy. 35 sets is out, 40 sets is on. After all, she did a strong 60 sets of 8 for her SECOND max vo2 workout of the week.
It was a balmy 100+ degrees in the garage today and I gave in a bit to my inner wimp and put a fan on.Like putting a fan in front of an oven but it was better than calm air. At least I think it was.

Snatch Vo2
40 sets of 8 reps per 15
11,500 lbs

No warmup, just go.I was a bit late on some of the sets but that just meant I got less recovery time. Rifs Rule # 3 : Nothing's ever easy ever. Even more true in timed snatch work.And, as Tracy showed up my energy went way up so that was great.

Rack Walk 16 kg
1600 feet switching every 200
Just working on my tan,lol. damn these are ALWAYS hard after snatches.

#1/ 3 sets of 3 singles alternating each side after the single reps with dead stop pause. man this brings back memories. wasnt too bad but not too easy either. AND I have an ANCIENT # 1, ask brett. Not counting the rust and chalk dust.this will be good. I remember when I could just about close the two solid.It will happen again.

two handed arm cast
15 lb cb x 10/10
25 lb CB x8/8 x 4 sets

these rock and really work the hell out of my tris lats and intercostals as well as all of the shoulders. perfect finish work for me.


Monday, July 07, 2008

Heavy swings

Really, really, really did not want to swing the 32 kg today but there was no getting around it. Havent swung it in weeks and the fact that my little venture into Bikram Death Valley yesterday had me still a bit "depleted" today was no excuse at all. I mean, what would my inner mascochist say?
Plus I had the honor of training with Mrs Rif as she started her serious training cycle for upcoming SSST and USSST tests.It's always humbling when her baseline starting point is my PR that I took a year to build up to but hey, what can you do but train harder?
So I did and it wasnt half bad,except for this wimpy skin that likes to blister and tear so much during heavy one arm swing workouts.
I did use the easy fall back routine of just 5/5 reps per set but tried to use compensatory acceleration as well as eccentric overload as much as possible. That thing is damn heavy,especially at my current weight of 156 or so.

One arm swings
16 kg x5/5x2
24 kgx5/5

32 kgx5/5 x20 sets
14,400 lbs

Suprisingly now, after 3 years of kb work since my rotator tear my left hand is the weaker side again( as it should be as I'm a righty). What that says to me is that my right shoulder is FINALLY really sitting in the right place( or a close approximation) in the capsule and that my nerve strength is returing.Yea!
Of course that means I now struggle with left hand fatigue and lack of strength (relatively) but hey what can you do? It's always something. Literally.

H2H transfers
24 kg x 30 reps x 4 sets
120 reps
6360 lb
This is my leg work and I use much more of a classis RKC sit and hinge style as opposed to my pure hinge swing/snatch technique.Have to build these back up. MY best is 85 reps with the 32kg.
thats a ways away.

Snatch Holds
20 kg x60 sec x 2 sets


I just realized that my skin and callus problem might be from lack of absolute strength in my grip.I think I might be able to tolerate a little gripper training again. Especially since I know how to keep the elbow and wrists open. Will think on it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Bikram ass kicking.

Ok, one on the books for bikram. I made it through today but just barely. My poses were good, many the best ever, but I ended up in the room early so I could get a good spot where I could actually see myself in the mirror( vital when you end up twisting around as much as I do, thinking you are square) and this teacher ALWAYS runs ten minutes late. So instead of 90 minutes of 104 degree heat it was 110 minutes with full capacity class( 55 bodies) and we ended up in the hottest section of the class as well.
7o minutes into the class and things got way tough.It was hard to breathe and there was no where to go. I got into my calming mode and just went through the poses as best I could.Tracy was worried I was going to heatstroke or worse, but I've been here many times in long runs and bike rides so I was pretty confident I wasn't going to stroke.
Had plenty of H2O but it was warm; that didnt stop me from pouring over my head and neck trying to get a bit cooler.
I slowed the pace, breathed through the panic and made it fine.
I went straight to the shower room and got my head and neck under pure cold water immediately after. Better in a second.Amazing what really cold water will do to bring down the core temp in a hurry.
As I said I was very happy with many of the poses and can't wait to go again on thursday and get my heat tolerance back up. AS Pavel says "Pain is good" and this one taught a good lesson in humility. Time off kicks ones ass whether it's kbs or yoga.Practice, practice practice :))

I love this shot

Man, Tracy caught this at the perfect moment. I LOVE this picture, and I can't say that about most( ok ANY) pictures of me.Lets face it I have a face that's perfect for radio,lol.
The position is exactly what I have been thinking about as a possible new logo( the position, not just me). I want to get some graphic representation of this position. I love that it implies motion from a static pose.
All my shoulder extension work has obviously paid off as my right arm now swings back correctly matching my left.I wasn't even thinking about getting the arm back and there it is!
I may be smaller but I be lean too! Bikrams in just a few hours;we'll see how my layoff affected my flexibility and strength. I feel great this AM after all those snatches too. Cool.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

20 kg Snatch PR, 400 reps.

Thanks to Aaron Friday for the motivation for this one. I was feeling very good about my 305 rep pr witht he 24 kg ( which beat Aarons pr by a measley 5 reps) when he goes and puts the number into the stratosphere with 400 reps!
After my 60 sets of 7 in the max vo2 wednesday told me that my conditioning wasnt as bad as I thought it might be I decided to give 400 reps with the 20 kg a go.The only thing I was concerned about was tearing but other than that I thought it shouldnt be that much of a problem.
20 sets of 10/10 would do it.


20 kg x10/10 x 20 sets
400 reps All Time volume PR
17,600 lbs

Not bad at all although I have to confess that I resorted to my gymnastics grips for the last three sets as the hands were HOT and I need to be able to swing on Monday.Havent used the grips in three years but it was fun.Definitely brought back the old feeling of getting ready to swing rings or high bar. Great fun!
Used my modified corkscrew on the left and hardstyle on the right until the last 100 reps when I went HS on both hands.

here's set five

Here's the last set, grips and all

dat was all I wanted to do today. Not bad. There were three of us in a rotation so thats how long I rested.Rex was snatching and Nikko was speed squatting.

datsit!NOW I have to do it with the 24 kg!And, oh yes, Bikrams tomorrow! I have really missed my yoga practice and hopefully will get back on track tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

My inner masochist.

Having failed to get a decent workout in the last week I decided I should punish myself. And, after listening to the Dane of Pain tell us about Mark O Madsens EIGHTY SETS OF EIGHT REPS IN THE SVO2 MAX WITH THE 24 KG I realized I had to step up a bit.
Eight rep sets were out of the question as when I havent trained regularly the first thing to go is speed but 7 rep sets were very doable.Kenneth says the research says the 80 sets ( which equates to 20 minutes of actual snatching is optimal for the best possible cardio conditioning.
Man I just got used to the idea of 60 sets. Oh well.I set the mark as sixty sets of seven today and had no idea if I could do it.
I did and it wasnt that bad at all.

Snatch VO2
60 sets of 7 reps PR
420 reps
15,120 lbs

this went very well. I placed two bells to the left and the right of me so they would stay cooler and not chalk up as much. I didnt need ANY wasted motion today, I was sure.The toughest part was not sweating on the handles and gunking up the works. Bikram Kettlebells for sure today. very hot but I loves to sweat :))
Felt SO good to swing and snatch again. I hate traveling.But I love teaching at certs, go figure.

Rack Walks
16 kg x 1400 feet switching every 200
needed to do this.harderst part was just keeping the rack position. arms were cooked,lol.

Shield cast
15 lb CB x10/10 x 5 sets
have to remember to really rotate as I arm cast this back or it can make the elbow twinge a bit. Have to stop being lazy and bring my ten pounders home from Girya.

BW 154
BF 8.2 %
Water 60.6 %

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

AM swings

I actually got my act together and into the studio extra early to do my light swings. and light they were but hey, better than nothing. I will be back on track starting tomorrow with max vo2 and a WHOLE new respect for what is possible there. Kenneth told us all about how probable Olympic Medalist wrestler he is training( Mark O. Madsen) did EIGHTY SETS OF EIGHT REPS WITH THE 24 KG bell in the 15:15 protocol.DAMN!
I was just gearing up for the 60 sets finish line when KJ PULLS the finish line out a HUGE way.Course Ihave no illusions to that level of work with the 24 kg.
He says 20 full minutes of work with 110-120% of Max Vo2 is the key to optimal cardio level so there ya go.
But I will do it with the 16 and then get up to sets of 7 with the 20kg. I also want to do SOME training with the 24 kg,even if only for 5 rep sets (although I actually think I can do 6's) as part of the mix in a few months. who knows?

5:30 am H2H transfers

12 kg x 50 x 2 sets
16kgx30x2 sets
20kg x20 x2 sets
24 kg x20 x 2 sets

nothing at all but enough to get some blood into my hips back and legs and remind them of what is coming tomorrow. I chose transfers as I think of then as my 'leg' exercise.good stuff

Z drills throughout morning. had planned on bikram today but it is not to be so perhaps thursdays. I want to do 2-3 days a week but am not going to get all OCD about it.One thing like that's enough. Sundays will be easy but life gets in the way occasionally. Thats what so great about the kb- don't have to drive anywhere to get a serious workout and it can be done in ten minutes no problem