Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ok, this stuff is serious!

thanks to Will Williams for the link

Nice job Matt!

this is one seriously good effort with the 28 kg bell.well done Matt, I know you've really been working hard.Real deal man.

here's video of his jerk comp.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Swing Vo2

Even though it is tempting, as my back feels better, to try to do some snatches again I am taking my own advice and not snatching until after my February commitments are over. And even though I was also tempted to do swing vo2 today with the 20 kg again I let my brain take over my ego.
Man , it was just a few weeks ago I was in agony and wondering if I could stand and walk and now I'm concerned I'm taking it too easy on myself. crazy.

But I listened and it went well today. and it was NOT easy. I did 6o sets of 10 reps per arm in the 16 kg one arm swing, 15:15 style and it was hard enough. I opened my stance, went back to wrestling shoes and kept my head up more. The opposite of my old positions. 10 more than last week and I was wishing it was over way before it was. It was good to see my cardio is still decent. this should take care of it, that and as much walking as my knee can take.

I finished the week at work standing straight through the 7 hours and it's getting easier. And, as I thought would happen, changing my stances and standing so much overloaded my right ankle and metatarsals on my right foot. It was killing me last night but worked it's way out so far this am. Lets hope all this hangs tough and I've figured out the new direction I need to go in, training and movement wise. AS well as the corrective exercises and stretching I really need to do to stay out of pain.
Getting my swing and standing stances out wider, with the toes out much more really lets me feel my full foot and the ground, all four edges. Something that never happens with the toes straight. At least not in the gait pattern. I can also really fire both VMO's, again something that doesnt happen in the sagittal plane stances. All I can say is that it seems to be working for now.

two hand swing 16 kg x 4x10
transfers 2x10

it was nice to do some two hands. I really hope I can train this move for the first time soon,

Swing Vo2
16 kg 15:15
10 reps per arm
60 sets
600 reps
21,600 lbs
30 minutes

of course Tracy did 80 sets of max vo2 with the 16 kg mostly sevens and eights! and it was awesome. And it wasn't easy. And JUST because it wasn't easy BUT it got done so strongly and with such determination made it that inspiring to watch as share the training space and experience with her.

rep ladder
51 reps

wow, I havent done a pushup OR a horizontal pushing move since 2005 when I gave up bench pressing for kettlebells. I just couldn't. It KILLED my right shoulder and rotator cuff and would immediately lock up my teres major( the psoas of the upper body,lol) for days.
I've done snatches for the last three years as my primary upper body exercise, along with some clubbell work and overhead holds but no pressing.

Now it seems to have switched. I've wanted to get my pushup back ever since I thought about getting my handstand back but now handstands don't seem to be good for my back and I think I can do pushups.

I did these Naked Warrior/Gymnast style. Slow, perfectly controlled and with high tension. I was amazed that I could actually do them with no pain, AND how quickly I got smoked in the subsequent sets! great work for all the upper body muscles, especially as I was rowing myself down into the bottom, paused as long as I could,lol.The bottom position reminded me of start of the hollowback press on the rings. Way cool.

Two Hand Clubbell
Barbarian press

20 lb cb x 10/10 x3
25 lb x8 x 8 sets ( alternating arms with a short rest/sets)

these were good but tough,especially after the pushups.

10 lb cb 10/10 x2 sets

didn't seem like a good idea for my right arm. abandoned it. too much iffy rotation right now.

drive home then

Rack walks
1000 feet continuous
100 feet with right arm rack, 100 feet with left arm farmers

45 sec rest
600 continuous

these went very well.knee tracked as well as it has for a long time.

datsit. can't be believe that next Saturday will be our SECOND HKC at Girya. Cannot wait.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Swings and presses.

My no sitting policy seems have been paying off lately as my legs seems to be looser and less painful towards the end of the workday than they do at the beginning.
And as I stand throughout the day I have adopted some pretty interesting stances to allow me to stand comfortably. I'm not 'thinking' of what I should be doing, of what is technically correct as per body positition or gait mechanics. I'm trying to forget what I know, actually, of what I think I know, of what worked 'before' this present injury and 're-positioning' of my center.

I'm not over intellectualizing what is right or wrong about weight distribution, toe angle,back arch, etc., etc., etc. I'm just trying to feel what feels right, or, more accurately, what feels "safe" to my back. What feels strong, what feels like it might work. At this point it's any port in a storm and I KNOW that.

I also know that the stretches I have been doing and the mechanics I have been using in my standing, swing, snatch and squatting patterns don't work any more. They have to change. Into precisely what is the question. And the problem with this work is is that one rarely knows where the edge is until you step off. How far you fall and how hard you land is always a concern. But, at this point there really is no choice. At least I don't see one. And very few guides. My body is one weird animal with injuries , high mileage and compensations galore.

It's hard to take advice from someone about how my body 'should' work when it doesn't, and hasn't followed any of the standard rules in a very, very long time. So be it. It seems I'm finding my way through this dark jungle, again.

So although I swung with my olympic lifting boots last Wednesday and Saturday standing all day with a very wide sumo sta
nce with my toes turned out 30 degrees in my wrestling shoes has left an impression on me. Actually squatting throughout the day, to stretch my legs and hips in this stance made me feel, for a moment, like a powerlifter again. Anyone who knew me in my powerlifting days will know exactly what I mean when I say "air squats". I would work on my squat mechanics ALL the time, doing feed forward squats looking for the perfect groove and the perfect mechanics,. All the while working around a knee that didnt bend and a requirement to "break parallel".
I just neededed to stretch more,lol.After all

So did the urge to do straddle stretches on the floor and work towards my coronal plane splits( legs out to the side). Not to mention dreaming about two hand swings. Hey I know I'm weird. I dreamt about my gymnastics routine every night; every single night; from ninth grade through my junior year in college. Talk about great visualization work.

If single arm swings got me stabilized for the last 7 years perhaps it's time to go the other direction and try the stability of the two hand swings, or ,even double bell swings. Things my back has not tolerated- ever. I'm learning to listen to my gut, finally, to really trust my instincts. To let my inner artist win over my inner scientist.

So I went back to the wrestling shoe and decided to take my swing stance wider. How wide I wouldn't know until I did it. Really, I wouldn't know until later that day and really the next. But hey, gotta try something.

And throw in some two hand swings. Just to try. Just not too many. Then, sit and wait. and stretch some more and see what happens.

And try as well to think about intensity a bit, again. Of strength, a bit, again. and not just volume.Since I had to stop powerlifting I thought the lower loads of volume would be tolerable and they were. And they built a great base for me. But it might be time to change that again. Of going back to the press after snatching at least 1.5 times a week on average for the last five years.
Of not living for the volume number. To stop chasing miles. To stop trying to catch Tracy.I can't do it. I don't know if anyone can but I know I can't. Training your weak points is one thing but that would just be sheer masochism. She has a gift.

And so do I, it's just not cardio,lol.

It's strength.

So it's more low rep sets and find the position that works even if it means letting go of everything I've done recently. Of not worrying about the SSST Rite of Passage. At least for now but maybe forever.

here's the workout:

One arm swing/two hand swing
16 kg x5/5/5x3
20 kgx5/5/5

24 kgx5/5/5x 5sets

one arm swings/H2H transfers
28 kg x5/5/5 x 5

this was great and a solid warmup. the two hands felt perfect and I had to hold myself back from doing them with the 28kg as well but I had no idea how they would feel later. still dont. It's early.
32 kgx5/5

These went really well and I did them looking in the mirror trying to see what was happening to my hips when I worked on different arms. The wider stance felt good and strange at the same time. I felt like a powerlifter again and it felt good. The 32 kg felt light in my hands and this was good as well.

Long Cycle clean and press( one clean per press)

20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5
28 kg x3/3
28 kg x2/2

here too, I followed my instincts and my experience and incorporated the techniques that are standard, and where I know my strength to be. This made it much easier than trying to "do it right" . I could have easily done the 32 kg but I didn't want to push it more than I already was. I held the last rep of each press set for a couple seconds on the right arm to work overhead flexibility.

Again, a wider than normal stance and a straight line press. Shades of Louie an WSB. The muscle makes the groove. Couldn't agree more Louie.

Arm Casts
10 lb cb x15/15
15 lb cb x10/10
20 lb cb x 8/8x 3 sets

decided that I would also like my triceps back and I will do what I need to to get them. this will include db triceps extensions and kb triceps extensions at some point but today it meant arm casts. great pump. there, I said it.

We'll see how it feels tomorrow but for now, it's a victory against this injury and the weakness it want to lay on me.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Max vo2 swings and,some snatches.

My back has been feeling good, thank God,(someone knock on wood) and I went into today's workout not apprehensive at all for the first time in a long time. Not ready to do a snatch vo2 workout for sure but not worried that I was going to blow up during any specific rep. That's a good thing.
No, it's a great thing. Starting to feel much more like myself again.I spent the last three days at work standing 98% of the time and feeling much looser in the legs at the end of the day than at the beginning and that's great too. Figuring out strategies for standing without tension, as well as how to stretch out while vertical is an interesting game too. Definitely have to fight the instinct, and the habit, of sitting on the stability ball but as things feel better standing there will be less and less of a drive to do so.

Nick was back in the gym with us today and that was great too. been too long. I decided to go for a strict 15:15 vo2 workout just substituting the one arm swing for the snatch. I decided to stay with the 16 kg as well and go for 10 reps per arm in the 15 sec. I have long arms and a pretty long stroke so I knew it would be not too easy to get the reps in.perfect.

Tracy was doing some insane combination of movements including double snatches and two hand swings in her 15 sec work interval. I tried not to be too envious. She killed it, as usual.

And I did great too with my little swing workout and cardio was not an issue at all. and my back held up great. no pain or stiffness or any twinges at all.I can see alternating the 20 kg with the 16kg pretty soon as well.

Swing Vo2
16 kg
50 sets of 10 reps per arm
500 swings
18,000 lbs!

that was a suprise workload number. that little weight adds up quickly!

16 kg x5/5 x 5 sets
50 reps

I know I said I wasnt going to snatch but I wanted to see how it felt on my back and whether this is the culprit or not. I also had Nick there to check on my symmetry during the sets as well. no problems and I definitely need to concentrate on using my left side more during my right arm snatches. we'll go very slowly here but I don't think the snatches are the problem.

Two handed clubbell barbarian press
20 lb x10/10x3
25 lbx8/8 x 3 sets

these went well. instead of rack walks we did a steady 20 minute walk. no problems


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wednesday Clubs and Standing training.

I've realized that perhaps the best way to really prepare for all the time I will have to spend on my feet at my upcoming certs here in San Jose is to stand as much as possible each day. Now this doesn't sound that hard, unless you have a knee like mine that's basically been destroyed since 1974 and doesn't like to bend much at all.Ever. And yells and screams at me HARD if I do.

So I used to spend a bunch of time sitting on a stability wall while I coached. I figured it was better than actually sitting on a chair. But since my back has been 'out' sitting ain't that much fun. Standing so much in Bikrams gave me a new found respect for how hard it is to stand still AND stay tight at the same time. Especially on one leg.

Now I have to learn how to stand still and stay relaxed, on two legs. I have to figure out how to keep my very arthritic and 'non liking load bearing' left knee how to stand in a way that doesnt cause my left leg to load up and lock up.

Again I had to throw out "theory" and go with what "works", by intuition and imagination. I spent the last two days standing 8 hours straight and figuring out how to do so without locking up my knee. Its been very interesting to say the least and I am encouraged. Wider stances, toes turned out!(what, was that my VMO actually firing?cool).

Half kneeling lunges, on both sides, with the ankles dorsiflexed,not plantarflexed. Little differences can make huge changes. Determined to not sit on the ball and NOT lock up.

Again, stretching as training. All day. Remember the goal " a back of iron and legs that never quit" even though that seems light years away.

But I stood all day today and my leg was looser at the end than it was at the beginning, that's good.

Wednesday clubbell

quick and dirty workout

2 10 lb clubs/swipes
25 reps x 3 sets short rest

2 15 lb clubs
15 reps x 3 sets short rest

these felt good and I could have done way more reps with the 10 lb'er but I had to, as usual, keep one foot on the break and I tried to ease gently onto the gas.I definitely felt the grip and the shoulders on the 15's and that was suprising. I've done 150 continuous before and will do more again.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Reifkind/Whitley/Reifkind - The Seminar.

Laree Draper has helped Sr RKC David Whitley,myself and my beautiful wife, the kettlebell swing queen, put together a great seminar workshop that will be held Sunday May 2 at Gregg Everett's Catalyst Athletics in Sunnyvale California.

I'll be speaking on Lats; the Super muscle and going into the details of probably the hardest muscle for most people to really get their brains( and bodies) wrapped around. How the lats are used in the kettlebell swing, how to really use them up your KB press, how to use the kb press and your lats to build pullup strength without doing pullups, the real key to getting the barbell bench off your chest, the best bodyweight lat exericse( it's NOT chins!) and much much more.

Dave is presenting twice, once on kbs as a tool to teach tension principles and how to use the getup as the basis of your kb grinds as well as the secrets of the old time strongmen and their key movements; the bent press, bending and grip work. This will be good, Dave be very very strong and smart.

Tracy, the Queen of the Kettlebell swing will be teaching her original, unique and amazing methods of progressive swing combinations and how to use high volume swing training without ever getting bored.And get in the best shape of your life.
If you read, or heard, about the new ACE article that confirms what we kettlebell fanatics already know: there is NOTHING better than high volume swing an snatch training to burn as many calories as humanly possible, build muscle and tone as safely and quickly as ANYTHING else out there.
Tracy's methods are the bleeding edge of the state of the art of how to train the swing. DON'T MISS THIS!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Heavy Swings

Da KB Arm Bar
Well no bikrams for a week, LOTS of stretching, much less sitting at work and so far my back is behaving. I decided that even sitting on my stability ball at work was probably not great for my back of late too AND I need to get ready for some seriously long days on my feet at the three certs I have in February so I decided to stand as much as possible each day and see if that actually helps me prepare for the standing at the certs. Have to learn how to relax and be as efficient as possible in the standing positions and ascertain what postures

We'll see. The rack walks worked very well on Saturday and I felt something good 'kick' in after doing them. I will add them in another day as well.Something about overloading that gait pattern,just a bit, seemed to make me walk that much more efficiently. Again, time will tell but so far so good.

Really stretching the adductors and the hip flexors in a standing posture is very interesting and provides some quick release, for some reason, when my lumbar start to tighten up. I liken it to a Shotokan type horse stance position as well as the front lunge for a front kick. Except much wider. This opens the rectus femoris and the soleus on the rear leg and that take some pressure off the hip, which takes pressure off my back. Anatomy trains indeed :))

I spent 30 minutes first static stretching, doing my horse stance stability work( old school Chek stuff) overhead stretching, then some one arm swings:

One arm swings
16 kg x10/10x3
20 kg x8/8

24 kg x8/8x6 sets
28 g x5/5 x3 sets
32 kg x5/5x3 sets

everything felt fine.I love fives :)) they always make me feel strong and I don't get out of breath,lol.

Clean and press( one clean per press)

20kg x 5/5
24kgx4/4 x3 sets

These also felt solid and I held the last rep on the right arm for a bit after each set to work the ROM and stability.Man I do know how to press, I just wish I could push it a bit.

KB Arm Bar
16 kg x5/5
24 kg x3/3x3 sets

these were good and again, it was nice to have some real weight in my hands again.I actually got to floor press something again,lol.

Then,more stretching.
I have to remember to realize that for me, now, stretching IS training, and I have to take it seriously. Very seriously.

datsit. Some clubbell swipes tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

It's not like I havent been saying this all along


Swings or snatches, take your pick and it seems that now there is "proof" in that the American Council of Exercise (ACE) has done "official" studies showing that one can burn 20.2 calories per minute. Here' the quote from the article, I got this from Josh Hillis's blog post

"Dr. John Porcari, leader of the study, said this. “So they were burning at least 20.2 calories per minute, which is off the charts. That’s equivalent to running a 6-minute mile pace. The only other thing I could find that burns that many calories is crosscountry skiing up hill at a fast pace.”

and who know who they were using for their studies? And what size kettelbell they were using?You can always use a heavier bell. Heck, I have a 56 year old client that was burning 16.7 calories per minute snatching a 12 kg bell for 7 rep sets in his max vo2 training. How many can xcountry ski uphill at a fast pace? and how often can one do this? and how (in)convienient is it.

Nothing, nothing will get the average person in the best shape of their life faster and more safely than kettlebell swing training. Nothing.

Of course it is simple but not easy. I mean, the bell ain't gonna swing itself. And that's the real problem for most people looking to "get in shape". They don't just want something that will work and work fast and safely. They also want it to be easy. Now that just don't happen and I'm glad.

If it was easy then anyone could have it and it would mean nothing. If you are in shape and you are over 23 then you have EARNED IT. And that's good. Nothing's more democratic than training. You get what you work for.
snatching a 12 kg

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Swing volume

Well I had planned on doing swing Vo2 workout today, to try and keep in sync with Tracy and Meg doing their max vo2 snatch workout. BUT, Tracy decided to give herself and easy day and snatched for a FORTY MINUTES STRAIGHT, instead. yeah, 800 reps in 40 minutes. Right after she had taught a 30 minute swing class and then went into her intermediate snatch swing class. Craziness.
Well I wasn't going to swing for 40 minutes straight but I didnt feel the need to go for 15 second intervals either so I decided to do some weight ladders and get some volume and a bit of loading in at the same time.

My back was not terrible but it wasnt perfect either and I stretched out for a full 40 minutes before I picked up the bell. Releasing the adductors , the TFL and the Rectus femoris definitely helped loosen up the lumbars immediately so I take note of that.Especially the discrepancy between the right and the left inner thigh, with the left being MUCH tighter. Wide straddle stretches and some side split work got those open fast.

I just have to accept it, I HAVE to keep tension out of my legs as much as possible or bad things happen. Since I'm not going to stop training them that means as much stretching as necessary to get suppleness in the legs before and after loading. The deep hip rotators were very tight this morning, for no damn good reason, and releasing them too eased my back tension. So much freakin fun I can't stand it.

Wore my olympic boots and was amazed at how tight things were at the start and how much better they felt 15 minutes into the workout. 30 minutes later things felt normal and loose and strong. Man, that's way too much time but what else you gonna do? At least it felt better after.

One arm swing

weight ladders
16kg x5/5/5/5
20 kgx5/5/5/5
24 kg x 5/5/5/5

each ladder 7 times
420 total reps.

I did each weight, rested 30 seconds or so and then went up to the next. after the 24 kg set O dropped back down to the 16 and started over . 30 minutes of swings. It's a start.

Two hand arm casts
20 lb club x 10/10 (switched grip after 10) x 3 sets
25 lb club x8/8 x 3 sets

two hand shield cast
20 lb club x 10/10 x 3 sets

these were great and really got my upper body some much needed work. I miss snatching already :((

Rack/Farmers walks
16kg x 1200 feet in 200 foot intervals

After I drove home from Girya I got the 16 kg out and dip 200 feet of right arm rack walk,rested 30 seconds then 200 feet of left hand farmers walk. I repeated 6 times.I have A LOT of standing and walking coming up and this worked well two years ago when I was doing 2000 continuous feet of rack walking 2 times a week.The different hand/rack postinions are to accomodate what I think will help my back asymmetry. we'll see.

More stretching out and foam roller. 20 minutes. Things feel good now.


Friday, January 15, 2010

The interim schedule

Of course since I've decided to put yoga and snatching on hold till after my three certs in feb my back has been feeling perfectly normal.
BUT I'm going to stay the ( interim ) course and see how things go.

here's the interim schedule for the next few weeks

one arm swings, heavy
clean and press
kb arm bars

one arm deadlift( just right only, for the eight erector)
two clubbell swipes
kb halo

swing vo2
two handed clubbells
rack walks

we'll see how this works

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Everything works...

but nothing works forever.
So says powerlifting Guru Louie Simmons and I know he is right. And it might be time to accept that the snatch might not be working for me right now. Not forever, but for right now.And as close as I am to my 50K snatch goal, and as strong as it's been for so long it's more important to NOT have any back pain, be able to work as much as I need to and do get done what's really important in life .I've been doing Max Vo2 every week straight for the last 3+ years. As well as snatching the 24 kg working my way up to 200 reps per workout once a week as well

Last year, to accomodate doing Bikrams as well as my snatch goal I stopped swing training. It worked really well for a year and I thought it the perfect compromise;the snatch is a swing AND an overhead support.

It's stopped working and I need to listen.

My back was iffy again this weekend so something has to change. I am giving up bikrams for right now as well as the snatch. Something has shifted in my center of balance and has changed my overhead postition for the worse. The snatches seem to aggravate it as much as I hate to admit it. The swings feel much better; more square, more stable, with no fear. And the 90 minutes in bikrams in putting me in way too much flexion for right now and I'm not doing the other key stretches I need to be doing so that will change.

I swung heavy last week flatfooted and I don't think that's right either.Today I wore my OL boots and things felt much better.I need to keep an anterior pelvic tilt and my quads engaged or my hips just tuck under and my lumbar spine goes into serious flexion. The pains says that's not right. I will listen.

I also have been thinking I might be able to tolerate two handed swings again and will try to work them in as well, gently , as well as two clubbell swipes. I need another big movement to do.we'll see.


One Arm Swings;

12 kg x 10/10 x2
16 kg x5/5x 4

20 kg x 5/5

these went well although they started stiff and awkward. By the last set things had smoothed out and my hips were working well with my lower spine arched properly.

24 kg x5/5x5 sets

these felt strong and easy as well.

Clean and press
16 kg x 5/5 one clean per press
20 kg x4/4x3
24 kg x 2/2

for some reason I felt like pressing would be ok, even if snatching wasnt. it felt solid square and strong. I just wanted to get a little more hip work in as well with the long cycle approach

two clubbell swipes
10 lbs x 10 reps x 3
15 lbs x 10 reps x 3 sets

I still kept on the OL boot and used the smallest hip hinge I could do. I also did these looking in the mirror to make sure my hips stayed perfectly square. This movement is actually very easy for me, I am built well for it and would love to put up some decent numbers in it. If I can just NOT get tweaked,lol. We'll see.

One arm deadlift

24 kg x5 x 5 sets

it seems my right erector does not want to fire. I had Tracy palpate my back to make sure which arm dl created the correct lat activation and it was the right arm that made the right erector turn on. I need to do some more asymmetrical training again, it seems. Whatever. it takes.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Look what I found on E Bay

Click the link here and see what my first book is going for now, lol! 1984 baby and I wrote three books for Runners World Magazine's Getting Strong Series, spelling the soon to be deceased Don " The Ripper" Ross,Pro Bodybuilder, Pro Wrestler and Absolute MADMAN from doing ALL the books in the series.

I wrote three although only one was published as the owner of Runner's World ,Bob Anderson, was going through a divorce and decided to liquidate the Book division.The book on building the chest was the only one that survived.

It's a classic! LOL
and, btw, it's not my chest. it was way better,lol.

60 sets of 8 in freestyle snatch vo2

I was a little worried about todays workout because my back has been feeling so good,lol. So I proceeded with caution. I had 60 sets as my goal today even though I just hit 50 last week. I know, I know, but I am behind :))
actually the jump isn't that big because I am still doing it freestyle, not strictly against the clock. The good news today was that cardio wise I think I could have come close to going a strict 15 seconds rest but I am not that confident in my snatch groove or my back to try to work that hard and explosively against the backdrop of real fatigue, cardio or muscular.
The swings I did last week really made me feel strong but it is a totally different groove than for my snatches and it threw me off a bit for the first 15 -20 sets.
My lats were tightening up too much for my taste and I realized I was sitting back too far( like, uh, for my swing,lol) and that wasnt working for the snatch. I fixed it but I was still a bit cautious.

Also the sweat monster has come back to visit me and it gets in my way as much or more than cardio fatigue or my back worries. I was wearing a shirt, shoes and wrestling shoes as well as wrist bands to try to soak up some of the sweat but by set 30 it was flying everywhere and the bell was sitting in puddle. Lovely.
Since I had more time to play with between sets I took care to really dry off as much as I could but as I warmed up I went faster, and wanted to as well so that didnt work too well.High quality problem I know.

All the thoracic mobility work I have been doing seems to have been paying off in my overhead position as well as my hips. I spent 30 full minutes stretching out, doing overhead mobility work and rolling before we jumped in.

I also tried out my new hand taping method which rocks! A variation of Nick's version this will let people tape their own hands as effectively and easily as having a partner do it. A video of this will go up soon.

Snatch Vo2 freestyle 15:15
60 sets of 8
16 kg
480 snatches
17,280 lbs

I think perhaps next week I will do some heavier sets with the 20 kg( perhaps sets of 6) and go back to a strict 15 seconds rest as I plan on doing snatches just on saturdays and devoting wednesdays workouts to mostly least for awhile til I can figure out how to put in another day of kb work.

10 lbs arm casts x10/10/10/10
15 lb arm casts x 10/10 x5 sets

these felt good but I would like to go back to swipes, a bigger ROM exercise.Still a bit concerned about the back/pelvis and that close stance groove. we'll see.

datsit. Yoga in an hour with my beautiful yogini wife. Saturday has now become one serious training day. way cool.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Best Pommel Horse Gymnast of all time: Ted Marcy

I've been waiting for years for a video of Pommell horse GREAT Ted Marcy to appear on the web and I finally found it! This is from his collegiate nationals and I'm not sure how old he is there but I bet he's a freshman; just showing hints of the incredibleness that was to come. This guy revolutionized how modern gymnasts swing the side horse, which in most athletes opinion is the TOUGHEST of all the six events for most to master. The swing is the only one of the six that goes in the transverse plane and it really screws up most guys.

Also, if you dont have long arms and a short back it is TORTURE,lol. Luckily I do and it was one of my favorite events and the one I probably had the most talent in. I had read about Marcy for years during high school and NOBODY swung like him, no one had the hip extension he did. He made EVERYBODY look weak on the horse .

I couldnt believe my good luck too, when I went to Woodward Gymnastics camp as a counselor( as opposed to the camper I had been three years previous) in the summer of 1977 and Marcy was a fellow instructor! I got to train pommell horse EVERYDAY with the greatest side horse man of all time. A true freak and mutant in all the best ways.
I learned more about side horse that summer than in all the time I had trained it before.
And what an inspiration!
This guy TRAINED! Like a animal. Obssesive in the very best way. He would do ten routines in a row and EACH ONE LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE THE OTHER! he would do THOUSANDS of nothing but CIRCLES.Forever. He would swing the horse like Tracy can the kettlebell. Forever.
And they had to be perfect. Every, single ,one.

The guy had control like hadn't been seen before, and his scissors were from another planet.So much better than everyone else he looked like a man among children.
He would also swim run and stretch like a maniac and he was the rarest of the rare: a pommel horse SPECIALIST. That would drive most normal men mad.
he set the stage and the standard for the most pommel horseman. Once people had seen how it could be done, nothing less would do.

PLUS he should get credit for inspiring what now is called the Thomas Flair. His break into scissors from circles was known as the Marcy Break and is the first MOVE of the Thomas Flair. All props to Kurt for taking it one step further but if it weren't for Ted it never would have been.
Too bad back then you had to be an All Around man to get into the Olympics; he would have won Gold Medals in side horse no problem. Now you can be a specialist and go. I would have still had a shot,even after my shoulder injury in specialists could go. Oh well.

Now he is a medical doctor somewhere and I bet he can still swing the horse like no one else.
Here's to you Ted, you never knew how much you helped me or inspired me. You showed me, first hand, how a true elite gymnast trained, everyday.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Swing's the thing and Happy Anniversary Girya!

Ah, I had come so close to forgetting. With my obsession with the snatch over the last year reaching epic proportions I had basically forsaken the swing entirely. I rationalized that the snatch was basically a swing with an overhead component and since I was trying to work Bikrams into the schedule as much as possible AND get my 50k snatches in I decided to let the swing go for awhile.

I went too long;now it's time to go back to basics and regroove my groove.Wednesdays has been heavy snatch day but today was all about the swing. Haven't done these as a full workout in so long I've forgotten just how satisfying they are. How simple and basic and safe and powerful they can be.
How there is no where to run, and nowhere to hide in a swing. How's its pure work from start to finish and you can do them from 3 rep sets of 300. Whatever you want it to be.Pure intensity or pure endurance.

Today for me was about regaining some strength and I haven't had my hands on anything heavier than the 24 kg in way too long. MY recent back injury made me even more leery about picking up more weight but the swing mechanics are different than the snatch.So after my 10 minute Russian Style Hot Bath warmup( hey, it DOES get cold here in Cali, I swear it does) Everything felt loose and ready and I knew I would get to play with 32 kg today.

I had to really focus on the techniques though; really make sure to load the hips, connect through the lat, breathe into the lower abs and LOCK in place as I started to transfer the power and build it through out the set.

I choose my all time favorite set and rep scheme -5x5's- as these let me totally concentrate on hardstyle form for each rep, not having that pesky cardio component in the way,messing up my strength.It was nice to have to focus hard but NOT be so scared my spine was going to pop out.
And I could really feel my old groove re-settling back in. My power groove- hips and upper thighs with a great back arch.
Brought back such fond memories of power squats and good mornings.ah the old days of strength.

Here's the workout
One Arm Swings

16 kg x5/5 x 3

worksets: weight ladders
28 kg x5/5

5 rounds of each ladder
50 24 kg swing: 2650 lbs
50 28 kg swings 3150lbs
50 32 kg swings 3600
9400 lbs of swings.

not bad for the first real swing workout back. I'll take it. It's a baseline and that's what I needed. I was conservativbe too with the work leaving a bunch on the table. Oh yeah, back to barefeet( wrestling shoes at the cold gym).

H2H transfers
24 kg x20 reps x 4 sets
4240 lbs

Havent done these either forever and it felt great. these always feel like much more of a pure leg/hip movement and I could use it. It's a far cry from my 85 reps with the 32 kg in one set but again, its a baseline.I ain't done.


12 kg x10/10 x 3 sets

Arm Bar


24kgx5/5 x2

these both are great moves. I trained for the first time in months at stones and it was cool that it was nice to be there again too.My clubs are at Girya but this was good.cold as hell but nice,lol. I need to keep the arm bars in there. It's actually something I'm good at,lol.

Really felt my legs today from the last two yoga workouts and it was a long day today and too little sleep last night.It always amazes me at just how much better I feel after the workout no matter how crappy I feel before it.This is good.Oh yeah, not a snatch to be found anywhere today and I feel fine about it,lol.

And yes, Girya goes into it's 8th year today! We were the first training studio in the country to focus it's training philosophy on the Russian Kettlebell back in 2003 and everyone thought I was crazy.
I am.

Like a fox. Now it's 2010 and the KB is EVERYWHERE! And we've been in the same location, doing our thing, evolving our thing for 7 full years and we are picking up speed. Now with Tracy's swing classes getting ready to bust out with a dvd, book and (s00n) webcast classes, and Jordan on fire on every front things are just going to get even better. This will get it's own post later.


Sunday, January 03, 2010

OK, I'm on a roll. This is like 3 routines in one. On both Pbars and Hi Bar

I have a new definition of strong.

Now this is Hardcore.

I LOVE seeing stuff like this: by yourself, in your apartment just getting it done. This is the magic of the kettlebell. Anytime, anywhere you want to kick your own ass it's easily done.This is Phiilip Davis,RKC ,USAF doing the USSST for 202 reps. Awesome work man, just awesome.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

" the only thing harder than figuring it out is remembering to do it."

These are words I should have tattooed somewhere I can see it. The key component of getting my back 'in place' two years agowas getting into Z health and figuring out that because of my knee injury my center of balance was totally off to my right, strong side. LOTS of Z drill standing on my left leg really helped bring me back into( somewhat) balance and with it went my back pain.
When my sacrum went out last year it was after my left knee locked up and I was hobling around on my right leg too much shifting me way out to the right. Too much yoga and not enough Z lead me to beleive that I WAS still in balance but obviously I was not.
I HAVE TO SET UP MY TWO LEG STANCE OFF MY LEFT LEG. Then set my right leg. That is where my center is. I can't forget that nor not check it regularly. Because also, if my lower body is off so is my upper body and thoracic spine and thats when thing went seriously wrong for me.
THanks again to Leslie Wu for giving me the lower body counter point( the thoracic spine) to assess.That started the whole ball rolling towards figuring this out again and getting out of pain. Thanks Leslie!

Too much lateral shifting of the lower body will create a corresponding and opposite lateral shifting of the upper body. At least for me,especially with scoliosis.This is why I felt as if I was being sheared in two along the frontal plane. NOT FUN at all. Don't need to experience that one again.

Long story long, my back seems to be holding and snatches today were back on track. I am still not confident enough to try to load on all the fronts that Max vo2 training loads one on: volume of total sets, volume of reps per set, speed of each rep, power of each rep and of course one serious cardiovascular component.

SO I stayed with freestyle max today with a goal of 50 total sets of 8( last week was 38 before I got tight) and not really knowing how fast I could go. Tracy and Meg were set for 70+ sets of 8 with the 16kg so I knew I had that inspiration to push me but I knew that I shouldnt push myself too much no matter what.

Freestyle Max Vo2 15:15
16 kg
50 sets of 8
400 reps
14,400 lbs

Not a bad way to start the new year,lol. I started off with 8's right from the get and found I wasn't needing to rest too much, probably about 20-25 seconds. As I warmed up I started resting less and trying to stay with either Tracy or Meg as they went, or go in between their sets. Pretty soon I would be able to strong together a bunch of 15 seconds rest, pacing off Tracy or Meg then I would need to stop and wipe the ridiculous amount of sweat off before proceeding.
I noticed I past the 30 set mark in 17 minutes which is not far off actual pace at all.

My rep and set speed started to slow down around 35 sets and I got a decent blister which reminded me to pace a but slower( Tracy later showed me her crazy TEAR she got with 20 sets to go- she did 72 total sets of 8!- didn't slow her down a bit).

I knew I could make my goal of 50 sets and had to skip a cycle of 15 second towards the end but all in all I felt very strong throughout, although my form is still in search mode. This is especially true since I took off the OL shoe I've been using forever. No worries though.Back to my original lumbo pelvic rythym it seems. That's good.

I don't know my total time as I gapped and didnt check my stop watch after I finished and settled in to watch Tracy and Meg finish their sets but I'm sure it wasn't too far off. Very happy with this.

One arm swings

24 kg x 5/5
x 6/6

Man this was hard!Lol,I wanted to make sure the back held but I could really feel these in my legs and hips, just where I wanted to. Each week slowly going up is solid. Want to make my way back to the 28kg 32 kg and 36kg for one arm swings. This is the most important assistance exercise for my snatches and I won't forget that again.

datsit for kbs. off to yoga with my beautiful yogini bride.