Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pressed for time.

Still a bit beat today from the weekend and all the excitement and andrenaline. Plus there are still clients to take care of and fit in extra as it will be a short week this week as well. So I got a late start on my workout today and decided to pay a visit to Stones Gym( my garage) and get things done there.Haven't trained there in ages it seems.

Tracy had already gotten all her classes and training in earlier( after what she did this weekend I would have taken a week off!) so I was solo. As usual when I miss some training( no Saturday Max swing Vo2 workout this weekend) getting started again is SO hard. Even one missed workout makes it seem like I haven't trained in ages, and since I am only getting two sessions a week with KBs missing one of them kills.

So I really really really didn't want to get going today but I knew there was no choice. Being tired doesn't count as a legitimate excuse. Plus, I knew I would feel much better after the workout. I was right. A nice quick HOT bath, some mental rehearsal and it was out to the cold damp gym.Perfect.

Since I was not feeling that energetic I didn't want to start with swings. My shoulders held together quite nicely after lots of presses during my demo on Saturday so I decided to combine presses and swing together and kill a few birds with one kettlebell.

The drill was: long cycle clean and press, transfer swing, repeat.I figured if I got lazy and did nothing else this would suffice.

Long cycle clean and press:
16 kg x5/5 x 2
24 kg x 1/1x 4 reps: 7 rounds

this worked great. I got presses and swings in in the same set and switching each rep really made it a nice slow start.

After seven sets I decided to finish with one set of straight presses:
24 kg x 8 right
x 7 left
x 8 right

I did this because Tracy taped the set and I thought I had gotten eight so I had to redo it.Since I did so many more left arm presses on Saturday I did an extra set on my right. Heres the video:

It's so nice to be able to press again and the 24 kg feels and moves like the toy weight it is. 'bout time.Building my press volume up again feels great and I can't wait to move some real weight. Patience though, patience and training.

One arm swings
24 kg x10/10 x 5 sets

wasn't going to do these but felt better after the presses and got them in. each set felt better than the last. Can't wait to snatch again after this weekend.

Hands on bosu ball , feet on floor 8 reps
hands on bosu ball, feet on stability ball 8 reps 2 sets
hand on bosu ball, feet on floor, 8 reps
Floor pushups 8 reps 2 sets

man doing these on unstable surface really got the triceps cooking ,just what I wanted.

Oh yeah, one hour of rolling and stretching out at 6 am.

datsit. feel much better now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

One down, one to go.

Team Rif San Jose RKC 2010
The first RKC of 2010 in California is in the books and the San Jose Cert rocked, as RKC's always do! The weather almost cooperated fully and we got a great day on Friday with no rain and moderate temperatures. The sky's were threatening but they didn't deliver. That day.

Swings and Getups are the order of the day for Day One at the cert and we went into to these most crucial moves in great detail from 9 am - 7 pm. You must be really prepared to work if you come to the RKC. It's no joke.
AskANY of the candidates. It's no joke. You've been warned.

But the level of incredibly detailed but simply explained and progressed information about how to do these moves and how they tie into everything else you do with a kettlebell is amazing. The drills work. They improve the skills. And the skills can make you stronger and more conditioned than anything else in a shorter amount of time than anything else.

My team was solid although everyone thinks they can swing and snatch and press until they get to the RKC. Then they realize it's ain't that easy. Simple, yes but not easy. But they had heart and guts and were willing to listen, learn and try their best to get it all done. The transformation from sheer rookie to almost seasoned kettlebell practitioner happened, as it does every cert, as if by magic, and those who couldn't previously did, and those who did did much better.

It's crazy but it happens all the time. You would think ALL this work would make people worse. All this information and data and detail would lead them to muscular and movement paralysis but it doesn't.
What it does,as the Chief Instructor says it does , is make them better men, even if they are ladies.

My back held up perfectly, although my knee was talking to me all day Saturday. OK, yelling at me, all day Saturday. Just not enough time to fully stretch out, but my back feeling so good made up for it.

I got to teach the clean first up Saturday am, and then, to my suprise, got to share the stage with Pavel himself as we co- taught the tensions segments of the press instruction and I got to give my 'strength is tension' lecture even though it was not planned.

It was a gas and an honor to work with the Man himself, especially on one of my favorite topics; strength and tension. I may not be able to put the pedal to the metal on this old muscle car but I did for real for a long time, and I know what I'm talking about. It's nice Pavel knows that too.

It was also too cool that the Kettlebell Queen, MY Queen, was taking the course over as well for her recert. She could have taken the easy way out and assisted to get her recert but she wanted to experience again the intensity of the RKC weekend, to really grok the information.She's been in serious training for this weekend for months and now it was time to perform.
some video of Tracy and the grad workout

She trained her getups and presses hard and consistently and got a PR strict Military Press with the 16 kg during my section of the press lecture. How cool is that? She can push press much more but the strict press is new to her. She rocked it. Needless to say she passed her snatch test easily and her teaching was the best I saw in the whole place.

Am I biased? Perhaps, but those who know me know if it wasn't true I would not write it. I take this stuff seriously. She did great.

The RKC manual just keeps getting better and better each cert. Tighter and sharper and more to the point. Pavel just keeps making the progressions that much simpler and more easy to follow. The standards are getting tighter and the consistency amoung RKC's will be getting even that much stricter. People can have serious confidence when they go to an RKC instructor for kettlebell training. They will know they are getting the same information and technique in New York as they do in Palo Alto.

It was also great to see and work with Peter Lakatos, Team Leader, from Hungary again. This man is the real deal on many, many levels and Tracy was lucky to have him as her Team Leader. We are going to Hungary to teach at RKC in August and Peter is putting it on. I CAN'T WAIT! Peter ROCKS! This man is smart and practices what he preaches. He is also about as passionate and serious about kettlebells and the RKC as you can get and that goes a LONG way with me.
I so look forward to working with him at the cert and getting RKC style kbs into Europe in a big way.

The skys opened up on us on Sunday so the day was spent inside. Not bad, actually, as technique testing and teaching testing do alright in a small environment. Easier to observe all the details and not be distracted.

So my back and leg held up really well and it's just three more days to the Level 2 RKC and another four days of crazy intense kettlebell intensity. How cool. Plus I get to see a whole ' nother set of my RKC brothers. Can't wait. Tracy will be there studying as she gets ready to train for her Level 2. 2010 is going to be kettlebell centric , dats for sure,lol.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Meet and Greet San Jose RKC 2010

Sr Instructor Whitley( the Iron Tamer), The Chief Instructors hisself, and me at the Meet and Greet San Jose RKC Level1 2010. Let the pain begin!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Man I miss this.

What a great deadlift. I so miss being on a platform with a heavy, a very heavy, loaded bar on the floor just sitting there, waiting, daring you to try to pick it up.
MY mind is there the body just aint.
I guess sixty's not that old if you've been training since your teens. This don't look sixty.

Positions of Strength.

Well it's getting very close indeed. The RKC , that is. And I want to make sure I am physically ready for it as best I can. Which means, among other things, that I taper this coming week and that started today.

Went in for an hour stretch out at 6 am as Tracy taught her swing class. Stretching my adductors as well as my quads and hip flexors with my new regime has become key to my back health. Or so it seems. I really don't care why, or even how, just that it works and it seems to be working well. As well as standing all day too. Any port in a storm.

Also, not trying to adjust my swing technique to any specific biomechanical angle or movement pattern that may or may not work for anyone else. Just what seems to be my strongest and safest position(s). It's the same as my deadlift.It wasn't pretty but it was my strongest position and I could work it. Same here.

And the same with my press. I've got to concentrate on feeling the correct position, the position of strength. I know where it is, for me, on each lift. I just have to TRUST and go with what my body tells me, not just my mind. That's wrong way more than my body. Theory is great but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. It's hard to argue that.

One arm swings/ transfers
16 kg x5/5/5x2
20 kg x5/5/5

24 kg x5/5/5x 16 sets
240 reps
12,720 lbs

Ack, I thought the rep total was higher.I would have, and could have easily done more. Things felt great today. As Tracy said after the workout ," you looked normal today". And that's how it felt. Normal. Not adjusting and looking for the aftermath after each set; did it hurt me that time.

Just a set of swings, a short rest and another set.Done strongly and powerfully and with ease and grace. About time. But I played it safe and did not do too much as the last thing I want is to be at all going into this weekend. I will be sore enough at the end of the four days. Yes, four, the cert starts for me on thursday with the equipment setup, assistant testing and the Meet and Greet. Here we go!

Clean and Press, long cycle
24 kg x2/2 x 5 sets

these were great, easy and just how they should feel. I know it's light but the groove felt so good. and my lockout,even on my right, was solid. I have started starting all presses on the left side, my stronger side,as this seems to really HELP the groove on the right.
The opposite of what I've been doing for years; starting on the weak side.

Gray Cook believes you should start on the strong side to "teach" the weak side, neurologically, how to do the movement right and I now believe he's right,lol. I've been experimenting with clients and it pans out . Go figure.

Rolling db extensions

20 lbs x 20. 15, 13, 12 , 10

very short rest and great pump,lol. The pipes will be back......

Floor pushups
four sets of 8-5 done slowly and with max tension at the top.

this feels SO weird to be able to do these again. The book I should write should be on pressing as I know more about that than virtually anything else. My best and most natural lift by far. I wnat to press the Bulldog first though :))

Have to get to 165 first and that's a way's off. No worries.

datsit. It's good not to be in pain :))

Monday, February 15, 2010

Swinging Pipe

What's the only thing harder than pommell horse? High Bar! This is some great footage from the 1986 Goodwill Games. Talk about taming the arc.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Swing Vo2; bumping up the load.

The RKC is coming.I'm teaching the clean again this weekend, too. I love this move.One of the toughest for the average person to get.

Although I have an RKC this next weekend I thought I might be able to bump up the training intensity a bit by using the 20 kg in my swing vo2 workout this morning at Girya with Tracy and Meg.
(Knock on wood) my back has been feeling almost normal these days and I've adjusted my swing groove to accommodate this. Swings went very well on Tuesday, even though the volume wasn't that high and that gave me some confidence.

I even got in a 30 minute workout on Thursday consisting of rack walks, clubbell torch presses, pushups and rolling db extensions- my all time FAVORITE tricep exercise! I did circuits with each of the exercises just trying to get some blood moving and a decent little pump in my upper body as I try to increase my upper body mass a bit. While my legs won't grow for anything my upper body tends to grow like a weed and it's time I got to work my strengths a bit again.The presses are definitely helpful for this but the pushups and triceps extensions will really make things grow fast.

I am actually eating more too and that will help as well. When you want to add muscle you have to add protein to the menu and that's what I'm doing.More muscle formula( so simple):

Break it down
Rest it
Feed it protein to heal= muscle hypertrophy.

There ya go. Not strength but size. You can break it down so many ways and they all work.Tension is tension.
Still hate eating too early in the day so I will get a protein powder shake going with no carbs.I like Metrx protein plus the best.I know it works for me.

30 minutes stretching, foam roller and stability work( horse stance). Really getting great results from doing A LOT of adductor stretching with some very wide stances in a multitude of angles. Crazy how that is so connected to my back pain, but it is.Lots of in line hlaf kneeling stretches as well, really emphasizing my left soleus and rectus femoris. Didn't know they were that tight but with a knee that only flexes 90 degrees it makes sense, really.

Saturday Swing Vo2 15:15
16 kg x 10 reps per arm x 20 sets
20 kg x 9 reps per arm x 10 sets
16 kg x 10 reps per arm x 20 sets
20 kg x 9 reps per arm x 10 sets

40 sets with 16 kg =400 reps/ 14,400 lbs
20 sets with 20 kg= 180 reps/7920 lbs

total reps=580
total load=22,320

Wow,that does add up fast.Nice. I definitely could have pushed it and gotten 10 reps per arm with the 20 but I wanted to play it safe today and 9 was stable. This was a bunch more work and my heartrate was higher than with the 16 kg but still no where near as high as it gets with snatches. We'll get back to those soon enough. This is re building my base and right now, that's what I need most.

Clubbell Torch Press
10 lbs x 5/5x2
15 lbx5/5x2
20 lbx 3/3 x 2

These were a bit harder than expected, as I had done some on Thursday and they were easier. But I hadn't just done almost 600 hi intensity swings first either. Should have stretched overhead more prior. next time. Was a bit sloppy with these at first as the weight is light and I wasn't paying enough attention.You can hurt yourself with bad form with light weights no problem. Hell I can hurt myself sleeping.
Pay attention!Keep the lat engaged and the shoulder in the socket. Basic press technique.

Floor pushups:

these continue to get easier and more stable although doing them for the second time this week ( ok third) and after Boldcb presses they worked me harder than I expected.Lots of stick stretches, behind back and overhead between sets. fast pace though with lots of tension with each rep.

Snatch holds
16 kg x30 sec each arm , three sets

Wanted to activate the rotator cuff after all that pressing and nothing works it better for me than these. Plus it felt great to actually snatch a kb again!

16 kg rack walks

asymmetrically again, right arm clean and rack walk and left arm suitcase farmers style. about 1000 feet continuous.

finished with more straddle and hammy stretches and foam roller.

Off to in and out burger for some protein. Can you say double double?LOL


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inside out.

Just like Tom Platz changed the bodybuilding world when it came to leg training and development, Rich Gaspari re -defined the bodybuilding world when it came to what it meant to get ripped. REALLY RIPPED. Literally inside out.
I was lucky enough to get to interview him for American Muscle Magazine about his video training series about his training and dieting methods.. He set the bar very, very high.
Amost zero bodyfat and maximum muscle density. The "goal" was, to make the first front rows of the audience get sick, lol. Be That freaky.
He was also the guest poser for my last, best bodybuilding show.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Presses and swings.

Man it seems like I haven't gotten to train in ages. I missed my Saturday workout due to the HKC and I was jones'in for a workout. Haven't felt that in a long time. It is good.
Jordan came in so I could work with him on his press and pullup as he fine tunes his training for the Level 2 cert coming up in three weeks so I decided to press first. Haven't done that in eons either.

I have decided to use some specialized variety in my press training, or 'the same but different'. Two weeks ago I did long cycle clean and military press. Last week I did military presses again but with only one clean per press. Today was double stacked presses.

I love these! For some reason they are easier for me than single bells( at least in some ways). I like the thicker grip when pressing; it seems to increase my leverage and make the groove more solid.Balancing the suckers is not easy and I haven't done them for years but I got it under control pretty quickly.

I worked my way up from the 12 and 8 kg, to 2 12's, to 1 12kg and 1 kg to 2 16 kg. That's 32 kg of weight and I was very happy when it went so strongly , on both arms no less. Ah,it's good to feel strong again.

Double stack kb press
1 8kg/1 12= 20 kg x 5 reps per arm
2 12 kg= 24 kg x 3 reps per arm
1 12kg/1 16kg = 28 kg x 1 rep per arm
2 16 kg=32 kg x 1 rep per arm

NICE! The plan is to do a bit more upper body work again and put some more mass on, or, as I tell my bride, more beef. Beef is good.

See saw press
I wasn't done pressing but I was done with the double stack press so I went to see-saws. Haven't done these either in years but I was hoping they wouldnt bother anything since it is one of my strongest and favorite moves.Everything went up splendily.

2 20's x 5
2 24's x 3 x 3 sets

One arm Swings

Now to swings! I was a bit cooked but things opened up very quickly.

24 kg x8/8x 3 sets/ 48 reps
28kg x8/8/16 reps
32 kg x 7/7x 3 sets 42 reps
24 kgx10/10 x5 sets 100 reps
206 total reps

Floor pushups

5 sets of 8-10 slow and strict. These keep feeling better and better.

CB arm casts
10 lbx 10/10
15 lb x10/10x3


did one hour of joint mobility,horse stances, foam rolling, static stretching and overhead stick work at 6 am as Tracy taught her swing class.Can't forget the small stuff and I continue to stand all day at work as well. Hate this but it's helping and necessary as I prepare for the next two long ass certs coming up!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Second HKC Palo Alto is in the books!

Just got back from our second HKC at GiryaStrength, Russian Kettlebells Palo Alto. We started at 8 am and got finished right on schedule at 4 pm. Serious serious kettlebell work for 8 straight hours. It was like Day One at an RKC with my own team for the entire time. I LOVE this stuff!.

Thanks so much for the assistance from my beautiful and amazing wife Tracy and the next rising star of the RKC, Jordan Vezina. It was great to have you both there for your inspiration as well as incredible wealth of knowledge.

We had six candidates from all over and one came from Singapore! Next stop, RKC level one in two week then Level two in three!Both in my hometown of San Jose. Does it get any better? Then more HKC's . What a great life!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Lots of little stuff; and swings and presses,medium intensity.

Got to Girya early today to teach some joint mobility to Tracy's swing class and spent the rest of the hour stretching out, foam rollering , doing horse stances and generally doing what I should be doing to keep things open and functioning.

Still standing at work and surprisingly ( not) the weekend, with much less standing and much less stretching and way more sitting and lying produced more back tightness than the entire week before. go figure.

so it was back to work, literally today and by the time I got to my swing workout I was really ready to go and feeling surprisingly strong. I kept my same , wider stance but today I was moved to let myself hinge over more, like the bottom position in my profile, than I have been doing. Let myself 'follow the bell' more, if you will.

this was prompted by a conversation Tracy and I had last night about my swing and snatch form and how it was so different than the profile picture she took. I am learning evermore to really listen to that still small voice, and my 'gut' and it told me to let myself bend over more and follow the bell. I was amazed at how strong I felt and how easy the reps came. 'bout time.

One arm swings
16 kg x5/5

24 kg x5/5
x10/10 x 2 rounds
180 reps
9540 lbs

I wanted a lighter workout today, so as NOT to get tweaked right before the coming weekend HKC. I have priorities,lol. But I was very very surprised and delighted just how strong I felt( all swings were to chin height no problem) and good my back and groove felt. I havent done tens in so long and last time they were hard,lol.

Short cycle Clean and Press( one clean per press set)
20 kg x 5/5
24 kgx5/5

Had aspirations of doing 5/5x5 in the presses but again, wanted to be conservative as the cert comes up and I haven't been pressing regularly. They were SO easy, but still tiring.I am out of pressing shape.Not for long.

5 sets of 8

these felt much stronger than even on Saturday, which felt good. still need to go slower than I want to, just to make sure my shoulders don't fall off my body any time soon. It feels SO good to press again. I appreciate it now. When I was powerlifting and my bench was so good and so easy and so natural I had no appreciation for it, or my talent. I really wasted a lot of great effort as I focused almost ALL my mental and physical efforts on my weak points, the squat and deadlift.

I know I could have benched 500 at 198 if I had let myself 'love' my strong point lift, instead of holding in contempt( " the only lift you do lying down,lol"). No worries, I'm glad it seems like I can press a bit again.

One arm Clubbell casts

10 lbs x 10/10/10/10
15 lb x8/8 x 3 sets

mo' triceps.