Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Max effort press

I had high hopes for today after Saturday's great high pull and snatch workout. I wanted to go in really rested and ready to lift some heavier weight but life can sometimes get in the way of training and that was the case today. I was ready but not rested. Yesterday went very long and was way stressfull.
The idea of max effort training is to just go the limit of that day, with no psyching or adrenaline, and lift as much as you can, so I geared it down a bit and went to see what I could do.

It's always good when I get to lift with my favorite training partner and student, my lovely wife, and that always makes me stronger.She's a tough crowd too so I have to be on my toes. She works on her Level 2 skills on Tuesday after leading 3-4 30-45 minute kettlebell classes AND a one hour spin class.

This is not her main Level 2 day so it's not that bad if she's a bit tired but she always hangs tough and does what I ask her to.

A good psych can add 5-15% to an experienced lifters performance but also burn you out for weeks(especially as you get older); so the idea is to lift intensely but not get your blood pressure up.
I always know when the psych is there as I can literally feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I LOVE that feeling but's for testing and competition, not training. Just hard solid work.

Started the day with 50 solid minutes of stretching, rolling and stick work for the shoulders. I love doing this as Tracy kicks her classes ass. They are tough chicks too, the one's that keep showing up, that is,lol.

And that ain't easy.

But no pysch today and I wanted to start right out with press I needed to do some light swings first just to uncreak myself and that's when I knew things were really dicey.

I started to feel my lats and abs contract hard, too hard on my 24 and 28 kg one arm swings so instead of going to the 32 and 36 kg I went right to pressing and warmed up slow. I knew I didnt have much in the tank.

20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5
28 kgx5/5

KB Press
20kg x3/3

32kgx1/1x 3 sets

This went ok although the weight felt heavy. Cleaning it and holding it but not pressing it. I guess that's good and all three reps moved fast and stayed in their groove( like all good presses should).
I had thought about doing pullups next but I also wanted to do heavy cleans and knew I better get to that first ,so:

One arm cleans
36 kgx3/3 x 3 sets

this was tough and I almost had to psych up a bit after the first set when I felt it get real heavy.Ok I focused in more with no problem. they got lighter after that. I just have to go slow(er) and be patient and remember, REMEMBER taht being pain free is way more important than how heavy I lift. You can always put more weight on a bar or get a heavier bell.
The weight always wins that way.

But it did feel good to have that bell up in the rack.

Tactical pullups

5sets of 3

these felt strong and it was nice to stretch out in the hang.I have to also not let myself get too sore or tight.

Goblet squats
12 kg x3 prying drill style
16 kg x 3 long reps prying to get deeper.

wow I actually squatted something. wow.it's been years since I was the most obsessed squatter in the world.I've been stretching the squat pattern for a few years now and might be ready. we'll see tomorrow am,lol

Crooked arm bars
20 lb kb for 2 sets

these are getting better.and I think part of it is from the brettzels.

datsit. more stretching later, I'm tight already.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The flyer for the workshop

Muscle, Strength and Condition Workshop May 2,2010

With Master Instructors Mark Reifkind and David " The IronTamer" Whitley and the "Queen of the Kettlebell Swing, Tracy Reifkind RKC.

sign up here:


9-10:30 Lessons of the Old-Time Strongmen with Dave Whitley
11-12:30 KB Swing Progressions with Tracy Reifkind
12:30-1:30 Lunch—provided
1:30-3:00 Lats, the Super Muscles with Mark Reifkind
3:30-5:00 Irontamer Kettlebell Action with Dave Whitley
5:15-6:00 Open Q&A with Rif, Dave and Tracy


This workshop will be filmed for DVD. Attendees will receive a free set of DVDs approximately two months after the event.

Master RKC

Lats, the Super Muscles

Most people want to get stronger and look stronger at the same time. Lucky for them the two are synonymous! Learn the secrets of where back strength comes from, how to create pulling and pushing power. Superior lats can change the way you look, as well as what you can do with a kettlebell, barbell or your bodyweight.

In this workshop seminar you will learn

  • Latissimus Dorsi: A brief anatomy and kinesiology lesson—Where they are and what they do
  • Lats and the kettlebell swing: How to use your lats to really put power in your swing
  • Lats and the kettlebell press: How to increase your pressing power and save your shoulders using this super muscle
  • How to build your lats with the kettlebell press: Build your lat size and strength at the same time as you strengthen your overhead press
  • Pull-up power: How to use the kettlebell press to increase your pull-up strength and endurance, with or without training the pull-up
  • How to use your lats properly in the barbell bench press: The secret to the most popular barbell lift of all
  • Row, row row your lats: Use the horizontal bodyweight row to up your strength in the bench press and build your wing size
  • The upper body squat: Using the dumbbell pullover for ultimate upper body development in ONE exercise. A neglected exercise that stands the test of time, learn the secrets of this amazing movement
  • You’ve tightened them, now stretch them out! Learn how to stretch and open up these big crucial back muscles.

Master RKC

Lessons of the Old-Time Strongmen

  • Definitions of strength
  • Discuss some of the record lifts that remain unbroken after decades such as Goerner’s 727lb 1-hand DL, Saxon’s Bent press & 2 hands anyhow and others, even with modern technology and gear
  • How these men trained to get so strong and why we should pay attention
  • Modern performing strongmen training methods
  • How breath relates to strength, discussion of various breathing techniques to enhance strength and recovery
  • How it all comes down to grip and hips

Irontamer Kettlebell Action

  • How to use the kettlebell as a tool to teach movement and tension principles
  • Why the getup is the foundation for all grinding kettlebell lifts
  • How to perform the bent press—a detailed step-by-step breakdown
  • How to boost your military pressing power


Kettlebell Swing Progressions

The kettlebell swing is without a doubt the most important of all the kettlebell exercises, but who really knows how to train it properly? For most trainees, this is a throwaway move, done at the end of the workout for a minimal number of sets and reps as they strive to get into the more “exciting” movements of the snatch, clean and press and jerks.

But Tracy Reifkind has changed all that with her original kettlebell choreography and progressions method allowing one to use just the basic kettlebell swing for an almost unlimited number of routines and intensity increases.

Learn how to program the kettlebell swing for the ultimate in muscular and cardio conditioning with just a few basic progressions and concepts.

Tracy regularly takes her clients—just regular people—from barely able to do 10-rep swing sets to being able to crank out 600 swings in 30 minutes… no problem! And without getting bored!

Learn how to maximize the most basic and important kettlebell exercise for the most efficient results possible.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Max Vo2 based training.

This is what Tracy calls her max vo2 workouts; maxvo2 based workouts. She's done all the strict protocols, including the LAT and Boost training and uses the basic interval template of equal work to equal rest as the baseline. But then she 'creates' new workouts every time, changing them, as always, to make it harder not easier.

I thought about this after I had a little epiphany yesterday. Right after I wrote my post about using the WSB template to train my strict kb press I realized I should switch from snatching during Saturday's max vo2 workout to high pulls . I felt that this might contribute more to to my pressing goals than strict snatches. It's all about the details and the goal. If high pulls will help
High pulls will create more upper back/shoulder work and I would like to put some more mass on in that area.

BUT I still have to finish the 50kg snatch challenge as well. I also would like to add another day of kb training, slowly so I don't mess myself up but another day would make it easier to get in all the things I want to do.
I thought about training one day in snatches for just max reps on each arm and that's it for the say in snatches. High rep training but going slower and having it be more low intensity than the explosiveness of max vo2 work.

The longer set ( tension) will add mass as well, although in a different way.More red fiber. But mass is mass at a certain point.Louie always said the easiest way to put pounds on your total was to eat more.

But I missed snatches last week so decided on a compromise: 6 sets of high pulls followed by 6 sets of snatches all in 15:15 worksets. It worked out great!

High Pull/snatch Vo2
16 kg
56 total sets
28 sets of 7 hi pulls=196 reps
28 sets of 7 snatches=196

392 reps
14,112 lbs

nice! I haven't done high pulls in ages and I forgot how much I like them and their unique groove.One of my favorite RKC workouts is the Right of Passage done with Hi pulls. laddering up from 10/10 to 20/20 in an " I go, you go" style give you 200 reps in 10 minutes.Loads of fun.
I've done it with the 24 kg and that ain't no joke. It's not as hard as snatching it but it's tough.
I can see if I do just a high pull workout that I could use the 20kg for 7's or the 16 for 8 or 9 reps.

Today's workout was solid and I stretched out for 30 minutes beforehand which really helps me.
Lots of lying hammy strap stretches, brettzel's( this is making a HUGE difference in my overhead position it seems) straddle stretches and stick work.

5 sets of 10
2 sets of 8

strict and slow. these kicked my butt!Lots of good tricep, pec, front delt and mid back work.Plus lots of 'pressing' reps. a press is a press is a press. the angles just change a bit but the mechanics don't.

Clubbell Arm casts
10 lb x10/10
15lbs x10/10
20lbs x 5/5
x 7/7
15 lbs x15/15

more good tricep and lat work.

more brettzels and hamstring stretches.

The schedule is shaping up like this

Max vo2 based high pulls and/or snatches
Volume pushups
Clubbell work for arms
rack walks

KB press ; alternate max effort and technique/volume day
Tactical pullups; either alternating with presses or as a stand alone exercise
KB cleans; variations according to press version above
Triceps( variations of extensions)

High rep snatches, one set ( goal = max reps with each arm- steady state training)
Heavy swings( alternate: one arm , two kb, two hand, stacked bells)
Goblet squat

man if I could get to being able to do two handed or two kb swings AND some squatting it would be awesome. Just have to make myself go very slowly and assess along the way with calm disspassion.
Yeah, right :))

Looks like a good start.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A WSB approach to the KB Military press.

I'm actually starting to think I will be able to train to get a bit stronger again. I thought that was over forever, truly, and that I would never be able to push myself under some heavy(er) iron again. And I probably shouldn't but I'm not talking about getting under 3 or4 or 500lbs I'm just talking about wanting to press the Bulldog.

Since my back cleared up and my snatch hasn't been trained my press has been feeling good. Very good. And safe, as well. Much less dynamic and ballistic, of course, than the snatch. And I think my body can safely handle the levels of tension I will have to produce to strict press the Bulldog at a bodyweight of 160-165. That's more than half my bodyweight at age 53; not too bad, I guess.

I've been day dreaming about it and that's a good thing. A very good thing. That's how I've always prepared for training and competitions; I would dream about them. See myself doing it, feeling, in the muscles of the mind, how exactly, in minute detail what it would be like. I would practice it in my head.

When I was a gymnast I dreamt about gymnastics every single night for 7 years. All through high school and my three years at Iowa. To say I was obsessed is kinda an understatement, but remember I had very little talent and lots of will power. And big dreams.

And this is a little dream but I am starting to think like a lifter again and it's cool.Working at Girya all day, everyday, looking at that chunk of iron, now with Max Shank's hand print in chalk on the sides and wanting to put it overhead, Knowing I can, probably right now if I had to, but also knowing I will take the safer and slower road and actually train for it, prepare for it and relearn what I already know how to do.

I was just about to wipe Max's paw print from it to make it mine again but then thought:I can't do that until I press it . Til it is mine. Until then it's still his, he owns it. That and much more but I will own it too. Until then it will just taunt me and that's ok. It will keep me on track.

When I start thinking about my training goals I also start thinking about program design and exactly HOW I need to get to where I want to go. I have always loved the Westside barbell template as it is so simple and direct in it's approach. It's all about all the components of strength and body mechanics and muscles and how to tweak them to your specific strengths and weaknesses.

You never fail a lift, Louie would say, a muscle failed. A weak link showed up. Make that stronger and the lift will improve. Until another link fails and you fix that. And on, and on...

So onto the press

I'm thinking about alternating a heavy day, which would be the equivilant to Max effort day with a volume day.One day per week. I would work up to an almost 100% non psych effort and then go to work on my specific weak points in the press. each week the lift would change.

Specialized Variety. Same but different

week one: strict military press( * done for either max weight or max reps)
week two: bottoms up press
week three: palm press
week four: one kb floor press
week five: start over at week one or test the lift.

working up until I can do 4-6 lifts above 90% of my best. doing mutliple reps above 90% really helps you develop the endurance to do 2-3 really tough attempts at a weight in case you miss.

The next week
Just the classic lift ( strict kb press) done for 5x5 or 4x8 or some basic volume load with a medium weight 70-75% of my best( or my goal) so the 24 or 28kg. slow steady lifts with perfect form and concentration

then cleans as an assistance exercise
one arm cleans or bottoms up cleans or two kb cleans.
on the heavy day go for the weight that you want to press and on the volume day do, well, volume. your press is only as good as your clean.

I will also work the tactical pullup on this day using specialized variety here too.I know I can do the Level 2 requirement of 24 kg hooked on the toes. so this will be part of the training template as well.same muscles as the press, just in reverse :))

then some triceps( pushups, weighted or reps) and some clubbell work should round it off.

It's nice to feel like my old self again,even if just a bit.

will write this down more clearly later.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dragon Door TV

San Jose RKC Level1, 2010
For all things RKC. I love this: DragonDoor TV.

The Party just keeps on growing by leaps and bounds!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Training is not an option.

The thing I hate most about frequent travel is that it messes up my training . It's really impossible for anyone to follow a consistent, progressive training program when they are constantly getting on an off a plane, changing time zones, sleeping in strange beds and eating different foods.

This is not to say one cannot maintain their training, in some fashion or another, but real training, where one pushes their workloads and intensity to their max levels, recovers and does it again, over and over and over is almost impossible. At least for me. I must be a delicate flower but traveling kicks my butt.

Olympic athletes don't follow such regimented training schedules, which includes serious accomodations for rest and recovery, not to mention recovery modalities such as hydro therapy and message for nothing. One can only adapt to that which they can recover from and one can only recover if they have some sort of stability in their life. How many times do you hear about Olympic athletes choosing NOT to stay in the Olympic Village as their are just so many variables beyond the coaches, and the athletes control that they don't want to take the risk of messing up the process.

Now I am no longer training anywhere near that level, and so much of the last few years my training has been way more about rehab than traditional "training" but it matters not. Not to me. I take my rehab training as seriously as I do my classic training for whatever skill or sport I am trying to improve. Always have. It's my main tool to improve. And to learn.

One of my own favorite phrases is : "training is the source".And to me that's absolutely true. It's the source of my knowledge about so many things; the wisdom of the body and perfection of movement just a small percentage of the gifts that consistent, progressive, conscious training will bring to you. Or at least to me.

All I know about the body and how to train myself and others has really come from that field. In the field, working out the problems and roadblocks that life and orthopedics throw at me.

And I don't mind at all. What I do mind is the constant interruptions that leave me feeling like I am Sisyphus, constantly pushing the boulder up to the top of the hill only to have it roll down before I have to start over. Hell, I would love to get the damn thing up to the top of the hill once in awhile,lol, before starting over.

I LOVE the feeling of ever growing strength and endurance.Of confidence in my body and ability and intimate knowledge of exactly where I am at the time physically, because my training has told me so. Things can be predicted, and controlled. At least as much as they ever can be.

This consistency is also necessary for me to experience that 'flow state' where one is not separate from the experience. One is completely and totally immersed in their activity and energy, and strength seemingly have no limits.

I have felt that space many, many ,many times and I love it. Crave it. But it has to be earned and one never knows where or where it is going to show up. But I know, from my experience, that it never shows up when my training is inconsistent or haphazard or a cacophony of starting over noise.One has to be physically and mentally ready for it to show up as well as be worthy to accept it. You have to be ready to receive Grace.

It's been a great start of the year for my teaching but really rough for my training. And today was no exception.I understand why people don't keep their training going when they start and stop all the time; they feel weak and unmotivated and incapable of doing what they previously did easily. It sucks.

But the only way to overcome it is to go right through it and hang tough til you feel human again, a bit,and start to feel your strength, and your will, return.

I would have loved to have trained heavy today, done some 32kg and above KB presses and really start back on my travels to press personal bests but uncommon sense and plain fear told me to start slow, again, and take my time building my strength back. Ugh.

6 am stretchout

Joint mobility followed by
foam roll
straddle stretch work
SSLR with strap( static straight leg raise)
Overhead should stretches with stick
FMS shoulder mobility test position stretch
behind back stick stretch
squat stretch
inline lunge stretch
downdog/up dog

50 minutes total

8:30 am
One arm swings( warmup)
16 kg x10/10 x4 sets

Long Cycle Clean and Strict Press
16 kg x5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5x2

24 kg x3/3
28 kg x 1/1 x 2 sets

Tactical Pullups

I did these alternating with a press set
2 rounds of 1,2,3

Man the presses felt heavy, weak and awkward and those were just the 16 kgs! Lol. Lovely. Yet the beauty of having trained, consistently, for 39 years, is that I KNEW I would feel better if I just didnt stop. If I just didn't quit I would feel my strength and my coordination return.

Hell, My Body return.
And it did. Again. Thank God.

I knew my strength and endurance would be off and I knew I wouldn't have much left for presses if I swung first and vice versa so I decided to do long cycles and combine them. MAN these are hard. Way hard but so efficient!

But I felt myself getting stronger by the minute.

One arm Cleans

28 kg x 3x5

These were nice. I want to clean the weights I want to press the next workout; let my body "feel" it a bit. Can't wait to be cleaning the Bulldog,lol.

Weighted Floor Pushups

bw x10
15 lb x8
20 lb x5
25 lbs x 5
bw x10

These felt very solid<. I just need heavier weights now. Maybe two clubs on my back.

Clubbell Shield cast
10 lbs x 10/10
15lb x5/5 x 2

Was finally starting to warmup when my hour was up and my client arrived. Good stopping point, when I felt human again. Ahh.
Many demons were killed during the session.

Am bodyweight 159.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

HKC Tempe, Arizona, 2010.

Arizona's first ever HKC was a great success and thanks so much to Keats Snideman and Reality Based Fitness for hosting us.
Keats is a real deal athlete , student of the body and movement and one humble guy and I learned tons from being with him this weekend. It's always an honor and an inspiration to be around people that live the life and walk their talk and Keats is one of these guys.

We had six very well prepared people and Tracy and I so enjoyed spending the day teaching them and showing them just how much can get done with one little cannonball with a handle. This was our forth HKC and they just keep getting better and easier and more relaxed.

The transformations I see on Day Three of the RKC and I now see, in miniature, at the end of Day One at our HKCs.What an honor to be part of that transformation. HKC Burlingame in three weeks!~ Can't wait.

Video to follow.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Swings, presses,swings and some new stuff

In keeping with the bit of sanity I have gotten lately I remembered not to train too hard or too heavy today as we have the Tempe HKC this weekend and I have a lot of training to go through on Saturday, not to mention travel, which is always hard on this delicate flower.

Tracy and I are training even earlier on tuesdays now so I get to start my workout at the beginning of the workday instead of the end. Much better but it requires even more warming up for these old bones. SO even though the gist of the training today was due to be presses I started with swings instead.

Oh yes,I also got a full hour of flexiblity and mobility work in from 6-7 am as Tracy led her swing classes. I actually got both shoulders to the floor in my Bretzell today for the first time! Crazy fast changes. Love this move.

16kgx5/5/5/5x 3
20 kgx5/5/5/5
24 kgx5/5
28 kgx5/5
32 kgx5/5

it took a bit but I actually did get warmer,lol.

Press( short cycle, one clean then all the reps)
24 kg x5/5x 5 sets

these were so easy I can't beleive it. Felt exactly as I wanted and they flew up. Tried not to use too much lat in the start as they are still sore from all the snatches on saturday. Guess I am using my lats correctly in my max vo2 work.

Stability ball pushups

wanted to do something unstable to make it a bit harder instead of adding weight. Haven't donethese in years and it felt great to play with them again. SO nice to be able to push again without my shoulders yelling at me.

Clubbell Shield Casts
10 lbs x 10/10, 12/12, 14/14 16/16


back to the swing for some more volume
24 kg x 5/5

these felt great and I was finally fully warm and wanted to do much more but I knew I shouldn't .So I did some other stuff I shouldn't do instead,lol. Hanging leg raises?

Hanging leg raises

man it just KILLS me to not be able to do SO many things I did so easily for most of my life. Hanging leg raises were nothing for me and watching so many struggle with them at the Level 2 cert just brought back the memories of how good I was at them before all this back stuff reared it ugly head and i quit doing any ab exercise at all. But of course since things are going well I decided to test it a bit. Ijust did two sets and they were as easy as I remember:

Tactical pullups

I was on a stupid roll so why not. Its bad when clients cancel and I have too much time on my hands. these were easy too.

more bretzells, straddle stretches and such


Monday, March 15, 2010

There's nothing in your way when you're ten.

If you are a trainer, read this.

Mike Perry hits the nail right on the head. Why ARE you a trainer?

GREAT pressing drill from Max Shank

Like Max, I think the bottoms up press is THE drill for learning and teaching the correct positions not only for the strict Military pressing but bench pressing as well. The vertical forearm and lat engagement is the key and this drill by Max maximizes( pun intended) both.Enjoy.

thanks Max

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Do this. The Brettzell by the Man himself.

I have been doing this daily since the Level 2 cert and you should too.I almost NEVER see a person with adequate Thoracic Spine Mobility and this drill is the way to obtain it. By the guy the move is named after, MRKC Brett Jones:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

3836 to go.Snatch Vo2 workout

Wow, my first snatch workout in almost two months. When my back got so bad that I didn't know where to turn I stopped doing yoga AND I stopped snatching. I didn't think the snatch was the culprit but I wasn't going to take any more chances, so I stopped snatching and overstretching.

My back is( knock on wood) better than it has been in months and months and I suspect it was more about the yoga than anything so I decided to add back some snatches into the mix today. I wanted to be conservative as we went into this high volume workout( our Saturday Max Vo2 day) with Tracy, Nick and Meg at Girya so I started with 6 reps per 15 sec work bout and did just 30 sets total. I could have done much more, which was the point. I could have done 7's and another 15-20 sets as well but I know that's not about doing the workout as much as it is surviving it tomorrow.
I finally got to put some snatch numbers back on the snatch race manager website and I now only have 3836 snatches to go to get my 50k done! It's taken longer than I wanted it to but it's finally going in the right direction again.

Snatch Vo2
15:15 16 kg
30 sets of 6(180 reps)
20 sets of 9 swing reps
4 sets of 7

208 snatch reps

Instead of stopping after I knew I had done enough snatches I continued with one arm swings which were, suprsingly, pretty hard after the snatches. I had thought about doing 10 rep sets but 9 seemed smarter.
I finished up with sets of 7 at the end just 'cause :)) My back felt fine and I think it will be tomorrow as well. It's nice to almost feel 'normal' again.

Pushups( I go , you go fashion)

10 sets
64 reps

I was doing these too fast the first sets of 8 and my shoulder wasn't staying stable so I slowed it down, dropped the reps and things got back into place.

25 Lb Clubbell Barbarian Press

6 sets of 5 each arm

these were a bit tough after the pushups> haven't done these in awhile either.
great workout.I don't know what fresh hell Tracy was up to in her workout but I know it involved doing numerous sets of max snatches on just one arm before switching. The woman is a Machine!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Capt. Kirk IS powerlifting.

You gotta have the right screws loose to be a good powerlifter, and Kirk does. Man I miss this, no matter how bad it is for you. I lived this life for 15 years and loved every minute of it. You want intensity, get under the heaviest bar you ever had in your life, THEN add some weight to it.

Capt Kirk speaks:

and this

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Heavy swings and some light juggling

40 kg stacked swing
My plan to override the DOMS that would surely be settling in Monday by training on that day didn't really plan out and I woke up pretty stiff and sore this AM. Not the best condition for heavy swing day but oh well. I started off with 50 minutes of solid stretching first, after starting Tracy's swing class off with joint mobility.
Foam rolling, straddles,bretzells, my new rope assisted hamstring stretch, squat stretches, prone cobras, horse stances( vert) and THEN into shoulder stretching with stick work overhead and behind my back and hanging from the TAPS bar. 50 minutes straight of pure stretching. Just what the doctor ordered.

Then, at 11:30 am:

Two KB stacked Swings
( two bells in one hand)

2 18's(16 kg) x5/5
1 12 kg 1 8 kg( 20 kg) x5/5
2 12 kg(24 kg) x 5/5
1 16 1 12 kg( 28 kg) x5/5
2 16 kg ( 32 kg) x5/5
1 16 1 20 kg( 36 kg) x5/5
2 20 kg( 40kg) x 5/5

Not bad! An 88 lb one arm swing. I haven't done that, or these stacked swings in years. They felt good and I could have gone up but I didn't want to push it anymore than this.

Here's some video of the 36 kg swings

Then H2H transfers

24 kg x 16
28 kg x14
32 kg x12
28kgx 14
24 kgx20

these went very well and I was doing them mentally thinking about juggling them , and the transfer, as a juggling skill in itself. Lots of float and 'pretend' flips.

Juggling with the 12 kg

10 minutes

around body pass, around knee pass , around knee under flip, two hand under flips, two handed over flips.

I ain't ready for Max Shank, that's for sure but it's been 4 years plus since I even played with any juggling so I started slow. I used to do a complete routine, like a gymnastics routine, when I was doing this regularly with Mike Castro. Time to regain those skills.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Pressing my luck

since I had a two hour break early this am I decided to split up tomorrows workout and do the press section today. This will be the case these next two weeks as I have a lot of clients traveling and lots of holes in my schedule.Perfect time to up the training loads, carefully of course, and more but shorter workouts.

I survived saturdays swings and pushups pretty well and today decided to beat the delayed onset muscle soreness to the punch by hitting the same muscles again.I havent trained heavy this early eons but I stretched out for 30 minutes first doing:

straddle stretch work
standing lunge work
squat stretches
hanging from pullup bar
stick shoulder stretches


Clean and press( one clean per press)
16 kgx5/5 x2
20 kg x4/4x2
24 kgx3/3

28 kgx3/3

these felt great, even this early. I have seemed to have worked out my kb press groove and even my right side felt solid and smooth. could have easily gone heavier but didnt want to press my luck too much on too many fronts.

Tactical pullups ( these were alternated,set for set , with the presses)
6 sets of 2

was pretty sore from these on saturday but every set felt better.I am getting my groove on gthse very quickly.

kb front lever and pullover
this is a new move I learned at the Level 2 and I add my own twist( the pullover)into the mix. I love it! Here's a short video I made

Crooked arm bar

18 lbs x 4 sets of ??

this is another great corrective drill I got from Brett and Jeff at the cert. This is,along with the bretzel going to really improve my right side t spine mobility.

heavy stacked swings tomorrow, can't wait.ohyeah, bodyweight was 158.8 this am. combining more muscle work, more protein, more feedings and voila' muscle mass and weight goes up. go figure.


Sunday, March 07, 2010


This isn't right. This guy does more stuff in the first minute of his routine than should be humanly possible.

And, this is some SERIOUS swing work. Amazing

One more. So you think you have good body control and can move in the transverse plane? Check this out:

I just giggle like an idiot when I watch this stuff. so so so crazy good.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Back to volume and, some snatches!

Squats are next. stretching out at level 2

It was great to be able to approach today's training without one foot on the brake, even though I knew I had to start slowly or suffer the consequences. I haven't done a volume workout for three weeks and wanted to start slowly but I was suprised at how strong I felt.

I still want to do mostly swing vo2 workouts for awhile but I was thinking about throwing some snatches in, somewhere today but I wasn't sure. I know the yoga wasn't helping my back but I also wasn't sure snatches weren't bothering it as well and I'm feeling too good to go the other direction.

I am getting a little more bodyweight on as well due to some heavier training and some heavier eating, lol. It's good weight though and I want to add another 5 or so pounds too, at least. 165-168 sounds good. When I get my pressing in line and add some leg work back in the weight should bounce up pretty easily.

Swing Vo2
16 kg

9 reps per arm

54 sets

snatches for last four sets: 6 reps per arm for 2 sets, then 7 per arm for 2 sets

its not many snatches at all but after being off them for so long( it seems) I was worried I forgot how to snatch! No worries and they felt light and easy( as they are). BUT, I am back towards my 50 k snatch challenge goal and it won't be long before I can do max vo2 with all snatches again, as well as snatch my beloved , vintage 24 kg bell.

I only did 9 reps per arm to be cautious. Cardio was good although my HR was too low for max vo2 work but it was a solid start.

8 rep x 10 sets : 80 reps!

not bad. I started out trying to do these for 15 sec intervals and continue the 15;15 protocol. I also tried to do them ballistically, as Pavel advised, but I would have had to do 12 reps per 15 sec work bouts and that was too much. Also, I am not ready for ballistic pushups yet do opted to do them "i go, you go" style with Nick. 8 reps per bout was just fine....

great pump,lol.

These were done elbows in, shoulder width.


12 kg x6/6

16kg x6/6 x 4 sets

Tactical Pullups ( bodyweight)

6 sets of 2

YES! I can do pullups again with no pain! Crazy cool! I used all the techniques I got from Level 2 and it was easy. I think I have finally lost my bodybuilders groove for pullups . Good riddance. These were throat to the bar style. Nice. I know I can hook the 24 kg for a rep in the near future,just have to remember to go more slowly than I want to,lol.

Rack walks

alternating rack position in each arm and farmers walk in left

15 minutes continuous.

these were great as well. Did them after driving home from Girya. This definitely strengthens my gait.

very happy with this workout. Much more to come I hope.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Time to train.

getting to play again with the 32kg

February was a disaster for my training. Well, not a disaster but things did not move forward very well and if you don't count my stretching as training for three weeks I only got one kb workout in each week.ONE.
I had to do what I had to do which was make sure I didn't get hurt leading up to these last two certs and that had to take precedence over everything else. Including my desire to kills some demons with a proper hardcore workout.

But with my back finally feeling better I new being very conservative was a necessity and being able to handle the physical load of standing for long hours each day, demo'ing RKC skills over and over and spotting candidates takes it own toll. Even on the young and uninjured.

One of my favorite things at the end of each cert day is to hear the young instructors talking about how hard standing for those long hours is on their legs, their overall body and their energy. It makes me feel SO much better and I know they're glad they don't have my knee.

But now I can get back to a normal routine and get back to my regularly scheduled progressive training. PLUS, I want to add a third day of training in, now that I don't do yoga. I have a few clients traveling a lot in march so I will have lots of extra time to sneak in some more kb workouts and experiment with some new movements: two kb swings, two hand swings, lots of different presses and tricep work,maybe even some pullups and MAYBE even some goblet squats~!

I spent much of the days at these certs in a wide standing stance and doing squats to stretch out my adductors and legs. What I found was that the squat, which killed me for so long is now feeling good and not a threat to my knee or my back.
Same with front back lunge position. Back to the beginning perhaps.
My standing training for the certs was a success. So much changed when I stopped sitting at work at ALL and started stretching to open up my center instead of closing it up, as I had been doing prior.

6 am Stretchout

foam roller, straddle stretches, overhead stick, rear stick, bretzels, crooked arm bar stretches, calves and thoracic mobility work.

12 noon

one arm swings/transfers
16 kg x 5/5/5x2
20 kg x5/5/5x2
28 kg 5/5/5x2

32 kg swings
5/5x6 sets
24 kg x10/10x 2

these went great and it was so good to have some weight in my hand and do some real work again. it's so nice when the parts aren't screaming at you

See Saw presses
16kg x5/5
20 kg x5/5x3 sets

these went very well although my shoulders were more fatigued than I expected. Just out of practice.

Weighted pushups
bw x8x2
10 lb( clubbell, along spine)x5
15 lb cb x5
20lb cb x5x2

these went great! my best pushup workout was close grip pushup with hands on a barbell in the lowest position of a power rack ,feet on a 12 inch box, 100 lb plate on my back for 33 reps. This was in the late nineties when I was my strongest as a powerlifter. It was our max effort day,which occasionally meant a high rep exercise to failure. There was no 34th rep,lol.
there was a second set, though, to only 20 reps.
Ah, being strong is good.I will be back.

These pushups were especially satisfying since it wasn't very long ago at all that I couldn't even do ONE bw pushup. Hell I couldn't get into the bottom position without pain.I am happy :))

Monday, March 01, 2010

Three certs, one month.

Team Rif Level 2 RKC 2010
Back row: Steve, Gene,Norm,Sergei,A.J., , Seth
front row: Junior,Jason,Mike, Renee',Me, Betsy, Nikki, Claire, Maz
Center stage: Paul

It's been a crazy month, with an HKC, a Level 1 RKC and a Level 2 RKC all in the shortest month of the year. I feel like each cert just got better and tighter and this weekends Level 2 was nothing short of amazing.

The amount of incredibly detailed but totally streamlined drills, progressions , corrections and fixes was the best I've ever seen it. Not to mention the teaching of the skills themselves.
I was , am, completely honored and privileged to have been part of this course. I learned SO MUCH as well as got to teach so much. We went deeper into ALL the skills, ALL Level 1 as well as all Level 2, than ever before but with so much more clarity it was scary.

Team Rif started out rough but made incredible progress almost every minute;soaking up every piece of information and applying to the best of their ability. Everyone worked their butts off and kept their ears and their minds, open.

My assistants Betsy Collie, and Jason Marshall, kicked butt and helped me and everyone on the team immensely. Jason is one strong hombre and press the Bulldog COLD, on a moments notice for his C& P test so easily it looked like a 16 kg. What a humble and intelligent man.Betsy was great as well and noticed each and every detail. Thanks so much, both you guys.

I was also happy to have RKC Team Leader Paul Daniels on my team, recerting. This man is one SERIOUS athlete( not to mention a camera hog,lol) and it was so good to be able to work with him.

Brett and Jeff O'Conner were both amazing and their knowledge base has increased exponentially. Crazy good stuff on mobility and the TGU and Andrea put the windmill into an entirely different stratosphere. Come prepared mentally as well as physically when you come to the Level 2.

And can't forget my beautiful and wicked strong wife Tracy, who audited the course most of the weekend, soaking up as much infomation as possible as she debates whether she wants to commit to training for the Level 2 in June.
I know she can do it, she can do anything she sets her mind to, it's just whether it's the best used of her time. And time will tell. It is so great to be able to spend so many days together enjoying our love of training, kettlebells and each other in these incredible environments.

And, her TGU's are getting better by the day and she can dead hang 25+ seconds anytime she wants. Pullups are next whether she goes to Level 2 or not :))

Top photo: Team Rif on the last day.

Reminded me of my CK- FMS weekend. My brain hurt there too.