Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Training on empty.

High quality problem. More clients than normal are forcing me to train later and later and the adjustment has not been fun. It has been productive, strangely, but not fun; but what really is when it comes to consistent progressive training?

I'm also back to Warrior dieting as that seemed to really help my first transition to training at the end of my work day as opposed to the beginning; which I had done for years. First things first eh?
And then what's first changes.

The more efficient I get burning fat for fuel, instead of relying on blood sugar,the stronger I am later in the day as I don't get that 'crash' that I do when I am eating small frequent meals and have to deal with the vagaries of insulin.But the transition to different fuels is, again, no fun. I have to toughen up again it seems, lol.

But it's been nice as my knee, back and shoulders have been cooperating more now than they have in eons.Having to do less correctives and moving better, and, most importantly, recovering better from my work, training and travel than I have in years. Very nice.

And good timing too, as all these things ramp up for next year.

Trained alone with no music today and it was the right thing to do. I didn't need the energy of the music pushing me, I needed the still of the silence to really tune into my body and make sure I was doing exactly what I needed to today; and could do safely and not tweak anything.

It went well and I felt strong and focused.It wasn't that big a workout but it will certainly do.

6 am: 30 minutes stretching

1 pm: clean and press

16 kg x5/5 x2
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x4/4

28 kg x2/2 x 5 sets
24 kg x5/5 x 3 sets

Last set of the day with the 24kg.

Nice! Everything felt super strong and solid.
I do love it when the 28 feels like the 24 used to.

Thanks to Robert Rimoczi for the rockin'
RKC Germany shirts.Two of my Team in Hungary were from Germany and had these very cool training shirts which Tracy and I both had to have. Robert was very gracious to gift them to us. Way cool. I will wear it often.

Two hand swings

24 kg x 10 x 5 sets

I know I am getting greedy with these two hand swings but I've got a lot of lost time to make up for and it seems that my body is accepting this movement now and I couldn't be happier about it.l It is, as I have always felt, the Power Squat of kb movements; or a dynamic power good morning, a short powerful seriously stable way to produce power and force.

It's nice to feel that my back and hips are square and plumb enough( finally) to tolerate this movement. it's a good sign.

Datsit. Tomorrow: one arm swings for volume.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The KB snatch is back.

What a great workout today. Haven't felt this strong or grooved in the snatch in eons. Just doing some heavier, slow progressive volume has worked wonders in a short amount of time and slowing down the movement has really let me find my groove again. It was lost for quite awhile.

Much of getting it back focused on really focusing my eye position on the horizon and not waivering about it. In the last months I really had a hard time deciding where to look on the ascent and descent and that was messing me up. I used to look down all the time and that worked for the groove but I felt it put me in too much flexion.

So then I started looking straight ahead but that made my groove too 'squatty' and that never works for me. The horizon does and everything else seemed to follow in suit once I re- found that.

Also, training slower ( it's not that slow, basically I go you go with Nick and for these short rep sets its not a long rest bout) lets me warmup better and it takes a long time for my lungs to open, just as it did when I was a runner and cyclist.Suprisingly this didn't happen in the pool and I could go fast early. Interesting.

The last set of 10/10 that I taped I felt I could have easily done another 20 with no problem, cardio and wind wise. That's what I need as I build back up to my snatch test numbers.

Of course putting my time in this week with the swing really set things up well as I hoped it would;and, being able to train and tolerate the two hand swing is going to make a big difference too. I just have to go slowly and not get greedy.

Once I rebuild my 24 kg snatch I will get back to max vo2 work with the 16kg but not before.

warmup: 30 minutes stretching on floor. the usual.

kb warmup
roundabout swing for 30 seconds with 16 kg x 3 sets
16 kg snatch x5/5x2
20 kg snatch x3/3

24 kg x5/5 x 8 sets
x10/10 x 1 set
20 kg x10/10

130 total reps
6890 lbs
This was great, very solid. Had a plan, 10 sets of 10 in arm groups of 5 and then drop to the 20 kg and get some more reps and was actually able to follow as written,lol. AND I had a very solid set of 10/10 for the last set bringing me to 100 24 kg reps in a workout for the first time in eons. And the tens felt strong and easy. Nice.

The down sets with the 20 kg were good too and I thought about doing 2 sets of 10/10 but decided to stop with something on the table.

Two hand swings
24 kg x8
28 kg x8 x 5 sets

This was solid and easy too. also nice.It felt good to go from the asymmetrical one kb snatch to the very symmetrical two hand swing as a finisher. Have wanted to use that forever and now it looks ok. Can't wait to be able to push the volume here as well :))
See, greedy.
Can't help it, I love to train, to move well, to feel strong and enduring. It's addicting.

ps Nick is not the camera man that Tracy is. A bit jangly but you get the point.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kettlebell Gazetta

Peter Lakatos, Sr RKC puts out a great montly video newsletter he calls Kettlebell Gazetta. It's very well done but it's usually in Hungarian so I just watch the visuals. This month, however, he put it out in English to celebrate his American Instructors at the recent Hungarian RKC.

I am honored, as is Tracy, to be featured in Peters excellent video newsletter

Thursday, August 26, 2010

300 swings.

Inspired by all that swing talk on Tracy's interview with Logan and Bud last night on the teleseminar I knew I wanted to push up last weeks meager swing numbers but I didn't quite know how I was going to do it.

The wide stance double work has been irritating my good knee a bit so I thought I would bring my stance in and get back to basics; including some two hand swing work.

It was the end of another long 7 client day culminating with a brand new student so I wasn't sure what would be in the bank when I went to make an energy withdraw but as usual, how I feel going in is no indication of how strong I would be.

Still being cautious as I build back my work capacity I started off with 100 one arm swings done in an uphill rep ladder

One arm swing
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x5/5

work sets
24 kg x5/5
100 reps

These felt solid; my wind and form felt spot on.short rest between sets too.

two hand swing
24 kg x10 reps x 10 sets
100 reps

Again these felt excellent. Amazingly, Tracy has never seen me train two handed swings and she was impressed with my technique. Coming from the swing queen this is high praise, even if she is my wife!

My groove on all my swings and snatches these last few workouts feel much better since I started really concentrating on watching the horizon( in my gym the intersection of the wall and the floor).

I forgot where my eyes were supposed to be looking of late and /snatch my swing form went to hell. SO, I went back to basics(standard RKC SOP) and kept my eyes on the horizon and my groove just followed. Thank God.

I also brought my stance in and that helped as well. Too wide just doesn't work for me anymore it seems.

Hand to hand transfers
24 kg x10 x 10 sets
100 reps

same as above, short rest and done HS.

total swings done =300 with the 24 kg. Now it wasn't done in one long set and it wasn't the 600 one arm swings I have done in the past but it was almost 200 more than I did last week and they felt stronger than last week. That's all I care about.

That and not feeling like I did any workout at all tomorrow when I get up. I used to live to "feel" the effects of my workout in the next day(s); to me that symbolized successful training.That I had really 'worked' the muscles and stimulated growth.

Now it's not feeling that I worked out at all even though I put up some good numbers in the previous day's workout.

I need to feel loose, strong and mobile, not sore and creaky.It feels good to be back to swinging, too and I am holding my breath to see whether I can include the two hand swing in my routines regularly. That would be Christmas in September :))

Snatch Holds

16 kgx 30/30 sec
20 kg x30/30 sec
24 kg x20/20 sec

These work for me although they suck to do. But my shoulders always feel better after

Stick shrugs
5 sets of 10( easily double that done throughout morning)

this things clears my biceps impingement almost on demand.

datsit. Heavy snatches on Saturday and lots of stretching tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Press and Pull

It's been crazy at Girya lately with an onslaught of new clients and calls for sessions and training slots. So much that I have actually taken to working later to accomodate the new students. Make hay when the sun shines, eh?

But the only problem that working later means is that my training gets pushed back even more and training intensity and duration end up suffering as a result. I get up at 4 am and go straight through with hour long clients til 12 or 1 pm and THEN I have to get going to push myself in my training.I know ,know, high quality problems but the reality is I only have so much energy these days and training hard and intensely takes, well energy and focus. Lots of it.

And,after teaching, demo'ing and talking kbs for 7 straight hours the thought of pushing kbs hard for myself at the end is well, not easy.Especially when my body rarely wants to cooperate.

Plus now that my eating schedule is back on USA time I'm freaking hungry. Mt warrior diet fat burning enzymes are no longer in demand so I want lunch,lol.

Oh well, to bad so sad. Get er done. Only had 45 min so this is better than nothing

Double clean and press
2 12 kg x8
2 16 kg x 8 x 3 sets

Did these as type of a gs style tempo press and idea I got after watching this video:

It intrigued me as whether I could do the movement like this and how it would feel. I even did the drop the same way as well as the reverse breathing. It was pretty easy and I will play at it more when I have more time. For some reason though it just seems like my endurance days are done,lol.

One thing I did notice was that the absence of any negative on the press definitely would affect lat usage.

One arm clean and press

20 kg x5/5
24 kg x4/4
28 kg x2/2 ( easy)
24 kg x4/4
20 kg x 5/5

These were surprisingly strong and easy and solid. nice.

KB Sumo Deads
28 kg x 8
32 kg x8
36 kg x 8
40 kg x8
44 kg x8

felt great, next week on elevated plates for more depth.

datsit. two hand swings tomorrow am at 6

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Super Human Training Teleseminar

I am SO proud of my wifeTracy, the KB Swing Queen ,not only for the release of her new DVD,"Programing the Kettlebell Swing", which, I believe, is a revolutionary method of kettlebell training that allows average people to do Super Human workloads, BUT for being this weeks interviewee on Super Human Training Teleseminar series.As the only female in the seriesit is quite the compliment!

She will be interviewed by Bud Jeffries of Strongerman.com and Logan Christopher of Legendary Strength and will speak about her amazing ability to do seriously high volume swing and snatch training; and how she trains her students to do the same.

Here's the link to hear this interview for free and be one of the first to hear how to build serious strength endurance and work capacity with the most basic of exercises the Russian Kettlebell Swing :

I've said it before and I'll say it again, you CAN'T do more work per minute of time than you can with kb ballistics and no one knows KB ballistics like Tracy! Her original methods allow average people to do extraordinary things; IF they follow her unique methods. Don't miss this information!

The Lats are the Bridge

The second preview from my newly released DVD "Lats, the Super Muscles"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Snatch workout, garage gym style.

AS I wrote in a recent post, I need to go back to a slower, heavier style of swing and snatch training; at least until my work capacity comes back up and then I can think about doing fast snatch training again.

When I was my most successful with max vo2 work ( 80 sets of 8) I was swinging the 32 kg for lots of sets and reps and or snatching the 24 kg On Saturdays as my meat and potatoes workout of the week. My squat day, if you will.

When I went to doing max on saturday my heavy day got lost and I think that, among other things, made my mx vo2 training less than productive. Not training my heavier, slower groove and just trying to move fast made my snatch groove less than optimal and not finding time to really train the swing didn't help either.

Of course my press took off in this time and you can't have everything; at least not similtaneously so now it's back to basics. At least my basics. Swinging on Thursday set the stage and Nick was VERY happy NOT to be doing max vo2. He does it but he hates it.

30 minute stretch out

Swing warmup

two hand swing into one arms
16 kg x5/5/5/ x3
20 kg x5/5/5 x2

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

24 kgx 5/5 x 7 sets
20 kg x5/5 x 3 sets

Finally! I'm snatching the 24 kg again! Almost 100 reps and I could have pushed it to get the 100 but I thought better of it and switched to the 20 kg. no problem. So good not to be on the clock,lol.

Clubbell shield cast
10 lbx10/10 x2
15 lbx5/5 x 2

these still bother my left triceps. cut it off.

Datsit. Back on track

Thursday, August 19, 2010

SRKC Peter Lakotos is one seriously strong dude

check this out

Who said " our warmup is tougher than your workout?"

This should be a contestant to win that contest. Ah, it brings back memories

Swing time.

I thought the jet lag was covered given my first few days back in the states, but I didn't count on the adrenaline wearing off so quickly. Hey, I didn't even know I was ON adrenaline but I was. Love that hormone but it takes it's toll and I've been pretty sore from not doing very much.

So I wasn't sure what I was going to do today or what my Saturday workout will be, so many possibilities and new things to play with. But in the end it's my body that tells me what I should or shouldn't or can or can't do. I just have to listen.

And today it told me not to go overhead again and just do some swings. One arms and see how that felt.

I think I am done with Vo2 max for awhile on Saturdays and am thinking of instead going back to my high volume swing or snatch workouts with heavier weights and a much slower pace.When I did 600 reps with the 24 kg and 400 with the 32 kg in the one arm swing it was on a Saturday long ass workout day with Nick and Rex each going in turn.

Back then I did max on Wednesdays with Tracy or by myself but it wasn't my only high volume day. I think I need to have that heavier High volume base to make the vo2 max work. It's not going there by itself considering how long it's been since I did 80 sets of 8!

Endurance is born, at least for me, in the belly of strength and I think I need to get back to some heavier snatches and swings one arm and two arm. So that's what saturdays might look like. Heavier snatches working up and cycling from 100-200+ reps in total.

Hell considering where I am now that could take a while to work up to, but no matter.

Tuesdays will be grinds with kb deads, military press, handstands and kb box squats perhaps. but presses and deads for sure.

Thursdays will be swings, one arms, two hand, two kbs. done with more rest than work and looking to increase my base. some clubell work here too if I can handle it.


one arm swings
16 x5/5/5/5 x2
20 kg x5/5/5/5
24 kg x 5/5/5/5

124 measly reps and 6572 lb but nothing hurt(s) and thats good.I know, I know, I know I was going to swear off volume but I think what I need to swear off is speed.I've lost my groove and I know where I'm going back to find it: slow strength.

clubbell rockits
2/10 lbs x 20 x3

clubbell swipes
2/10 lb x15 x 3

these felt good to do again and my hips felt square and the back solid. Left wanting to do much more.

it's possible I will alternate sat and thursday workouts,i.e one sat snatches and the next swings. do the other workout on thursdays.

today started rough but finished strong. I'll take it.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lats, the Super Muscles is ready!

My DVD is now ready to ship and covers this incredibly important but underused and poorly understood muscle group from top to bottom. Get your copy here!

Here's a brief preview of what I cover:

~ 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 as you strengthen your overhead press
~ Pull-up power: How to use the kettlebell press to
~ increase your pull-up strength and endurance
~ 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
~ You've tightened them, now stretch them out -- Learn how to stretch and open up these big crucial back muscles

This live seminar DVD is 1 hour, 31 minutes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coming back slow.

I was told today it takes a day for every hour difference in time zone you travel to recover. I am feeling it.Still have two days to go but slept the best I have since I came back last night but my body is very confused.

I also underestimated my little jaunt into snatch vo2 land on Saturday. I was as sore as I've been in eons on Sunday and Monday and my elbows didn't want to straighten out either! My arms were seriously sore.Glutes hams erectors were all talking to me. and my adductors as well from the wider stance work for doubles. Crazy.

I stretched out for the full hour this am while Tracy taught her class and needed every second of it. I had a cancellation at 8:30 and thought I would save time by training early. Probably not the best idea in retrospect but no major worries.

KB sumo deadlifts

28 kgx10
32 kgx10
36 kgx10
40 kg x10
48 kg x10

my right adductor was a little tweaky this am so I ditched the idea of standing on two 25 lb plates while I did this exercise and glad I did.These worked well but I could feel the soreness making things just that much tighter than I like.

One arm swings
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5
28 kgx5/5
32 kg x5/5

This was weird. Wanted to get back into some more swings instead of just snatching all the time and thought I would practice form. Everything went well til I got to the 32 kg set and as I set up I felt my glutes and inner thighs say "hi" real fast. Step back. Wait.

Given all my sacral issues this last year I'm not a fan of cramping glutes, glute medius or adductors.It usually doesnt mean good things but stubborn as I am, I stretched out, did some 16 and 20 kg tester sets and finished with my paltry 5/5 with the 32. It seemed fine but not happy mentally.

I want to dive back in but my body is telling me to slow down and I will listen but I'm not happy. I hate getting overuled by my body.

Clean and press
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5 x 3 sets

this gave me pause on the cleans but they went alright and the presses were easy.

Clubbell Torch Press

10 lb x5/5
15 lbx5/5
20 lbx 5/5

wanted to press some more but also wanted to do a different hip hinge position in case things were going south. These were interesting and much stronger than the last time I did them.


10,8,8,8,8 10 seconds rest/sets

these felt good. lots of tension on both sides.

Stretching 15 minutes

some days you just make it through


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Strong is strong.

No matter what form it takes.How cool is this stuff?
Think these guys are worried about the tension in their faces at the sticking point of each lift?

A Hungarian Brettzel

Love this stretch.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

If you have any biceps impingement or rotator cuff issues do this exercise.

Trust me,it works, just do it.

Snatch Vo2 back in the water

and what I thought was the shallow end. It was deep enough though, it turned out.

I haven't done max vo2 training in 2 weeks and volume of swings has been low as well as I focused on being as rested and loose as I went into my the three certs. After all,that is what my training is for; to prepare me for what challenges I have to do in real life.
Not just to get me good at training, although that's fun too.

High intensity cardio for long periods has never been my "strength" and it falls off quickly and comes back slowly.
I knew today was going to hurt so I decided to just do the first volume workout back 'freestyle', not on the clock.

I hate that freakin' gym boss,lol.

It didn't help that much. I had thought 50 sets of 7 would be a good starting point with this protocol ,planning on giving myself 20-25 seconds of breathing for every 15 seconds of snatching. I thought I would start slowly and, as I warmed up, I would drop into 15:15 mode.

Just a bit ambitious and I underestimated just how sore I was going to be from the two workouts I did back to back on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as how differently all those new movements would effect me.
Not injured at all but sore. Very sore in lots of new places,lol.
Add in still not quite on California time and I wasn't expecting any PR's today and I didn't get them. Just a lesson in humility,lol, and how delicate is a good groove. It must be maintained and two weeks off didn't help.

No worries though as one thing Snatch Vo2 training does is get up up to cardio speed in record time. Always does and not just with me,my clients all make big jumps from this type of supramax heartrate training.

Nothing like spending 30-40 minutes with your heartrate hovering at or above 100% to get that thing strong.


30 minutes stretching

Snatch Vo2

16 kg
7 reps per set
46 sets
322 reps
11,592 lbs

The above isn't quite accurate as I quit at set 40. It wasn't my cardio it was my speed and my form starting to fall off so I decided the better part of valor,etc, and all that.
But, after resting two minutes I decided to just wade through so more sets.So I did 4 more. than rested a bit and 2 more and then really stopped. More than enough for today and it took about 35 minutes.

KB training in general and max vo2 snatching, in particular ain't for the weak of heart or mind, that's for sure.

12 kg x8/8
x10/10 x 3 sets

red and black mini band
2x10 each leg

more stretching for 10 minutes then outie. Three good workouts this week after all that travel is great for me and I'm happy with it.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Double Kettlebell Combinations

I have been doing only single kettlebell work from the beginning. That means 2001. Only one arm swings, snatches, presses, and, when I could still do it, squats. It was the right thing for my back; the asymmetrical loading is just what I needed to create stabilization and really force my weak links to work.

When I did bilateral loading, with both sides loaded equally, the load being two kbs or a barbell my strong sides fired too hard and my weak sides shut down, increasing my asymmetry, not fixing it.
Not to mention creating serious, serious back pain, in the spine and or the SI joint.
One kb two hand swings would wreck me for days. but I always wanted to do this most basic of kettlebell ballistic exercises. The real King of the Kettlebell moves. The " Squat" of all swings.

I got very strong with one arm swings snatches and transfers; and of late have even been able to single kb press again.but I still always kept trying to see if my rehab had advanced enough to allow me to tolerate bilateral movements.

Up until now it had not. But I think something has changed; I think the worm has turned and now, not only can I do bilateral work such as two hand swings, two kettlebell squats and perhaps( have not tested it yet) even squats I think they are what I need. The next level, the next step in my quest to restore my physical balance as much as I can.

This cert taught me a lot; as much about changing the way I look at training, about what 'is' training as anything has. Walking the miles per day I did at the cert was training.Dealing with not training, was training. Sitting on an airplane in a serious flexion position for 10 plus hours was training. Carrying and loading and throwing around luggage was training. And testing.

Not just an hour of swings, what did I do last week and what is my pr? But training. For life. Not just a competition. I've still been training as if I am going to compete, as I have for 39 years, as I always have. But that's over.

Now that I am restoring more and more ability all the time I want to explore all these really cool movements I have been not allowed to play with for so long.To build strength in so many new ways with so many new moves. This will be fun and that's ok.

Robbie Robinson called the gym his playground and that's why he loved to train so much. He used to go into the gym and decide his workout on the fly. CREATE his workout on the fly.I think I am ready to do that.

Tracy has done serious double kb combinations for the last year and a half and I have had to watch from the sidelines. Cleaning double 24's at the cert felt good and I was ready to put some double moves into todays workout, not worrying at all, for a change, about how many total sets I was going to do.

Just a practice.

It will be so cool to be able to train my strength again, some tension moves. Very nice.

2 kb combinations

double swing
double high pull
double snatch
negative press

one rep per exercise, 3 x each

2/12 kg x 2 sets
2/14 kg x1 set
2 16 kg x 5 sets of 3

this was so much fun! way cool. the negative presses, a Tracy original fit in perfectly as well. she regularly has her students do this and it works. Negative work builds some serious muscle and is easy on the joints too. Loved it.I can really see getting into this, providing my back cooperates

These went better than expected,lol. It felt great to go wide again, just like my power squat position.I know it's not a lot of weight but I am totally excited just to be able to do the movement!

If I can truly train bilateral movements again it will be a miracle~!

One KB clean and press, short cycle

20 kgx4/4
24 kgx5/5x 3 sets

Finally! These felt as light and easy as they should! It's also cool that I trained yesterday and had no problem getting going today;except for some jetlag!

Snatch Holds
16 kg x 30 sec each arm
20 kg x30 sec each arm
24 kg x 30 sec each arm

Nice. best rotator cuff strengthener ever..


max vo2 on saturday

if this keeps up maybe one day I can survive Tracy's class,lol.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to training.

As much fun as I had at the Hungarian RKC these last days my training, as it always does when one travels, takes a hit. It has to. One can only deal with so much stress and recover and traveling is stressful.
This is true for anyone but for someone like me who craves stability and control it is even more stressful. Add in my jacked up knee and trying to train while traveling and teaching is out of the question.

Add to that the weeks before where I have to play it safe to ensure I am ready and fit for duty as an instructor and I have a few months where my training is focused on not getting hurt, not making progress.

But thats over now and it looks like the next biggest trip I have to take won't be until Oct when Tracy and I go to Phoenix for another HKC with Keats Snideman. That gives me plenty of time to get some momentum going.

I did walk my ass off this weekend and got to demo quite a bit as well as getting to teach the snatch section and doing lots of snatches and snatch holds during that segment, as well as some cleans with double 24's and presses as well but it's not the same.

It's also interesting to see just how little, instead of how much, training I can do and still maintain my strength and muscle size. "Hi, my name is Rif and I'm a trainingvolume-a-holic." But I'm working on it and this weeks schedule is proof.

I didn't have this problem when I was a powerlifter because the heavier you go the less you want to do; it's just that simple and that true, for almost everybody.

I also want to experiement a bit now, with two hand swings, two kettlebell swings, cleans and presses,push presses and, dare I say it?, perhaps, jerks. with both one and two arms.

I've been relegated to just one arm swings, snatches, and just lately, presses for so long( not to say I'm not grateful I could do those) that I am itching to try these other movements that I haven't been able to tolerate forever.

So today was wade into training itself as well as these new movements slowly. Very slowly. My back feels great now and I plan on keeping it that way.


KB sumo deadlift
24 kg x10
32 kg x10
40 kg x10
48 kg x10

these felt great and I took bigger jumps than last time. One , just to do less overall work and two , to see if I could. No problem.

Two Kettlebell clean and press, long cycle
2/14 kg x5/5
2/16 kg x4/4
2/20 kg x3/3
2/24 kg x2/2 x 2

these went great as well. low volume but that was the plan. Want to train again tomorrow as well. More focusing on greasing the groove I think that beating any one move to death, as per my usual M.O.

16 kg x10/10 ( 2 sec hold at top of each rep)
20 kg x10/10 ( same as above)

these felt great.

two hand swing
24 kg x 10 sets of 5 10 sec rest/sets.

these felt great as well. really wanted to keep reps and sets low to see how the back copes.can't wait to train this greatest of all kb movements. A nice way to start my journey back into a serious and progressive training cycle with new moves and new challenges. Can't wait.

Mini band TKE's

red and black bands. Nice, these really hit the VMO strongly which my left knee sorely needs.


about 10 minutes. I need more. A lot more as my legs are serious tight from all the walking and standing but I only had an hour and my head needed to train more than I needed to stretch.will stretch and foam roll later today.


Kettlebell Muscle

My new article on using single bells to build muscle as a transition to Geoff Neuperts program with double bells is up in Pavels newsletter here:

Here's the article

Kettlebell Muscle

Mark Reifkind, Master RKC

The main thing people have told me that they want from their training hasn't changed in 30 + years: they want to lose weight and get toned. This is by far the most common desire and everything else is way behind. And by get toned they mean LOOK like they have some muscle.

This is what most people mean by fitness. They want to look like they train. They want to look like an athlete.

People want to look good in their clothes and, with their clothes off. And, if they feel that they look good they usually feel better about themselves and eat better, train more and act more disciplined and focused in their life in general, because what mostly keeps people from doing what they know they need to regarding their training is lack of motivation.

Rarely do people lose motivation when they can see and feel the results that their training is bringing them.

This is why I was so excited to see the title of Master RKC Geoff Neupert's new book: Kettlebell MUSCLE.

As much as we disparage the current methods of bodybuilding in the RKC ( Pavel's "virtual muscle') the bottom line is that increasing one's muscle mass, as well as their strength has many, many real world applications and is vitally important, especially as we grow older.

In the important book "BioMarkers, the Ten Keys to Prolonging Vitality' (written by two Harvard MD's ) the Docs placed strength training and maintaining muscle mass way above endurance in importance as we age. Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass, was much more detrimental to aging people than loss of Vo2 max or aerobic capacity.

The study discovered that loss of muscle in our older years played a huge role in preserving such critical functions as body temperature regulation, bone strength, insulin sensitivity, maintaining ones basal metabolic rate as well as giving grandma or grandpa the strength to do all the things that real life requires.

And that the ability to gain strength and muscle mass doesn't go away after age 50 as so many thought.

So, muscle, real functional muscle, is not only good, it is VITAL.

Captain Complex (Geoff's new nickname) has written a great book, taking the basic movements of the RKC and upping the ante by teaching us, in a well written, step by step approach, how to use two kettlebells and complexes and chains(get the nickname now?) to increase both muscle mass and strength .

Some might ask, if you are going to use two bells, and are interested in putting on muscle mass why not just use a barbell? Good question and there's nothing wrong with barbells but KBs still have many advantages that barbells can never give.

The first is the ability to swing the bells beneath the body creating larger forces through a bigger range of motion. Secondly, the double bells, although they are still a bilateral movement requiring the use of the entire body (" two kb and two hand swings brings your body back into symmetry, squared off", as my wife Tracy always says) STILL require huge amounts of stabilization and control of the individual limbs that barbells do not.

It's not possible to have serious side-to-side strength deficit (i.e. one side is way stronger than the other) and get away with it with two bells like you can with a single bar. You will find out very quickly which is your weak side when you try to handle two bells in any movement, especially with heavy (for you) bells. It's all easy "til it's heavy, lol.

Third, even though the top bells are "only' 106 pounds each that load is amplified in crazy fashion when they are used for complex movement and even more for complexes as Geoff prescribes.

Top squatter and RKC Donnie Thompson (can you say 1200+ lbs in the power squat?) finds double 40 kg bells kick his legs and butt in the strict front squat. That's a serious testimonial.

For the few that might be worried they will get "too big" just know this: muscle mass is hard to grow but very easy to lose. Anytime you feel you are too big, check on your food consumption. As long as you are not spending hours on the pec dec and leg extension you are in no danger of developing that type of muscle that is "all show and no go".

Developed and strong shoulders, arms, legs and hips, and the hallmark of all real strength athletes; the back, make one look fit, healthy and ready to work - especially when they are developed with tools such as kettlebells and compound movements. The basic kb swing, press, snatch and squat can create an athletic body with natural looking muscle because the body is working within it's primal patterns. Isolation exercise can create a very unnatural looking physique.

People with such muscle mass look like athletes, not cartoon characters, not that there's anything wrong with that, if that's your thing. I spent eight years as a competitive bodybuilder so I can't throw too many stones. But I did eventually come to my senses.
One can have both a well shaped, and developed physique along with a body that can actually do something practical and functional.

KBs will get the job done in short order, especially for women and especially for their arms and shoulders, particularly tough for women to build. So many women define the quality of their physique by whether or not they can wear a tank top and 'show' their arms.

BUT, some might not be ready for the intensity of Captain Complex's Complexes. So here's a transition workout to get you ready for the increased workloads in Geoff's Kettlebell Muscle book.

Workout One:

One arm swing
One arm high pull
One arm snatch
Negative press

Do 8 reps per exercise before going immediately to the next. When you finish each group transfer to the other side. Use a weight that is challenging for 8 reps per exercise but allows you to finish both sides without gassing too hard. Repeat for 3-5 sets.

Rest until your heart rate comes down to about 80% of its top level at the end of the set.

Finish the workout with double kb swings; using a weight that challenges you to do 8-10 rep sets and NOT lose your form. Hardstyle please. Do 5-10 sets taking as much rest as the time the set took you to do it. This will prepare you for the heavier bells to come with Geoff's workout.

Workout two:

One arm clean
One KB front squat
One KB push press
Negative press

Five reps per exercise before going onto the next. Repeat on the other side using weight that is challenging for 5 rep sets. Repeat for 3-5 sets. Do not turn the front squat/push press into a thruster move. Stop and hold after the front squat before doing the push press.

Finish with two kb cleans, again doing 5-10 sets but using weights that allow only 5-8 rep sets.

Repeat on the other side using just 5 reps per exercise.

The negative press, done after snatching the weight up or a push press, is done at a slower tempo, working the negative but not killing it. Take 3-4 seconds to lower the weight. One can lower more weight than they can raise and the increased time under tension will make you stronger (remember: strength= tension?). I got this drill from my wife Tracy who uses the negative press after snatching the weight up all the time and gets great results for herself and her students who are too weak to use the next bell size up.

Workout Three:

One arm swing
One arm snatch
Negative press
Front squat

On this series do just ONE rep per exercise, switch to the other arm and repeat for that side, THEN switch back and repeat again until one has done 3 reps on each exercise, total.

It will look like this:

One swing, one snatch, one negative press, one front squat, transfer to the other side, repeat, transfer back to the first side, again one rep per exercise until 3 reps are done.

Do this 3-5 times and finish up with two kb high pulls for sets of 10 again, resting as long as the set takes you for 5-10 sets.

Again, this type of sequencing is inspired by my wife Tracy's swing progressions. This type of constant switching allows one to do large workloads with minimal fatigue, perfect for the third workout of the week. Her female clients see changes in their arm tone (tone=tension= strength) after sometimes just four workouts!

I recommend doing this workout on alternating days (M-W-F) and then resting two days before restarting. This should get you ready to jump in Geoff's KB Muscle program smoothly.

So, go get his book and get started building some serious functional muscle, RKC Style!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Last day, Hungarian RKC

Team Rif, Hungary (left to right)
assistants Tamas ,Amnon,Judit,Me,Tracy,Greg,Alex,Zslot,
back row: Zoltan,Czaba,Andras, Florian,
kneeling: Darius

Missing: Ronen

apologies to those not in the pic and whose names I forgot!

Just a short note here as I sit in the hotel room over looking the beautiful river Danube in Hungary reflecting on the great RKC we just finished. I have to say, after teaching at RKC's for the last five years this has to be my all time favorite one of all.

Not to say I haven't had great, great experiences at all the certs but this one was special. And I really didn't expect it because as most people who know me know, I don't like to travel much. But this was different somehow, despite walking more in the last five days than I usually do in a month. My knee held up really well although it wasn''t easy.

Peter Lakatos, SRKC, did an AMAZING job orchestrating this cert, doing both the job of Dragon Door administration AND leadinghis own team!

My team was incredible and I had candidates from all over; Hungary, Russia, Poland, Germany and Israel! Despite the obvious language differences it worked out fine, with help from my assistants Amnon, Judit and Tamas, who acted as translators as well as RKC instructors.

I think not being able to communicate via the spoken word as easily actually made my teaching easier as I had to take the direct route with body language, sign language and demonstration. the location was excellent and the candidates had more than their share of pain, most of which came having to carry the bells to and from the field each and every day! No small thing,especially at the end of the day and especially since Pavel has gone back to our 'simple but brutal' RKC roots of heavier training and their were many many many 32, 36 and 40 kg bells on the field that had to be transported. No joke, and no complaints; these candidates were TOUGH!

More detailed post later but I haven't even left yet and Tracy and I can't wait to come back!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Light training before the Hungarian Cert.

We got back Sunday night now we are off again to train some serious Hungarian Candidates for their RKC! Ninety of them, in fact! This will be the largest International RKC of all time and I can't wait! I am so pumped up after this weekend at the HKC and getting to powwow with so many of my fellow Senior and Master Instructor and getting to help shape the new vision of the RKC.

If anyone would have told me I'd be getting used to traveling this much a few years ago I would tell them they were crazy but it seems I am. Despite it wrecking my training ,lol, my body seems to be holding up better than ever during travel. I'm not even taking my foam roller or my thumper any more when I travel and things are working well.

So again with one foot on the gas and another on the brake I trained a bit of everything as I will miss presses and snatches on thursday and saturday. I am teaching the snatch on Saturday so plan on getting some work in there and perhaps I will partake of Snatch Vo2 when KJ runs the candidates through it on Sat as well.

6 am stretching:

strap hamstrings
down dog
up dog
straddle stretch
foam roll on IT band
stick slides
overhead stretch
behind back stretch both grips
kneeling shoulder stretch

rack walks
15 minutes with 16 kg alternating arms every 100 feet.

8:30 am
KB Silverback Deadlift

24 kg x 10
28 kgx10
32 kg x8
36 kg x8
40 kg x8
48 kg x 8

Nice.I can't believe I am using 106 lbs of sumo dl for my leg work but at least I can do it and it's heavier than last week.

16 kg x10/10 x2
20 kg x7/7
x 9/9

68 reps. these were easy and strong with solid pauses at the top. Have to get back to higher volume sets. PLUS this puts me in second place on the 50K snatch leader board with 52,710 snatches. Nice.

Double clean and alternate press

16 kg x5/5x 2
20 kg x3/3

these went well but of course it was light.

Clubbell arm cast
10x 15/15 x2
15 lbs x 12/12 x2

Db laterals
12 x15 x 3 sets

quick and dirty.

two clients tomorrow am then off to see SRKC Peter Lakatos and his version of Hungarian Hardstyle!