Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A new floor.

It's hard to believe that not very long ago I couldn't press at all.Not kbs overhead, not bench press with a bar or a db, not even a pushup without my right side rotator cuff screaming at me and locking down my whole right side for days or more.

My right teres major would lock up my humerus into internal rotation I would also get crazy bad biceps impingment. My shoulder was a mess, so I took over two years off of pressing anything, did almost nothing but one arm swings, snatch holds and rehab/corrective drills.

It paid off big in August of 2008 when, on a lark at the Ck-FMS I ended up doing kneeling presses as part fo Gray Cooks program and realized I could indeed press again.In fact I pressed the 32 kg after not having pressed anything nor worked any of my pressing muscles for over two years.

Here is a video I took of my kneeling press I did in my home gym when I got back., just to make sure it wasn't a dream

I came back to the press gingerly always making sure to keep the volume of loading down, my correctives high, and , most importantly my overhead snatch work which I am convinced was the key rehabilitative aid in my rotator recovery.

That and rededicating myself to getting back my overhead flexibility, a job to which I am still dedicated and gaining ground every day on.

That was over two years ago and I am still riding the wave of progressions, ramping up and backing down slowly keeping the progress slope slightly up and to the right.A few months ago I actually pressed the 36 kg bell last November which was just half my bodyweight! Crazy. Then I started training and it's been solid work. I ramp up to the 28 or 32 kg bell always trying to increase either total number of reps per set or total number of sets or ladders.

With my travel and teaching schedule what it's been I have had to be very cautious so progress, while steady, has been slow.

It wasn't too long ago that I would approach the 24 kg very cautiously as well, hoping I would get sets of 3-5 strongly.

Then the worm turned and the 24kg started feeling like the 16 kg BUT the 28 and the 32 did not.
Until now.
I decided that the 28 kg has to be my new floor, the bottom level at which it becomes an everyday weight, not one I have to 'peak ' for. The number of sets , reps and ladders I can do with it can vary but I have to start training with it more oftern, regardless of my travel schedule.

Where the new ceiling is I have no idea except that I want to play with the 32 like I did before with the 28 and I want to press the 36 as my peak fairly regularly.
The higher you climb the farther you see.

SO MUCH of strength training is the mind, the strength of the mind, the training of the mind. The strength training of the mind. that's part of the beauty of doing just a few simple things over and over again with serious intent and desire for deep skill. It works :))

6-7 am
stretchout and joint mobility in Tracy's class

8:30 am
one arm swing
16 kg x5/5/5/5 x3
one arm cleans
16 kg x5/5 x3

Short cycle press
16kg x5/5x2
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x 3/3

28kg x1/1
x3/3 x 3 ladders

these went very well, the cleans felt easy, the bell felt light in the rack and the presses were fast and easy.

Here's a video of the last set

I had plenty more in me but not much time so onto some clubbells.

I used to do plenty of clubbell swipes and actually managed 300 continuous with the 10 lb clubs and 150 continuous with the 15 lb clubs but that was before my back took a hike last year and recent efforts to try them left my back not happy.

So I decided to play with the technique, using as an efficient a style as possible and minimizing the ROM as much as possible and it seemed to worked fine. Kind of a GS for clubbells.

I started out with one arm swipes and then went to doubles and they were fine
One arm swipes
10 lbs x 10/10 x 2
two arm swipes
15 lb x10/10 x 3

heres some video

I am really digging the two handed cb work but it would be great if I could also do some reps with the swipes. they are cool to do.

Two hand cb shield cast
15 lb x10/10
20 lb x10/10 x 2 sets

More fun! easy too.

KB lunge( left leg only)
16kg x10
20 kg x10 x 2 sets

that's it. Got to train with my bride watching her crush her 14 kg press for sets and rep ladders as well. It's nice to train with her when we are doing something I am strong at,lol.
Looking for 300+ one arm swings tomorrow with the 24 kg in Stones Gym.

Can't wait :))


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snatch ladder

Wanted to get back to more than 3 sets of 10 with the 24 kg this week but wasn't sure how I was going to do it. I had ladders on my mind since I live with the Queen of Ladders and thought that might be the good way to go.

Just wasn't sure how I would climb.As always I never really know what the load or the volume are going to be until after the warmup and I didn't sleep well at all two nights ago and feel like I am fighting off getting sick.The fast transition to cold grey and rainy didn't help me getting any warmer or looser any time faster. Make sure eat extra of my super foods: onions, garlic, spinach and raw honey. These have a very positive effect on my immune system and recovery ability no doubt.

Pre training baths are also back in the mix.The Russians call it a passive warmup and usually they use a sauna but I don't have one and the bath is great.The key is to keep it short( 5-10 min tops) or it will relax you too much and you won't feel like training. The other key is to get it done right before the active warmup starts which works great when I train at home but not so good at girya.
No worries I got there extra early to fully stretch out first.


16 kg x5/5 x2
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5
x8/8 x 2 rounds
104 reps with the 24 kg
36 reps with the 20 kg

140 total snatches

these went great and the weight felt light and moved fast.Next time do all three ladders with the 24. I think 8's are the top of my rep scheme for awhile as I can still accelerate the weight well and my still stay in the groove. The ladders provide a great fatigue sparing effect.

One arm swings
24 kg x5/5
28 kg x5/5
32 kg x5/5 x 3 sets

wanted to do some heavier one arms today after Wednesdays great swing session with the 24 kg. One arms just really agree with me and I'm motivated again to push these numbers and weights up.I"ll put two arms back in in a bit but again with lower volume and heavier weight as well. Hardstyle.

I was surprised these went so well, in that the weight felt very light in my hands and on my body. Speed and height of swing( chin) was good and easy.Got caught off balance on the first transfer with the 32 and I wasn't quite in perfect position to tame the arc of this big bell. It's been awhile since I did anything heavier than the 24 kg.
Lesson learned.

Two hand Clubbell Shield cast/barbarian press

20 lb x5/5
25 lb x5/5 x 3 sets

these were just fun and very strong. havent' done the barbarian press( think a standing bench press) in eons and my elbow lock was best it's been. all the flexibility work is definitely paying off.

Those who say people don't need to stretch are very young and or uninjured. Stretching out fully,regularly is helping me immeasurably.

datsit :))

Friday, November 26, 2010

Pain is guaranteed; suffering is optional.

I miss Hungary. Great video of last years Grad Workout and two of the stars of Team Rif and RKC Germany ;Gregor and Alex.

"The snatch, not an advanced swing"

Great new article by Max Shank on the power of the basic swing. This cuts right to the chase

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back in the Cave

Both Geoff Neupert and David Whitley, Master RKC's have said to me, independently, that they were glad I was out of my cave, after I started blogging again after a nine month hiatus. Mark Toomey, RKCTL, and Director of American Operations for Dragon Door, at this years Hardstyle Ventura told me he wanted Pavel to "go back in the cave" and come up with some new stuff no one had seen before.

Back in the Cave.

I stopped training in my garage over a year and a half ago for various and sundry reasons. My once proud courage corner is now little more than a storage space with three very sturdy platforms and a few kettlebells.I started doing all my training at Girya and was very happy to feel as if my studio had evolved from just a personal training studio to the kettlebell dojo that I had imagined it could be.

Tracy's hardcore, badass classes had infused an energy to the place it just hadn't had before and Nick and I lent our presence and own hardcoreness to it every saturday morning as well. But, as I wrote about before, working out on my own after 7 clients in a row left me a little less than inspired. Especially on Wednesdays when the schedule called for LOTS of swings.

If I started out tired of being there it didn't make sense I would have the umph to push through the boredom and crank out the sets and reps I wanted to do. SO I've gone back to the Cave on Wednesdays and today's workout was a real good omen for the rebirth of Stones Gym and my own personal courage corner.

It always surprises me when I am unmotivated and tired and my body says YES! to the workload I give it rather than no way.I almost never see it coming, even after all this time in the gym, it almost always surprises me.

I could have done more today,especially given how good I felt but I am cautious and would rather low ball the number than push it.But my swing groove felt smooth, fluid and powerful and the 24 kg was moving like the old days. Chin height one arm swings with a solid connection to the earth and my body rooted strongly.

Maybe it's those platforms :))
Maybe it's Monster Magnet playing on my stereo, too loudly.Luckily my house is a corner lot and my neighbors never complain:))
Just like the old days

One arms swings

16 kg x5/5 x2
24 kg x5/5
x10/10 x 2 rounds
x5/5 x 5 rounds

230 swings
12,190 lbs

was going to go up to the 28 kg I felt so solid but want to nail down at least 400 reps a few times before I go up. Have to earn it, no matter what I did in the past.

Only as good as your latest kill,eh?

All the parts are holding and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Kinesio tape.Sometimes I have more tape on me than clothes,lol.

Back in the cave, getting back to basics and the primal-ness of the basic swing.Listening to my body, building back my strength, re serving my reserves and learning what I need to know for Now. For where I am right now.

My timing on today's swing couldn't have felt better and it's a good omen :)) Time to learn some new things.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Long Cycle Clean and Press

This is such a great exercise; in some senses the perfect combination of a ballistic and grind move all in one.you have the obvious swing component in the clean,which in my opinions gets little of the respect it deserves, and the strict press, perhaps the basic of all the high tension kb moves, done back to back for any number of reps and sets,or for time.

It's a very start/stop exercise and as soon as you get the rhythm of the swing start you come to agrinding( literally) halt,then zip everything up and create tension.

But, with that alternation of tension and relaxation there is their own rhythm which comes out quickly, if you are feeling good and not at all on those tough days.

Today I was feeling good for no good reason and the groove came early and easily. nice to have those days.I had taken it pretty easy on saturday for obvious reasons and wanted some decent amount of not too heavy work

And, as usual I didn't know how I would feel til I started training so I planned on going light first for a few sets and them jumping up; kind of a kb pre exhaust if you will.
or , if you are more powerlifting minded, a Sheiko approach. I like this, as it really let me get wamred up with the lighter weights and still lets me go heavy.

You would think that doing multiple sets with a sub maximal weight would tire one out but it just seems to get me warmed up fully and really let me set my groove into place

6-7 am joint mobility with Tracy's class then 40 mintues of static stretching focusing on overhead stretches in horse and front stances. this is my new thing in my stretching routine and I love it. I am even doing overhead stretches while in a wide stance squat, very good, but the overhead work while in a karate style lunge are the best and really stretch the back leg side from lower quads through the abs and up into the pecs and lats.

I do both straight overhead and then each arm to the ear one side at a time, all the while staying in the lunge stretch stance.

kb warmup
one arm swings 16 kg x5/5/5/5 x 3 sets
kb cleans 16 kg x5/5 x 2 sets

long cycle clean and press
16 kg x5/5x2
20 kg x 5/5
x 6/6
24 kg x 5/5 x 3 sets

these felt the best in the longest time, both the cleans and the press. all so very light with good speed in the press

see saw press
16 kg x 5/5
20 kg x 5/5
x 6/6
x 7/7

haven't done these in ages and they were perfect after the strict presses.

two hand arm casts
15 lb x10/10
20 lb x10/10
25 lb x10/10 x 3 sets

gotta get a bigger club or do more reps/set. these are getting very easy, love it.

one kb lunge( left leg forward only)
16 kg x8/8,

good to have these back in the mix. they help balance my legs very well.going to play with two kbs but still only using the left leg in front

datsit, only an hour to get it done.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My training partner, business partner, friend.

and mentor,Scott Wilson, Pro Mr American and American Bodybuilding legend. Never seen this footage before but this was a year after I had the honor of becoming his training partner.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Restoring balance.

I'm not a balanced person. Physically, at least,lol .My catastrophic knee and shoulder injuries before the age of 21 guaranteed that. But I have spent virtually every waking moment in those last 36 years working to restore the physical balance in my body, gain and retain my strength, both inner and outer and explore the limits of what can be restored and obtained even with these injuries.

I have always been thoughtful of balance, no surprise given my beginning as a surfer( I grew up in Miami) and then gymnast and I wrote a novel( unpublished) at age 21 called "A question of balance" about the world of gymnastics training, competition and coaching.

The desire for great balance, in all it's forms, has been there for me from the beginning. But I also honor the extremes, as well, and that can make it more, well, challenging, to find the center of the center. It's a lifetimes work for me so I'm in no hurry, but the lessons when you are off center can be daunting. Ok ,painful.

After last weeks dive into the deep end of the pool of High Volume Kettelbell training I knew I had bit off a little more than my imbalanced body could handle, and the last four days was as much about walking a tightrope making sure I calmed things down and did not slip over the edge as anything.

The high number of two handed swings really worked my much stronger right side and I had to make sure to stretch and relax and eat right to make sure the tension calmed down and I restored my current level of physical balance.

This also meant going back to my "asymmetrical' training focusing mostly on one arm kb moves.

When I herniated my disc in 2000 all of my rehab training was about asymmetrical movements; exercises and patterns that strengthened my weaker side and elongated, lengthened and stretched my much too tight stronger side.

I did all kinds of unilateral movement and was amazed when I discovered the kettlebell and realized that the ability to swing and snatch it with one arm at a time, while inherently unbalanced and asymmetrical CREATED balance in symmetry in my torqued frame.

For nine years I have tried to incorporate two hand swings, a bilateral movement,like a squat or a deadlift into the routine with no good result. Until a few months ago. But like many medicines the difference between a cure and a poison is entirely in the dosage.

Same here.

I learned alot this last week and I knew todays training there would be no two hand swings jsut the stabilizing corrective of the one arm kb snatch. Two handers will be back in the mix next week. Done heavy, for low reps and total volume.


one arm swing warmups 16 kg x5/5 x3 sets

16 kg x5/5( snatch) x 3 sets
20 kg x5/5 x 5 sets
24 kg x5/5 x 5 sets

that was it. the 24 kg snatches felt surprisingly easy light and fast but I was cold and I also knew I needed a serious warmup before I played with them. The 50 reps of 20 kg snatches re established my groove form and timing and it worked perfectly.
I was thinking of Russian powerlifting Coaching legend Boris Sheyko, who regularly has his students do multiple sets of medium reps with say a 75-80% load before moving up to 85 % and doing volume there as well.

Way too often I am in too much of a hurry to get to the workweight and don't pay enough respect to the knowledge I have about how much real warmup this body needs.

Today I did :))

Two Handed Clubbell Shield casts(alternating)

I was inspired by the video I posted last week of the strength and conditioning done in the Gojo Ryo style; here. So when I went to play with my clubs today that was what I was thinking,Of course I have no idea of really what I was doing but my intent was just to alternated each side shield cast with a midline swing and a grip change on the fly.

It was strong, fun and a good place to start with this style of training the clubs. More wide stance barbarian presses/squats to come as well.

15 lbs x 5/5
20 lbs x5/5

25 lbs x5x 3 sets

So all this asymmetrical training today got me feeling very balanced and back on track quickly. My legs hips and back feel like they have been before last week and I seem to recover much more quickly from everything these days, as well as being able to work harder and longer as well.
Good stuff and the purpose of my training as well.


Friday, November 19, 2010

getting ready

It's Friday night, tomorrow is snatch day and I don't have to do anything else out of the ordinary all weekend. Now, it's time to focus and prepare for tomorrow.

and lets not forget the Kid

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hanging leg raise, Hardstyle Ventura

what a great place for a workshop, eh?The beach is 100 yards in front of me with awesome waves. great time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hardstyle Baby.

Gymnasts don't need to stick landings

In my humble opinion, THIS is the epitome of what modern mens gymnastics should look like."Sticking" the landing is a stupid fashion statement that blows out more backs and knees than all the rest of gymnastics competition and reduces othewise insane routines down to a single flaw in the dissipation of force. High forces

These guys know how to do an insanely high force, high amplitude skill and move right through it. Oh, and yeah pointed toes be damned!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One million more swings and some clubbells

Ok, not exactly a million but it's felt like that in the last week. I went from never having trained Tracystyle to doing three of her classes in a week,the last one being yesterday when we shot her first( of many) train along DVD's.

I was in the Intro to High Volume Swing class and glad that was all I had to do as I watched her lead, coach and encourage the class for another 2 hours after I was finished with MY workout,lol.

I literally was tired just watching them.

I did Saturdays workout with the 20 kg,just to know that I could, and did the same yesterday but it was harder. First, DOMS, which was loading up quite well on Saturday from Wednesdays beating was in full force for Monday's shoot combining nicely with Saturdays workout to make a very potent hamstring, adductor and glute cocktail.

I needed to be very careful not to overextend myself and tweak something, while at the same time doing the work as strongly and proficiently as possible.I am a MRKC after all and had to represent Hardstyle on camera in the best manner possible, even while doing Tracystyle.

No worries, it went off well and my old performer mind rose to the occasion and 464 swings in 30 minutes went down strongly. 20,416 lbs of work in 30 minutes. Again, can anyone do more work per minute with any other tool than a kettlebell ballistic movement? I don't think so and that's not even counting accelerative forces which are easily four times the face value of the weight.

So 80-100,000 lbs of force were created by this 53 year old body in 30 minutes. Tracy did 2404 swings in 2 hours with the 12 kg.That's 62,504 lbs on face value and that's at least 250,000 lbs of force produced !!! Craziness!

Will I train this way regularly. ah, no. it's too many two hand swings for me right now. My right side is stillw ay stronger than my left and while I can tolerate( thank the Gods) and train, two hand swings now I still have to be careful about getting out of balance. I can't deal with overworking my right side. It won't be pretty.

But I did use this Intro workout with all my clients today and they all loved it.You'll love it to but you'll have to buy the video,lol

I didn't feel the need to swing any kbs today but I stretched out from 6-7 am and then spent 45 minutes doing clubbells by themselves from 8:30-9:30 am with the kb Swing Queen who also taught her class from 6-7 am. Just another day at the office for her.

two hand arm casts
10lb, 15 lbs 20 lbs a 10/10
two hand shield casts
10lb, 15 lbs 20lbs x10/10

one arm arm casts
10 lbs, 15 lbs x10/10
one arm shield casts
10 lbs, 15 lbs x10/10 x2

cb torch presses
10 lbs x5/5
15 lbs x5/5
20 lbs x3/3 pr!

wow, havent' done torch presses and forever and they went very well and were very very tough. A very good assistance move for my press tool box.

Still need some serious recovery, lots more food and sleep and hopefully more than a few weeks of normalacy and stability so I can ramp up my training again.

all good stuff


Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I was turned on to this video by Gary Music RKC, Chief Instructor at the Ohio Kettlebell Club. This is serious Hardstyle conditioning.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Swing class, snatches and presses.

Since I survived Wednesdays swing beatdown fairly well and I don't have much time to practice I thought it would be a good idea to actually take a real class from the KB Swing Queen herself this morning.

So at 7:30 after a good half hour stretchout I found myself in the back of the class with all the newbies.Beginners mind indeed.I had gone over the sequence of the class in my head many times since Wednesday and thought I had it down pat only this time I wanted to try it with the 20 kg and see how that went as that is the weight I hoped to use during Monday's shoot.

There is a guy doing the video class with a 16 kg but he's doing more than equal work to rest so I figured I should use a heavier bell since I'm getting more rest. Of course he's trained in this method for over year with Tracy leading but that's a minor detail, right? We'll see.

After stretching out I spent about 10 minutes warming up with the 16 and the 20 for one arm two hand and hand to hand swings just to make sure the grooves were good for the pace we would be going at.Things felt great so I decided to go with the 20 although I had the 16 right there if I needed it. No worries.

Can't tell the details of the workout til later but suffice to say I did over 400 reps in 30 minute and it was much better than the first time. It seems, just like I found with max vo2 training, your adaptation to this type of loading comes fast and I already felt I was stronger even with the heavier weight.

Tracy will tell me later exactly how many swings we did but if it was 400 it was 17,600 lbs of work and 586 lbs per minute, about what I did Wednesday but for 50 more reps with a lighter bell.

That's one solid workout for 3o minutes,one weight and basically one movement.
Wednesday I fell into more of a wider stance and leg driven groove as I was following Tracy and that's more her technique.
It felt great on my legs but it's not my style so I went back to my almost pure hinge movement and things went great.

Since my leg strength difference is significant due to my left knee if I use a bilateral technique that emphasizes too much' legs' my right side always takes over and things go amiss. I felt a little of this on Thursday as my right adductor and inner hammies said high and I figured out why.
After changing my soaked t shirt I went to snatches.

I have to work my legs unilaterally for it to work. Have to train the weaknesses by themselves if you want to brings things into balance. It's great I can now do two handed swings but I still have to modulate intensity to make sure things go in the right direction

16 kg x5/5
20 kg x5/5 x 5 sets
50 reps

Wanted to go easy here as I didn't know how the swing class would effect my muscles and I still have to repeat everything on Monday. They felt good but I thought more presses would be good.I needed to get some snatch practice in as I missed last Saturdays workout.

KB Press Ladder
16kg x5/5
20 kg x3/3

24 kg x3/3

These were great but I could tell my shoulders were tired from all of the above.

Two Hand Clubbell Shield Cast
15 lb x10/10
20 lbs x 10/10

25 lbs x 8/8 x 3 sets

All in all a great workout. Not used to doing so many different movements and modalities in the same workout but it was fine.Stretch and rest tomorrow and Monday is Show time! Then maybe back to some semblance of a routine :))


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

449 Swings in 30 minutes; TracyStyle.

I have known my wife is a genius for a long time. When she came up with her training methods for high volume swings and snatches I knew it was gold. The changes in her body and the work capacity she achieved was only surpassed by what I saw her students achieve as well with her methods.

Average people doing superhuman work capacities in a very short amount of time.

And yet I've never taken a class from her.


I was scared.

I have been training strength and conditioning for a very very long time and I KNEW exactly what was going on in those classes and KNEW I didn't want that much pain. It helped that up until a few months ago I coudn't do two handed swings without my spine yelling at me so I had an out.

In TracyStyle High Volume Kettlebell Training, the Two Hand swing is the foundation, and rightfully so. I just couldn't do it.

But my corrective work has actually worked and now I can do two hand swings, the power squat of kettlebell ballistics and ya'll should know how much I LOVE and REVERE the power squat.I always HATED that I couldn't squat OR do two handed swings. But I was also being very cautious as I made my foray into the move that is the easiest and the hardest of all kettlebell swings.

So when Tracy asked me to BE in her next swing class DVD, NEXT FREAKING WEEK, I actually didn't know if I could do the workout even with the 16 kg so today's workout became a practice session for her beginners workout class. Man I wasn't that confident.I can train heavy swings, do a ton of work but ask me to do it with restriced rest periods and my knees get weak,lol.
I HATE intervals even though I know how good they are for you.

But if my love wants me in her video it's time to step up and I did.

And let me tell you first hand, this training is no joke.

Tracy put me through her paces wanting to practice the progressions and the workout for the shoot and I needed to actually know if I could survive this.

I did but I have even more respect for what she has invented. Let me say it as clearly as I can: Her methods will change how everyone trains the kettlebell swing. Or at least the smart ones.

I used the 16 kg.

I listened to the instructor.

I matched her pace and flow.

I never did more than 20 reps at a time.

I did 449 reps in 30 minutes and barely noticed it. Thats almost 1000 swings per hour.

That's 16,164 lbs or 538 lbs per minute lifted.

Freaking Crazy.

The pace and speed FORCED me to swing in a much more dynamic and powerful way than I ever have before, especially with such a light weight. I can totally see now how Tracy gets so much work out of her body with this method as the pace and work load necessitate a certain ballistic power just to survive it!

I threw the bell back harder and just popped up. I really activated the stretch reflex of my hips and hams even harder than before just to make it through the reps with the rest interval she gave me.

At the end my legs were jello, which I haven't felt in ages. Crazy.Good.

This is like the first time I did max vo2 training but the difference is, this training is available to everyone because everyone can swing, although not everyone can snatch.

I can't tell you the workout cause it's top secret but I will train this again Saturday and then tape it on Monday, hopefully with the 20 kg.

The Queen of the Kettlebell Swing is onto something.This is going to be a GREAT DVD.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Back on schedule

Man, I love routine.I love training routines and used to write them obsessively.
When I was in high school I would always have the top six finalists at each of the six gymnastics event at NCAA Gymnastics Champions ships memorized as soon as they came out in Modern Gymnast magazine.

I would create "dream" routines all day long, imagining, to the smallest detail ,what would be the absolute best moves and how they could be put together into a routine. One that I could actually do, possibly, in the near future, and one that I was going to do, at some point in my life.
And how I would train them.

I could visualize the moves from all angles, from the inside, as if I were doing it, as well as a spectator, watching myself do the movement from the audience.

I also learned to "feel" the moves as I visualized them. How they would feel, in my body, as I did them in real life, but as I was just imagining them. I still use this and do this to this day.

Nothing has helped my training more than this except for the stability of my day to day routine. For many, many many years I sacrificed most of everything to gain the 'secrets' of high performance in whatever sport I was competing in at the time.

I had "jobs" not careers, as a gymnastics coach, a short order breakfast cook, or working behind the desk at a gym so I could put my training at the top of the list.Even when I had my son and I had to really "grow up" I stilled stayed close buying the gym I worked in and became my own boss instead of someone else's employee.

Yet my life still revolved around my training and recovery; especially that because it is the limiting factor in your training progress. So I had to monitor and control that as much as possible.

From work loads, to resting, both active and passive, nutrition, supplementation, visualization and the overall stress of my environment I knew for sure that the more stable, and less stressful my life environment was the more stressful my training environment could be.

And that meant better gains. Way better.

But I no longer compete and training is not on the front burner like it was but it still is close, as it's critical now that I maintain my symmetry and balance in my body, as well as my work capacity and useable functionality for real life. And that''s real training too, and the same rules apply.
The more stable your life the easier it is to make progress.
The stability and momentum that stability creates in my life as much as possible. And we've been traveling and on the go a lot and now it looks like a bit of a break, starting this week.

So I had to go medium hard last week to prep for HSV and medium hard again today as I haven't fully recovered and really didn't know where my strength would be.

It was good.

6-7 am stretching with emphasis on overhead work. Feel surprisingly loose and stable,lol. How is that possible?

8:30 am

swings: 16 kg x 10 2 hand, 5/5 one arm then 5 transfers 3 sets

KB Mil Press(short cycle)
16 kg x8/8x2
20 kg x8/8

24 kg x 8/8
20 kg x 8/8

This was excellent and the 24 felt very light again and the reps were very good. the groove one gets from doing higher reps with lighter weight translates very well into what heavy weights feel like from the start.
I thought about, briefly, just doing 8's on all the sets, but my shoulders got tons of work Saturday and even if I felt strong this is just the first day back and I can't get greedy.

Tracy was pressing doubles and did the same number of reps as I did on both arms with double bells.Way harder to me, even though a 16 rep set split between arms seems like way too many reps for me,lol.


20 kg x5/5

this was good for stabilizing my shoulder after all those presses as well as making up a little for missing my snatch workout on saturday.again.I can't wait til I have 3 months or so of NO travel and just consistent training, sleeping, recovery.

Great speed power and form on the snatches.nice.

Two hand Clubbell Arm casts

15 lb x8/8
20 lb x8/8
25 lb x10/10( shown in video above)
Shield cast
20 lbs x 10/10

these went great and were as strong as I can be lately. completely digging the two hand work as opposed to all the single arm work I did in the last two years. These feel very strong and powerful and I can see doing almost all of my work with the 25lb'er soon and purchasing a 30 or a 35lber as well!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Handstands in Ventura

Tracy and I just got back from a great weekend down in Ventura where I got to teach handstands at Pavel's workshop and we got to see our great friends Jen and Greg Mishkin again. So many excellent instructors were teaching and in attendance at this second annual event; Pavel, of course, Master David Whitley, Doc Cheng, Mark Toomey, Chris Frankel from TRX, and Seniors Doug Nepodal and Zar Horton. Here's a short clip of me teaching some handstand basics, the 'stack' from the kickup

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Swing time in Stones Gym

Stones 2006
It was a long day at work today and, for many reasons, I just didn't want to train at Girya today. Wednesdays workouts have become a challenge and the energy just wasn't good for the big dose of swings that I wanted to do.

I also didn't want to train outside so I decided to clear out a space in what used to be my garage gym, once called Stones( as in, do you have the Stones?) and go back to the future. My own little courage corner for sure. What used to be a seriously solid garage gym is now, well more garage than anything, although that is about to change as well.

But for now the great wood and rubber platforms are covered with boxes and books and all kinds of things that are being stored and, last but not least a bunch of kettlebells.

A few kettlebells, a solid place to stand and some good energy. That's all one needs to train,although a great stereo playing loud and serious rock helps a ton. So I got back on the platform and went to work. I immediately felt great and it brought back so many good memories of seriously intense workouts I've had there over the last 10 years.

I put on Tool and started my one arm swing workout:

One arm swing

uphill and downhill rep ladder
16 kg x10/10 x2

24 kg x5/5
x 6/6
180 reps
9540 reps

These felt great and the groove was as solid as it's been in eons. Felt completely natural,completely me .Good bell height, hip snap, shoulder position and good crispness. Most excellent. It's not the 600 rep PR I did a few years but I know now things are back on track and I plan on training in the garage now every Wednesday.

KB Lunges
16 kg x 8 reps x 5 sets

as usual did these with the bell in the left hand with the left leg forward for all sets. This builds my weaker left leg and stretches out the tighter right hip flexor. Always feels good after I do these, a good sign.


Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Clean and press,long cycle

Another back off week as we're on the road again this weekend. This time to teach handstands and Pavel's Hardstyle Ventura workshop. Tough life eh? Getting paid to teach and train right on the beach, virtually, with the Chief Instructor himself, not to mention all the other luminati that will be there including MRKC David Whitley, Mark Cheng RKCTL, Mark Toomey RKCTL and so many others.

But it's still work and I have to show up fit for duty so I didn't want to take any chances with anything so just a medium workload to keep things moving in the right direction. So todays challenge was how to create some decent intensity without increase load or volume too much.

The answer was some higher rep sets with the 20 kg before hitting the 24 kg and using a clean before each press( long cycle), as well as going I go you go style with Tracy. The combinaton of the 'pre exhaust" with the 20 , the longer time of each set and the short rest periods made the weights and the load feel heavier than it was. Felt great

Hour long stretch out, as usual from 6-7 am, today concentrating on opening up my wrists and shoulders for the coming presses and handstands.

8:30 am warmup
cleans 16 kg x5/5 x3

Clean and press longcycle
16 kg x 5/5
20 kg x5/5
x 7/7
here's some video of the last set

these felt great,very fluid and strong. I don't post these videos to show off at all, I mean, c'mon, it's 20 kg for goodness sake but to study my form, my groove and if what I felt during the set matches what it looks like externally.

I would have killed to have this ease of video taping during my gymnastics days and I think it's crazy more people don't video tape themselves and critique their own form! As my brilliant wife Tracy says to newbie HKC or RKCs " be your own first client, tape your form and find the flaws" and she's right but why stop there?

I used to record my power squat workouts all the time looking at form and depth and technique and it helped tremendously. One must develop a very ,very good eye to be a good trainer and nothing helps more than looking at movement and mechanics and technique over and over and trying to see all the things, good and bad , that the movement presents'.One must LEARN to analyze movement and technique and this is such and easy way to do it.

Plus, this is my training log, always has been, just online, and it's great to be able to look back and what I did a few years ago and critique that and see how far I've come- or how far I fell,lol. You can also really learn to see the subtleties, and that makes ALL the difference as a coach or a trainer.

Be your own coach, then you will be able to coach others. Lead from the front.

Then onto the 24 kg

24 kg x 3/3
These went so easy. Could have done way more but running out of time.

Also, I kept my eye focus on the floor about 3-4 feet in front of me. The same as in the snatch. I was doing the clean with one eye focus( this one) and then looking almost directly ahead for the press. I know I have better overhead mobility with this slightly down and forward eye position, I think it will hold up in the heavier presses as well.

Handstand stack ups
8-10 sets of 5-7 stack ups( just kicking until the lead leg is directly over the shoulders

these went great but I have to watch the forearm tendons lately in my right arm after doing presses first. Cleans and presses really tighten the forearms and then the handstands stretch them out, sometimes too fast! a bit of kinesio tape and it's all betta.

Two Handed Clubbell casts
arm cast 15 lb x10/10
shield cast 15 lbs x10/10
arm cast 20 lbs x10/10
shield cast 20 lbs x 10/10
arm cast 25 lbs x10/10
shield cast 25 lbs x10/10

these went great and the 25lb'er is feeling light now with two hands. It should, but it didn't for a long long time. Little things like this add up and never neglect to take note and appreciate the little improvements.

Over time they always add up to big gains.

Ok one arm swings and kb lunges tomorrow!