Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I really LOVE Rogue Fitness gear, especially their t shirt line. I bought four shirts, then their rings and I know they are real deal, and it looks like all their equipment is. Hell , they carry WSB line, what more do you have to say?

I don't have a need for power racks or plates or much else beside what I have but if I did I would buy it from these guys.

They have the right spirit and that's almost more important than anything else. I don't care if you're passionate for distance running, crossfit, powerlifting, kettlebells or bodybuilding. As long as you're passionate about it that's what's key to me.

So I was looking for my next shirt and I saw this one to the right. I had no idea what "sisu" meant or whether it was a word, phrase or acronym but it looked cool. I didn't want to buy it without knowing what it was about so I emailed Rogue to ask.

I got a mail back almost immediately telling me that SISU was the English equivalent for the Finish word for "having guts".This from Wikipedia expounded on that

Sisu is a Finnish term loosely translated into English as strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. However, the word is widely considered to lack a proper translation into any language. Sisu has been described as being integral to understanding Finnish culture. The literal meaning is equivalent in English to "having guts", and the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. However sisu is defined by a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain an action against the odds. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is sisu.

Perfect . I would get one. I love having things that motivate me or cultivate the right mind set for strength, courage and will. It makes training, and life,I find, easier.

Next thing I know I get an email from the owner of Rogue; Bill Henniger and he told me he was sending me a SISU shirt on Rogue. Turns out I was his Team Leader at his RKC and he appreciated my efforts. How freakin cool is that? Just got the shirt today and it's on tomorrow. The saying couldn't be more apt to describe my approach to, well, everything :))

And it showed itself today during my long cycle clean and press and ring work. Just getting started with both these moves and I have a long way to go. BUT I am so stinkin' happy just to be able to have the privilege of training to get them stronger I can't bitch at all:)

Playing on rings, no matter how weak I am on them. Awesome. One thing about starting at the bottom, the only direction to go is up :))

6-7 am Mobility/flexibility work upper body focus.

lots of toes, ankle knee mobs and thai squatting. bretzells of course with bent and straight legs, lots of overhead stretches and up and down dogs as well as back bends over stability ball. rkc hip flex stretch v 2.0 rumble rolling, of course

8:30-9:30 long cycle clean and press
one arm swings 16 kg x 5/5/5/5x 3
two kb cleans 16 kg x5 x 2

16kg x5
20 kg x 5x 3 sets
24 kg x3 x 5 sets

Wanted to get some volume in so I took a page from Sheyko's book and did some lower intensity volume before moving up in intensity and still doing some volume; just in a different configuration.

But I need to do way more work and really find my optimum two bell groove. I think it's more up than my one arm version, which is more 'out/up'n simultaneously. I think this will be much more straight up, with more vertical forearms.

That's fine and will translate into the push press, and later on the jerk, than the outside groove. I will still use that, though, in my single arm press. I just can't say enough how stinkin' HAPPY I am just to be able to write these words about my actual training, to actually have more than ONE thing I can do without breaking myself down!

After six years of rehab. Thats SISU to me.

But these were strong and fast. I will do some mirror training, perhaps on another day to practice more and not 'train' the lift as I groove it.Next two bell workout, though, will be with the 28's ;))

Two hand clubbell arm cast
20 x 10/10
25 x 10/10
35 x10/10

these are getting a bit easier( the 35) and I can get 10's consistently now without it killing me.Tracy is rocking her clubbells too as well as her press's. Love training with my Queen. Tuesdays are always special.

But I didn't do more shield casts as I wanted to get on my rings! First pike up handstands

Pike to Handstand, feet on stability ball
4 sets of 5

these were easier also,next week feet in the TRX harness. This is a much more symmetrical way for me to get overhead.

Ring Support

wow, this was a surprise. JUST HOW FREAKING HARD IT WAS!!! LOL. I couldn't get my arms locked at all and I could barely stay up for just a few seconds. wow. Did two more sets of about 5 seconds. I need more triceps.I am embarrassed to put this up but it will improve. I just have to really respect my body and my injuries and NOT GET GREEDY. Slow is fine.

This also gave me a object lesson in feed forward tension; one I haven't had in many years. I had to REALLY contract my, well, EVERYTHING, in my upper body as hard as I could to get enough tension to really hold and stabilize my body against those three planes of forces. My triceps pecs lats SERRATUS ANTERIOR as well as the obliques locked and loaded, fast!

Trying to turn the hands out was fruitless as I couldn't lock my elbows.Abs and front delts and everything were working hard the whole time. crazy hard. Felt good though. and familiar, in a very unfamiliar way,lol.

Ring plank

2 x 30 seconds

This, however was much better than last week. After the upright support this was a breeze and I should have gotten video of this instead of the above :)
No worries, I could barely get 20 seconds here last time. I can see, though, where these movements have to be practiced more often to progress.

The body forgets very quickly. It's not just muscle here, its way more complex. Cool.

6 am swipes on Thursday. My bet is that it's just too early for Nikko; so I'll be on my own.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nikko squats big

This is an amazing testament to the power of the kb swing and snatch for building serious power in the posterior chain and having a crazy carryover to other power movements. Back in 2006 Nick squatted 601 at the APF State Meet here in Cali wearing a two ply suit with straps up ( obviously), tight knee wraps and with a monolift, meaning he didn't have to walk the squat out.

He has diligently trained the squat once a week for years now, letting the bench and the deadlift go but still training kettlebell swings and snatches with me, also once a week,for all these years as well. Sometimes it went for months with just maintenance loads but the last year he has really picked up the pace, setting up real training cycles and waving the loads as we did before.

The result is this great effort today( after 100 or so kb snatches yesterday with the 24 kg) which was EASY. Yes, the last rep should have been deeper but it was still very strong. When he told of his plan to just do 521 for a single I told him he needed to go for more as he just doubled five hundred for two sets just 6 weeks or so and had been training hard this whole time.

He wore a six year old single ply suit bottom with no wraps or straps and he crushed it. He should be able to squat close to seven with the same setup he had in 2006 and some very specific gear and monolift training but I doubt he will do it.

Probably just keep training his squat and his kbs and end up doing 600 very soon in this same manner. Progress is the key, not competition. Many need competition in order to have a serious enough goal to really train hard and progressively but it's not, as Nick shows necessary.

Well done my Brother! Wish I could still be squatting along side you but this is close.If not me then who else but you?


He argued with me but when the bar was on his back he knew I was right :)

this was in Dec 2010

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Snatches and Rings.

Back on track. Last Saturday was heavy onearm swings and today is heavy( for me) snatches.Each workout will build the other I had a 'plan' to do multiple sets of 10's with the 24kg but Nick had to get going extra early today which meant stretching first was on hold until after the workout.

Things felt heavy right away so I came up with another plan ;)) Start with fives and ramp up to tens. Maybe.

But it was good. I warmed up faster than expected and the groove was solid. Good bell speed and power and the shoulder and back were behaving themselves. No carryover from the swipes on Thursdays; a VERY good sign. Training them at 6 am should make it even better and , surprise! Nick has signed up to train with me as well! Very cool. Of course that's very early for him and we'll see if he shows up! I'm prepared to train alone and that's the key.

12kg x5/5/5/5 x2
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x4/4

24 kg x5/5
x 5/5 /1/1
110 reps

20 kg snatches

40 reps

150 total snatch reps

I go you go fashion with Nick, who was only doing 5/5 as he has to squat heavy tomorrow, so the pace was fast. I had only planned on doing one top set of 5/5/5/5 but the batteries crapped out taping the last set so I had to do it over:))

Of course.

Ring Plank progressions

wanted to get to these before the last exercise ( 2 hand swings) so I would have some strength !

5 sets of 10-20 sec holds( guesstimate no timer) with descending height of the box. These actually got easier as the box got lower so I was doing something wrong but it was still SERIOUS work to keep the elbows really locked and the rings turned out!

Nick got up there and supporting was no problem with bent elbows and internal rotation but locking out and turning out: different story!

This was always both a strength and a weakness for me as a gymnast as I have naturally hyperextending joints( read loose ligaments and capsules) and they have to be REALLY locked to look straight. That can make the joint strong but it's also tough on it as everything is done at end ROM and if you don't have the requisite muscle tension way too much load goes into the joint.

But these are going to work some serious static strength for me which I have not been doing much of these days. Go slowly though

Vertical support( prep for L sit)
2 sets of 5 seconds. WOW, tough, again holding myself up is one thing. Locking out and turning out another. I can see where I will have to practice this in small bites at least twice and perhaps three times a week.

Maybe even a grease the groove protocol. We'll see.

Two Hand Swings/Ballistic

24 kg x5 sets of 10 reps
28 kg x 5 sets of 5 reps

Solid strength power and wind. Nice. Again, last week was power swings and this week ballistic. A good alternation of the same move( "same but different", thank you Pavel) brings a solid balance to the routine and each move helps the other. Maybe I will get this routine together after all :))

20 minute stretchout: emphasis: hamstrings, ankles, shoulders, abs


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Swipes and Handstands

Another experiment on where to put the mid week workout was successful. I realized this was not the time. The decision to do swipes today was a good one but I was running out of steam quickly after 7 clients. I have a six AM opening on Thursdays so I believe the next experiment will be to try to train at that time.

I have said my goal is to be able to train myself first and here's another chance! It's working out well for Tuesdays heavy presses, and Saturdays swing and snatches so why not Thursday as well?

Six am is NOT 8:30 but swipes are not snatches either and I figure I can get a 30 min stretchout in from 5:45 to 6:15 then go to swipes for 30 minutes before a post workout mobility cool down for 15 minutes. This might be the ticket.

And here's the other part: I 'm going to try Swipe Vo2 !!! Substitute swipes for snatches and start playing with the protocol. See how many swipes I can do in 15 seconds and then go for a big volume of sets.

Bilateral swipes don't give one the alternating arm rest so the totals might be different but this should be fun. It's my favorite met con workout but I am stuck as to where to do it with kbs. The swipes shouldn't compromise my grip for Saturday's heavy work.

At least that's the theory.

Today's work

6-7 am Full stretchout and mobility work. Focus:ankles and hammies.

1 pm


10 lbs x 20 x 5 sets/ 100 reps
15 lbs x 10 x 5 sets/50 reps

two clubbell swings
20 lbs x 10 x 5 sets/50 reps

total reps =200

man that seemed harder than it looks,lol.Pretty much equal work to equal rest. These felt good but it seems almost harder to do swipes in sets and reps than it is with one long set. Just the opposite of kbs.

brief play about with handstands on two kbs. not ready for this yet. so stack ups on stability ball

Did four sets of these, not sure how many reps.This was perfect and really let me focus on getting into the hollow position with my torso as well as lock in the shoulder/arm position. Tried some kick ups but these were better.

Looking at these on video it immediately struck me that these were essentially hanging leg raises done upside down, lol. All of these parts are coming together as I get ready for teaching the Level 2 RKC in Budapest this summer and a not yet announced bodyweight cert coming up in the fall.

All the time I have spent stretching and supporting small loads in those stretches has gotten me ready to actually do some real work with my own body. Kalos Stenos indeed. Calisthenics. Gymnastics. Beautiful strength; it's all the same :))

Body weight squats
5 sets of 10

wow. this has been awhile. ok, forever. to about 3/4 to parallel and they felt fine. so bizarre to be doing squats again of any sort after so many years forbidden to do these. we'll see how it feels tomorrow. My squat stretch work has been good but I have overdone it a bit a few times and gotten weird feedback from the non injured knee/leg.

The foot/knee mechanics that work for my tweaked left knee are not the same as for my non injured right knee and I have to figure THAT our now. Being asymmetrical is not all it's cracked up to be ;))


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ring Weights

That's what kettlebells used to be called back in the early 1900's when they were used by such Iron Game luminaries such as Sig Klein and Eugene Sandow. And that's one of the first things I thought about kettlebells when I first got my hand on one was how much it resembled the rings I was used to swinging on as a gymnast, as well as the pommel on the side horse. A ring weight indeed.

Kettlebells had gymnastics written all over them. Perfect for me, especially since when I found them in I was easily in the worst physical shape I had ever been in.I was strong in a powerlifting sense by my mobility, my conditioning and my pain levels were terrible

Being able to swing again brought me immediately back to my roots of gymnastics, where the swing IS the thing, such a beautiful blend of strength, power, speed and control.

I had NO idea that training with kettlebells these last 9 years would rehab me enough to allow me to even DREAM of playing with the rings again, in any way. Hell for most of that time I couldn't get my right arm fully over my head without serious pain and even then no where near full ROM.

Forget about double bells or two hands with anything over my head. I thought of more irony that I once could do 22 free handstand pushups on the rings at the END of my workout. How far I had fallen.

So as I bought these competition style rings from Rogue Fitness it immediately brought me back to my beginnings, but also to my end. It was a ring injury that finished my gymnastics career and my Olympic Dreams. Back to the future. Watching Kelly Starrett and Carl Paoli use these rings to develop external rotation and stability in the shoulders inspired an AHA moment that I too could play with these again, even if only for rehab.

Still it would be cool.

SO I set them up first thing at O dark thirty this morning and they looked great. Like real ring, just like I remember( except they need more chalk)
I played around with them just a bit during my stretchout from 6-7 am, using no load at all just getting them into position for a support and really focusing on locking the elbows and externally rotating the arms.

Just feeling them.

8:30- 9:30 Long cycle clean and press, single bell

one arm swings
16 kg x5/5/5/x3
16 kg x 5/5 x2

clean and press
16kg x5/5x2
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x2/2

28 kg x3 x 5 sets

these went so well. very very strong. I want to alternate single arm presses with double bells every other week. easily could have done more but wanted to save something for the ring ;))

Two hand arm casts
20 lbs x10/'10
25 lbs x 5/5
35 lbs x 10/10

damn if these things still aren't hard! especially the second arm for any reps over five!!

Ring Planks
15 seconds
18 seconds
20 seconds.
Man oh man did I ever play on these things like I remember or was it just a dream? Even holding myself up and getting the arms turned out, WITH MY FEET ON A BENCH! was crazy hard.

I really thought I would do sets of 30 seconds but realized that wasn't going to happens very very quickly. Like ten seconds into the first set. The second set was better but I let off 2 second shy of 20 so I had to do it again.

I was going to also play around with upright supports but HAD NOTHING LEFT,lol. Crazy how much muscle gets worked on those things. But, leaves lots of room for improvement.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Speed swings, power swings and swipes.

Another good one in the bag. had a full hour of stretching and mobilization from 7-8 to get me ready for my swing workout today. Last week was snatches, today, heavy speed swings. My groove has felt fast and stable of late and that's always good.

If you can't go fast the groove isn't right, imo.One may not have the conditioning to go fast for long, or for multiple sets but you should not be fighting your own body or mechanics during the motion or something's wrong. Done that enough to know it's true :))

One arm swings
16 kg x5/5 x2
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x6/6

28 kg x10/10x10 sets
200 reps/
12,600 lbs

Nice! things felt easy for the first five sets then a bit of fatigue started setting in. Haven't done this weight, for tens, much less ten consecutive sets for years. Felt good that it was so strong.
The pace was fast, alternating "I go, you go" with Nick. so it was about 30 seconds of work and 45-50 seconds of rest. Thats not much rest for me;}

Power two hand swing
32 kg x 5/5

These were easier and harder than I expected. When I started with fives I thought I would ladder up to ten pretty easily. After two sets I realized that it would be no joke to not only do these reps but make sure the hike pass was seriously hard and the hip snap powerful with the bell speed never dropping for any reps.

Two CB swipes
10's x 10
15's x 10
20's x 10

My left shoulder/levator was a bit impinged all morning and it was feeling fine at the end so I didn't want to mess anything up with more pullups so I went with the swipes. These were easy but I was done. 75 minutes of training later( after the hour of stretching).

Very happy with everything; form, condition, strength, recovery, work capacity.
SO nice to be able to train hard again and not feel tweaked right after. Also nice to workout and not worry every second whether your spine is going to fall off at any second too .


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Speed snatch


Speedy, that is. I should know by now that trying to train speed AFTER heavy or max effort is just wrong. Trying to make my schedule fit physiology doesn't ever work and I should remember that.
Yesterday's long cycle double presses were fun and solid but definitely heavy and took it's toll.

Trying to train today was one thing; trying to train speed was another.I thought last week that it was doing clubbells first that took it out of me but it was just doing heavy presses the day before.
In WSB land they train squat speed on fridays, bench speed on Mondays THEN max effort squat/deadlift on Mondays.

Speed before strength. I forgot. Now I remember, and won't make that mistake again. I definitely need two days after speed snatching before heavy swings on Saturday but trying to go fast just one day after heavy makes no sense.

No issues at all after yesterday's presses and still got a 30 min stretchout at 5:30 am. Have to stay mobile, a supple leopard, as Starrett would say :))

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
36 sets of 7
252 reps
9,072 lbs

Groove felt fine but left arm speed was iffy and overall, just tired. What I needed was recovery not stimulation but I got it done nonetheless.

What this means in the big picture is that I need to train on Thursdays and I don't think snatching them will help for Saturdays. So that means Snatch VO2 may be sacrificed to the gods and I'll do clubbell swipes on Thursdays ( which shouldn't interfere with Saturdays snatch/swing training and still give me a day off after Tuesdays heavy presses.

MAN! Having all these options is a serious high quality problem.



snatch or one arm swing
two hand or power swing

long or short cycle kb press
two hand clubbell casts

two clubbell swipes
bw squats

that's what's up for now. See how that works


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Nice new addition

My latest purchase.These are actual gymnastics comp wood rings and I can't wait to get them.There is nothing like the feel of a real wood ring set. Plastic doesn't come close
Being able to play again on these will be simply amazing, no matter how beginning level it will be.Of course it is not insignificant that I feel restored enough to finally be able to play with the tool that destroyed my shoulder, finished my gymnastics carrier, my Olympic dreams and my sanity.( at least for awhile,lol).

It is more than symbolic it is epic.

The OTHER and more crucial new addition to my tool box today : double overhead presses with 24's! Who would've thunk it? Three years ago I couldn't get both arms overhead at all, much less press anything overhead with any semblance of good form and today, was able to comfortably do multiple sets of long cycle clean and military press with the 24 kg bells and it wasn't that hard at all.

Nor should it be as it's not that heavy, but when you are fighting the restriction of almost all of your body at the same time as the weight it becomes a different story. But it's been a great year for seeing the actual results of my attempts to 'restore lost physical function' as the dvd says.

First presses with one arm, then, two hand swings,handstands, then a serious increase in knee ROM and now double presses and pullups. Crazy! Just in March when I went up to Seattle for the HKC and met with Tom Corrigan and we talked about doing jerks I told him straight out it would be forever, maybe never, that I would be putting two bells overhead with my T spine and shoulder issues.

Well I guess I spoke too soon. Not to mention being wrong. I guess this is the kind of mistake I can live with,lol.
Next up are squats, which will be the best of the best,although this is pretty close because if I can do these, I can also do handstand pushups! and that will be seriously seriously cool.

6-7 am full stretchout, overhead emphasis.

8:30 am
long cycle clean and press/doubles
2/14's x5x2
2/16's x5
2/20's x 5

2/24's x 3
x5 PR~!

these were crazy strong and easy, although I don't have a real groove yet. Was kind of hunt and peck and I was searching for the best line to push through as well as the best eye/head position( which I think this video set demo's.

Had no idea I could do anything more than the 16's as usually when I do double swings or cleans the palm down technique requires me to open my stance up so much I lose all hip power. So I chose to use the thumb up technique and it allowed me to close my stance enough so these were fine.

I was careful to not armbar myself on the back swing but my elbows are bendy that way anyway.I've noticed most LC clean and jerk GS athletes are using this technique as well and with close stances. Very exciting!
So strange to do a bilateral push again as it's been since 2003 since I bench presses or did dips.This is a strong movement for me so it will be fun seeing where this will go. Right now I can see using the 28's no problem and the 32's in a few months when I get the groove down and build bit of a foundation.

It also gives me five varieties of presses to do one each tuesday workout:
long cycle single clean and press
short cycle single clean and press
long cycle double clean and press
short cycle double clean and press

I know I 'm nuts but this stuff gets me going. I love to move, and train and explore with my body and what my body can do.Moving strongly like the human animal I am is when I am most at home in this world. Always has been and I suspect always will be.

That I am coming back from such LACK of movement and strength is a freaking miracle and I fully recognize that and give thanks. Every day. Every day. Every day.

Tactical Scapula Pullups s/s with two hand clubell arm casts
6,6,6,7 20 lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x10/10
35 lbs x 5/5

Two hand shield casts
20 lbs x10/10

did these a bit differently than usual as I didn't stop in guard position but kept the bell 'swirling' for lack of a better term. I was thinking helicopter when I was doing them. It was light so I wanted to keep things in constant motion. Very cool.

Pullups were easy and moving higher and higher each workout. Good hollow body position too. So different than bodybuilder pullups.
Should NOT have supersetted them with the arm casts as my lats were serious toast! I don't want to disrespect the 35 lber. It's no joke.

Cant wait to get the rings and start off with planks with my feet at various heights and working my external rotators on these. The Starrett mobwod which highlighted this move was very interesting.
Now that I really understand the importance, the criticalness of torque in the hip and shoulder all kinds of light bulbs are going off, and the gymnastics coaching cue for the rings of "keep the rings turned out all the time" now really makes sense.

I see planks, the supports, L sits, prone pushups, ring dips and shoulder stands. To start,lol.

SO wish I would have known this stuff 35 years ago,lol, but ain't that true of almost everything.

datsit. Speed snatches and clubs tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Snatch and swing

I've been known to say that my definition of getting old is when one gets hurt sleeping. I am old,although this has been known for some time, and today I woke up tweaked from sleeping wrong.

I mean, REALLY? Is this what it comes down to,lol? I woke up with a good old fashioned crick in my neck from some bad angle sleeping and thought I would mobilize it out with some brettzells and stick shrugs. Man I worked on it for almost an hour this morning before my kb training and it didn't really want to budge so I decided to just 'snatch it out'.

This worked, to no surprise. But it gave me a chance to play around with some interesting shoulder and upper back mobility drills from Starrett and that was good education.

So bretzells, overhead stick shrugs, behind back stick stretches, band distractions with external rotation, overhead stick stretches then finally lacrosse ball in the first rib and between the scap and spine and then pec minor releases with said lacrosse ball.

Thumping in left forearm as well as that is always a link for me ( grip/shoulder) and that helped too. Had a client no show so I also got my lower body stretchout in as well. Another 75 minutes of mobility and stretching! Nice.

But it was go time so lets snatch it out.

Snatch ladders
16 kg x5/5 x 3
20 kg x4/4

24 kg x5/5
x8/8 x 2 rounds
104 reps
5,512 lbs

nice since I havent really snatched the 24 like this in a while. Form felt solid and the bell, light.

this is from the first round.

Two hand swings

24 kg x 10
32 kg x 10 sets of 10
100 reps 7200 lbs

Did this pretty fast in an "I go, you go" fashion with Nick. Tracy was next to us doing 500 reps with the 24 kg in the two hand swing alternating with another 500 transfers with the 12 kg in sets up to 100! Craziness! My wife is one serious kb animal! That is one serious work capacity. No joke.

One arm shield casts
10 lbs x 10/10
15 lbs x10/10 x 3 set

Scap tactical pullups
3 sets of 6

these are feeling better each time. Really focused on dorsi flexion, a tight hollow body position and serious external rotation of each arm, THEN pulling. It's exactly how gymnasts move on the rings and the bars. Had to give up this position for years, very nice to be able to get it back again.

Also with all the great stuff that's happening to my left knee because of the increased attention to the mobility and flexibility of my feet and ankles it made sense to finally try some vibram five finger shoes. Or Tree Frog Shoes, as I have called them.

I have a feeling these are going to make a huge difference as I've had them on since I got them and don't want to take them off they feel so good. Opening up and strengthening my toes is going to make a huge impact on my knee as well.


Friday, May 13, 2011

"Hunting for your business"

That's what I was doing yesterday morning at 5:45 am. I am so pumped up by the 10 degrees increase in ROM in my left knee after using KStars Thai Squat foot position and squat technique that I am into my stretching and mobility drills like never before.Not to mention dropping into a squat all throughout the day. SO nice to NOT have my knee hurt when I try to bend it and to see it bending more and more and more everyday.

10 degrees increase in 3 weeks or so is pretty good. If I can get the knee to 120 degrees I might be able to avoid a knee replacement!

Starretts approach to self myofascial release , PNF stretching and the "dig it out of the muscle" approach to trigger points and 'glued down' muscles is exactly how I feel about deep tissue work and mobility/flexbility work. I thought I was going down the right path and I now I KNOW I am.

I love his " camp out there" approach to stretching. Yeah, find the tight spot, hunt the corners of the movement for the tightness/pain AND JUST STAY THERE.

That'd be my approach too. And has been. I was doing Starrett before he was :))

The idea that the pain of deep tissue work, foam rolling pain, "digging out the pain" in adhered,glued down, tight restricted muscles was BAD for them and was to be avoid with ONLY attempts at restoring movement with just movement made ZERO sense to me and still does.It negates the entire HISTORY of the health benefits of massage as well.

That dog won't hunt, no matter what the "science" is.
What the science is today. Wait a sec, science will change it's mind. Again. It always does. Me, I'll go with what seems to work. I don't know how my computer works but I can still use it. Same with my car and many other things.

I might not be able to explain, to anyone's contentment, why what I do for my training or recovery works but I KNOW when my body is going in the right direction and when it's not.

I just not be able to explain it to you to your satisfaction. You're in charge of the direction your body is going in as well.I can't do it for you. No one else can either.

Stretching might be "passe" in the fitness industry now but that doesn't mean it doesn't work. It just means it's not in fashion. Oh well, I've never been that fashionable :))

Things get simple very fast when you have chronic pain. You can either move and BE without pain or you cannot. Things either make your pain and movement and performance better and with less pain or they make it worse. Simple stuff.

You learn to listen and learn from your body or you do not. And NOT usually hurts more so you change your direction.

SO I went into Girya 75 minutes early this am to hunt out my business and stay ahead of the curve.Here's what I did:

1) back bend over stability ball
2) rumble roller foam roller
3) up dogs
4) down dogs( camped out here for 3-4 minutes x 2- best thing for my knee extension)
5) thai squat stretch,palms on floor
6)straddle stretches
7)side splits
8) hamstring stretch with strap
9) ham stretch crossover
10 ) bretzell
11) rifs brettzel with straight leg
12) RKC hip flexor stretch v 2.0
13) squat stretch against wall ( as in video above)
14) supported thai squat
15) overhead stick stretch
16) behind back stick stretch both grips
17) terminal knee extension lockouts with monster mini band

datsit .lol

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Swipes and Speed Snatches, one day early.

Yesterday's short cycle press workout showed me just how much difference there is between a 5-10 long cycle ladder and a 5-10 rep short cycle one,lol. Without the intervening clean there is no break on the delts, upper back and triceps and the load adds up quickly.

What I'm trying to say is that I was already a bit sore when I got up this morning and when the time came to do my workouts this morning at 9 am I could tell it was just settling in.

But I was determined to try to get through the workout today, one day earlier than normal to give myself enough rest so I am NOT sore on Saturday for heavy swings and snatches. Can't do it all simultaneously so I sacrificed a bit in todays wipes and snatches and I could tell the difference.

Every thing felt heavy, even the 10 lb clubs,lol. I wanted to do a 20 lb club swipe workout and build up my top end so I can get 200 reps with the 15's soon. Multiple sets of lower reps and focus on a big total number. Then increase the reps and decrease the total sets. Basic Density Training( thank you Ethan Reeve!). But the 20's felt WAY harder than expected and I realized I had used way too lose of a grip as well. These bad boys were nothing to mess around with. Grip those handles!

I wanted to do set of 10 but thought better of that after the first set. I warmed up well and could have finished with 10's but decided not to be greedy.

30 minute stretch and mobility, then:

Clubbell Swings
2/10's x 20 x 2
2/15's x 15 x2
2/20's x10/x 2

these got to me more than I thought and my grip was seriously pumped. Next time right to swipes

Clubbell Swipes
10's x 10
15's x 10
20's x 8x 10 sets

ouch. That wasn't that much fun.; I was using the same grip technique I would use if the weight was "light" but the 20's aren't light and my elbows didn't like the first set. So I tightened up and treated the weight with some respect and things got fine after that. As usual the more sets I did the better I felt

Speed snatches
16 kg
8 rep sets
20 sets
160 snatches
5760 lbs

can't call these snatch vo2 as they were all off the clock as I knew right away I wouldn't be able to hold that pace. So I focused on doing each rep as fast as I could and resting as little as necessary to feel ready for the next set.

Went back to my speed form that I used in 2007 and it worked well here too although it took me a few sets to get the bugs out; like breaking late instead of early and not getting to far back on my heels at the end of each rep.

30 min stretch and mobility/ foam roll

not an optimal performance give the lack of rest but it should set me up for Saturdays workout. We'll see how this goes


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Samurai Rogue

I love a good hardcore, badass t shirt. I used to have a serious collection when I was powerlifting but it has dwindled pretty badly since then. Besides most of them were XL's and that don't fit me any more. Mediums are just fine now and that's just fine.

I have always liked to wear the same clothes for specific workouts once I have figured out what makes me feel the best for that workout since my bodybuilding days. Scott Wilson did that and I soon caught on. Sounds weird but it works. I would even have different colors I wore for specific bodyparts or lifts. Something either made me feel strong and fit or it did not. I didn't have to think about it, I either liked it or not.

I wear different gear for snatches than I do for presses or for swings. Not dramatically but it's gotta to fit the mood and promote the mood.What mood? For strength and courage, of course.

And that's how I felt when I came across this company called Rogue Fitness from KStars Mobility website.It's a company that specializes in outfitting Crossfit strength boxes( as they're called) but that doesn't bother me. I know hardcore when I see it and this place is seriously hardcore.

If you carry WSB Power racks,bumper plates, Atlas stones, glute ham raise machines and wood( not plastic) gymnastics rings you are hardcore and know quality.This place does. They need to upgrade their kettlebell brand but that's another story.

Anyway, they carry a collection of T shirts that got to me right away. One is an American flag on a black background called the Disposable Heroes Project whose proceeds go 100% to wounded veterans. That was my first purchase.

Next was this crazy ass skull and meat cleaver shirt which would have been perfect for squat day.Unfortunately it has lame stripes on the arm but otherwise is very cool. Next was this one, the Samurai Rogue which is what I was wearing in the video above.

The new shirts reflect my new attitude which is a very good one. Being confident of being able to do more than just rehab now has re sparked my mojo.Strong is good and these shirts are perfect to strengthen my mood and power.Rogue Strength is my last purchase for awhile and fits right in too. It's nice how they name the shirts after the athletes that inspired the art.

Now the workouts.

first up, 6-7 am full stretchout and mobility.

as has been the case this is going very well and I can't believe the progress my left knee is making in actually bending as well as my ability to squat. squat training is next up on the agenda and it will be happening sooner rather than later!

I never miss stretching out in the am now, no matter how tired I am as I can really see the difference it is making in my total body tension levels as well as my ability to move well.Priority ONE!

Short Cycle Mil Press
one arm swings
16 kg x5/5/5/5 x3
16 kg x5/5 x2

short cycle press
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x3/3

24 kg x5/5
45 presses per arm and 90 total! PR

I much prefer long cycle presses these days, much to my surprise but I figured it was time to throw in some sheer shoulder work. It would help the long cycle and I didn't want to do it so enough said.

I skipped 9/9 because I wasn't sure I could do that AND get my last set of 10/10 and I really wanted to get the 10's. No problem and I went back and did 9/9 right after. Should've trusted my ability more.I will next time. as well as have more patience.

I also played around with my technique a bit, going back to my original teshnik of watching the bell as it ascends. this worked great on my right arm but turned out not to be better with my ( non injured) left so I split the difference and did it the old way on the left and the new on the right. I ain't even close to symmetrical so why should my techniques be?

One of the beauties of only having to do one side at a time no? With this technique my shoulder doesn't lock out any better but my elbow sure does and Man do I have good leverage in this position. Tracy asked me if I was doing speed presses and that's what they felt like.Crazy strong and like I could keep going.

Two Hand Arm Casts
20 lbs x10/10
25 lbs x10/10
35 lbs x 10/10

Two hand Shield Casts
20 lbs x8/8
25 lbs x8/8
35/lbs x5/5

man my shoulders and upper back were toast by now but the 35 lb shield cast was a pr. Never used that weight for that move before so I was happy :))

Scapula Tactical Pullups

3 sets of 8-10

really need to add these in and get my pullups back in shape for teaching it at Level 2 in Hungary. These went very well and I really focused on locking into the hollow position with my body as well as really torqueing the arms into external rotation before I began the movement. Also made sure to dorsiflex the ankles to prepare for holding weight this way.

This is SO different than my old style of bodybuilding pullups but right back where I began in my gymnastics hollow technique. Like riding a bike;)) Also made sure to activate from scapula depression first and then engage teres and lats. this is going to work. Next up: handstands.

Bodyblade laterals

3x10/10 to finish off delts

good one and the chest wound is fully healed.Another great workout with my Valkerie Warrior Woman by my side:) Tracy is getting her presses to a whole nother level too.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Speed work.

It's official now, I can't get away with doing snatch Vo2 on Thursday and come back and swing or snatch heavy on Saturdays. My arms just don't seem to recover fast enough to do Saturday, which is supposed to be the centerpiece of the week, justice.

Perhaps I can adapt to it but I don't think I need to. I'll just turn Thursdays into my clubbell swipe day and snatch or do lots of one arm swings on Saturday. Trying to get two snatch workouts in a week was just a bit greedy.

I could train snatch vo2 on Wednesdays but that would mean no swipe workout so I have to choose. I chose to work on my swipes and sacrifice snatch vo2, for now anyway. I can always snatch vo21 on saturdays but I will have tough road to hoe convincing Nick but he travels a lot anyway ;-))

After watching my snippet of Wednesdays snatch workout I looked back to when I was really rocking the snatch vo2 ( back in 2007) and looked at that form. MAN I was moving fast! Way faster than recently but my form is well, mine.

Ironically it looks like I am going through a bigger ROM but moving much faster. Here's a sample:

Back then I was also swinging for A LOT more volume, having pr's of 600 reps with the 32 kg and 600 with the 24kg using the same form; lots more hip and back and not trying to use my legs at all. Just enough of a knee bend to keep the glutes involved.

Just like my old barbell deadlift form which everyone , including me, tried to correct until I realized it was my strongest position.

So I decided to do my swing workout today with that old snatch/swing form and it worked like a charm again allowing me to go much faster and have more power for lots of sets.

Since my foot/ankle/knee mobility is gaining ground by leaps and bounds I fully expect to be squatting again soon( at least bodyweight) and don't have to try to turn my swing snatch from a hinge/pull pattern into anything else.

7-8 am

flexibilty/mobility stretchout. LOTS of ankle foot and squat pattern work.

8 am
One arm swings

16 kg x 5/5/5/5 x 3 ( arms were TIGHT! hence the kinesiotape)
20 kg x5/5

24 kg x10/10 x 10 sets
200 reps
10,800 lbs

not a bad start.

Two hand swings 24 kg
10 sets of 10
100 reps
5300 lbs

I go you go with Nick. Fast pace with emphasis on eccentric overload and FAST ascents. felt great! The hike swing park drills carry over very well.

One arm clubbell Shield casts
10lbs x 10/10 x 2
15 lbs x 8/8

These went well as well. Slept great last night and had lots of energy and strength today. 'Bout time.
So it looks like

One arm swings or snatches
two hand swings ( ballistic or power version)
one arm clubs

KB press
two hand arm casts
pullup practice

CB swipes
handstand practice
body weight squats

If I can get away with doing bodyweight squats, handstands and pullups in addition to all the other great stuff I can now do again it will truly be a miracle. Not to mention if I can figure out how to get my knee to bend another 20-30 degrees! I won't quit trying to figure it out until they put me in the ground.

And as I found with Kelly Starrett's foot and ankle drill just ONE small thing can make ALL the difference in your direction and that's all I need. Just one right thing to point the way


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Swipes/ Snatches Double split, more ankle/squat revelations.

Now that I am stitch free and got the okay to train for real I was itching to get going this AM.Had a 3o min break so I decided to split up todays workout again and do my swipes early.

I didn't want to just test( done enough of that) but actually train the swipe but knew I had to start out light and ramp back up slowly. I figured a moderate rep ladder was in order.

5:30 am
30 min stretch and mobility work. lots of thai squats and downward dogs held for 1-2 minutes at a time."camping out" as K Star would say. I love this technique and was going in that direction myself for cueing as trying to teach people to actually stretch with PNF or other techniques had been proving SO fruitless.

Teaching people to breath and stretch simultaneously is near impossible for me it seems. And for most students. Why? I just don't know but people had a harder time learning how to stretch and breathe into the stretch more than any other technique I teach. So I really really like the cue to 'camp out' in a position when you find the tightness and STAY THERE for 2-3 minutes.

That'll teach you to relax in the stretched position ,lol.

This whole thing with pointing the feet straight, externally rotating the foot( and hence the tibia) and pushing the knees out as you squat down has been revelatory for me. I had just about given up on figuring out how to get my left knee to bend properly, hell, at ALL, and I thought, although I didnt' KNOW ,that much of the problem was in my ankle( didn't think about the foot).

When my ankle wasn't sitting properly my knee hurt more than and bent less than, normal. Little did I know it was my foot setting the stage improperly to not allow the knee to bend correctly.

I've been testing it with almost all my clients and am having almost 100% success with people squatting deeper, with straighter spines, more upright,in closer stances and with no knee pain or even sensation. The torque places all the stress through the lateral side of the leg and into the hip/glute and it's an amazing feeling for someone like me that never quite grokked how to squat correctly.

Now I can't stop squatting( still supported ) all throughout the day and I can feel my knee opening up more and more everyday. I KNEW IT! Setting it up right, getting the popliteus to work right and open up the knee and SUPPORT it as I descend makes all the difference when you are missing almost all of the supportive ligaments in a joint, lol.

Can't imagine how powerful this would be with two knees that bent all the way.

9:30 am
2 CB Swipes
10 lbs x 20
140 reps
15 lb CB swipes
x 10 x 5 sets

total =190 reps.

this was easy and hard at the same time. need this type of work to build a bigger base for endurance as well as the lower rep per set work to clean up technique.

2 pm Snatch Vo2

OK, this was tough, lol. Nothing gets me in cardio shape faster than snatch Vo2 but nothing gets tougher faster after you haven't done it, for even a few weeks than snatch Vo2! My form was ALL over the place and I couldn't get comfortable at all.

I finally opened up my stance a bit and that was a little better but what I should have done was some higher rep, slower sets and let my groove settle. Trying to move fast when you're not sure of how to move is never a good idea.

The 90 freakin' degrees in the garage didn't help at all. Time to bring the fans out. Hard to believe just last week I was freezing,lol.

Snatch vo2
16 kg
35 sets of 7
245 reps
8820 lbs

One so nice thing about max training is that the pounds add up so quickly.

Very COLD Shower. The longest one yet. This is going to be a great thing this summer.


Tuesday, May 03, 2011

28 and 32 kg Long Cycle presses

Get my stitches out tomorrow and since I was on schedule to press the 32 kg last week and couldn't ,I figured it would be nice to get as close to it as I could today without feeling like I was taking any risk of ripping something out just before I got to the Docs.

Didn't plan on being so strong,lol. As I love to say you just have to be ready to grab it when it shows up and it showed it's face today. I grabbed and caught :))

Got my normal hour of stretching and mobilizing this morning and that always helps but it's also nice when I actually feel good DURING the stretchout and can make real progress as opposed to just getting myself out of pain and or super stiffness.

Been spending tons of time in my ( approximation of) a thai squat using the foot position advocated by Kelly Starrett and it's working consistently as my knees feel fine and i'm getting deeper and deeper, albeit it millimeter by millimeter.Also lots of rkc hip flexor stretch v 2.0 has really been helpful as well.

The next addition to the training schedule will be bodyweight squats for reps. I can't wait to be able to train the squat again,in whatever fashion. Also time to get back to pullup training and hanging leg raises as the level 2 cert is looming closer every day.

I got some good video of my 28 kg press AND my 32 kg press but left the camera at the studio so here's the last decent 32 kg press I did for more than 1 rep. Done Jan 17 of this year

I'll get todays press up tomorrow:))

one arm swings
16kg x 5/5/5 x3
16 kg cleans 5/5 x2

long cycle clean and press
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x3/3
24 kg x2/2

28 kg x2/2
32 kg x3/3
LOL! that's crazy! I was feeling so strong this morning( whenever I can make decent weight jumps I feel strong) that although I had decided to do the 2/3/4 ladder twice I grabbed the 32 kg and press that instead.

I had done singles a few weeks ago and wanted at least a double.
But after the clean went so well I rushed the first rep a bit,didn't fully engage my lat enough and the internal rotation won vs external and my arm didn't stay vertical at the lockout. No biggie, it still motored up but I was pissed. It felt so light.

SO instead of doing two I did two more reps for a triple which I can't remember when I've done. My right side motored too! Doing more than a few sets and reps with lighter weights really warms me and greases the groove.

Kind of like Russian Powerlifting coach Boris Sheyko's protocols which might have the athlete pressing for 3x5 with 75 %, 2x3 with 80% before going to 2x2 or 3 with 90%. LOTS of volume and it worked well today. I'm old. I need a lot of warming up ;}}

I wanted to make amends for the crappy first rep so I did enough set ,2x2 and it was solid,. Nice

I felt so good I made Tracy try a 20 kg press for her first time ever and she made it! She was surprised but I wasn't . That will be a regular weight for her very soon. Just to be safe I 'mind spotted' her but she did it strongly.

That video will go up tomorrow too.

Two hand clubbell arm cast
20 x10/10
25 x10/10
35 x10/10 pr
35 x8/8

One arm shield cast
15 lbs x10/10 x 3

bodyblade laterals

these all went great and I even was going fast enough to add in the one arm shields. two hands on sat, singles on tues.

pretty soon the 32 kg will be my day to day long cycle weight.