Saturday, July 30, 2011

Long cycle clean and press/power snatch

Getting ready to do some serious traveling and teaching in Hungary starting Wednesday so today was on the schedule for a backoff, lighter intensity workout. Did two weeks of single bell work so doubles were definitely up. Double 24's sounded about right.

It's very nice that 24 kgs, let alone DOUBLE 24 kg PRESSES are now considered 'light'. It's been forever but it's nice to be back :))It's also nice not to train in fear and anxiety every session, never knowing what insignificant little thing will tweak you for days or weeks. Or Forever.

Stretchout 6:45- 8 am

Full deal, starting with back bends and getting into splits, lunges, thaisquats, brettzells, up and down dogs and of course, the everpresent rumble roller( high density of course :))

8 am warmup
one arm swings
16 kg x 5/5/5 transfers x 3

Double clean and press, long cycle
16's x 5x2
20's x5

24's x 5 x 6 sets
x8x 1 set

took awhile to find my groove and my left biceps tendon was not behaving, as it's not been all week. The problem is, of course, in my pronator teres and forearm muscles. I can open them up but all the bodywork and kb loading closes them back up quickly. Need more overhead stretching, which I have been doing, just not enough, it seems.

The last set I was thinking about ten reps but eight was the perfect number. Just hard enough but not so hard I had to go into overdrive at all to get it.

Power snatch

These were easier than expected and, as usual, help reset the left shoulder/bicep tendon. How weird now for my left shoulder to be the wonky one, after so many years of it being my right side.This is always the case, I found in all these years of chasing balance( physically) . As you put some asymmetry on one side INTO balance, it inevitably pushes an other side OUT of balance. LOL.

Square, plumb and neutral is not that easy to come by, once one has lost it. But I can't complain. No pain and all this refound ability is a freakin, frakin' JOY.

Still, after all these years I revel in training. All this talk about movement and mobility now is funny. I never thought of it that way but it's true. Being able to move pain free is the key. Everything else flows from that. And it's so much fun to move and be strong and use this incredible gift we've been given.

20kg x 3/3
24 kg x 5/5 x 4 sets

These were way stronger than I expected and my shoulder settled in and all was good :))

5 sets of 5.

again, stronger than expected. Nice.I think much of my shoulder issues( subluxation and bicep tendon impingement come from trying too hard at the top of these reps.If I'm going to flex the elbow that hard I have to stretch it out more or it just locks down. Forearm and brachialis tightness always create fascial weirdness in my way hypermobile shoulders.

touching the throat is the issue. I still need more shoulder extension.

lots to do. Now, get to packing for Hungary and RKC!!!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Work Weight.

I never count my warmup sets, and I usually do quite a few, towards my workload total. In trying to determine whether my work capacity is going forwards or backwards( there is no standing still ya know) I always focus on the work sets of the day that are done with the work weight of the day.

This came from my powerlifting days where each week had a weight goal or a percentage of max goal.If we were doing speed days the weight was 60-70% of our comp best in that lift. If it was max effort day than the only weights we looked at ( or counted) were the reps done above 90% of our max.

And using this metric makes it so much easier to measure where you are at any time. Sometimes you can change it and sometimes you can't. But at least you know where you are.

I was beat today after a 12 hour day on the photo shoot set for Tracy's new book, due out in January. It was a great day but I barely ate and got to bed late. So I new today's two hand swing workout was going to be lighter, in both weight and volume, I just didn't know how much.

Sometimes; many times, you can be very, very strong on no sleep, no food and lots of stress. You just can't do that too often and get away with it.

That's why it's so vital to just suit up, show up and do your best on each scheduled training day and see what's in store for you in your journey to your goal for that exercise or that workout.And never, never never ask if you feel like training that day. It will never be the right answer :)) and you can miss some amazing workouts and personal records.

Two Hand Swings
16 kg x10
20 kg x10
24 kg x8

28 kg x10 x 15 sets
150 swings/ 15 minutes

these went very well with good teshnick( rifstonian for technique , btw) power and bell speed. And the most important thing, the bell felt light, as it should.

Two clubbell swings
2/ 15 lbs x 10 x 10 sets

these were the perfect move for today. Really opened up the elbows, packed the shoulders, stabilized the cuff and continued the two hand swing work in a same but different fashion. Nice.

One arm CB arm casts
100 continuous reps 10 reps per arm

These were easy and a good finisher.Did ten reps per side then switched.

next week at this time I'll be in Hungary at the RKC 1 Meet and Greet. How cool, Can't wait!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Snatch Vo2: 50 sets

When I hit my 50,000 snatch in the Snatch challenge, one year ago. doing, what else? Snatch Vo2

It may have it's detractors but I love Snatch Vo2 training. Known also as Viking Warrior Conditioningor max Vo2 snatch training, I first heard about it from it's inventor, former MRKC Kenneth Jay, as he unveiled it at the Level 2 cert in 2007. I immediately tailored it to my own abilities and needs( from 2-3 workouts a week to one, and from a 6-8 week training period to a weekly one) and realized immediately what an incredible workout this was for me.

The fact that I was given "permission" to actually train light was a liberating experience. Much like being able to squat at 60-70 % for my speed day, training the snatch light but for speed and power made it really work for me. At the time injury and re injury was a constant companion and I wanted to be able train more but couldn't train any heavier than I was without tweaking something.

Plus I really wanted to get some volume in and this stuff added up fast! I never missed a weekly session for three + years and got my goal of 80 sets of 8 with the 16 kg in about a year and a half. At the time it was monumentous. It still is because I'm no where close to that level of work capacity right now :))

But I'm getting closer. Being able to train it with Tracy on Tuesday AM really works for me as she just pulls me along with her amazing Kb cardio ability.The air conditioning and fan help too :))

Last week was 40 sets of 7 and 5 sets of 8 in the 15;15.Today was 44 sets of 7 and 6 sets of 8. It wasn't as easy as last week but it got done. Back off week next week, the day before we leave for Hungary.

Having to go fast really illuminates flaws in your form. The most prevalent,( and deserved) criticism of max vo2 training is that the trainee's place too much value on speed and higher and higher rep per 15 interval and end up butchering the form, with short snatches and non lockouts.

if your can't do it right it's too fast for you, regardless of whether it gets your heartate to the right level or not.

As far as lockout goes, I think there is a distinct difference between a lockout position and a PAUSED lockout position. You can't pause the overhead position in snatch Vo2 training and create the training effect you are looking for: increased cardio conditioning and total body power and rate of force development (RFD).

You HAVE to throw the weight DOWN as soon as it hits the lockout position. BUT it has to hit the lockout position first. Remembering to really throw the weight down has made a big difference in the speed of my snatches the last few weeks.Hit it and flip it ,lol.

6-7 am

Full stretchout. Focus on splits, three ways and lunge stretches and mobs. Left bicep tendon not happy, Need to really work my forearms, both sides as well as the metacarpals, just as I do the metatarsals of my left foot to release the knee, opening up the hand might just open up the shoulder.

Rifga set starting with back over stability ball. up and down dog and sumo squat stretches. Then brettzels,rumble roller, strap hamstring work, rkc hip flexor 2.o with dorsiflexion, wall toe/calf stretches. band hip distractions, shoulder and arm band distractions overhead and behind back stick stretches. etc etc etc. lol

8:30 am

snatch vo2
16 kg
44 sets of 7
6 sets of 8
340 snatches
12, 240 lbs my favorite part :))

Capt America arm cast
20lbs x10
25 x 10
x 20
35 x10 x 2

Shield cast
25 x 10/10 x 2
One arm shield cast
15 x 10/10 x 2


Saturday, July 23, 2011

28 kg Long cycle Clean and Press

Well I had a video of my second set but deleted it from the camera thinking Flipshare had downloaded it when it had only downloaded the upgrade. Oh well it looked a lot like my other clean and press workouts,lol. And that's a good thing.

The 28 kg is definitely now feeling like the 24 kg did not too long ago: just an average day's training weight. Not a peak weight but just a sets and reps weight. It's taken long enough but it's here and that's all the counts.

After last weeks short cycle with the 32 kg I knew I had to step down, but the question was how far? Long cycle is definitely easier for me than short cycle and I know I can do 10's with the 24, but was 28 enough of a step down from the 32? As noted in the first paragraph above, it was.

7-8 am Full stretchout

8-9:15 Long cycle clean and press
one arm swings 16 kg x5/5/5 transfers x3

clean and press
16 kg 5/5
20 kg x4/4
24 kg x3/3

28 kg x3/3 x 5 sets
x4/4 x 1 set
PR for total reps done with this weight.

Could have done 4's no problem in retrospect. I still have to get used to this weight not being 'heavy' anymore. Did 4's on the last set as the left arm didn't feel perfect on the last rep so I did another one :))

20 kg x3/3
24 kg x 10/10 x 3 sets
x 5/5/5/5 x 1 set
x 5/5 x 2 sets
100 reps

Lol, kind of hit the wall here a bit. Could have forced it and done the last two sets in 10's but on the 3rd set the power definitely dropped off( bell speed slowed) and I wanted to keep the power up more than I wanted to just slog through the set.

5 sets of 4

these are getting stronger. Went a bit wider in my grip and it seemed to help get me higher over the bar( closer to collarbone)..


Thursday, July 21, 2011

One bell.

As a minimalist by nature and choice I've often thought about how interesting it would be to train if I only had ONE kettlebell to use. How would I train, which exercises would I choose, how would I warmup, progress,intensify the workout?

And, which kettlebell would be the One?

Just a seconds thought and of course it would be the 24 kg. The man's training weight. So because I went so heavy last week with my beast swings I thought it would be a good choice to step down the peak and just use the 24 kg for all my two hand swing work today. Turned out to be a good choice

9 am
two hand swings
24 kg x 10
x 12
x 16
x 18
x 20
x 20
x 14
x 12

180 reps done in pretty quick fashion.

So nice to be able to do these but I still hate reps:))

two hand high pulls
24 kg
10 sets of 10

I've been thinking about trying these ever since I realized I could do the two hand swing again. just like it's one arm cousin, the two hand swing's arc is much closer to the body and is much more powerful for me as it also lets me use the upper back to pull the bell in after the hips set it in motion.

Being able to do almost 300 two hand reps with a 24 and with no pain tell me proof positive all this work I've done on becoming square, plumb and neutral has paid off. Nice.

Two Clubbell swipes
2 10's x 10
x 15

100 reps. these felt good after a long layoff from them. even more two handed bilateral work. Lets see how I feel tomorrow,lol


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Snatch speed day.

Or, Max Vo2 by another name. This schedule is working out so well; I get to train with,and be inspired by my Queen as she cruises the snatch vo2 workout with me as her third workout of the morning.My workout ,her cool down.No worries, it all makes my training better.

And it works to do snatch speed work after Saturday's heavy presses and snatches, it's hard but in a different way and the strength work on sat makes the light 16 kg bell feel even lighter.

And, as per my belief that one should never ask how one feels prior to training because it is almost always completely irrelevant to what is going to proceed in the workout I went in feeling like crap and had a stellar workout. Go figure.

6-7 am Full stretchout

the full progression, from toes to nose. back over ball to lunging snatch stretches.Not to forget rumble roller( the mean one) and lacrosse ball fever for pec minor and first rib.

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
40 sets of 7 (280)
5 sets of 8 (40)
320 total
11,520 lbs

These went GREAT! I started each set early and finished early easily as well. This was the best snatch vo2 workload I have done in eons . No surprise that doing this with Tracy makes it so much easier.

Capt America Arm casts

20 x 10
25 x10
35 x10
x 16

These were great and kicked my upper body's ass at the same time.These have become my favorite two hand CB move. I like that I don't have to switch grips during the set. The set of 16 was tough! I really feel these on my upper pecs as well as lats, shoulders and triceps.

5 sets of 3 with short rest period.

Not timed but 30 seconds or less. Groove is solid with strong acceleration and clearance at top of bar. Still need to incorporate static top holds to build strength at throat.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Double Presses

If it's Saturday it must be press day and the new schedule is working out perfectly! Thursday's two hand swing session is not tearing up my forearms and doesn't compromise today's session at all. And doing max vo2 two days after this heavy press day is also perfect.

It's nice when the plan finally comes together.

And part of the plan is to be able to do bigger and heavier workloads and NOT FEEL ANYTHING THE NEXT DAY.

I used to live to be sore. As a bodybuilder being sore is the next best thing to the pump, telling you that you did your job as well as how well you did it. Sore meant more muscle, which was the whole point.

After all, to a bodybuilder trying to gain mass ,training is all about three things: breaking the muscle down, feeding and resting it , and having it grow bigger( ok four things). Stess+ recovery = Adaptation.

That was ok for awhile but that's not the powerlifter's way as being super sore really gets in the way of the true goal, which is lifting heavier weights. Muscle mass is a side effect and a by product of productive training, not the goal. So I didn't train to be sore but you still do! And after awhile it became very hard to differentiate between muscle soreness from heavy training and orthopedic dysfunction, locked up connective, muscle tissue and fascia adhesions and other ramifications from training too heavy while seriously asymmetrical.

I used to think if I didn't 'feel it' the next day I didn't do enough to improve.

Now if I don't feel anything the next day THAT is the victory. That is the goal. What tells me whether I am improving or not is my ability to do more weight sets and reps more easily than before and the reaction the next day. i.e no sore= progress. :))

So when I was not sore after Thursday's two hand heavy swing fest I new things were good. Scheduled to do double today and chose short cycle military presses instead of long cycle. Wanted to get some triples in and it went well.

7-8 am stretchout, emphasis on t spine mobs and overhead stretches to prepare for the double presses.
Also doing some very interesting hand work that I got via the new edition of Convict Conditioning 2 by Coach Paul Wade. It's a way to work the extensors of the fingers that is simply brilliant as well as simple.
I wish I had thought of that but I'm very happy to use it. The sequel to CC is even better than the first book! Didn't think it was but I've got an advance copy to review and I'm here to tell you it is! Already one of my favorite books and I'm learning a ton.

8-9:15 am
one arm swings
16 kgx5/5/5/5
16 kg 5/5 x s

Double clean and press
2 16's x 5 x 2
2 20's x 5
2 24's x4

2 28kg x 3 x 5 sets

2 24 kg x 10!

this is almost double the amount of work from my previous pr of 4 sets of 2( long cycle). Since I haven't been able to do doubles presses for the last ten years I always imagined they would be harder than one kb press. they aren't! For me they are so much more stable with two bells and it's much closer to a barbell press which I am very familiar with.

I know I can press the double 32's if I can clean them,lol. Have to stretch adductors more and get my wide stance more comfortable. Double bell swings will be on tap for next Thursday, another move I could never do. I love to be able to train hard! I can't believe people who are not restricted physically don't throw themselves into their training more. What a gift to be able to move and be strong!

The down set was an after thought because even though the 28's felt a bit heavy they moved well and I had an idea I could do ten with the 24's, which I did. Here's the set:

It's amazing how much heavier or lighter ten more pounds can be in a kettlebell.

KB Snatch
20kg x3/3
24 kg x5/5 x 8 sets
x10/10 x 1 set
100 reps

Nice!This very much proves to me I am getting into good shape.Not to long ago( weeks,lol) I would have been very happy to do 100 reps with the 24 as my lead off exercise. Now I can do it as an afterthought and thow in 20 rep sets at the end just to get the workout over with more quickly,lol. Lots of power on each rep and bell speed was excellent, Fast pace and no worries. Nice.

Pullups( thumbs over)

sets of 4,5,6,4

nice. this is the most reps (6) that I've done in a row since I started doing pullups again a few months ago. These are coning along nicely and now I want to work on getting the pull to my lower neck and then the upper chest. It's all about goals and the progressions that will get you there; whether its a rehab goal or a performance one.

Hopefully, tomorrow I won't even feel like I worked out :))


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beast Swings.

It's hard to believe that I hadn't been able to train the most basic of kettlebell swings, the two hand swing, since I first laid hands on a kb. How ironic as I immediately saw the connection between this fundamental exercise and my most mostest favorite of all time the Power Squat.

Both are all about the hips ,lower back and hamstrings and epitomize the essence of posterior chain strength and work capacity. I immediately saw the two hand swing as the kettlebell equivalent of the best assistance exercise for the power squat the power good morning, probably my strongest movement of all as squatting deep wasn't required nor did you ever lose your back arch.

So when I realized I couldn't tolerate the two hand swing it was devastating.I had thought I had found the perfect replacement for the squat, which I could no longer do. And I couldn't do the two hand swing for the same reasons I could no longer squat: I was too unbalanced and asymmetrical.

But every year I tried to see if my corrective work had paid off enough and I could tolerate it. And it hadn't been until this year. I could finally train the basic swing now and I was happy! But in the back of my mind I was always thinking about the Beast and being able to use this , the Ultimate Kettlebell, in my day to day workouts.

It would be a redemption, of sorts, to be able to be KB strong even if I could no longer be barbell strong. Just to be able to use it for something. After all I use to play with 100 lb dumbells all the time for everything. No big deal.

But the Beast is a different matter and a Kettlebell is no dumbbell :))

And today, as I swung the Beast for the first time ever, and did a real workout with it with no tweaks, pulls or other ramifications other than a great power workout I feel so grateful for how far I've come from the physical bottom I sank to, and how good it feels to be able to move strong and be strong again!

9-10 am
full stretchout

1-2 pm
Two Hand Swings
20 kg x 10
24 kg x10
28 kg x10
32 kg x 8
36 kg x 6

48 kg x5 x 10 sets!!!!

This bugger is big,lol, and the balance and timing are much different than all the other bells, even my mutant 44 kg. I was very cautious with my attempts at max acceleration or power as as much as I wanted to train with this, I didn't want to tweak anything.

Power Swings
32 kg x 5
x 6

this was tough! but the 32 felt like a 16 lol! seriously light after playing with that monster.Just as it should be but it was sweet to feel.

5 x 5 ! nice. all chin above bar.


what a great day,a momentous day.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Snatch Vo2

I do believe we have a winner. As far as my workout routine is concerned. Snatch endurance is out and max vo2 is back. This fits into the schedule and my body seems to like it much more than long slow sets( as evidenced by my back tweaking last week).

As I wrote last week, I never ignore the signs and signals my body sends me before, during and after a workout;especially a change in the workout. Either in the workloads but more importantly, the form.

It took me many years of ignoring what my body and instinct were telling what was correct to do in both form and loading to finally realize that doing so is at your own risk! No longer. I have to do my own program and be feel to change it whenever I need to or sense I need to. That's hard on training partners but that's ok when your training partner is the Queen of the KB swing and snatch and can do whatever workout she wants in that arena at will.

So Tracy took it in stride when I told her we were doing snatch vo2 work today in our ( her third) workout of the morning, Just another day at the office for the Swing Queen :))

But for me it was a lot of work, albeit a lot easier at 8:30 am, with Tracy, in the air conditioned Girya with 2-4 16 kbs to sub out when I sweated too much ,lol. 2 pm on no food, alone in the garage was never any fun.Plus it was tough to do anything more than jsut survive the workout and I need to make progress in this again.

Last time I had any progress in Max vo2 was back when Tracy and I were training together so that's a clue

6-7 am stretchout

lots of emphasis on hip mobs with monster mini bands for distraction in all directions.Really like this but i'm new to it so just sussing it out.Also, using boxes and steps and benches of varying height to essentially get my left hip into a deep(er) squat position. Another Starrett genius idea and it works great.

Front and side split work, Overhead stretches in lunge with front leg elevated, calf and toe stretches, rkc v 2 hip flexor stretch and brettzells of course.Also normal back over stability ball bend, up and down dog and thai squat work.

8:30 am
16 kg swings x 5/5/5/5 x 3

max vo2
40 sets of 7 strict
16 kg
280 reps
10,080 lbs! nice to see some tonnage again.

this felt great and having Tracy doing 8's in her max workout really inspired me too.
I can see working up to 60 sets of 7 ( 30 minutes) and then blending in 8 rep sets until I can do 60 sets of 8. That's reasonable and still leaves plenty of time for the arm casts and bodyblade work,

Arm cast
20 x10/10
25 x 8/8
35 x 8/8

Capt America Arm cast( slides)
35 x 8 x 3

yeow! these were hard but strong.these start like a regular arm cast but slide to the opposite shoulder and pullover to the guard position on that side. I switched starting hand each set. EIther way the most sets with the 35 lber I've ever done.

Bodyblade Laterals
3 x10/10

these KILLED after all the shoulder work and I did each rep very slowly. excellent medial delt and supraspinitus work.


Saturday, July 09, 2011

32 kg Short cycle press, ballistic snatch and some technique lessons.

When I looked back over the last month of press workouts I realized that today should be a 32 kg day. I last pressed it, long cycle,June 7 so it had worked it's way up through the cycle but it always makes me really pay attention to what's going on when I have to press it;it's still a very big weight for me and I don't have a lot f margin for error for my shoulder or my back.

And my back was wonky again for the first time in eons after the endurance snatching and that had me worried, and prone to be cautious. No time to tweak anything with all my travel coming up and especially the back. 12 hour plane rides to Hungary will not be fun with a weird sacrum or lumbar spine.

When it's heavy, no matter what heavy means for you it means PAY ATTENTION to me. To every bit of the workout and how I move. From the stretchout to the warmup to the weight/rep selection to the power output.Cannot afford to be unconscious with heavy weights.

But the back felt good and the warmup felt solid and I SLEPT GREAT!!! This Zeo sleep monitoring thing is way cool and I have been sleeping an hour plus more than ever this last week ( with a few days exceptions) and feel more refreshed than I have in ages. It's such a cool too; I can't recommend it enough.

7-8 am full stretchout and mobs focusing on overhead moves and making sure I got my tva, diaphragm and lats opened up as they seemed extra tight the last few days. Definitely doesn't help the back at all. I actually think the handstands were as much to blame as the anatomical breathing but who knows?

All I know is to go back to what I've been doing which has been working. You don't have to tell me twice anymore :))

Short cycle clean and press
16 kg one arm swings x 5/5/5/5 x 3 sets

16 kg x5/5 x2
20kg x3/3
24 kg x 3/3
28 kg x 3/3

32 kg x 3/3
x 3/2 ( miss on left shoulder)
x 3/3 ( long cycle)
x2/2 ( long cycle)
15 reps per arm/ 30 total

here's the video of the miss:

I haven't done much short cycle pressing lately and it's very different now. I used to only do short cycle presses as I couldnt do long cycle without something tweaking but I really love the long cycle movement and it's great to be able to do it. It's just a bigger, more full body movement and I like that.

But I got sloppy on the re set and pushed too much from the elbow instead of the contact point with the bell and didn't get my lat set enough. Plus, I'm unsure of where the exact starting point is now without the clean, lol!

This also really showed me how vital it is to REALLY RE TIGHTEN between each rep. Long cycle just makes it happen more automatically.When doing strict presses it's much harder.It also shows me how important videoing your training really is.

I noticed that I didn't externally rotate my upper arm enough as I tightened the lat. I just squeezed the lat but didn't create enough torque. Won't forget that again.

My shoulders 'move' around a lot if I do things wrong and I got some serious grinding/adjusting as I started that third rep so I shut it down. It moved a bit on the second but I thought I could make the correction. I couldn't.

It's a delicate balance for me between movements that work and one's that hurt.It certainly makes me pay attention better and it is, after all, an immediate self correction :))

No worries I focused in and got it done with the next set, here:

I did some more sets and reps but think I will stay with long cycle for the single bell and short cycle for double work. As much as I like re cleaning the weight with one bell I hate it with two :))

A perfect symmetry and the decision is made.Go with what is working now for my body. Don't be greedy and have to 'do it all'.

The really good news is that even though my teshnik was spotty the weight felt very light in my hands and on my back.

Snatch( ballistic)
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x5/5
x 7/7

90 snatches with 24, 10 with 20 kg

I had to ramp up with the 24 as Nick proceeded to go crazy and snatched the 24, 28,32 36 and 40 kg for 5's and he's has only snatched the 32 kg once many moons ago! I had to stop him from snatching the 44! It's all easy when you're strong. This is one serious Hardstyle snatch! congrats man!

Nicks 36 kg snatch

40kg snatch

AWESOME MY BROTHER! You killed it. I'm seriously jealous but if not me, then you!

5 sets of 4

no worries.

datsit. Sisu

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Light two hand swings and handstands.

After last weeks heavy two hand swing fest I knew I should back off a bit for this weeks training. But after getting a very long forgotten back twinge after Tuesdays endurance snatching I definitely knew I wouldn't be taking my new 48 kg BEAST for a ride today,lol.

I think the lack of power breathing got me as my TVA and diaphragm were locked up pretty well on Wednesday and it gave me a chilling reminder of what I went through last year. Don't even want to think about going back there! A nice tap on the head from g-d and I listen, thank you very much.

Endurance work just might not ever work with my back and the only thing worse than tweaking yourself is tweaking yourself with a 16 freaking kg bell! For high reps no less. Okay, back to max vo2.

Any kind of hollowing, or anatomical breathing during snatch work seems to always destabilize my spine and get nice sciatic symptoms activating. No thanks.

SO I planned on some nice, crisp powerful two handers with the 24 kg and it was the perfect choice.

Two hand swings
16 kg x10

24 kg x 10 x 15 sets
150 swings
7950 lbs work

these went great. fast and light and powerful. Short rests probably about 45 seconds. form and groove and symmetry were on.

self spot against wall 5 sets of 8-15 seconds

Free handstands
7 sets of 5-10 seconds

these went great as well although I finally realized why my current handstands are SO much harder than the ones I did 35 years ago: I'm THIRTY FIVE POUNDS HEAVIER than I was,lol.
I just really realized that today.

That's A LOT more weight,lol.

Now I feel better.

Sissy squats

4 sets of 10.

these seem like so little work after anything with a kettlebell, yet I feel they are going to very good for my toe dorsiflexion, knee flexion and hip extension. Plus my quad size, of course :))

And soon, the Beast will be swung. It's nice to have it here. My collection is complete.A 44 is NOT a 48.

datsit. Sisu

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Endurance training

I never thought I could run for any distance as a child. We had this stupid 600 yard dash test in PE and I didn't realize until I was 21 that there was a difference between how one ran for distance and for sprinting.

400 yds is about the limit of what one can run hard an anaerobic state. After that you simply have to stop and repay the oxygen debt you've accumulated. So 600 yds is 200 too many to sprint but that's what I tried to do. And stunk at it.

Of course no one jogged back then ( early 60's) and even when I got into gymnastics training in high school we always sprinted; from tumbling to vaulting it was never more than 40 feet at a time and the emphasis was always on speed and power.

I blew out my shoulder in '77 and had to give up any upper body training BUT I was literally in the best shape of my life and had been training 5-6 hours a day. I knew there was no just sitting around waiting for my shoulder to heal.

Now this was in the mid seventies and jogging was big. I lived in a dorm filled with Iowa's best distance runners as well as all the other athletes( they kept all the animals in one place,lol). So running was realistically my only option but I thought I couldn't run distance.

So I began researching it ( running) and came across this basic concept: one should only run as fast as they can and still carry on a conversation ( true aerobic metabolism). This was the basis of distance running training as that lower intensity (50-60 % Mvo2) made it a purely aerobic workout. If you had no one to talk to you still should be able to breathe easily enough to carry on the conversation in your head.

Simple. And it worked. I could run for 30 minutes no problem. Then 45. Then an hour. Then, as long as I wanted to and it was easy. I just had to keep the intensity down and I felt like I could go forever.

SO if you want to go the distance fast, you have to be able to GO the distance first.

So as I approach training for five( and eventually ten) minute snatch tests this is my basic operating principle. Be able to go the time first with low intensity( weight) and then up the ante.

Switching our Tuesday workout from pressing to snatching is letting me learn pacing from one of the best ever in swing and snatch pacing, the Queen herself! These workouts are nothing for her so I was a bit happy to hear her wince a bit when I said we were doing 3 sets of 3 min snatches. Of course this was her third workout of the morning and probably did 2000 reps already but hey.....
6-7 am
full stretchout with lots of splits and overhead stretches prepping for the snatches.Used the bands for hip distraction as well. getting to like these more and more.

3 minute snatch sets @ 20 RPM
16 kg x 2 min 40 reps
x 3 min x 3 sets

220 reps total

as with distance running when the weight is light and the pace is slow this wasn't so hard,lol. I want to work up to three five minute sets then I will start all over with the 20 kg. I am using my basic snatch form that I have forever. With as many hand switches as I want there is no reason to change. The same form just the relaxed version of it.

I did attempt a downswing transfer and screwed it up. Have to practice this NOT during a workset. lol. I do know I can learn it though and that will make things much easier. Nice to see my right shoulder ROM still improving too. cool.

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

ouch. these were cooking all the same muscles I just used in the snatch. the 35 set was not easy. good work though.

Two hand shield casts
20 x10/10

25 x10/10 x2
no 35 jaunts with this one.

okay, now all the same muscles are very tired. all chin above bar.

Sissy squats
3 sets of 10

ok, it's a stupid name but I had an idea they would be very good for my knees and ankles and I think they will work out actually. Part of my current theory about why my knee lost 20 deg ROM in the last 20 years revolves around stopping bodybuilding training and doing just powerlifting.

I'll go into in more detail another time but the gist of it is that when I was bodybuilding I worked my calves twice a week minimum with all kinds of toe raise and in all kinds of angles.basically weighted joint mobility.

Same with my knees, Close stance squats, leg presses, hack squats, leg curls, extensions and Sissy squats. My leg role model was Tom Platz and he believed in them so I did them and they did a great job of working all the quads and not wrecking the knees(despite the horrible looking knee angle).It also will do an interesting job on my toes in dorsiflexion, something I'm constantly working to improve these days.

I feel a direct link to that and my ankle and knee mobility.

Plus, for someone who hasn't been able to do any 'real' squats of any kind since 2005 I welcomed the idea of being able to do these and have them help my ankles, knees and mobilty at the same time putting some meat on the quads.

We'll see:))

datsit. Sisu

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Muscle, Strength and Power.

This is what I train for. Those attributes and qualities. First off, muscle. I remember quite early distinctly realizing the not only did Superman have Super powers he also had a ton of muscle. What boy doesn't want to look like that? I did but had no idea that it could be "got" until I stepped into Miami Dade Community College gymastics gym and saw a whole team of guys that looked like Superman.

Only they didn't have to be born with those powers or physique, they built it. And I could too. So those long hours in the gym didn't seem very long as the body was changing all the time, along with the acquisition of gymnastic skills and techniques.

But having muscle that can't do anything 'real' was not what I wanted either. 'Virtual muscle' as Pavel calls what most bodybuilders have is not the idea. Or my ideal. "All show and no go" as Reno Decaro, my first powerlifting coach would say about them. Reno looked like a bodybuilder but moved serious serious weight in the gym and on the platform. Just pumping up doesn't cut it on any level. There should be some serious function there as well. And that has to be decided by each individual themselves.

For lots of bodybuilders being able to train 6 days a week twice a day and still improve towards their dream physique is the function they are after and I get it. To each their own. I did my time in that world and that life and it's not where I ever want to be again for numerous reasons.

But I still care about how my body looks and it's one of the few things, as Tim Ferriss pointed out in the Four Hour Body, that we have any semblance of control over in this life. I knew that at age 13 and it's how I live my life to this day. Control the things you can, especially the things that you can actually figure out the formula for ( or close enough) and you just need to exert the will to get them done and they can be had.

They can be yours. They can be you.

It won't be "perfect" but that is besides the point and I grok this more and more every year. Chasing perfect is a complete waste of time. Only the trend line matters to me.

Are you going forwards or backwards? Either way you are choosing whether you think so or not so if you don't like the trendline, change it. Or don't. But I know what direction I need to be going in to feel good and it's not backwards. Especially physically.

And , to me, for me, it all starts in the body. When my training is on track and I'm getting stronger, with more stamina,resilience and easier movement everything else is so much easier. And all I have to do is keep showing up everyday and do my best to figure it out that day. That's it.

So despite my mental flirting with GS training for years I always get pulled back to my hardstyle approach because it so reminds me of a combination of all my favorite trainings/sports: gymnastics,bodybuilding and powerlifting. Plus, as Pavel says " a promise of back of iron and legs that never quit".

That's what I want. And to look fit and strong and functional as well.
SO I'm a sets and reps guy and that's how I like to train. Being able to go long periods of time with swings or snatches is one hell of an athletic feat but not my favorite thing to do or practice.
I'm still going to practice it so I can be competent at it but it's not my preference and I don't think it does much for the physique either. But that's ok. I'll make up for that with my other training.

And to a person, every one I've trained in the last 30 years has had looking better at the top of their list as to what they wanted from their training.I've only heard the phrase "move better" in the last two years or so and that was all from trainers anyway,lol.

Now I want to move better for sure, and to help my clients do so even though most people have no idea how badly they move but they do know how badly they look. SO let's not apologize about wanting our training to transform our bodies as well as our function and health. You have to work on all fronts simultaneously in your practice and body composition change is an important one as well.

We can get all three very easily from the kettlebells,especially RKC style training.

I always think of the effect each thing I do in the gym has on the physique and whether it's contributing to these goals or not. I don't have much time to give to my training and I have no time to waste.

I've been on injured reserve for the ten years and I have things to do to catch up:))

SO even though I am doing moves that work the entire body I'm also always thinking of what the body composition or muscular development that the training will deliver as well. the kettlebell makes that easy and hardstyle makes it even easier.

It's like sprinting with weights and I will always choose the sprinters body over the distance runner. Any distance.

SO onto todays journey into muscle, strength and power training.

7-8 am stretchout and mobility

Lots of emphasis on my tight hamstrings and shoulders from Thursdays heavy two hand swings. Not too sore but just a bit. Lots of toes and ankle mobs, thai squat work, rumble roller on rectus and IT bands and LOTS of RKC hip flexor stretch 2.o with back foot in dorsi flexion. This is helping tons.

8-9:15 am
Long cycle clean and press
one arm swing warmup 16 kg x10/10 x3
one arm cleans 16 kg x5/5 x2

16 kg x5/5
20kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5

28 kg x 5/5 x 3 sets PR!

These went great! I've done one set of 5 with the 28's but never multiples and I've never started with five but laddered up, which is much easier for me. "Sneaking up on the weight" is what my Highland Games friend Big Chief Jim McGoldrick would say.

But it worked. Today I didn't need to sneak up on the weight, I just went and got it :)) Much better. Pressing on a Saturday with Nick is going to work out just fine. I like being able to fully stretch out RIGHT before training, too.

TRIF Power snatch
20 kg x5/5
24 kg x5/5 x 3 sets

Since I did ballistic snatches last week these were on the menu. Same but different and they went really well, very fast and powerful.

High pulls
28 kg x 5/5 x 2 sets

these went great and were easy! I haven't done this in eons as they used to aggravate my biceps tendon before I learned how to manage that issue but they are one of my strongest moves. SInce I have arms the length of a gorilla swings are much slower and more delicately balanced for me as the lever arm is so long.

With these I can keep the arc much closer to the body( like cleans as well, another strong one for me) and get good bell speed too. Using the upper back to retract/shrug the bell in works those muscles really well too, another bonus.

One of my favorite workouts is my version of the ETK Right of Passage. Instead of 200 snatches in 10 minutes I did 200 high pulls in that time. It was an I go You go workout ramping up sets like this


200 reps in 10 minutes( if your partner is tough). It's not snatches but it still kicks everyone's butt.

After partially tearing my left biceps twice ( almost a year apart to the day) snatching the 32 kg before I should have been I made a vow that if I healed I would never snatch more than the 24 kg again( hence:don't be greedy) and I haven't ,even though I can press way more than that now.

A vow is a vow.

BUT nothing was said about the high pull :)) these were strong fast and easy.Nice

Tactical Pullups
3 sets of 5

best they've felt yet.

Datsit. Sisu