Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snatch Vo2/ 45 sets

Got lots of sleep, good food and had an easy morning start so I knew this workout would be tough- and it was, lol. While almost back to US normal in terms of my daily routines the adrenaline pour off that occurred during my trip will take more than a few days to return my energy systems to full normal so I was a bit less than excited today about doing 45 sets of max.

And by set twelve I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I had no excuses,my body didn't hurt, I had had a great stretchout earlier but my motivation to suffer wasn't very high so it was a slog.

Of course I manned up and got it done but it tweren't no fun, ;not at all and if Tracy hadn't been there cranking through her third workout of the morning I would have slacked off big time. But she was so I didn't.

Form felt good, speed was solid and I started out doing sevens at a nine rep pace, holding the overhead position for a 2-3 seconds at the end. Did this for 30 sets then moved onto eight rep sets and still having time to hold the overhead for a second before the damn gym boss went off :))

heart rate was 180 plus the last 15 sets and took a bit to come down afterward. Back off week next week.
6 am:

stretchout full routine with lots of snatch grip overhead lunge stretches on floor and with leg on boxes of various heights

Snatch vo2
16 kg
30 sets of 7 ( 210)
15 sets of 8(120)
total reps 330
total weight 11,880

right now the plan is to continue doing 7 reps for 30 sets and work the top number of sets, done in 8s, up to 60 sets , a solid 30 minutes of snatching. Once I get to 60 sets I will backtrack decreasing the number of 7 rep sets and increasing the 8s

Two hand clubbell arm casts
20lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x 10/10 x 3

no 35 lber for me today :))

One arm shield casts
15 lb cb x 5/5

these were good and the elbow,which has bothered me before with these at this weight was solid.

Bodyblade laterals
3 x10/10

very tough as usual. each set of 10 takes 40 seconds so it's three 80 second sets! no wonder they're hard.

taking in lots of proteins and fats and in positive caloric balance so weight is good and feeling anabolic again. nice.

Datsit. Sisu

Saturday, August 27, 2011

24 kg double presses 5x5

There's almost nothing worse to me( in a training sense) then losing ground. It take so much work and effort to get in good condition, be that strength or work capacity, and it takes minutes( almost) to lose it.

Of course you don't lose it all, but the top 15-25 % comes off very quickly;and two weeks of international travel and no real "training"( as opposed to just working) and things fall off quickly.

Peter Lakatos says international travel is the equivalent to over training and I believe thats true. It's scary how fast one can lose muscle, strength and condition. But there is no alternative once one is back in the saddle to starting over( relatively) and getting back to work re building the base.

The bigger the base the taller the peak so I am always focused on widening the base foundation of my physical abilities. But it's no fun to come back to weights that feel heavy that very recently were very light and to get tired with such light workloads but such is life. Enough whining, time to work!

7-8 am stretchout

My left shoulder has been really wonky for a few weeks and all the normal correctives weren't helping. I knew it was out of position but I didn't know what was keeping it out. pec minor, brachialis and teres major were all "active" i.e. in spasm, but weren't the culprit.

Put the pain ball in the sternal area of the pec MAJOR and finally, release and relief! Don't know how well the workout would have been if I hadn't figured this out. The site is not the source. Sometimes it's very far away from the site of the pain but almost always in the same "train track".Once the sternal pec tension was released the humerous went into neutral and all the peripheral tension released.

I did a lot of windmills in Hungary,which I haven't been doing at all and I think those really stimulated the pecs. Along with arms bars as well. Good to know this. I had forgotten about the pec major :))

8-9 am
Double press
2 16s x 5 x 2
2 20s x 5
2 20s x 3

2 24 x5x5

This took a bit to get going. The first sets felt heavy and awkward. By the time I taped the 4th set I was settling in;my shoulders were opening up a bit and I was feeling more grounded and stable.Ack indeed. These are the workouts that really count. Not the easy and strong ones.

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

wow this felt heavy overhead too.Since my shoulder has been "out" for so long just getting it in now didn't give it much time to readjust . No matter, by the fifth set I was feeling strong and stable again.

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

this was a good choice. Needed to really re establish the swing base with a heavy load. Felt light, finally.

Serious protein breakfast( eggs, cheese and veg of course :)

Datsit. Sisu

Thursday, August 25, 2011


My new ride.

2005 Mustang GT. The year they changed the Mustang from a "normal" looking car with a big ass engine to this retro American Muscle car look. I love this car. I feel like I'm going fast even when I'm going slow and it fits me to a "T".
Short, thick and all about muscle,lol

I love the short front end; it reminds of a bulldog and was the theme for today's two hand swing workout with the 40 kg bell: The Bulldog.

2 pm
Two Hand Swings
24 kg x 10
28 kg x8
32 kg x 6

40 kg x 5
x 6
This was heavier than it should have been and it took a few reps to get the balance down. then it was fine and it was exactly what I needed to spark even more anabolism and get my size and strength going in the right direction again. Heavy something and today, this definitely qualifed.

I SO LOVE that I can train two hand swings now. This is the most basic of basic swing patterns and it's one powerful move.

alternated with Assisted Pistols
3/3 x 2
4/4 x2
5/5 x1

these actually went well and I found a much better groove than last week. These seem to balance out the hamstring dominance of the swings very well. I usually never like to alternated exercises but I do in this case.

32 kg x10 x 5 sets

these went very well after the B dog, the weight felt light and flew up. good power and bell speed.

alternated with handstands

these felt surprisingly strong. most held for 8-10 seconds. Didn't do the pushups but still used the right leg bent to 90 degrees. this makes it much easier although I really don't know why.

Two Clubbell swings

15 lbs x 10 reps x 5 sets

these were another good balancer for the two hand swings and really tractioned my elbows well. Swing went to 20 degree above parallel.


I love my car :))

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Eight rep pace

It's taken a week but I'm finally feeling back to my old self again; at least in terms of my day's rhythms. Sleeping, eating( back to Warrior diet instead of eating breakfast) and feeling a wee bit stronger than the death warmed over I was last week.

Lots of calories to make me more anabolic and lots of good proteins as well really helped. Back to my full supplement regiment as well also is speeding up the process.

Didn't know how I would feel going into some real conditioning work today with Max Vo2 snatch training even though last week was strong ( before I got sick :)).

Got in my full 75 minute stretchout for the first time this last week which was also a good sign. I was just too freakin tired all last week to concentrate as much I need to to actually do the stretches right!

But when I got into the snatches and was at 8 rep pace right away ( holding the rep overhead until the full 15 sec was over) I knew it was going to be a good workout.
Now I know that doing 8 rep pace for 7 reps is NOT the same thing as a doing all 8's but it's a good sign. Last week was 30 sets so I was hoping for 40 this week. No problem.

Always good to train with the love of my life and the Queen of Kb conditioning as she does this stuff so effortlessly it inspires and embarrasses me to better performance.

5:45 -7 am Stretchout and mobility work.

the kit and kaboodle. from bretzells, through splits to overhead lunges. Felt great to finally open up again.

|Snatch Vo2
16 kg
30 sets of 7
10 sets of 8
290 reps
10,440 lbs

Definitely could have done more set of 8 but I want to work up to 60 total sets before I start really in on the 8's. The key thing is that my snatch groove and pace are ready for it. Just have get the heart and lungs conditioned.

Capt America Arm Casts
20 lbs x10
25 lbs 10
35 lbs x 8x 3 sets

One arm Shield casts
10 lbs x 10/10 x 3

Bodyblade laterals

3 sets of 10/10

I think that doing the laterals helped clear my left arm bicep impingement that has been nagging me for the last two weeks. this hits the very important rotator muscle the supraspinitus and I think it may have been overlooked of late. Either way it feels much better after these.

datsit. Sisu

Saturday, August 20, 2011

5x5/5: The Foundation

I have always loved fives in my training. When I was a bodybuilder trying to build mass I understood I needed to build strength first and did tons of five sets of five in the basic movements.In fact, when I wrote my first book for Runner's World magazine on Developing the Chest, my editor asked me if I did anything but fives for my training!?!

I did but it was the foundation.

When I competed in powerlifting we did much lower reps for the classic lifts but fives were my mainstay for my assistance work; perhaps the best compromise between load and intensity for both size and strength. Real strength. Easily converted to Maximum Strength.

I've found myself using the same template in my kettlebell training, surprisingly even though it may just be a habit by now. I believe, as does MRKC Brett Jones that anything over 3 reps is cardio and I hate to be out of breath :))

Five is a good compromise.

This is especially true when I am starting over and building or re building my foundation, say after an injury or a layoff, such as I had when I went to Hungary.

Even though my work output was ten times higher than in my normal life, my actual training, or specific loading, was down. No biggie, that's what training is for, to prepare you for tests or competitions when you have to taper your training and actually peak.

I've always hated this part of the cycle and much prefer to keep training going but you have to test if you are an athlete and this is part of the cycle.

But starting over sucks and international travel, as Peter Lakotos says, is the equivalent to overtraining. I agree. Add in a nice 36 hour "vomit virus", 3 days of no sleep and car troubles this morning which meant a late start and no stretching I knew I was in "starting over" mode.

So it was fives with the 24s in the long cycle clean and press. My go to base move. I love this movement and it likes me ok too :))

One arm Swing warmup
16 kg x5/5 + 5 transfers x 3 sets

Long cycle C&P
16 kg x5/5
20 kg x4/4
24 kg x5/5 x 5 sets

man this is a lot of reps when you feel tired and weak:))

20 kg x5/5 x 5
24 kg x5/5 x 3

these weren't much easier either. amazing how a few weeks ago multiple sets of 10 with the 24 were easy.Being able to maintain condition is equally as hard as obtaining it in the first place.

3 sets of 3/3

obsessed with this move now. Noticed on the video that on my left leg I didn't hold the right leg locked out well.> easy fix. they felt strong although one thing that has really fallen off of late is my stretching.

I didn't realize how much energy it takes to do my hour plus full on stretchout and I've been too burnt to mess with it enough and I can feel the difference especially in my ankles. time to get back to work and really take my ankle mobility and leg strength to a new level.

datsit. Sisu

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"A back of iron and legs that never quit"

The sentence in the title of this blog has been my goal ever since I read the quote in Pavel's first book. Of course at the time my back was ruined and I couldn't stand up out of a chair without using my arms so it was pretty much a pipe dream but I always have been a dreamer so I got started.

Let me say it has been even slower than I thought. Being able to train two hand swings has been almost a miracle. But when I realized I could do pretty much full pistols on my right leg( still assisted though) and a almost half pistol on my left in Hungary( without knee pain!) I knew something truly miraculous is up. My back was on it's way to being iron. Hell, at least stable.

It all really started with Kelley Starretts thai squat method and being able to start actually increasing my ankle mobility which lead to a solid 15 deg + increase in knee flexion as well as being able to work my squat pattern much much harder than I have been in years.

I haven't trained squats in anyway shape or form for almost 6 years after I realized I was so out of balance that even training bodyweight squats messed up my back and knees even more and what I needed was flexibility and mobility not strength.

I used to be the most obsessive squatting fiend on the planet next to Tom Platz, and even with a knee that didn't bend well I treated leg training like my religion.

I had a broken knee and everybody said get your legs stronger to stabilize your knee so I tried as hard as I could. From INSANE leg workouts as a bodybuilder to almost equally nuts power squat training as a powerlifter.

It is not ironic at all, especially in retrospect, that my legs were never bigger, stronger or more functional and mobile than when I was racing bikes and riding up to 400 miles a week. NOT when I was lifting or squatting my heaviest.

ANd I was never so envious as I was after getting into the RKC and seeing everbody and their sister being able to do one legged squats and I could barely do a two legged one!

But I've been working my ankle knee and hip mobility and flexibility like a fiend as well lately and it's paying off. Working with Geoff Neupert last week on my pistol mechanics was the icing on the cake. Really focusing on starting with equal weight on all parts of the foot, REALLY weighting the big toe the entire way through as well as keep my head UP makes a big difference for me.

If I could end up being able to train pistols regularly and strongly and develop some decent quads again I would be one very happy camper.I don't need to do a pistol with a Beast. Some deep sets and reps would suit me just fine.

One thing I realized after doing some pistols in Hungary was that the quad activation really helped my( overly) tight hamstrings to relax so when I trained power swings today I alternated the swings with pistols.

It worked out perfectly. A great balance of opposites.

Power swings
20 kg x10
24 kg x 8
28 kg x6
32 kg x 5
36 kg x 5 x 5

alternated with

5 sets of 3/3

that was all she wrote today. I slept well last night for the first time in 3 days and after getting some weird food poisoning or 24 hr flu on Tuesday. I ate no food yesterday as my stomach wouldn't allow it. So doing anything today was great.

Being able to do pistols and two hand swings in the same workout is so rich in symbolism of so many things for me it's not even funny.

A back of iron and legs that never quit.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snatch Vo2

Our good friend Judit and her outrageously cool kbs in Hungary.
It used to be I would come home from a one day cert in Minneapolis and not be able to train at all for a week. I would need so much stretching, rolling and correctives from all the travel, standing, walking and demo'ing during the weekend that any real training had to wait until the body calmed down.

I wouldn't have been able to imagine that I would be able to do 12 days in Hungary, two back to back certs and as much walking and standing as I have done and come back to my training on the scheduled day without missing a beat.

But I did just that today with almost no sleep for the last 36 hours on top of it( jet lag coming west is always tougher for me than going east.And although my body feels rough as hell the workout felt pretty strong, all things considered. I played it very safe just because I knew I should.

6-7 am

full stretchout: this I needed pretty badly. Focus was mainly on legs and hammies. Very tight. No surprise here.

8:30 snatch vo2
16 kg 15:15
30 sets of 7
210 reps
7560 lbs

these felt surprisingly easy and I could have done more no problem but I know the jet lag and the adrenaline wear off is just starting.

Arm Casts
20 lbs x 10/10
25 lbs x 10/10 x 3

no worries here but still started low and kept it simple.

Handstand pushups
3 sets of 3-5

these were weaker than I hoped. Not quite the same power as in Hungary.

Scap pullups

5 sets of 5

Just wanting to get a stretch going and activate the scap adductors.

Datsit. got to get some sleep now


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Hungarian Courage Corner

One day after Level 1 ended Tracy taught two swing classes for Judit Lantos RKC in her "dungeon" as she calls it. Tracy thought it was going to be two 30 minute sessions but it turned out to be two ONE HOUR classes! No problem for the swing clean.

The KB dungeon also did double duty as a martial arts dojo and was pretty small. I had to find a little corner in the back so I could get my workout in too. Not bad for the day after an interntional cert and four days straight of traveling and working!

It wasn't too long ago that I would be wrecked for a week after a cert in the states! Progress is good.

16 kg one arm swing warmup
5/5/5 transfers x 3 sets

16 kg x5/5
20 kg x 5/5
x 6/6
x 7/7

two hand swings
20 kg x 10
x 11
x 13
x 15
x 16
x 17
x 18
x 20

wanted to do 19 as well but my energy was going and I wanted to get the last set of 20 in

workout time: 40 minutes

stretchout: 40 minutes

definitely needed this as legs were like wood. much better after.I was soaked to the bone as the humidity was 100 percent ( full on rain) and it was hot as well. Felt like I was in a Bikram studio!

Off to teach s Super Lats seminar later today! Crazy busy but it's great fun.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Handstands in Hungary

The first two days in hungary have been non stop so little time to do anything but travel teach and sleep but got this in at the end of yesterday. Pavel wanted me to look at his handstand pushup technique that he had been playing with and I decided to give it a try and amazed myself that I could do handstand pushups again as well! crazy!

I haven't been able to do these in eons and they were very very easy at the end of two very long days of teaching and demonstrating as well as being a sweat ball all day as well ( Hungary is very humid ).

For some reason I can do things at certs (especially here) that I can't do at home. this was a nice surprise.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Back off Snatch Vo2

To me going to a cert is like going to a competition. I have to be at my best physically and mentally. And for me , three 15 hour days on my feet teaching,demo'ing testing and grading is a lot.Add in the travel and it's way more than I'm used to on a regular basis. And that's just a cert in the states. Traveling internationally is a whole lot more than that and one of things I am really bad at is sitting in one place for long hours.

So my fitness, endurance,mobility and flexibility and work capacity all have to be at their (recent) best when I get going and this cert is an exception to that in that it's two weekends back to back, which I've done before ( here in San Jose) but never in Europe.

My training and correctives have been going great of late with my strength, endurance,work capacity, mobility and pain levels at their recent bests in many many years. Still I get nervous before I big trip like this. Just like a comp. I NEVER not got nervous even though I competed very regularly for most of my life.

I'd be more nervous if I wasn't nervous. Nothing worse than being flat for a meet.

So after last week's peak of 50 sets of Max vo2 snatch training we planned on scaling it down to 40 with as many sets of 8 at the end that I thought were feasible and still stay on the easy end of training intensity.

AS per my usual belief that there is no worse indicator of a great workout than a good nights sleep and feeling good as you walk into the gym today was a good day. My lower back woke me up for the first time in eons at 12 midnight and I never really got back to sleep.It tool quite awhile to stretch it out this morning but it felt great as I got under the bell.

One of the best changes in my max vo2 snatch technique is really focusing on flipping the kb back into the descent as soon as possible after I hit the top position. The faster I throw it down the faster I come up and the better the pace is.Constant motion.

6-7 am stretchout
LOTS of two-three minute sets of downward dog as this opened up the hammies which opened up my lower back.Quads were tight too so lots of half kneeling stretches for right quad and box lunge stretch for left side.
Splits to all three sides as well and progressive squat downs from the middle split position.


Snatch Vo2
16 kg
35 sets of 7
5 sets of 8
385 snatches
10,260 lbs

these were way easier than expected. I didn't expect to even be able to snatch today and I was repping at an 8 rep pace and holding at the top for the rest of the count. Even HR was low'ish( 160's as opposed to 180+)

Capt America Arm casts
20 lbs x 16 x 2
25 x 16 x1

Shield casts
20 lbs x 10/10 x 3

Body blade laterals 3 x10/10

these were all good but I was tired and knew I shouldn't push things so I didn't. No 35 lber today but the reps were up . The laterals have not been in the mix much lately and I think that's a mistake. the medial head of the delt and the supraspinitus need the work and that may be why my left shoulder has been impinging more of late. we'll see.

ten minutes more stretchout and


off to Hungary and serious serious kettlebell training. what a life :))