Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Snatch Vo2- back to work

Finally starting to feel like myself again and was actually looking forward to this workout! got a good stretchout this morning and the joints are moving well. Slowly incorporating the Primal move movements that I can actually do and I love it. I'm just so limited to what my body can actually do, though.
 Right now lots of happy baby rolls, figure four sits,rocking in creeping and crawling positions, creeping forward and backwards , crawling forwards and backwards, figure eights and infinity circles in creep position and t spine work in figure 4 sits. So much to learn and even the baby steps are hard.

had to cut out the sweep rolls as they were killing my left rib cage for some strange reason ?

One arm swing warmup
16 kg x 5/5 x2

Snatch Vo 2
16 kg 15:15
29 sets of 7 ( 203)
6 sets of 8( 56)
259 reps
9324 lbs

these were very strong, surprisingly strong. nice to finally feel that. my left shoulder was a bit wonky for the first 15-20 sets then settled down, as did my teshnik.

KB Rows
24 x 8/8
28 x 8/8
32 x 6/6 x 2

these were hard, however, lol.  necessary but tough

Two hand shield casts
15 x 10/10
25 x 8/8 x 3

these were tough too. my right wrist is much better but still not 100% these challenged it a bit all go though.

Bodyweight cert this weekend in MSP , this will be fun! Handstands and levers, we'll see how th frame holds up!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Snatches and two hand swings.

Feeling pretty beat up today. Right wrist/forearm continues to give grief and shoulders are just tired. A bit too much Primal Move yesterday and not enough roller and flex work. that has to come first or nothing else works well. I have to approach the PM VERY slowly or things will come apart fast for me. I just have so many asymmetries and ROM restrictions to deal with simultaneously it's hard to flow things together as I compensate naturally but don't feel the problems until later. and that's too late.

I just have to go slow, as usual.

As well as this morning. We started at 7 am,an hour early but I got my stretch in and that helped.Yesterday was also my 19th day in a row without a day off, no wonder I'm tired and beat up :))
This is also why I love my routine, it allows me to gather momentum and that is a prerequisite for progress, otherwise I am just fighting to go backwards  more slowly:)) Keep breaking it and THAT becomes the habit, not the routine.

One arm swing warmup  16 kg  x5/5/ x3

16 kg  x 5/5 x3
20 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6 
         x 8/8
24 kg x 5/5 x 5 sets

took me forever to warmup. I was only worried about the right elbow and  forearm tweaking but everything else felt fine. Felt better each set. The strain from Thursday's double clean is almost gone but I had to be careful or I would irritate it again easily.
Wanted to do more but knew better so:

Two Hand swings
24 kg x 10
28 kg x 10
32 kg x 10 x 5 sets

SO nice to have this to fall back on, and to feel that 32 kg is LIGHT now. :)) this makes me very happy.My swing isn't pretty but it's strong.:))

Two hand CB arm casts
15 x 10/10
25 x 10/10 x 2 sets


Thursday, July 26, 2012

20 kg See Saw Presses

Recovered pretty well from Tuesday's workout,all things considered, but still feeling overall achy in general from just too many days of work and not enough stretch out time. My 6 am slot is filled across the board and I am barely getting 20 minutes of stretch time,not the hour plus I need. I make it up as I can throughout the day but it's not the same

Have to fix this but I can't get up any earlier

I've been reading Pavel's original RKC Challenge book and was reminded of the see saw press. I though perhaps this would be a variation that would allow me to stabilize the left shoulder even more and I think I was right.

It went very well ( except for being too aggressive on my first clean on the third set and straining the right brachialis a bit- the whole right arm a bit wonky since Primal move and my wrist overload) and NO clunking even for 8 rep sets!

This was an interesting movement given the alternation of pushing and pulling on each rep. Basically a one arm AND two arm move at the same time. I think having the bell on the opposite side as I was pressing with one arm provided some kind of anchoring effect. Don't know but it worked well.

Still had to fight like hell to keep the left arm close to my head and the elbow from flaring out but it worked great for a first workout

See Saw Press
2 16's x 8/8
2 20's x 8/8 x3 sets
2 20's x 6/6 x 2 sets

8's were tough!

Belt squats
32 kg x 20
40 kg x 16 ( belt was set wrong)
48 kg x 20! PR
32 kg x 20

I LOVE this move. SO cool to feel my quads working again! And being able to use the Beast is always a kick. Plus it wasn't that hard.

Floor Triceps ext
16 kg x 12 x 4 sets

these are finally feeling light. time to move up. or at least on alternate weeks


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Easing back in.

It's been a long two weeks without a break. First the Primal Move cert two weekends ago and then the Max Barbell Workshop this last weekend. That means I missed two heavy snatch days back to back.

I could have played around with some bells at either cert but I never do that as it never seems to feel right. I take forever to get to my work weights and I hate to be rushed when training or do so with half concentration. I got in some presses last Thursday, of course, but pressing and swing/snatching is not the same for me.

I am NOT a hip dominant athlete and the "feel" for my legs and hips disappears amazingly fast,even after all these years. Not so , at all, with my upper body but definitely with my hips, even more so than my legs.
And with the hips go the back so I am extra careful

Snatch Vo2 is today's main workout but I knew that was not going to happen. I didn't eat or drink enough this weekend( never seem to) and I didn't need to cook my already sautee'd CNS. Nor play around with the 16 kg. I needed to restart my strength again and 5's are always my default rep scheme of choice. That a nice slow pace should push the reset button firmly.

One arm swings
16 kg  x5/5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5 x 3
24kg x 5/5 x3

These felt surprisingly strong and the groove felt perfect.That's my main thing, not losing this groove. The pattern, timing and rhythm are right for me and I want to keep it that way:))

16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5 x 2
24 kg x 5/5 x 3

These felt very solid as well and the bell didn't feel heavy at all, in the hand or overhead. I was just barely 155 this morning and that's 3-5 lbs too light for me but my strength felt fine.

Dead stop swings
24 kg x 5
24 kg  x 2 swings and five dead stops x 3

these went well but I could start to feel my adductors wake up and I didn't want any of that.My body acts like it's never swung before ,lol.

One KB Rows
24 kg x 8 x 4 sets


Belt squats
24 kg  x 20 x 2

perfect compliment to take some of the tension out of the hammies.

This is just what I wanted, a little heavy bell , light volume variety workout to ease me back into the program. I get one more week of training before I go back to MSP to teach the Bodyweight Cert with Pavel and Max. I should be perfectly back on track before I have to stop again but  I do love this cert:))


Thursday, July 19, 2012


This has been a long time coming. I've been dealing with this left arm instability, in one form on another for almost two years! First it was my tricep cramping on cleans back at Girya , then my left shoulder started clunking around and then I had to stop pressing with my left for awhile as it was just too unstable.

Enter rehab again and lots of myofascial release on the elbow flexors, particularly the brachio radialis and pronator teres and biceps insertion.Also tons of overhead stick work and stretches in extension. It kept getting better but it was still so unstable.
Plus, searching for some form that didn't irritate it. What once was my weak side, my right, became my go to side and it feels like I could press the 40 kg with it anyday. Don't want to jack that up though :))

The hip shift technique I got from Mike Davis DPT has helped take pressure off the shoulder joint itself and spread the load into the rest of my body as it should be in the press. It's NOT an isolation exercise but a full body lift and this technique really helps to do that.

This technique allowed me to build back up to todays' workout 24 kg x 5/5. This is my baseline strength level that I never want to not have. Minimum. Long or short cycle.The form is still not perfect but it is getting there and the weight felt very light.

have to do more cleans and holds to really solidify the start position

One arm swing warmup 16 kg x 5/5/5 x3

Long cycle clean and press
16 kg x  5/5
          x 3/3
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 3/3

And Glenn just KILLED it today, doing 5 sets of 3/3 with the 32 only to finish with a set of 3/3 with the 36 kg. Both were PRs. It's truly amazing how much progress this guy has had in just one year( almost to the day)!
The way he lifts, walks, moves, looks and acts is one million percent better than they guy I started with  365 days ago.
Plus is as hardcore as they come and Real Deal to the max and I KNOW I can AWAYS count on him to make the training. Come hell or high water.Or worse. Plus he's an uber experienced athlete, competitor and operator and has an eye. You can't buy the eye.You have to have it and then earn it even still.
Nice for me and I know I would not be in the shape I am right now if it weren't for being able to train with him for the last year.
Thank you Sir.

Belt squats
32 kg x 20
40 kg x 20
44 kg x 20
32 kg x 20

Yes! These felt GREAT and it is such a freakin miracle to be able to train legs again! The pump and fatigue in my quads only serves to take load off my overworked hamstrings and balance out the leg musculature. FINALLY!

KB Floor extensions
16 kg x 10,12, 14, 14

these felt great.

and for some reason I ended up doing this workout yesterday:

The last time I did anything like this was about 5 minutes on the eliptical bike 5 months ago and it almost immediately put my back into wonky town.
So I had no idea what this would do to me but I kind of got cornered into it and felt like I had to step up. Great idea, too after 12 hours of training in weird new positions this weekend :))

I've always said I was tougher than I was smart  and this proves it too:))

But just as I came out of the Primal Move weekend relatively unscathed, it looks like I survived the Vasper too :))

My shoulders are a bit achy but my spine is ok and that's what counts.

Here's more info on this very interesting protocol



Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One arm swings

I have been giving my one arm swing training short shrift lately. Even though I did almost nothing else for near on 8 years prior to regaining enough function to do other movements I haven't done much lately.

It's been great to do two hand swings after all this time and heavy and fast snatches but I know that keeping my strength,form and condition in the basic one hand swing is critical.After training in Primal Move for 8 hours on Saturday and 6 on Sunday, flying home late Sunday and getting a solid 4 hours of sleep before getting up at 4 to work I knew Max Vo2 wasn't a smart choice for training today.

So we did one arm swings and I'm so glad.
They felt great and I felt like I had come home again.When my Saturday workout consisted of just one arm swings  my PR was 600 with the 24 and 400 with the 32( in sets and reps,of course) I really felt the power in this movement and today was nowhere near the volume but almost the same feel.

My groove is solid. And the one arm swing groove is THE key swing for snatch and clean power and I need to keep it up. What I think we'll do is alternate one week Snatch Vo2 workout and the next a one arm swing workout.It should't compromise anything else and I'll just make the 5 set jump every other week in Snatch Vo2

today 6 am

rifga stretch and primal move play 30 minutes

1 pm
 One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5
20kg x 5/5
        x 8/8
24 kg x 5/5
28kg x5/5 x 3 rounds

This went great. I thought about doing sets with the 32  but decided to play it safe. Haven't done heavy one arms in awhile and while I felt better than yesterday my body was still recovering from the weekend.

Two Hand Swings
28 kg x 10
32 kg x 10
36 kg x10
40 kg x 10
32 kg x 10

These rock and I'm so happy I can do them again. When I do snatch vo2 week I'll do kb rows but when I do one arms I'll do ballistic two hands and do power swings on saturday after 24 kg snatch work.
On the week I do snatch vo2 I'll do ballistic two hand swings on saturday.

One arm CB Shield Cast
10 lb CB x 10/10
             x 12/12
             x 15/15
15 lb CB x 10/10 x 2

these went great and my left shoulder held perfectly.

I had an amazing and transformative time this weekend at the Primal Move Cert. I felt very close to how I felt when I first discovered KB's: incredible energized, motivated and excited to read, learn, practice, absorb, master and teach this new system of movement.

It is so beautiful, in design concept, function and execution and it is pulling me in quickly.I have SO much information to study and learn that it is a bit daunting to see where I will fit it in but I will, as it is a priority; which means it will come first. Something else will have to drop off but this will find it's place.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

KB Press and Belt squats

LONG ass day and the workout was at the ass end of it. Nice and toasty here too so that makes things way more fun. Plus its supposed to be an easy day as I taper down for a long weekend of crawling, rolling and all kinds of other ground work at the Primal Move cert in Seattle . It's hard to get going when you're beat for a low key workout.

Plus I really didn't want my shoulder to go out right before I really need it so I was extra cautiously. It actually worked out really well, I did more than last week and figured out some subtle nuances thanks to Glenn's great eye that made a big difference.

One arm swings 16 kg x 5/5x 3
One KB press
16 kg x 5/5
20kg x3/3
24 kg x 3/3 x 5 sets
20 kg x 5/5 x 2 sets

one minor clunk for all those reps is not bad and really getting to feel where to set up so the shoulder is maximally stable was  nice. 5x5/5 is up soon and then it's back!

Hip Belt squats
24 kg x 15
32 kg x 15 x 4 sets

these went GREAT and it's crazy cool to feel my quads working again. These don't hurt my knees or my back and really let me get into the best possible position to load the legs.A nice side effect is that the added quad tension helps release even more hamstring tension.

Also all these months of wearing nothing but VFF is paying off. My feet have never felt so strong! My toes on my left foot are spreading out very nicely and ankle mobility is increasing very well too. I could grip the floor as I squatting like never before. About freakin time.
All those years of pointing my toes in gymnastics are finally getting reversed.

Reverse grip pushdowns
3 x 20


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Snatch Vo2 35 sets of 7, backoff week.

And boy I need it. Even though the 35 sets weren't hard physically, they were tough mentally and I was anxious just before, well actually for an hour, knowing what was coming. 90 degree heat didn't help but that shouldn't be an issue.

I'm just always worried I'm going to lose my form but it held great and, excellent news here, my left shoulder was perfect all workout! No clunks, no impingement, nothing.The left side decided to use a different form today but that was fine with me as it didn't hurt and was back to resembling my right side again. Keeping the arm in as close as possible to the head really helps.

My proprioception has been off lately and the wider I reach left the worse the shoulder felt and the further left I went. It's always good to video yourself and see what actually is going on as opposed to what you feel is going on

Time to take a break now, next week and do a few weeks of slower work and higher reps. then come back to break 50 sets. That's what my body is saying and I'm listening. Plus I've the next two weekends of certs( Primal Move this weekend and Max Barbell impact after that) and I've got to taper a bit

8:30 am -9:30
full stretchout and Primal move style play. Getting ready. this felt great and my body felt the best it has in eons. Square Plumb and Neutral: my goal for years is finally coming to fruition.It's key for me to remember that my primary training is Flex/Mobility work, not resistance.That makes the rest even possible

1 pm
Snatch Vo2
35 sets of 7
16 kg
245 reps
8820 lbs

perfect work load. tough but no problem on the CNS

One arm KB rows
24 k x6/6
28kg x 6/6
32 kg  x6/6 x 2

have to stay ahead of Stina :))

these were good but still feel heavy.

Two Hand CB arm cast
15x 10/10
25 x10/10 x 4

perfect finisher.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Magic of the Kettlebell

Lots of people like to say the kettlebell is just a tool. A weight with an interesting handle and there's nothing magic about it. I disagree, with a 'bullet'. If one uses it just for grinds this is probably true. But you can swing it, and clean it and do the "Tsar of the Kettlebell lifts" the snatch with it.

And they are different. They are magic. As I say everytime I give a "What is the RKC" talk at a cert, KB ballistics have a unique and transformative effect on one's body. It brought me back from the dead. It transformed my wife from an obese person into an uber athlete at a time in her life most people are going backwards FAST.

And it's doing the same to the guy in the above video, Glenn Fortrin who is about to celebrate his one year of kb training in August. Glenn started off a client of mine and is now a training partner,one of my best friends, student and daily inspiration.

Glenn could barely move a year ago; was in constant pain from innumerable injuries and surgeries from a life of sport, military and law enforcement work( his list makes mine look insignificant) and basically zero options to regain the strength and stamina he had all his life.

We started with foam rolling and myofascial release, stretching, mobility work and, of course, the most basic( and most important) ballistic of them all , the swing.He took to it like a duck to water and hasn't looked back since. His movement ability has so dramatically improved none of his friends can believe it. He is basically out of pain. His work capacity is so much better I can't believe it and his body composition is changing daily. And he's just getting started.

But this week was special as he pr'ed in his Snatch Vo2 training on Tuesday, matching me for 50 sets of snatches with only 15 seconds rest between. Today he snatched the 28 kg strongly for 5 sets of 5/5 and we had to hold him back from doing more. He has pressed the 36 kg for triples and done 5x5/5 with the 32kg.

He loves this as he can feel himself getting better and stronger everyday. He seeks it like man who's hair is on fire seeks water :)) And it's only been really six months because the first six was spend doing mainly rehab work.

One of his goals is the RKC snatch test and I have NO doubt he will do it.
He never misses training and is ALWAYS ready to put all he has that day into the workout. I can honestly say I've never had a better training partner and I have had more than few very serious partners. None has his heart. You rock my man:))

I also had a great day although I was beat up hard this week. This is truly the ass end of the cycle and there is no doubt now. I was strong but seriously tired and not recovering. Perfect timing to back off as I have the Primal Move cert next week and need to get on the ground more next week and prepare for this sure to be demanding weekend of new and unusual movement and loading.

The one day of rest seemed fine and I stretched and mobilized very well yesterday.

After my one arm swing warmup, this:

16 kg x 5/5 
         x 3/3
20 kg x 4/4
24 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6
         x 7/7
         x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10
90 reps
4770 lb

This went well and I took care to keep my left arm closer to my ear and this helped a lot of things, mainly my shoulder stability. It's so important to video your workouts and analyze them. You never know what you will find/learn and many times we start to do things in technique we are completely unaware of. Especially in these types of repetitive movements.Here's the last set:

Two hand swing
28 kg x10
32 kg x10
36 kg x10
40 kg x 10
32 kg x10
28 kg x10
24 kg x10

Nice workload! and it felt strong and powerful. back ( knock on wood) has been tolerating these no problem.

One arm shield casts
15 lb CB x 10/10 x 3 sets

Definitely need to keep one arm arm and shield casts in this mix. It really brings out the weakpoints in the arms and shoulder complexes. Much better by the last set than the first on the left arm.


Thursday, July 05, 2012

KB Press

Seems that my left side press is back! I tested long cycle last week with my new technique and got through the workout with no 'clunks' so I wanted to see if I could do short cycle presses as well. Those have proved more difficult to avoid the shoulder instability but today went well.

What I did differently was to NOT use tension on the negative rep as that lat activation seemed to pull the shoulder down too much and cause a 'clunk'. I didn't let it fall but just guided it down. I did doubles to see and that was solid

One arm swing warmup
16 kg x 5/5/ x3

KB Press
16 kg x 5/5
20 kg x 4/4

24 kg x 2/2 x 9 sets

Shoulder was out a bit all morning but not from kb work.surprisingly it didn't act up on any set.It all stems from my elbow, actually, and all the tightness in my wrist flexors. thought I got all of it out yesterday but obviously not. no biggie.Just nice to be handling the 24 so easily again. The 28 is in the cards; almost used it today. I think I just have to keep the reps low for now.

Definitely felt like I found the right groove for my press today; really have to focus on keep the arm externally rotated throughout the entire rep. The hip shift and looking at the bell as I press really facilitates that

KB row
24 kg  x8/8 x 5 sets

these made the shoulder feel more stable each and every set. Used a supinating action on the row, finishing palm forward( or close)

Reverse Grip pushdowns
4 x 20

the reverse grip felt right.no clunking here, either

It was good to get the extra day of rest. Going from 50 sets of max to presses the next day was too much this week. the higher the reps go on Tues the more rest I will need. Just don't want to take anything away from saturday's snatches


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Snatch Vo2 50 sets. recent pr

I knew this was going to be tough. I slept and ate well yesterday and had an easy day at work. Worse yet, last week's workout, just 4 sets less, was strong. I was doomed an I knew it :)) Plus it was seriously hot too, all the more fun.

But I had some extra coffee mid morning and focused hard on having a great attitude. My body was cooperating at least, with all the parts in pretty much the right places and really no excess tension or torsion in the main frame.

That, in itself, is a major win for me, by the way. If I get no more than this I will be happy. I swear.

But we got right to it when I got off work. No sense thinking about a beating, just get to it.

Snatch Vo2
16 kg
15:15 I go you go
35 sets of 7 (245 reps)
15 sets of 8 (120 reps)
365 reps
13,140 lbs!
Top HR 185-190

I should have turned the fan on earlier, it was a serious hot box in Stones gym today. I was ok for 35 sets  but I turned it on just to get some air moving. Didn't have the time to actually get any breeze on me but at least it wasn't just stagnant air.

I was suffering pretty early on but I just kept focusing on one rep at a time and form form form.At each part of the move just trying to it as perfectly and strongly as I could. Left shoulder not perfect and I realized,looking at video, that my left arm is drifting too wide. That will be a cue next week.

Hip Belt squat
24 kg x 20
32 kg x 20
40 kg x 15 

yeow yeow! who's idea was this? oh yea, mine. Not very good after max vo2 but the exercise and work load is perfect. I love this way of squatting  and the 20 reps really got the quads involved,even with my hinge power squat style. nice. knees and back were fine. more nice.

5 sets of 10 seconds

these were easy and I felt light upside down, very rare these days. But my CNS was on High and this was it.