Monday, December 30, 2013

20 kg snatches,belt squats ,crawls and farmers walks

As much as I've been working on my overhead position you would think it would be better. And my right side is, only to have my left side go wonky again and stay that way for weeks now. So weird. I think the fact my lower body is way more squared up is forcing the scoliosis to really throw things around.
It wasn't long ago that my left side lockout was seriously solid and my right nowhere to be found. Now just the opposite.Just a wee bit frustrating but I'm doing the best I can, AND it doesn't hurt and that's a big plus

6 am
full stretchout , 50 minutes

1:30 pm
16 kg one arm swings 3 x 5/5/5

16 kg x 5/5 x2
20 kg x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10 x 2 rounds
104 reps

everything was easy except for my left shoulder. not only not overhead but elbow locked out. Ack.But looking back, not THAT much worse than in 2006 :)

belt squats
32 kg x 30 reps x 4 sets
non lockout technique

these, however are going great. close stance and really getting deeper every rep with lots of quad burn!

crawls super set farmers walks
50 feet crawl alternated with 60-70 ft with double 20 kg

these went well but farmers were too easy. too light or too short distance but lets see how things are tomorrow.:)


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Ruck

Another solid walk. Added one pound to the backpack and walked 7 laps instead of six. Total walk time 1 hour 10 min. Pace about the same although legs were definitely getting tired by lap four. Each lap took between 7 and 8 minutes. Finished faster too, negative split. Not as bitter cold either.
Next week add another pound or two to the bag and keep it at  seven laps.

Will keep adding time til I get to ninety minutes. Feels so good to be able to walk so strongly for so long.

Finished up with bar hangs, all tactical pullup grip , four sets of 30-20 seconds. These are definitely stronger.

Perhaps one day to test myself :) and be able to walk like this guy:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

40 Kg One arm swings, 52 kg two hand swings.

Man it was cold in that garage this morning! Barely 32 degrees and it never really got much warmer, even after we did all our sets,lol! This was a  tough one even though I pulled out a slight PR with the 40 kg, doing 6 sets of 5/5 and 4 sets of 6/6 for 108 reps. Never have done 6's with the 40. It's these little pr's that add up to big ones, even though it doesn't seem like much at the time.

Left hip stopped bothering me and promptly switched over to the right hip. More whack a mole but it wasn't too bad. Nowhere near as bad as the left hip was earlier. Got a solid 45 minute stretchout this morning and that helped. Very pleased with my knee rom of late and it's still there, even early in the am.

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5/5
24 kg x 5/5/5
28 kg x 5/5/5
32 kg x 5/5
40 kg x 5/5 x 6 sets
         x 6/6  x 4 sets (pr)
108 reps
9504 lbs!

My training partner Glenn hit a great pr today as well ,one arm swinging the beast for 120 reps in 10 sets of 6/6 no problem. It's amazing how far he's come, just unbelievable. But given his background not really so much to imagine. Tough man indeed.

Two hand swings
40 kg x 10
44 kg x 10
48 kg x 10
52 kg x 10
32 kg x 10

my lower back was talking a little so I started light and ramped up. Worked out perfectly and the 32  swings were the highest and easiest of all time. I like this method.

Barbell curl
45 x 8
55 x 6
65 x 5
55 x 8

Lying barbell ext
5 sets of 20-10 supersetted with close grip pushups to low bench

this worked great with the close grip and the shoulders didn't bark at all. great triceps/pec work without the shoulder stopping things.

great workout. Ruck walk tomorrow. can't wait

Never Quit

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas day snatches / Motion is Lotion.

Got tweaked pretty hard by Monday's workout. I knew I was forcing it too much, the third rep on the presses was too far above 80% effort and the cleans were not so much too heavy but I didn't warm up enough for them and my form was off and my groin didn't like it either.Everything was rushed and "off" and I just pushed through instead of listening.

But I listened for the last two days as my left SI/piriformis and hip in general were not happy at all and let me know it all day AND night.Even lying down as achy and it didn't want to release easily.This is the first real tweak since the knee surgery and let me know I don't want another, and I certainly don't want to go back to the days of being so restricted plus being in  pretty good pain at the same time.It brought back many bad memories which I am more than willing to forget.

But not this lesson: I don't need to try to go so heavy with my overhead lifts. My upper body mobility is just not up to it, and, just like I did in the squat but working it as a stretch/corrective pattern instead of a loading lift I need to have a somewhat similar approach to my press and snatch days as well.

I don't have to stop loading them completely but just moderate the loads in the press just as I do in the snatch and make the 24 kg my top weight. At least until ( if) I get my overhead mobility much much better.

Cycling them with the 20, 22 and 24 kg weights should give me plenty of loading and be much safer.I've done my time with heavy grinds on my shoulders and I think those days are gone.I've gotten used to  it with the snatch, now it's time to do the same thing with the press.

5:30-6:45 AM full stretchout
another thing I realized is that I really haven't been putting in enough time with the stretching and it's been adding up- in the wrong direction- since going to Israel. Today I put in the full lower/upper body roll and stretchout and the hip pain and restriction just melted away :) Lots of work however but it was so necessary.
100 ups( almost ready to run in place!)
Foam rolling full assessment
back bends over stab ball
OS resets/rocking, four positions
hamstring strap stretch
up and down dogs
frog squat stretch
straddle stretch and pike stretch
hangs from bar with feet on and off floor, three grips
overhead stick stretch, reverse grip and behind back from overhead.
coffee table pigeon stretch
kneeling hip flexor stretch
close med and wide stance dynamic squat mobs
heel to toe lunges
10 minutes on treadmill at 15 Deg elevation

Feels like my squat depth in the supported squat is really gotten to another level of late and it feels great. the quads are just letting go as I hold the bottom position for longer and longer periods and I have more hope than ever that I will get my full deep squat position in the future.Seiza would be nice too but one thing at a time

11 am
one arm swing warmups
16 kg x 8/8 x 3

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

this was perfect. Didn't even know last night if I would be able to swing and I certainly didn't think I could snatch and there was NO possibility of snatch the 24 kg given how I was feeling. Motion is lotion indeed.

I definitely need to go up slowly as it was taking a while for my hips to reset to where they were before the tweak. I believe that the "newer" the tweak the easier it is to shake it out by trying to move as close to normally as possible as soon as possible and as much as possible. I feel like this presses a 'reset' button in my nervous system and my body goes back to the state of being it had before the 'injury' .
You can't push it too fast though and pain usually restricts anyway but I do this everytime I get tweaked and it works well. Did today as well.

By the time I got to the ninth set and the 24 kg was done I was feeling 90% of normal and still do 5 hours later as I write this

Split squats ( Bw\)
2 x 10 each leg ( prepping for next week)
these felt great and will take the place of walking lunges

Sled pulls
80 lbs x 230 feet x 5 rounds

these were good but tough I used 70 lbs last week and could feel the difference but I'm ready for it.

Cable curls 4 x 10-12
Pushdowns 4 x 10-12

this was a great Christmas day present to me! Feel SO much better than I did the last two days and won't neglect my stretching or floor work. It's my key to muscular recovery.

Never Quit.

Monday, December 23, 2013

28 kg presses, 44 kg belt squat, crawls

One of those weird days when I did everything "right" but just never got it going well in the gym. Slept well, ate well, decent amount of rest and warm up just didnt feel strong. perhaps the weighted hike took more out of me than I thought.

Didn't get a real stretchout this morning and that hurt a bit too I think. But it's just one of those workouts that you just get through. All in all not a bad day after all.

KB press
16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 3/3
22 kg x 2/2
28 kg x 3/3 x 5 sets

these were TOUGH! The bell felt heavy I didn't get my lats in enough and the bell, while not all over the place, was no where near where I wanted it to be.I think, in retrospect, the problem was not committing to pushing back instead of pushing up.Just in a hurry to get to the bigger weights :)
The good news is that I didn't hurt myself and while the lifts weren't pretty they moved strongly.
Greased the groove today four times hanging on the pullup bar 99 % tactical pullup grip. this is going really really well and getting easier all the time.Can feel the difference in my back as well as my shoulders.

KB Cleans
32 kg x 5/5 x 3 sets

these were tough as well although the form was much better. Sucker was HEAVY.I just didn't really warm up or stretchout enough I think

Belt squat
44 kg x 25 x 4 sets

Now these went well even though I forgot to put on my knee sleeves and I think that made a little difference. lots of good quad burn.

60 ft x 4 laps

these were solid and I added on another 10 feet of length to each laps. definitely gets the whole body going

Never Quit.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ruck hike

Took my backpack on my walk today, loaded with about 6.5 kilos of books.It definitely made a difference in the work for my lungs, legs and lower back. Nothing drastic at all and I still made my six laps in the same time as last week 55 minutes, but I was working harder, that's for sure.

And the point. Will keep adding weight to the pack until it's about 30 lbs or so and I can do the hour no problem. Then I will start increasing the distance until it's 1.5 hours. I have to make the time to get another walk in, sometime in the week- the only real time available would be thursday after noons so we'll see. There's plenty of time to increase things

Greasing the groove with my straight arm hangs from the bar after the walk with the four grips definitely getting easier every day, this time 30 second sets were no problem at all.

If I am going to be able to hike  for real I gotta start somewhere :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

32 kg One arm swings, 44 kg Power swings

This worked out really well. Jumping from the 24 kg last week to the 32 kg this week was no trouble. This cycle just might work out and get me to the heavier loads once per month, regularly.It was 30 degrees in the garage this morning so warming up took a little longer than normal, but my regular 10 min hot bath passive warmup helped a bunch

Short stretchout/mobility session (20 min) and off we went. Still greasing the groove with the overhead hang and it really seems to be making a difference, both in shoulder/ neck pain reduction and ease of overhead ROM. Nice. Mainly the tactical pullup grip for now (overhand) and inching my hands in closer until I am two thumb lengths apart ( grip for hanging leg raises ).

This should mimic the desired overhead position with double bells I am aiming for. Whether I hit the target or not who knows, but that is not the point, anyway. But I will also go back and work the mixed grip as well as chin up grip and perhaps the neutral grip as well ( we have such a setup at No Excuses).That would give me five different grips to hang from.
The stick dislocates and behind the back shoulder stretch have also been

One arm swings
16 kg x 8/8 x 3
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 6/6
32 kg x 8/8 x 8 sets
         x 16/16 x 1 set
160 reps
11,200 lbs

took five sets to really warmup but last five were powerful and fast. I thought the last set power stayed up til the end as well. Cardio is much better in general these days,especially now that I am respecting my individual mechanics and movement patterns and really deriving more strength and power with less energy drain at the same time.

Two hand Power swings
44 kg x 5,6,7,8,10

These were strong but tough! I wanted to do a set of 9 as well as the last set of 10 but I knew there wasn't power for both so I took the last set. Very happy with this.

Barbell Curls superset with Lying bar extensions
45, 55, 65 x 6 x 2 sets
45 lbs x 15-12 4 sets

bodyblade laterals 3 x 10/10

solid training very pleased. Long walk tomorrow and I add the back pack :)

Never Quit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

22 kg snatches , getting back the groove

These went great, in my eyes. My overhead position is still tight, even though I am working doubly hard on stretching mobility and correctives. I think something shifted, truly, after I got my knee replaced and my lower body "squared up" and push the imbalances north. My scoliosis seems work and scap mobility very weird.  So that I could find positions, this week actually, that allow me to press and snatch comfortably, and strongly , it makes me happy, even if they wouldn't pass 'standards".

I can only do so much and I keep trying. But this snatch session felt like the best of the old snatch workouts where I loved it more than any other lift and felt I was good at it.Staying flat on my feet at the top of the movement, not back on my heels makes all the difference.

Yes it does put my more foreward on the descent but with my lumbo pelvic rhythm that puts me in my hips and these last snatch workouts prove it. LOTS more reps with a decent weight then of late and NO back pain at all.It feels fluid and powerful.I really feel I have build up my reps very strongly with this technique.

Full hour stretchout this morning mainly focusing on overhead mobs. arm circles, sky divers,overhead stretches and hangs on pullup bar with four different grips. Hangs are getting better; stronger and longer and shoulders are not adjusting at all, really.Being able to stretch out on the hang seems to be a key thing my instinct is telling me to do. So I will.

Still lots of squat stretches in three positions as well as close stance lunge work as well.

16 kg x 6/6 x 3
20 kg x 5/5
22 kg x 6,7,8 x 3 rounds
126 reps
6300 lbs

Glenn and I moved through this very fast, and not even just for us.I good sign. It's time to up the reps again.I need to go back to sets of 10+ on the 20 kg, 8-10 on the 22 kg and 6 and 7s on the 24 kg.
With this form my HR doesn't go up so high and I purposely tried to breathe lightly although still bio mechanical match

Sled Drag alternate with walking lunges
2 sets of sled with 80 lb for 200 ft

Walking lunges, first two sets of 50 ft with clubbell in side to side rotations with gait but just bodyweight on last set. Lots of experimenting here to do BUT the knee(s) felt fine. Did the last lap on grass and that was better . The concrete with vibrams was not good.

cable curls and black band leaning tri extensions
3 set of 12-10 each and that was that.

about an hour all told.

very good workout and super pleased with my technique and work capacity just one week off such a big trip

Today= 16 week post TKR. The only thing that would make it better is another 20 degrees of knee flexion but now I have serious time to work on that, too

Never quit.

Monday, December 16, 2013

28 kg presses, 36 kg belt squat and crawling

Easy day at work today with a late start and a cancellation near the end of the day. The late start let me get a solid hour plus stretchout in right from the start, nothing better for me. Got a lot of time in on the pullup bar working up to 15-20 second hangs with double overgrip, mixed grip with both hands and reverse grip. Really concentrated on holding it up with the scapula/upper back and it kept feeling better.
Now, as I write this, my left thumb is a bit out from all the reverse grips but it will be ok. supinators just a bit overworked but the direction is correct.overhead behind the head stretches were immediately looser too after the hang work.

Also doing prone skydivers with straight arms from 90 deg to side working my way overhead a few inches at a time until I can't get the arms off the floor. very weak so I need it. Just need more extension work in general. Could really feel the right spinal erector kicking in as well. another good sign

Lots of static squat stretches in three positions and the longer I held them the deeper I got. Good start to the week.

2 pm
KB press
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 3/3 ( easy!)
28 kg x 2/2 x 6 sets

these were as strong as they've been and the shoulders felt the most stable in a long time. Inpsired by this video of Azlan Mohamed SFG pressing his bodyweight with two kettlebells

I really liked his technique and wanted to play with my variation of it today and see how it went and I liked it alot. The idea was pushing the bells "out" as much as I pushed myself away from the bell.Just like how I used to bench press. Azlan's technique reminded me of a standing bench press with serious lat involvement and very vertical forearms.
He starts to lean back and gets a solid arch but then locks it in and presses from there.

My left shoulder still not locking out as well as it was but this technique didn't hurt to press at all! and that's a big deal. Instead of thinking "up" or "back" I was thinking push forward :) weird. but then my cues have always been backwards :) It feels like the same initial motion as in a bent press, with it's heavy lat and bicep involvement.

Double KB press
 2 16's x 3 x 2
2 20's x 3 x 2

tried the same technique but it didn't work and make my lockout worse. I pushed out and up with the pair and it went very well.. Still not a locked out lockout but not bad either. AND, no shoulder pain

Belt squats
36 kg x 25 x 3 sets
         x 30 x 1
these were strong, did the last set with full tension, non lockout style trying to maximize the quad and calf stretch and it was still strong!

4 laps of 50 feet

strongest yet with 15 feet of back crawl after the last lap


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday walk

Solid walk today, the first long one in two weeks. Hit a personal best today, going one lap more than usual( 6 instead of 5) in 5 minutes LESS than usual. Of course I didn't use my pedometer for the first time and don't know my MPH but one more lap in less time is faster.

Then into the gym to do
close stance squats
close stance lunges
wide stance squat stretch

about 50 total squats and the same lunges and hold the static squat stretch for a minute. 3 rounds

alternated with hanging from chin bar and scap pullups ( mini) in between rounds. determined to get my pullup back now

Feel very good from yesterday's training and ready to get my routine back in gear and gain some serious momentum in the coming weeks and months.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Back to work 24 kg One arm swings

Pretty much back in this timezone and on the right schedule sleep wise as well. Back was tight for three days coming off all that sitting and not enough extension work or stretching but everything's squared away now. Even my shoulders feel better and I've added in shoulder dislocates with a light band and very wide holds with the bar behind my back and really getting the front delts and pecs. As well as back to hanging on the bar more. Time to get back my ability to hang and PULLUP again. In some way shape or form.

I have to get my overhead position better than it is. It's not only bad for my presses and snatches it's uncomfortable with shoulders this tight. You have to move your arms overhead, in real life, ALOT, all the time.

Also adding in floor skydivers ( prone) as these are super weak. they will be done every day. grease the groove style when I get on the floor to do other stretches as well.

Went way back to the 24 kg today for swings and it was totally the right move. Been doing almost nothing but heavy heavy and heavier the last four months and I need to add some lighter, faster and crisper work to the mix as well as add in some more volume at the start of the cycle
Shoulder look like this:

week one 24 kg 10-15 rep sets 200-300 total reps
week two 32 kg 8-10 rep sets 160 -200 reps
week three 40 kg 5-6 rep sets 100-120 reps
week four 48 kg 5-6 rep sets  100-120 reps

I will use the intermediate weights as I warm up but not going to focus on them as training weights. at least for now. this way I will get to the 48 kg once a month and can build up to the goal of 5 sets of 10/10. and this is just ball park numbers, I will go by feel, as always.

If the cycle is too short I will add in another bell but we'll see.

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x 10/10 x 10 sets
200 reps
10,600 lbs!

These went great. fast and powerful, it was good to have a lighter feeling bell in my hand and not have to focus on surviving the weight but throwing it around as strongly as I could.BUT the heavier loads I've been doing definitely made this feel lighter than usual.

Two hand swings
40 kg x 10 x 5 sets
50 reps

wow, that got tired fast. that was all I had and keep the power up.

barbell curls
45 x 8
55 x 7
65 x 5 ( hard!)
55 x 6
45 x 8

barbell extensions
45 x 12 x 2
35 x 15 x 2

just tired from the heavy swing volume now. First heavy workout back too. very pleased . Strict kb presses on Monday, not push presses.My back didn't like them or the heel :)


The 1969 Boss 429, the only Mustang I like more than my version.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

First workout post Israel SFG

It was a great but very taxing trip, with me teaching 99% of the course and going from 5 am to 10 am everyday. Not counting the 15 hour plus flights each way and dealing with serious jet lag. It usually hits me coming back , not going but this time I got nailed. But taking the red eye back seemed to work well as I got back on my normal schedule today without too much trouble( at least so far)

My back was great the whole trip but got pretty tight last night and didn't want to open too easy even though I get a full one hour stretchout this morning at 6.

It took swinging and snatch some bells today to loosen it up. My new/old snatch technique worked great today as well. It felt just like it used to.I'm not thinking about what is right, I'm just going where the moves feels best, with the most speed and power and is the easiest on both my shoulders and back. Not the greatest lockout for sure but I can't really do much about that with my shoulders ROM and trying to force it, as I've been doing, wasn't working.

12 kg x 8/8 x 3
16 kg x 6/6 x 2
20 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6
         x 7/7
         x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10

Belt squats
32 kg x 20 x 4 sets

these were strong. very close stance toes straight ahead.Getting deeper all the time

Sled Pull
80 lbs x 200 ft x 1
70 lbs x 200 ft x 3

80 was too heavy after the squats

that's it. late day, not much food and I could feel energy draining so I cut it off

Some photos from the Israel trip

Monday, December 02, 2013

Walking in the Baylands and 24 kg Push presses

We have this excellent nature preserve 5 minutes from where I work in Palo Alto and 25 minutes from where I live in San Jose. Since I walk early every Sunday now I thought this would be a very cool place to watch the sun come up and get my walk in on nice, forgiving, natural dirt.I hate driving anywhere on Sunday but I thought this would be worth it.

It wasn't, but it was close. The place was empty, full of ducks, geese, cranes and all kind of other waterfowl, quite and beautiful . But it wasn't that much more than the nice park I have right around the block, in all reality.

Walking for me right now is training. Just like I was swimming laps in the pool working on my time and my stroke that's how I approach my long walks on Sunday just . As long as I have dirt path to walk on and fresh air and some trees, I'm good. So until I'm really ready to hike I will just keep to walking my laps at the neighbor hood park.

That said it was a great place and I walked a solid hour and got to watch the sun come up over the marsh.Very nice.

Today is the last workout before I'm wheels up for Tel Aviv tomorrow and the first ever Israeli SFG level 1. VERY excited and it was hard to keep some focus on the workout and work as well today.

Push press/ long cycle
16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 3/3 x2
24 kg x 3,4,5 x 2 rounds
          x 3/3 x 2 short cycle

these felt excellent and the bell light. I wore the oly shoes but actually think I'm going back to vibrams for these as well.

Belt squats
24 kg x 20
32 kg x 20 x 3 sets

close stance and flat foot( vibrams) my best depth yet and I can really feel the lower quads kicking in! compared depth the last two weeks with heel on and flat foot and flat wins each time. barefoot it is! Close stance too feet straight ahead.

3 x 50 feet forward
1  x 50 feet forward and 30 or so backward!

these best backward has felt yet and forward is getting very strong indeed. love this move

AM stretches and mobility including lots of rocking , both kneeling ( knee can tolerate some now) and 4 point stance on floor and on the bench. really digging these of late, can really feel it helping my knee and hip flexion( ankles too)


the next week all updates will be on my facebook page if you are interested.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

44 kg One arm swings

Got all pumped up reading Pavel's new book "Simple and Sinister" which is all about the One arm swing and getup as the new, remastered Program Minimum.  I'm not able to do getups yet but my one arm swings are going great!

As Pavel writes " when you (if you're a man) can show a 48 kg who's the boss, you will have become serious 'antifragile' ". My sentiments exactly! I'm not quite the Boss of it yet but it's listening much better these days.

Today however the 44 kg was on deck and that was heavy enough as I have a trip to Israel SFG coming up on Tuesday and I don't want to be 'dinged' in any way for it. But I slept great, woke up with my shoulders feeling as good as they have in ages and warmed up well. No reason not to go for it. But man it was cold in the cave today and it took forever to warmup ( hence the sweats in the video)

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5/
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
40 kg x 5/5
44 kg x 5/5 x 10 sets
100 reps!
9,680 lbs

my grip felt strong today and good thing as these heavy one arms really test it. But I still skipped the 36 kg bell as I just don't like mine and it always is tougher on my grip than making the next jump to the 40kg

Two hand swings
48 kg x 10 x 7 sets
70 reps
7420 lb

these were strong and I thought, briefly, about doing ten sets but 7 matching what I did last week but with a heavier bell was enough of a jump

Barbell curls
45 x 8
55 x 6
65 x 5 x 3

Lying bar extension
45 lb x 12 x 5 sets

 feel great! arms are coming up well too!
bodyweight this AM = 157.4


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Rediscovering my snatch form.

Last week sucked big time. My snatch felt all over the place and I got pretty discouraged. To the point where I thought that I had to take a break from it as it has just been really not "there" for months. And it used to be my favorite kb move! For many many years.

But I have never snatched like anyone else, certainly not standard RKC or SFG technique so I have always been striving to get my groove more in line with the basic ideal.

Except it doesn't work for me . :)
It's the same as when I spent so long trying to do my power squat with a low bar and wide stance. Made sense, technically, but it was just not optimal for my body. I could do it, and fairly decently at that, but it wasn't optimal.

My snatch form is very similar to my deadlift form- it takes a very stiff legged appearance and I tend to lean into it. For me, with my lumbar pelvic rhythm  if I lean forward my hips go back. If I sit back I tend to squat and have much less power.

When I swing I can do standard technique no problem. But the swing is not the snatch and I just let myself realize that today, although I have been down this road before.
The above picture was taken  in 2007 I believe and it was when my snatch production was at it's best and the groove the strongest and most comfortable for me.Why I let myself change it I don't know but I did.

Now I realize it was the right technique and today was a great lesson that that is true. Instead of sitting back behind the midline on the descent I just let the bell go over head WHILE I STAY FLAT FOOTED AND VERTICAL, NOT trying to sit back behind midline and then go with the bell. I leg my knees and legs do what they will, which looks like they stay pretty straight ( 10 degree of bend or so- just enough to get the glutes involved).

Today felt smooth and fast and powerful. My lockout is shy over directly overhead, but that's just how it is with my shoulders right now. BUT at  least they don't hurt. Neither did my back and I could feel the flow and power of the bell. About damn time.

I was just about to quit this move but I have hard time quitting something I haven't figured out.

16 kg x 5/5/ x3
20 kg x 5/5/
22 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6
         x 7/7
         x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10
90 reps
4,410 lb
these went great the 24 would have gone as well too. I alternated the last few sets with vibrams and my oly shoes and surprisingly the oly shoes out me too far forward with this groove! The vibrams give me more latitude for balance.

Belt squats
24 kg x 20 x 2 sets

playing with form and this is the move. High reps and take the back out of it. Quad development and  knee flexion come before strength

Sled drag
70 lbs x 200 ft x 3 laps
80 lbs x 200 ft x 2 laps( pr! strong!)

Walking CB lunges
2 laps of 30 feet with 10lb club
this form is the goal

cable curls/ db kickbacks
3 sets each 12 reps

great training today and my head is back in the groove for the snatch! Have to follow my body first and foremost. Nothing works right if I don't.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

TeamRif Unplugged

Tracy and I did a Skype interview with our good friend Balasubramian Ramana ( aka Rambodoc) last sunday AM ( SIX am!) covering a vast array of  KB and training subjects. Ram should be called the KB Mike Wallace! He is not exactly shy with controversial subjects and questions!
Here is the interview in four parts:

Monday, November 25, 2013

24 kg Push Press Long cycle

This went well. Got a very solid stretchout in this morning with an emphasis on wide behind the head stick stretches and then press behind the neck work with rotations and progressively deeper stretches. My shoulders like it and said yes. Trying to basically do shoulder dislocates is the goal but I have a long way to go. This really opens up the pecs and front delts in a way they don't like at all; because they are so stinking tight; but that's the point.

I still can't hold a squat bar in the rack comfortably and that's gotta change. that's crazy. This is a solid direction.

Medium, close and wide stance squat stretches for time as well. First round has 75 second sets then the second 60 seconds and the third 45 or so. This was an improvement on time and depth. I can really feel the muscles let go as they fatigue

Long cycle clean and push press
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x 5/5 x 5 sets

this went great. I actually played with a few jerks as well at the end and after the main sets. there is potential there now, I can see it. Shoulders were fine with this as well as the knees. Very happy with this move. Overhead position felt better than last week as well. This is a burner as well and when I can do 5 sets of 10/10 it will be a solid accomplishment.

Kb squat cleans
2 16's x 5 x 5 sets

these felt ok but the depth is still so so and I'm not sure it's the vehicle to get farther down. fun to do but I have to get lower in the basic movement first

KB Front squat
2 20's x 3 x 3

this was an attempt to just get lower but it wasn't that succesfull.Plus heavier isn't the answer for my legs. bloody reps are :)

Step up
3 sets of 10/10 on a 14" box wearing my oly shoes. these actually felt really good. played around with step patterns left up /left down or right up left down, etc. what actually felt like it might work the best is basically a pistol standing on the box- so the leg doesn't have to stick up, it can just drop done. A true one legged squat.

I need an exercise where I can control the negative and get progressive depth.

5 laps 50 feet. these were good but I could feel I did them yesterday. last lap was done at faster speed and it went well. :)


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday walk and crawl

Late start this morning after doing an 1.5 hour interview with Ram in India for his new Soul of Strength gym. It was great fun but it got me started very late

Solid 60 minute walk around the park with some extra mileage thrown in. Average speed was 2.7 mph and I did not break to stretchout the squats at all this time. Just steady state walking.

Then 100 feet of crawl/squat crawl. Basically I would crawl as far as I could and when I got tired I would rest in the squat position ( actually frog- hands on ground). Then, back into the crawl again.

Then I did it in reverse ( way more rests, this was tough) for another 100 feet. Shoulders held up fine which was great and got some excellent upper body work in as well as legs and hips. and lungs :)

I think adding in a pushup rest position would be excellent as well. So it would be crawl/ squat/ crawl/pushup etc. I like this :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

40 kg One arm swings and 44 kg power swings

A much better day than Wednesday. Slept well, ate well yesterday and the body was feeling recovered and strong. I did TONS of overhead  stretching and mobility work the last two days and warmed up well this morning too with shoulder circles as well as stick work.
Working the stick behind the head and back and really getting the pecs and front delts stretched out and man they are tight.
Have to go really wide to do it but so be it. has to be done.Also playing with behind the neck presses with the stick and this seems to be a good thing to do. It requires quite a lot of external rotation and it stretches the front arm line just where I need it

Today was heavy one arm and it turned out well

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5/ x 3
20 kg x 5/5 x 2 ( cold out!)
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
40 kg x 5/5 x 8 sets
         x 10/10 x 1 set

didn't do any transfers, just set the bell done and power swung it to get started. Left to right transfers are fine but for some reason my left bicep tendon gets weird when I go right to left with heavy weight! Not after I grab it, but as I transfer it! Very strange but it's not a big deal. Just set it down and re start.

Very happy with the bell speed, height and power on each set. not to mention the last set of 10/10 which was not that hard at all

Power swings

These went well. With all my recent quad emphasis I need to get back to some more hip dominated swings and really focus on a slightly wider stance and really getting the hips enough work. This helps

Power swings
44 kg x 5
         x 6
         x 7
         x 8
         x 5
31 reps

These went very strong. haven't done more than five reps in a long time. Thought about going up to ten but then came to my senses. :)

Barbell curls SS Lying bar extensions
45 x 5
55 x 5
65 x 5
75 x 5
80 x 5
85 x 5 pr! these felt really good and strong

35 x 12
45 x 12 x 5 's  these were great as well. much better long head activation that with the kb

DB rear delts 5 x 12  with 15's  need this badly.

2 x 20 reps final pump  this worked great. Triceps are returning nicely.

Looks like the schedule will be

Sat= Strength
heavy one arms and arm work

Sunday: Endurance
Long walk/ hike

Mon = Conditioning
long cycle clean and push press or jerk
belt squat

Wed = Power
Sled pulls
Clubbell Walking Lunge
Light arms


long walk tomorrow and  lots of crawling as well

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

24 kg Snatch

Rough one today. All the new movements and wearing the Oly shoes didn't mess me up too badly from Monday's training but there were definitely and few different spots that were talking to me all day yesterday and today. Slept and ate well yesterday so I should have been more recovered than I was but I weren't :)

Going overhead again this afternoon wasn't feeling too good. I gutted it out but it was just one of those tough days you just get through. Plus Glenn was still out and it was cold and raining hard. Just tough to get a bunch of energy going. Got it done but it was just plain work.

Nothing wrong with that but my snatch groove of late has just sucked and my TKR hasn't seemed to help things as it's seemingly shifted my upper body "issues" around a lot. My overhead ROM is just plain worse than it's been in years and that's on both sides.

I don't think two overhead days is going to work now and definitely not with one day in between. Since I think I can get away with the push press I will keep that in and let the snatch rest for awhile again.

This happens periodically it seems. I lose my groove on my snatch, whether it's from going heavy, or fast ( max vo2) , take some time off, regain it and get back hope, train it, then lose it again :)
 Tired of this, actually and now that I can squat and train my legs again my motivation to really work the snatch, the last athletic thing I had left before, is waning.

One arm swing warmup : 16 kg x 5/5 x 3

Swing snatch ( with Oly shoes)
16 kg x 8/8 ( one swing one snatch 4 times)
20 kg x 8/8 x 4 sets - this actually felt pretty good for awhile but my descent was off and it was throwing my around. took off the heels and went back to vibrams
24 kg x 8/8 x 4 sets these actually started to feel good
straight snatch reps
24 kg x 7/7 x 4 sets

wow, looking back at the numbers it wasnt' that bad. and the video looks much better than it felt but it was a slog. 12 sets of snatches, not bad work at all

Close stance BW squats
30, 25, 20, 25= 100 reps!

Heel to Toe Lunges BW
10/10 x  4 rounds 80 reps alternate each set with squat above

was scheduled to pull the sled but it was too rainy and I just wasn't into it. this was better. Love working my legs these days. I could do it every day. Hey, wait, I am :)

 datsit. I'm tired


Monday, November 18, 2013

Springy Legs

I used to have springy legs. I was never a great tumbler but, for the times, I wasn't that bad, and for the average person I could soar. I was fast and could touch the rim of a basketball hoop at 5'5". I had a wicked volleyball game as well and love to bounce of the trampoline and diving board.
That changed pretty much after my knee injury in '74 but not THAT much. The knee worked fairly well for another ten years and I could still run hard in 1987 if I wanted to.

I got into bike racing because I wanted quads like the pro cyclists I saw, all lean muscle and vascularity.

As a bodybuilder I was obsessed with my quads and worked them harder than any other bodypart.

When I shifted to powerlifting and sitting back in my squats, ostensibly to 'save' my knees I didn't realize how much I was giving up by not training my quads and , really, over developing my posterior chain.

Then it was too late for my knee to actually work anywhere near right and when I discovered kbs it was all I could do to just swing and be happy with that. And I was. There was no getting on my toes anymore and that's where most of the above movements took place; from the bouncing in my tumbling, to the foot position on the bike, to the weight distribution on my foot in my bodybuilder high bar squats. hack squats and leg press and other quad exercises.

But now that I can train my legs again I don't want to make the same mistakes. I wants endurance in my legs, able to hike for hours. And I want some spring in my step, and my legs and the squats and leg movements I do have to prepare that. I don't want to grind grind grind like I did in powerlifting and have legs with absolute strength but no 'looseness' to them, no springy ness :)

Today was a revelation. I've been doing a LOT of quad work, everyday, alternating close stance dynamic stretching( like mobility work) close stance lunging and static stretching days with at least three different stances. And it's working - my ROM is coming along nicely about 123 degrees and I know now that I must keep my weight in the middle of my foot for my leg work and really get my quads back.

I have spent plenty of time on my heels with my power squats and kb swings. Now it's time for a new balance point and it feels right.

I've also grown tired of just grind presses and have tried to do push presses a few time but it just didn't work. It killed my knee and my back didn't like it because of that.
But today was different.

I put my vintage Adidas black and whites on today and thought " cheat the weight up" and it worked like a charm.Just as I had hoped. Using my quads to bypass the 'icky' first part of a dead stop press which just kills the shoulder. Just like in a bench press. It's strong but it's no fun, and I'm not convinced too good for you too. Especially past a certain point. Or age.

Here's my first set with a 28 kg

This felt great.

I did this;
16 kg x 3/3 x 2
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 2/2
28 kg x 2/2 x 5 sets
24 kg x 5/5 x 2 sets

this was great! I could have kept on going but thought better of it. No shoulder pain it was fun throwing the weight around for a change.

KB squat cleans

I was going to just do front squat but thought that since my 'springy' squat stretches in the mornings are going so well at increasing ROM perhaps this version of the squat would do the same as well. It went way better than expected! I need to pull the left leg in closer after watching the tape, but the movement really lends it self to a very 'stretchy' squatting motion for me and my legs and knees liked it a lot.

The shoes felt perfect
16 kg x 3 x 2
16 kg x 5 x 3 sets

kept feeling better but again, it's a totally new movement so I stopped short.

4 laps of 30, 20, 15, 15 sets

wow! those were tough! Have to do these more

backwards crawling
3 laps of 10 feet.

even harder! but everything stayed in place.

bodyblade laterals 3 x 10 /10
 rear delts with bands 3 x 15  blue band

this was a great workout, hopefully I can walk and shave tomorrow and then we'll see.:)


Saturday, November 16, 2013

36 kg One Arm Swing

Woke up feeling good this morning; neck and shoulder pain pretty much gone and not too stiff. The knee feels great and yesterdays squat stretching helped a bunch as well. Working the legs daily and with high reps really seems to be the right direction. The quad is coming back fast, as is the VMO and the legs just feels great.

Had Joe measure the knee angle this morning with my  new  goniometer and it looks like I'm about 120-123 degrees of flexion now! That's awesome and validates what the knee movement has been feeling like. More to come and now that I've figured out a little more as to what movements really are going to create more ROM the best is yet to come.

6 am stretchout
short version Rifga
close stance bw squats flat footed 25, 15, 10,10
superset with
knee to heel lunges 5/5 x 4 ( wow! flame on the quads fast!)
On Toes squat 3 sets of 5  - this is weak but important this is like a BW KB Hack squat
Rocking and neck nods from 4 point crawl- this worked VERY sets 2 sets of 15. really feel the quads light up, the hips and the ankles flex. this is a keeper.

8 am
One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5/ x3
20 kg x 5/5/
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
36 kg x 5/5 x 10 sets

these were good but my attempts to keep my eyes looking forward instead of horizon didn't work well once I got past the 28 kg. Too heavy An experiment for Geoff Neupert but I needed the heavy weight right now more than I needed to play with technique. When I get back from Israel I'll experiment more.,

Two hand swings
40 kg x 10 x 7 sets

these were solid. Need to get total sets up to ten though. this was a good start

Barbell curls 45 x 10 55 x 8 65 x 5 75 x 5 x 3 sets  ( these were stronger than expected)
KB triceps extension ( on bench ) 5 sets of 12-15 with 16 kg

 (played with a variety of angles. ended up with a modified skull crusher. need to work the long head
One arm band pushdowns 3 x 15 each side. good pump :)

BW = 156.5 this is a good base line now. Think I want to go up to 160 for some "reserves"

Tomorrow's a long walk, with crawling and squat stretches for time,


Thursday, November 14, 2013

active rest leg work

100 ups Marching

50 continuous close stance squats ( supported)

50 alternating knee to heel lunges ( supported) - in sets of 10 short rest/ sets

( serious quad burn and pump here-just what I wanted)

Stair work
pyramid 3 up 3 down etc up to 6  up and down and then full two flights three times

down is getting MUCH better. has a rhythm to it almost. I can remember when I could run down stairs and my body still remembers

Need to add to this day:

neck nods
crawling forward and back

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

22 kg snatch sled pulls

Now that my knee is so much different I am actually more acutely aware of how jacked up my shoulders are,lol. I dislocated my right one in 1977, ending my gymnastics career, and basically didn't really put my arms much over my head until I started kb training in 2001. That's a lot of time with no overhead mobility, flexibility or strength.

Top it off with tons of heavy heavy work in the horizontal plane and my overhead position is pretty marginal, and hasn't been getting much better over the years despite tons of work on it.

Now that I see how quickly and amazingly different my left leg muscles are acting now that the real issue to my brain, a faulty joint, has been fixed I realize that most of the issue overhead are just due to badly arthritic and damaged shoulders.

Like my left leg used to, they get tight if I train a little, or a lot, or none.Posture makes a huge difference but my job and computer time means I am looking down a lot all day and that is not a good position.

It takes awhile to warmup but then things don't feel so bad.

6-7 am Rifga and full stretchout
lots of time overhead to open the neck and traps ( much better) with bar hangs and stick work.and squats in narrow and wide stances held for 60 second sets. Alternating the rep days with holds for time is the way to go for now it seems.

1 pm
16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5
22 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6
         x 7/7
         x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10
90 reps with 22 kg 
4500 lbs

Snatch hold
22 kg x 20 sec each side.

these were better than I thought they would be although I can see in the video that I am getting yanked over a bit more than I thought on the left side. I was trying to stay more upright on the  descent and that looks like a mistake.

Sled drag
60 lb x 100 ft forw and 100ft backwards x 3
70 lbs x 200 ft forward only

good work and back was TOUGH on the quads and calves and I didn't have much work capacity there. good addition

barbell curls
45 x 8
55 x 8
65 x 6
55 x 7
45 x 12

SS with DB kickbacks 5 sets of 10 with 20 lbs db

I am so getting my triceps back. just the start. extensions will put on the size but I have to inch up to them as well as pushups again.


Monday, November 11, 2013


Not a high energy day today. Watched Transporter 3 on my laptop yesterday and spent too much times it seems looking 'down' and woke up with a crick in my neck that didn't want to go away. Neck and traps were sore all day so presses today were extra fun :)

6-7 am
Full rifga ( lots of neck and shoulder mobility)
OS resets and rocking with toes in dorsi and plantar flexion as well in 4 point crawl stance
Overhead stick work with reverse and regular grips

Glenn still out of town working so I was solo today. went right to work after getting home

KB press( short cycle)
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 3/3 x 8 sets

the presses actually felt very solid on both arms for a change.Fixing the clean so that the lower arm was more vertical at the catch did the trick. NO spin outs at all on any rep,very pleased. BUT the bells felt heavy! Bodyweight was 157 even this AM so I can't blame it on being light Just tired.

28 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 3/3 x 3 sets

this was a good idea. I really have to start doing more heavier cleans if I want to feel stronger pressing the heavier bells. But anything more than three reps was out. Held each rep for 2 seconds in the rack. this was solid

Double bell front squats
2 16's x 3 x 7 sets

these went great! Played around with narrower and wider stances as well as OLY shoes and flat feet and the medium stance ( above) with flat feet actually gave the best depth. this is encouraging. Same slightly outside, vertical forearm rack position and gave NO shoulder adjustments.

Bodyweight lunges ( narrow stance) SS Close stance squats
10/10/10 x 4 rounds

good solid pump. Was supposed to crawl but didn't want the upper traps to light up. More later

One arm triceps pushdown
black band 4 sets of 12

this is a good exercise for me, hits the triceps and the single arm work seems to let the shoulders stay out of it more.More triceps mass for sure in my future. Extensions coming up/

Sundays walk
58 minutes
6200 steps
2.7 mph average

this started out strong and got tired after the second lap.Very surprising after the last two weeks of stairs and hills and a continuous flat walk would make them tired. but that is the only thing I haven't been doing of late and my legs felt it. in a good way. Made the 5 laps but had considered six at how strong I started out. Oh well. have to listen to the body first and foremost.

at end of each lap ( after second) high knee marching for a block length followed by supported wide and narrow squat stretches. Felt great, opened up the tight quads and hips and stretched everything out. depth is getting better

Last two blocks backwards walking, more high steps.

Foam roll and stretchout immediately after.


at the Tsart Castle in Rijecka, Croatia

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Back to work ,back to Swings.

Finally done with jet lag and some very strange total body soreness I've had for the last few days. It's weird as I've hardly done any work- perhaps that's the problem ,lol.
Got a proper Rifga stretchout this morning and that helped as well. Lot of lacrosse ball work on the forearms opened up my shoulder , as it always does, and the shoulder has been talking to me for more than a few days.
For some reason the only thing I couldn't find in either Croatia or Italy was a stretching stick! So I didn't my arms overhead as much as I need to and the shoulder was touchy the whole trip.
But that got sorted out today, my weight was good ( 155.8!) actually a recent high( say hello to carbs/bread and eating early again :) and I felt strong. The knee is feeling very good and all that active rest work yesterday and no ill effect at all.

Very cool

8 am
One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5 x 3
20 kg x 5/5 
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 5/5
32 x 5/5 x 10 sets
100 reps
7000 lbs

Two hand swings
32 kg x 8
40 kg x 8 x 5 sets
40 reps
3520 lbs

Two KB front squats
2 14's x 3 x 3

these actually felt good. I changed the rack position more to the outside of the ribs and lifted the elbows up and under more, after listening to Fabio teach the clean and press in Croatia. Worked well and didn't have any shoulder destabilization like usual, even with these weights. Very promising. I would LOVE to be able to KB front squat some big bells :)

Barbell curls SS DB Kickbacks
45 x 10 20 lbs x 12/12
55 x 10  20 lbs x 12/12 x 4 sets

these felt good. I miss my triceps and I'm getting them back :)

Tomorrow; back to long walks and more  OS resets , crawling and lunge walks


Friday, November 08, 2013

Active rest

Had a solid 1.5 hours off this am and put it to good use. I always love to do my training first in the morning, and except for Saturdays this rarely happens. Today was good.

100 ups
High strides ( 4 laps of 30 feet)
Rocking with head nods ( toes dorsi)
Rocking with head nods ( toes plantar flex) : alternate between the two for 10 rep sets 100 total
Crawling 3 laps of 30 feet alternated with close stances dynamic squats bodyweight
Overhead hang work all grips
Reverse overhead stick stretches

Stair work
3 steps up 3 down
4 up 4 down
5 up 5 down
6 up 6 down
7 up 7 down  4 rounds

realized I have to lean forward more on descending to get the knee flexion I want

then 10 up 10 down  2 rounds
rowing machine 5 minutes ( not enough knee flexion help so abandoned)

this was solid stuff. I really liked the stair routine and I could feel a serious quad pump after ,especially the vmo. perfect.

heavy swings tomorrow, can't wait. finally back on non jet lag time. whew!


Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Part Two

Mike Sousa, Fabio and me in Venice.
A great day trio Fabio took us on and of course it involved lots of walking > We drive to Venice from Vincenza then too the vaporatoo( sp) down the canals to the far end of venice. Then we walked back. Again, no problem even with lots of small staircases all over the place as well as the two plus hours of walking back from the end of Venice. The knee is holding up well
Then dinner at El Filo and T Rex Steaks!

Then onto business again and Fabios Stength Congress with 300 attendees. I led the KB section on Satuday after listening to the legendary Boris Sheiko lecture on his powerlifting methodology and compare and contrast the entire gamut of powerlifting methods and styles!


my talk on the Renaissance of Strength, Fabio translating

Saturday Fabio and I led the 300 (!) through basic KB training ending with a serious swing, plank, goblet squat workout.

What an amazing two weeks. I never ever thought I could handle this much work and walking, especially just nine weeks out of a TKR but it happened. And I can see now that it was just the beginning. Of many things.

We will be going back to Croatia and Italy next year for SFG 1 courses as well as some other projects Fabio and I cooked up. Israel SFG is coming up in 4 weeks and I can't wait for that, knowing so much more about how to pack and travel for events like this. Now that I can walk as much as I want to and am out of pain the game has totally changed. Its very very cool.

I did a lot of Original Strength work while I was there too, marching in place, crawling every day and it really got a lot done for very little time. Much more to explore here too ,especially for my knee flexion.

Got back to doing rocking this morning during my stretchout and it was much better than ever. Knees on two airex pads, and rocking with head nods with toes in dorsi and plantar flexion. The looser the quads and rectus are the better the knee bends.

Training today with Glenn

16 kg x 5/5 x 2 SO TIGHT overhead :)
20 kg x 5/5 x 8 sets
20 kg x 20 sec snatch hold
24 kg x 20 sec snatch hold

 wow this took forever to loosen up but at the end, of course, things felt much better. haven't done a 24 kg snatch hold in forever. Had to get back to real training asap as I missed so much kb work these past two weeks

Sled pulls
60 lbs x 200 feet x 2= 400
60 lbs x 200 feet x 3= 600

1000 feet. wanted to scale down distance but it was too easy so I upped the weight.still easy

Barbell curls
45 x 10
55 x 8
65 x 8
65 x 6

Tricep extension
3 x 12

at least got it done but the jet lag and trying to get back on my WD eating schedule made the workout pretty week. Just the start.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

" A back of Iron and Legs that never quit" Pt One

( if she could do it, I could do it. Part of the 800 stair trip up and down I took in Rijecka, Croatia)

That's been my training goal ever since I read those words in Pavel's original Russian Kettlebell Challenge book.Most of the time in the last ten years I didn't think it was really possible but never gave up hope.

When I finally had to have my knee replaced I hoped it would facilitate that state of being but wasn't sure either. Going to both Croatia and Italy just nine weeks after that operation and walking climbing and moving more than I have in many many years let me know that not only is it possible but I am well on the way towards that goal.

The trip started out really well as I got to and through the airport which is a freakin' PR for me. I used to be dying by the time we got to the gate. Not this time. Walking fast through the airport unencumbered by pain was almost sublime. But it was the first of many sublime moments on this trip.

The flight over was easy. going through Amsterdam airport required almost as much walking as Frankfurt but again. no problem. Walking felt good, loose, easy. What a pleasure.And without the pain the stress wasn't there at all. No 'wondering how I could make it through the trip if I couldn't get through an airport'.

So wonderful not be limping, be standing out. Just being able to walk like a normal person.
Made it to Venice where our first view was amazing.

the view of pizza in Fabio's hometown of Vincenza was amazing too.
A four hour trip to Croatia the next day and while it was a beautiful city Kastav is nothing but HILLS AND STAIRS! Crazy amount of hills and stairs! I never could have made it without the knee replacement. No way. We had to walk up a slight hill to get to the first set of stairs to go DOWN to the stairs to go to the apartment which was UP stairs!

And everywhere in the town was stairs and hills and stairs and NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER!!!!  Totally crazy as even on the last day before we left I was having to practice going down stairs. Now the stairs downward pattern still isn't perfect but I got it done. And up stairs was easy and strong/

The cert site was a mere 10 minutes walk away from the apartments but it was ALL STAIRS! 200 each direction. I thought about it but let fabio drive me the in the first morning. The candidates walked it from their site and then rewalked it to get lunch and then AGAIN to get home!
So at the end of the first day I walked them back to the apartment. again, no problem, after all that travel and a nice 12 hour day teaching and demo'ing
We had an incredible cert! the candidates were so well prepared, totally tough and had incredible spirit and passion!

PLUS fanny packs are still cool in Croatia!

Our view from our apartment in Kastav
My first walk up the 202 stairs from the cert site to our apartment

Once the cert was over we had the day off so we actually took an hour long hike on the eco trail right behind our place. Man I love having things so close and all in one place. Plus this city was built in the 13th century and is crazy  interesting from an historical perspective. So much stone and rock and basic construction that has stood the test of time. Love that stuff

And the knee was perfect. No pain and my walking was strong and steady. It seemed that the more I walked the looser the knee got and the more ROM it got. plus my body craved it.Walking felt better than anything else, standing, sitting or lying. Motion is lotion.

Tuesday Sasa graciously took us to Rijecka

Played with some creature at the top of Trsat castle ( LOTS of stairs, lol )

Sasa and I and the Lion of Italy, of all things. :)
Tracy at the castle
In down town Rijecka

Ok I'm tired, jet lag is kicking in. Part two tomorrow.