Saturday, August 31, 2013

Air swings and 1.5 mile walk

 Got the best nights sleep I've had in the last 10 days and what I difference it made.It wasn't even the full night but it was wonderful. Felt so much better waking up. Plus NO headache upon awakening.
only took 3 oxy's yesterday so perhaps that helped. But I also stopped the adaptogens as well so I'm not sure which it was. a couple more days like this then add back in some adaptogens. Figured out how to jerry rig a jump stretch band to keep my ankle in dorsi flexion during sleep and that helped a lot too. much less calf tightness in the AM.

Walked with Tracy this morning and that was awesome. 1.5 miles in the cool morning fresh air. man it was brilliant! This is going to be my mobility work,my leg strength work as well as re patterning work for quite awhile. Can't wait to add stair work in too but today I went up all the curbs left leg first on the up and left leg first on the down.
My  progressions to walking DOWN real stairs.

Air swings
4 x 5
1 x 6
1 x 8
1 x 10
3 x 5

Barbell curls
4 x 5 with 45 lbs

Pbar Dips

Trainer x 8 total reps done in singles, alternating hands.
( just purchased the #1- this will really help maintain my strength until I can go heavier for real.)

Nice! I actually feel closer to being myself again than I have since the surgery! Went out to breakfast and hung out and Bs'dwith the  boys for hour plus so energy is much better too.

Now, however, I need a nap :)


Friday, August 30, 2013


 Last night was much better than the night before although still had a decent sized headache in the AM. It's probably the meds. I took 4 yesterday and will try to get down to 3 today. Ditching the ice machine helped too as far as keep the knee less stiff. Still have to ice, just going to use ice bags.

Did that twice last nice and worked well. As soon as I get up and moving the head feels better. It's probably this head forward position I am in more than ever sitting in bed and chairs so much. I can take the knee pain better than I can headache. Hate headache.:)

Sweated twice last night as well but less than before, another fun side effect of Oxy. Yea!

 Got up stretched out the hamstring and foot and go into the CPM machine. Didn't use it yesterday and might as  well get as much out of it as I can while it's here. Started at 87 and went up a degree each rotation til I got to 100 and then did 10 reps there. It was not easy. Need to push this up to 115 asap. Then right into the walk.

Nice overcast morning and I took another route. One of the things I remember well about my running walking days is that I always ran by time, not distance, so I could go anywhere I wanted which was very 'freeing'.

In fact today reminded me very much of my old days as a runner/ walker.Just as I am student of physical culture now I was then as well and the 'old guys' in the endurance world were called "pedestrians". Basically long distance movers who ran, walked, jogged and sprinted huge distances on foot.

There was a freedom attached to that ability that I found mesmerizing.The ability to just walk out your door under your own power and GO. For almost as far and long as you wanted to. I used to  run/walk twice a day, seven days a week for more than a few years training for ultra distance racers, which I never competed in but didn't matter. The training was the thing; the freedom was the thing. Getting into the flow and getting lost there for hours was the thing. Nothing made me feel more at peace than that.

And even my little walk this morning brought that back to me full force.

I walked 1.12 miles this morning 2641 steps and they were all glorious. I finished, as is my habit, faster than I started and it was smoother than I have walked in eons. I made a habit of going up and down each curb to work the steps and that was way easier already too. Even going down.

Plus, lets not forget NO PAIN while walking. I can't hardly believe it. Just 13 days ago the same walk would have seriously hurt and I would have had to spend a few hours untangling the knots it created. Now I feel just fine.Tired overall but fine.

Next up will be some high steps, heel slides stability ball knee slides and some other stuff. Super happy. Now, if I can really sleep at night.....


11 am work
on the floor with lacrosse ball under piriformis and all i can say is  YEOOOWWWW!!! Man those are tight! doing in the bed with the supernova ball isnt the same. they lit up like the fourth of July. notice as I was trying to get to the floor ( frog squat) that there was lots of tension in external rotation- usually NOT the problem. so I went to the hip rotators. good idea lots of work to be done there. as well as the lower hammies with the lacrosse ball as well, on the floor :)

also, doing toe point pike sit now is completely different for the same reason. left leg used to externally rotate SO much couldn't internally rotate much at all. now it's basically even.and straight, as are my knees :)
my L sit will look much better now

couple bouts of ice bags, foam roller and LOTS of thumper on calves and hammies and IT. TFL and top quads still too sensitive for it yet. but helping a lot

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The long day of the night.

Night time is the worst. It seems pain increases 10 fold in the dark and the hours seem like  days when you can't sleep. It's hard enough to deal with pain when you are awake and have energy. when you're exhausted and you are supposed to be resting and sleeping it's just that much harder.

Compared to the night before, when I awoke at midnight with when was tantamount to a migraine( which I never have had before) last night was pretty easy. But an hour after coming to bed my leg got 'achy' and I couldn't find  a comfortable spot to rest it. Which meant; no sleeping. Ice on, ice off. Massage ball under: calf, hamstring, IT band, glutes, calf ,etc., etc., etc.

Sleep came in fits and starts and had to wake up to take meds at midnight. Helped a little. When you get into this recovery mode there really is no day or night. Just times when you are awake and times when you are asleep. When I'm awake I try to work on something;rarely is there just rest and relax but it's getting better.

Plus the night sweats. Opiates do that and this is no exception. Finally get some sleep only to wake up drenched in sweat. Nice. ;) At least last night was just once, not the three times the previous night.

I'm amazed Tracy gets any rest at all with all my tossing and turning but she's a champ and hasn't complained at all :)

Mornings, by contrast are my best time. Lots of energy( even after a bad night sleep) coffee, meds, stretching, mobilizing moving; all things that make me feel better.

Started doing pranayama breating in the AM to help open up my lungs, which the meds surpress.Very helpful.

First full lap around the block with just the cane. 1322 steps,.57 mile 22 min, 1.7 mph ( lol @ pedometer) NO PAIN! Nice.
Great way to start first day of Week Two.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Knee replacement, One week in.

Say hello to my new left knee . It's been a week to the day since I had the operation and I can safely say that everything has gone very very well. Nothing's perfect and there have been some bumps in the road but one week out I am doing better than expected and have high high hopes for the coming weeks and months.
The operation took 3.5 hours, 1.5 more than usual as my old knee, as my Dr said, "was just not normal". It was so deformed that had to use other procedures to place the cutting devices and make the implant fit. One part of the medial tibial component ended up being 3 mm shorter than the other as that was how much bone needed to be removed and the tibial component shimmed up!
You even see it on the X ray above- looking straight ahead the left side with bone is lower than the right side( with the fibula). Either way, they made it work.

With that much cutting and sawing Mark is a very sore puppy! Most of the pain the next days was from that.The knee itself, being cobalt and polyethylene are perfect with no nerve endings.:)
Bending or holding it was very painful, even with the super drugs I got.
Didn't get to walk the first day as blood pressure was too high for some reason but settled down the next and I did my first walk and 'pseudo' stair negotiations.

I was very happy that I could put full weight on my left leg and that I could actually stand up straight on it for the first time in forever. This all however, will take some getting used to.

I can get into a swing stance and have done some air swings that feel perfectly safe! But the real priority will be getting knee range of motion into the 110+ area. That HAS to come first, before everything else.
(-5 degrees extension on the goniometer in the hospital, day two the day before the op=  -15 deg)

I got a nice curvy scar to balance out my other one
Saw Dr Blatz yesterday and he was very pleased with everything, how the knee looked, how I looked and moved  and my health. He said it was fine if I handled my own physical therapy. I did one session yesterday with the PT that was prescribed and it was less than a joke. I did more productive work in the morning before I went there than at the session. And since I have to pay for it out of pocket I don't want to waste my money or time.

Most of my updates about this will be via my facebook page until my energy turns around. I'm pretty tired and my 'perfect' daily routine is completely blown to bits so it will take some time to ge things sorted out.

I am napping alot and nights are very long and tough. Mornings, however are great :)

My facebook page:

If you are not a FB friend and want to follow this just send a friend request.

This is what I've been training for all this time. This is strength for real life.This is when it really counts. THIS is SISU.

datsit for now!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Long cycle press 28 kg, one arm swings , belt squat and bar curls. the real last workout.

Well last Saturday was the last real HEAVY day but today's workout is officially the last workout before surgery.Good to report I'm feeling very strong and fit, a good thing going into what I am headed for!

Missed this Saturday's training so I was just a bit fresher than of late and felt it. Presses felt solid and swings were strong. Not huge volume but I didn't want to push it too hard and have a bunch of excess metabolites in the system right before surgery.It felt great. Started strong and finished fresh. Just what my head needed;every bit as much as my body :)

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

Long Cycle Clean and Press
16 kg x 3/3
20 kg x 3/3
24 kg x 2/2
28 kg x 2/2 x 3 sets
         x 3/3 x 3 sets

Felt like I could have done 5's. Definitely not strict. I am essentially doing the clean and press equivalent of a touch and go bench press but that's fine. Shoulders feel great and the weight's moving strongly. I can always dead stop pause one if I have to.Now that the cleans don't jack up my shoulder I much prefer this style to short cycle presses. much more.
If I had to pick up one exercise to do and nothing else this might be it.

One arm swings
24 kg x 5/5
28 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
36 kg x 5/5
40 kg x 5/5

this was strong and solid as well! Just wanted to touch a big(er) weight, not do any volume and this worked perfectly.

Belt squat
40 kg x 20 x 4 sets

Now this will really change after the surgery! It will be great and weird at the same time to be able squat on both legs again!

Barbell curls
45 x 5
65 x 5
75 x 5
80 x 5~!

sweet. this was the perfect finisher. Time to eat, rest, stretch and focus. :)


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Last real workout before the knee replacement: Double 24 kg swings.

I remember when this weight for 10 reps was my goal. I remember it very well because it was not that long ago at all. I only recently took up double bell swings early this year and when I did double 16's kicked my ass and double 24's seemed only a dream. Today they were easy and a light day's workout.

I love being able to see progress again like I used to. Do the work, see the result. That used to be the template. For so many years I couldn't even do the work so I didn't expect much progress and I didn't get it! But moving at all was a blessing and I was happy. Now I'm even more happy.

Knee felt good all day and walking was not a problem. Didn't have to wear the brace or the sleeve and that's a change. I'm ready to go for this thing and I have another 6 days to go. I know it will be here before I know it but it feels like it used to feel getting ready for  a meet and having to taper that last week.

You're ready, strong, peaked motivated and you get to do - NOTHING. Until the meet. and you can't even get excited about it or you will overspill adrenaline and not have it when you need it. So I need to stay calm, in the present moment and lets things happen. It will be here soon enough and all will be different forever.

Two bell swings
2 16's x 8 x 2
2 20's x 8 
2 24's x 8 x 11 sets
88 reps
9328 lbs

these started well and went better. The last set ( 10) wasn't perfect so I did another as I needed to finish on  a high note.

Sled drag
60 lbs x 200 ft x 6 - 1200 ft
          x 400 = 1600 feet total

these went well. I stole a technique from one of the PT's at work vis a vis gait mechanics and it works very well.Basically just hold your arms by your side and walk using T spine rotation with no arm drive. It's amazing at how well it activates the leg hip action completely naturally. I incorporated this into my sled work and it was amazing. SO much more power and drive. and i also got to realize just how little torso rotation I actually get when I am walking.

SO much more work to do on gait mechanics and patterning coming up VERY soon ,lol

barbell curls
45 lbs x 10 x 4 sets

light easy day. perfect.

Rickey Dale Crain, one of the best powerlifters of all time, six weeks after total hip replacement on the top of a 14,000 peak. :) All I have to do is fly to Croatia and teach a bit in 9 weeks. :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

24 kg Long Cycle Clean and press

This could be my alltime favorite move. It covers it all; it has the ballistic action of the clean, the grind of the press, upper and lower body and it can be serious workloads if one wants to go that direction OR one VERY heavy max effort grind.

My favorite used to be the snatch but that has changed. Too many tweaks in both my biceps and back has left me gunshy and always holding back. My overhead position isn't stellar at all and I can't rest in lockout like I can with the press. And after watching Tracy and her gs friends really show what can be done in the snatch I realize that our techniques, while great for generating power, explosion and speed are not that great for the endurance side of the snatch and I can't tolerate the GS techniques anyway.

And I can finally clean and press again and I didn't realize how much I missed it!Being able to turn out as I press really allows for me to legitimately compensate for my shoulder and t spine immobilites.

So it is the Swing,Clean and press and -coming soon- the Squat as my key foundation moves.And the barbell curl, of course :)

One arm swing warmup
16 kg x 5/5/ x 3 stiff as a board despite it being pretty dang hot today.

Clean and press,long cycle
16 x 5/5
     x 3/3
20 x 3/3
24 kg x 3/3
         x 4/4
         x 5/5 x 3 rounds
72 reps
3816 lbs

This felt light and easy.My body is finally getting that the shoulders don't 'adjust' anymore on the cleans or the presses. That took awhile. On both counts
It was nice that the 24 kg felt so  light again.It was also nice to be able to painlessly, get in some decent volume to be able to really groove my groove again.
Singles are great when that's all you can do but reps are important too.

Snatch holds
16 kg x 30 sec
18 kg x 20 sec x 3 rounds

Haven't done these in forever. Surprisingly good overhead position as well

Belt squats
44 kg x 20
         x 30 x 2

these felt awesome and got a very solid leg pump and fatigue in both quads.Just tired at this point.Done


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Beast Mode, Big Pr

This is my last heavy Saturday before the TKR. Next week I'm up with Tracy for her GS meet then three days later everything changes :) So I was thinking I wanted to do something grand, kind a last hurrah for this knee, that although is damaged beyond repair, still has served me beyond the call of duty for the last 39+ years.
But after Wednesday's bail out and gimping around for the last two days to be honest, I didn't think I had anything grand in me at all.
But I wanted to take a shot at the 48 kg again and since I did 7 sets last time I played with it the only logical thing would be do go for 10 sets. 100 reps.
My all time goal with this bell.

Could I do it? I had no idea until I picked it up and even then I wasn't sure as the first few sets felt pretty bad on my left hand grip. But I knew the first set would be the worst and once I got that over it was just a matter of hanging in and doing one rep and one set at a time. In retrospect it wasn't that bad at all.

Here's the last set:

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5 x 2
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
40 kg x 5/5
48 kg x 5/5 x 10 sets! PR
100 reps
10,600 lbs
Bodyweight: 155 

Each set got better and more confident.I took big jumps in the warmups instead of sneaking up on it and I like that now.
Just like in powerlifting the heavier you lift the less energy you can spend getting to the work weight and have to learn how to make big(er) jumps.
It's mostly in the head and if you didn't have the intermediate weights you wouldn't miss them at all. If you want to just build the volume they work great but when the top end is far away you don't want to waste too much time getting there.
 The swings were faster, higher and less hesitant.My mind was solid and didn't go off wandering into fear or doubt. No thought,really. Glenn went, then I went, then Glenn went,etc. I stopped thinking " this is heavy" and just swung the damn thing. :) Better late than never.

I don't know how long til I get to swing it again. Perfect timing,actually.

Two Hand Swings

 sets of 5,6,7, 8,9, 10

Beastmode indeed. No warmups just went. It was easy and strong.

Barbell curls
45 x 10
65 x 5
75 x 5
80 x 5 pr

this was PR as well and felt really solid too.

Back press
 double red strands x 8 x 4 sets

just strong today.:) good timing.

Even though I am loathe to go into surgery now when I am at the peak of strength that I have been at in more years than I want to count it really is the best time. I am fit, lean, strong, healthy and have reserves that I will need in the coming months. I will just be back much better and much stronger than this.
A good jumping off place. Much better than going into this surgery and recovery weak or sick or in bad health.

One more workout on Monday and then off to the races!


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Stepping back

Really, falling off. My left knee locked up, again for no damn good reason, an hour an half before the end of work.So weird. The entire  morning was great, no pain. no gait issues, stretched out etc. Then BAM.
Good thing I'm cutting this one off and getting a new one or I'd rip it off myself as frustrated as I am with it lately.

Thought that training would help re set it but not today. Been having a slew of great sessions, I guess I was due.

Two kb swing
2 16 x 5 x 3

no go. My knee did not like the wide stance today. Glenn worked on the hamstring and origins of the inner hammies were LIGHTING up! Ok I  know where to work tonight

Two Hand swing
16 kg x 10
20 kg x  10
24 kg x 10 x 10
          x 12, 14, 16, 18 ,20.
180 reps
9540 lbs

ack. that sucked. Light and boring.Narrowing the stance helped a lot. brace on, brace off, brace on brace off. Nothing worked

Sled drag
2 x 200 ft

No go. Need no likey.

barbell curl
55 x 8 x 4

back press
black mini band x 4 x 15

need to do some serious roller work tonight.


Monday, August 05, 2013

32 kg Press first in two years.

I looked back to when I last pressed this bell and was a bit shocked to realize it was in September of 2011! That's a long time away from a weight I don't consider heavy :) But I guess it is now because I don't press it a lot. Good reasons to not do so but there are the facts.

But the shoulders are staying in the right place, recovering from the workouts and doing very well. Last weeks foray into 5's with the 24 was very encouraging as well as the previous weeks work with multiple sets of 2's with the 28 kg.It wasn't very long ago at all that I was happy to do some singles with the 24 kg again :) Hey, a press. ANYTHING :)

Since I only have a few more workouts to get in before I head into surgery and who knows how long before I can train heavy again I thought it might be nice to play with this puppy today.If I could :)

KB Press
16 x 5/5 
     x 3/3
20 x 4/4
24 x 2/2
28 x 1/1
32 x L miss/ R
     x 1/1 x 4

5 sets with the 32! nice. the first rep miss was just a mind tweak. I didn't get or stay tight and did exactly what I tell students that amateurs do when they try to press heavy: PUSH the weight up , instead of pushing away from the weight. So the bell spun out, I cleaned and tried again but the same thing happened. I transfered over and  the right side went up without a hitch.

Second sets was much better as I got my head focused and corrected the tension mistakes. Had to root harder and really get my lat tight to launch it.

It wasn't strict but it was solid. And I didn't break anything. Very important.

16 x 5/5
20 x 5/5
24 x 5/5
     x 6/6
     x 7/7
     x 8/8
     x 9/9
     x 5/5 x 2
90 reps
4770 lbs

These felt light, but it was hard cardio. Haven't snatched the 24 hardly at all lately and certainly not for volume after pressing . but I needed it

Belt squats
40 kg x 20 x 4 

these finally felt strong and good again and knee felt as solid as it has in weeks on these.Can't wait to be able do these much deeper in the coming year!


Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Magic of the Kettlebell

When I found the kettlebell I had been playing with barbells for well over 20 years. After a short stint as an endurance athlete I used the barbell extensively with my 8+ years as a bodybuilder and then another 13 years as a powerlifter. Because, if you make a lift,especially a PR there seems no logical reason NOT to put more weight on and try again. You made it didn't you? And one will continue to add weight, until they can't. Which usually means one gets injured or your progress gets stalled.

I truly believe it's important to build baseline strength with the kettlebell FIRST, and then the barbell. Maybe. Depends on one's goals but even then it has to be used as a tool to help your primary goal OR it can sneak up on you and exact all kinds of vengence on one's knee's, back, shoulders and neck.. No fun. Especially if you are just an regular person, not a competitive athlete whose main goal is basic fitness; tone, fat loss, body comp changes and basic strength for life.

So for most people I think the kettlebell has the true magic, and just ONE kettlebell at that. I was never happy with the foray from single kettlebell work into double bells for beginners.Part of the magic of the kettlebell is in using it one at a time, asymmetrically which BUILD stability and symmetry into the system. Without having to try.

Plus you don't need that heavy of a bell, either. If the 24 kg was enough for the Russian Army it should be enough for most of us, especially after age 50.

Now I'm a knuckledragger at heart so if I can I like to play with the bigger bells(especially since I haven't been able to for forever) but they ARE'NT NECESSARY for basic fitness, which is what hardstyle kettlebell training will give the average and above average person.

I just got off the phone with Geoff Neupert and he agrees and thinks much of the magic lies in it's ability to challenge the vestibular system. Every time we hinge we learn forward and activate our bodies righting reflex.This makes us much stronger, more balanced and with a more stable core with every swing, clean or snatch rep.You can't get that in the same way with the more linear barbell movements.

Plus add in the unbelievable hand/grip work with it's direct link to the rotator cuff, shoulder hip and abs. So many great things from one simple piece of iron.

Since we went so heavy last week it was time to step it down a bit so I chose the 36 kg for sets and reps and it was the perfect choice. PLUS, usually this bell challenges my left hand grip like almost no other. But not today! big grip breakthrough.

The kettlebell is my future, the barbell my past. Can't wait to see what new things I will be able to do with the bell once my knew knee is healed.

One arm swings
16 kg x 5/5  x2
20 kg x 5/5
24 kg x 5/5
32 kg x 5/5
36 kg x 5/5 x 10 sets
          x 10/10 x 1 sets
120 reps
9600 lbs

these felt the best ever and bell speed and height were solid. Not a pr but I've never done 10/10 with this weight.

Dead Stop Swings
52 kg x 5/5

wow these were a bit tough being tired. I donated a unit of blood yesterday for my upcoming surgery and that didn't help endurance today :)

Barbell curls
45 x 8
55 x 8 x 4 sets

Back Press
 knotted black mini band
5 x 12-15

these worked great. just the right amount of tension


My knee replacement

It's official. On Aug 21 I will get a completely new left knee. My knee got destroyed in a tumbling accident in 1974 and reconstructed right after. Rehab and strength training in those days was non existent so my knee never got beyond 90 degree of ROM.Add in 39 years of high intensity training and it became the arthritic non functioning piece of shit that it is today.

I was told I should have had it done in 2000 but I just wasn't ready to believe that I couldn't find a way, without major surgery, to get it work well. Now I am. It's not me it's the joint and it's just broke down and no rehab or mobility regime is going to fix that.

I can't wait to be able to walk without thinking of every freaking step, climb up AND down stairs like a normal person, train my legs, ride a bike, squat down with both legs. And the list goes on. This will not only be a game changer but a LIFE changer for me. Can't wait.

And I still plan on travelling to Croatia to teach the SFG cert nine weeks later.

Let's Rock.