Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snatches and OAJ

Another late workout day.  These are difficult to motivate for, but I pounded out another workout after putting the kids in bed:

Warm Up
Snatch(16kg) 10/10
Snatch(20kg) 20 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(32kg) 15/15 x 1
OAJ(32kg) 10/10 x 1
Swing(32kg) 20/20
COC "T" 10/10 x 3
COC "1" 3/3 x 3 - last rep is overcrush
Extensor bands (green) 10/10 x 3

Snatches continue to feel good.  I am still sore in the traps from my snatch workout with the 24kg while visiting with Andrew.  I plan to complete my 20kg progression with snatches in the next 2 workouts.....8 minutes at 20 rpm next workout (Fri) and 10 minutes at 20 rpm (Mon next week).  Then it will be time to concentrate on my 24kg progressions with the snatch leading up to the comp.  OAJ are feeling stronger and stronger.  I really can tell my form is improving.  The heavy weight doesn't allow you to cheat.  Really forces the use of the legs and the second dip to get under the weight, especially when fatigued.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jerk WOD

Getting close to completing my 20kg progressions with both jerks and snatches.  In about 10 days I should be ready to move on to the 24kg and really start preparing for the Arnold.  I have decided to shoot for the Level IV ranking in the biathlon.  I will need 251 combined reps (jerk + snatch) if I remain above 90kg (198lbs).  If I can loose four pounds prior to the comp I will only need 227 combined reps.  Either way, I think this goal is attainable.

Today's workout:

Jerk(16kg) Warm Up - 12 rpm x 90 seconds
Jerk(20kg) 10 rpm x 6 minutes
Jerk(24kg) 6 rpm x 4 minutes
Jerk(24kg) 8 rpm x 2 minutes
Swing(32kg) 30/30 x 2 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets

My rack is feeling stronger.  I am having less hand fatigue.  I am now overlapping my handles which is making a big difference.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Visit to Andrew

My father and I trecked down to Wooster, OH today to get some coaching from Andrew Durniat.  Had some specific questions answered concerning rack for the jerk and snatch downswing grip.  Did various sets of 20kg and 24kg double jerks, 32kg OAJ and did one long set of snatches:

Snatch(24kg) 16rpm x 6 minutes - 1 arm switch.

This felt good.  Has been 5-6 weeks since I last did any meaningful snatches with the 24kg.  This was by far the most snatches I have done with the 24 with one hand switch - 48 per side.  I really think dropping down in weight to the 20kg and working long sets of timed 1 hand switch snatches has made an improvement in my technique, shoulder stability, and strength without sacrificing any conditioning.  Not to mention my usual shoulder/trap aches and pains have mostly disappeared.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Jerks with a Guest

My father is in town for the holidays so he joined me for some jerks today:

Jerk(16kg) 15/15 - warm up
Jerk(20kg) 8 rpm x 7 minutes 
Jerk(24kg) 6 rmp x 4 minutes
Swing(32kg) 15/15 x 2 sets

Kept things a bit on the lighter side today as my father and I have an appointment with Andrew Durniat tomorrow morning.  I am looking forward to getting some specific questions answered concerning rack position and snatch descent work.  Also looking forward to any pointers that will improve my technique.  Overall, my jerks are feeling stronger and crisper.  I am having less trouble with the rack, and am getting better resting/relaxing in the rack position.  Soon I will have to start devoting all of my time to the 24s so I can prepare for the Arnold Kettlebell Classic.  I hope to go the full 10 minutes on jerks at 6 to 8 rpm.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Eve before Christmas Eve Snatches

Another late workout due to work and my parents arriving in town.  Hit the basement a little after 9PM for a snatch day:

Snatch(16kg) warm up 15L/15R
Snatch(20kg) 18 rpm x 8 minute - 1 hand switch
Half Snatch(24kg) 12 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(32kg) 12R/12L with a short rest between arms
OAJ(24kg) 24R/24L with a short rest between arms

Hands continue to feel better after my long snatch sets, but still a bit tender.  Worked with my fathers 16kg comp bell for warm ups and was able to consistently get in the OK grip.  However, when I moved up to the 20kg things got a bit less regular in terms of getting the right grip on the decent especially when I get tired.  I have been using O'Keefes Working Hands lotion per the recommendation of Scott Helsley.  It is a nice water based hand cream that is working well for my regular hand care especially as the air drys out with the winter months.  OAJ are tough with the 32kg, but they sure make the 24kg feel light.  Day off tomorrow.  Am hoping to hook up with Andrew Durniat again this weekend to get some more pointers on my technique.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Missed my workout December 20th due to the dreaded gastroenteritis that is making the rounds through our community.  Luckily, it only lasted 24 hours.  I am feeling better, but not totally back to myself.  The illness is now slaughtering the rest of my family.

Jerk(16kg) 12 rpm x 4 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 8 rpm x 6 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 12 rpm x 4 minutes
Swing(24kg) 40/40 x 1 set

Took it a bit easy today since I am only feeling about 80%.  My jerks continue to improve. I am beginning to feel like the 20s are too light.  The bell is flying out of my hand at the lock out after my second dip.  It is going to be time to start hitting the 24s soon.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Late Night Jerks

Rough couple days of work.  Starting early and getting home late.  Didn't feel like hitting the bells tonight, but like usual I always feel better when I am finished.  My mind is clear and I am ready for another day (weekend of call).  Hit the basement around 9:15 PM tonight:

Jerk(16kg) 30 reps
Jerk(20kg) 8 rpm x 5 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 8 rpm x 5 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 10 rpm x 2 minutes
1 Arm Swing(24kg) 20 reps on 1 minute switching arms each set x 8 minutes - 80L/80R
1 Arm Row(24kg) 10/10 x 3 sets

Jerks are feeling better.  My rack is improving.  Seem to be getting better at keeping knees straight in the rack, keeping my elbows on my iliac crest during the first dip, and second dip is quicker.  Feel like I am using more legs and less shoulders.  Tried to concentrate on getting my hands deep into the handles.  Seemed to help prevent the severe hand/wrist fatigue I have been suffering from on previous sets.  Did HS interval swings using GS technique.  Really trying to focus on releasing my grip at the top of the swing and then regripping in the OK style grip on the way back down.  I hope this will transition to my snatches over time.  I heard that Santa is bringing me another 24kg and a 32kg comp bell in a few days.  This will allow me to start working the 24kg jerks as well as 32kg swings and OAJ.  I will need to start hitting this stuff hard as I officially registered for the Arnold Kettlebell Meet in March.  Should be an interesting experience.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snatch Day


Snatch(20kg) 18 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
Snatch(20kg) 20 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(32kg) 6 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(24kg) 10 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets
COC "T" 10/10 x 2

Z Health I-Phase: hips/pelvis

Felt like my descent is improving.  I am beginning to develop the elusive 4th callous.  Hands are less tender.  I am becoming more consistent with my descents.  Getting into the OK grip on over 2/3 of the reps.  Still have work to do, but I feel like I am making progress.

Did some 32kg OAJ today for the first time.  They felt good and really forced me to use my legs.  The rack felt good and solid.  The extra weight really helps push those elbows to the iliac crest.  I noticed the biggest difference, however, when I went down to the 24kg for my second set.  The bell was flying up.  I was crisp with my second dip.   The handle was actually coming out of my hand from my leg drive.  Also made the 24 feel very light.  I will definitely have to work the 32kg OAJ into my workouts on a regular basis.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Long Jerk Set

"Being unconquerable lies with yourself...."  Sun Tzu, Art of War

I have been slowly reading Art of War and came across the above quote.  It really hit home for me in so many ways both professionally and personally.  We live in a "what have you done for me lately" society.  Everybody is looking for the easy way out, very few want to, or are willing to, put in the hard work needed to succeed.  This quote also hit home today as I performed my first 8 minute jerk set with the 20kg bells.  I am quickly learning that there is more to GS style kettlebells than strength and endurance.  The mental game is also very critical.  It is easy to put the bells down when things get uncomfortable, but to be truly unconquerable one must fight through the pain and the mind games telling you to stop.  If the initial pain and mental doubting that occurs  half way into a long set can be endured, one enters a zen like state centered around the rhythmic breathing and repetitive nature of the jerk/snatch.  Time no longer matters.  The pain becomes bearable.  Suddenly the set is completed, the timer sounds, the bells are set down, and you are one step closer to becoming unconquerable both mentally and physically.

Todays Workout

Jerk(20kg) 6 RPM x 8 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 10 RPM x 3 minutes
Jerk(20kg) 10 RPM x 3 minutes
Swing(24kg) 40/40
Swing(24kg) 30/30

Z I-phase hip/pelvis

Hand position in the rack was better today.  Still need to get my hand further into the bell.  Although my hands/wrists were less fatigued today, they still are my weak spot on the longer sets.  My two 3 minute sets at 10 RPM really drove up my heart rate.  This was the first time jerks have gotten me close to my max rate.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

More Snatches

Still trying to work on hand position on my corkscrew descents.  Played around with a 12kg bell warming up and seemed to be improved.  Moved on to my main sets:

Snatch(20kg) 16 rpm x 8 minutes - 1 switch
Snatch(20kg) 16 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 switch
OAJ(24kg) 6 rpm x 8 minutes - 1 switch

Hands feeling a bit better after this workout.  I think I am making progress, but I still have a long way to go.  I really feel like I need to get this figured out before I move up to the 24kg for snatches.  My OAJ went pretty well.  Still developing some hand/wrist fatigue which I think was due to slight hyperextension of my wrist in the rack.  Really focused on keeping my wrist neutral/vertical in the rack which seemed to help on the left side.  Also seemed to help with the extreme pressure I have been feeling on the ulnar emminence with the 24kg.  Next time I meet with Andrew I will have to focus on hand/wrist position in the rack and trying to master the corkscrew descent/OK grip.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jerk Day

Feeling good today:

Jerk 2 x 16kg: 12 rpm x 2 minutes
Jerk 2 x 20kg: 6 rpm x 6 minutes
Jerk 2 x 20kg: 6 rpm x 4 minutes
Jerk 2 x 20kg: 6 rpm x 2 minutes
Jerk 2 x 16kg: 12 rpm x 8 minutes
Swing(24kg): 15/15

Need to continue to work my rack.  I have been trying to overlap handles in the rack with fingers overlaping.  However, I noticed on my 6 minute 20kg set that my hands became very fatigued from the position.  Tried the remaining sets with overlapping handles but not overlapping fingers. This seemed to work better for me and didn't cause as much hand fatigue.  The ultimate test will be my next long 20kg jerk set.  The 12rpm 16kg set was a good challenge mentally and physically.  I really felt it in the triceps.  The mental aspect was also huge.  I wanted to quit many times, but like the SSST, you eventually get into a rhythm with breathing/pace and the pain peaks and then never gets any worse.  Cut the swings short as my hands are still a bit tender and I want to put together a good snatch workout tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Late Thursday 12/11 Entry

Forgot to post my workout from yesterday:

Snatch(20kg) 18 RPM x 4 minutes - 1 hand change
Snatch(20kg) 18 RPM x 4 minutes - 1 hand change
1/2 Snatch(20kg) 12 RPM x 6 minutes - 1 hand change
OAJ(24kg) 8 RPM x 6 minutes - 1 hand change
COC "T" 10/10 x 1 set
COC "1" 3/3 x 1 set - last rep with each hand was a 5 second crush hold

Z I-Phase hips/pelvis

Tried shorter sets in order to focus more on descents.  Still trying to figure out the "OK" grip and how to prevent the bell from rubbing across the bases of my fingers (MPJ).  Did a bit better today, but my hands were still tender this morning.  Also, I have noticed that I am developing blisters on my 5th finger.  Not sure why.  It took me some time to perfect the "hook" grip for HS snatches.  I assume the same will be true for GS snatches.

I am really enjoying the I-phase Z Health.  The movements are a bit more complex and physically challenging, but I feel great when done.

Off today.  Workouts Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

20Kg Jerks

Received my second 20kg comp bell today just in time to start my 20kg jerk progressions. I now have to 20kg comp bells and can finally really start working my technique with the proper bell size.

Double Jerk(16kg) 12 rpm x 3 minutes
Double Jerk(20kg) 8 rpm x 4 minutes
Double Jerk(20kg) 6 rpm x 4 minutes
Double Jerk(20kg) 6 rpm x 4 minutes
Swing(24kg) 40/40 x 2 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets

With the jerks, I tried wearing a short sleeve shirt, wetting down the front, and putting a bit of chalk on my elbows.  This made a significant difference.  The friction generated by these pointers makes the rack a bit easier.  Also tried to focus on using my legs more and less shoulders.  Especially trying to be sharper with my double dip.  Tried to focus on overhead lockout hand position, instead of palms straight ahead, I am now trying to turn them medially 45 degrees.  This actually feels quite good.  On my swings, I practiced loosening my grip at the apex of swing and then regripping with the "ok" grip.  Also worked a few snatches trying to focus on getting from the overhead lockout into the "ok" grip without dragging the bell over the base of the fingers.  Results were hit and miss.  Obviously, I will need to keep working on this.

Monday, December 8, 2008

20Kg Snatches with Video

Received some nice feedback concerning my jerk technique.....thanks guys!  I can use all of the help possible.  Today I turned to snatches.  Came across a great GS snatch medley today with many of the great European competitors:

It is nice to see all of the different twists on the snatch.  This is definately an excellent clip for study.  
My workout went as follows:

Snatch(20kg) 16 RPM x 8 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(24kg) 10 RPM x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(24kg) 12 RPM x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
COC "T" 5/5 x 3
COC "1" 3/3 x 3 - last rep was a 5 second hold

Z I Phase: foot/ankle/knee

Above is the video clip of my snatch set.  Try to ignore my litte guys running around in various stages of undress.  Still need to work on my descents.  Now that I am using the corkscrew I have to relearn how to catch the bell in my hook as well as use the OK grip.  Although my hands feel better than my last snatch workout I am still feeling some tenderness, especially on my 5th finger.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

16kg and 24kg Jerks

Jerk day today.  Shot some video for coaching reasons.  I need to play with my camera position for the next clip as my entire body is not visible.  Felt good today, especially the 24kg jerks.

Started with Z Health I-Phase foot/ankle/knee drills.

Double Jerk(16kg) 10 RPM x 6 minutes
Double Jerk(24kg) 6 RPM x 2 minutes x 4 sets
Swings(24kg) 40R/40L x 2 sets
1 Arm Row(24kg) 5R/5L x 2 sets
Front Squat(24kg) 10 x 2 sets

Clip of my 16kg Jerk set

Clip of my 24kg set.  Still working on my rack and breathing.  Also need to work on getting my knees straight in the rack.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Friday, December 5, 2008

20kg Snatch Day

My first day to play with my new 20kg and 24kg comp bells.  Started my session chalking up the handles.  This is quite a messy proposition even if you try to be neat.  Warmed up with some halos and light presses then cranked it out:

Snatch(20kg) 16 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
Half Snatch(24kg) 12 rpm x 6 minutes - switched hands every minute
Snatch(20kg) 16 rpm x 4 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(24kg) 8 rpm x 6 minutes - hand change at 2,4,5,6 minute marks

Z I-phase foot/ankle/knee

My hands are quite tender tonight.  I am trying to figure out the corkscrew descent and getting my hand into the hook grip.  Some reps I was successful but most I was not and now my paws are aching.  No tears, just tender.  Also noticed that during my OAJ that I had to change hands after 2 minutes because I was developing pain over my ulnar eminence.  Not sure why.  Probably something to do with how I am holding the bell.  Off day tomorrow.  Sunday, I may try to shoot some video of my jerks for some analysis of my technique.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Jerks/Snatch Assistance

Running like crazy at work today.  Couldn't see all of my patients prior to office hours and I had to meet the kids at the bus stop this afternoon.  Fit in a work out and some dinner and have to head back to the hospital to finish up:

Double Jerk(16kg) 10 RPM x 8 minutes
  10 RPM x 4 minutes
Swing(24kg) 40R/40L x 1
   (32kg) 30R/30L x 1
Bodyweight pullups: 5 x 2 sets

Looking forward to tomorrow.  I will start my snatch progressions with my new 20kg comp bell.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Snatches/Jerk Assistance

Felt good this morning.  I think this workout schedule is going to work better for me.

Snatch(16kg) 20 rpm x 8 minutes - 1 hand switch
Half Snatch(24kg) 12rpm x 6 minutes - switching hands each minute
OAJ(24kg) 10 rpm x 6 minutes - switching hands each minute
COC Gripper "T" 10R/10L x 3 sets

Lifted the idea of working half snatches from Patrick Baeder's blog.
I agree these are very nice.  They allow one to work high volume, heavy snatches and not beat up your hands so much.

Just received the announcement for the kettlebell competition that is going to be held at the Arnold Expo in Columbus, OH March 7-8, 2009.  Although I have never competed and have just really started working on GS, I am tempted to give this a go.  It will provide me with a goal to work towards this winter, Columbus is only 2 1/2 hours away, and it works with my weekend call schedule.  I would plan to enter the amateur biathlon so I could use the 24kg.  Pretty soon I will be in the masters classification anyways which will only require the use of the 24kg.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Trying to workout 5 consecutive days in a row is going to be too much for my body.  I have already noticed that I have a difficult time recovering.  Also trying to jerk and snatch along with assistance work just takes too much time.  I am going to modify my schedule and plan to do jerks/snatch assistance followed by snatches/jerk assistance on the following day then take a day off.  Today was jerks/snatch assistance day:

Double Jerk(16kg) 10 rpm x 5 minutes x 2 sets - took 5 minute break between sets
Swing(24kg) 40/40 x 2 sets
Bodyweight pullups 5 x 2 sets

Picking up the pace with the jerks really increased my heartrate.  Got me near my target range.  New bells should be arriving this week.  I will then be able to start my snatch progression with the 20kg.  I also will be ready to start my jerk progressions with the 20kg bells soon.

I have continued to work the Z health neural warm up level 1 on a daily schedule.  I am now going to start learning the I-phase drills.  I watched the DVD last night.  Looks pretty cool.  It is going to be much more physically challenging.  I need to continue to work the thoracic spine anterior/posterior glides and pelvic tilt drills which I think will help me with my jerk rack position.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

200 snatches 1 hand change

Too much going on yesterday.  I was able to fit in a workout, but didn't post it.  Here it is:

Double Jerk(24kg) 8 rpm x 2 minutes
Double Jerk(16kg) 10 rpm x 2 minutes x 5 sets
Snatch(16kg) 20 rpm x 10 minutes with 1 hand switch
OAJ(24kg) 10 rpm x 4 minutes changing arms each minute
Swing(24kg) 30/30 x 1 set
One Arm Rows(24kg) 10/10 x 3 sets

My snatches felt very good.  My grip and hands held up well.  I am now ready to move up to the 20kg and start the snatch progression over again.....I just need my new bells to arrive!  Off to the hospital......

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today's Workout

Pre Turkey Workout - Today is my 3rd day in a row.  This is probably more than I should do, but I have been feeling good:

2AJ (16kg) 8RPM x 7 minutes
Snatch (16kg) 20RPM x 8 minutes - 1 hand switch
1AJ (24kg) 10RPM x 2 minutes R and 2 minutes L
Swing (24kg) 40L/40R

My form is improving.  Tonight I did not get the pectoralis pump that I have been getting during prior workouts from the jerk.  I have been trying to relax more in my rack instead of squeezing my elbows together which has been frying my pecs by the end of the set.  I also played with different rack positions today as mentioned on Scott Helsley's blog.  Since meeting with Andrew, my snatch has also improved.  My grip was much less fatigued after today's long snatch set.  Taking the day off tomorrow.  Only Turkey and Football on my schedule......well maybe a nap.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday and Tuesdays Workouts

Forgot to post Monday's workout:

Double Jerk 16kg - 8 RPM x 5 minutes
Snatch 16kg - 20 RPM x 6 minutes
OAJ 24kg - 8 RPM 3 minutes R/3 minutes L
Swing 24kg 30L/30R x 2 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

Today, I did a short workout since my left shoulder was pretty sore following my flu shot earlier today: 

Double Jerk 16kg - 12 RPM x 2 minutes - 4 sets (2 minutes rest between sets)
Swing 24kg 20L/20R x 2 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

*My COC grippers arrived yesterday.  I received the Trainer and #1.  I was able to do several sets of 10 reps each hand with the trainer and could get 2-3 reps per hand with the #1.  I guess all that kettlebell work has payed dividends with my grip.  My forearms were sore this morning.  I will try to follow the training recs provided with the grippers and plan 2-3 workouts per week.  I will likely need to order the #1.5 soon.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Morning in Wooster

Had a great day.  Drove to Wooster, OH (about 80 minutes) to receive some coaching from Andrew Durniat in GS technique.  Andrew is a great guy and has an impressive facility.  We spent a lot of time talking and then he helped me with my GS technique on the swing, clean, jerk (single and double) and snatch.  He then put me through some short timed sets of double jerk (16kg) - 3 minutes at 6 rpm and snatch (16kg) - 4 minutes at 20 rpm.  We also discussed general training templates for the GS lifts.  This was the first time I had the opportunity to use the competition bells which I found very nice.  The best part about them is that they are all the same size regardless of the weight.  So you can work your technique with the 12kg or 16kg and there will be no changes required when moving up to the 24kg or 32kg.  Last week I ordered 16kg and 20kg AKC comp bells which will hopefully be arriving this week.  I am excited to start working the program and perfecting my technique.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jerks and Snatches

Continued to work my technique on the jerk.  I need a lot of work here.  I am heading down to Wooster this weekend to spend some time with Andrew Durniat.  Hopefully he will be able to give me some pointers on my GS techniques to make me more efficient.  I have also tracked down some beginner GS training templates that I will start to apply to my workouts:

Double 16kg Jerk: 6 RPM x 5 minutes
8 RPM x 3 minutes

16kg Snatch:   60L/60R

24kg 1 Arm Swing:  15L/15R

24kg 1 Arm Jerk: 15L/15R x 2 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

I am really feeling this in my grip.  My forearms are still pumped several hours after completing this workout.  I am also feeling these workouts in different places, it is going to take me a while to build up the strength and technique needed to move up in weight.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Presses and a Change in Plans

Bit sore today.  Not sure if from heavier snatches yesterday or from the jerks.  Decided to do some pressing as I still attempt to figure out my next plan of action.

24kg TGU 5 minutes
16kg MP 15L/15R x 3 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets
24kg MP 5L/5R x 3 sets with 5 second overhead hold with each rep
Box Pistols done on steps 5L/5R x 3 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

After working low rep, heavier weight exercises for the past 18 months, and making excellent progress with my SSST (220 reps with 24kg), VO2 Max protocol (80 sets of 15:15 with 16kg), and C&P Ladders (32kg 4(1,2,3,4,5) 1(1,2,3,4)), I feel like I have hit a plateau in my training.  I tweaked my shoulder attempting to C&P the 32kg probably because I am pushing too much weight too soon for my age and shoulder conditioning.  What are my next goals?  Is it really safe for me to continue to go up in weight?  Am I supposed to start snatching the 32kg for reps, press the bulldog or beast, and do the VO2 max with the 24kg?  These goals all sound like a giant recipe for injury.  Given this realization, I have become more interested in GS training.  I have had several conversations with Tom Corrigan (Fireman Tom) and have decided to focus the next several months on GS training (ie. long sets of snatches as well as the jerk).   I will be dropping my weight down to the 16kg as I start to work longer sets and attempt to master the technique.  I figure I have very little to loose at this point.....try something new or continue down my current path which is destined for another injury.  Stay tuned...............

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Snatches and Jerks

Worked out with my wife today while the kids were sledding with the neighbors (yes, I did say sledding.  We received several inches of the white stuff over the past 24 hours).

24kg snatches 10L/10R x 10 sets - 30 seconds rest between sets
16kg 1 arm jerk 12 reps/minute - changed arms every minute, no rest x 10 minutes total
Z Neural Warm Up 1

8kg snatches 10L/10R x 10 sets - 30 seconds rest between sets (she needs more weight, too easy)

Jerks felt great.  I need more weight.  Will either play with double 16s or move up to single 24kg at a slower rate.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

2nd Meeting of the CKC

We had a nice turn out today for our 2nd meeting of the Cleveland Kettlebell Club.  Renee, Todd, and myself plus 6 others.  We did some joint mobility warm up and then broke into groups of 2.  I worked on swings and TGU with my group.  We finished with a group workout put together by Renee:

Swings 20 reps on 1 minute x 3 sets (32kg)
Sumo Deadlifts (32kg)
Bent Rows 30 sec (32kg)/pushups 30 sec x 2 sets
Rack walk x 2 sets (32kg)
Walking lunges (32kg) 2 lengths of floor

While making dinner I did my 16kg MP 15L/15R x 3 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1 done as warm up for CKC meeting.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Long Sets of 16kg Snatches

Busy day for the social calendar today, but was able to get in a ballistics workout today:

16kg Snatch 50L/50R x 2 sets
32kg Swing x 10 reps, then 24kg Swing x 10 reps on the minute x 10 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

Long sets of light snatches are really helping me groove my snatch technique.  More so than doing the VO2 Max protocol because my pace is controlled and I am going to complete lock out.  I can really feel the fatigue in the muscles of my entire shoulder....anterior/posterior delts, traps, lats, rhomboids.  

.....and my neck pain is almost completely gone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

16kg Presses

No trap/neck pain after the light snatches yesterday.  I decided to give the light pressing a try today:

16kg MP 15L/15R x 3 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets
24kg MP 5L/5R x 3 sets - 3 second overhead hold at lockout on each rep
24kg Goblet Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
16kg One Leg Deadlift 5L/5R x 3 sets

Z Neural Warm Up 1

This felt very good.  Pressing the 16kg really allowed me to focus on keeping my shoulder in the socket, firing my lat, and working on my overhead position.  I think this new routine is going to work well for me for the next few weeks.  I am also planning to start some grip work with the Captains of Crush Grippers.  According to Grey Cook and Pavel, a strong grip will benefit one's pressing.  I am about to find out.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Change in Plans

After my light RoP day, once again the left trap/neck flared up.  I am convinced that the pressing is causing this pain.  I am also convinced that doing heavy C&P ladders with the 32kg is my problem.  Although I was making good progress, I don't think my shoulders were prepared for the assault.  Today, I had a very interesting telephone conversation with Fireman Tom.  He is a believer in higher rep/lower weight pressing in order to prepare the muscles of the shoulders and to prepare the CNS (ie. grease the groove).  Like me, he has experienced people moving too quickly with their pressing ladders only to suffer injury.  The technique suffers when one is attempting to push too much weight and this leads to problems, especially in those whose shoulders are not properly prepared for such volume with heavy weight.  Tom feels that you should not progress to a heavier weight until you can military press your current weight for 3 sets of 15 reps with good technique.  

He also feels that long sets of snatches with 1 hand change are more beneficial than heavier, shorter, timed intervals (ie. 24kg 10L/10R x 10 sets).  His recommendation is once again to drop down to lighter weights (16kg) and slowly work your way up to 100L/100R snatches with 1 hand change prior to moving up in weight.  This will once again allow your shoulders to be strengthened and your CNS to be grooved prior to heading to the higher shoulder stress associated with heavier weights.

I think I am going to give this approach a try.  I will try to come up with some kind of program over the next few days.

Todays Workout:

16kg snatches 40L/40R x 3 sets
24kg 2 Arm Swings 20 reps on 1 minute x 5 sets.

The snatches were a challenge especially on the grip.  However, I definitely could feel the burn/pump in my shoulders letting me know I have some work to do.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Easy RoP

Still trying to slowly ramp my workload back up after my back off week.  It is hard not to just jump right back in.  I had to really remind myself to take it easy today.

24kg TGU x 10 minutes (planned 5 minutes but didn't hear the gymboss go off...music too loud)
24kg Kneeling MP Ladder 3(1,2,3)
Bodyweight Pushups 10 reps x 3 sets
Double 24kg Squats 5 reps x 3 sets

Finished with Z Neural Warmup Level 1

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I Am Back.....Sort Of

Today was finally the first day that I even thought of kettlebells.  Thurday/Friday/Saturday were the worst of my cold.....and of course I was on call this weekend.  Today, however, I am feeling better.  Still a bit congested, but at least the fever is gone.  My wife actually convinced me to work out today as I was planning to restart tomorrow.  My neck is feeling much better, but I think I will still plan to lay off the heavy presses for a bit longer.

24kg 2 Arm Swing 20 reps on 1 minute x 12 sets

Wife: 16kg 2 Arm Swing 20 reps on 1 minute x 12 sets

Nice to hit the bells again.  Time to ramp things up again and keep focused on my goals.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pulled muscle in Neck/Sick/Back Off Week

Feeling run down, got the viral crud from the kids, woke up this morning with stiff muscle left neck/trap.......I think my body is telling me something.......time to back off for a few days.  I will plan to take the next 5-7 days off and try to refresh and recharge.  I am sure I will be ready to hit the bells in a few days.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Still with persistent muscle tightness in the left upper trap/neck.  I still think it is related to my heavy C&P work with the 32kg.  In order to get it to settle down, I think I am going to have to stop pressing for a while.  Will need to come up with some other things to work on with my grind days.  Might have to give the jerk a try for a while.  Today's non pressing workout:

24kg TGU 5 minutes
16kg 1 leg deadlift x 10L/10R x 3 sets
Double 24kg Renegade Row 10L/10R x 3 sets
32kg Goblet Squat x 10 reps x 3 sets

Received Z Neural Warm Up 1 and I-Phase as B-day presents.  Did the Neural Warm Up today.  Essentially an abbreviated version of R-Phase with some new eye work (which is interesting).  Only takes 10 minutes to complete.  It could easily be done daily.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New PR in the SSST

Today was the last day of my 37th year and I was scheduled for a test day in the SSST.  It went down like this:

20L/20R/20L/20R - 15 sec rest
15L/15R/15L/15R - 15 sec rest

Total Reps: 210 in 10 minutes

Feels great to break the 200 barrier, but it was still an extremely painful experience.  My listed goal by Thanksgiving is to hit 220.  I think it is doable with a bit more conditioning work.  My grip held in there pretty well, although I couldn't hold a pencil for about 10 minutes after finishing!!

Thanksgiving Goals - per motivation by David Whitley's Blog:

VO2 Max 15:15 80 sets (8 reps) - Done
SSST 220 reps - Not done
40kg C&P - Have not attempted yet, but making good progress on RoP with the 32kg

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back to the 32kg

Shoulder is feeling better after some rest.  Decided to start pressing the 32kg again today on a scheduled light RoP day.

24kg TGU x 5 minutes
32kg C&P 2(1,2,3) 3(1,2)
Bodyweight Pullups 2(1,2,3) 3(1,2)
32kg Goblet Squat 3 sets x 5 reps

32kg presses felt strong.  Off day tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Light Ballistics

Made it home from work at a reasonable time today.  Drove home in a significant SNOW squall. Short workout day:

32kg swing 20 reps on 1 minute x 12 minutes

Started with a few sets of two handed swings and then moved to 1 arm swings 10L/10R.  A few months ago, I really struggled to make 10 minutes of this protocol.  Twelve minutes is now getting on the easy side.  A 40kg bell is on my B-day wish list......I hope my wishes come true!  I could use it for swings and think I should be able to press for 1 rep to meet my pressing goal.  

I truly think the VO2 max protocol is responsible for this improvement in conditioning.  I have now come to a crossroads in the VO2 max....now that I have reached 80 sets of 15:15 (8reps), I need to consider my next move: stay with the 15:15 but increase to 9 reps and work my way up to 80 sets, or start playing with the 36:36 protocol.  Per my 5 minute test at the RKC my goal for the 36:36 would be 17 reps.  Any recommendations from my readers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Heavy RoP (Sort of)

Scheduled for a heavy RoP day.  Although my shoulder and trap on the left are feeling better, I decided to take it easier today and did my ladders using the 24kg really focusing on my tension techniques...especially pushing my body away from the bell, rooting, and firing my lat.  Things went quite well.  My shoulder felt fine and my lats are already sore tonight (must have been doing it right!!)

24kg C&P 5(1,2,3,4,5)
Bodyweight Pullups 3(1,2,3,4,5)

Z: Neck.  Also did thoracic anterior/post glides, lateral glides, and circles.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


In classic fashion, I worked all weekend to complete my basement workout space.....just in time since they are forecasting our first snow this week!!!!  Poured my third layer of self leveling concrete Friday night.  Cut and layed my rubber flooring on Saturday.  Needed to cut a few inches off several doors in the room to accommodate the new floor.  Today, gave the room a fresh coat of paint.  Finished around 6PM tonight just in time to watch the Browns pull off a nice victory.  The room is now functional, but still I need one more mat to cover a small remaining piece of floor.  I will try to post some pictures of the finished room in a few days.

Tonight, after the kids were in bed, I christened the new room with a personal record in the VO2 Max:

16kg VO2 Max 15:15 (8 reps) x 80 sets

My first goal has been reached!
Heart rate at completion of the 80 sets was 180 bpm.  The last 10 sets were tough, but it feels good to hit my first goal for this cycle.