Monday, September 29, 2008

First Day of RoP

Home from work early today after a long call weekend.  Had 40 minutes before the bus arrived to drop off the kids.  First "Heavy Day" of RoP went as follows:

16kg TGU x 5 minutes
32kg C&P 5(1,2,3)
Bodyweight Pullups 5(1,2,3) 

Z-Health - foot, ankle, knee

Tension and breathing behind the shield continue to make a huge improvement in my pressing.  Unfortunately,  towards the last set I got lazy and cleaned without tension and tweaked my back.  Not bad, but just a stupid/careless injury.  Off day tomorrow, except for full session of R-phase Z-Health and perhaps some shoulder mobility and self myofascial release.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The New Program

It came to me today while at work......the backbone for my new program.  I have decided to continue with the ballistics day, grind day, off day format.  My grind days will be a modified ROP program working with the 32kg.  My ballistics days will be alternating between VO2 max snatches, SSST training, and swings.  I plan to do two 6 week cycles with testing at the end of each cycle.  The basic outline will look like this:

VO2 Max 15/15 protocol (8reps) - working up to 80 sets over 6 weeks
Heavy Press Day
24kg or 32kg Swings
Light Press Day
SSST Training with 24kg
Medium Press Day

It will take me 9 days to make it once through the cycle.  I will also try to fit more Z-Health into the program.  I will be doing the 8 week program as outlined in the R-Phase manual.

I kicked things off today with the following:

16kg Halos
16kg VO2 Max 15:15 (8reps) x 40 sets - finishing HR 176  (max predicted HR 183)

The VO2 Max felt pretty good.  Not too much of a struggle.  Really trying to focus on accelerating the downswing.  Also worked some fast overhead switches for my snatches.  I need to get this technique down prior to my next official SSST attempt.  I figure this technique will give me an extra 30-40 seconds which should let me easily break the 200 rep mark.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Who Are These Guys?

How can you go to the RKC Cert without getting a picture with Pavel?  Without this man, where would I be?  I had gone from an active, fit, 20 something; to a guy in his mid 30's who was slowly becoming overweight, starting a new career and trying to raise 2 young boys.  Two years ago, my father introduced me to kettlebells and I purchased my first 16kg bell.  I started with the Rite of Passage and quickly progressed to the 24kg.  I quickly began to notice a change in my overall conditioning and physique.  I lost weight and my muscles became more defined.   I was having fun and more importantly was getting a phenomenal workout in only 20-30 minutes, which worked well with my busy life. 

Roughly 1 year after my introduction to kettlebells, I journeyed to Medina, Ohio to visit the closest RKC in my area, Doug Nepodal.  Now this was an amazing experience.  Spending only 1 hour with Doug was well worth the 2 hour round trip drive.  We went through the 6 basic lifts and he made small corrections in my technique.  For the next several weekends, I made the drive to his gym to take part in his Saturday morning group classes.  It was Doug that planted the seed for me to attend the RKC Cert.  Over the next year I continued to train focused on the sole goal of becoming RKC certified.  Last weekend the trip was completed......I became an RKC, and I watched as my mentor and friend, Doug Nepodal was promoted to Senior RKC.

Now it is time for a new focus.   During last weekend's certification I was fortunate to have had Zachariah Salazar as one of my Team's assistants.  Now I had been dabbling with Z-Health R-Phase for the past 6 months.  It was interesting and it always made my body feel good, but I never could quite grasp the true meaning of Z-Health until my interaction with Zach.  It was during last weekend that I witnessed the true power of Z-Health.  I watched person after person have their pain disappear after working with Zachariah.  He recounted many stories of people he had helped from elite athletes to a woman with terminal cancer.  I also witnessed the power of Z-Health as he helped me and my good friend overcome some chronic pain issues.  I now have a better understanding of the power of Z-Health and I am now, more than ever, interested in pursuing further training in this discipline......Thanks Zachariah.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Back to the Bells & New Goals

Thought I would ease back in to working out today:

24kg 1 arm swing 10L/10R x 5 sets
24kg Snatch 20L/20R/15L/15R/10L/10R/5L/5R

Hands are still a bit tender, but overall felt good.  The new tension and breathing techniques taught at the Cert have taken my swing to a new place and since the swing is the "center of the kettlebell universe" I expect to see great gains in all of my ballistics moves.

New Goals

My next focus is to start working on my presses.  I would eventually like to consider the RKC II cert which will require me to C&P the Beast.  Needless to say, I have much work to do.  For the next 8-12 weeks I will return to the Right of Passage workout as described in ETK.  I am planning to start with the 32kg bell as I can already do 5 ladders of 5 rungs with the 24kg.    I plan to test every 4 weeks with the SSST, however in order to test with a heavier press I will need to look into purchasing a Bulldog (40kg).  At the cert I was able to press the 36kg, but struggled with the the 40kg.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The RKC Time Warp - Reflections on the RKC Certification

                    Team Rif with assistant RKCs Zachariah Salazar and Betsy Collie after the Graduation Workout

Now that I have been home for 2 days, I have had some time to reflect on the incredible experience I had in St. Paul.  Prior to the Cert my focus had been on the physical requirements needed to pass the certification.....the snatch test and the graduation workout as well as general overall conditioning.  What I did not prepare for was the enormous mental and emotional strength that was required to succeed at this course.  Although I have never been through military basic training, I have endured some very physically and mentally draining experiences in my life, including many years of high school and college football, and 7 years of post-graduate medical training requiring 100+ hour work weeks and severe sleep deprivation.  From the moment the course started Friday morning I entered the RKC Time Warp.  It became clear very quickly that the only way to survive was to live for the moment and focus on each 20-30 minute teaching segment or man-maker.  I had no sense of the time or day.  The only way I new the day was coming to an end was the setting sun.  But in the Time Warp my mind was focused on only one thing.....Hardstyle!!   There were no deadlines, no beepers, no cell phones, no crying kids, no bosses.  It was just me, my kettlebell, Team Rif,  Pavel and the other instructors.  It was in this vacuum that the transformation happened.  Clear from all other responsibilities, my mind was able to soak up and master tons of information and through hundreds of repetitions my central nervous system was rewired for Hardstyle.  By the second half of Saturday, the transformation that Rif and so many other Team Leaders frequently describe had arrived.  Team Rif was now a lean, mean, Hardstyle machine.   The RKC Cert is truly an amazing experience and one that I will not soon forget.  The friendships made during such utter suffering are like no other and I am proud to be a part of the RKC family and look forward to working with all of the wonderful people I met in the near future. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

RKC Cert

What an awesome experience!  I arrived home today and am walking like an old man.  I can't remember being this sore in a long time.  I was a member of Team Rif and am proud to say that I am now part of the RKC family.  I will write more about my weekend in the next few days as I rest my muscles and hands.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off To St.Paul

Leaving tomorrow for the big weekend.  I have a lot of extra energy after taking the past few days off.  My bags are packed and I am ready to roll.  I will post on my experiences when I return, hopefully as an RKC.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Let The Taper Begin

Today was my last scheduled workout prior to the big weekend.  Did a short grind workout, once again focusing on the walking see-saw press.  I have noticed great improvement in my strength and technique on this movement that I think it will pay off big time during the graduation least I hope.

Double 24kg Walking See-Saw Press 5L/5R x 10 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 5 sets
24kg Windmills 5L/5R x 3 sets

Cut the workout short to start cleaning up the yard following the remnants of Hurricane Ike that blew through the greater Cleveland area last night.  Luckily we didn't loose power.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Snatches and 32kg Swings

Today was my last snatch day before next weekends cert.  One more workout tomorrow and then I will shut it down until the snatch test on Friday morning in St. Paul.

24kg Snatch 20L/20R/15L/15R/10L/10R/5L/5R
24kg Dead Snatch 10L/10R x 2 sets
32kg 1 Arm Swing 10L/10R on 1 minute x 6 sets
32kg 2 Arm Swing 20 reps on 1 minute x 4 sets

Feeling healthy and strong.  Will rest the hands and get them in as good of shape as possible prior the the big weekend.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More See-Saw Presses

Rain forced me into my basement for tonight's workout.  I much prefer to be outside.  Decided to keep working the walking see-saw presses.

24kg Walking See-Saw Presses 5L/5R x 10 sets
24kg Goblet Squat 10 reps x 5 sets
24kg Renegade Rows 5L/5R x 5 sets
24kg Overhead Walk 40yards R/L x 3 sets

Feel like practicing the walking see-saw press has been time well spent.  Only 3 more workouts remain before I taper for the big weekend.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Last Snatch Test Practice

1 week from tonight I will be getting ready for a fitful night of sleep as I worry about my snatch test on Sept 19th.  Tonight was my last planned snatch test workout:

24kg Snatch 37/37
24kg Dead Snatch 10L/10R x 2 sets
24kg 1 Arm Swing 12L/12R on the minute x 5 sets
24kg Snatch 15/15

I have been able to hit my snatch test numbers consistently for the the past 5-6 weeks without much difficulty.  I am really looking forward to next weekend.  I can't wait to be surrounded by kettlebell fanatics like myself and to learn from the best instructors for 3 straight days.  It is going to be a great experience.

On another note.....Great post on the DD Forum by David Whitley tonight about the Speed Switch for snatches.  During my SSST training back in July, I missed my goal of 200 reps by 3 measly snatches.  I was doing hand to hand switches with a full swing in between which I figured took 2-3 seconds.  I did 16 switches during the 10 minutes meaning I wasted anywhere between 32-48 seconds on hand to hand switches.  With that amount of extra time I could have ended up in the 220 range.  After the cert I will have to give the SSST another shot using the Iron Tamer's Speed Switch and see what kind of numbers I can produce.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Walking See-Saw Presses

Still nervous about the graduation workout, especially the walking see-saw presses.  Thought I would work a bit more on them.  Figure that I can cover about 10 yards in 20 seconds meaning I need to be able to do about 10 sets of See-Saw presses to cover the length of a football field.   So today I did: 

24kg New TGU 5L/5R
24kg Walking See-Saw Presses 5L/5R x 10 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 3 reps x 10 sets
24kg Double Front Squat x 5 reps x 2 sets

I feel like my See-Saw press technique is improving.  Really need to focus on firing the lats, keeping the core tight, and keeping the shoulder packed.  When I was able to do all of those things I had no problem with the reps.  However, as I tire, I lose concentration and 1 or more of those things don't happen......then I struggle.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Snatch Day

Was supposed to be a heavy swing day, but I felt like snatching.

24kg Snatch 10L/10R x 8 sets - 30 seconds rest between sets
24kg Dead Snatch 10L/10R
24kg Hang Snatch 10L/10R
32kg 2 Handed Swing 20 reps on 1 minute x 5 sets

I had planned to hit 10 sets of snatches, but my hands started to get some hot spots.  This close to the Cert I need to preserve the hands at all costs.  Still was  a tough cardio workout.  Finishing with the 32kg swings was brutal.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Graduation Workout Attempt

Thought I would give the Grad Workout a try today.  I paced off my backyard - about 25 yards across.  Set the Gymboss for 20 sec/10 sec and gave it a shot.  20 seconds double 24kg see-saw presses while walking, 10 sec rest, 20 seconds single 24kg 2 handed swing, 10 sec rest, etc.....

I only made it 75 yards before my see-saw presses started to fall apart.  Instead of risking injury, I threw in the towel and finished with the following:

Double 24kg Front Squat 5 reps x 3 sets
Bodyweight Pullups 5 reps x 3 sets
24kg Windmill 5L/5R x 3 sets
24kg Overhead  Walk L/R x 40 yards x 3 sets

Hopefully I will be able to pull this off on the big day.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Stress Relieving Snatches

Rough, high stress day at work today.  Really needed to exercise to clear the mind tonight:

24kg Snatch 40L/40R
24kg Dead Snatch 10L/10R x 2 sets
24kg 1 arm swing 12L/12R on 1 minute x 5 sets
24kg Snatch 10L/10R

Felt great after working out.  Stress was gone, mind was clear, ready to play with the kids.  Snatches are coming along well.  I am feeling very confident about my snatch test numbers.  I will find out for sure in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

See-Saw Presses

Worked the See-Saw Presses today.  Trying to prepare for the grad workout.

Double 24kg See-Saw Press 5L/5R
Double 24kg Front Squat 5 reps
Double 24kg Renegade Row 5L/5R

Did the circuit 5 times.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Heavy Swings

Feeling back to full strength.  No back pain at all.  Much Z-health done over the past 2 weeks.   

24kg Snatch 20L/20R
24kg Dead Snatch 10L/10R x 2 sets
24kg Hang Snatch 10L/10R x 2 sets
32kg 1 Arm Swings 10L/10R on the minute x 12 sets

Hands started to get sore on set 8 of 1 arm swings.  Last four sets were 20 reps of 2 handed swings.  Thought my forearms were going to explode.  Heart rate at completion of 12 minutes swings was 176 (my calculated max heart rate = 183 bpm).  Also started doing some self myofascial release.  One very helpful exercise is rolling a tennis ball or lacrosse ball over the flexor muscles of the forearms.  Feels great after a grip intensive workout.