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 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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grind Day

Still trying to give my left shoulder/trap some rest from the heavy pressing I have been doing so tonight I focused on TGU:

24kg TGU x 5 minutes
24kg Goblet Squat x 10 reps
24kg Windmill 5R/5L

Did the entire cirucuit 3 times.
Floor still isn't quite level in the soon to be workout room.  Just put down my third layer of self leveling concrete.  Hopefully this is it........isn't that what I said last night????!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SSST Training

Decided to try something new today and work on longer sets.  I am still trying to figure out the best strategy for hitting 220 reps in 10 minutes.  After today's session, I think the best routine will be the following 4 sets: 

20L/20R/20L/20R - rest (80)
15L/15R/15L/15R - rest (60)
10L/10R/10L/10R - rest (40)
10L/10R/10L/10R - rest (40)

Rest periods need to be predetermined so I can stay on the appropriate pace.  I also need to work the overhead hand switch.

Today's session included the following sets performed in the mentioned time:

20L/20R/20L/20R - 3:15 
20L/20R/10L/10R - 2:40
15L/15R/10L/10R - 2:40
10L/10R/5L/5R - 1:30

I rested for 2 minutes between each set.  This was much harder than the 10L/10R sets I had been doing before.  My heart rate was up and my forearms were smoked by the end.  Hardstyle snatches all the way.  I think I will continue to work the longer sets with my new rep scheme and try to decrease the rest between sets.  It is true, the snatch is the Tsar of kettlebell lifts and by far my favorite exercise.  On a side note, my initial 80 reps in 3:15 makes me feel very confident that I will be able to hit the new snatch test requirements.

Poured my second layer of self leveling concrete in my new basement workout room to be.  Should be hard by tomorrow.  I expect that should make the floor level and then I can move my rubber flooring into position.  It is supposed to be cold and rainy this weekend which should allow me to paint the room and be finished.  Can't wait to have the new space ready.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Light RoP

I have been developing some left shoulder/scapular muscle tightness related to my pressing lately.  I think it just has to do with the shear volume.  After my last medium and heavy days, I was quite sore, but some myofascial self release made a big improvement just in time for my next insult.  No problems with snatching.  I decided to take it a bit easy today because of the shoulder and the low level viral illness roaming through my family.  I am the last one standing, but not feeling 100% today:

24kg MP 2(1,2,3) kneeling in tightrope position
          MP 3(1,2) kneeling with both knees on ground
Bodyweight pullups 2(1,2,3) and 3(1,2)

Z: Lumbar and Thoracic Spine

My shoulder wasn't aggravated with today's workout.  Hopefully by Friday I can get back on the RoP train.  Primed my workout room floor in preparation for the self leveling compound I will pour tomorrow.  If all goes well, I will wrestle the mats into place and be working out in the new room by this weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Light Ballistics And Trip to Middlefield

As daylight shortens and it becomes colder I have started to focus on returning inside to workout.  My old workout area is in my workshop next to the furnace.  The major problem is the overhead ductwork.  In order to do any overhead work I have to stand in a very precise position, there is little room for error.  Also, during the dead of the winter, the room gets pretty darn warm with the furnace cranking.  Across from this room is a 9ft x 9ft room with virtually no overhead ductwork.  My wife and I could both comfortably workout in this space at the same time.  The main issue is a drain located in the back corner with about a 1 inch vertical fall in the floor towards the drain.  I am about to fix this problem using a liquid leveling compound.  I have also been looking for rubber matting to put on the floors.  On most athletic sites, 4' x 6' rubber mats 3/4" thick run $85-90 per mat plus shipping. Today, however, I hit the jackpot in Middlefield, OH at the Western Reserve Farm Coop where 4' x 6' rubber Horse Stall Mats 3/4" thick were available for $38.  Pretty ironic that the same sized "gym mat" is half as expensive when sold as a "horse stall mat"!  I finished work early today and drove out to Middlefield and bought 3 mats to cover my new gym space.  I had quite an experience teaming up with a store employee trying to fit the 3 mats into my small Mazda 3 sedan.  After much sweat and mucles we fit them all in, but the true challenge was when I returned home and had to remove them from my car by myself and then hall each 100 lb mat into the basement.  Despite this workout, I still had to fit in my light ballistics day:

32kg Two Handed Swings 20 reps on the minute x 12 minutes

Today I focused on a statement that Pavel made during the cert....."rest at the top of the swing".  At the top of the swing, when the bell is weightless, I relaxed my grip on the handle, and found to my surprise that my grip was preserved for the entire 12 sets.  Previously, my forearms would be destroyed after only 5-6 sets.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Heavy RoP

Missed my scheduled workout yesterday due to a wedding I had to attend last night.  On call this weekend, but got home early enough that I was able to make up my missed day:

32kg C&P 2(1,2,3,4,5) 3(1,2,3,4)
Bodyweight Pullups 2(1,2,3,4,5) 3(1,2,3,4)

Struggled on my last rung of 4 on the left side.  Only able to get 2 reps, set it down, and then finished the last 2 reps.  The good news is that the 32kg is feeling lighter and lighter.  I need to put my order in for the 40kg.  I think I am ready to press the Bulldog.  It will also be good for swings.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ride The Lightning

Flash back 1 year ago.........(scene: me at high fashion men's store having large amounts of work clothing tailored)  Tailor: How does this feel? (as he pulls in the waist of the pants for marking)
Me: Feels good.  Tailor:  Are you planning to loose any more weight?  Me: No, I think I am at my natural weight. (I used to be an offensive lineman in college tipping the scales at about 260.  15 years later I was down to 215).  

Shortly thereafter I met then RKC Team Leader Doug Nepodal.  With his encouragement I committed to attending the RKC certification.  I spent the following 10 months working like a dog, focused on my goal of passing the RKC cert.  As an unintended side effect, I gradually lost 15 lbs and slowly developed the kettlebell physique.....bigger shoulders and lats, stronger core, and by golly abdominal muscles actually became visible!  Oh Yeah, one more work clothes no longer fit!!!!

Earlier this evening: (scene: me at high fashion men's clothing store having all the trousers purchased last year refit)  Tailor:  How does this feel?  (as he pulls in the waist of the pants)  Me:  Great!  Tailor:  Do plan to loose anymore weight?  (I used to weigh 215 one year ago, now after 10 months of regular, committed kettlebells I am down to 200 lbs without any specific dieting).  Me:  I don't know!!!!

I am a human experiment......kettlebells work!

Today was a VO2 Max day.  Life has been extremely hectic.  My wife has received a significant promotion at work.  We are now juggling our careers to make things work.  I am up at 5AM and out the door so I can be home for the bus at 3:30PM.  My wife's hours have become more unpredictable, this week has been pretty bad with her not getting home until 7PM or later.  Working out has become more difficult, but even more important as it is the one thing that clears my mind.  Today was no exception.  It would have been easy to go to bed at 8:30 tonight, but I have to keep up with Rif who hit the elusive 80 sets earlier this week.  On tap tonight was 60 sets.  With Metallica's Ride the Lightning blaring I did the following:

16kg VO2 Max 15:15 (8reps) x 60 sets - finishing heart rate 170

I did well until the last 10 sets when I began to feel my heart rate start to pick up.  Next week is 70 sets and the following week I will hit 80.

Friday morning my wife did her 8kg VO2 Max 15:15 (7 reps)  x 60 reps......she is a machine!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Medium RoP Day

Busy work day.  Crazy day with the family.  Tired from staying up late to see if the Browns would self destruct.  I can't believe that they actually pulled off the victory.  It's so against Cleveland sports history!!!   I am pretty sure the Brown's and Giants switched uniforms prior to the game.  I guess we will see which Browns team shows up this Sunday.

Felt good to hit the iron.  Really focused on rooting with the heels.  I could feel the difference.  My presses have improved so much since the cert:

32kg C&P 5(1,2,3)
Bodyweight Pullups 5(1,2,3)
Double 24kg Front Squat 5 reps x 3 sets

Z: Hips, Pelvis

Monday, October 13, 2008

SSST Training

Another round of the SSST training.  Rest periods down to 40 seconds today.  I really need to work on the overhead hand-hand switch before the weather gets to bad to workout outside.  I don't want to be dropping my 24kg in the basement.  I have already done it 2 winters ago and still have a hole in the rug to prove it!!!

24kg snatch 10L/10R with 40 seconds rest between sets x 12 sets  (24o snatches)

My wife did:
8kg snatch 10L/10R with 40 second rest x 5 sets
12kg snatch 10L/10R with 40 seconds rest x 5 sets.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Light RoP Day

Fit in a quick workout during a busy family day:

24kg new TGU x 5 min
32kg C&P 5(1,2)
Bodyweight Pullups 5(1,2)
24kg Windmill 5R/5L x 3 sets
32kg Goblet Squat 5 x 3 sets
32kg Snatch 5R/5L

Used the hollow position on my pullups today.  I really think it makes a significant difference, particularly during the final third of the movement.  I also showed my almost 8 year old son how to get into the hollow position and he made significant improvement in his pullup performance.  He did multiple sets of 2 reps and hit a PR of 3 reps on his last set. 

I haven't played around with snatching the 32kg very much, but today I thought I would give it a try.  I did one set of 5R/5L without much trouble.  My right arm technique is clearly better.  On my right side I was able to catch the bell on the downswing with my gluts and hammies and had very little hand stress.  The left side was a different story.....I had more trouble catching the downswing with my legs and felt more stress on the hands.  I will have to start incorporating more 32kg snatches into my routine.  I was amazed how light these made the 24kg feel on my windmills!!!

Z: hips,pelvis

Wife workout:
8kg C&P 5(1,2)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Light Ballistics Day

Short workout outside on a beautiful Ohio fall afternoon....sunny and high 60's.

32kg swings 20 reps on 1 minute x 12 sets (did variety of 2 handed and 1 handed swings)

My wife moved up to the 16kg:

16kg 2-handed swings 20 reps on 1 minute x 12 sets

Z: hips and pelvis.

The Hollow Position and Pullups

Took the day off from work to get some things around the house taken care of.....namely get the car serviced.  Pesky slow tire leaks!!!  A comment about the "hollow position" made  by Jordan Vezina concerning ways to strengthen my pull ups caused me to do a bit of online searching for a good description of the "hollow position".  Especially since Jordan had a difficult time explaining this technique (sorry Jordan!)  It appears that this position is critical for many gymnastics maneuvers and the following site provides an excellent description of how to get into the "hollow position" as well as some exercises that will strengthen this position.  I am going to give this a try for a few weeks and will let you know how it effects my pull ups.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Heavy RoP Day

Today was a heavy pressing day.  

32kg C&P 5(1,2,3,4)
Bodyweight Pullups 5(1,2,3,4)

This was by far my best pressing day in recorded history!  I really focused on full body tension from my quads/gluts to my abs and lats.  I focused on breathing behind the shield and really concentrated on crushing the handle and pushing my forearm against the bell.  I was surprised how strong I felt and how easily the bell went up.

The pullup ladders felt very strong also.

Z: hip and pelvis

My wife worked out a bit later and did the following:

8kg C&P 5(1,2,3,4)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

VO2 Max Day

Another VO2 max day on my way to a goal of 80 sets.  I was joined by my wife today.  It was her first attempt at the VO2 max protocol.  I was on the hook for 50 sets.  I told her to shoot for 30 sets and was surprised to find her working along with me all the way to 50 sets.  It was a very strong performance from her.  Things also went well for me.  The funny thing about this protocol is that after a certain point, the pain just doesn't get any worse.  You get into a groove and the sets just fly by.  I have really been focusing on taming the arc on my down swing.  Focusing on pulling the bell to my pubis and then hinging at the hips just before it hits me.  I have also been trying to really work on the "hike" between my legs in order to load my hammies for the explosion upwards.  As Pavel and Rif said at the Sept. Cert, the VO2 max protocol is a self correcting workout.  By doing so many reps, one really has a chance to correct technique flaws.


Me: VO2 Max 15:15 with the 16kg (8 reps) x 50 sets
Wife: VO2 Max 15:15 with the 8kg (7 reps) x 50 sets

Z-Health: Hips and Pelvis

Heavy RoP for tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Medium RoP and First CKC Meeting

Went to the park today for the first meeting of the Cleveland Kettlebell Club, however not many people showed.  It was a bit chilly (low 50's), but it did warm up by the end.  Also the sun was out, which is always a nice bonus when living in Cleveland.  Hung out with Renee and Todd and then my sister in law showed up along with a friend of Todd's.  A good time was had by all.  Hopefully next month we can have  a better turn out.  I know there are more than 5 people swinging the kettlebells in the greater Cleveland area......where are you?

Managed to get my workout in today spread throughout the course of the day.  Did some of my RoP while at the park, finished while mowing the lawn, and squeezed in some squats, TGU, and pullups in between throws of the football and baseball to my boys this afternoon.  The disappointing Browns were on Bye this weekend which freed up my entire day to get stuff done.  The best part of the Bye week is that I don't have to get depressed after they get spanked by whoever they are playing.  In my opinion, Crennel is a goner at the end of the season.

32kg C&P 5(1,2)
Double 24kg Front Squats 6 reps x 4 sets
Pullups 5(1,2)
16kg TGU 5L/5R

The last 3 sets of my pullups were done with an 8kg kettlebell hanging from the foot.  Need to start working the weighted pullups if I ever plan to pass the RKC II.  Realized that I will need to rethink my current pullup bar rigged to my kids swingset if I am going to do weighted pullups.  The bar needs to be about 6-10 inches higher.  I have very limited pullup options during the winter months.....just a door jamb unit.  Ceilings are too low for anything higher.  I may just have to get a belt to connect the weight to for this winter.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

SSST Training and New Goals

I have changed my goal for the SSST.  Used to be 200 reps, but with David Whitley's Thanksgiving challenge I have changed my goals to the following:

1) 220 reps SSST - 24kg
2) 80 sets 15:15 VO2 Max with 16kg (8reps)
3) C&P 40Kg

Today was SSST training:

24kg Snatch 10L/10R x 12 sets - 40 seconds rest between sets

240 snatches

I was joined by my wife who is going to work my program with me over the next 12 weeks.  She did:

8kg Snatch 10L/10R x 10 sets - 40 seconds rest between sets

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cleveland Kettlebell Club First Meeting

An open invitation is extended to all kettlebell enthusiasts in Northeast Ohio to attend the inaugural meeting of the Cleveland Kettlebell Club (CKC).  We will be meeting Sunday October 5th at 11AM in Pepper Pike, Ohio at the city park located off Shaker/Brainard Circle (next to the Pepper Pike Fire Dept.)  We will be available to work out, teach, talk training, and most importantly socialize with other kettlebell enthusiasts.  We are hoping to establish a group that will meet on a monthly basis throughout the year and if interested can begin to lead group workouts during this time.  If you have any friends who have shown interest in kettlebells this will be an excellent first experience.  Hope to see you on Sunday.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Light RoP Day

Light pressing day:

24kg TGU 5 minutes
32kg Kneeling Press 5(1)
32kg Goblet Squat 10 x 3 sets

Did 2 sets of tight rope and 3 sets of double kneel.  These are very good for full body tension.

Z-Health: foot,ankle,knee

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Light Day

Today was a light ballistics day according to my new schedule.  On the docket was 12 minutes of swings....Hardstyle!

32kg 1 arm Swing 10L/10R on 1 minute x 12 sets.

These always get my heart rate pumping.  I started using my new breathing techniques picked up at the cert and my kids were looking at me like I was crazy.  Quick inhale through the nose at the bottom and quick exhale through the nose (breathe behind the shield) at the top.  Snot was flying for the first couple sets until I could run for some tissue.  (Note to self.....blow nose before swinging!!!)  Back is feeling fine today.  Also took the Dremmel tool to my kettlebell handles.  All paint has been removed from my DragonDoor bells.  In my opinion this makes a big difference.  The handle is much smoother and easier on the hands.

Tonight: Z-Health foot,ankle,knee