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.