Friday, March 27, 2009


Squeezed one more workout in prior to leaving for vacation.

Jerk(16kg) 10
Jerk(20kg) 10
Jerk(24kg) 10
Jerk(28kg) @ 6rpm x 6 minutes
Swing(40kg) 20/20
Snatch(32kg) 10/10

Really tried to focus on not letting my shoulders/arms externally rotate on the ascent.  This is going to take some practice, but it makes my lockouts much more solid and there is much less floating of the bells overhead.  This is only going to make my jerks stronger once mastered. 

After my set of swings, I decided to do a few snatches with the 32kg.  It amazes me how light the 32s feel after using the 40kg bell.  I was able to fairly easily snatch the 32.

Going to take a week off from the bells.  Plan to work Z health and body weight exercises while on the beach.  Will really start to focus on mastery of the 28s when I return.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Snatch Day

Home from work early today and was able to work in a short session prior to the kids getting home and having to leave for a dinner meeting.  Ukranian cleaning ladies were just finishing up as I started warming up with my bells.  Had a funny discussion in broken english with these ladies who were very familiar with kettlebells.  In fact, both of their husbands have them at home and use them frequently.

Snatch(16kg) 10/10
Snatch(20kg) 10/10
Snatch(24kg) 10/10
Snatch(28kg) @ 14 rpms x 6 minutes with 1 hand switch

No OAJ today due to time constraints.  Below is a clip of my 28kg snatch set.  I am getting stronger already.  I have noticed a significant improvement in my 6 minute set over the past 10 days.  Still working on finding the optimal camera position that will include my entire body.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jerks with the Pumpkin Balls

Another jerk day today.  I have been amazed with the amount of muscle soreness that has been associated with my increase in kettlebell weight.  Still looking for my next training cycle, but I think I have some good ideas.  Today's workout went as follows:

Jerk(16kg) 10
LCCJ(20kg) 10
Jerk(24kg) 10
Jerk(28kg) 3 minutes @ 6 rpm x 4 sets with 3 minutes rest between sets
Swing(32kg) 30/30

Jerks felt stronger today.  Still trying to work on my fixation and becoming quicker/more explosive during my 1st and 2nd dip.  Some reps, the bells just fly overhead.  Other reps are more of a struggle.  Need to get more consistent.  Below is video of my 1st 3 minute set with the Pumpkin Balls

Sunday, March 22, 2009

More 28kg Snatches

Another snatch day with the 28kg was on tap.

Snatch(16kg) 10/10
Snatch(20kg) 10/10
Snatch(24kg) 10/10
Snatch(28kg) 14 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 switch
OAJ(40kg) 8/8 x 1
OAJ(32kg) 10/10 x 1

The last 30 seconds with each hand were a struggle.  I will need to stay at this level for a while to build up my strength.  Played a bit with my technique.  Tried lifting the snatch arm foot with the ascent.  This was easier with the right side.  It did seem to make the bell pop up a bit quicker.  I will need to keep playing with this technique to see if it is for me.
The 40kg OAJ were an eye opener.  Just cleaning the bell into position is a challenge.  This weight really forces you to use perfect technique.  Everything from breathing to the first dip, second dip, and fixation is critical.  I am really beginning to understand how important the leg drive is and how this should become a strong point for me with more practice.  After lifting the 40kg, the 32kg felt light.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Need a New Plan

After working long timed set progressions for the past 3 months, I have been trying to come up with a different training plan for at least my next cycle.  The constant mental strain of performing long sets was starting to wear me down, although it did provide good results for me at the Arnold.  Today I tried something new:

Jerk(16kg) 10
Jerk(20kg) 10
Jerk(24kg) 10
Jerk(28kg) @ 6 rpm x 3 minutes for 4 sets (3 minutes rest between sets) - 72 total reps
Swing(40kg) 20/20 x 1

This worked pretty well.  The goal would be to continue 4 three minute sets until I can get 100 reps.  Then move to three 4 minute sets, two 5 minute sets.  Wouldn't move to the next set until 100 reps can be performed.  This format works good for jerks, but not so well for snatches.  Anybody out there have any suggestions or experience they would like to share?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Snatching the 28kg

Mid 60's today in Cleveland so I hauled my bells outside for a snatch workout that went like this:

Snatch(16kg) 10L/10R
Snatch(20kg) 10L/10R
Snatch(24kg) 10L/10R
Snatch(28kg) @ 14 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
Snatch(24kg) @ 14 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch
OAJ(32kg) 10L/10R

Overall, went pretty well.  I look forward to the day that the 28kg feels like the 24kg does to me now.  Time and practice.  I also received my 40kg bell today.  The UPS guy must hate me!  This thing is heavy.  I was able to do a few OAJ with each arm, but I will need to work on these.  It will also be good for working the swings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Playing with the 28kg

Well the new WKC Classifications were announced this week and I think they are going to make things a bit easier and safer for me.  Having made level IV (in the old system) at the Arnold, I was going to have to move to the 32kg bells to climb any higher.  Now, this is something I think I can do, but I was concerned about injuring myself while rushing too quickly to make the move to the 32kg bells.  Now, with the new classification, I am essentially a level I from my Arnold performance and my next step is CMS (Candidate for Master of Sport) which will require 73 jerks and 70L/70R snatches with the 28kg bells.  This is a much more logical and doable step for me.  I also think that by working the progression with the 28kg my jump to the 32kg won't be so tough.  So, now my new goal is to reach CMS by this summer.  

Today, I decided to jerk the 28s to see where I stand based on my work with the 24kg bells.  I have to say that I am surprised with the result.

Jerk(16kg) 10
Jerk(20kg) 10
Jerk(24kg) 10
Jerk(28kg) @ 6 rpm x 6 minutes
Jerk(24kg) @ 10 rpm x 4 minutes
Swing(32kg) 30R/30L x 1 set

My 28kg jerk set went very smoothly.  I originally planned a 5 minute set, but I was feeling good and decided to go for the extra minute.  I could have gone longer.  I am surprised how the heavier bells really make the jerk a full body exercise.  The leg drive truly becomes a critical component of the lift.  A few months ago, the jerk was my weak lift, but now that I have found a comfortable rack and can actually rest, I think it has become my stronger lift.  Making the CMS snatch numbers is going to take me longer.  I will get an idea how much longer tomorrow when I plan to perform a timed snatch set with the 28kg.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Heavier Bells

Continued to play with the fitness protocol, but decided to do in a ladder style starting with heavier bells on the first round and then decreasing weight and increasing reps on the second round:

OAJ(32kg) 12 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
Snatch(28kg) 12 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OALCCJ(32kg) 8 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OAJ(28kg) 16 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
Snatch(24kg) 16 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OALCCJ(28kg) 10 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30

This was an interesting variation of the Fitness Protocol and allows me to work the heavier bells in a routine different than long timed sets.  Next time I will try to do the entire first set with the 32kg and then move to the 28 or 24kg bells for the second set.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Back in the Saddle

Soreness has finally resolved.  Looking forward to hitting the bells today.  I have designed my next training cycle, but have decided to wait until after I return from my planned spring break family vacation.  Until then I will play around with the fitness protocol.

OAJ(28kg) @ 12 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
Snatch(28kg) @ 12 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OALCCJ(28kg) @ 8 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OAJ(24kg) @ 16 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
Snatch(24kg) @ 16 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30
OAJCCJ(24kg) @ 10 rpm 1:30R/1:30L - Rest 1:30

Finished with Ab Wheel roll out x 8 reps x 2 sets
Bodyweight feet elevated pushups 15 reps x 3 sets

My abs are already sore.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Arnold Results Posted

Ken Blackburn has posted the official Arnold Classic results on the IKFF website.  Check them out.  

I am continuing to recover from the event with essentially no kettlebell lifting.  I have been thinking of my new goals and how I plan to introduce the 28kg and 32kg bells into my GS training.  Since I am heading on vacation in two weeks with my family for spring break, I think I will wait to start my new training cycle until I return.  Over the next two weeks I plan to use the kettlebells to maintain my general fitness with no specific training goals.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

More Arnold Video/Post Arnold Plans

Since my original post a few more video clips of the Arnold comp have surfaced.  The following short clip of my jerk set was captured by Aaron Friday and shows some of the other competitors.

Here is another clip showing, from left to right, Justin Case, Brent Miffitt, and Andrew Durniat during their Pro level snatch set

My plan had originally been to take 5 or 6 days off after the comp, but I have been getting antsy. My traps still remain sore, but things are improving.  So today, I decided to hit the bells for a light workout:

One Arm Jerk(24kg) 1:30 Right Arm/1:30 Left Arm  @ 16 RPM
Rest 1:30
Snatch(24kg) 1:30 Right Arm/1:30 Left Arm @ 16 RPM
Rest 1:30
One Arm Long Cycle(24kg) 1:30 Right Arm/1:30 Left Arm @ 10 RPM
Rest 1:30

As I finished this short workout, I couldn't help but look at my new pair of 28kg and 32kg bells sitting in the corner so I decided to take them for a test drive.  I started with Double 32kg Jerks x 5 reps followed by 32kg snatch 5 right/5 left.  Then I transitioned to Double 28kg Jerks x 5 reps followed by 28kg snatches 5 right/5 left.  After those sets my 24kg felt like a 16kg!!!  However, this short "test run" did provide me with some insight:  I need to remain patient and continue to work my progressions.  There is no hury to start working the 32kgs.  I will continue to work on my lock outs on my jerks with the 24kgs and move into jerk and snatch progressions with the 28kg bells while continuing to work one arm jerks and swings with the 32kg.  Timed sets with the 32kg bells will come with patience and perseverance. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Arnold Classic

What a great experience!  The Arnold Expo is a HUGE event.  Thousands of freaks milling around in various states of undress flaunting their physiques and then there were the kettlebell lifters.....
I drove down to Columbus with my family late Friday morning in a fasting state after eating a small breakfast and having a cup of coffee.  Met my father in Columbus and arrived at the weigh in at 4PM where I stripped down to my undershorts in the middle of a busy hotel lobby and stepped on the scale.  To my surprise I weighed 195 lbs.  My first goal was reached.....I made the 90kg weight class dropping my level 4 classification requirement to 227 reps.  Returned to my aunts house and ate a huge dinner and hydrated.  I Arrived at the Convention Center around 9:00 AM Saturday and realized the enormity of Arnold Expo.  After wandering around the Convention Center for about 20 minutes I finally located the kettlebell competition wedged in between several boxing rings and various martial arts mats.  I was able to watch several flights of women's jerks prior to a lengthy unplanned break as the Expo organizers attempted to coordinate the singing of the national anthem.  The men's jerk flights then resumed and I prepared for my first competition.

My set went well and I was able to surpass my planned goal of 90 reps and hit a grand total of 92 reps completing the full 10 minutes.  The above video is a compilation of clips taken in between various obstructing heads.  I had a scheduled 4 hour break between my jerk and snatch set, but that break was extended as our competition was stopped for roughly 1 hour as we waited for the arrival and short planned speech by Arnold himself (just in case you wondered he is still a very big guy).  I ended up with about a 5 1/2 hour break before I hit the platform for my snatch set.  Now my goal was for 10 minutes at 16 rpm for a total of 160 reps, but I only needed 135 reps to make the level 4 classification in the 90kg weight class.  I also had never done a full 10 minute jerk set followed by a 10 minute snatch set on the same day so I wasn't sure how things were going to work out.  I also found it slightly difficult to pace myself with the digital clocks as I was used to working with an old clock with a second hand in my basement.  I finished my first 5 minutes with my left hand at 73 or 74 reps, in hind site I probably could have done a few more reps with that hand as my grip was still feeling pretty good.  Although I was not moving at my planned pace of 16 rpm, I did settle into a very comfortable pace that I was able to sustain for the entire 10 minutes.  The last 30-45 seconds became a bit dicey as my right hand grip began to fatigue, but I was able to hit a total of 141 reps as the 10 minute set came to a close.  The video below is missing my last minute and returns just as I set the bell down at the buzzer.

My hands held up well.  No skin tears, but a bit tender and swollen this morning.  I ended up with a grand total of 233 reps, 6 more than I needed to qualify for the Level IV classification.  It was a good thing I dropped the weight because I would have missed Level IV at the 90+kg weight class.  I had to leave before the event completed so I was not able to hear the final results of the competition and will have to wait until they are published to see how I fared against the others.
I had a great time meeting the AKC crew and found everybody to be very friendly and supportive.  I can't thank them enough, especially Catherine Imes, Kevin Jodrey, and Andrew Durniat for all the online (and in Andrew's case, the in person) coaching they provided leading up to this event.  Their pointers greatly improved my jerk technique.  I also enjoyed meeting Scott Helsley, Richard Sherrod, Chris Duffey, Phillip Humphrey, Lorraine Patten, and many others.  
My day ended picking up my new pair of 28kg and 32kg bells so I can start training for my level 3 classification.  I have now caught the bug of kettlebell sport and will have to plan my next competition soon.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Workout Before the Arnold

Had a crazy day at work followed by a group business meeting tonight which meant I didn't hit the basement until 9:45 tonight.  I was feeling good today.  Definitely feeling more energized with the cut back in workout intensity.  My weight is coming along well.  Weighed in at 196.4 lbs this morning.  More and more people at work asking me if I am loosing weight.

Jerk(16kg) 15
Jerk(20kg) 15
Jerk(24kg) 10 rpm alternating with 8 rpm x 6 minutes
Snatch(24kg) 16 rpm x 6 minutes - 1 hand switch

Rested about 8 minutes between sets of jerks and snatches.  Had more in the tank at the end of both the jerk and snatch set and had to use some restraint to keep myself from going longer.  I think I am ready.  Now I just hope the nerves don't mess me up on the platform and that I can stick to my planned pace in both events.  If I am able to these things I think I can realistically reach my goal of making WKC Level IV rank regardless of my weight (although it will be easier if I sneak under the 90kg weight:

90kg - 227 reps combined jerk and snatch
90+kg - 251 reps combined jerk and snatch

For those of you who follow my blog and might find yourself in Columbus this Saturday, I am scheduled to Jerk at 10:20 AM and snatch at 2:20 PM.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Light Jerks/Snatches

Did a weekend kettlebell workshop which was fun.  Decided to fit in a short jerk/snatch day to continue my taper for the Arnold.

Jerk(16kg) 15
Jerk(20kg) 15
Jerk(24kg) 10 rpm/8 rpm alternating x 6 minutes
Snatch(24kg) 16 rpm x 6 minutes

Took about 5 minute rest between jerk and snatch sets.  Both sets felt strong and could have gone longer.  Will plan for a similar workout on Tuesday and then rest until Saturday.  Weighed in at 197.7 this morning and 198.8 this evening.  It is going to be close for the weigh in.