Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve Workout

Warm Up
Jerk(2x32kg) 5 minutes @ 5 rpm
14 min rest
Snatch(28kg) 6 minutes @ L 16/16/16 ----> R 16/16/16
OAJ(40kg) 10/10 x 1, 10L/9R x 1
Swing(40kg) 25/25 x 2

Jerks felt quick and strong. Snatches continue to improve. No grip problems at the 6 minute mark. Overall, technique just feels better.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Conditioning Day

Warm Up
Snatch(24kg) 6 min @ 16 rpm
90 seconds Rest
OAJ(24kg) 6 min @ 16 rpm
90 seconds Rest
OALC(24kg) 6 min @ 10 rpm
5 minutes Rest
Snatch(24kg) 4 min @ 16 rpm
90 seconds Rest
OAJ(24kg) 4 min @ 16 rpm
90 seconds Rest
OALC(24kg) 4 min @ 10 rpm

This was tough! Acutally, I found the OAJ to be the hardest. Snatches continue to improve. Will have to shoot some video in the next few workouts. Hands are less of an issue. Grip is not an issue at least at the 6 minute mark.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Snatches Improving

My snatch technique continues to improve, even on the left hand. I am getting more consistent with my finger lock and getting into the lock earlier. This all makes a huge improvement on the descent and really allows for a pendulum effect of the bell as it passes through the legs and then snaps back into the ascent.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x28) 7 minutes @ 8 rpm
14 minute rest
Snatch(28) 6 minutes @ L 16/16/16 ---> R 16/16/16
OAJ(40kg) 12/12
Swing(40kg) 30/30

Made the full 6 minute snatch set with essentially no hand issues. In fact, I had to do some overhead holds because my pace was too fast several times.

Came across this very good explanaition of the breathing patterns for the jerk by Tom Corrigan. The best part of this clip is that you can actually hear both Tom and Mikhail breathing while they are doing their sets to reinforce the pattern that they are teaching. For me, this is the best piece I have come across regarding breathing for the jerk......Thanks Tom and Mikhail.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holiday Hiatus and Product Review

Between work and holiday family commitments, planned workouts on 12/24 and 12/25 just didn't happen. Today I was able to do the workout planned for 12/25.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x32kg) 5 minutes @ 5 rpm
OAJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 15 rpm
2 minutes rest
Snatch(24kg) 6 minutes @ 15 rpm
2 minutes rest
OAJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 15 rpm

The 32kg jerk set went quite well. Not much of a struggle and was able to keep breathing relaxed throughout the set. The fitness protocol is amazingly difficult, especially the second set of OAJ. Snatches today felt good. Still a significant difference between the left and right hands in terms of consistency with the finger lock. The right side is much better than the left. Overall, however, my snatches are progressing nicely.

Santa brought me a very cool gift that any true kettlebell sport fan, or anybody doing interval work with kettlebells for that matter, will like:

TITLE Platinum Professional Fight & Gym Timer - click to enlarge
This timer is essentially a very large GymBoss. It allows you to program work time, rest time, and number of cycles. You can program 5 separate interval cycles at one time. It can also be programmed to count up (ie. 0 to 10) or count down (ie. 10 to 0). The unit can stand on the floor or be mounted on the wall and comes with a remote control. For those of you competing, it will also allow you to get used to the digital display that is now being used at most comps. The units are currently on sale and can be found at Title Boxing.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday's Re-evaluation of Goals

Constantly shooting for goals with very limited training cycles has led to mental and physical fatigue. Training has become a job and is much less enjoyable. I have spoken with my coach and we plan to back off a bit. A new goal of mid March has been set to shoot for CMS numbers. This will take some of the pressure off, and allow me to work through a long, slow training cycle. I am happy with this plan and hope it will bring back the fun.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x28kg) 7 minutes @ 8 rpm
10 minutes rest
Snatch(28kg) 6 minutes @ L 15/15/15 -----> R 15/15/15
OAJ(40kg) 8L/10R
OAJ(32kg) 15/15
Swing(40kg) 30/30 x 1
SLDL(24kg) 10/10 x1

Today, I stopped thinking about the finger lock during my snatch set and things went much better. I just let my CNS run the show, took my "ego" mind out of the set. Low and behold, I went the distance and used the finger lock for almost the entire set. Also re-introduced some single leg dead lifts as my surgically repaired knee is starting to get sore again. On previous occasions, the SLDL has taken care of the pain in the knee, but has made my medial gluts VERY sore.

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Week, Same Struggles

Jerks continue to get stronger. Snatches continue to struggle. I need to master the finger lock before I will be able to progress any further with the 28 and 32kg bells, however, this process is going to take awhile.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x28kg) 5 minutes @ 10 rpm
10 minute rest
Snatch(28kg) L 14/14/10 ----> R 14/14/14
OAJ(40kg) 10/10
Swing(40kg) 30/30

Friday, December 18, 2009

Still Struggling

Continuing to struggle with the finger lock. Need to build up the callous at the index finger as this is now the major tender spot. However, as I fatigue, I tend to palm the handle a bit which is causing problems too. Hopefully all this will clear up with time.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x24kg) 7 minutes @ 10 rpm
10 min rest
Snatch(24kg) 6 minutes @ 16 rpm
2 min rest
OAJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 16 rpm
2 min rest
OALCCJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 10 rpm

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Working on Technique

Besides working on the finger lock, my coach also suggested I focus on my first bump in the jerk. A more explosive first bump will make my jerk quicker and more efficient, both of which will be needed with the eventual move up to the 32kg bells. Today, I noticed that a forceful exhale just prior to my first dip seems to really help the connection between my elbows and my anterior illiac spine translating into a more powerful first bump. I played with this technique during my warm up sets with OAJ and lighter 2 arm jerks. During my money set, I found the 7 minutes passed without much struggle which I think can be attributed to a more consistent, powerful first bump.

Warm Up
Jerk(2x28kg) 7 minutes @ 8 rpm
15 minute rest
Snatch(28kg) 6 minutes @ L 15/15/9 -----> R 15/15/15
OAJ(40kg) 8/8
OAJ(32kg) 12/12
Swing(40kg) 30/30

My snatches remain a work in progress. I have found that I am much more consistent with the finger lock on the right hand compared to the left. I stopped early on the left because I was haveing difficulty applying the finger lock towards the end and started to palm the bell which began to cause some hand issues. The right side felt pretty solid. I was able to finger lock the majority of the set. After 3 minutes I had essentially no forearm pump and my grip still felt strong.
My OAJ sets also felt strong especially with the 40kg bell. Again, focusing on the 1st bump allowed me to be much quicker. I have also noticed the formation of a large callous on the heal of both hands and for the first time I didn't notice any hand discomfort on my 40kg OAJ set.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday's Workout

Mixing things up a bit today. Working on general conditioning, but working the lighter bell also allows me to continue working on the finger lock on both snatches and LCCJ.

Warm Up
Snatch(24kg) 6 minutes @ 16 rpm - 1 hand switch
2 min rest
OAJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 16 rpm - 1 hand switch
2 min rest
OALCCJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 10 rpm - 1 hand switch
8 min rest
Snatch(24kg) 4 minutes @ 14 rpm - 1 hand switch
2 min rest
OAJ(24kg) 6 minutes @ 14 rpm - 1 hand switch
*unable to do last set of OALCCJ due to extreme hand tenderness*

This workout was short, yet very effective.
Tonight, I am very tender at the MPJ of the index finger on both hands. This is a good sign.....meaning I am catching the bell in the finger lock. This should improve as I start to develop the elusive 4th callous. Off tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Step Back; Two Steps Forward

After a refreshing week off from training, today was the first day back with the bells. I am once again training for my CMS numbers in the biathlon with my sights set on the next meet in Toledo on January 30th. At the recent Atlanta meet, my coach noticed that I was catching the bell too late on the descent of the snatch which was pulling my arm down and leading to early grip fatigue. I am now focused on changing my snatch technique. I am really concentrating on getting into the finger lock (thumb over index finger) early in the descent in hopes of preserving my grip and picking up the extra reps that I need to hit my CMS numbers. However, getting into the finger lock is easier said than done. During my week off, I practiced getting into the finger lock from the clean. Although this is a good drill, it is easier than dropping from the overhead position in the snatch.

Warm Up: Z/Rib Pull/Arm Sweep/Swing/MP/Jerk/Clean/Snatch
Jerk(2x28kg) 5 minutes @ 8 rpm
10 minute rest
Snatch(28kg) L 18/18 ----> R 18/18/10
Snatch(28kg) L 14 ---> R 14
OAJ(32kg) 15/15
Swing(40kg) 20/20
Swing(32kg) 30/30

My snatch set was supposed to be 6 minutes at 18 rpm, however, this pace is just too fast as I am trying to figure out this new technique. The first minute on both sides, however, felt great. I was able to get into the finger lock early in the descent and actually experienced the ratcheting effect of the finger lock as the bell fell. Getting into the lock high in the descent also allowed me to follow the natural trajectory of the bell and I was really able to experience the "slingshot" effect of the bell as it completed its backswing between my legs and was launched upwards in the ascent. Even after only one session, I can tell this technique change is going to pay huge dividends. I am going to have to slow the rate of my snatch sets and maybe even drop down in bell weight until I can perfect the technique, but this change is eventually going to put me over the CMS numbers. This is a change well worth making.

Monday, December 7, 2009

AKC Southeastern Kettlebell Sport Championships Review

Well, overall the competition was a good experience. Scott Shetler put on a nice event that had a nice turnout of both seasoned lifters and first time competitors. Unfortunately, I was not able to make my goal of CMS rank in the 90kg weight class. My jerk set was first starting around 11:30 AM. I was able to hit my CMS numbers in just over 9 minutes (73 reps) working at a pace of 8 rpm. The video of the set can be seen below:

Since Scott was only running 2 platforms, I had about 3 hours and 30 minutes between sets. I thought this was going to work to my advantage. Heading into the snatch set, I felt quite fresh and my hopes were high for hitting my numbers of 70/70 with the 28kg bell. Unfortunately, things just didn't go my way. I decided to go out at 14 rpm with the plan of working the entire 10 minutes. However, just around the 4 minute mark on the left side, my grip died and I had to switch arms after only 55 reps. On the right side, things didn't fare much better as I was only able to hit 47 reps before suffering grip failure (see video below):

Heading into the competition I didn't think I was quite ready to make my CMS snatch numbers, but I thought I would at least make it into the 60's range on each side. Justin Case also came up just short of making CMS numbers in biathlon (85 kg class) with 68 jerks and 55/65 snatches (needed 65/65 snatches). Mike Sherman had a good showing in the (80 kg class) also falling short of his CMS goals with 41 jerks (needs 65 jerks) and 65/65 snatches.

The good news is that my coach, Catherine Imes, was able to pick up a technical issue with my snatch that once addressed should help me reach my goals. Watching from the side, she noticed that I was still catching the bell too low on the snatch descent causing the bell to pull my arm down and adding extra strain to my grip.....hence the grip failure. After my set, we spent about 15 minutes working on getting into the "hook grip" while the bell is still around eye level. This allows the hook (thumb over index finger) to self tighten as the bell drops between the legs. Once perfected, this should greatly decrease the fatigue of my grip and hopefully put me over the edge for CMS. I am going to take the rest of this week off and then re-focus with the goal of hitting my CMS goal at the upcoming meet January 30th, 2010 in Toledo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Last Pre-Comp Workout

Today was a short and sweet workout:
Warm Up
Jerk(2x28kg) 5 minutes @ 8 rpm
Rest 15 minutes
Snatch(28kg) 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Now it is time to rest up, and mentally prepare for Saturday's Comp in Atlanta. I will try to post video and a summary on Sunday, December 6th.