Friday, May 30, 2008

The "CinciNasty"

Here's a clip from this morning's workout. I couldn't post the entire workout, since YouTube has a limit on the length of videos one can post. This shows me going through the second circuit of the workout.

I stripped out the 30 seconds of rest I took between movements. And since I taped this inside today, I didn't have much room to position the camera, so it's not the best shot. Also had to rotate the clips as I had to position the camera sideways to tape, so the footage isn't as clear as it would have been if I let you watch it sideways.

Anyway, you'll at least get a sense of the session....


Friday is finally here!! Even though this was a short holiday week, it has felt like an eternity. I am so looking forward to the weekend.

Today I worked through once more the "CinciNasty", the Jerk-Snatch-Long Cycle circuit, for 1 minute each arm and only 30 seconds in between movements. Went 2 times through the full circuit.

A few things jumped out at me today as I video taped myself (video to be posted at a later date).

(1) Always get that elbow onto the hip bone when in rack position
(2) Don't look up at the bell when performing Jerks, look forward
(3) Initiate the Jerk off the hip

When these few things come together the Jerk really feels like a coordinated, smooth movement. When they're off, you're essentially Push Pressing the bell.

I'll probably play around with the bells over the weekend but don't plan on any real workouts. Maybe work on the Bottom Up Clean a bit.

That's it for today. Swing 'em high y'all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Long Cycle Bottom Up Presses

I decided to include Long Cycle Bottom Up Presses into my mix today. Luckily I'm still working with the 12kg bell. But even still, it didn't make much difference for my left side. Then again, I can't really complain since I never train these. And one has to start somewhere, sometime as ugly as it may be.

Here's today's selection of movements:



Long Cycle Bottom Up Press

Using the 12kg for all, worked 2 minutes each movement without putting the bell down. Short rests in between. Then worked a second time through each.

My pace was spot on for the Presses and Snatches. Once I hit the BU Presses, it got ugly fast. Since I started on my left side, they pretty much fell apart. Counted only 3 good ones. Right side did much better, banging out 7. Second time through on these, another 3 on the left side. Right side reduced to 5 due to fatigue. But like I said, you gotta start somewhere. Right?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


"CinciNasty". This is the name given to the progression through the Jerk, Snatch and Long Cycle (Jerk) by the AKC in their Fitness Protocol.

I ran through the CinciNasty today using the 12kg bell while reducing my rest periods between sets to a mere 30 seconds. 30 seconds is NOT a very long time when you want to catch your breath. I can see that I've been very accommodating to myself in the past when I took as long as I wanted between sets. When you're resting on the clock as well as working on the clock it's a whole other story.

I warmed up with a set of swings. Didn't count them. Then moved on to the CinciNasty...



Long Cycle (Jerk)

Worked through 1 minute each hand with a 30 sec rest in between. Then repeated the circuit. I may work through another two sessions at this intensity, mixing it up a bit before moving to the next level where I then start to increase the length of my working sets. We'll have to wait and see. That's it for today!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

As we take this day to honor those who have been killed serving and protecting our country, let us all do our part to keep this country strong. And the first step is to keep ourselves strong - both physically and mentally.

I continued on today with the AKC Fitness Protocol. Working each exercise for timed sets. Pacing yourself while continuously exerting force is as much a mental exercise as it is physical. Of course, my routine now is using a light bell (12kg) but my sets will get longer while my rest time gets shorter. And very soon, I'll be bumping up to a bigger bell. Being patient is also difficult for many of us. I am putting my trust into this Protocol. Without experimenting on myself first, I wouldn't ask someone else to attempt it. So far, so good.

Today, I changed it up just a bit by performing...

1-Arm Press

Half Snatch

1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk)

Same as yesterday, all with a 12kg bell, 2 minutes each movement, then repeated a second time through.

Since I am working lighter than I am used to, this is my third day of training in a row, including the day of the cert. I am going to attempt to work through the rest of the week, giving myself next weekend to rest. As I move along I will continue to increase the intensity of the workouts until I get to the point where I move myself up to the 16kg bell. And so on, and so on, ....

That's it for today. Swing 'em high y'all!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Let the Pigeons Loose!

Or, let the Protocol Begin!

Started working today with the new AKC Fitness Protocol. Using a 12kg pro-grade bell worked through:

1-Arm Jerk


1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk)

Each was done for time. 2 minutes each exercise. Repeated circuit twice.

I am still working on getting the form for these movements down as we learned yesterday, but was still able to keep things going at an optimal pace. I have a long way to go through the Protocol using just the 12kg, but even still practicing technique on a heavier bell would be nice.

Maybe someone out there would be willing to lend me a bell?????

AKC Fitness Certification

Well it is official. This is new first post as a certified AKC Fitness Coach!

I attended the AKC's first Fitness Certification yesterday, held in New York City. As able to meet and train with Head Coach and World Champion, Valery Fedorenko.

Also in attendance were Mike Stefano, who heads up East Coast Kettlebell Club, Ashely Hughes, Master of Sport, Eric Liford, AKC Editor-n-Chief, Kevin Jodrey, AKC Coach and RKC II, along with many others.

The cert began first thing in the morning and wrapped up sometime after 6pm. It was a long day filled with swings, cleans, presses, jerks, snatches and combinations of each. The new Fitness Protocol was introduced to us and the power of using timed sets to reach your goals.

Also in attendance from our little circle of bloggers was Franklin Herman, who also became a certified Fitness Coach.

Here we are, Kevin, myself, Valery and Franklin. Could be the cover of a 'Boys Are Back In Town - Part Deux' huh? =)
Needless to say this was a very educational and motivating experience. Watching Valery pick up and play with a 32kg bell like it was an 8kg, was very humbling. I was surrounded by a lot of talent yesterday and hopefully some of it rubbed off.
I am very excited to experiment with my newly acquired knowledge. We were given both an 8kg and 12kg pro-grade kettlebell to get our coaching going. I will in the short-term be using the 12kg bell to work through some of the Protocol's progressions. I'll also need to get me some heavier pro-grade bells as well.
Most exciting... as of now Kettlebells NY is now open for business!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Steve Cotter Certification

Did I mention that I've signed up to attend Steve Cotter's Kettlebell Certification? It's being held here in NY in August. After I realized that the West Coast RKC Cert wasn't going to work for me, this happened along, also just about the same time. Fate maybe?

Therefore, within the next 4 months, I will have attended two certs and KettlebellsNY will be fully operational. I need to start to refine my business plan. I need to clear out my garage (I think that's my best choice for a training space right now). I need to get my logo posted (you're gonna love it!).

Exciting times!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Climbing the Taiji Hill

Still trying to refresh my memory of the gross movements within the Yang 24 Form. I'm about 90% there now. Once I get this down, then my focus will shift more toward the finer articulations, the shifts in weight between movements and breathing.

I had lunch with a friend from college yesterday. It was the first time we'd seen one another in probably over 15 years. Man, how time flies!! He also has studies various martial arts and up until recently has been a 'closed door' student to a wing chun instructor. I shared with him my adventures with kettlebells and he's interested in learning. We will be planning around each of our busy schedules some time to share our 'treasures' with each other. This should be pretty cool.

In the meantime, I will continue with the bells and with taiji form(s). Three days to AKC!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Easy Morning

Looking to taper down a bit this week, before the AKC Fitness Cert on Saturday, I grabbed me a 16kg bell and ran through just a bit to get me going today...

Getup: 16kg - 5/5

1-Arm Long Cycle Clean & Jerk: 16kg - 5/5 for 4.5 minutes for total of 40 reps

Ab Wheel - 1 set of 10

That's it and that's all!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rest Day

Needed to get a little extra sleep this morning after the punishing weekend I had with the bells. Slept till 6:00, then woke up with a little Z-Health R-Phase.

Both hands are a mess after this weekend. Looks like I'll be taping them this week as well as at the cert. I'll be tapering down the rest of the week as well. Don't want to be burnt out or hurting on Saturday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Sunday Afternoon - Presses & Swings

After loading the oven up with a batch of homemade brownies, I decided to get in a kettlebell session.

Hands a bit beaten up from yesterday's Snatches, I decided to return to basics today. This is what it looked like...

Clean & Press:
16kg - 1/2/3/4/5
I performed this ladder straight through, no rest between rungs
24kg - 1/2/3/4/5
This ladder required some rest time in between rungs

1-Hand Swing: 24kg "On the Minute"
5/5 x 5 set
Total of 150 Swings. Just throwing in those 2 sets of 10/10 really caused the heart rate and fatigue to set in quickly. A set of 5/5 takes about 20 seconds for me, which gives me plenty of rest (40 sec) before the next set. The 10/10 set is the inverse of that 40 sec work with only 20 sec rest.

Finally finished off with a few sets each of:
Double Overhead Shrugs: 2x12kg
Shoulder Rotator: 12kg

I've gotten away from these timed sets of Swings. I need to make sure I bring and keep these back into the fold. I would like to get at a minimum one day of Swings, one of Snatches and one of LCCJ.

This coming Saturday is the AKC Fitness Cert being held here in NYC. Not sure what to expect following this. I am excited though. Should be cool. I'm sure I'll have some GS practice following this so don't be surprised if what I just said above gets delayed some. =)

Swing 'em high y'all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Few Snatches

The Mrs and I decided to take turns outside in the backyard today while the other stayed on top of our little guy.

Here's what I was able to cram in...

2-Hand Swing: 24kg - 15

Snatch: 24kg - 5/5, 10/10, 10/10, 5/5/4/4/3/3

... and then another tear! Again, on my left hand and not the callous but just below it. So this is when I stopped. I guess I need to focus on lower rep sets until I can improve my technique. I was on the last rep of that 3-rep set of the descending ladder. Ugh!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Nada

It's been a slow week training-wise. Lots going on keeping me tired and busy. I have had a few minutes here and there to begin refreshing my taiji practice. Almost there getting comfortable with the Yang-style 24 Form once again. It's been a few years since I've practiced, but it's coming back quickly once I get myself moving again.

I have Aaron Friday to thank for sparking my interest in returning to practice. Taiji should be a nice yin training to my kettlebell yang training.

I hope to get back rolling again this weekend (after I finish getting the powder room painted tomorrow morning). And I also need to do some catch up on my peeps' blogs out there. Have no idea what anyone is up to these days!??!?!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Taiji in the Morning

Woke up this morning feeling tired with my abs sore so I figured it would automatically be a Z-Health day. Well all the talk as of late of taiji, qigong and animals frolicing about inspired me to get my butt outside and revisit some long forgotten taiji forms.

I call them long forgotten because I have truly forgotten them!!! In all honesty, it has been a few years since I've practiced any of these.

I made it about a third of the way through the Yang-style 24 Form and went, "Hmmmm....".

Not wanting to waste this morning's precious time, I then decided to move on to the 8 Section Brocade qigong movements. Well, luckily I was able to recall 6 of the 8 sections. Hahahaa....

The air was cool and crisp outside this morning. And performing even the little that I could remember felt really good. Nice deep, long breaths opened me up. But I do have some homework now. Not to worry, I have a video (VHS!) of the form that my instructor had put together that I can watch to refresh my memory. The video contains both the 24 Form and the 40 Form.

I have a book which provides the outline of the the 24 Form as we were taught. The one shown here is similar to mine, although my title is "Tai Chi Chuan - 24 & 48 Postures with Martial Applications". I also have some notes somewhere on the 8 Section Brocade.

All good stuff!! And thanks to everyone for inspiring me to get moving with this again.
And a special thanks to Aaron. Because of him, I'll be practicing my forms again soon using my Gymboss Interval Timer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Jerk Store Called...

"And said they were running low on YOU!" - classic Seinfeld

Played around this morning with some more Jerks and then sprinkled in a few other odds and ends.

Jerks: 20kg - 5/5 for only first part of movement; 5/5 full movement

1-Arm Long Cycle Clean & Jerk: 20kg @ 3 minutes - 5/5, 5/5, 5 = 25 reps in 3 minutes

Double Overhead Shrugs: 2x12kg - 10

Windmill: 20kg - 3/3

Double Overhead Shrugs: 2x12kg - 10

Ab Wheel - 10 reps from knees

Pistols: 16kg - 3/3

I was getting winded toward the end of my 3 minutes of Jerking. I am still trying to get comfortable with the movement. And there could have been a rep or two in there were I forgot to clean the bell first - I was very focused on the top half of the movement.

Threw in one set of ab wheels - it's been a long time since I've rolled, didn't want to be in ab-shredding pain tomorrow. And Pistols, my old friend, I do these more to demo for people nowadays than I do as part of my workout.

That's it for today. Swing 'em... ahhh, I didn't swing at all today... Jerk 'em high y'all!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A (Somewhat) Difficult Decision

I have decided not to attend the RKC Cert in LA...

This has come after a lot of internal debate but for me at this time is the right decision. It was made easier by the fact that I have other options available to me, options that are closer to home. I had a really great weekend except that my son continues to struggle with seizures daily. My wife and I continue to consult with his doctors and continue to try to adjust his medications but so far we have not been able to get them totally under control.

Under these circumstances, I can't imagine leaving them even for a few days to fly off to the West Coast to get certified. The time away might not seem like a lot to some, but when you typically work 12-13 hour days each week (including commute time), the time you have at home become precious. My wife absorbs the strain of dealing with these seizures each and every day while I'm sitting in an office over 30 miles away. She needs some relief and time off. And I don't want to burn some of the few vacation days that I get to fly out to Cali, to do my own thing.

Therefore, until RKC comes to the East Coast, I will be putting this on hold. In the meantime, I will be attending the AKC's Fitness Cert in about 2 weeks here in NYC. I have also stumbled across Steve Cotter's new IKFF cert being offered not too far away in Hartford, CT later this year which I may attend.

Getting certified is my way of being able to share the joy and benefits of training with kettlebells. I will continue to train and continue to see my snatch numbers climb as well as start to introduce new movements into the mix. This is only the beginning and I fully intend to search out every opportunity that happens to pass my way to further my abilities and strength and health.

P.S. Yesterday I had a few minutes to myself (only a few) and I decided to play around with some 1-Arm Long Cycle Clean & Jerks with a 16kg. I am totally new to performing Jerks so this is something I'm going to continue to work on.

So I set my Gymboss for 3 minutes and peformed 5/5 continuously for the 3 minutes concentrating on my form and breathing. This went rather well. Probably because it was rather light but nonetheless it did what I intended. I will probably bump up to the 20kg next time out and stick with the 3 min. Then decide after that whether to bump up to the 24kg or stick with the 20kg and just increase time. Not sure yet. Swing 'em high y'all!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday Snatches

It's been a weird week. Renewed pain in the forearms. Working late nights at the office. A few days away from the bells.

Today I woke up at 6am and proceeded to stain some doors and moldings and prime another room. Finished cleaning up around 12:30. Hadn't eaten much until then. Wolfed down a bagel with some egg salad, relaxed for a few minutes and then decided to work some Snatches.

Snatch: 24kg - 21/20; 10/10

Not much of an improvement since my last attempt, although I had enough gas left to bang out another set at the end. Hopefully this week will be an improvement over last. I'm going to try to get in some multiple Snatch sets during the week, now that my hands are just about healed up. I used tape today on the first set, then went without on the second. Feeling much better after two long weeks.

That's it for today. Now I eat some more and rest up for tomorrow.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Down Time

A great PR the other morning swinging the 32kg. My wind and my body (for the most part) help up well and feels good. My forearms on the other hand, continue to mutiny.

Therefore the last two mornings I have taken off and rested. Working late hasn't helped the cause either. I may squeeze in a light workout this evening with some co-workers after work. If this comes together, I'm planning on working with 16kgs.

Some home improvement projects are scheduled for the weekend, so it'll be interesting to see how I feel and am able to schedule things together. I knew I was due for a taper week, just wasn't expecting to be forced into one!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Good & Bad

The Good - Using Takei's suggestion of starting off with a 24kg bell before moving to the 32kg, I was able to perform one Getup on each side with the 32kg this morning!

The Bad - Wanting to work some Clean & Press ladders I found that my forearms were in some pain after yesterday's voluminous Swings with the 32kg.

So wanting to use my time constructively, but still give the forearms some rest this is what today's (short) session looked like...

Getups: 24kg - 5/5; 32kg - 1/1

Clean & Press: 24kg - 1/1

Squat: 2x24kg - 5, 5, 5

Performed straight squats at the end with two 24kgs, limiting the cleans today to be nice to the forearms. And that was it! Let's see how I'm feeling tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

32kg Swings

I was tired this morning. And the air was so crisp and cool that it made it very difficult to get out from under the covers. But I did. And this morning the 32kg awaited me once more. This time for Swings.

Today was solely Swings. Nothing more, nothing less.

2-Hand Swings: 32kg

200 Swings in total. I believe a new volume PR with the 32kg. Yeah baby!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Recovery Day

Woke up this morning tired. After two days of heavy kb work, I was expecting to make today a recovery day. Felt pretty good considering yesterday was the time I've snatched the 32kg. Felt it mostly in my upper back and traps.

So this morning was a run through the Z-Health R-Phase curriculum, from head to toe, or toe to head as the curriculum warrants.

That's it, tomorrow we swing some bells again!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

32kg Snatch

I finally summoned up the guts to attempt to Snatch this thing. And I am happy to report that I have survived!! [crowd cheers]

Didn't have too much time to spend with the bells today so I wanted to make it count. And I've been itching to start Snatching the 32kg. So here's what it looked like...

(It wasn't pretty, but it was accomplished.)

2-Hand Swing: 24kg - 10

Snatch: 24kg - 5/5

Snatch: 32kg


Push Press: 32kg - R5/L3

I took time in between the Snatch sets of each arm. Definitely a bit wobbly at the time on some of these. It seems like the first one is the toughest, since there isn't as much swing momentum to help get it up. The rest that followed were definitely easier. Felt it in my left forearm after the first pass through. Then re-focused and made sure my form improved, hinging more at the hips, neutral spine - better the second and third time around.

Then thought I'd finish off with a few Push Presses, but the shoulders didn't want to hear it, so I left it as was. Still, these Snatches are a new PR! Yeeee hawwww!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Double 24's

Enjoy The Pain!!

My Dragon Door 24kg bell arrived on Thursday and it's been killing me that today was the earliest I was able to play with it. I was busy all morning and already a bit worn out, but I couldn't let another day go by without playing with the bells.

I had intended to workout yesterday morning, but somehow my alarm clock didn't go off at 5am and I slept through my normal workout time. My hands are still healing from last week, so maybe they messed with the clock in the night. I have been told that my hands sometimes have a mind of their own. ;)

So anyway, first observation, the handle on the DD bell is a bit thicker than the one on the Perform Better bell. Other than that, their shape of similar. The PB bell sits higher on the floor since it has that rubber bottom on it. I'm thinking that I'll keep the PB bell and just remove the rubber bottom. I don't expect that I'll be doing any double 24kg snatches in the near future, so the handle thickness shouldn't be too much of a distraction. So at least now I have TWO 24kg bells to play with and that I did...

Double Clean: 2x24kg - 10
Clean & Press: 24kg - 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4
Double Swing: 2x24kg - 10

Double Clean: 2x24kg - 10
Clean & Press: 24kg - 1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4
Double Swing: 2x24kg - 10

Overhead Walk: 24kg - L/R

The Double Cleans felt great. The Presses are coming along nicely. I've had slight rotator cuff discomfort in the right shoulder for a little while. Not sure what's causing it. But nothing too bad. The Overhead Holds seem to help get everything aligned nicely.

The Double Swings were tough. I really had to focus on driving my heals into the ground to stay rooted in these. But otherwise good!! I need some rest right now. Hopefully another workout early tomorrow.