Monday, June 30, 2008

Three Day Recap

It's been a busy weekend and I hadn't had a chance to update my journal here, so let me fill y'all in on what's been going on.

On Saturday, I held my 2nd kettlebell class outside in a local public park. Two members showed up and we went through the basics of kettlebell lifting. We reviewed swings, cleans and presses.

One attendee brought along her DD 14lb bell which she said she wanted to work toward being able to press it. At her gym, her trainer only has her performing dumbbell presses with 8lb dumbbells. Well, with a bit of coaching she was able to press that baby a few times in each arm right off the bat! I was so proud!! =)

Mixed into the class we also did some joint mobility work, some stretching and some qigong breathing exercises. We were lucky to have a beautiful morning to workout in and it was the start to a good weekend.

Now Saturday, mind you, was supposed to be my rest day. But after giving that class and all the demonstrating that went along with it, I decided to rest up on Sunday instead. So yesterday was nothing (except 2 sets of swings to loosen me up).

Today was my scheduled 'heavier' day. Here's the play by play...

Warmup: Z-Health R-Phase - Lumbar and Thoracic

16kg - 2 min (16L/16R)
24kg - 2 min (16L/16R)
32kg - 1 min (3L/3R)

2x 16kg - 10
2x 24kg - 10

16kg - 10/10
24kg - 10/10

I was very happy with how much easier the 24kg jerks felt. But first time attempting to jerk the 32kg, wow, what a difference. But hey, gotta have something to work toward, right?

That's it for today. Tomorrow is scheduled rest day, Z is on the docket. Jerk 'em high y'all!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chugga Chugga, Chugga Chugga . . .

Keep on moving, slowly but surely. Each morning is a little bit easier to get up. Still dealing with this sinus thing, but at least I'm able to function somewhat in the meantime. My plan is still to not overdo it. Do just enough to get things circulating and moving without taxing my system too much.

Here's today's scoop...

1-Arm Bottom Up Clean: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

1-Arm Jerk: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - (15L/15R)

And that's it. Tomorrow morning I will be teaching a kettlebell class in the park. I have a few confirmed and a few maybes. Hopefully we won't get rained on. Until tomorrow! Jerk 'em high!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Dreaded Snatch-Snatch-Snatch Day

Both my son and I were awfully congested during the night. Turned out he was in and out of our bed for most of it. During those wee hours I kept thinking to myself, "there's no way you're getting up to workout in the morning". When the alarm finally did go off, I hit the snooze button, thinking, "you really should sleep in and get your rest". But then another voice spoke up and said, "but then again, you always do feel better on those days that you put in even a small workout". Finally around 6:45am, not being able to breathe well lying there, I hoisted myself up and started moving.

I wanted to make today my one-movement day, where I pick a single movement and run it through the circuit. My greatest fear was the all-Snatch day. So I sat there debating with myself, "last week we made it an all-Long Cycle week, maybe we should make today an all-Jerk day". But something inside me said "step up and do the Snatches!" So I decided to face my fear and go for it. I first through in a Franz Shubert cd, to get the classical tunes going and this is what followed...

Snatch: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

In between each set I took a 1 minute break. Therefore it comes down to 144 snatches in 11 minutes time. So now I can say two things, "I did it!" and "I'm done for the day!!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bottoms Up!

It was a Bottoms Up kinda morning today. Woke up yesterday, feeling really good but as the day progressed I could feel my throat getting scratchy and my sinuses getting that 'burnt' kinda feeling. My 2-year old has had a stuffy nose as of late, I guess it finally got hold of me as well.

So was feeling a bit achy and congested this morning, but thought it best to still move through an easier workout.

Warmed up with Z-Health R-Phase Neutral & Lengthening, Pelvis and Hips.

1-Arm Long Cycle Bottom Up Push Press: 8kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

1-Arm Bottom Up Press: 8kg - 3 min (18L/18R)

1-Arm Bottom Up Clean: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

I'll admit the weight was light, but keeping it in the bottom up position for 1-1/2 minutes each hand was tough. That was it for today. I'm sure my forearms are happy for that. Gonna take some Claritin and hope for the best now. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

R-Phase, Recuperation and Guilt

Today was my planned rest day. Funny that after yesterday morning's session, I felt really good. I mean really good. Last week was the first 'heavier' day that I threw into the mix and I REALLY felt it. I remember feeling tightness all around my rib cage following the session and I believe I passed out early that evening. But yesterday was another story. No ill effects even though I did increase the intensity a bit.

So throughout the day, know that today was to be a rest day, I was overcome with some guilt and a feeling that I should not rest today, that I should train again and not take the day off. I suppose this is a good thing because I am hungry to grab that bell again. It is weird how it struck me though. So early on and so strongly. I suppose I'll just have to chalk it up to training smartly these days. When the time comes when I don't want to pick up a bell, then I guess I'll be in a state of over-training. But for now, I'm feeling GOOD!

So today consisted of a Full Body Training Session (FBTS) of Z-Health R-Phase. Ran through it from head to toe.

Now I guess I just chill out. Until tomorrow!

Monday, June 23, 2008

My Heavier Day

Monday's are now my Heavier Days. Days where I stray a bit from the AKC Fitness Protocol and throw up some heavier bells. I am intentionally keeping the volume lower on these days until I have gained some comfort moving these boys again and my body agrees with it as well.

Warmed up with some Z-Health R-Phase Neutral & Lengthening and Pelvis & Hips.

Then moved into the bells...

Jerk: 16kg - 2 minutes (16L/16R)

Jerk: 24kg - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

Jerk: 24kg - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

Squat: 2x16kg - 10 reps; 2x24kg - 9 reps
(9th rep didn't feel 'perfect' so I stopped there)

Cooled down with some light 12kg Swings.

And that's all for today. Tomorrow is my rest day with a Z-Health R-Phase Full Body Training Session. Jerk 'em up all!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Morning Practice

Some people like to wake up on Sunday morning's and read the newspaper. I like to wake up and swing my kettlebells.

A new note on my training schedule. After last week's sessions where I worked Monday through Friday and then proceeded to rest over the weekend, I learned that two days off in a row is too much for me (unless I REALLY need it). After the two day layoff, I didn't feel as sharp as I'd hoped so I am now going to continue with my now 5-day per week schedule but break up the rest days.

This is the new plan:
Sun/Mon - Workout
Tue - Rest (with Z-Health Full Body Training Session)
Wed/Thu/Fri - Workout
Sat - Rest (with Z-Health Full Body Training Session)

We'll see how this works this week.

During this morning's session, I noticed two things: (1) The forearm pain I am still feeling on my left side, which I have been dealing with since January, is aggravated by over pronation of my hand at the bottom of the downswing when I Snatch. I was able to adjust that today and felt the discomfort disappear. (2) I think my hand position within the bell during the rack position is improving. It just seems to be settling in as I direct my focus on my overall hand position as I prepare for the Jerk. Nice!

So this was today's session:

Jerk: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

Long Cycle (Jerk): 12kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

Jerk: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

Long Cycle (Jerk): 12kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

Total work time today was 18 min. Total rest was 6 min. Second time through the circuit was tough going. I had to push myself to stay on time and grit through. And I got it done! Git 'er done!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Long Cycle

This morning I thought I'd perform a pseudo long set. Still working within the AKC Fitness Protocol framework, I simply strung together three circuits of the Long Cycle (Jerk).

Warmed up with Z-Health R-Phase Neutral Stance & Lengthening as well as Foot, Ankle & Knee positions. Along with a few Swings.

Long Cycle: 12kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

Long Cycle: 12kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

Long Cycle: 12kg - 3 min (15L/15R)

Took 1 minute rest in between sets. And that's it for this morning.

I am planning on teaching some bell movements to a few coworkers this evening after work. Gotta load up the car with extra bells. There goes my fuel economy!

Also received in the mail yesterday Z-Health I-Phase book and DVD so that's something I'll start going through over the weekend. Fun, fun, fun!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

My (Early Morning) Motivation

I've had more than a few people comment on my ability to consistently wake up early in the morning (5:00am) before having to head into the office to be sure to get my kettlebell workout in for the day. I do have a few personal motivations that keep me going...

(1) I am very fortunate that I enjoy working out. I know people who work out, but do it because the "know they have to", not because they like it. I like the way I feel while I am working out. I like the way I feel after I work out. If I don't work out for any prolong period, I don't feel like myself.

(2) I enjoy working with kettlebells. I have found them to be a workout tool that satisfies me, and in the limited amount of time that I have, they provide me with an optimal workout, improving my strength, endurance, flexibility and body composition.

(3) Kettlebell workouts can be short and even when they are, they are still effective. I work long hours in a corporate job behind a desk with a long commute (about an hour each way, sometimes a little shorter, more times longer depending on traffic). I also have a wife and two-year old son who I don't see enough. When I get home in the evenings, there's no way I'm going to ignore them and lock myself away to workout. Therefore, the morning's allow me to take care of myself so that I can take care of my loved ones in the evening's.

That's about it. I would suggest to anyone who is thinking about getting up early to train to start easy. Start off getting up about a 1/2 hour earlier each day. But only workout every other day. Let your body get used to waking up and moving around. On the day you don't workout, do something easy like stretch or joint mobility work or meditation. The point is to condition yourself to get out of bed earlier than you are used to. And at the same time, make sure you go to sleep at night early enough so that you're not exhausted in the morning. I set my alarm for 5:00am each morning (weekends not included) and try to at least be getting ready to go to sleep by 10:00pm at night. Last night I got to sleep closer to 11:00pm, but I was still able to get up this morning to get my session in.

Another trick that helped me - I started this in the Fall of last year. Just as I was getting used to waking up at 5:30am we put the clocks back for Standard Time. Then all of a sudden I could actually wake up at 5:00am and my body thought (at least for a while) that I was actually getting a 1/2 hour MORE sleep than before. By the time my body caught up with what was happening I was in the 5:00am groove.

OK, enough about waking up early. I was able to wake up early today and here's my workout...

Long Cycle Bottom Up Clean and Press: 8kg - 3 min (12L/12R)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

Jerk: 12kg - 3 min (24L/24R)

I went back to the 8kg today for the Long Cycle Bottom Up Clean and Press to build up my coordination just as I did with the Bottom Up Clean. A few sessions like this and if all works the same, I should have no problem performing same with the 12kg. That's it for today. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Short & Sweet

Man, oh man... yesterday's session sure made an impression on me. I was feeling it all day and come evening, I was in bed early. Moving a bit slower than usual today, I did drag myself out of bed and squeezed in a short session. Here it is...

Warmup: Z-Health Lengthening, Ankles & Knees, Swing: 12kg - 10/10

Clean: 12kg - 3 minutes (24L/24R)

Half Snatch: 12kg - 3 minutes (15L/15R)

Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - 3 minutes (15L/15R)

Only went through the circuit once with only a minute rest in between.

Finished off with a few stretches.

Nice and quick, now I'm off to work!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Little Heavier

Decided to start incorporating one heavy (heavier) day into my current training program. And since I'm now shooting for a Mon-Fri schedule, today was the day for it.

Nothing too dramatic, but I hope to add some more volume and weight as the weeks progress. Here's what it looked like...

Warmed up with some Z-Health Lengthening, Foot & Knee (I am going to try to start incorporating this more frequently into my program, so for now will be focusing on smaller areas at first)

Jerk: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 12 reps per min (12L/12R)
24kg - 2 minutes @ 6 reps per min (6L/6R)
24kg - 2 minutes @ 8 reps per min (8L/8R)

Squat: 2x16kg - 10 reps x 2 sets

Swing: 16kg - 15L/15R

That's it and that's all. Swing 'em high y'all!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Well What Do You Know?!!

It turned out to be a busy weekend for me so I didn't get any kettlebell workouts in. Yesterday was Father's Day, although I spent most of the day catching up on some work around the house. Spent a few hours working outside directly under the blazing sun which assisted in sapping my energy.

Therefore, today I decided to go a bit easy on myself and only run through a single circuit with the bells, using a somewhat easy routine. Last easy routine included 8kg Bottom Up Cleans. I was able to nail those nicely, so today I decided to attempt these once again with the 12kg... and what do you know?!! I was AMAZINGLY surprised!! This is what the morning looked like...

Bottom Up Clean: 12kg - 3 min (L24/R24)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (L24/R24)

Long Cycle Press: 12kg - 3 min (L12/R12)

Swings: 16kg - L10/R10

I was able to nail the Bottom Up Cleans dead on! What was it - two weeks ago or so that these were flopping all over on me?? I was completely amazed at how easy these felt relative to my last outing. And even funnier is that my left side felt stronger than my right. (My right arm could still be fatigued from yesterday's work.) All I can say is "WOW"!!

(P.S. Next time I'll attempt the BUP's half naked, perhaps I'll be able to move up to the 16kg's without any additional prep.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finally Friday

It's been a long week and a long few weeks. Starting Monday I transition into a new role at work. This has been planned for a while now and it's finally happening. This should be a good opportunity for me in more ways than one. At the same time, I performed my first 6 minute set yesterday and today decided to make one pass through the "CinciNasty" reducing my rest time from 2 minutes to 90 seconds. So all in all, a productive week on all accounts!

So today looked like the usual...

Jerk: 12kg - 3 min (L24/R24)

Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (L24/R24)

Long Cycle: 12kg - 3 min (L15/R15)

Length of sets and reps per minute unchanged, but rest period was reduced by 25%. The week is definitely catching up with me, so I only performed this circuit once through. That's it!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My First 6 Minute Set!

OK, this is probably no big deal for a lot of people who read this blog of mine, but accomplishing this in good standing represents the start of more good things to come.

Knowing that my time was limited this morning, I mentally prepared to complete a single 6 minute set today. This is twice the length of the sets I have currently been training with.

I chose the 1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk) as my movement for the extended set.

Used the 12kg pro-grade bell (16kg is on order).

Got my clock with the big second hand set up in front of me.

Set my Gymboss interval timer for 3 minute intervals.

Started my Gymboss when the second hand of my clock hit 9.

Waited till the second hand hit the 12 and then began on my left side.

I was able to maintain a nice, steady pace of 10 reps per minute throughout.

My Gymboss let me know when I had 15 seconds remaining on my left side. (I was afraid I'd zone out and not remember if I was in my second or third minute, so having the Gymboss counting down in parallel helped ease my brain.)

At the 3-minute mark I switched hands and continued on the right side.

At minute 6, I smiled, put down the bell and said, "YEAH!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Scott Sonnon's RESET DVD

I was able to watch Scott Sonnon's RESET DVD over the weekend.

Very interesting stuff. It's all about learning how to relax your body while performing a specific breathing technique to reduce your heart rate during periods of rest. This will then allow a person to either perform their next set or interval or round with a greater cardiovascular reservoir than they might have otherwise.

The techniques themselves are relatively simple. I am finding that it is more difficult to couple the techniques together effectively, but as Scott states it takes practice.

Therefore I have now started practicing these techniques in between my kettlebell sets while I am resting. Of course, as I progress through my Fitness Protocol, my rest periods shrink, which will cause me to modify which techniques I will use and for how long. So this will be my experiment for a little while. According to Scott, practicing this method for 2-4 months will allow it to become hard wired into your system, so that we can use it almost without thinking. This is only Week 1 for me, so I have a ways to go.

I'll keep everyone posted on how things progress.

Back At It

Back in the groove this morning. I strang (that's a word right? string, strang, strung?), anyway, I strang together a few different movements this morning which turned out to be a relatively easy session. I guess that's a good sign, huh? Just about time to reduce my rest interval.

Here's what this morning looked like...

Bottom Up Clean: 8kg - 3 min (L24/R24)

Half Snatch: 12kg - 3 min (15/15)

Long Cycle Press: 12kg - 3 min (12/12)

Ran through this circuit 2x. The hardest part was toward the end of the Bottom Up Cleans. Those last few seconds/reps were getting difficult but I was able to hang in and keep my form perfect.

I'm finding the hardest adjustment for me is still coordinating my breathing. If I don't pay attention I go back to my old habits of inhaling on the downswing rather than exhaling. I suppose this will just take some more time. That's it for today, swing 'em high y'all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Just Some Z-Health

Was a bit tired this morning, so slept a bit later than usual. Worked through Z-Health R-Phase from toe to head this morning. Da's it!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Morning

It's been a while since my last update. Sorry about that. Not too much going on as it turns out. Toward the end of last week I wasn't getting to bed early enough and some fatigue set in not allowing me to wake up early enough to get my workouts in. So Thursday and Friday turned out to be rest days.

On Saturday, I ran through a single cycle of...
Long Cycle
using the 12kg for 3 minutes each (90 sec per arm).

Immediately afterward, I went through a Hard Style demonstration for someone new to kettlebells reviewing 2-Hand Swing, 1-Hand Swing, Cleans, Presses, Push Presses and Windmills. This demonstration took about 45 minutes.

It turned into a beautiful day on Saturday, but extremely HOT! We hit the mid 90's (F) during the day, and that morning although cooler was still rather warm for an early June morning.

THIS morning, I ran through the same workout but went through 2 times...
Long Cycle

again, using the 12kg for 3 minutes each arm, but twice through the circuit. I'm going to focus on this level of activity for the next few days and maybe by the end of the week I'll reduce my rest time from 2 minutes to 90 seconds.

That's it and that's all!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Logo is Here!

The new logo for Kettlebells NY.
What do you think???
I have also created some t-shirts which are now available at Cafe Press. The t-shirts have a little something extra on the back as well.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Cleans, Jerks, and Clean & Jerks

Late workout for me today. But you know what they say, better late than not at all!

Continuing along with my current training plan, today consisted of the following...

1-Arm Clean: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
1-Arm Jerk: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
1-Arm Long Cycle: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (15/15)
1-Arm Clean: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
1-Arm Jerk: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
1-Arm Long Cycle: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (15/15)

The Jerks were definitely fatiguing me toward the end of their second set. Funny how during the Long Cycle that follows I find the downswing of the Clean to be somewhat relaxing. I definitely like the way it opens up and stretches the lower back out during these. Wow, I never imagined I'd be saying that. Cool!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

More (Ugly) Bottom Up Cleans

I thought I'd return to work on my current glaring weakness - the Bottom Up Clean - today. Starting my first set off with a 12kg turned out to be an ugly mess. The second time through, I opted to go lighter with the 8kg. Viola! It was a thing of beauty. =)

Of course there were a few other sets mixed in between it all. Here's what today looked like...

Bottom Up Clean: 12kg - L90sec/R9sec (6/15)
2 min rest
Snatch: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
2 min rest
Long Cycle Press: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (12/12)
2 min rest
Bottom Up Clean: 8g - L90sec/R9sec (24/24)
2 min rest
Snatch: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (24/24)
2 min rest
Long Cycle Press: 12kg - L90sec/R90sec (12/12)

18 minutes of work plus 10 minutes of rest, total session 28 minutes. Early on I totally forgot about my breathing. I will have to remember not to pick challenging movements when I am trying to focus on something specific. One should really be able to go on auto-pilot for the most part so you can focus in on your target of the day. I goofed by choosing the Bottom Up Cleans. But I'll remember next time.

That's it and that's all for today. Snatch 'em high y'all!

Monday, June 2, 2008


After a long, busy weekend I was actually hoping to get some rest during the week (isn't that just the opposite of how we typically think?) but instead, after dragging my butt out of bed at 5:40am, made myself work through one circuit of kettlebells.

Today I had planned to focus on two things, (1) to exhale on the downswings and (2) get my elbow planted on my hip on each clean.

As simple as this may sound, it proved difficult to do both! My primary focus was on my breathing. This is the opposite of what I have been doing for the past year. So this alone kept my attention pretty much undivided.

I decided to increase the length of my sets to 90 seconds per arm today, while also increasing my rest to 2 minutes in between movements. Only ran through the circuit once today as well. So this is what it looked like...

Clean: 12kg - 90 sec each arm (22L/23R)
2 min rest
Snatch: 12kg - 90 sec each arm (24/24)
2 min rest
Clean: 12kg - 90 sec each arm (24L/21R)

That was it for today. Not sure yet what tomorrow will hold. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Just don't hold your breath. Breath out on the downswing!