Thursday, July 31, 2008

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Jerks, Jerks and more Jerks

Lotsa Jerks today.

For some reason, unconsciously, I skipped over my Z-Health warm up, and went right into some 16kg Swings.

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

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

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

Took an untimed break and then proceeded with a few more heavier ones...

1-Arm Jerk: 24kg - 2 minutes (12L/12R)

1-Arm Jerk: 32kg - 3L/3R

And that was it for today!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Recovery Day: Z-Health I-Phase thoughts

Today was my rest and recovery day.

I worked through Z-Health I-Phase for neck, shoulders, elbows, thoracic, lumbar and pelvis. Followed up with a little stretching.

I'm still not comfortable with I-Phase. Not just because the movements are more difficult than in R-Phase. We've essentially taken all of R-Phase and added the complexity of performing them with the body in various lunge positions. Granted I still need to give this program more time. But personally, I'm feeling that R-Phase might have been enough for me. I do still need to work through more of the movements in I-Phase and there are a few variations contained within it that I like, for example the lumbar circles while in lunge stance, but what I am currently envisioning is that I will most likely continue to use the R-Phase program the majority of the time and sprinkle in a few favorite I-Phase variations as I feel necessary. I guess that's not a bad thing, huh?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Snatch, Snatch, Snatch!

Today was all Snatching. And although when I choose to do these, I'm always a little bit scared, today's session went very well.

I have finally started to get that 'bounce' in my Snatch, utilizing more knee flexion and extension at the bottom of the movement. My hand position has improved, although it still has a ways to go. Next Saturday's Steve Cotter certification has come at the PERFECT time. All the work I've put into this since the May AKC cert should allow me to really hone in on making my form even better with Steve's coaching. Next stop after that... AKC Coaches Certification!

Warmed up today with Z-Health R-Phase pelvis, lumbar and thoracic movements along with some 16kg Swings

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

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

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

Cooled down with some stretching. I've developed a bit of a muscle ache in one spot in my lower right back. I think carrying Anthony around all week coupled with the now heavier bell work has brought it out. I'll be trying to use the stretching along with some ice/heat therapy to get it under control. That's it for today. Now it's my first day back to work. I sure hope there isn't any traffic...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Last Day Home

Being the wise person that I am, I extended my vacation days to include today, that way I wouldn't have to return to work on a Monday. You gotta ease back into the work week, you know?

So while I now wait for the plumber to arrive to replace my hot water heater, I squeezed in a workout session.

Warmed up with some 16kg Swings.

1-Arm Bottom Up Cleans: 16kg - 2 minutes (12L/14R)

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

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

I wasn't feeling the Bottom Up Cleans today. Oh well... but my Snatches were feeling pretty good as were my Jerks, although I was breathing pretty heavy toward the end of them.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Home Again!

Back home again. I was very pleased that this was the first vacation I ever went on where I did not pack any socks! And I never missed them!!

Today I decided to move up a level in my training. Using the 16kg still, I have now reduced my rest intervals to 90 seconds each. Here's today's session...

Warm up with some 16kg Swings.

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

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

Long Cycle: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Swing: 16kg - 20L/20R

Cool down consisted of stretching. Till tomorrow....!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Vacation Snatch Progression

It was a wet and rainy morning here on the Cape. Setting my kettlebell down on the ground created a nice "splash-back" off the grass. On my first overhead movement, the residual water dripped off the bell onto my face. Good morning!

Getting out in between the rains this morning had me go through a shorter workout than two days ago. Here's what it looked like (don't blink you might miss it)...

1-Arm Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (16L/16R)

Half Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

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

Hand position at the top of the Snatch felt much improved today. Although I now feel I need to work on the transition into the drop. I think I am using too much arm and need to incorporate more of a hip turn possibly. Not sure. Right side does feel better than the left. That's it for today. Tomorrow we head home. =(

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation Pressing Progression

I was inspired to workout this morning
as I found a nice spot in a park across
the road from our hotel which sits on
the harbor.

Warmed up with a few 16kg Swings.

1-Arm Long Cycle Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk): 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk): 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Swing: 16kg - 20L/20R

Cooldown with Z-Health R-Phase and some stretching.

I was enjoying being outside early in the morning and had a good amount of energy so I worked through two cycles with 2 minutes rest between each set. I brought a digital Count-Up timer with me and it was easier to keep the rest intervals at 2 minutes. When I get home it'll be time to reduce my rest.

That's it for today. Maybe one other session in the works for me on this trip - probably Friday. Then before you know it, we'll be back home.

I can say that so far, I am relaxed and enjoying myself. Eating lots of seafood and ice cream. Drinking some wine. Luckily, one can leave their car and walk wherever you want to go. That makes things very nice!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pre-Vacation Workout

I was able to squeeze in one more workout this morning before it's time to pack up the car. Another short but sweet session.

Warmed up with a few 12kg swings.

Half Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (15L/15R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Press - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

I continue to need to focus on my hand position when Snatching. Perhaps something will come to me in a dream while away... Or perhaps I'll just have to keep working on it. Not sure what my blogging will be like while away. This could be it until the weekend. Or maybe not. We'll see.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sunday Practice

Today was a quick session as we're in the middle of preparing for VACATION!

Warmed up with a few 12kg swings.

Although I am a righty, and start all my sets with my left hand, I have found that my warmup works out better when I start with my right. My right handed swing feels more fluid than my left handed swing. Therefore I feel like getting the rest of my body in the right groove first, helps when I then switch to the left.

Then moved into today's working sets...

1-Arm Bottom Up Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (14L/14R)

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (15L/15R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

I was very happy with how today's session felt. Extremely happy with the Bottom Up Cleans with this being the first session with the heavier bell. (I made sure I put some chalk on my fingers before starting this set.) The Snatches felt pretty good, although I have work to do to get my hands into the proper position at the top of the Snatch, meaning getting the right angle within the handle. And the LC PPresses felt easy. A good sign! =)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday's Jerk, Snatch & Long Cycle

Having moved up to the 16kg bell my focus right now is on the quality of each rep, not the quantity. Therefore I'm taking my time through each set and really trying to make each rep perfect with every one looking exactly like the last.

Warmed up today with a few 12kg Swings.

1-Arm Jerk: 16kg - 2 minutes (12L/12R)

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

1-Arm Long Cycle - 2 minutes (9L/9R)

Swing: 16kg - 15/15

I'm off to Cape Cod next week for some well needed R&R. I'll bring my bell with me, but there's no telling what will get done, if anything. That's it, jerk 'em high y'all!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cleaning with Kettlebells

I Cleaned with kettlebells today. But I don't do windows!

Today's focus was on getting the handle dropped onto my fingers on the downswing of each clean. Secondary focus was in getting knee activation on both the downswing and upswing.

After watching a few videos recently, I became aware that the kettlebell handle should not be rotating in the palm of my hand on the downswing. It should be more of a drop from the rack position into the fingers, getting you into your Swing grip immediately without any friction or rubbing into the meat of one's hands. (At least that's how I understood it, please let me know if I can wrong.)

Warmup consisted of Z-Health R-Phase hips, knees and ankles, along with a few 12kg Swings.

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes (10L/10R)

Six sets in total, taking my time, setting up a good rack for each rep and then trying to get that drop into the fingers. Easier said than done, but it's a start. That's it for today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rest Day!

I slept a bit later today (till 5:30am!) and upon awakening worked through the Z-Health R-Phase program with a small sprinkling of I-Phase mixed in. I have yet to continue reviewing I-Phase. Maybe next week while on vacation?! =)

When done, I then did a bit of light stretching which is something I have been neglecting for a long time now. I always feel better when my flexibility is in a good place. Does this mean I need to start waking up even earlier!?!??

I was definitely tight in my hamstrings, torso and back. Could be somewhat attributable to the introduction of the 16kg bell-work this week. Nonetheless, stretching is a goooooood thing! I'm going to try to squeeze this in some more too. Maybe I should just become a full time trainer, eh??

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Let's Start At The Top

Starting to work with the 16kg now, I decided today to strictly follow the AKC Fitness Protocol and start back at Level 1. I can make through longer sets, but it obviously takes it toll on me. And I'd rather get in more training, than be forced to take more rest at this point. So back to Level 1 we go.

Warmup consisted of Z-Health R-Phase neck, thoracic, pelvis and knees.

Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (12L/12R)

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes (15L/13R)

Long Cycle Press: 16kg - 2 minutes (8L/8R)

Pistol: 2 minutes (8L/7R)

Swing: 16kg - 15/15

My Snatch numbers are a bit askew because I started concentrating on my hand position at the top of the movement while working the right side. That slowed me down a bit.

As for the Pistols, my right side was tighter than my left so I was not able to get rock bottom on that side today. I should probably introduce more stretching into my routine...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rainy Monday Morning Kettlebells

I REALLY need to set up a video camera in my bedroom. It's not what you think... ;) This is happening way too often now. Last night I specifically made sure that the alarm was set and that the volume was turned up for this morning. Earlier I woke up on my own at 5:40am. The alarm had been set for 5:00. As I looked at the clock, the alarm was turned off. I must be sleep shutting off during the night. This is crazy. I know my solution is to move the alarm away from the bed, but somehow that seems like self-induced torture. Oh well, I still got in my workout this morning.

I took yesterday off as I could really feel the impact of switching over to the 16kg. And bad me, I didn't drop back on my time. Neither today. I kept on with the 4 minute sets but slowed my pace. And I am proud to say that I was not chasing reps. I found a nice tempo that would allow me to get through the 4 minutes and tried to keep that pace. Here's what today looked like...

Warmup: Z-Health R-Phase - thoracic, shoulders and neck

1-Arm Jerk: 16kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

Snatch: 16kg - 4 minutes (16L/16R)

1-Arm Long Cycle: 16kg - 4 minutes (12L/12R)

I will have to wait to see how I feel tomorrow. I may drop back down to the 2 minute sets if this proves to be too big a jump for me at this point. Only time will tell. Jerk 'em high y'all.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Class & Training

It's a hot and humid day here in New York. I started off the day with a 9am class in the park. Two students attended today's class. We went through the Swing, Clean, Push Press and Squat. First we reviewed each technique individually to make sure we had the movement down. Then at the end of class, we linked them together into one long circuit. I think my students were thoroughly pooped at the end of the hour.

A few people have requested that I post another video of one of my AKC Fitness workouts. Using today's class as my reference, I filmed my 12 working-minute session after I got home from class.

I decided to upgrade to the 16kg bell today. With that, I decided to slow down my pace just a bit from what I was doing with the 12kg. So please excuse some of the choppiness of my pace, as I was not used to this tempo and had a few instances where I either was moving too fast or too slow and I tried to let some time pass or in opposite tried to catch up to my desired pace (I know, I shouldn't be chasing reps, bad me).

So this is what today's session consisted of...

1-Arm Clean: 16kg - 4 minutes (24L/24R)

1-Arm Push Press: 16kg - 4 minutes (24L/24R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 16kg - 4 minutes (16L/16R)

Since YouTube does not allow you to upload a long video, I broke it up into one for each set. And this is what it looked like...

1-Arm Clean...

1-Arm Push Press

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Arm Grappler!!

Felt much better yesterday and last night, so I am up and at 'em again this morning. Today I chose what is called the "Arm Grappler". I now understand why it is called that - my grip is shot!

Warmed up with Z-Health R-Phase thoracic, shoulder and elbow movements.

1-Arm Long Cycle (Jerk): 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

Snatch: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

1-Arm Bottom Up Clean: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Swing: 16kg - 15/15

I have to admit the Bottom Up Cleans were UGLY! I had to take a quick break one minute it to chalk my hands. The sweat was making these impossible. I was then able to eke (sp?) these out, but they were still not pretty. I was forced to use my other hand at times to help stabilize the bell. Nonetheless, my forearms are shot. At the end of the 4 minutes, I attempted to pick up my towel which proved to be quite difficult.

This also made the finisher Swings taxing due to my challenged grip and hands. But you know what? It's DONE!! And so am I (for today). =)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursday Off

Took today off. Was feeling light headed last night. Could be this sinus congestion that is still hanging on after two weeks now. Or maybe I need to eat more. Or maybe just need some more rest. Or maybe a combination of all three. Anyway, hopefully I'll see an improvement today. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Long Islander

Moving right along, I am trying out some of the various sample routines suggested within the AKC Fitness Protocol. Today was the Long Islander, categorized as an intermediate workout.

To warm up, I performed Z-Health R-Phase thoracic, neck, shoulder and elbow movements.

Workout looked like this...

1-Arm Clean: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Half Snatch: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

That was it for today. I intentionally kept it easier today following yesterday's heavier work.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Just Jerks

Well not exactly. I just liked that title.

Yesterday turned out to be a wash. My alarm went off on time, only the volume was turned all the way down so I couldn't hear it. Today, I heard it. Although I wasn't moving too quickly, I did make it up and got in a short, heavier session.

Warmed up with a few 12kg Swings.

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

1-Arm Jerk: 24kg - 3 minutes (18L/18R)

Pistols: 5L/5R

Swing: 24kg - 10L/10R

My back was a bit tight this morning which made the Pistols a bit more difficult than usual. I want to start making these more regular.

The 24kg Jerks were intense. I don't recall last week's too clearly, but I only did 2 minutes at a bit of a quicker pace. That extra minute sure makes an impact, I suppose. And the 24kg Swings feel like crap. I should probably stick with 16kg's for a little longer. Only a month now until Steve Cotter's cert!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Hamiltonian

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of teaching my mom and her friend how to swing a kettlebell. After seeing that new infommercial about kettlebells, they were interested in learning what they were about and if they really worked. Well, I taught them about REAL kettlebells, not those tiny little things they dance around with on the infommercial.

Within a few minutes they were each swinging away! By the time I got home, my mom had emailed me with a webpage from Target asking which of their bells she should order. I think I have myself a few new followers. =) The more, the better. Everyone should be swinging kettlebells!

Anyway, my workout today consisted of what is affectionately known as "The Hamiltonian" within the AKC's Fitness Protocol. I am currently working with 4 minute sets, taking a 2 minute rest in between. This is what it looked like...

Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (24L/24R)

Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

12 minutes of work with 6 minutes of rest. Since it's Sunday and my little guy was napping, I decided to run through a second time.

Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (24L/24R)

Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

In the last minute of the last set I thought I was tearing some skin. No pain, my right hand just felt a little funny. Turned out one of my old callouses was crinkling up. I pulled it off, no problems!

I did have to use chalk during today's workout. It was warm and I wasn't using a fan. I used just enough to cover my fingers and not my palm. Worked like a charm!

That's it for today. Enjoy the rest of the weekend y'all!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Another Z-Rest Day

Today was a scheduled rest day (again?!?!). Actually, today I won't complain. I can definitely feel the after effects of yesterday's now-extended "CinciNasty". To begin resting I went through the Z-Health R-Phase program from head to toe. Also began to practice some of the I-Phase movements.

Today's I-Phase practice included:

* Lunge Positions - there are about 30 in total, if you count all of the combinations between both legs - I practiced just some of the basic ones. If you've every studied a traditional martial art, these will come rather easily. Unless of course you've also been injured in one of your martial arts, then maybe not so much.

* Neck Positions - these are almost identical as the R-Phase except you perform them in a lunge position with your trunk rotated which increases the range of motion and forces you to keep your shoulders down. Not a bad progression from R-Phase. Then again, with my bad neck, I like most neck exercises.

* Shoulder Positions - a new rotational exercise which I like as well as a series of Figure-8 movements which just seemed 'ok'. Shoulder work is important to me as well since I've had injuries to both shoulders (along with my neck)

That's it for today! Now I shall eat!!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Independence Day Workout

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Thanks to our forefathers, you are now free to speak, live and swing your kettlebells!

Today I worked through my second day of 4-minute sets. I went for an 'advanced' routine today, the one dubbed the "CinciNasty" by the American Kettlebell Club. Here's how it looked...

1-Arm Jerk: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Snatch: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Long Cycle: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

Swing: 16kg - 20/20 (1.5 minutes)

All felt good up until about the last 2 minutes of the Long Cycle when it started to feel taxing. But I simply tried to relax and focus on my breathing while keeping good form. And you know what, before I knew it, the set was over!

Only recently have I reintroduced the Swing as my finisher and already I can feel the difference throwing those into the end of my session. My body is feeling more fluid with them and my breathing is getting better synchronized with the movement. Nice!!

That's it for today. Enjoy your freedom everyone! And let's all remember and pray for our soldiers who are putting their lives on the line every day for what this country was created for. God bless them and all of us here on Earth!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another (Small) Step Forward

After some weeks now of following the AKC Fitness Protocol, I eased into the next level of training where I perform 4 minutes of work for each movement. I started out at 2 minutes per movement, performed that until I was could handle to work load with only a 30 second rest in between, then increased the working sets to 3 minutes each. And now about 6 weeks (?) later, I've promoted myself to 4 minute sets.

I'm still using the 12kg bell for all my work. Once I can perform all of the designated movements for 4 minutes a piece will I then graduate up to the 16kg bell at which time I'll start all over!

Here's what today looked like...

Clean: 12kg - 4 minutes (32L/32R)

Half Snatch: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

Long Cycle Push Press: 12kg - 4 minutes (20L/20R)

Swing: 16kg - 20/20

I am going to start adding at least one set of Swings at the end as a finisher to my work. Now that my time through three movements is getting longer, it will be more difficult for me to go through twice in the morning. Therefore, I'll have to supplement with Swings. (I also only like to perform each routine once through when I change one of my variables, just to make sure I don't inadvertently overdo it.)

Have a great Independence Day everyone!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Rest Day - R-Phase

I stood strong today and rested. As of last night, I really wanted to lift the bells today. But I know I need to rest. So I battled myself and that crazy guilt about NOT lifting and took the morning off.

Went through the Z-Health R-Phase series this morning from head to toe. And that's it. With a little more review I may start messing around with I-Phase over the holiday weekend.

Until tomorrow, jerk 'em high y'all!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rest Swap

OK, today was my scheduled rest day, but because the weekend got switched up on me and because I was feeling good, I swapped out today's rest day for tomorrow's workout. Which means that tomorrow will now be my rest day.

I was feeling really good after yesterday's heavier workout and decided to go up another level with the AKC Fitness Protocol. At my current point in the program, that simply meant cutting down my rest time from 1 minute to 30 seconds. Here's how it looked this morning...

Warmup: Z-Health R-Phase - Neutral & Lengthening, Lumbar and Thoracic, Shoulder Camshafts

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

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

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

Swing: 16kg - 15L/15R

Just one time through this morning. This was relatively easy to get through this morning. Although a second time through would have been tough.

I think I'm ready to jump up to the next level ---> 4 minutes per movement!! =)