Friday, November 28, 2008

Quick Post-Thanksgiving Day Workout

I threw in a quick workout today. My plan worked yesterday, where I focused my eating on turkey and not a lot of carbs. So I wasn't too full or feeling sick at the end of the day.

My back held up pretty well from yesterday's session so I decided to throw in a quick session today.

Jerk: 2 x 12kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Double Clean: 2 x 12kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

That's it and that's all! Just enough to keep things loose.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope that everyone reading this entry has a great day and is able to be thankful for something truly wonderful in their life. As difficult as life is, I still wouldn't pass it up. I am extremely thankful for my health and my beautiful family. I am also thankful that I stumbled across the American Kettlebell Club earlier this year which changed the way I look at my lovely kettlebells. I am also thankful for them and the joy (and pain) that they give me.

So before I head over to visit family today, I squeezed in a short workout that looked like this...

Swing: 12kg - 10/10; 16kg - 10/10

Snatch: 12kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm - total of 96 reps

Jerk: 2 x 12kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm - total of 18 reps

I was very happy with today's session. I dropped back in time on the Snatches so that I could increase my pace from my previous workouts. I could definitely feel the difference but it wasn't anything that was too overwhelming.

I was almost ready to quit after the Snatches, but after reading Scott Helsley's blog post yesterday about improving your rack, I decided to keep the reps low back work on my flexibility a bit.

This worked out rather well. I learned that I am not flexible enough (yet) to reach my elbows to my hips without unlocking my knees. I decided to allow the knee bend for now since the bells are light enough that my legs can handle it. Hopefully, my flexibility will improve so that this won't be an issue when I start moving up to the bigger bells.

I think it's time to get ready to eat now and give thanks. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

First Session with (Mini) Clubbells

I woke up this morning to happily be in one piece.  I'm sure you'd agree that we all feel happy when awakening this way.  In my case, it was especially nice considering yesterday's workout.  I was afraid that it might have been too intense, but with only a few muscular twinges during the day I was half way expecting not to be unpleasantly surprised.  Of course, after sitting in the car for over 2 hours on my commute home (Thanksgiving traffic started early) my back and legs were a bit tighter than usual as I prepared to end the day.

Rather than push things, I decided (as planned) to explore some more with the 5lb mini clubbells that I got when I ordered my Intu-Flow package.  Included with Intu-Flow was the Xtension DVD which demonstrates a few movements intended for one to utilize the mini clubbells as an extension of one's body while getting into the "flow".

Of the movements covered, I left out the first one, the Front Swipe, as it is too similar to the kettlebell swing, and my intent for using these clubbells is to provide my body with something different from kettlebell movements.  

I did practice the following:  Side Swipe, Hammer Swing, Split Swipe, Alternating Mill and Alternating Back Stroke.  

I was amazed at how heavy these little clubbells feel.  They are definitely a different animal from kettlebells.  I'm sure after a little practice they will become more comfortable.  I do need to practice now in front of a mirror.  Today's session was me watching on my laptop, then practicing on the rug in my living room.

One thing that jumped out at me was how my left shoulder pulled up when performing the Alternating Mill.  My right side stayed packed down as it should without any thought.  But my left shoulder was another story.  Not until I consciously focused on keeping it down did it stay down.  Something for me to focus on.

I also like the Hammer Swing.  It requires A LOT of thoracic mobility which will help me develop my rack.  This will be a good one for direct kettlebell assistance.  

The Side Swipe and Alternating Mills should provide a good amount of cross-body movement which I am looking for to help balance my movement patterns and strengthen my core.  

Before starting all of this, I also held one of the clubbells horizontally with one hand on each end and had it mimic a medicine ball.  I warmed up with a few Big Circles and Standing Russian Twists.

That's it for today.  I hope to squeeze in some bells tomorrow before filling my belly with Turkey.  Tomorrow's goal is to drop back down to a 6 minute Snatch set, increasing the rpm's to 16.  Jerk 'em up y'all!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Killed It!

My workout that is.  I may be a Dexter fan.  And I might be sad that there are only 3 episodes left this season.  But the only thing I am killing these days are my workouts.

Giving myself two days off and allowing my back to rest up, I was planning all day yesterday on how to ratchet up today's session.  I had decided for sure to increase my Snatch set to 8 minutes.  I also knew that I wanted to start out with a Jerk set, but wasn't sure how long to make it, particularly since I was planning on Snatching right after.

Well, I decided to stick with a 4 minute Jerk set, which I had gotten through in a prior session, and if I felt good I would extend it depending on my form and comfort level.  (These have a way of putting a stretch right into the injured part of my back.  Good or bad, I'm not sure.)  So anyway, this is what it looked like...

Swing:  12kg - 10/10,  16kg - 10/10

Jerk:  2 x 12kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm - total of 36 reps

Snatch:  12kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm - total of 112 reps

Cooldown consisted of some hip flexor stretches and some Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Movements.

I was very happy with how the Jerks felt.  I absolutely need to work on my flexibility and need some pointers on my form.  When the set was over my delts were fried.  I think it's a combination of my rack as well as actual jerk technique.  For now I will continue to work it as best as I can.  But when the AKC Coaches' Cert comes to NY, look out!  That's it for today, Jerk 'em up y'all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Monday Morning Quarterback

Well, I just might have overdone it a bit on Saturday.  Following my workout, I could tell that my back was not overly happy about things.  There was a bit of throbbing going on throughout the remainder of the day.  I had planned to help ease things with some Aleve, but for whatever reason, never did.

I then expected the worst on Sunday (yesterday), but was surprised that I felt as well as I did.  I decided to lay low and stay away from anything metal that had a handle.  This even counted for frying pans.  There was a bit of stretching occurring throughout the day, but not even much of that.

I received an email from Lorna Kleidman, who is an International Master of Sport, residing just south of my in NYC.  We have exchanged a few emails regarding my condition and she suggested I pick up a stability ball and work my core in some movements outside the sagittal plane, which is where all the kettlebell work is done.

Needless to say, one is now on order.  In addition, I decided to make this morning something of an easy, experiment/learning morning.  I started watching Scott Sonnon's Xtension DVD once again which is a mini-clubbell course.  There are a few movements within that specifically work in the lateral dimensions, specifically what I might need. 

I also picked up my 6 lb squishy ball and performed a few medicine ball movements including "Big Circles" and "Standing Russian Twists".  In the seated position I also used both the 12kg and 8kg bell to perform "Seated Russian Twists" - with these I placed the bell down on the floor for each rep rather than make it one continuous motion.

Hopefully, these types of movements will help me once and for all get over this last hump and get me strong again.  I know it is still going to take a while.  I'm continuing to try to be patient...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Some Saturday Snatches

With a bit of an ache in my back today, not sure what instigated it since yesterday was an off day, I was itching to work another set of snatches in this week.

I had been debating with myself on how to proceed after the last session.  I could either keep my pace of 12 rpm and increase the time to 8 minutes, or stick with a 6 minute set and up my pace a bit.

After much thought and deliberation and given that my back wasn't feeling as good as it should, I decided to keep the set length constant and increase my pace.  Of course, after my set I was feeling my oats and decided to finish off with a heavier set of one arm jerks.

This is what it looked like...

Swing:  12kg - 10/10;  16kg - 10/10;  20kg - 5/5

Snatch:  12kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm - total of 84 reps

One Arm Jerk:  16kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm - total of 32 reps

I then cooled down with a selection of Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Movements.  And tomorrow I rest.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jerks & Snatches

My back has been in an 'ok' state for a little while now. I have eased up on some of the lateral movements in the Intu-Flow program as well as the Compensatory Movements and it is making a noticeable difference in the positive direction. I appears that my back issue is dependent not just on my spinal twist but also on hip/pelvis movement as well. I think I will be making a purchase shortly - Gray Cook & Brett Jones' Secrets of the Hip & Knee DVD. Maybe there's something in there that might shed some more light on my condition.

Anyway, since I have been playing around with the 12kg bells again this past week, I decided to return to them now as my working weight. I was happily surprised at how well my back handled not only the heavier bell, but also the one-arm work, such as cleans and push presses. I was afraid the unilateral work would aggravate my back but things are feeling as good as they have been for quite a while now. So this is what today's session looked like...

12kg - 10/10
16kg - 10/10
20kg - 5/5

Jerk: 2 x 12kg - 4 minutes @ 6 rpm - total of 24 reps

Snatch: 12kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm - total of 72 reps

I felt a bit of tightness in my back following the Jerks, but nothing above a 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst pain, 1 being barely noticeable). So now we wait and see! =)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday's Training/Class

After taking the weekend off from training (although I kept busy with home improvements), I had an evening training session with some friends.  Half instructional for them and half training for me.  Here's what it looked like from my perspective...

Warmup with assorted Kettlebell Foundation Joint Mobility.

Swing:  12kg

Clean:  12kg - 4 minutes
(These felt great.  I got into a nice rhythm with my breath synch'd.  Felt like I was running at a good clip without losing my breath.)

Push Press:  12kg - 2 minutes

Long Cycle Push Press:  12kg - 4 minutes

Windmills:  12kg

Snatch:  12kg - 2 minutes

Swing:  12kg - 5/5/4/4/3/3/2/2/1/1
(Descending pyramid)

Swing:  12kg - 5/5 on the minute for 5 minutes
(These took about 30 seconds to complete, so it was close to 30 sec on/30 sec off for 5 minutes)

Cooldown with assorted Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Movements.

I can't wait to see how my body feels tomorrow.  This workout was a bit more extreme than what I've been working through as of late.  But it felt, oh so good!   I am hopeful.  Good night!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday's Kettlebell Class

The "hardcore 4" trained today on our lunch hour together.

We warmed up with some Joint Mobility and then were on to the bells!

Things proceeded in this order:


Turkish Getup

Clean - 2 minutes


Long Cycle (Jerk/Push Press) - 4 minutes

Snatch - 3 minutes

Getup Situps

Cool down consisted of Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory movements.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recovery Day

I am pleasantly surprised this morning to find that I am in not too bad shape today.  After yesterday's session with the 12kg, I started to feel the impact within a few hours.  It had been quite a while since I've swung the 12kg around and my body immediately noticed the difference from the 8kg.  But this morning, only slight muscular soreness but nothing pronounced.  I was particularly worried since I demonstrated the Hot Potato yesterday and thought for sure the twisting motion would aggravate my back.  I did try to keep the range of motion limited on the right side.  Maybe this is something I should actually started doing more!?!?  If I can start to strengthen that motion without entering the "pain zone", perhaps it will help accelerate my recovery?

As for this morning, I kept it light - Intu-Flow Beginner Program coupled with a hip flexor lunge stretch and some foam rolling on the hips, quads and back.

Everything is feeling pretty good right now, let's hope it stays that way.  We have another kettlebell class scheduled for tomorrow at lunchtime.  I think Turkish Getups are on the menu.  Swing 'em high y'all!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kettlebell "Class"

Me and three of my friends and coworkers squeezed in a kettlebell workout today on our lunch hour. The session was a mix of instruction and workout. Before each movement, I reviewed the proper form with everyone and after a few practice reps/sets we moved it to a timed set. Here's what my workout looked like...

Warmed up with some joint mobility.

Swing: 12 kg - 5/5

Clean: 12kg - 4 minutes

Push Press: 12kg - 3 minutes

Snatch: 12kg - 2 minutes

LC Squat: 12kg - 5/5

Hot Potato: 12kg - didn't count

Windmill: 12kg - didn't count

Cooled down with plow, seal walk, tripod, seated twist, rabbit to camel and forward fold.

Intu-Flow with Bells Yet to Come

Woke up and performed some Intu-Flow this morning.  It turned out to be a hodge podge of the Intermediate and Beginner programs along with some of the Kettlebell Foundation Joint Mobility(KFJM)  movements mixed in.

The nice thing about taking my time and working through each of the programs individually is that I am finding that some movements work better for me for certain areas of my body and I can now pick and choose to make a more effective training session.

For example, this morning I started off with the Intermediate Intu-Flow program: neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, arms and hands.  But when it came to my thoracic spine, I selected the Isosceles and Sway from KF JM.  Moving down to the hips, I performed the Intu-Flow movements from both the Beginner and Intermediate program.  For the spine, it was Intu-Flow Beginner with a little bit of Bob and Weave from KFJM.  The rest of the movements were all from Intu-Flow Intermediate.

Today at work we are having a kettlebell session on our lunch hour.  A handful of us took advantage of a free week trial at the fitness facility on site and will be bringing our kettlebells in with us.  I'm not sure what I'll be taking people through just yet, but it should be fun.  I just have to make sure I don't overdo it myself.  More on that later today.  Swing 'em high, y'all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Warmed up this morning with the Kettlebell Foundation Joint Mobility program.

Swing:  8kg - 15/15

Snatch:  8kg - 8 minutes (48L/48R)

I considered throwing in some more Swings at the end but opted to cool down with the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory series.  Once again, now we wait to see how the back holds up.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Intu-Flow and some Yoga

Yesterday turned out to be a "do-nothing" day.  I am happy to say that the only effects from the long Jerk set was some muscle soreness and no increased back pain.  I felt it mostly in my upper back muscles with a bit in the delts as well.  It was a nice soreness.

This morning was my first run through Intu-Flow Intermediate without the aid of the DVD.  I also worked through a selection of the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory movements.  I worked each posture slower than you would if you were using it strictly as a cool down from your kettlebell work, as I can see they do overlap many of the Prasara Yoga flow postures, and that is a short-term goal.  I do notice that I need to keep some of the twisting postures shallower still, as even just a bit of over-exertion causes a bit of a flare up in the back.  I need to remember to slowly shave off the tightness and tension and not be that 20-year old that can throw themselves into extreme movements, feel beaten up and still wake up the next morning for more.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow, we Snatch!

Saturday, November 8, 2008


I hadn't originally planned to do much today, but I woke up a bit early (yes, even on a Saturday) and pushed myself a bit harder than planned.  Not too worry though, it was a good push.  This is what this morning's workout looked like...

Swing:  8kg - 10/10

Jerk:  2x8kg - 8 minutes @ 6 rpm (48 total)

Swing:  12kg - 10/10

Swing:  16kg - 10/10

Ab Wheel:  6,  6,  6

Cooled down with a selection from the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory series.   Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Muscles tight today, particularly in my injured right lower back and my left hip.  

I performed Intu-Flow Intermediate program followed by a few Compensatory movements to help open things up.  

That's it for today.  Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Light Snatches

Those Get Ups the other day really made an impact on my back.  I'm not in a lot of pain, but have a raised level of discomfort than prior.  I was almost going to make this morning a low intensity day with only Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory movements, but a little voice in my head told me to push through even with the lightest set of Snatches.  So this was today's light workout...

Swing:  8kg - 10/10

Snatch:  8kg - 6 minutes (36L/36R)

Cooldown consisted of some foam roller work to the hips and quads followed by the following selection of the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory movements:
Neck Roll
Sleeping Warrior
Downward Dog
Seal Walk
Kneeling Side Bend
Forward Fold
Shoulder Bridge
Wind Removing
Spinal Twist
Seated Shinbox
Cossack Knee Switch

On a side note, since incurring this back injury, I had continued to eat as if I were still training 5 days a week and put on about 5 lbs.  In the last week with my recent uptick of (light) workout sessions I have made an effort to clean up my eating a bit and have dropped just over a pound in the last 10 days, along with 1/2% of bodyfat (according to my Tanita innerscale).  [It also told me that I have the metabolism of a 21 year old which is sweet of it given that I turn 40 in January.]  As for cleaning up my eating, I honestly haven't done too much.  I've skipped a few bagels on some mornings (probably my biggest downfall), kept away from some (but not all) of the Halloween candy that has been floating around and lastly tried not to go back for seconds (or thirds) during dinner.  So just a little bit of will power and immediate results.  Nice to know this stuff works!  =)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President-Elect Obama, Wow!

For those of us alive today, this is an historic moment in this country's history with the election of our first non-white president.  I think and hope that this is the beginning of a greater acceptance of racial diversity in this country, for the greater good of the country and the world.  

On a more personal level, I decided to work through the Joint Mobility sequence of the Kettlebell Foundations program.  There are 26 movements in the series, working down from head to toe, and out from core to limbs.  Some of the movements are similar to Intu-Flow, some build on Intu-Flow and some are very kettlebell-specific, while all are good!

My back still feels the effects of the Get Ups from yesterday, which is why I am taking it easy today.  In the future I will go back to them but for a time without weight until I can perform them pain-free.  That's all for today.  Congratulations, President Obama.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Workout

Woke up this morning and felt to be on the path to (slow) recovery.  Because it is Election Day, where we vote for a new president today, I elected to switch up today's workout a bit.

Getup:  8kg - 3/3
(I felt these in my back immediately, so I stopped them early.)

Squat:  8kg - 10,  10,  10

Dip:  8,  8,  8

Pullup:  3,  3,  3

8kg - 15/15
8kg - 15/15
12kg - 15/15

Although it might not look like much, I am actually feeling rather good while performing these and making myself stop so that I don't accidentally overdo it.  But that's a good sign, don't you think?!?!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Not Too Bad

The past few days have been pretty good days, I must say.  

I woke up yesterday morning with no adverse consequences from the prior day's Swings.  I decided to bring it down a notch and worked through Intu-Flow Intermediate Program.

This morning was focused on the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Program.  Since this was all I was doing today, I took my time working through each of the postures, practicing all except for Floor Scorpion, since one is particularly tough on my back right now.  This took me about a full half hour.

That's it for today then.  Chiro appointment this afternoon and if all goes well, we're back to bodyweight stuff tomorrow.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Increasing Swings

Feeling pretty good today, I decided to kick it up a notch with some Swings.

8kg - 20/20
12kg - 15/15
16kg - 10/10

Not wanting to over do it, I stopped there. I felt it almost immediately in my glutes and hamstrings. It's been a while since I've done anything heavier than the 8kg. Now I'll wait and see what tomorrow brings. It's frustrating that I'm still not seeing anything consistent with my back. I guess that the good days are starting to out number the day, so that in itself is positive.