Monday, December 28, 2009

Catch Up Training

Wow, now that the holidays are half over, it's time to start catching up on my training. I've been pretty lax in the past weeks, just very busy preparing for the holidays as well as year end stuff at work. So now I'm getting moving again and can really feel the effects of the layoff.

That being said, I'm ramping up slowly. Here are the last two training sessions...

Saturday, 12/26
One Arm Jerk: 20kg - 8/8
Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 3 minutes @ 7 rpm
Windmill: 16kg - 5/5
Squat: 2 x 16kg - 10
'Lazy' Swing: 16kg - 20/20

Monday, 12/28
Swing: 16kg - 10/10
Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 14 rpm
One Arm Clean: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm
Snatch: 2 minutes @ 16 rpm
Clean: 2 minutes @ 16 rpm
Double Swing: 2 x 20kg - 7, 8

That's it and that's all!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snatch Sets

A bit of snatching was on the books for today. I had to cut my sets short as an old blister started to bunch up and I didn't want it to tear. Not too bad a session regardless.

2 x 20kg - 10/10
2 x 24kg - 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10

Overhead Quarter Squat: 1 x 24kg - 15/15

"AKC" Swing: 1 x 24kg - 10/10

That's it and that's all. Time to rest!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jerk Sets

Today was a volume day for Jerks. I admit I strayed a bit from my original plan. Feeling confident, I decided late last night that I would introduce a few sets today with the 28kg bells. Just a few. And I did. And this is what today looked like...

2 x 24kg - 12
2 x 28kg - 8
2 x 24kg - 12
2 x 28kg - 8
2 x 24kg - 8, 8, 12

Squat: 2 x 16kg - 10

Treadmill: easy 1.3 miles

I was rather surprised at how 'light' the 28kg bells felt compared to the 24's. I think I might have to weigh my bells tonight. It was just a bit weird. My original plan was to hit 80 reps in total with today's session using the 24's, but since I introduced the 28's, I didn't quite make it. Nonetheless, I am happy with today's work.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snatches - 20kg

Today was Snatch Day. I'm still trying to allow for reduced intensity on my snatches until I'm able to recuperate fully from recent high volume work. So after Friday's 10-minute set with the 16kg, I decided to slip up to the 20kg bell today for just a bit more intensity. Here's today's session...

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 12 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 28kg - 8/8

Swing: 20kg - 15/15

I was pleasantly surprised how 'comfortable' the 8 minute set was. I remember not too long ago saying how much I dreaded the 8 minute sets. I guess working with the 24kg bells how certainly made an impression on me. Nice!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Flying Solo

Today is Day 1 of me crafting my new, personal training program. After much thinking, I am going to try to put a training plan together that matches my own personal goals based upon the various training plans that I have been exposed to up until now. How will it pan out? I have no idea. But it should be fun trying to find out. =)

Here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 4 minutes @ 6 rpm

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 2 minutes @ 7 rpm

Bumps: 2 x 24kg - 20 reps

Squats: 2 x 16kg - 10 reps

Cool down with 10 minutes of light treadmill work.

So far, so good. Tomorrow we snatch!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Nice & Easy 10-Minute Snatch Set

I'm in need of a little recovery time, so this week into next I'll be tapering a bit to allow my body to recuperate fully.

So today's session was a light one...

Snatch: 16kg - 10 minutes @ 14 rpm

Deadlift: 1 x 24kg - 10/10

Swings: 1 x 24kg - 10/10

This was an easy session. It's great to be able to complete a 10 minute snatch set and not even be breathing hard! (OK, it was a light bell for me, but still.) Have a great weekend, y'all!

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Arm Long Cycle

Felt like I needed a change of pace today. I never train long cycle (I keep saying that don't I?), so since I didn't have much time to train today, I decided to swap a few bells in and out and work up a good sweat.

All sets are with a single switch and 2 minute rest in between sets.

One Arm Long Cycle:
24kg - 4 minutes @ 8 rpm
20kg - 4 minutes @ 8 rpm
28kg - 2 minutes @ 8 rpm
16kg - 4 minutes @ 10 rpm
32kg - 2 minutes @ 8 rpm

That's it for today. I worked up a sweat all right. But it felt good!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

North Jersey Kettlebell Competition

This Saturday, November 14th, the second North Jersey Kettlebell Competition was held at the Fit Experience in Sparta, NJ, hosted by none other than the infamous Mike Sanders.

This meet turned out to be a really great experience for me in several ways, even though my actual performance was not too impressive.

So what will the results for me show?
Jerk: 2x20kg - 49 reps
Snatch: 20kg - 45 reps left hand... then dropped bell, set over

For me, this is sub-training performance, but there are a few items that need to be considered:

- I had not planned to compete leading up to Saturday. I was planning on judging only up until the morning of the competition. Because of that, I had been training hard for the two weeks prior, with lots of high volume, 24kg work. Even the day before putting in a huge session of jerk assistance work.

- My body was tired and shredded on the day of the meet. My hands were torn up from snatching on Monday and Tuesday. Both palms torn up and not completely healed. I knew going in that these were going to be a problem.

- I was up at 4am feeding my baby girl that morning and was riding on caffeine when I arrived at the venue.

So, after all of my crying and moaning, why am I so pleased with the meet?

- If I can bang out 49 reps of jerks without even being rested, then I can't imagine how well I would do if I had actually tapered for the event.

- I hadn't trained a long, timed set of either lift in over three weeks, prior to the competition

- At rep 45 of my snatch set, my wind was great and body felt strong. My wound had been opening up just prior to that and I attempted to hit 50 reps before switching hands (and bleeding), but unfortunately my hand had other ideas.

And I learned a few things...

- On my jerk set, I didn't have a good view of the clock and totally lost track of the time and my pace. In practice, I typically go at 8 reps per minute. At the end of the first minute of the comp, I was already at rep number 12. I was flying. I tried to slow down, but was still hitting the same pace at minute two. It was at that point I stopped even trying and just went into auto pilot and did whatever I felt.

- On my snatch set, I made sure I was able to see the clock well and was keeping my pace. At times I felt like I could have gone all day, resting with the bell at top, looking around at the crowd. It was a GREAT feeling!

I also have to say that first stepping onto the platform for my first jerk set was a great feeling also. I waited for the count down, cleaned the bells and got settled into my rack. At this point too, I got comfortable, took a deep breath and looked around at the crowd in front of me. I settled in and went to work. It felt great!

I am so looking forward to my next competition! Next time, there will be no hesitation. I will be prepared. I will be ready. And I will be competing with the 24kg bells!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Going Dark

I've decided to use my body as a laboratory and experiment with a different training protocol from what I have been doing up till now.

Because this will be experimental, I won't be posting my exact workouts here for the time being. But I will provide some insights on my progress every now and again.

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Insert "Heavy Day" Here

I wanted to mix things up a bit, so today I decided to work my sets with the next size up - the 24kg bells. This was my first real attempt working these bad boys for time.

First impression: They felt much heavier for my jerks but not as bad for my snatches. On a good note, I recall the 20's felt similar when I transitioned from the 16's. So it's all good.

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 24kg - 4 minutes @ 12 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes - run/walk

Tomorrow it's back to the 20's. Changed my mind about tomorrow's session. Not speed work but long sets.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Little Bit Like Yesterday

Today's goal was to match or exceed yesterday's session. It was successful.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes - L[14/14/12/12], R[14/14/12/12]

One Arm Jerk: 32kg - 8/8

Swing: 32kg - 5/5

I matched yesterday's jerk session and was able to increase the pace a bit on the snatch set, breaking through the 100 rep barrier.

Didn't want to run today, but give myself another day to get strong. Tomorrow I'll be breaking in a new pair of running shoes, so we'll see how I'm feeling. I'm also going to play with the 24kg bells tomorrow. And Thursday's session will be back to the 20kg bells, but at a faster pace than today.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Winter in the Garage

Went down to the garage to train on my lunch hour today, as I normally do. Today, it felt especially cold. I couldn't see my breath yet, but I don't think the temp was too far away. Kettlebell handle felt very cold during my snatches. I think I need to invent a kettlebell warmer. Or maybe just sit them on top of a stove before training.

On the docket was a planned 6 minute jerk set and an 8 minute snatch set. For some reason, thinking about 8 minutes of snatches still makes me a bit queasy. Not sure why...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes walking

Jerks felt good. Snatches were ok, although my hands were fatiguing toward the end of each's turn. Hands are holding up very well. I started to a light run on the treadmill but my windpipe felt a bit raw, so I slowed it down. Overall, feeling pretty good today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Greasing the Wheels

I've been under the weather all week, so today was my first training day since Monday. Monday's session, which wasn't anything special, trashed me. I'm hoping to be back to full strength on Monday to resume my quest for Rank II. Today's session was intended to get the rust off the old hinges and get the wheels greased for a Monday explosion.

One Arm Jerk (OAJ): 28kg - 20/20, 20/20

Swing: 28kg - 15/15

Rope work

Two sets of OAJ, one hand switch, no time involved, just straight reps depending on how I felt. I felt pretty good! Swings felt good as well. Rope work was just some messing around with different jumps, e.g. double unders, crossovers, one leg, running, etc.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fours Day Off, One Day On

Tough day, tough couple of weeks. My training has been very erratic lately. I'm struggling a bit to get things back on track. Maybe it's two months of little sleep coinciding with busy times at work. Whatever it is, it's hurting my momentum and motivation.

Today was baseline at best.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes @ 4.5 mph

Even the treadmill work was difficult today. I think I'll watch myself a Rocky montage. Maybe it'll help spark the eye of the tiger in me!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Day After the Day Before

Was nice and sore from yesterday's performance so eased back a bit on my jerks and focused on getting a good snatch set in today.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes - 8,10,8,8,8

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

Rope work: 6 intervals - 1 min off/1min

Body was definitely tired for the jerks. But I was pleased with the snatches. I was able to maintain my left hand finger lock for the first 3-1/2 minutes at this pace. That's a great improvement for me. Right hand was good throughout the entire set.

I forgot my running shoes at home, so grabbed my jump rope and did a few intervals. I'm getting good at making it through each minute without tripping! =)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WTH Kinda Day

Today was a tough day to get my body moving again. After a long, extended weekend without training, I went into today's session just trying to punch the clock. Surprise to me, it turned out to be a WTH kinda day!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 7 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Jerk set turned out to be a PR and only two reps away for what I need for Rank II. Where the hell did this come from?!?!? I had planned for a six minute set. As the sixth minute was coming to a close part of me wanted to throw the bells down, but another part told me to go on. And I did. I surprised myself today. Feels good!

Snatches on the other hand were very tough. My bruised finger is healed so that's not an issue. Hands are holding up well. It's a combination of conditioning and local muscular endurance with these. Funny how my snatches were always leading my jerks but now it's turned around a bit. I need to focus on these hard the next week. I need eight minutes at this same pace for rank. Is definitely doable. I just want to be more comfortable when the time comes.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Twice the Jerks, Twice the Fun

Left index finger is bruised today, so no snatching. I added in a second jerk set today, a bit shorter and a bit slower.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 4 minutes @ 6 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes @ 4.5 mph

The second set of jerks was tough. First two minutes felt pretty good, rack felt like butter! Minute three was difficult. Minute four felt brutal but I made up my mind to make it through and I did.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Not a lot of training time for me so far this week. And now today turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment as well.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes

I clipped my left index finger somewhere in minute four between the bells while returning into the rack. I finished the set, but there is a bruise under the nail and it hurts like hell. I can't snatch with it at the moment. I don't think it will need to be popped but will wait to see how it feels tomorrow. If I still can't snatch, I plan to add in a second jerk set as a replacement until I am able to put some pressure on the finger again. This is my first real kettlebell injury!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Off the Cuff

Today's workout was an off the cuff session. I didn't have time to train on my lunch hour today and thought the day was a loss. But got home and the wife and kids were still out, though on their way home, so after prep'ing dinner I decided to run into the garage for a few minutes.

With my 20kg's in the back of my car, I decided to experiment...

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 28kg - 4 minutes @ 8 rpm (2 min per arm, 1 switch)

I was planning on going longer with the jerk set except right at the 3 minute mark the motion sensor light in the garage shut off leaving me in the pitch dark. I could have continued, but for how long?

I then quickly grabbed the 28kg and threw in that set. My left forearm sure didn't like having that weight pressed up against it. Too bad. Get used to it. This is your future!! =)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Every Day is a Holiday!

Famous words by which great entertainment character?

Well for me, every day is pretty much a PR day. I am now in unchartered waters as far as kettlebell sport is concerned. Every day that I push myself into uncomfortable places, I make gains and hit a PR.

Here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 4-1/2 minutes - 42 jerks total

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes - 14/12/14/10/14/12/14/12 - 102 snatches total

OAJ: 24kg - 8/8

Swing: 24kg - 10/10

Today is a snatch PR. For jerks, I was shooting for 5 minutes @ 10 rpm. Shortly into minute five, I gassed out. I held on till the 4-1/2 minute mark but was only able to throw up two reps in that time. I was definitely a good sprint!

So how am I viewing my training/progress? Here's a little graph that I've been entering my daily training volume into. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


New PR today with my jerks. Hurray!!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Rope: Intervals - 1 min on / 1 min off for 10 minutes

Today's jerk set was 10 reps away from my Rank II numbers! Oh I can taste it... it's almost here.

I had hoped to have enough in the tank to stretch my snatch set out to 7 minutes at this pace, putting me within a minute of Rank II snatch numbers, but the jerks wiped me out pretty good. With a little more rest in between I could probably stretch this to 8 minutes and hit my numbers.

I incorporated some rope work again as its been a while since jumping. Up till now I have been pretty exhausted after my sets and couldn't imagine having to keep my arms up any longer, but was inspired today. I'm going to try inserting these into the sessions in place of treadmill very now and then.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Straight Forward

Straight forward work today...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes - light run/walk

Felt the best yet at the end of today's jerk set. Tomorrow I shoot for six minutes at same pace.

Snatch is coming along. Unfortunately I had a bit of a callous built up on my right palm that I should have taken care of, but kept saying, "it's not too bad". Well it was bad enough to catch and tear a bit of skin. Tomorrow I'll try my set as is and see if I can work around it. I had expected my left hand to end up with a tear as that hand fell apart toward the end of its time. I felt like my right hand held up strong throughout.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hard to Get Moving Monday

Not feeling 100% today. Something hit me over the weekend, either allergies or sinuses. Going into today's session I was set on a "program minimum" workout. After my jerk set, I decided to push things just a little bit, with good results.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes - walk/run

I don't think that I've worked this pace yet for my snatches using the 20kg. At least not since coming back from my back injury. I lost my finger lock during the third minute of my left hand, but was still able to keep the bell out of my palm. Right side held strong. I was breathing hard at the end but finished strong.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Playing with Pace

I decided to throw in some 'sprinting' into today's jerk set. Also was intent to make it through another 8 minute snatch set. Here are the results...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6, 10, 6, 10, 6

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

The jerk-sprints got my heart rate up and forced me to focus on technique. Snatches felt pretty good as well. The bell always feels heavy, but I'm still able to put up the numbers. Hands seem to have become accustomed to the weight and reps! A good outing!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bump It Up

I increased the volume a bit today and it was tough!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 7 rpm

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 3 minutes @ 7,7,6

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

That was it and that was enough!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Quiet Intensity

The morning started out quiet. Both body and mind were idling at a low rpm. Unfortunately, on Friday I threw down a challenge for myself to attempt an eight minute snatch set today. Not to give in to weakness, I stayed calm and focused on each rep...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minute light run

The snatch set went extremely well. I continued to focus on my finger lock on each downswing. My hands handled the set without a scratch. A good day!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

30 More Seconds!

Inching up, inching up!

Was shooting for an 8 minute jerk set today. It didn't work out exactly as I'd hoped...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 7-1/2 minutes - 6/6/6/6/6/6/6/2 (44 reps)

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes walk/run

I could have made it to 8 minutes with the jerk given my conditioning and strength. Unfortunately, my technique was breaking down and that forced me to stop the set. The bell in my left hand was shifting, wasn't sitting right and kept landing on the knuckles of my hand. I was losing balance with that bell in subsequent reps and tried to end it clean.

It's ok. This is still a PR for me. My longest jerk set with the 20's yet. And most reps to date. Next week I am going to make my baseline sets 6 minutes rather than 5 and keep on pushing.

Snatches felt good. I'm now getting a real strong finger lock with the right hand. Need to focus on same with the left.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Focus on the Drop

These days are rough getting myself going! Being up throughout the night is a killer. Sorry, do I sound like a broken record? Anyway, I got my butt moving today nonetheless. I got a late start as well so knowing that I wouldn't have time for a run, I threw in some 24kg assistance.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

One-Arm Jerk: 24kg - 8/8

Swing: 24kg - 10/10

I think I'm turning the corner with my snatches. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the drop. I'm starting to land the bell in my fingers and not grinding it into my palm. Even the set itself, which had been a bit daunting for me is now almost at a level of "almost comfortable". I'm amazed at how these things just seem to fall into place.

I am going to have to change my training plan up a bit. I promised to support and participate in the upcoming Long Cycle Championship here in NYC next month. Only problem, I'm not training LC! I think I need to de-optimize my biathlon training for a bit and sneak in at least one LC session each week. Once the meet is over then I will resume my biathlon focus again. What are you gonna do, huh? It's all good. And what wouldn't I do for my friends!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Punching the Clock

Dragging today. Not a lot of sleep last night, was up twice with the baby. Today was all about 'punching the clock'. Getting it in and getting it done.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 7 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 min light run/walk

My palms held up well today during my snatches. I'm still rubbing against my right index finger though. Happy with today's outing given how I'm feeling physically.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quicken the Pace

I now understand why we try to include running into our training programs!!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes light walk/run

By the end of this jerk set, I was winded! And by the end of the snatch set, I was gasping for air!

I'm still having some issues with my hands (mostly right hand) during my snatches. Still need to focus on this.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tough It Out

Felt a bit tired and fatigued today. Technique held up well. I had to grind out the last minute on my jerk set.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 7 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm

That's it!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Waving the Workout

Quick outing today...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 7 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Very happy with both sets. The increased pace on my jerks held up well. At the end of the (predetermined) fifth minute I was not completely spent. Tired but not fried.

My palms are holding up well with the snatches now. Today's set although still not "easy" was the "easiest" 6-minute set I've performed so far. Only issue now is that I'm rubbing the bell across the base of my right index finger at the top of the snatch and losing a bit of skin there. Nothing too terrible but definitely a product of my technique adjustment. I guess I still need a bit more tweaking to do.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Push From My Friends

After reading all the posts and watching the videos from my friends who competed at the World Kettlebell Lifting Championships this past weekend, I received a push from them that inspired me to hit the bells hard today. This workout is dedicated to each of you!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 7 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

My jerk mentality is now "get to the 5 minute mark, and then hang on for another minute, a few more times". Seems to be working!

My hands held up incredibly well today too, no problems! I guess my technique tweak helped.

Rank II is now in my sights....

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Sweet Spot

Feeling ok today. Have been up since about 4am so was running a little low on gas this afternoon.I wanted to put my snatch refinements to the test today, so stuck with a basic jerk set before my snatches.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm

Jerks felt ok even though I was tired. I was very pleased with my snatches! Both hands still had relatively fresh tears on them so this was meant to be a real test of technique. Only toward the end of each arm's time did I start to feel my palms starting to grab a bit, and this I attribute to the fatigue. My left hand fared better than my right. I took off just a bit more skin on the right hand, at the same spot that I tore earlier in the week, and none on the left hand. And on more than one occasion, I felt like I hit the sweet spot on the drop! It was a nice feeling. So this will now be something that I will continue to improve and strive toward.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PR Territory & Snatch Diagnostics

My wife did me a solid last night and let me catch up on some sleep. (Tonight I have to reciprocate.) So I was feeling pretty good for today's outing.I was intent on working my jerks with the 20kg's but wanted to take a step back on my snatches to try to determine what in my technique needed to be adjusted to help from having the bell catch my palms instead of my fingers.

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 8kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 12kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 14 rpm

My jerks are feeling pretty good. This was a PR. As I start making progress with these 20kg bells, each step forward is going to be a PR. This is all new territory for me. Exciting, huh?!!

I could have stretched this set out another minute, but then I thought, "what's the rush?". So rather than be too sore tomorrow, I ended at 6 minutes and will save the first 7 minute outing for another day.

I think my snatch diagnostics went well also. It appeared that I was dropping the bell away from my body somewhat which was causing me to grab onto it harder than necessary hence catching my palm on the down swing. Like I said, I think this causing the tears. Now I'll just have to focus on this change in future sessions. We'll see. It's all good!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

World Kettlebell Club Rank III Achieved!

I was informed today that I have officially achieved Rank III with the World Kettlebell Club.

What that means is, for me specifically with my body weight falling into the 75kg category, I needed to complete, using 16kg bells, a minimum of 58 jerks and 100 snatches (50 left & 50 right) each in under 10 minutes without putting the kettlebells down. I'll be posting the videos that were submitted to YouTube later this week.

For today's session, I decided to swap out the 16kg bells with 20kg bells. Here's today's workout...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

That's it and that's all!

Monday, August 24, 2009

An Easy Day

OK, I'm back at it once again! I'm back to work today. I now have to adjust for being up during the night for feeding the baby. Last night I was up at 2:45am, back to sleep at 3:30, then the alarm went off at 5:00. Not too bad. Lots of coffee certainly helps.

Being off last week I didn't want to hit it too hard today, so I stuck with a light schedule.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

I have to say, I am amazed at how differently jerks are feeling for me as of late. I can actually say that as far as jerks go, this set felt easy. My rack feels more comfortable and the jerks themselves are feeling tight and crisp. I think when I started focusing on being violent (aggressive) off of the first dip, I tightened up the movement and am now trying to get under the bells faster rather than trying to press them upward. What's the most interesting is how quickly it occurred as if someone flipped a switch. It's a very cool feeling!

Tomorrow, assuming I am not totally sleepless tonight, I will push the jerks further.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Something Different?

Tomorrow I'm back to work and that means I'm also back to regular training. No sleep or not, I'm going to have to stick it out as best I can.

To get things moving today, I decided to change it up a bit for fun.

One-Arm Press:
16kg - 10/10
20kg - 10/10
24kg - 5/5
28kg - 1/1

Windmill: 16kg - 5/5, 5/5

Swing: 16kg - 30/30 (this was one minute per arm)

That gave me a nice sweat. It's super humid today. As it's been lately. I'm having a hard time keeping the handles on my bells rust-free. I keep getting rust spots coming up which means getting out the sandpaper, clearing them off then chalking them up good. I'm going to enjoy the Fall!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peak Physique in Spring Valley, NY

Last week I had the pleasure of paying a visit with Steve Eckert and Eva Jundo at their facility in Spring Valley.

Eva and Steve have a very nice place with everything one needs to get into shape properly. Eva and Steve offer one-on-one personal training sessions along with various boot camp, kettlebell, boxing and self defense classes.

For the full story, you can find them here:

Steven and Eva were also kind enough to open their space to me for training my own clients, which I thank them for. Training people part-time as I do, without a permanent facility, has meant that I have had to turn down clients in the past. But no more!

Therefore if you are looking for a structured workout schedule, please contact Steve and Eva, at:

Steve Eckert
Phone: 845-893-6529

Ewa Jundo
Phone: 201-925-1860

And if you are interested in a one-on-one or group kettlebell session with me, you know how to find me. =)

In the meantime, train hard, train safe and have fun!

My Sleepy Update

Not a lot has been happening the past few days. I've been home from work so every day has been trying to help take care of the baby and Anthony so Mommy can get her rest and sleep. We're both tired, being up during the night, but for me once I'm up, it takes a lot for me to nap unless I'm really zonked.

So there hasn't been any time for the bells over the last few days. I have been doing a little bit of joint mobility work but nothing else. I return to work on Monday, which means I will have my lunch hours again to get back into some regular training. Until then, I'm not going to sweat it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taking the 20kg's Out for a Ride

No training over the weekend. Baby has been keeping us BUSY!

Even though I had very little sleep last night and today is probably the hottest day of the year here in NY, I decided to give the 20kg bells a ride today.

It's literally been months since I picked these guys up. I haven't totally dropped the 16kg bells yet, but want to start introducing the 20's in slowly until I hear back on my Rank III attempt.

Today's observation: the 20kg bells are heavier than the 16kg bells!

None the less, had a good outing...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 12rpm

My grip started to leave me toward the end of each minute during my snatches. But I was able to hold on and no tears!

This jerk set was one rep shy of my earlier PR with the 20kg bells. I have a feeling it won't be a hard PR to break.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Smash It!

Very good session today. I took the bells outside and found a bit of shade. Chalked up and went to town.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 7-1/2 minutes - 67 reps

Snatch: 16kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

I video taped today's session and will be submitting to the WKC for Rank III. Hopefully my technique was solid enough to achieve rank. I'm weighing in at the 75kg body weight category so I needed to achieve 58 jerks and 100 snatches (50L/50R). Tomorrow I drop the DVD in the mail and then wait.

Feels good!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Faster Still

Good session today. Lots of coffee this morning! I wanted to experiment my jerks at a 10 rpm pace. I was surprised at how easily they went up. It's amazing how different a five minute set can feel after a steady stream of training!

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 10 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

During my jerk set I was very focused on my 'intent' with each rep. Each rep went up crisp and clean. Surprised myself!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day One of No Sleep

Last night was my (our) first with limited sleep. We brought the baby home from the hospital yesterday, I tried to keep her up until around midnight, got to bed a little after that, got up around 2am to see if my wife needed help with her, was back up at 4am to feed her then finally up for the day around 6am.

I didn't want to push it too much today. I'm now in my garage and it's a hot, hot, humid day here in NY.

This is today...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

I'm amazed at how much more 'doable' these jerk sets are now feeling. They used to feel impossible. I could have pushed further but I figured to save that for tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, etc.

During my snatches I tried to focus on dropping the bell into my fingers. Seemed ok early on but as the set progressed so did that articulation. Just something else I now need to keep track of in my head I guess.

That's it for today!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Daddy's Little Girl

I'd like to introduce to the world, the newest addition to the Brewer family and kettlebell community, Alexandra Nicole Brewer!

She joined us yesterday, Saturday, 8 August 2009. She weighed in at 7 pounds 11 ounces and measured 19 inches.

Both she and mommy are doing fine!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Baby Time!

Just as I finished off today's quick workout, I got the word that my wife's water broke. We're now waiting for the contractions to increase before heading into the hospital. Tomorrow at this time I should be a new daddy for the second time!

Short session today...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 8 rpm

Swing: 16kg - 20L/20R

That's it! I guess I'll be taking the next few days off from training!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


No, not the KOL song, but closer to my Rank III jerk numbers. Actually very close. As on the cusp!

Here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 8 minutes @ 7 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minute walk/run

Today's jerk set was only 2 reps away from the number needed to achieve Rank III. What an awesome feeling!! I took a 5 minute rest in between lifts, then went at it. I wanted to go eight minutes with the snatch but the humidity was killing my hands so I cut it short. Yessa!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not too bad a session today. The garage was pretty humid and although I chalked my bell up good, I lost a wee bit of skin on my left palm. Oh well, it shouldn't hamper training tomorrow after a bit of O'Keefe's.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 7 minutes @ 7 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

Treadmill: 10 minute walk/run

I could have pushed through another minute of jerks without too much pain, but 7 minutes was my goal for today, so I took it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Picking Up the Pace

As things have been feeling good lately, I was considering testing for Rank III today. But over the weekend as I thought about it, I realized that I would need to go a full 10 minutes in jerk to hit my numbers with a little cushion, while only 8 minutes in snatch for an equivalent cushion. That's seemed a little lopsided to me.

So I decided to start working on increasing my pace a bit in the jerk (from 6 rpm to 7 rpm). This little improvement will allow me that cushion that I would like to have. And ultimately, increasing up to 8 rpm, would be clear sailing. Also, considering that future ranks require a slightly higher number of jerks than this one, I am probably wiser to start working on this pace now rather than later.

Here is today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 7 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes - walk/run

That's it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I was feeling a bit strange today leading up to my workout. I almost had a sense of fear as to what was to come. Funny as I hadn't planned to achieve anything out of the ordinary. Just weird.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

That's it and that's all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Still looking to keep the pressure on my jerk performance relative to my snatching.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 8 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes - 16/14/14/16/14/14

These jerks were a PR. Getting this under my belt feels amazing even though I know it's only the beginning. Gotta keep up the pressure!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Steady As She Goes

Nothing special today in terms of goals, just focusing on technique.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minutes - walk/run

Simple and effective.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Refinements

I'm starting this week off incorporating two refinements to my technique, (1) to rotate my hands outward from the rack on my jerks, trying to touch my thumbs, and (2) to improve the trajectory of my snatches.

So of course, I've been watching some of Valery's videos leading up to today's session. Jerk refinement is a much more obvious "macro" adjustment. Improving my snatch trajectory is a bit trickier, so I asked a friend and fellow kb lifter to watch my set and give me feedback while lifting. Here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

Rotating my hands during the jerks wasn't difficult in itself, except for the fact that my hands were cramping up pretty good at the 5 minute mark.

For snatches, I slowed the pace a bit so as to get some feedback during the set. I think I have fixed it somewhat, particularly on my right side. This is something I'm going to have to concentrate on each and every session.

That's it and that's all!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Friday Climb

I've been feeling pretty good after this stream of steady training. After yesterday's session, I wanted to continue to push a little more on one of the two lifts. This morning I decided to keep focused on my jerks since they are still lagging behind my snatches, at least from a ranking point of view. So that's what I did...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 7 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Rope: 3 rounds of 2 min on / 2 min off

In this short time I'm starting to understand why you need to train almost daily. Without it, its difficult getting to that 'comfort' level with the lifts, where they become not so daunting. Just last week I was dreading even attempting a 7 min set of jerks (even with these lemons), but it's gotten where I can see it and achieve it, even though it is not easy.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stretch out the Jerks

Was feeling pretty good after yesterday's session, so I thought I'd try to stretch out my jerk set today. Turned out to be a good idea.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 6 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Treadmill: 20 minute run/walk

All is good. Tomorrow is Friday and will be day 5 training for this week!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fast & Furious

Today's session was fast and furious. Crazy day in the office and I almost didn't make it down to the garage today. But I was able to break away for my two lifts with no cardio or assistance work today afterward.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

That's it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Jerks & Snatches - First Day Back

Today was the first day for me to begin combining my jerks and snatches back into each workout. I cut back just a bit on each today and also added a bit of (jump) rope work at the end for some additional cardio.

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 4 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 5 minutes @ 16 rpm

Rope Work: 3 intervals - 2 min on/2 min off

Today I can say I really felt like I was starting to work hard! Snatches are always harder after a Jerk set. And I'm proud to say in my last 2-min interval of rope work I didn't trip up once!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Grind It Out

I was physically wiped out today after my first full week of training last week, followed the workshop I taught on Saturday and a full day of home improvements yesterday.

Regardless, I wanted to get in something today. So a single set of jerks was it...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 6 minutes - 7/7/6/6/6/6

Being pre-fatigued going in as well as training in a hot, humid underground garage, I'm happy with this set.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Long Cycle

Happy Friday!!

I have successfully made it through my first week of training five days in a row! Giddy up!!

Here's today's session...

Long Cycle: 2 x 16kg - 7 minutes @ 5 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 24kg - 12L/12R

Long Cycle felt good. I could have gone longer if I slowed my pace after that seventh minute, but I'm not at the point where I'm pushing too hard. Maybe next week. =)

Enjoy the weekend y'all!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lemon Jerks

Almost forgot to post today's session!!! :O

Here it is quick & dirty...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes - 36 reps total

Swing: 24kg - 10L/10R

That's it. The plan for tomorrow is Long Cycle.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

how.e.b Snatching the Lemons

How do you like my new stage name?


I thought it had a nice ring to it.

Anyway, today was Day 1 of starting work with the 16kg bells again. Or as I like to call them, "The Lemons". Here's today's session...

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 24kg - 12L/12R

I am now trying to be very conscious of my Snatch technique in trying to make it feel like a Jerk. It's all about timing the hip pop and getting that bell to float up over your head.

Today's session felt good. I was on the verge of getting winded but my breathing held strong. All in all a good session!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Done with the 12kgs

This morning I hit my target for Jerks with the 12kg bells.

Jerk: 2 x 12kg - 10 minutes @ 6 rpm (last minute @ 8 rpm for a total of 62 reps)

Swing: 16kg - 15L/15R

Tomorrow, I begin working with the 16kg bells once again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

10 Minutes with the 12kg

Early morning session today, outside in my driveway. The air was cool and sun began to sparkle through the trees as I started my Snatch set.

Snatch: 10 minutes @ 14 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 20kg - 10L/10R

Snatches felt good, never lost my breath and at that pace I was able to rest every 30 seconds holding the bell overhead.

OAJ's felt good as well, just like old times!

Tomorrow we shoot for 10 minutes of Jerks.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Slow and Steady

Third day of training in a row today!

Jerk: 2 x 12kg - 8 minutes @ 6 rpm

Swing: 16kg - 15/15

Everything felt good. I could have pushed through to 10 minutes but I'm in no rush.

Correction from yesterday's post, I have not yet hit my Rank IV numbers yet. I need 53 Jerks along with 100 Snatches. I surpassed the Snatch mark yesterday and am on the cusp for Jerks. Still cool!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Rank IV Work

As I ramp my training back up, I realize that given my Jerk set yesterday and my Snatch set today, I've performed the reps necessary to qualify me for Rank IV of the World Kettlebell Club requirements. Cool!

Here's today's action...

Snatch: 12kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Eventually I'll get back to performing both Jerk and Snatch in the same session, but as I said, right now I'm allowing my body to get used to training daily again (or at least Monday through Friday).

Tomorrow I'll bump up the duration of the Jerk set!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Jerk them bells, UP!

(Very) short workout today. Part of my ramp up plan.

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

Swing: 12kg - 25L/25R

Plan is to start lifting again 5 days per week. Let's go!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rope Work

Squeezed in some light rope work today. Nothing fancy.

I set my Gymboss timer for 2 minutes on / 2 minutes off. Went 5 rounds for a total of 20 minutes, 1:1 work/rest ratio.

Some 2-foot jumps, single foot jumps and alternating foot jumps. (I'll work in some fancy stuff in the future.)

That's it, enjoy the 4th of July weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bodyweight Workout

Easing back into a regular program, I opted for a quick bodyweight workout today. Just a few sets of low reps to get things moving again.

Today consisted of:

* Pullups
* Dips
* Pistols
* Ab Wheel Rollouts

That's it and that's all!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

60 Years of Pain

Ever since I was a kid, I've had this innate feeling that I was going to live to be 100 years old. It's stuck with me my whole life. I don't know where it came from, but it's always been with me.

Only time will tell if I make it to 100, but if I do, that means I'll be living and dealing with this pain in my back for 60 more years. With that said, I am tired of talking about this back ache. It can be sharp when I'm twisting but is mostly an annoying ache. I've spent a lot of time, money, and energy focusing on trying to alleviate it over the last year. Given the final conclusion that it might never go away, it's now time to cast it aside and focus on other things. I will NOT be mentioning it any longer in my posts. The next time it comes up will be when I announce it's disappearance.

Today I started my return to training. I went easy. I'll be ramping back up slowly over the coming weeks. August 7th is my wife's expected due date of when our little girl should be joining us. There's no telling right now how that will affect my training. Nonetheless, it's "go time"!

Here's today's session...

One-Arm Jerk: 12k - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 12kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

Cooldown with some yoga. That's it for today.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Return to the Kettlebells!

The MRI images have been reviewed. The radiologist's report has been read. Follow-up x-rays have been taken. The mystery of my back pain is finally solved!

Unfortunately for me, there is no cure to ease my back pain. Turns out I have a symmetric 'defect' on my L5 vertebrae. Effectively, I have tiny fractures on each side of the vertebrae which is causing some awkward movement in the sacroiliac joint, which in turn is causing the discomfort that I have been experiencing.

I have apparently had this defect for a long time. And it's not going to heal, since the spine is always in a state of movement, otherwise it would have already. Therefore, I am going to have to learn to live with some pain.

I can't worsen these fractures. Therefore I am free to return to as much activity as I can tolerate. I should avoid twisting movements as much as possible as they will strain the joint more than not.

So this is my fate. What's next? Return to the Kettlebells.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Status Update

Well, I've been cruising along in rest mode for a little while now. I did notice a tiny bit of improvement in my back since my last visit to the doc a week and a half ago. I see him again on Tuesday, so maybe we can plot out our next moves.

I gave a short kettlebell demonstration Wednesday evening at a local martial arts school. I used the 8kg bell. I felt great while demonstrating. Immediately felt the effects in my back shortly after. It's funny that now I can feel things happening in two places as opposed to the usual single location. I'll be discussing this with the doc next week.

Last night, I re-watched the video I made of myself last month. At the time when I recorded it, I watched it and was very displeased with my form (I am always my worst critic). After last weekend's judging experience at the North Jersey Kettlebell Competition (I need to provide a write-up on it still) I must have gained some useful insight after viewing some many others perform the same lifts, that I was able to view myself a bit more objectively. I immediately identified some areas that need improvement and also felt more comfortable with my performance. It wasn't so bad after all. Or maybe I just needed some time away from it before judging it objectively. Doesn't really matter at this point as the end result is the same.

Nonetheless, I miss swinging the bells!!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Dare I say it? I'm a bit skeptical still. But I might, just might, be noticing a bit of improvement with the back pain.

Maybe there's hope for me yet!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Recovery Update & Qigong DVD

I'm still sailing along, status quo. Saw the doc yesterday who was surprised that I hadn't achieved any relief following last week's Cortisone shot. During yesterday's visit we performed the usual acupuncture procedure and followed it up with a deeper Novacaine shot, a bit higher in the joint. My instructions were not to do anything for a week. I'm not exactly sure if posting this blog is even allowed (?).

In the meantime, a friend recommended I look into Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang's "qigong for bad backs" book/DVD. I found the DVD available on Amazon and ordered it. It arrived yesterday. I will start watching it this week and perhaps introduce some of the exercises after my week of nothing is up. I did notice that there are some seated variations of the movements that I can probably test out.

That's it for now. I'll be in attendance this Saturday at the North Jersey kettlebell competition helping out and maybe taking some video, but won't be handling the bells. I'm committed to fixing my back once and for all. If I'm taking the time out now (again) I do not want to have to do this another time. Let's get 'er done!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recovery Update

I received by Cortisone shot yesterday. I am now just starting to feel the effects. But nothing too substantial just yet. Hopefully, when I wake up tomorrow morning, improvement will be more noticeable.

In the meantime I am continuing with weekly acupuncture and have begun some stationary bike work. Starting out easy on the stationary bike, I punched in 30 minutes on Level 1. For the entire time, my heart rate never rose above 100 bpm nor did I break a sweat.

Cheers to the bells. They have made me so fit that I could ride Level 1 for hours on end without ever taking a break!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rest & Acupuncture

I've taken this week off to rest following last week's visit to the sports doc. After getting much feedback from my kettlebell brethren, I decided to not be so stubborn and start the healing process sooner than later.

That means I'll be skipping the upcoming AKC Coach's Certification. As much as it pains me to do so, it is for the best. No sense digging the hole I'm now in deeper. It'll only take longer to climb out. And when I thought about it, I'd much rather attend the cert while 100% and nothing less.

So after resting for a full week, I feel anxious. I need to do something physical!

I went back to the doc today and had my first session of acupuncture. Nothing exciting to report. It was fine. Didn't hurt. Lasted about 20 minutes. This was then followed about with some light massage and a small injection of Novocain into my back. I'm interested to see if I can feel any difference tomorrow.

Next Wednesday I am scheduled for a Cortisone shot. Following that I am required to take it easy for a few days to allow the inflammation to go down. In the meantime, I have been given the green light to hit the stationary bike. Problem is I'm swamped at work this week and won't have a chance until Thursday. This sedentary lifestyle is killing me!! =)

That's it for now. More will be posted when I have more to tell.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Not So Good Diagnosis

Went to see a new Sports Doctor today to have him check out this nagging pain in my back.

In August it will be a year since the pain began and so far I have yet to get any lasting relief. I have been able to tolerate training and have not had any bad flare ups, but there is always some pain to deal with.

After an examination and x-rays, the diagnosis is that I have a sprained sacral-iliac ligament.

And the only way for it to heal, it to rest it. Resting it does not mean, no activity. Because this ligament (actually it's three ligaments that hold the sacrum and iliac together back there) is used to stabilize the hip and spine, any closed chain movements will aggravate it. In simple terms, anything that I do standing. I can perform open chain exercises, ones where I am either sitting or lying.

This is not the kind of news that a kettlebell lifter wants to hear. Apparently, I could continue to have this pain for the rest of my life if I don't allow it to hear properly. And there is always a chance that it could return again in the future, now that it's been injured once.

So what's the plan? Good question.

Between now and June 20, when I attend the AKC Coach's Cert, I am going to increase my rest days and drop down to lighter bells just to keep my groove on. Once the Cert is behind me, the doc suggests a cortisone shot coupled with a few weeks of acupuncture.

Ugh... I can't believe this. But at the same time, I need to think about my long term health and wellness. Whatever shall be, shall be. Just another day in the life of Howie Brewer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Focus on Quality

After digesting some of the suggestions I received from this weekend's video post, I decided today to focus on quality instead of quantity. Here's today's session:

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 4-1/2 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

The Jerks were going well all along but then at the 4-1/2 minute mark my brain seemed to cross some wires and I lost my first bump. It was really weird. So I stopped the set.

On my Snatches, I was very focused on coordinating my leg drive with timing the bump of the bell upward. I want to be sure I'm launching the bell with my legs and not swinging it upward. I was also focusing on not over-rotating my left hand at the top of the Snatch.

Lots of things were being thought about during today's session. Maybe I was thinking a little too much. But from time to time, you need to do it. Tomorrow morning, I see the back doctor!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Video

I had a few minutes today to bust out the video camera with the intent of filming myself for some self critiquing (sp?). It's been almost a year since I taped myself and it's about time that I did again.

It's a valuable tool to record yourself and watch it back afterward when you are calm and not heaving from being out of breath. I was not happy with my form in the video, but hey, it's a candid, honest view of me on a Saturday without any real preparation.

I did get some valuable feedback from a very well, respected lifter, which made my weekend. Rather than type any more, here it is, unedited. (You'll notice during my jerks that I'm speaking to my postman who happened to be delivering the mail and wanted to watch a bit.)

As always, any and all comments are welcome.

Friday, May 15, 2009

These Damn Bells

Only with bells can one hit a PR and still be unsatisfied with their workout. Today was something of an experiment. I decided to see what it was like to perform my snatches first and my jerks second. So here's what it looked like...

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm (**PR**)

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 2 minutes @ 6 rpm

As I was afraid the Snatches fried me. Although I was able to keep up my 16 rpm pace for the full 6 minutes, which is a personal record (PR). So I should be happy. But I am not happy with my Jerk set. Since this was a sparse week for training, I'm going to try to squeeze something in over the weekend. TGIF!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Simple Jerk/Snatch Day

I woke up early today feeling pretty good. As a matter of fact, by yesterday evening, the neck and back spasms I was having had disappeared. And I didn't even have to resort to taking an Advil! Anyway, this morning I treated myself to a Z-Health R-Phase (with I-Phase cervical and thoracic spine thrown in) session.

This afternoon's session went simply...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm

Cooled down with compensatory movements, stretching (started revisiting splits!) and other miscellaneous movements.

If my next Jerk workout goes as well as today's I'll be pushing into 6 minutes. I would have today, but I was intent on getting at least 6 minutes of Snatching in. Without having a lot of time to rest between sets, my Snatch form deteriorates quickly, as it did today with only 6 minutes rest in between sets. I am happy that I am now consistent with my 5 minute Jerk sets.

I'm also going to try to start eating more. I'm finding that with volume of my current sets I'm now starting to feel a bit fatigued in general. Maybe more calories with help.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get in a Long Cycle session.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ouch, What A Difference A Few Days Can Make

Last week's training was pretty much a bust. Lots going on at home and at work, didn't allow me to work my usual routine. I only squeezed in two sessions during the week.

On Saturday, I gave a short kettlebell demonstration at a local tai chi school. Looks like I will be going back soon to teach a beginner's seminar.

Even with this I could feel my neck and back tightening up on me over the weekend. And today, things were even worse. Not only did my workout feel tough physically, given my recent time away, but the muscles in my neck went into spasm. I can feel the tightness through my neck and up onto my scalp. It's been a long time since I've felt this way. Just goes to show what happens when you stop moving!

Anyway, enough crying from me. Here's today's 'easy' workout...

One Arm Press: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 12 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Long Cycle Push Press: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 10 rpm

Funny how I now go into automatic Jerk mode when I first started the Push Presses. I feel like my energy is lacking as of late. I think I have hit a point in my training where I need to start increasing my caloric intake. I'm weighing in around 162lbs (73kg) these days. Good excuse to eat, huh?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

High Altitude Training

Well, that's at least what I'm equating working out first thing in the morning on an empty stomach to - high altitude training.

What a difference early morning workouts are to working out later in the day. I really have to summon up more inner strength to get through these workouts. I was tempted to put the bells down early today, but I did not. I worked through, as tough and grueling as it was. And you know what, I'm glad I pushed through it! =)

Today I returned to the 20kg bells. One thing I need to re-teach myself is patience. These bells are a lifetime pursuit. No need to rush through things. I am going to continue with the 20kg's until I am at Rank II level. Only then will I move up. (What's wrong with me? I know better.)

So here's this morning's session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes - 46L/46R (16rpm first two min, 14rpm third min, then switch, repeat)

I'm really starting to appreciate the yin/yang relationship between these two lifts. First of course is the double bell/single bell relationship. And then there's the linear/circular aspect of the lift trajectories. But there is also the contrasting movement dynamics. The Jerk, for most part, appears to be a static lift where time can be spent relatively motionless, while the Snatch is pretty much non-stop movement. And each of these taps into a different kind of energy utilization. "Resting" in the rack position reminds me of horse stance training in martial arts. Anyone watching would think there was not much going on. But if you were in that horse stance, you knew how hard you were working! This might be a good topic for the future. But for now, that's it. Until tomorrow! (And I'm thinking Long Cycle for tomorrow!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Jerking the 24's

This was a busy weekend for me, but also a productive one (preparing for the new baby). The only thing I did training-wise was revisit Z-Health. I was able to quickly review both the R- and I-Phase programs and ran through a R-Phase session yesterday. I'm going to give Intu-Flow a bit of a break and mess with Z-Health again for a bit.

I woke up early today to squeeze in a workout before the day gets started. I had intended to Jerk and Snatch this morning, but unfortunately my son decided to wake up early as well. So I was able to squeeze in my Jerks, but that's all. Today is also the first time I attempted to Jerk the 24kg bells.

Here's how it went...

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 1 minute @ 5 rpm

Jerk: 2 x 24kg - 2 minutes @ 5 rpm

The first set started off a bit rocky. Probably because I hadn't warmed up any. And the bells felt heavy. I stopped a little bit into my second minute during the first set as I missed a lockout on my left side. But then decided not to allow myself to stop there, I cleanly made through another two minutes. And that's when Anthony decided to get up. So that's where I finished.

More tomorrow!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Going Green

I always recycle and like to think that I'm environmentally conscious, but today's reference to green is with regard to the 24kg bells. Wanting to give them a go again, I got up early today and ran through a short session...

One Arm Jerk: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Long Cycle: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

It was just about a month and a half ago that I attempted this same workout. Since then I've gone back and worked with the 20kg bells. I'm interested to see how my body reacts this time around. I'm not sure if I'm going to move full steam ahead with these or not. Only time and my body will tell.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

OK, So I Changed My Mind (I'm Allowed To Do That You Know)

Only half way into my new program design and I'm backing out. I had planned to split up my Jerk and Snatch days, which I did on Monday and Tuesday of this week.

And I am happy to say I was able to hit some very good numbers!

But, then I got to thinking and I was only able to hit those numbers because of the way I have been training up until now. And that is training both Jerk and Snatch in the same session.

I was also speaking with a fellow beller the other day who was impressed with my progress. He asked me what my secret was. I didn't have an answer. No secret. Just training the lifts together and training often.

So I'm back to that. I think every so often I will break up the days and strive for a PR, but not on a regular basis. I also felt like it would have been way too long in between sessions, e.g. only Snatching every third day for my comfort.

Enough chatter, here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 5 minutes - 37L/37R (just under 15 rpm)

I was very happy with the Jerk set today. Not only did I wet my shirt but I also rubbed a bit of chalk into it. My elbows stayed in place the entire time without slipping! Because of this I was actually, for the first time, able to lock my knees while in the rack position. Wow. This alignment allowed me to really focus on re-training my breathing during these. This is going to take a while to get used to. It doesn't feel natural yet.

Once I started Snatching, my shoulders were pretty fried. I had intended to go 6 minutes, but cut it short. I am going to stop this behavior. From now on, if I plan 6 minutes, I am going to stick it out even if my pace has to dramatically slow.

No assistance work today. That's it and that's enough!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snatch Day - 8 Minute Set

Today is Snatch Day. As you know, I decided to separate my Jerk and Snatch days for the next two weeks to see how it feels hitting each fresh. Today it was my turn to focus on my Snatches. And I am happy to announce I have hit a new PR. Here's the quick and simple session...

Snatch: 20kg - 8 minutes @ 14 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 32kg - 5L/5R

Getups: 25lb dumbbell - 5L/5R

I am VERY happy with the result of my Snatch set! This is a PR. I was surprised that my left side held up better than my right. The last minute was tough but I was able to finish strong. Nice!

Oh and the Getups were done just before I started my cooldown. I'm not allowed to bring my kettlebells into the gym, so I figured I'd play around with the dumbbells. At that point, even the 25lb dumbbell had my arms quaking.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Is It Monday Already?

After a very busy and exhausting weekend, I was not especially looking forward to today's workout. We had a very hot weekend here in NY. The temperature hit about 92 degrees F on Saturday and was just about the same yesterday. I spent about 5 hours painting one of the rooms in my house yesterday morning and followed that up with a trip to the park with my son. I figured today's session was either going to feel really easy or incredibly hard.

Turns out it was neither. But a good session none the less. Today was the first day I used a spray bottle to wet my shirt for my Jerks. And it was also the first day where I started to split up my Jerk and Snatch workouts. Here's how it went down...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes - 31 reps total

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 2 minutes @ 8 rpm

Swing: 28kg - 15L/15R

Turns out I was pleasantly surprised at the difference wetting one's shirt makes. No more sliding elbows! This will be a mainstay. I now need to focus on my breathing during my Jerks. Up until now I hadn't concentrated on it too much, but from some recent posts on the AKC Forum, it sounds like I should be inhaling on the first dip and jerk and I have been doing the opposite.

This was my main focus today and it's going to need a lot more work. It didn't feel natural at all. But I can same the same for when I first adjusted my Snatch technique. That's it for today!

Friday, April 24, 2009


Unhappy with my performance on Wednesday, there was no way that I wasn't going to hit five minutes today with my Jerks. One of us was going down. And it wasn't going to be me. Here's today session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 5 minutes - 28 jerks in total

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

OAJ: 28kg - 8L/8R

I am semi-pleased with today's results. I hit my 5-minute goal for Jerks. I didn't wet my shirt. I didn't chalk my elbows. But I did concentrate on my rack and each individual rep more. I tried to come down into my rack with my arms closer together. And I did try to slightly rotate my hands out when in the rack to get better leverage on the bells. And I won't say it was easy. But it was an improvement and I'm happy with it.

My left hand fatigued out on me during the Snatch, otherwise I was going to shoot for a six minute set. Right hand held up well.

Training adjustments... for the next two weeks I am going to split up my sessions. Day 1 will be Jerks and Day 2 will be Snatches. I want to put some time in to each without the other affecting my performance. After two weeks, I'll reassess and decide whether to continue that way or combine both lifts into one workout again.

That's it for the week. Enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Frustrating Jerk Session

First today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 4-1/2 minutes - total of 29 jerks

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 28kg - 8L/8R

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

In all it doesn't look like too bad a session. The set of Jerks started out feeling REALLY good. My rack felt uncommonly comfortable. I started out at a 7 rpm pace. I was able to regulate my breathing well. And three minutes in I felt like I could easily go another three minutes. But as the fourth minute approached, I found that my elbows didn't want to stay on my hips, but were sliding outward and I was having a hard time keeping them in. From this, the rest of the set deteriorated. I was only able to squeeze out a few more reps before the fatigue caught up with me.

I came into today's session not feeling my usual 100%. I had decided to treat myself to a muffin this morning for breakfast, and it apparently didn't sit well with me. I guess when one's body is used to eating cleanly, something not-so-healthy can really throw you off balance. No more muffins for me on workout days! On top of it I could feel some residual fatigue from yesterday's long Long Cycle set. That's why I stopped my Snatch set early. At that point I felt like I was running on empty.

But at least I finished strong. My One Arm Jerks felt good as did my Swings. Tomorrow is absolutely going to be a rest day. Friday, look out!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Arm Long Cycle FUN!

If you've been following along lately, you'll know that my training has been biathlon-centric as of late. That will still be my main focus, but at the same time I want, and need, to mix things up just a bit. So today I decided to give a go toward an 'extended' set with the infamous OALC. Here's how it looked...

One Arm Long Cycle: 20kg - 12 minutes
* 3 minutes Left @ 10 rpm
* 3 minutes Right @ 10 rpm
* 2 minutes Left @ 8 rpm
* 2 minutes Right @ 8 rpm
* 1 minutes Left @ 8 rpm
* 1 minutes Right @ 8 rpm

Fun!! I was sweating and panting at the end of this. I considered pushing it a bit more but decided to end it at 12 minutes as I was on the verge of getting that queasy feeling in my stomach. So I think I definitely worked it to the edge. Nice change of pace!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Taper's Over and 2 New PRs

Well we enjoyed a beautiful Spring weekend here in NY. Saturday felt a bit more like summer. On Saturday, I practiced Intu-Flow and yesterday another run through Ageless Mobility.

Today was my first day back working with the 20kg's after last weeks tapering. And what do you know, I hit two new PRs today. Here's the session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 4 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 5 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 28kg - 5L/5R

Swing: 28kg - 8L/8R

Both Jerk and Snatch today are a PR for the number of reps. I have done a 6 minute Snatch set already but the pace was slower. Today was tough as my forearms were pretty pumped following the Jerk set and I only had about 5 minutes of rest in between sets.

On a negative note, my QL is acting up on me again. So I am going to have to get a bit aggressive trying to deal with it. Hopefully it won't get in the way of my forward progress. That's it for today!

Friday, April 17, 2009

10 Minute Snatch Set

Well, taper week is coming to a close for me. It really hasn't been much of a taper except that I've been playing with the 16kg bells instead of the 20's. My volume might actually have increased this week relative to last. Anyway, I was considering taking today as a rest day, but I'm finding that it is getting more and more difficult to get training in on the weekends. I suppose until the new baby arrives in August, I'm going to be quite busy preparing on the weekends.

So I decided to attack my Snatches fresh today to see how a long set felt. Up until now, I have been training my Jerks first, then a brief rest followed by my Snatch set. And I have been finding that my hands have been fatiguing on my toward the end of each arm's work. Therefore today was something of an experiment to see how I could hold up going in fresh. This is what it looked like...

One Arm Jerk: 16kg - 5L/5R (warmup along with a bit of joint mobility)

Snatch: 16kg - 10 minutes - first 2 minutes each hand @ 16 rpm, next 3 minutes per hand @ 14 rpm - 74 reps per hand - 148 Snatches in total

This went surprisingly well! My breathing never got out of control. And my hands held up extremely well. It's apparent that the fatigue I have been experiencing is a product of the earlier Jerk work. Unfortunately, I don't have much time during my workouts since they are now occurring on my lunch hour, so I'll have to make due.

All in all, a good week and a nice way to head into the weekend!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Keeping It Interesting

It's taper week, so that means I take a step back and focus on some different things than I normally do. Today was all about Long Cycle. I have not been training Long Cycle AT ALL. So today with the 16kg's in hand, it was time to get my feet wet.

Clean: 2 x 16kg - 2 minutes @ 12 rpm

Long Cycle: 2 x 16kg - 3 minutes - 8/8/6

Long Cycle: 2 x 16kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

I liked today's session. I am going to throw in one day per week of Long Cycle work. I could have pushed myself harder today, but hey, it's taper week! I have a hunch that working Long Cycle might help me develop my rack quicker. The constant mobility of the movement might help me better sync (and sink) into my rack. Today was fun!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Almost Rank

It's taper week for me, so I'm playing with my 16kg bells. Now the trick to tapering is that you are looking to reduce the intensity from your current training regimen. Dropping down in bell size while maintaining set length is one way of achieving that. Therefore I am not trying to go all out with the 16's although I don't want it to get boring either.

Today's session went like this...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 5 minutes @ 10 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

I took about a 4 minute rest in between these sets. Since I am training and not competing I didn't try to go all out. But given these numbers, I was just a sliver under hitting the Rank III of the newly updated World Kettlebell Club rankings (in 75kg weight class). Not too bad without really trying.

I picked up the pace on my Jerks and focused on keeping my knees locked when in the rack. I could have easily banged out another three (53 needed for rank), but there was no need.

Snatches felt good too. I'm still fatiguing muscularly before my wind hits the wall. The hardest part for me is landing the bell at the top neatly. Left hand is worse than right (I'm a righty). If I had squeezed out two extra reps with each hand I would have hit the 50-50 threshold of Rank III.

This was a good outing!