Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Nice 20kg Session

A few good things came out of today session. First allow me to spell it out, then we can discuss...

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

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 14 rpm

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

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

Jerk - this set felt relatively ok. I still need a lot of work with my rack but lasting the four minutes is getting more comfortable. I plan to continue with the 4 minute sets until I'm in one and by the time 4 minutes rolls around I decide to go for 5 minutes.

Snatch - technique is feeling good except for the last 30 seconds on my left side. The bell isn't landing solidly at the top. It's a fatigue issue. I will continue to work the 4 minute sets until I can remain strong throughout. There might be a 5 minute set in my near future, but it will be at a slower pace.

OAJ - the 28kg bell is feeling good with these. I am ready to bump up to the 32kg.

Swing - I am now beginning to feel more solid on my left side which has not been the case up till now. My right side has always felt solid but not so on the left. That's changing now. Once I lock this in comfortably, I'll introduce the 32kg. Will do this at the same time as the OAJs since I am already loading the trunk of my car with over 150lbs of bells each day (killing my gas mileage).

That's it for today! Jerk 'em up y'all!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jerk Progression - 20kg Bell

Today I worked through my famous "Jerk Progression" with the 20kg bell. I had intended to perform 3-minute sets today, but unfortunately when the time came to train, I realized that I didn't have my clock with me. I cleaned out my car over the weekend and left it in my garage following my Saturday workout.

So, as a means to compensate, I decided to hit my target reps for each movement moving as a pace that I gauged to be in line with desired 3 minutes. Regardless, I was sucking wind pretty good at the end of the second and third sets. Here's the play-by-play...

Press: 20kg - 18L/18R

Push Press: 20kg - 24L/24R

1-Arm Jerk: 20kg - 24L/24R

Followed by a yoga cooldown.

My energy wasn't all there today. Probably the hectic weekend coupled with not eating as well as I do during the week. We'll see how tomorrow feels. That's it for today. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Keeping Moving

Woke up this morning a bit sore from yesterday's workout. By early afternoon I was feeling pretty good so I squeezed in a short session. Have lots of errands to run today, so no cooldown except for a hot shower!

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 3 minutes @ 16 rpm

My rack felt a bit improved today. I am bending my knees more and that's allowing my elbows to sink into my hips better. This is not a habit that I want to get too used to though. I know my knees should be locked. But it's going to take time. For now, I'll continue work it.

Snatches felt pretty good too. I performed the same number of reps today as yesterday in less time. I guess I have re-discovered density training all on my own. But then again, this is how I have been 'waving' my workouts all along.

That's it. Gotta run!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Think I Can...

Moving forward, little by little with the 20kg bells.

Today's session was intended to lengthen my sets by reducing my pace. Here's how it looked...

Jerk: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 5 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 12 rpm

OAJ: 28kg - 5L/5R

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

My rack started to fall apart on me by the end of the fourth minute, so I stopped the set there. I should probably have someone check out my form on these since I have never received any real training on Jerks (at least not until June when the AKC comes to town).

My Snatch set felt pretty good though. At this pace I probably could have stretched it to 5 minutes - next time maybe.

That's it for today. Now the real trick will be to see how many sessions I can squeeze in over the weekend. TGIF!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More 20kg Bells

Today was originally planned to be a rest day, but after watching my good buddy Ross, of The Edge Fitness Center, start his training toward Master of Sport, I was inspired to squeeze in one more day of training before allowing for rest.

Today was a very quick session, but just enough to keep my fired up and hungry for more. The 20kg bell work these days feels really good which is keeping me hungry for continued training and progress. Here's today's session...

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 3 minutes @ 8 rpm

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

Cooled down with some yoga.

That's it and that's all!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

20kg Work with 28kg Assists

A good session today. Decreased my rest time to 90 seconds between sets. And threw in some heavier assistance work at the end. Here's the play by play...

1-Arm Jerk: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

1-Arm Long Cycle: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

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

Swing: 28kg - 5L/5R

Cooled down with some yoga.

A relatively short workout, but one that has left me feeling GREAT!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Slinging the 20kg Kettlebell

Today I worked through Fitness Protocol Level 1 with the 20kg bell and I must say it felt good!

Here's today's session...

Push Press: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

1-Arm Long Cycle: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

Swing: 20kg - 10L/10R

Cooled down with some yoga.

I'm going to work this again tomorrow, shortening the rest periods. Today was 2 minute rest. That's it for today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Instruction & Light Workout

A friend of mine came over today and I introduced him to the bells.

We went over Swings, Cleans, Presses, Push Presses and Long Cycle Push Press and Windmills.

At the end of the instruction portion of the session we went through a Level 1 Fitness workout each using the 16kg bell, that looked like this...

Push Press: 16kg - 2 minutes

Clean: 16kg - 2 minutes

1-Arm Long Cycle Push Press - 2 minutes

We allowed ourselves 2 minutes of rest in between sets. Our focus was on the quality of our movements so reps weren't counted. I did notice during my Cleans that my pace was really fast. I was blowing through the 16 rpm limit very easily. But like I said, I wasn't too concerned with rep count. I felt good so I kept up the pace.

I have to say I was impressed with Joey's conditioning. For someone picking up the bells for the first time and getting through the 6 minutes of workout that we did with a 16kg bell (after all the prior practice work) he did amazingly well. Great job, Joey!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Training Smart

Woke up a few minutes late today, so I didn't have as much time to saunter through my workout like I usually do ( <-- that's a joke).

I kept it short and sweet today. Notching up a bit from yesterday without killing myself.

Warmed up with Spinal Rocks.

OAJ: 20kg - 5L/5R

Jerk: 2 x 20kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

That's it and that's all for today! Tomorrow I rest.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What a Difference a Few Days Can Make

I don't know what, if I've done anything differently the last few days, except maybe get frustrated with myself, but today's work with the 16's seemed like a vast improvement over the last outing. I felt like I was able to get deeper into my rack on my Jerks and although I didn't rest as long as I should have in between, I was able to hit the time and pace I was shooting for on my Snatches. Here's what it looked like...

Warmed up with some Spinal Rocks

OAJ 16kg - 5L/5R (part of the warmup, just 5 reps each side trying to deepen my C-curve)

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

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 16 rpm

OAJ: 28kg - 5L/5R (as a finisher for good measure, held each overhead for about 3 seconds)

Cooled down with Plow Pose

Like I said, I didn't rest much in between the Jerks and Snatches (less than 5 minutes) and I could feel it. But once I started the set there was no turning back. That's it for today. Tomorrow I plan to play with the 20kg. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Too Much, Too Soon

Today, I tried to up my time with the 24kg, from 2 min to 3 min sets. It was ugly.

I was able to keep a good pace on my first set of Jerks, but the following set of Snatches just fell apart.

Here's what it looked like...

Warmed up with Spinal Rocks

Swing: 16kg - 10/10

Jerk: 24kg - 3 minutes @ 15 rpm

Snatch: 24 kg - 2.5 minutes, 20L/11R

And I stopped right there.

I have two options now. I can either continue working with the 2 minutes sets OR I can drop down and use the 20kg bell on these, my 'heavy' days.

Given the new WKC ranking system that was published yesterday, I think I will be dropping down to the 20kg bell and working my way up gradually, correctly and in good form rather than rushing things.

As for the new ranking system, I like it. It encourages people of all levels to get involved in the sport. It also encourages people to work their way up gradually (like me) and it also forces one to be balanced in their training.

That's it for today. I need some rest!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Numbers Don't Tell The Story

OK, first the numbers from this morning's workout...

Swing: 16kg - 10/10

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

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

Snatch: 16kg - 8 minutes @ 12 rpm

And now for the story... Just looking at today's numbers one would think this was a pretty good workout. In the end, I think it wasn't too bad, as happy as I am with the Snatch outcome, but here's how it came about...

Into yesterday evening, my lower back started developing some soreness and tightening up, most probably a result of my moving my workout room into my garage as well as some possible DOMS from the prior day's 24kg workout session. Therefore before I went to bed, I started thinking to myself, 'maybe I need to take tomorrow off'. Right then and there I knew I was in trouble. I typically get very aggressive anticipating my morning workouts, once I start to falter, it's hard to recover. But I wouldn't let up on myself. I went to sleep setting the alarm for 5:30am.

I got up with the alarm feeling the soreness and tightness still in my back. Pushing on went down and warmed up with my Swings. I could immediately feel that I wasn't 100%. That voice in the back of my mind was telling me I wouldn't make the 5 minutes. So I started my Jerks. And as expected I wasn't feeling it. My rack felt shallow. The bells felt like they were being pulled forward off of me. At 3 minutes I gave in and put the bells down. My head wasn't in things today. And that pissed me off.

Not to allow myself to get off that easy, I decided to throw in one set of Jerks with the 24kg's. I'm going to have to start working these soon as well. Might as well get a taste now. Observation: 24kg Jerks are much heavier than 16kg Jerks!

Following the Jerks I still had Snatches on the docket for today. I was planning a 7 minute set at 12 rpm. I tried to shake off the Jerk mindset and knew that the Snatches would help loosen my back up with the downswings. And this was only a single bell I was dealing with. I decided to not think about anything except my breathing and the clock.

And so I began. As I approached the 3-1/2 minute mark, when I had planned to switch hands, I realized that I could make it to 4 minutes with still good form. And so I focused on my breathing and went for it. At 4 minutes I switched hands and that first swing with my right hand felt great! I now knew it was all about the pace and keeping my breath under control.

Before I knew it, I was approaching the 8 minute mark and still going (relatively) strong. Pleased with how I finished today's session, I am now intent on putting those Jerks to shame!

And so, if you had only looked at my numbers for today you would have never understood all of the mental turmoil and angst that went along with it. Just thought I'd share with you. Until tomorrow!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recovery Day - Kettlebell Joint Mobility

Today was planned recovery day. To get my blood moving a bit, today was the day that my workout space moved from a downstairs room (off of the family room) into the garage. It's time to start rearranging the house to make room for our expected little girl. So my training will now be taking place in the garage. Hopefully it will prove to be a smooth transition.

Following that I decided to follow along with Scott Sonnon on his Kettlebell Foundation Joint Mobility DVD. It's been a while since I've worked through those kettlebell-specific movements. I worked through about half of the movements today and followed up with a few compensatory movements.

That's it for today. I'm feeling pretty good following yesterday's work with the 24kg bell. Tomorrow I'm going to shoot for another 5 minute set of Jerks and a 7 minute set of Snatches with the 16kg. Talk to you then!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kettlebell Fitness Protocol - Level 1 - 24kg

I've now officially completed a strict Level 1 of the Fitness Protocol with the 24kg.

It's nice to know that the other morning's workout wasn't a fluke... =)

Here's today...

Swing: 16kg - 10/10

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

Snatch: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

1-Arm Long Cycle: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 9 rpm

The only BIG difference between today and Wednesday was that I rested only 2 minutes in between each exercise. On Wed, it was probably almost double that. I need to get my Long Cycle moving just a bit faster as 10 rpm is my target. I feel pretty good after the Jerk set, but the Snatch set is sill winding me. Maybe as I improve there, the following Long Cycle set won't be as tough. Only time will tell. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Friday, March 13, 2009

16kg Kettlebell - Increasing Intensity

Today's goal was to continue pushing up with the 16kg. And that's what I did. In small, ever so uncomfortable steps. =)

Warmed up with spinal rocks and thoracic mobility work.

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

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 14 rpm

Swing: 24kg - 10/10

I increased my Jerk set by one minute today, keeping the pace constant. The rack is starting to improve (slowly). I kept the duration of my Snatch set the same, but increased the pace by 2 rpm from last session.

Good session! Tomorrow we go heavy.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Recovery Day & BIG Announcement

I woke up to some REALLY sore traps this morning. Aside from that though, I'm feeling pretty good.

Today was planned recovery with Intu-Flow Beginner routine and the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Movements.

Tomorrow I'll be working the 16kg bell again.

On another note, I thought it was time that I make a public announcement letting all my fans know that come on or about August 7th, I will a daddy once more! And it has now been confirmed, that my son Anthony is going to have himself a little sister!

That's it for today... =)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Un@#%* Believable!

Yesterday morning I laid out my plan for my training going forward. Today was scheduled to be the first day that I started alternating between the 16kg and the 20kg, today being the 20kg day.

Well all day yesterday I thought about this morning's session. I was psyching myself up for the new challenge. But in the back of my head, I kept wondering, would the 20kg bell be incrementally large enough to force the adaptation that I was looking for. Last night before going to bed, I decided to make a leap and jump directly to the 24kg bell. Half excited and half scared, I tried to mentally adjust to this.

For anyone who's following my blog, it's been almost a year since I seriously played with anything larger than the 16kg. Back in May of last year, I was trying to improve my 24kg Snatch numbers as I was planning on attending an RKC Certification. My best outing was 39 reps, with months of 24kg practice behind me. I was also suffering an overuse injury in both forearms which made the Snatch work even more difficult.

Then on a whim, I decided to attend the AKC Fitness Certification on May 25th held here in NYC. Watching Valery toss the 32kg bell around like it was an 8kg, convinced me to give this "new" method a try. At that point, I dropped everything, and started re-learning how to Hold, Rack, Swing, Press, Jerk and Snatch the bell. For the longest time with just an 8kg and 12kg bell.

Well this morning, I simply amazed myself. Afraid that this session, essentially planned as a Level 1 of the WKC Fitness Protocol, was going to punish me, I entered my workout area with trepidation. I warmed up with a few Swings with the 16kg, chalked up my hands and relied on my technique and last 9 months of training to get me through. Here's what it looked like...

Swing: 16kg - 10/10

Push Press: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

1-Arm Long Cycle: 24kg - 2 minutes @ 9 rpm

My numbers amaze me! 32 Snatches right out of the gate with almost a year of not even practicing them with this size bell. Don't get me wrong, I was breathing harder during this set and any of my recent sets, more so than yesterday's 6 min Snatch set. But I killed it and killed it good for my first session. Wow.

Tomorrow is a planned (active) rest day. I'll wait to see how my back holds up after this session. If it holds up well, then I think I can safely say I've finally turned the corner with my training. Things could definitely be getting dangerous around now.... =)

P.S. Hands are great. No rips or tears.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Early Bird is Back at It!

Woke up a 5am today, eager to start getting back to some 'serious' training.

Warmed up first with some Spinal Rocks, then onto

Getups: 16kg - 5min alternating sides each rep

Then onto today's challenge...

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

Snatch: 16kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm

The longest I've done for Jerks with 16kg has been 5 minutes. I'm still pretty tight making it hard to get comfortable in the rack. Once this opens up, I should be ready to cruise. The Snatches felt pretty good. This was the longest set I've done in a while. No problems with the hands at all. I'm excited to finally be able to start making some real progress!

Tomorrow I start the Fitness Protocol using the 20kg bell. My plan is to alternate these two workouts. The 16kg will continue upward until I can hit 10 minute sets on Jerk and Snatch, while the 20kg Fitness work will help start to build my strength. Once I hit my target with the 16kg, then I move the 20kg into its place and start the Fitness Protocol with the 24kg. It's a grand experiment and one I'm excited to start. That's it for today. Jerk 'em up y'all!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Active Rest

Took it easy today, giving my body a chance to get acclimated once again with training.

Performed Intu-Flow Beginner Program along with the full Compensatory Movements from Sonnon's Kettlebell Foundation DVD set.

Lower back is a bit sore today, but that's nothing new. Funny thing, even with about 2+ weeks off from training my back was sore the whole time. Which leads me to believe the bells ain't necessarily the culprit in all this. At the same time, I don't think I'll ever really know. I don't mind a little soreness as long as it doesn't keep me from doing what I want to do.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

One Step Forward

OK, let's try this again. My last attempt at re-starting my training resulted in a relapse of this sinusitis. Immediately after this post, I'll attempt to nap a bit. Sleep is good!

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 3 minutes @ 6 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

1-Arm Long Cycle - 20kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

1-Arm Cast: 15lb Clubbell - 8/8

Side Semi: 15lg Clubbell - 20

Warmed down with some compensatory movements.

I haven't performed Jerks in a while and with my recent time away from the bells, I was really tight. It looks like I will be shifting my workouts back to the early mornings. Even with the best intentions, getting away on my lunch hour is not always possible. Since I am already paid up for this month, I might try using some of that time to sprinkle in some bodyweight training, either FlowFit or Bodyweight Revolution, depends on how I'm feeling. But first I need to get the bells ramped back up again and into a solid program with some clubs to balance things off. That's it for today. Hopefully, more tomorrow!

Monday, March 2, 2009

"Real World" Strength

There is a big movement these days toward directing one's training toward functional movements that might assist one in daily life rather than in muscle-specific contexts. Kettlebells are one of the tools that have come into the spotlight for functional training which works the entire body in a single session. Kettlebells develop muscular strength and endurance, joint mobility, flexibility and the cardiovascular system.

All of these attributes will help one attain their goals, whether they are sport-specific, fitness-oriented or intended to assist in the real world. A lot of times these days, when you hear someone talk about "real world" strength, the discussion turns into tearing phone books in half or flipping 400 lb tires. Such things are indeed testiments to the type of muscular strength that can be developed, but not too many of us actually ever intend to pursue such feats. Rather, "real world" in my book is attending to situations that unfortunately are all too prevalent in our lives which have nothing to do with barbells, kettlebells or any other physical pursuit.

For the past 2-1/2 weeks, I have personally been through the ringers, hung up to dry and am only now starting to get back to something of a "normal" life. The fact that I was able to get through this time staying (relatively) healthy and with strong spirit and mental faculties is a product of how I maintain myself in the good times.

On Feburary 12th, my 2-yr old son Anthony was admitting to NYU Medical Center for a routine video EEG to monitor the seizures he suffers from as a result of being born with Tuberous Sclerosis. During our 4-night stay at NYU, Anthony not only picked up a virus which interrupted his sleep, but was also subject to the overly insensitive noises of being situated on the pediatric floor of a very busy New York City hospital. This meant, that both myself and my wife did not get much sleep, did not eat well, and were situated in very uncomfortable surroundings. Standing on concrete floors all day long, leaning over hospital beds, trying to sleep while sitting upright in chairs through the night were some of the things we dealt with.

Upon being released from NYU Sunday morning, he returned home to find Anthony had a fever of 104 degrees F. Immediately we were off to his pediatrician. Still diagnosed as a virus we started him on Tylenol and Motrin. Monday evening, Anthony's fever continued to rage and his breathing became very rapid and shallow. Given his history of seizures, we called an ambulance and were taken to the local emergency room. There into the next morning, another round of tests along with an IV of fluids, resulted in another release with a virus diagnosis. The next day we returned to his pediatrician, with no further insight, except to continue with the over-the-counter meds until the fever broke. Two more days of fever and restless nights ensued.

On Thursday, he returned to the doctor who now spotted infections in both ears. Anthony was sent home after an injection of antibiotics. Later that same afternoon, his doc called us up telling us that the blood work performed in the ER three nights before now showed the presence of a bacterial infection in his blood. Within hours were we admitted back into our local hospital and Anthony was again on IV's for both fluids and antibiotics. Fever continued and on Saturday, we were transferred to another hospital with a pediatric intensive care unit. Anthony now also showed signs of pneumonia. After 5 more days of IV's in his arm and foot, blood tests from him other unencumbered arm, x-rays, oxygen treatments and countless of pokes and prods, Anthony finally improved to the point where we were able to return home.

Still on oral antibiotics, but still developing low grade fevers, we have again met with his pediatrician and will be following up with pulmonary specialists along with a pediatric infectious disease specialist. Anthony is almost back to his old self, although he has clearly been traumatized by this whole experience. Hopefully, over time it will all become a distant memory for him.

I personally still feel like I need to catch up on sleep. During one of the nights I spent in the hospital room with him, I started sneezing and have come down with a cold. Luckily, that is the worst of my problems. Although we are not totally in the clear yet, things are now starting to settle down. I am thankful to all the good doctors we had who helped Anthony get through this. I am also thankful for my current methods of training, mostly kettlebells, which not only allowed me to physically endure the trials of the last two weeks, but also helped me mentally stay focused on the needs of my son without having to worry about my own needs. This is what I call "Real World" Strength.

Last night, I performed a brief session of Xtension with my mini clubbells.

Today I completed the following:

Jerk: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 16 rpm

Long Cycle: 16kg - 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

I'll now be focused on ramping my training back up to where I left off. Hopefully this episode will now be behind us.