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!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Taper Week Begins

Crazy as it sounds, I woke up today still sore from my yoga work on Sunday. Nonetheless, after hitting two PRs last week, I decided it was time for a taper week. To taper you've got two options, you can maintain weight and reduce volume or drop weight and maintain volume. I decided to do the latter. So this week I'll be working with the 16kg bells.

Here's what today's session looked like...

Jerk: 2 x 16kg - 4 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch: 16kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Long Cycle: 16kg - 4 minutes @ 10 rpm

Jerks felt good. I tried to focus getting as close to lockout with my knees as possible. Since the bells are a bit lighter it was easier for me to stay in the rack during this time, I'll continue to focus on this this week.

Snatches felt good and relatively easy. I'll probably stretch it tomorrow. My back is pretty tight, so that's going to be a factor I'm going to have to overcome within the next few days.

Long Cycle, was what can I say, Long Cycle. There's nothing to finish you off than Long Cycle.

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

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scott Sonnon's Ageless Mobility - My Review

Yesterday I was pleased to receive Scott Sonnon's Ageless Mobility DVD in the mail. I had read a few reviews on the DVD and from what I could gather, Ageless Mobility would take one deeper into the Intu-Flow world as well as introduce one to stationary yoga work, as opposed to the flowing Prasara that Scott is so famous for.

I own a copy of the Prasara "A" Flows DVD along with the book and although I would love to explore it more than I already have, I do not have a lot of room to work in which I find makes the Prasara choppy, as I am always forced to re-position myself throughout the flows. When I read about the stationary focus of Ageless Mobility I got excited.

Heading over to the RMAX online store, I was pleased to find this DVD priced at $25. The program consists of a single follow-along program that lasts about 1 hour and 20 minutes. There are also two bonus warmups included on the DVD that I have not watched yet. One is a golf-specific warmup, the other a tennis-specific warmup.

For those of you who are already a Scott fan, the bulk of the material will be familiar to you. Particularly if you have practiced Intu-Flow, Prasara or the Kettlebell Foundation Compensatory Movements. That being said, this is an excellent stand-alone product.

Whereas Intu-Flow moves you through each joint with about 5 reps or so, and Kettlebell Foundation has you focus about 20 seconds on each posture, Ageless Mobility spends much more time wringing out each joint and posture to its fullest. At one point in the program Scott describes a movement as "wringing it out as if it were a wet washcloth". Let me tell you, when I completed this program, my entire body felt as if it were wrung out and hung up to dry!

I loved this program. It was a fine combination of pain and pleasure. Luckily, one has the ability to make this as easy or as difficult as one desires. Scott dutifully instructs you not to go above a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst possible pain you can imagine). I easily brought the intensity up to a 5 when I wanted to and backed off when I needed to.

There is definitely some new material in here that I hadn't seen before. The standing spinal twists were a killer for me. I was so appreciative when we reached corpse pose! The beauty of this program is that as you become more familiar with the material, you can start to pick and choose those movements or postures that you need whenever or wherever you might need it - during or after a workout, in the office, at home, anywhere. They are always with you. And given this information you are able to modulate the intensity, range of motion and complexity of your movements to suit your need.

Given the low price of this DVD it is a steal! I only wish that I had known what it offered months ago. If you work your body hard on a regular basis or if your body needs to be wrung out every once and a while, this is the program for you. I plan to practice this program on the weekends when I recuperate from my daily kettlebell work. I will continue to practice Intu-Flow in the mornings and cool down from my kettlebell work with the Compensatory Movements, but Ageless Mobility will become my "special weekend workout". Once again, Scott Sonnon is becoming a regular in my home. Stay for dinner tonight, Scott? =)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Tapping Reserves

Today turned out to be a "Low Energy Day". Maybe it's because I'm a bit under weather, getting a cold and cough after being surrounded by sick people in the office. Given that, I had to dig down deep to get through what shouldn't have been too tough a session. This was it...

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

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

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

I had in my head the idea of going for 5 minutes with the Jerk. As minute 4 was coming to an end I a little voice in my head said, "that's good enough, you don't need to continue this suffering". And I was almost ready to put the bells down, but I decided to dig down deep and grit out another minute.

I notice as I start to tire that when in the rack, my elbows start to slide outward away from my body. Maybe I need to start wetting my shirt. Or maybe I just continue on without and learn to tough through it.

After my Snatch set, I was dead. I attempted a few OAJs with the "cherry" but had nothing left, so I settled for 3 reps per side.

That's it and that's enough for today!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Break On Through To The Other Side

Ahhh, I can hear The Doors singing in my head right now.

Today, I decided to throw caution to the wind and push myself into new territory. I did. And I am better for it. Here's the play by play...

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

Snatch: 20kg - 6 minutes @ 12 rpm

One Arm Jerk: 32kg - 6L/6R

Swing: 32kg - 5L/5R

My Jerks are improving. The 4 minutes felt relatively good and I would tried to stretch it except I knew that I was going to go for the gold today on my Snatches.

Snatches... well I survived. It got pretty ugly toward the end of each arm's turn. My breathing was good but my arm and hand was very fatigued. I grit my teeth and fought through. This was a HUGE breakthrough for me.

OAJs felt pretty good. Swings were as uncomfortable as they were when I first started swinging the 28kg. But I know, it'll come with time. Good day today. Tomorrow, I rest!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back At It with a Bump

After I nice recuperative weekend, I was back at it today with the 20kg bell.

One Arm Jerk: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

One Arm Long Cycle - 4 minutes @ 16 rpm

This was a tough session - particularly during the Long Cycle. Finishing off with Long Cycle is a killer. More forearms were pumped. I could barely jot down my performance in my training log.

This might have been the first time I hit 4 minutes in the Snatch at 16 rpm. They felt relatively good throughout. I am starting to notice my technique naturally developing as I start to work these longer sets now with a heavier bell. I have read other describe the Snatch similar to the Jerk in how with proper timing you "bump" it up using your hips. That is now starting to happen with me without my even trying. I suppose with the lighter bells I was able to manage without incorporating this "extra" movement. I suppose those days are gone now. =)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Recovery Weekend

I've taken the weekend to work on some active recovery. The past two weeks I have pretty much opened up the throttle on my training and unfortunately, I can feel my back starting to protest. Therefore I am going to have to ease up a bit relative to recent days.

Yesterday I practiced the Intu-Flow Intermediate program.

Today was a thorough review, with the DVD playing, of Scott Sonnon's Kettlebell Foundation Joint Mobility program. I then followed that up with some of the Compensatory movements from the same DVD set.

Tomorrow, it's back to the bells!

Friday, April 3, 2009

TGIF Kettlebell Work


It's been a long, hard, strenuous, yet productive week! I am going to try to relax and enjoy the weekend in front of us.

Today's session went well. I'm still chugging along at a constant pace. I might try to push things a bit on Monday, after some well deserved rest. Here's today's session...

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

Snatch: 20kg - 4 minutes @ 14 rpm

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

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

Cooled down with yoga.

That's it and that's all! Enjoy the weekend everybody!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My First Intermittent Fast

Today I experimented with my first Intermittent Fast.

After some discussions on the AKC Forum regarding nutrition and being familiar with Adam Steer's use of Intermittent Fasting (IF) I decided to download myself a copy of Brad Pilon's Eat Stop Eat to see if IF was everything I've heard it to be.

I read the ebook very quickly. It is an easy read and flows very well. It is chock full of references to scientific studies regarding nutrition and fasting and their effects on the human body. I have read various articles in the past years regarding the health benefits of fasting, but never considered it for myself because I have always been a 'grazer', eating regularly every few hours. I thought that fasting would inhibit my performance in the gym or with the bells. In his ebook, Brad makes some pretty strong arguments for the benefits of IF and how they can actually enhance performance in the long run.

The Eat Stop Eat method of IF, is a very simple one. Once or twice a week, stop eating for a 24-hour period. That's it. Simple. But not necessarily easy. There are other IF methods out there. The others that I am familiar with try to use a daily eating window strategy which has you fast for the majority of each day while you consume your calories within a few hour window. Given my work schedule and family responsibilities, these eating window methods did not appeal to me. They would require more work for me than not trying them and I honestly am not looking to complicate my life any more than it already is!

Therefore I was immediately intrigued by the Eat Stop Eat program and the day after finishing the book, I started my first IF.

This was last night at about 8:00pm. I got home from work a bit late, around 7:30pm, I ate dinner quickly, put my son to bed and that was when the clock started. My goal was to fast until the following night's dinner.

I have to admit I was a bit scared to take this plunge. I have never attempted anything like this and it goes against everything I ever thought was the "right" way to do things. I went to sleep last night and dreamt about the fast. I recall dreaming that I had inadvertently ingested something with calories and then was torn whether to abort the fast or continue it. I didn't have a restful night last night.

But the morning came and I went off to work with only a travel mug full of black coffee. During the day I drank water, tea and black coffee. Around 1:00pm I treated myself to a stick of Trident sugarless gum. There were three instances during the day that I felt a bit 'out of it'. But these only lasted a few minutes and weren't too bad. I felt like I could use a power nap, but was able to hold up without one. A few times my stomach started growling but that stopped pretty quickly too. Most importantly, I lasted until dinner this evening at about 6:15pm!

Therefore my first IF lasted just over 22 hours. And now that it's behind me I can honestly say, it wasn't all that bad. I ate dinner this evening and didn't gorge myself. I ate a usual sized portion and did not feel especially hungry either. And now I go back to my normal routine. Until my next IF. =)

I'm going to keep track of these fasts in my training journal. I also plan to jot down my weight, body fat percentage and other stats that my Tanita Innerscale provide. I intend to try one fast per week for a little while and see how things progress. I am due in July to have my annual physical. I'm interested to see how this might affect my numbers.

So there you have it. IF, take one... success!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Grind It Out

I was this close to skipping my workout today. I woke up tired with some sore forearms. Regardless I packed my workout bag and threw it into the car, just in case.

By the time my lunch hour rolled around I was back in the mood for a quick session. Tomorrow is definitely a joint mobility-only day.

Here's the low down...

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

Snatch: 20kg - 3 minutes @ 16 rpm

Swing: 28kg - 10L/10R

What can I say, Jerks suck. =)
These are just hard and not a lot of fun. But you gotta do them. The 4 minutes is starting to become a bit more bearable, so that's a good sign.

Snatches felt good today. It was a shorter set, with a faster pace and I was able to keep pretty good form throughout.

Swings felt good. I like working with the 'pumpkin' but am looking forward to introducing the 'cherry' into my training.

That's it and that's all!