Monday, April 27, 2009

Light Work & Pondering

It's time to revamp my training again. I've met several goals, so I need to evaluate where I want to go from here.

I've really enjoyed the bent presses, the heavy TGUs, and even the death snatch sessions. I have found strength I didn't know I had. Four months ago, I hated TGUs; now I have a passion for them. I have seen what dedication and grit can do. Now I know I can do more.

It seems strange to me that I can snatch like a machine and put up respectable bent presses and TGUs, yet I have a tough time with heavy military presses and pull-ups. What gives? Is it because I have such long limbs? Is my strength just in different arenas? Can somebody either kick me in the arse or give me some reassurance?

I will press on, literally, but I like to KNOW why things are the way they are. I must intellectualize everything. (Pity Brad Nelson. He has put up with this over 2 years!)

While I am busy thinking, I will also be doing light training. Today I did a fundamentals circuit. Aside from switching from the 16 kg to the 12 kg, I did not stop between drills.

Swings - 16 kg - 10
Windmills - 12 kg - 5 L, R
Squats - 12 kg - 5 L, R
Clean & Press - 12 kg - 5 L, R
Snatch - 12 kg - 8 L, R
3 Rounds

I focused on each drill's unique movements. I wanted to make sure I was dead on in my form since I was using very light bells. It was refreshing to change my focus by using light bells. It was like a review, a repatterning of sorts. This is probably something I should do more often.

Well, I'm off to do more pondering. And grade some papers. :p

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Goal #3 - Check

For my last training session of the week I did military presses and pull-ups.

Military Press - 20 kg - 3 x 1, 2 L, R
-On the left, I had to do a tiny push to get through my sticky spot. On the decent, I went very slow. I WILL get the strict press on the left. I am determined.
-On the right, I could do one rep in each rung. The second rep need the tiny push. Grrr! Just a little grrrr since I'm pleased about meeting my goal of pressing the 20 kg.

Pull-ups - black band - 5 x 1
-Very happy with these. I feel like I'm getting closer to a naked pull-up. (Naked as in no assistance. )

I have to say, doing the SSST the last two weeks has taken its toll on my CNS. The 16 kg session was worse than the 12 kg session, but they were both taxing nonetheless. I did not anticipate that. Now that I know this, I can plan accordingly. I've practicing my Z-Health to work me through it. I don't know what I would do with Z.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's Your Guess?

I did a little experiment today. How many 12 kg snatches could I do in 10 minutes? The answer?

I should have had a video camera to provide the proof necessary to get me on the SSST Leader Board. (Remember that I am #10 on the Ultimate Snatch Test leader board w/ the 16 kg.)

How many????


C'mon.....Post your guess in the comment section. I'll reveal the number Thursday night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Monday's Training

I had the weekend to recover, so I was ready to go on Monday!

Bent Press - 24 kg (53 lbs) - 5 x 3 L, R
Goblet Squat - 20 kg (44 lbs) - 5 x 5
Pull-ups - Black Band - 4 x 2
Oven Mitt Swings - 20 kg - 3 x 8 L, R

This was a solid training session. I am very pleased with my bent press and pull-up progress. Now I just need to get to St. Paul to pick up my 28 kg bell so I can start doing heavier bent presses. Giddy up!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Number 10

So, my 200 snatches was enough to put in 10th place on the Ultimate Snatch Test leader board.

Check it out.

Now I'm curious to see how many I could do in 10 minutes with the 12 kg (26 lb) bell. Hmmmm

Anyway, I have been feeling the after-effects of my ultimate snatches. My grip was toast. I wasn't able to do pull-ups or deadlifts on Friday because of my grip.

The most pronounced effect was how shot my CNS was. All day Thursday I was in a fog. I did a long Z Health session Thursday night and was feeling better Friday. Today (Sat.) I am still tired, but I'm allowing myself to be completely brain dead. Typing this post is the most intellectual endeavor I will undertake today.

I will be retiring for a nap soon, and then I'll be getting up to eat a fabulous meal at my favorite restaurant. I'll probably have the prime rib with jumbo lump crab meat. Oh yeah, that's what I need to celebrate and recover!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Day I Became a Man

or "How I Passed the SSST"

One of my goals for 2009 was to complete 200 snatches with the 16 kg (35 lb) kettlebell, also known as the SSST or USST. Pavel Tsatsouline says you are a "man among men" when you can accomplish this feat. Of course, men have to complete the test with a larger kb - 32 kg (70 lb) if I'm not mistaken.

Honestly, I didn't think I would meet the goal this soon. I have other goals that I've been working toward with more vigilance. Wednesdays were my "death snatch" days where I knew I would have 15 minutes or so of hard snatching along with heavy TGUs. I've been steadily adding more reps to each minute of training.

Last week, I did 9 L, 9 R on the top of the minute for 10 minutes and then did another 5 L, 5 R for 5 minutes. I had to put in a short set after 6 minutes because I was winded. I ended up doing 172 snatches in the first 10 minutes. When I opened my email from Brad Nelson with this week's training schedule, I was stunned to see he planned on 10 L, 10 R for 10 minutes for me today.

I had to go for it. How could I not? I couldn't let my fear stop me. I'm in the best shape of my life. I had to believe in myself. To make sure I wouldn't wuss out, I posted my intention on my facebook page. I needed accountability. Many folks gave me encouragement. I couldn't let them down! I wouldn't let myself down.

The first 5 minutes went easy. I was leaving myself with 20-25 seconds to rest after the 20 reps. By minute 7, I was down to 15 seconds. At the start of the 9th minute, I had to rest a little longer. I finished that minute with 10 seconds left. I rested for 20. That left me with 50 seconds to do 20 snatches. I had to do four sets of five because my grip was giving out. I finished the 200th rep right as the Gymboss beeped. To the wire!

I don't care, though. I did it. This feels almost as good as completing the grad workout at the RKC weekend. Almost. Nothing so far compares to receiving that RKC certification. So far. I have so much more I want to do. But, I want to savor this moment for a little while.

In case you're wondering, my hands are fabulous. No tearing or blisters. Oh, and I didn't puke, but I came close!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday's Training: Check!

Since I had today off, I got my training in this morning. I packed up my oven mitts and hit the road.

Bent Press - 24 kg (53 lbs.) - 5 x 3 L, R
-ROAR!!! I knocked those bad boys out with strength and confidence. I'm wishing I were a Marine so I could let out a hoo-rah. (Alas, my eyes were too bad for the military or I actually would have gone into the air force.)
-My left trap is pretty knotted up, so I had to skip the long push presses. Brad - you told me to tell you when the traps started getting beat up. They're beat up.

Pull-ups - Black Band - 2 x 2 and then 3 x 1
-These went well considering my lats were fried from the bent presses.
-I have about 2 inches I need to pull through on the top to truly master the black band.

Oven Mitt Swings - 16 kg - 4 x 10 L, R
-That was definitely a grip workout. It was fun, though, and I got strange looks from people at the gym. I love it when I can make people shake their heads!

Now I need to do some grading, grab a shower, and get ready for a meeting tonight. My work here is done.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Press and Pull

Happy Easter all! May you all feel God's blessings today and all year long!!

Saturday I did a quick training session:

Military Press - 16 kg - 5 x 1, 2, 3 L, R
-Right side was very strong. Great form. I'm pleased.
-Left side was much stronger than any previous week. Let me count the ways:
1. I was able to do the rungs of 2 without a little push.
2. The rungs of 3 only required a tiny push.
3. I did NOT reclean the kb before every press.
4. I did five ladders instead of four.

Pull-ups - purple band - 3 x 5

This has been a productive week of training and I am grateful for it. I have a renewed enthusiasm for my goals.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mind, Body, Spirit

Today's training definitely gave me opportunities to branch out. I am stronger in mind, body, spirit after pushing myself. Here's what I accomplished.

Turkish Get-Up - 24 kg (53 lbs.) - 5 x 1 L, R
-Before today, I had never attempted a 24 kg TGU. I did some 16 kg arm bars and 1/2 get-ups. I wanted to make sure I had hip bridge deeply grooved before adding nearly 20 lbs. to the load.
-I focused on each small part of each movement. I felt like a TGU textbook. :-) I amazed myself. I put all the self-doubt out of my mind and did what I know. I know this move like never before.
-I felt like poetry in motion - like water flowing over rapids - powerful yet fluid.
-I want every TGU session to feel like this one today. I am branding today in my brain.

Snatches - 16 kg
9 L, R at the top of the minute for 10 minutes
immediately followed by
5 L, R at the top of the minute for 5 minutes
-At the 7 minute mark, I did 5 L, R instead of 9 L, R, so at minute 11, I did 9 L, R instead of 5 L, R. That means I still got in the prescribed number of reps (230).
-In 10 minutes, I got in 172 reps. In 11 minutes, 190. Last week I did 160 reps in 10 minutes and 172 in 11 minutes.

My heart rate was surprisingly low when I finished:
at finish - 144 bpm
1 min. - 120 bpm
2 min. - 110 bpm
3 min. - 102 bpm

I'm sure it was up around 165 at the 11 minute mark. I was really hurting!! As I said last week, when I make the 200 reps in 10 minutes, I'm throwing a party and you're all invited!! I will have to videotape it when I do so I have proof.

Honestly, I couldn't be happier with how my training went today. I've been struggling through some issues with my grip and military presses. Today overshadows those and gives me confidence. If I can do what I did today, I can accomplish those other tasks successful as well. I just need to keep focused and keep pushing myself.

Monday, April 6, 2009

To the Limit

I took my bent press to the limit today, and in doing so, I took my body to the limit. Powerful!

Bent Press - 24 kg - 4 x 3 L, R
-That 3rd rep took me to the limit of my physical capabilities. I had to squeeze that bell and fire my lats with all I had in me to complete the rep.
-It was grueling, but worth every second. When I put the bell down, I was smoked.
-Feeling that fire in my lat was amazing! I love being that in tune with my body.

After that hardcore practice I tried to do some suitcase deadlifts. Not happening. They were worse than when I started doing them 7 weeks ago. WTH?? I got downright torqued. I don't blow too often, but today I had it. Weights flying. Bar thrown on the rack. You get the picture. I had a little temper tantrum. I am leaking somewhere. I need a Z assessment. BRAD!!!!!

So, back to the drawing board for today's training. I sat down and pouted for a few minutes. What was planned, had to be scrapped. No more crabby pants!!

What could I do to work my grip?

Heavy swings, of course!

Swings - 24 kg - 300 reps
-I did a mixture of one-handed and two-handed. I did sets of 40. The 300 reps took me about 12 minutes, give or take. I didn't have gymboss to keep exact time.

Now, it's to the table! Pork tenderloin, broccoli, and green beans. Then, bath and bed. Tomorrow I will enjoy the pain that will most assuredly be present in my lats!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Friday's Training

Ended the week with military press, suitcase deadlifts, and pull-ups. Here's how it went.

Military Press - 16 kg - 4 x 1, 2, 3 L, R
-Right side is swell. PRE - 5
-Left side is coming along. PRE - 7. I still had to put in a little push when I'd get to the 3rd rep. I even broke down and got out the 12 kg and did 5 of those to groove the correct movement. I don't want to practice bad movement.

Suitcase Deadlifts - 100 lbs. - 5 x 1
-Right side is swell. PRE - 6
-Left side grip is still weak. I will say it's better than last week. PRE - 7

1 black, 2 purple, 1 black, 2 purple, 3 purple
-Until I'm strong enough to do these with the black band consistently, I want to make sure I groove the proper movement. That's why I switched to the purple band. I'm actually quite please with my progress on the pull-up. I'm closer than I ever imagined I could be.

My weekend has begun, so I'll enjoy the rest. I'm sad that I can't be in Minneapolis/St. Paul watching the Tactical Strength Challenge at Brad's gym. I will just have to wait for the results to be posted. Next year, I'm there baby!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday Wondering

In weakness do we find strength? Somebody reassure me. Anybody.

Today's training consisted of heavy TGUs and death snatches. My TGUs were not rock steady like they have been. Getting into the lunge was dicey. Perhaps my brain was not engaged. I may be distracted with the million things going on in my life. I'm usually very adept at tuning all that out and focusing on my training. I don't know.

Arm Bar to TGU - 20 KG
2 x 3 L, R
2 x 2 L, R
I did the arm bars separately after the 2 x 3s. Also, I had to put the bell down between reps 2 & 3. My wrists couldn't take it. Grrrrrrr!

Death Snatches - 16 kg
8 L, R every minute for 10 minutes - 160 reps
6 L, R every minute for 5 minutes - 60 reps
-These went exceptionally well. I tried a different approach that seemed to work. Usually I try to get my reps in as quickly as I can so I have 30 secs to rest between sets. Today I worked slow and steady. It took me 40-42 seconds to do the 16 reps, leaving me with less than 20 seconds to rest. However, I wasn't as winded, so it was easier to recover before Gymboss was beeping at me.
-Heart rate at the end of the 15 minutes - 146
-HR at 1 min. - 122
-HR at 2 min. - 108
-HR at 3 min. - 96

Tomorrow a newspaper reporter from the Sioux City Journal is coming to interview me about kettlebell training. If the story runs online, I will post a link. Word is getting around NW Iowa! Fun stuff, for sure!