Wednesday, December 31, 2008

40 kg. Pistol... almost.

So close I could taste it. Iron and chalk, mmm...
I got down to just below parallel and fired back up, but my forward foot hit the ground hard. Not hard enough to push off, but not good all the same.
Fortunately I know exactly what the problem was. I haven't yet mastered 'zipping up' my legs, and I was trying to just stand up vs. driving my heel through the floor. I'm also going to take Max Shank's advice and start doing pistols with double kettlebells in the rack.
I also tend to lose focus under pressure. It's funny, because in all other things I'm great under pressure, but as soon as I get under a max weight I start falling apart. More mental training is required.
On the upside my left knee is feeling much more solid, and I was able to hit a couple 24 kg. pistol without any problems. After I finish this squat cycle I'll work in a day of pistols again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tara's snatch test

Today Tara took a run at her RKC snatch test. The result was 111 reps in 5 minutes on the 16 kg. That's pretty impressive. She can hit 120 before the RKC. Unfortunately the memory on my laptop ran out at 3 minutes. That's ok, we'll get it again next week! :)



Check out Tara's website at http://www.yogamindwarriorbody.com

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Beast Challenge Progress and a 40 kg. Bent Press

My finger is almost completely healed. Like I said before, it was more annoying than anything else.
I have to commit myself to the fact that this is a long road. I'm bringing myself from nothing, to a state of superior strength. I'm not one of these guys who trains for a few weeks or a couple months and then tames the beast.
Presses and Pistols are going well, and the 40 kg. is within reach on both. Pull ups are sucking something fierce. As I said before though, the weight issue is a problem. I'm up to 176 now from 160 in August. I'm starting to gain ground on my pull ups again, but I may drop back to 170 so long as my strength doesn't decrease.
I'm going to start studying the habits of highly successful beast tamers. :) Pressing grooves, bell position in the pistol, etc. I do the same for my short bending, so why not this?
All in all I feel good.
I also whipped out a 40 kg. bent press the other day. I was actually surprised by how easily it went up. I have a hundred pounder in me within the next couple months.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kettlebell Snatch Corrections Pt. 1

This is a video I put together covering three basic mistakes I see often in the hard-style kettlebell snatch. Particularly if you have a snatch test coming up, you will want to ensure you aren't making any of these mistakes.

Friday, December 19, 2008

An injury, progress, and a new nutritional plan

Ok. So.
I was doing heavy swings the other day, and got the bright idea to do one handed swings holding two 28 kg. kettlebells in one hand. Yeah, one hand.
Hey, it actually went fine. My abs were firing like crazy. The problem wasn't the swings, but the release. One bell bounced off the floor, flipped, and the two bells smashed the middle finger on my left hand, splitting it open. It was right on the border of needing stitches, but I bound it up and I think it'll be fine.
I have stated some goals for 2009, now I need to prioritize them. They are as follows.
1. Red Nail
2. Beast Challenge
3. 100 32 kg. snatches in five minutes.
So as of right now I'm out of the April TSC. No reason to go get murdered when all of my training right now is a heavy focus on maximal strength. My Beast Challenge goals and Bending Goals go together well. I need to build up a base of strength before I return to the heavy snatching.
Right now I'm on the edge of the 40 kg. with my presses and my pistols. I see myself owning both in the next couple months, and I should hit the beast well before RKC II. The pull up is killing me, partially because I keep putting on weight. We'll see. Part of it is that I just need to get on my pull up training more.
My legs are waaay stronger from the squatting.
My new nutritional plan is... not to have one. Basically I already eat pretty healthy, my energy levels and all else are fine, so no reason to give myself one more thing to stress out over. If I start to think it's affecting my performance I'll re-assess, but right now this is working fine.

Cecil the christmas dog, comcast, and not working so much.



Cecil is a Christmas dog.

I watch a lot of movies. I dig movies. So I have my HD tv and I order HD from comcast. I know I need an HDMI output to really have HD. Component cables don't cut it. Comcast tells me they aren't issuing the HDMI boxes anymore as they were somehow defective. I accept this as the sheep I am. I recently came to the realization I was paying for HD that was not happening. I call comcast and now it has changed to a 'shortage' of hdmi boxes, but they can put me on the waiting list at the warehouse. I tell them to go ahead and cancel my HD. I kid you not- 20 minutes later a comcast technician is at my door with an HDMI box in hand. Are you freaking kidding me?! Comcast has been lying to me for so long it feels like we're married.

I recently came to a head with my business where I had the option of putting together a larger facility, getting more workshops out, and basically working 24/7 to create a big new thing. I have opted not to do so. At least not right now. It may happen in the future, but part of the idea behind my chosen path is to be free to pursue other things, spend time with my family, etc. I like it that way. I'm still doing fine. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pistol and JS Band Video, card tearing, and human TGU.

Tried my hand at some card tearing the other night. Took down 20 cards, went for 30 and was stopped. More technique work is required. This is a grip killer.




I put together this video on a technique I use to build my pistol strength using Jump Stretch Bands.




I'm also working on doing a TGU with a person. The girl in the below photos was probably close to my max limit with a dead weight, so I figured I could put her up but I was stopped. I'm working on it. As is the case with maximal lifts my form broke down.



The ability of the person acting as the implement to tighten up also plays a big part in success or failure when it comes to this.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Moving my website

I'm moving my website to a different hosting provider this weekend, so it may be down for a while, and my jordan@averagetoelite.com e-mail may be down as well. If you need to contact me use averagetoelite@gmail.com

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One of the most important articles you will ever read.

No joke. If your goal is to build strength, this is going to save you a lot of time. I've been watching Adam's progress for over a year now, and I know this to be true. There are no tricks, no 'secret' routines. It's hard work. Following a plan, realizing you do not know everything, and staying on task.
So often I see posts on the DD forum from someone about how they have modified the Power to the People program to include squats, or bench press, or this and that.
You can't follow directions. That's all. They always pop up with a reason they can't do the program as prescribed, but the reasoning is usually pretty weak.
Something else Adam points out that is important is to be able to diffrentiate between the 'on the ground' practical aspect of fitness training, and the business side. Every so often someone pops up who just went to a cert and starts ranting about how the Hard-Style method isn't proven.
For real? Seriously?
In the end, whatever you do that works for you is good. Trying to talk smack about different styles that have repeatedly produced results just shows that you have gotten caught up in someone's marketing scheme.
Hard Style, GS, West-side, these are all good methods, it's just about how you do or do not employ them.
Check out Adam's article.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Setting articifical limits.

I was thinking about this today. I think I've set limits on myself without intending to. For some reason I have this phantom ceiling of 100 lbs. on my TGU. Granted, going over this point is heavy and requires training, but why should I break at 105, or even 110? We know that much of training is psychological, so this is an area I need to delve into and conquer. I've noticed I don't have this problem with the nail bending. I get that thing in position and I know, not think, but know that I can bend it. Sometimes this doesn't work out, but it's the correct direction.
This isn't to be confused with being unrealistic. You have to do the work to get to the point where you can achieve your goals.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I'm going through changes...

My body composition is changing and it's interesting. The steel bending and heavy work combined with snatches, jerks, and other kettlebell feats has brought me to a square 170 lbs. settled down from my recent peak to 175.
I tried to take down a 5x1/4 inch piece of steel today. Got it to about three inches between the ends, but it stopped me. I can now bend a yellow nail while carrying on a conversation. While training I'm bringing my hands closer together as mentioned by Dave Whitley Senior RKC to focus on the wrist/grip strength connection. When it comes time to take down a bigger piece of steel I move back to the ends and attack.
Adam Glass was kind enough to send me some slowed down videos of horseshoe bending, so that's up next as well as some more sledgehammer leveraging.
If you've been following it I have moved my training log to the Dragondoor forum.
Here it is.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

20081207

It's pearl harbor day.
---
Squats
5x135
5x185
5x185
3x225
3x225
1x275
1x275

Bent Press
16 kg. 1/1
20 kg. 1/1
24 kg. 1/1, 1/1

---
I wasn't feeling particularly 'on' today. Mostly just practicing technique with the bent press.
Squats were ok. I went back to my narrow stance and had no hip pain. I have very narrow hips, so I think a wide stance just doesn't suit my hip architecture. I squatted with a belt for the first time and definitely felt a difference. I can't say as 275 was that hard. I was primarily distracted examining my form. I need to run some video.

I'm aware my training hasn't been particularly focused lately, but it will get tightened up soon. Regardless I'm still making solid progress.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More bending videos and Louie Simmons in Sacramento

I did some videos of my bends today. Four yellow nails down and one blue nail. I measure the blue in the video as it isn't color coded. Took down two of the yellow nails in ironmind pads. I have to say that while this makes it harder, I kind of like them better.

Blue nail bend



Yellow nail in IM pads


The first weekend of February Louie Simmons will be doing a two day seminar in Sacramento. Joe Sarti and I will be heading out there to take part. Everyone has their own opinions about Louie, and that's cool, but I think it would be hard to make a case that there is nothing to learn there. Day 2 is specifically for strength coaches and we'll be working on identifying our individual weaknesses in the three lifts. I think my weakness in the bench has already been identified, in that I bench press about as much as a girl scout. I'll be interested to see what Louie tunes up in my deadlift.
If you're interested here's the link.
Louie Simmons Seminar.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Taking down the blue nail.

Done and done. As was the case with the yellow nail, I didn't actually expect it to bend, so no video yet. I also bent three yellow nails. All bends were solid. I felt good so I took a run at the blue nail.
It took a lot longer to get the initial kink, and I had to really stay on it. I'm used to the rest of the bend being easy after the initial kink, so once the blue nail kinked I backed off and that almost screwed me. I have to stay on this thing until it's toasted.
I've been going pretty hard since I became healthy again, and I feel 100% now.
I was thinking about how lucky I am to be in the position I am, and have access to the people and resources I do. Granted, I worked myself like a rented mule to get here, but still...
By the way, google calendar now syncs with ical on the mac, which in turn syncs with the iphone. This is so bad ass. Now I can actually use the calendar on my iphone.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yellow nail bend video

I finally got it on video today. If anyone has any constructive criticism I'm wide open. Just watching the video gave me a few things to work on. I think I'm punching all of my air out too quick, and I could definitely use more flexibility to get the nail up under my chin. I've noticed I tilt off to my left to get more leverage on the nail. I'm not sure if that's bad or not.



Once I get the initial kink these bend pretty easily. I'm using the black leather pads from Fat Bastard. Not sure I dig these. I had been using the blue suede ones and it seems I get more elasticity and a tighter wrap.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Probably the coolest video I have ever seen.

This is bad ass.



Originally posted by Scott Baio.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My training year in review.

I know the year isn't over yet, but I figure this is a good place to cap it.
The below video compilation covers my PR's for the year. Also a good clip of me dropping a 40 kg. kettlebell on my chest.



I went from never having more than a few 24 kg. snatches to 115 reps in 5 minutes, to 68 reps on the 32 kg. in 5 minutes. I went from never having done a pistol to a 32 kg. pistol. 32 kg. presses became common place. I bent yellow nails. I hit 9 pull ups with 10 kg. hanging from my belt. I put up a 100 pound turkish get up. I pulled a 405 pound deadlift.

The thing I would like to hammer home here is that I am of below average genetics. It wasn't until February that I started getting serious with my training. Anyone can do what I have done, or better. Develop a plan and stick to it. Don't second guess yourself, don't let people screw with your head. If your progress stalls then by all mean adjust course, but make sure you still have a plan.

In 2009 my goals are as follows.

100 reps on the 32 kg. in 5 minutes.
A successful beast challenge.
Bending the Red Nail.
A successful completion of the RKC II.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I was finally taken down.

I haven't been sick since 2004. That's a pretty good run, but it's over. I thought I was just having an allergic reaction to something, but Wednesday morning it became glaringly obvious that I was sick. I have a cold. Part of it is just getting too comfortable with not being sick. Normally if I feel something coming on I megadosse with vitmain c, drink a gallon of water, and go to sleep for 18 hours. That works pretty good. This time I was doing max vo2, bending yellow nails, and declaring that I could not possibly be sick, because I don't get sick!
Oh well, lesson learned. I should be good until 2012 now. Of course the world ends then, so it's kind of a phyrric victory.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canine Companions for Independence



We have a new dog now courtesy of CCI in Santa Rosa. Vanessa had to attend a two week course with her son Josh to learn how to properly handle him, and now Cecil is a part of the family. This dog is like wicked smart. He obeys all of the common commands, and he can also perform more advanced tasks such as picking up clothes and putting them in the laundry, getting things out of the refrigerator, opening and closing doors, and other things.
If you have a moment you can learn more about CCI here.
I think this is a pretty great program to serve not only the physical, but also the emotional needs of special needs children and adults. I used to think it was only the blind who used service dogs, but I have found that many types of disabilities can benefit from the assistance of a dog. Those prone to serious (Read: life threatening) seizures use dogs to detect when a seizure is coming.
I think the below video is a pretty good example of the emotional aspect, as it's easy for us to forget how secluded special needs children can feel from the rest of society.



Below is a photo of Cecil.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pavel's flexibility and ab training seminar

This weekend I went to Pavel's seminar on flexibility and ab training in Sacramento, California. It was well worth my time. Pavel made some simple adjustments to my stretching positions that made a world of different. He also gave me some pull up fixes that I can tell are going to make a huge difference. I had always heard people talk about 'exploding' out of the bottom of the pull up, but I never quite understood how. It is basically snapping into the hollow position at the bottom and then allowing that to 'jumpstart' you over the bar. It's going to take a while to get a feel for this, but it's going to add some reps for sure.
I also got to meet some folks like the Toomey clan to include Mark Toomey RKC Team Leader, Doug Neapodal Senior RKC, Gayle Hunter RKC II, Cecilia Tom RKC, and others.
All in all time well spent.
I also got a sweet new tattoo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A 28 kg. BUP and breathing patterns

I've been working on different aspects of my press as well as different breathing methods. I've had several clients make great strides in the last weeks by altering how they are breathing during different exercises. Prior to this press I performed a sharp exhalation to prime the nervous system as suggested in my RKC manual. I believe it had a great effect as this went up easily, whereas I was struggling with it last week. Part was also having backed off my training volume and focused on recovery this week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving toward the April TSC

Since September I've been primarily working on bringing up my absolute strength, doing a lot of squatting, deadlifting, pistols, presses, etc. I've seen great results from it. Smooth presses on the 32 kg. and a semi-press of the 40 kg. (little knee bump so I can't claim it yet), a 32 kg. pistol, a 28 kg. bottoms up press, a yellow nail bent, better squat form and decent poundages, and strong snatches of the 40 kg. I have also seen my weight go up 15 pounds since august RKC to 175 lbs. I would actually venture to say I'm leaner than I was at 165.
I definitely hit a peak last Saturday and should have backed off, so now I am going to. I'm going to hit mvo2 tomorrow and friday at a moderate pace of sets and reps, then take the weekend off when I go to Sacramento for Pavel's stretching and abs seminar, then back into it full speed.
I'm still going to be squatting to bring my deadlift up, hitting mvo2 twice a week, presses and pull ups, and rotating in the deadlifts as I go. I will still be bending nails as well.
So let me toss out some goals for the April TSC. Hear me now and understand me later.
32 kg. 5 minute snatch test- 100 reps
10 kg. pull ups- 18 reps.
Deadlift- 455 lbs.

I am aware these are pretty lofty numbers, but I'd rather shoot high and be disappointed than aim for mediocrity and be satisfied with sucking.
This is gonna hurt.

By the way, this is in my head pretty much on a loop these days. Killswitch engage- As daylight dies. Here's a cover of Dio's Holy Diver.
Bear this in mind- "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean."
Indeed.

And the original.

---
In other news I received the 'Westside Barbell Book of Methods' by Louie Simmons in the mail yesterday. This thing might as well be a brick of gold. Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I have taken down the yellow nail.


Finally. Today I bent two yellow nails, the equivalent of two 60 penny nails. The first one I braced against my leg to get the initial kink and then it went down from there. The second one I decided to try without bracing against my leg, and I got it as well. I had started off bending the greens, but they felt waaay easier than usual, so I just went for it. I also busted out a couple of green nail bends inside of pistols, which I have photos of below. Not the prettiest things ever, but it worked for the odd angle bends.
I also pressed the 40 kg., albeit with a slight bump from the knees. I will press it strictly before the year is out.
Today I weigh 175 pounds.



I did manage to get butt to the floor, the camera just didn't catch that. I only get the initial kink in the bottom position as I can't crush down at arm's length... yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

28 kg. bottoms up press is in the books.

I've been chasing this for a while and tonight I finally put it up. I made an adjustment to my pressing groove that helped, but at the end of the day I'm just a lot stronger than I was. Next up is the 32 kg.
Also of note is that I put a pretty big bow in a yellow nail. I can feel I'm only a hair's breadth away from getting a solid kink and breaking it down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have cracked the top 20 reviewed instructors list.

It just seemed like the thing to do.



I should move up in the next week or so as I have several in the pipeline. Thanks to everyone who contributed and all who will as I move into the top ten. Hint hint. :)

Also of note is that today I bent a green nail while doing a pistol. That was fricking hard. Next time I'll try to get some video of it. Purely a circus trick.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I haven't had to wait for a treadmill yet.

I was reading through some gym reviews on Yelp when I came across one for a gym near me. Part of the reviews exclaimed "I haven't had to wait for a treadmill yet!"
What a bummer that is. This means that at some time you were waiting for the opportunity to get on a machine that basically simulates running.
I've learned to put my blinders on in the gym. I still go to Equinox because I dig the AC and many of the trainers are friends of mine and I like that atmosphere. It always bums me out to see all these people on the machines, doing reverse overhead dumbbell lunges on the bosu for their 'balance day'.
We're so disconnected from what the hell it's supposed to be about. It's so simple that it is elusive. It is your ability to function. If you're working out on the machines building big biceps and pumping up your pecs, but every time you shake hands with your uncle he nearly crushes yours without meaning to, that should tell you something. If you ride the stairmaster for an hour and then march around with a medicine ball for fifteen minutes, but you can't carry a box out to your garage... that should tell you something.
If the 'fitness' you are building doesn't serve you in performing simple daily tasks, it is worthless.
I don't look like much. I mean seriously. You can kind of tell I work out, and half the time I look like a skinny guy with a gut... but I can lift up your refrigerator. Better still, I'll be able to play with my great grandkids, and God willing; beat them in a foot race.
You're not stupid. You know when you're being conned, when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Sometimes you go with it because it's convenient. However, I leave you with this: Life isn't supposed to be convenient, because then it's boring.
Like waiting for a treadmill.

Happy Birthday Marines!

In 1997 I took a chance and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. My time in the Marine Corps (and in particular in the infantry) changed me profoundly and I believe in the end made me a much more well rounded person, and set me up for success in life. I was the last person on the planet you would have expected to enlist. I was the quiet artist type, not athletic in the least, thin as a rail. However, I always had this idea that sometimes you just have to walk through the door. If you do that, everything else will fall into place. This does not ensure success, but at least trying will make you a better man.
I learned some things during a total of five years (four active, one reserve).
1. Being able to run fast helps.
2. Being able to take a beating helps.
3. Being able to hand out a beating helps.
4. You can get away with a lot of backtalk if you're good at your job and can lead Marines.
5. Meritorious boards are lame.
6. One Sergeant vs. two captains and a lieutenant is a losing battle, even if you are getting out in five days.
7. A 240G machine gun coming down a zip line hits really hard.
8. If you're in a Helo landing area with ear plugs in pay attention, or you may actually get hit in the head by one about to land on you.
9. British Royal Marines have no concept of shame.
10. Bullets do not understand 'friend or foe'.
11. When being shot at do not turn to the Marine next to you and say "Hey, I think they're shooting at us."
12. Water does not shoot up out of a puddle of it's own accord. Most likely bullets are making it do that.
13. If you show up at boot camp and have the middle name 'Mountain Wolf' or if your name is 'Phuc Yu', you are pretty much screwed.
14. McDonalds employees make more than Marines.
15. Don't stop in the doorway and look around.
16. Don't wear your blues out on the town when you come home on leave. You look like a tool.
17. DO NOT WALK BETWEEN A PLATOON SERGEANT AND HIS FORMATION. 80 fists hit really hard.
18. Don't take a shortcut through another company's barracks.
19. Do not leave your weapon unattended, unless you feel like digging up all of the separate pieces.
20. The MP5 rocks.

I may add to this later, but that's pretty good for now.

Sgt. Vezina, Jordan J
USMC 0311
2nd F.A.S.T. Company
2nd Intel
1997-2001, 2005

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beast Challenge on hold

I have decided to put off my Beast Challenge date to the June RKC II or the UCLA RKC in August. My presses and pistols are going fine, but my pull ups are getting killed as I keep putting on weight. Today I weighed 174 lbs., a full 14 pounds heavier than I was at the August RKC. I'm holding ground on the pull ups, but since I'm planning on taking this all the way to 180 I don't realistically expect to pull what I need to.
So I will continue training for it, but will start prepping for the April TSC on Jan. 1st.
My strength levels are way up, and I'm confident I'll have a 425 lbs. deadlift before the year is out. The squatting is helping immensely, and the generation of radiant tension during the nail bending is translating well to my pulls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tara gets up the 24 kg., Bert pulls 300 lbs., and Todd passes his snatch test.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty big in terms of client PR's, and just everyone taking a leap ahead in terms of their strength and conditioning.
I started working with Tara Robertson back in March I believe, and she really took her training by the horns and stuck with it. Now she is swinging the 24 kg., hitting 50 sets of 6 reps on the 16 kg. for max vo2, and confidently doing TGU with the 24 kg. This February she will be attending the RKC in San Jose.
Bert has been battling his way toward a 300 pound deadlift for two years now, ever since I introduced him to the exercise at Equinox. He missed all three attempts at the TSC in September, but today he pulled a solid 300 pound deadlift. It will only get better from here.
When Todd and I started training in July 2007 he could barely swing the 16 kg. for ten reps. This Saturday he hit his RKC snatch test number on the 24 kg. For those interested nearly all his snatching was done vo2 style with the 16 kg. He did a few runs of snatches on the minute with the 20 kg. but this was his first time ever doing a significant number of snatches on the 24 kg. He is also doing get ups with the 32 kg. kettlebell.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What do you do when you run out of nails to bend?

Try to straighten them back out.



An interesting variation that I probably won't do too often as I can see how this can go all kinds of wrong, but it did help me channel my tension more efficiently. I probably could have taken them further, but my wraps weren't that tight and I was running out of time.
This also worked the hell out of my triceps.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

32 kg. Pistol and Beast Challenge Status

I've done this once before, but this was much cleaner. I just barely tapped the ground with my forward foot. I've improved my hamstring flexibility, so it's much better than last time. I can see I unloaded my tension too quickly (about halfway up) and I need to stay on top of that until the end. I know I could do a 36 right now if I had one. So my beast challenge stats as of this moment are as follows.
Press- 36 kg.
Pistol- 36 kg.
Pull Up- 28 kg.

I have three months left to train for this thing. I have no doubt I'll get the pistol and the press, I just need to start working the pull ups harder. It doesn't help that I'm a full 14 pounds heavier than I was at the RKC, and 8 pounds heavier than I was at the TSC. I'm going to put the breaks on at 180 and game it out from there.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Double Kettlebell Get Ups

Recognize.



I dig these and I think I'll start working more on them. My grip was smoked after just one. The trick is to not just stack the bells one on top of the other. If you do so you're basically just doing a stacked get up, like a stacked press. Let the handles slide in different directions, dropping the bells side to side. This way you have to crush grip the handles together to stabilize it, and if you let up for even a second you'll know it, because you'll have a face full of kettlebell.
This is potentially dangerous, so if you attempt it observe proper safety precautions and start light.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

Getting stronger daily

I'm rounding a corner in my training where I can see my goals within my grasp. I'm growing stronger at an astounding pace, faster than even I thought I would. The key is simple: develop the plan and follow it. Don't let anything get in your way, destroy all who oppose.

Today I put up a 95 lb. kettlebell in the TGU without too much difficulty. The good part is that it was done on my weak side.



Nailed the stacked press with the 16 kg. and 8 kg.



There's a big psychological component to this as well. I tell myself I can do it, and if I've prepared properly, I know I can. I visualize the 95 lb. bell as a toy, and it goes up like one because I properly pushed my body to develop the strength to make it happen.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Taking the Bulldog for a walk

Today I decided to test out my 40 kg. snatches. I hit 5 on the right and 3 on the left. All were solid except the first on each side, where I needed to get my footing a little better. I'm pretty sure I could have done more, but I haven't been filing my calluses like a good girevik, and they were getting pinched hard.
This is a far cry from the 3 shakey reps I got on my right hand last time, and this was the first time EVER snatching the 40 on my left.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pavel is coming to Sacramento

Pavel Tsatsouline is coming to Sacramento CA Nov. 22nd to do two workshops. One on flexibility and one on abdominal training.
Details here.
Of course, I will be there. With bells on.

Pressing Progress

I've been doing a lot of work on my pressing strength, and part of that involves the pressing of stacked kettlebells. This requires exacting technique, slow movement, etc. If you screw up the top bell falls. This one was a 16 kg. and a 8 kg. for a total of 24 kg. It stalled close to the top, but I'll get it. I also went for a bottoms up press of the 28 kg. and it went up but again stalled about halfway. I'm bearing in mind that my shoulders are waaay overtrained, so I'm backing off on the pressing and keeping it at 3 days a week.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is what a 100 lbs. Turkish Get Up looks like.

I always regretted not getting my 100 lbs. get up on tape, and you better believe when I get my 120 I'll have a dozen cameras rolling.
Today at my trainer workshop at Equinox Palo Alto Ivan Batinich put up 100 lbs. on the get up. The below photos are of him doing it on his weak side. A few minutes before he did it on his right side as well. He also pressed and pistoled the 40 kg. This guy is crazy strong and he's only going to get stronger.







Saturday, October 18, 2008

Day one of the kettlebell workshop and a Heslep Style bend

Day one of my level 2 kettlebell workshop for Equinox Palo Alto is in the books. Everyone is doing well learning double kettlebell technique and refining technique in the get up, swing, press, and snatch.
At the end we did some nail bending and other circus tricks to wind down, and I pulled off a Heslep style bend on the green nail, so a bend with my arms extended out in front of me. I was surprised I 'nailed' it. Ha ha, get it? Nailed it?
Yeah, so...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Heavy swings and nail bending

Today I hit ten 20 reps sets of swings on the 40 kg. interspersed with some nail bending. The swings felt good and I like that I can keep my endurance up without interfering with my pressing schedule, which is what snatches would do. I worked on visualizing my deadlift lockout with each swing.
I worked through a lot of green nails, 20 I believe all done in groups of 5 back to back. These were easy, but it's a big jump to the yellow nail. I think I'll start varying degrees of Heslep style bending (at arm's length) to make it harder. Tried some double underhand and couldn't move it. I think I'm definitely floating into the range where I can't just rely on stupid monkey strength, and have to actually start applying technique. I took a run at a yellow nail and actually managed to bend it a bit, but not much.
I worked with Tara a bit on bending technique and put her on the COC #1 to work on a modified crushdown in order for her to keep working on her tension techniques and bringing all of her power to bear on the nail. I think this works pretty well, particularly in developing explosive power for the initial kink.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More rock climbing and goal setting.

Back in the rock gym today to do some more climbing and more importantly to learn how to climb. :)
While my max effort grip strength continues to improve my grip strength endurance sucks. Granted I forgot to chalk before getting on the wall, but still. My forearms were toasted and I mean with a quickness. I also did more height than I have before as we were on belay. I dig it.
I've been working more in prioritization of goals and focusing on what I have to do to achieve them. I'm still gaming some things out, but it looks good. My pressing progress continues to go up and I'm getting stronger as I go.
Having goals is important. I used to not have goals and I just kind of did a bunch of stuff. This was fine and I became stronger and built up my endurance, but it was nothing compared to what I went through when I set concrete goals and backed myself into a corner to force myself to stay on task and achieve them. I'm not saying 'doing a bunch of stuff' and having no direction is 'bad', but it's not optimal.
So when I toss something up here like 'I'm going to do the Beast Challenge', the main reason is to force myself to stay on task and not quit just because of stagnant progress. If I quit I'm a punk and that's all there is to it. I may set a goal and come to a point where I realize it isn't possible, but that's exceedingly unlikely. That's why I always say I'm 'gaming it out' before I announce a goal. I think really hard on these things and decide if I can do it. My goals also string together and each one is a building block for the next. For example, I know that developing the max strength required to tame the beast will serve me well in what I have planned next.
Some people say they don't care about goals and whatever. No one's buying it, and furthermore neither are you. Backing yourself into a corner and baring your fists against your weaker self is the best thing you can do for your progress. If you don't set goals, you'll never be challenged. It's easy to just trash yourself and claim it's a work out. Setting concrete goals and forcing yourself to stick to a plan is harder.
At the end of the day the main thing is getting out there and trying to better yourself, however you may do it. In my experience, it's easier to complete the race if you know where the finish line is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Keeping the body in balance

I know what my body likes and does not like. I know exactly how different foods make it react. So why do I insist on punishing it? I have a sweet tooth that would make Willy Wonka sit up and shout, that's why. Gluten and refined sugars cause my system to go into a state of havoc proximal only to what Wall Street is currently going through. They have to stay out or I'm miserable. My body likes vegetables, kombucha, and ultimate meal. It hates anything processed or refined. My body is the Lloyd Dobler of... bodies I guess.
I used to think the whole organic thing was kind of a racket. Something for dirty hippies to cry about before they go hug a tree or hump a shrub, or whatever. Now I know it's the real deal, and it's an awful truth. The awful truth is that we actually have to label our foods to denote that they are not poisonous. I have to buy grass fed free range beef so that I can be fairly confident the cow did not eat the ground up remains of it's parents, or chicken heads, and wasn't shot up with steroids to make it bigger. I have to buy organic veggies straight from the damn farm so that I can be fairly sure they weren't soaked in poisons on a daily basis. It's important that I inquire as to whether the chicken I am eating was genetically engineered to not have eyes and feet.
It's easy to scoff and say it's not really that bad, but I feel it and I see it on a regular basis. I'm looking out my window every day at a generation that thinks Subway is a healthy alternative to McDonalds. Hey, a bullet is a bullet if you take one in the head. Sure I'd rather get shot with a .22 than a .45, but ultimately I'd rather not get shot at all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Christening the Patio of Pain

I received my mat the other day and got everything set up, so I took the Patio of Pain for a spin this morning. Low volume pressing and swings were the order of the day. I'm finding that 30/30 sets on swings aren't doing much for me unless I lead in with some minute long sets. I'm intrigued by the idea of going up to 2-3 minute long sets of swings, it's just a matter of my grip. I did some minute long sets on the 28 kg, then bumped to the 32 kg. for 30/30 due to my grip getting toasted.
Next week I back off from the volume and resurrect the max vo2. I don't really feel like I've lost anything endurance wise, but we'll find out for sure.



This is just the beginning of the workout. I need to get the rack tighter when I clean. I can see how that will make a difference.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

32 kg. Pistol

In the dark of night before my 8pm client at Girya I pistoled the 32 kg. kettlebell. It wasn't pretty, and it was highly contested, but it happened nonetheless. Onward and upward.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Swing Corrections and prepping for high volume

This is a video I recently did covering some common swing deviations. RKC's excepted, even if you think you know how to do a swing it's worth watching.



As some of you know I'm going through a high/low volume training cycle right now. On my pressing days I break 100 reps per arm. Today I started with the 28 kg. and worked down to the 24 kg. manipulating my reps and sets until I had broken 100 reps per side. Some have commented that it's great I can handle this kind of volume. I believe part of it is that some respond well to high volume work and some don't, but another aspect is prep and recovery. I think if I tried doing this without first having done a lot of max vo2 snatching I would get crushed. With that background though, I think my system was well prepared for the workload. Another aspect is recovery. I have to be on it every day with the roller and my stretching or again, I'll get crushed. Kenneth Jay stated in the program that you have to work into this kind of volume, and of course he was correct. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was a Beast Press.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Inspiration and making the connection

If you think you're the alpha and the omega, the greatest thing there ever was, if you think you don't have any room for improvement you are wrong. We all need a guiding light, a poster on the garage wall, a theme song. We have to strive toward something ahead of us.
A while back I found a photo of some guy on the Gym Jones website dragging a sled through the snow while carrying a 100 pound bag of rock salt. I thought this was the baddest ass thing I had ever seen.
Back in March-April of 2007 pre-deployment spin up I made a habit of dragging an 80 lb. tire three miles twice a week as part of my training program. I would return to this photo pre-drag for motivation. I figured what this guy was doing was waaay worse than what I was doing, so I would be just fine.
I met Dan John at the UCLA RKC and we had a couple of conversations about Corn Husker's lotion and the fact that apparently his brother lived down the street from me. He's one of the most genuine no B.S. people I've ever met. I remember thinking he must be a good role model for his students at the college and high school he teaches and coaches at.
This morning I found myself back on the Gym Jones website and saw a bio for Dan John. I clicked on it and lo and behold... it's that guy. It was Dan John dragging the sled thrugh the snow and inspiring me to keep dragging that stupid tire.
It's funny how things come full circle.


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

28 kg. Pistol and the COC #1

I took some video of my 28 kg. pistol today during my low volume pistols. Mostly done with the 28 kg. I'm pretty sure I can knock out the 32 kg, but I'm being patient.

My captains of crush No. 1 gripper came in the mail today and I closed it easily out of the package. I'll start working this more and then make a run at the #2.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Damn that's still a lot of presses and happy birthday to me. :)

Today is my birthday, and I am 33 years old. I celebrated by doing 200 military presses on the 24 kg. 20 sets of 5/5. Not really a celebration as this is just my high volume pressing day. Everything on the right was easy, so I will either up the reps per set, or bump up to the 28 kg. This program is working, and very well. I completed everything on my left, and the presses became easier as I went on and my mechanics improved.
I'm all moved in to the new place and there's a lot going on this month to include my next workshop with equinox.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rack Position Corrections

This is just a short video I put together covering some common mistakes I see in the rack position.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A belated pistol PR and 'damn that's a lot of presses'

For those of you who missed my tag at the end of the TSC post I'm currently training for the Beast Challenge. I'm going to make a run at it during the February RKC in San Jose. I wasn't really sure in the beginning because it's one of those things I just declare I'm going to do, without stopping to think if I can actually do it. Right now it looks very doable. I've been utilizing Kenneth Jay Master RKC's low/high volume press, pull, and pistol program and so far it's working very well. Yesterday I hit a pistol on my right leg with the 28 kg. This is during my second week into the program. I'm cleanly pressing the 32 kg. and would venture a guess I can put up the 36 kg. Pull ups are lagging at a 24 kg. pull, but doing a lot of pull ups I've been working on my technique. Weight is up to 167. I really have to game the weight/ strength mix as every pound I add is another pound I have to pull over the bar. I think 170 might be a good stopping point.
Today was high volume pressing which called for a total of 96 reps military press each arm with the 24 kg. for a total of 192 total presses. It actually wasn't that taxing, but I kept looking at the numbers and thinking 'Damn that's a lot of presses'. It's a little consolation though, that mimicking those numbers on the pistol will suck even more.
That's all.

A2E Workshop Video

Here's some video from my workshop this weekend.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

San Mateo Equinox Level 1 Workshop



This weekend I ran a Level 1 Kettlebell workshop for the trainers at Equinox Fitness in San Mateo, CA. The more I do these things the smoother they go, and I become more efficient. I was highly impressed with this group of trainers. They picked everything up quickly and were very easy to work with. I even learned a good method for teaching the Turkish Get Up that one of the trainers there; Joe Pessano came up with. He effectively gave the trainee some easily controllable resistance to work with via his fist, and then applied pressure on her locked out arm at various stages throughout the get up. This allowed for a smoother transition from the bodyweight get up to using a kettlebell or other implement. Again, very impressive that he came up with a new tweak on the day after first learning the get up.


Jordan and Joe Pessano

One of the trainers who came up from the Palo Alto Gym; a young man named Ivan ripped out 5/5 clean and press and then 5/5 snatches with no pause on the 32 kg. This guy is a beast.
In our spare time we did a little nail bending, and the male trainers who took a run at the Green Nail all took it down. I know some ironmind bags of nails are going to be ordered this week.
I love doing these. It's just a bonus that I get paid. Any time you can help people take another step on their journey that they may not have been able to take alone is great. This way I get to kill 10 birds with one stone instead of 1 or 2.
The level 2 is coming in October, so hold on to your hats.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Turkish Get Up Corrections

"Strong people are harder to kill than weak ones, and more useful in general."
-Mark Rippetoe

I love that quote.

The below videos cover common mistakes I see in the TGU, and may prove to be useful.

Part One


Part Two

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Rock Climbing

Today I started my foray into rock climbing. Not on actual rocks, but in a rock climbing gym. I went in as a blank slate and I know I need technique work, so I booked some qualified instruction. Things went well and while I was surprised at how much harder it was than I thought it would be physically, I feel I am well prepared by all of my strength work. It definitely worked a different aspect of my grip than I am used to, but I never felt weak. I figured climbing indoors wouldn't be that hard, well guess again. Just climbing sideways across the wall a few feet off the ground was much harder than anticipated.
One interesting thing is how many parallels there are with hardstyle kettlebell training. One maneuver called a 'flag' is basically a pistol on a rock. Once I started applying my kbell technique to the climb it became much more manageable.
I dig this.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Green nail goes down without a fight.


Relatively easy. Same stock as the white nail, just shorter. I'm finding that the manner in which I wrap the nail is key. The tighter the wrap, the tighter I can get my grip. I did everything double overhand as opposed to anchor/driver, as I really feel like I can get everything behind the bend, particularly my lats. I'm going to start working on the anchor/driver as well. It's interesting how much this is like a deadlift for me. Same IAP, same tension, same grind.
Oh, and that thing about patience and working through all the whites? Not sure what I was thinking there. Must have been tired or on drugs.
My weight is up to 167 today, should break 170 soon.
Today's bodycount: 3 white nails, 2 green nails.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Nail Bending: It's a start...

I just bent a white nail.
Stop laughing at me. :)
Last week I received my bag of nails from Iron mind. How stupid does it sound that I paid someone for a bag of nails? It's worth it though, to have uniform quality and a graduated system of progression.
Tomorrow is officially my nail bending day along with my low volume pistols, but I was sitting at my desk looking at this stack of nails when I just decided to have a go at it. The white nail went pretty easily, no fuss no muss. I was able to efficiently get my whole body behind the bend, and halfway through I decided to actually use technique instead of just relying on stupid monkey strength. It was like someone flipped a switch and it just bent. I don't think I bent it as far as I'm supposed to, but I forgot to strip the wraps at the end and it cooled down. No big deal. Lesson learned. Of course I want to jump right to the greens, but I'll exercise patience and work through all the whites first.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

September 2008 TSC Results

This morning we rolled into Stone's Gym for my second TSC. This ended up being pretty cool as we had one person in each division. Aaron drove all the way up from Fresno to compete in the open, Bert came down for the Masters, and I was in the Elite.
Thanks to Rif for hosting it again, and everyone who yelled at me. :)
First came the deadlift. Aaron and I both pulled 405 lbs. I have been chasing this deadlift for over a year, and finally got it. I can safely say I could have gone heavier. It didn't feel 'easy' by any means, but it went up without much protest, and I felt much stronger than I did in my previous max of 387 lbs.
Pull Ups went about as I expected. I strapped on the 22 pound plate and cranked out 9. Not awesome, but not bad considering I got 12 with bodyweight last time, and only decided to go elite a couple weeks ago.
For the snatch test I managed 67 with the 32 kg. I dropped one from my previous PR of 68, but obviously a heavy deadlift and the pull ups ground me down a bit. Last time it was more cardio, this time strength was a bigger factor. I was toasted. When I crawl onto the floor at the end that's no joke. :)
I can't really gripe about my snatch form too much, but I need to slow the hell down. Going so fast in the beginning smoked me.
Below is the video of my snatch test.


Bert did outstanding in his snatch test. I still have to sit down and re-count the video, but he hit 103 or 104. This is after training the past few months and coming back from a jacked up shoulder where just putting his empty hand overhead hurt. A big part of the rehab was getting proper massage work done to break up scar tissue from an old injury. This work was done by Tara Robertson. Tara also did my rehab work and helped me avoid becoming a functional cripple, as well as emphasizing the importance of proper flexibility training.

Oh by the way, I'm going to do the beast challenge in February or June.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

D minus 2

Saturday is the Tactical Strength Challenge. In light of my progress I have decided to enter the elite division. This will require that I do my pull ups with a 22 lb. weight, and snatch the 32 kg. kettlebell for 5 minutes vs. the open division where it is the 24 kg. and bodyweight pull ups.
I feel very strong going into this. I expect to eclipse my previous deadlift of 387 lbs. Today I did two 2 minute snatch sets. Results= 24 kg. 55 snatches, 32 kg. 30 snatches.
I was moving at a pretty relaxed pace with the 32 kg. set. When I hit my 68 reps a couple weeks back I wasn't going that hard, as I hadn't expected to hit the numbers I did. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
Good luck to all competing this Saturday.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Going 'full on cylon' and some P.R.'s

Lately the concept of turning on the machine and preparing to compete has been assigned the identifier 'Going full on cylon'. If you don't watch Battlestar Galactica you have no idea what I mean. When the cylon sleeper agent basically gets flipped on and starts wrecking shop, that's going full on cylon.
Everything feels good this week. I've mostly been doing technique work on snatching the 32 kg. I managed a get up with the 44 kg. kettlebell here at Girya. I've put up 100 lbs. on a barbell, but in my opinion the kettlebell makes it more difficult. I've also bottoms up pressed the 24 kg. and military pressed the 32 kg. I've military pressed the 32 before, but this time it went up surprisingly easy, which lends credence to my recent pressing schedule. One beast press, coming up.

Full on.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

RKC Prep and our new dog


I've started running a little RKC prep for the upcoming San Jose RKC in February for some trainer friends of mine, and pretty much anyone who shows up. Sounds like a pretty good gig, but the catch is you're going to be swinging and snatching that kettlebell more in one hour than you probably usually do in a week. No one is going to be on that field unable to finish their reps and attach my name to their training. :)
In addition to general S&C we work on technique in the six core lifts. I dig the change I see from when someone first walks out with funky technique, to when they dial it in and start having those 'ah-ha' moments. I also see the door opening to a realm of strength and conditioning that they may not have thought was possible.

Check out our new dog. Jealous?

My request to name him 'kettlebell' was over ruled.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Return to the house of pain: RKC II


The 2008 UCLA RKC. That's me behind Dan John.

That's it, I'm all signed up and set to visit Minnesota next June for the class of 2009. I cannot get there fast enough, and am looking forward to advancing my skills.
I have found that people often balk at the price of the RKC. Well, yeah, it is kind of a kick in the pants. Know what else is a kick in the pants? Being a poor trainer. I like it being expensive. I like that it's hard. I don't want a bunch of sissies who are afraid to spend money on their education wearing the same stripes that I do. It's like my old Sifu used to say "The workout isn't over until there's blood on the floor." I want to see blood on the floor, figuratively speaking of course. This was the same gentleman who once informed me that 'Ears come off' in the same manner that you would say 'Coffee's ready'. Sifu Joel Purvis, Angels Camp Kajukenbo.
When you think about it, it isn't really that expensive. It's actually pretty cheap. What other certification are you going to have a student to instructor ration of 3 or 4 to 1? None that I know of.
Recently I was talking to a friend about the RKC and he asked what the price tag was. When I told him he actually physically recoiled and had some interesting descriptive words. :)
I proceeded to give him my spiel and within the week he was registered for the San Jose RKC. Eventually this stuff makes sense if you just present it properly. It also helped that I laid out how I was going to make all that money back over the next thirty days.
So that's me. A little nutty, pretty committed, and ready to go.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The struggle


I copped the above photo from Adam Glass's blog. I think it is perfect. It perfectly encapsulates what the hell it's all about. This is not some tricky equation, it's simple. Here is the thing that wants to kill you. In order to succeed you must go head to head with it and walk away the winner. In the end that's what much of life is about. People who have never had a gun pointed at them or been up to their ears in human struggle like to think that everything is super cool and that struggle is unnecessary. Guess again. The sooner you prime yourself for struggle, the better off you'll be. This doesn't mean you have to be confrontational with people or have a bad attitude, it just means that you are ready for what may arise. Life is hard. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
Adam also had a great post on the DD forum regarding strength.

"Simple answer, I am strong bro. 50% of my upper body work is bending draft horseshoes, bending short steel at chest level, tearing phone books, breaking chains, levering hammer and a whole other mess of stuff.
My other 50% is KB Bottoms Up presses, BB bent presses, Get ups, plate curls, and rubber band work with my chest expander sets.
I do a lot of one arm pressing, so i am very good at one arm pressing. Specific Frequent Perfect Practice.
I know it's hard for some people to believe, but strength is really a very simple affair.
The last Four years can be summed up as this for me
2005--PttP
2006--ETK
2007--ETK + PttP in cycles
2008--Strongman work + ETK
Really simple stuff. Don't listen to anyone once you start. Stick to one plan and drive it out. Stop reading magazines and internet training sites (I am not saying stop reading the DD forum, but you have to become solid on your training plan) The "Best" plan in the world is the one your not using. Funny how that works huh?
Most people who will try to sway you have made no progress to speak of. Don't listen to them. I recently read a term I love "Might makes right" Damn Skippy it does. I don't listen to anyone who is weak when it comes to my strength training. I don't take medical advice from auto mechanics and I don't take computer programming classes lessons from grain farmers.
Beware of what Brett Jones calls "shiny things" I am the first person to say I love new stuff when its fun, but nothing cuts in my deads and presses.
Trying to increase your press and DL while dieting does work, but you have to be smart about the whole thing. I do not know enough to really give you solid advice other than this--I have leaned out a lot in the last 3 months. I eat a ton of yogert, protein shakes, veggies and lean beef. it is the most boring damn diet in the world, but i am stronger every week, and my clothes fit better...
Work in cycles. You have to understand the DL is a strange beast. you will progress for weeks, than it stalls on you. My 2 cents is to stack up heavy swings and take some time from deads when you feel the wall coming. Invest in a HEAVY bell. i bought a 56kg for nearly 500 from Australia when i lived in Japan and never looked back. Here stateside you can get a beast, or look in to the heavier bells. Just remember why you bought it-Swings. Dont get stupid and try to press out a super large bell, it will rip your arm off in the process.
For the presses, alternate between Bottoms Up Presses, Side press, strict one arm press and bent pressing. With four different presses you can mix and cycle them to your hearts content. Do a lot of pressing. press almost every day, keep the weights fairly heavy, dont do too much. Some days the most i do is one set of 3, other days i may do 5 sets of 5. I rarely do more than that.
The reason I have stuck around this forum for so long is because the training advice pushed here works. Pavel's stuff is no trick or marketing gimmick. "DO THIS" if you do it works. I do not pretend to be smarter than the SRKCs, I listen to them like a good boy and because I do, I'm becoming a pretty damn strong dude.
So all I just did was outline PttP or ETK...like I said, strength is a very simple affair. "
So look, it is very very very simple. Stop trying to find the perfect program, stop asking if this is a good or bad drill. Pick something and do it. O-lifting, PL, WestSide, ETK, PttP, PP, BB, Doggcrapp, Naked Warrior, AKC, Flowfit, sandbags, big rocks, heavy hands, combat conditioning, dinosaur training....it really does not matter, "mastery of one thing leads to mastery of all things"--from some samurai"


This also goes back to my first conversation with Rif when I started at Girya. The number one problem people have is showing up day after day. People want super complicated magic programs. See, the programs have to be magical in order for them to work despite the fact that you aren't actually doing them.
Over the past six months I have made dramatic increases in my strength, conditioning, and flexibility. I mean, seriously. Not to toot my own horn, but a jump from 91 reps of snatches on the 24 kg. in five minutes to 68 reps on the 32 kg. in five minutes in just five months is pretty damn good. How did I do it? I kept showing up. I took the pain and self abuse, made the corrections, and stuck with it.
I also stopped B.S'ing myself. If I wasn't able to do something that falls into the realm of basic strength, I was weak. That's all. It's not because "That's not the kind of training I do." or any of the other lame excuses I hear from non-hackers. It's because I'm not strong enough. What is the realm of basic strength? I've talked about this before, but for me it's basically:
1. Deadlift
2. Weighted Pull Ups
3. Squat
4. Military Press

I could stick pistols or one arm push ups in there, but that opens up the skilled movement debate. Sure deads and the like are skilled movement, but everyone can pick up their keys. Not everyone can do it by lowering themselves to the ground on one leg.
Inability to perform decently in one of the above exposes weakness. It might go all the way back to you having inflexible hamstrings. On occasion I'll talk to guys in their twenties who proclaim that they pretty much do none of the above because of 'injuries'. It takes me about two minutes to distill 'injuries' down to "I'm inflexible and never corrected it so I can't do that stuff."
That's where the part about being honest with yourself comes in. Attack your weaknesses, build your strength, prepare yourself for the coming struggle.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

32 kg. 5 minute snatch test- 68 reps

This was not as bad as I expected it to be. I was expecting strength to be the issue, but it ended up being cardio. I felt that I could keep punching, but I couldn't catch my breath. Bell speed was good at the end, and if I bring up my shoulder/core strength and stability I can keep the bell up the whole 5 minutes.
At the end my hands were still good, and I did the whole things sans chalk. It works for me.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My new Girevik Tattoo

Who's a psycho now?!




This tattoo was done by Jeramie at Homeward Bound Tattoo in Redwood City, CA

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New article posted on Straight To The Bar

I put together this article recently on the unwillingness of some people to regress a bit in order to address technique problems and weaknesses.

Progressing to the regression

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Turkish Get Up Corrections Pt. 1

I'm putting together a series of videos on the Turkish Get Up and the Snatch. These cover common deviations I have observed as a trainer, and methods of correction. This one covers the sit-up portion of the get up. When I see people struggling with the initial portion of the get up, normally it is due to the arm which locks out the bell levering back behind the ideal supportive position. Punching the bells slightly forward and up corrects this and causes the bell to end up in a position where it 'meets' the torso, which is moving forward.

Monday, August 25, 2008

There is no mercy in this dojo...

I had an interesting conversation with a client today that seemed to revolve around him pointing at himself and saying "Normal person." then pointing at me and saying "Psycho."
I've been working with him for about two years now, so it's good natured, but at the same time true on some level. He was pointing out that my motivational skills are lacking. Such as when he asks what his motivation is for competing at the TSC and I declare "To crush the bones of your opponents to dust."
Initially the point was that people may not find swinging a kettlebell to be fun, and perhaps it could somehow be tweaked to make it more enjoyable.
Now, I should point out that he isn't the problem, he gets it. He is a lifelong athlete and doesn't have a problem with the idea of snatching a kettlebell for ten minutes straight, but he is always looking out for my business interests. My contention is that one of the primary reasons our culture is going down the tubes is that somewhere along the line we all decided that everything had to be fun.
No, sometimes it's just work. Everything doesn't have to be fun. You do not have to enjoy everything that you do. Sorry. Suck it up and carry on. We seem to be fleeing with an ever quickening pace from the idea of hard work, particularly hard physical labor.
This week I have two clients (well I have more than two, but not relevant to this) at opposite ends of the spectrum, yet very alike. Physically they are very similar. One is just beginning and is working through get ups with the 6 kg. and 8 kg. kettlebells. This is a perfectly reasonable (and safe) weight to start with. The other completed a solid set of six get ups alternating hand to hand with the 16 kg. and uses 40 sets of max vo2 snatches with the 12 kg. as her independent training. She has come a long way from the days of shaky get ups with the 8 kg. I see the road laid out before the beginner, and the only thing required of her is to put one foot in front of the other. So long as they are physically sound I normally tell my female clients that someday they'll be doing their get ups with the 20 kg. I get looks that mirror the "Normal/psycho" conversation, but it's true. All that is required is that the pieces of the puzzle fit, and that you start putting one foot in front of the other.

The curious effect of 80 sets.

Once it was announced that Kenneth Jay Master RKC had bumped the sets for the 15/15 max vo2 up to 80, I dutifully complied and consistently hovered around that territory. My first foray into the 80 sets region was 80 sets of 7 reps with the 20 kg. Since then I have lost a step. There are several different possibilities as to why this happened.
1. Peaking for the RKC and then coasting down a bit.
2. Diet.
3. Higher sets for the max vo2 just doesn't agree with me.
I think it's a combination of the three, but at the end of the day 80 sets just doesn't agree with me.
Today I hit twenty good sets of the 36/36 protocol at 16 reps per set with the 20 kg. This felt good, and I could tell trying to go up to 30 or more sets would have seriously skewed things.
Do not get me wrong, I'm not saying the 80 set deal is no good. Far from it. What I am saying is that right now it is not optimal for me. It also dramatically changes how I structure my workouts when I go from a time frame of 25 minutes to 40 minutes.
So for now, if it ain't broke don't fix it. It ain't broke. I will stick with what works until the TSC. After that I may go back to 80 sets. We'll see.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Welcome to the patio of pain!

I've been remiss in my blogging lately, but have still been going strong in my business and my own training. Partially my lack of blogging has been due to apartment hunting this week. I got lucky and the first one I looked at was it. I'll now be in Menlo Park a scant 1.5 miles or so from Girya, my place of business. Sweet! I'll also have a patio area where I can chain up my kettlebells and train outside. I have already dubbed it the 'Patio of Pain'.
I've started an RKC prep course for some trainer/friends of mine over at Equinox, and we had our first kettlebell beatdown today. The Equinox members didn't know quite what to make of this. :)
I also witnessed some young men doing a workout that I can only guess they saw on 'Behind the octagon' or some other UFC related show. Wow. That's all I can say. I thought the whole '3 day split on all machines' workout was bad, but this is actually worse. Hey, intensity, they've got it! No doubt. I only hope they also have some wheelchairs and screws and pins for their shoulders. I saw an amazing kettlebell clean and press. I'm just thinking "There's no way that can feel right." Some might say I should step in and fix them, but I would literally be there all day long. I saw one of the trainers trying to give them some tips and doing a good job, but they just seemed to have it stuck in their heads that they knew what they were doing. Oh well.
I've been super disciplined with my warrior dieting lately and it's paying off. I had a very strong session of snatching the 28 kg. today. Just hitting 10/10 for 7 sets, but I felt strong throughout. I tried to keep the breaks short, about 2 minutes maybe, but I wasn't being strict about it. I keep expecting my weight to drop, but it's actually going up. I ate virtually nothing today, got on the scale after my training and was at 163. I'm usually 159/160. I've also lost bodyfat, so things are heading in the right direction.
Good times.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hilarious Review

I just got this review on my DragonDoor Instructor page. It's definitely in the top five ever. :)

"Jordan didn't make sense to me when I first met him. He seemed like he didn't have much personality or intelligence off the bat. When I got to know him better he is actually extremely intelligent. His workshops and style seem simple only because he is very experienced and selective in his approach. Jordan jokes that he is "lazy," but that is really code for him being selective and efficient. He takes out all the guess work and extraneous information and delivers a succinct, to-the-point style of instruction. He also makes a lot of dry humor jokes that makes whatever he is teaching much more enjoyable than it should be. I enjoyed his class and his style and also I came out of his workshop excited and capable."
Colin Lewis - San Jose, CA

Friday, August 15, 2008

My RKC Instructor review page

I finally got this thing up. As usual I fell between the cracks and had to do a little footwork to prove that I do in fact exist. :) It happens.
Jordan Vezina RKC Instructor Review Page
DD also put up some more photos of the RKC, and I found a few of myself and The Man Himself.



A lot of people have been digging my new cards lately, so I thought I'd post the JPEG image here for everyone to check out.

Upcoming Workshops

All of the running and working I've been doing since the RKC is finally coming to fruition, by way of a series of upcoming workshops I will be conducting.

Sunday August 31st at Girya in Palo Alto, CA
Level One Kettlebell Basics Workshop- The swing and Turkish Get Up

Saturday September 6th at Equinox Fitness in Palo Alto, CA
Level One Kettlebell Basics Workshop- The swing and Turkish Get Up

Saturday/ Sunday September 13th-14th at Equinox Fitness in Palo Alto, CA
Level Two Kettlebell Trainer Workshop- Closed to the public

Saturday/ Sunday September 20th-21st at Equinox Fitness in San Mateo, CA
Level One Kettlebell Trainer Workshop- Closed to the public

So far that's what is on the calendar. More workshops will be coming online in the next month or so for the peninsula as well as the rest of the Bay Area.
If you're interested in attending one of the open workshops or booking one please e-mail me directly.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Corn Husker's Lotion is available at Safeway.

That's all. Apparently Safeway now carries cornhusker's lotion. It's in the bath aisle.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Weekend Kettlebell Workshop

This weekend it was time to train the trainers. I had some of the trainers from Equinox Fitness in Palo Alto, CA in to learn the basics and get them another step closer to using these tools with their clients. I was very impressed with how quickly they picked things up, and hung in there through the workouts. Particularly when you haven't done this before, swings and get ups (even for just ten minutes) can feel like quite the beating. It also looks like a couple of them are going to sign up for the San Jose RKC in February. Very nice. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ori Hofmekler is 55!?!!



I had no idea Ori was 55! Just thought you might like to know. I'm reading the Purposeful Primitive right now and Marty has a section on Ori.

I'll post something more substantial soon. I'm rolling into week 3 without a day off, running like Val Kilmer in 'The man who broke 1000 chains'.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The UCLA RKC Part 2

Tracy Reifkind RKC was kind enough to supply me with some video of my RKC snatch test, which is below.



Initially I wanted to do the whole thing on one hand, but as I broke into the mid thirties I started thinking I would look pretty dumb if I failed my snatch test trying to do it one handed, and opted for a hand switch.

Below is the video Vanessa took of Kenneth and Rif's promotion to Master RKC by Pavel Tsatsouline.



Below is Bryan spiking my kettlebell back down during some overspeed eccentrics work.