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
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.