Thursday, October 30, 2008

Double Kettlebell Get Ups


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.