Saturday, May 30, 2009

Video showing why the world needs the RKC

Don't get too hung up on the horrific and dangerous form everyone displays in this 'kettlebell competition'. Watch the background in the last five seconds.

You're not supposed to be dragged away after your kettlebell training. My god. This is why the world needs RKC's. Before I get twenty freaking e-mails telling me I shouldn't pick on crossfit or whatever, know this... my problem isn't with the system, it's the execution. I may not agree with the crossfit system, but the main problem is none of the 'trainers' in the video knew enough to say STOP! Put that bell down. You can try again when you fix your form. Or just know enough not to drag someone across the floor after they hit the deck!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to build a mutant part one

I build mutants. I have a client I've been working with for several months now (About four off the top of my head) and today she got halfway to a dead hang pull up and was knocking off rock bottom pistols. I have another who is up to weighted pistols, and his pressing strength is building fast.
So the question is: What is it about their training that is different form yours? I'm going to write a few of these covering a bit about my training methods, and this first one is just some bullet points.

1. Tension. If you don't get this aspect of training don't try jumping ahead. I've seen way too many people doing loose pistols. If you can't get tight at the top of a swing or during a get up you have no business doing pistols. Master the basics. All of my clients start off just hammering out swings and get up for the first month or two, and not much else. This may sound boring, but I have jokes.

2. Commitment. They don't miss training sessions, they don't check in with lame excuses about why they couldn't work out at home. I have to force them to take days off.

3. Grey Cook has a great quote: "Take the bombs out of your house before you start decorating." Bingo. Don't try to press a giant kettlebell if your shoulders are locked up. Don't try to do a pistol if you can't even touch your toes. Find the internal 'brakes' that are holding you back and start removing them one by one. All the time I'll have people who can't even get close to a squat or can't touch there toes say to me "Well it hasn't been a problem so far." That's great logic. Get back to me when you fracture your hip for 'no reason'. Let's not get into the habit of slamming the barn door after the horse has escaped. I have seen people who are so locked up they actually propel themselves down the street by rotating their hips back and forth vs. hip extension/flexion, knee action, etc. YOU DON'T THINK THAT'S A PROBLEM?!

4. STICK WITH YOUR PROGRAM. This is the big one. You must follow the progressions if you want to succeed. Pistols don't happen via fairy dust. Before she walked in, my client had never even thought about doing a pistol. How did she do it? About 5,000 airborne lunges, front squats, flexibility training, application of High Tension Techniques, etc.

5. Nothing comes easy. Be ready for a fight, and you'll succeed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Three books you should read if you want to be strong.

I get asked a lot about what kind of training methods I use, how I build my strength, etc. The answer is pretty much contained in these three books.

Power to the People
really maps it out as far as the essence of using 'high tension techniques' to become stronger in your chosen lifts. The book focuses on the deadlift and side press, but these techniques can be applied to anything. Once more exemplifying that hard style is about the method, not the tool.

Enter the Kettlebell tells you pretty much everything you need to know as a beginner in the use of kettlebells, and is a good tool for even intermedeate and advanced lifters as well. Technique, programming it is all in there.

Naked Warrior is ostensibly about how to perform one legged squats and one arm push ups, but you could also think of it as the advanced version of PTTP. Don't get to wrapped up in the Pistol and one arm push up aspect of it, believe it or not. I have used these same principles to build my presses, my nail bending, card tearing, etc. However, when it comes to the pistols and one arm push ups, this is the real deal. This book took me from nothing to being able to pistol the 40 kg. kettlebell and perform a one arm/ one leg push up. That's no joke.

Let me also say that if you skimmed a friend's copy of these books and think you 'got the idea', you don't. I've read all these books at least five times, and I'm just starting to get it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pavel's new book 'Return of the Kettlebell' is out!

I've been waiting for this book for quite a while, and now it's out.

Return of the Kettlebell!

In other news my training is going well. Today I hit rock bottom pistols on both legs and my left leg actually felt better than my right! This is pretty exciting for me because I believe pistols are one of the best (if not the best) leg exercises there are. When I thought my left knee was just messed up I was pretty unhappy about not being able to do them.
I'm going to look at making some programming adjustments tomorrow that will allow me to keep progressing my deadlift while focusing on the Beast Challenge events. The PTTP Bear routine is good but it's leaving me consistently smoked and has some other negative side effects, not the least of which is I have to go to Girya every time I train to use the barbell. I'm looking at a couple of options now that may be better for me. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Going after a 2.5xbodyweight deadlift.

Today I weigh 170. It seems my body likes sitting around 170 lately. As it flows into my other goals I am working on a 2.5xbodyweight deadlift, which for me would mean 425 pounds. That is only 20 pounds over my last PR in September, so I'm confident I'll get it in the next couple of months. I am currently going through a Bear style PTTP format to achieve this, along with double kettlebell pressing ladders in lieu of the side press. So far I have been making consistent progress in both lifts. I am a hair's breadth from pressing the 40 kg. It's mostly mental I think. I also know that all my work swinging the double 24's and 32's has really built up my posterior chain.
I feel I can pistol the 44 kg. right now, but I'm playing it safe on that one. Still working the flexibility and increasing ROM all over. The left knee is 90% back on track.
I'm greasing the groove with the pull ups. The 32 kg. will come by August. It's obvious the Pull Up is going to be the killer for me, though I also see a large gap between pressing the 40 kg. and the 48 kg.
I have adopted a radical training strategy of taking 3-4 days off a week. It's called 'I'm lazy, but damn I'm getting stronger'.
Life is good.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

7 reps military pressing the 32 kg.

Today I hit a new PR of 7 reps mil pressing the 32 kg. on my right. The last rep was hard fought and hung at the halfway point for a good 5 seconds. Left side was 3 reps. Not awesome, but better than the zero I got last time. I'm working out the flexibility issues that are stopping me on the left. All the double bell work has helped.
So I told myself I wouldn't worry about my pull ups for the Beast Challenge until I hit the 40 kg. on my press and pistol. Okay, time to start worrying because that 40 kg. press is coming up fast. I tried for a 32 kg. pull up yesterday and didn't make it, but I feel I can if I get the rig to hold the bell right and keep my form tight. I broke down about halfway up and started pulling with my arms.
Wow, I might actually pull this off.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The grip workshop is in the books.

Today I did my first grip workshop at Girya in Palo Alto. It went well. I had some strong attendees and a few pulled off PR's. For whatever reason I thought it would be a great idea to do a Bear Deadlift workout just beforehand, so I was trashed going in. Still, I managed to surprise myself. I blew through a couple decks of cards and a GR5 bend without much trouble. I would almost classify the GR5 bend as 'easy'. I believe this has a lot to do with my taking more days off recently to handle the Bear volume.
Todd Temple pulled off a 32 kg. bottoms up press, a GR5 bolt bend, and took down some decks of cards. He is a former national arm wrestling champion and very strong individual. If he chooses to pursue this I see a Red Nail bend in his imminent future, as well as some other impressive feats of strength.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Video: How I teach the kettlebell snatch.

As it says in the videos, this does not supplant anything taught by the RKC. The basis for all of this is what I learned from the RKC, and how I have distilled it down to my own method. Some may find useful bits in these videos that will help you streamline your instruction of the snatch, or give you some new cues you can try out. Comments and suggestions are always welcome and appreciated.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pistol PR and ripping a harder deck

First up I ripped a deck of motor brand playing cards. Harder than what I've been doing but in a way easier because the cards are stiffer and easier to control.
I also split this one right down the middle.

I also pulled off a pistol on my right leg with two 16 kg. kettlebells in the rack. This means my legs are definitely stronger as last time I tried this I wasn't even close.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pistol success! Finally!

Today I hit solid rock bottom pistols on the right AND left legs with no pain, no weird pops, nothing. All of the mobility and flexibility work I have been doing has finally paid off. A few months ago I pistoled a 40 kg. on my right leg and stopped myself there as I was creating a big imbalance due to my inability to get below parallel on my left leg without pain. I was starting to think something was wrong with the knee, but the pain and stiffness would come and go so I figured it was something I could fix.
Turns out it was.
So now I'm targeting the August RKC in San Diego as my deadline for a Beast Pistol and 40 kg. Press.
"Damn Jordan, this is the longest Beast Tamer training cycle in the history of Man."
Slow and steady wins the race. Here I come Beast Tamer Hall of Fame... 2010!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tearing a deck still in the box

This was pretty rough, but not too hard. Halfway through the box was shredded and falling apart so the hardest part was keeping it on the deck, which ended up being purely academic. I definitely need to adjust my hand positioning as I'm splitting the deck into a 3/4 and a 1/4 piece instead of in half.

Monday, May 11, 2009

New Mil Press PR- 5 reps on the 32 kg.

Today I hit 5 reps straight on the military press with my right arm on the 32 kg. up from 0 a month ago. There's a strength increase for sure, but most of this is a technique and mobility issue as evidenced by what happened on my left arm. Let's not talk about it.

Things I like right now.

Music- Halestorm. They're like a supercharged Joan Jett that can carry a tune. Sorry Joan, but we all know it.

Apps- Quickbank. I've been using this accounting app for the Iphone and it works great. That along with ease of use makes it a winner. I like that I can photograph my receipts and attach them to the transaction.

Beatdowns- Long Cycle. I've always stuck to straight Jerks (short cycle) but I started doing long cycle after watching Return of the Kettlebell and it's added another dimension to my training. Long cycle with the 32 kg. = no fun at all.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I take the new snatch test: 100 reps in 4:20

I'll be assisting at the San Diego RKC in August so I wanted to make sure I could finish this thing with time to spare. Not bad for a guy who only does one day of high rep snatches and jerks a week.

Note: After reviewing the video I think I can knock this down to four minutes flat, so I'll be working up to that over the next couple of months. I'm not actually going to train for this as it's not a 'goal' so to speak. I'll just keep ramming my head against the wall until it breaks through.

Training Progress

Training is progressing quite nicely. I am well clear of 60D nails being any kind of challenge, and knee deep in Grade 5 bolts. Today I took down three without too much difficulty. Now that I'm using the inversion table and focusing heavily on my flexibility and mobility training my left knee is almost 100% and I'm back on the pistols. I've started doing them on the Reebok Core Board, which is working my stabilizers more, and allowing me to keep building strength while I up my hamstring flexibility, as my front leg can hang below the board.
Pressing is going well. I've hit 4 reps on my right hand pressing the 32 kg. and I've hit 2 on the left. I'm working on correcting that imbalance.
All else is going well. Over the next month I'm going to be getting deeper into Z-Health as I think that will be very beneficial.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Taking it back online.

Now let me be super obnoxious and bring this blog back online after killing it for a month. The blogs on Strength Beyond Strength will still be there, but I'll keep this one running as well. How many lives must a man live to come up with all of this stuff?
We'll see.