Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting deeper into Convict Conditioning

Now that it's had some time to percolate and folks have had a chance to, oh, I don't know... actually read the frigging book before passing judgment, Convict Conditioning is proving to be a runaway success. If you don't own this book you should.
My own strength practice has improved tremendously in 2010, and we're only a month in. I have been rock solid in my training and I am making leaps and bounds forward.
On my VWC days I have been doing my convict conditioning work. Hanging leg raises, pistols (obviously), one arm push ups, pull ups, bridges, headstands, handstands, all are showing marked progress.
People have given Paul Wade some guff because of his 'free weights are evil' attitude that is pervasive throughout the book. Well, in a lot of ways I can't really say I disagree with him all that much. Is it way easier to jack yourself up with external resistance that it is with your own body-weight? Yup. Do the bodyweight feats in CC require a solid degree of flexibility and stability that you can get away with not having when you use free weights? Yup.
A good trainer will insist you learn how to handle your own bodyweight before loading you with external resistance. It seems the myth of machines being 'safer' is finally starting to be dispelled (though not quick enough for my tastes) and so it would only seem logical that bodyweight exercises would become the foundational skill. However logic doesn't sell copies of Men's Fitness, so most likely we will see people hopping around on these.
Mastering even the basic skills in CC will give you a solid foundation to move into other things such as kettlebells. As you work through the progressions, take the time to ask yourself why a specific movement is so hard. I have people come to me to improve their pistols and the answer is always the same: "You have crappy flexibility." Likewise if you find the bridge to be insurmountable, you probably have some pretty good hip, t-spine, and shoulder tightness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Back on the VWC train...

After wrapping up my last six weeks on the Beast Tamer protocol I'm now launching into some Viking Warrior Conditioning work. I took the cmvo2 test to get my cadence right and hit 30 reps in the last minute on the 16 kg. I feel I could have gone faster, but I wanted a strict lockout each rep. None of this 'illegal snatches' BS. From there I opted for the 36/36 protocol at 18 reps and launched into it. I got through 20 sets today and will tack on another two each workout until I hit 35. This should serve me well right up to RKC II. I'm still going to snatch heavy once a week, but this is the meat of my training. I'll also be hitting a ladder program with the Beast Tamer lifts.
No one seems to like the 36/36. I've noticed virtually no one does it, everyone seems to stick with the 15/15. I'm looking into this further, but I think it's generally grip issues. Solution: Get a stronger grip.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why the Beast Challenge?

Swinging double 40 kg. bells.

I've been asked this more than a few times. What's the point of training for the Beast Challenge? Why bother with the TSC elite division snatch test? Why put myself through that? What does it really mean if I accomplish these things? I have opted to compete in two events put on by a fitness sub-culture that no one knows about, so it can't be glory.
In August of 2008 I was standing on the field at UCLA during my own RKC watching the Beast Challenge. Mike Davis and Max Shank were two of the candidates who stepped up to the plate. The two of them weren't really much bigger than me.
"I bet if I could do that I would be pretty strong." I thought to myself.
It's really that simple. It's not that I'm trying to live up to some perceived RKC hall of fame. I just figure if I can pistol, press, and pull up a 106 pound kettlebell, then I've built a pretty good base of strength. A foundation, if you will, to further build upon. You see... I want to do it with the 52 kg. as well. That's probably a fairly bold statement from someone who ain't even close to the 48 kg., but why not? You're in no danger from setting your goals too high, only too low.
Same thing with steel bending. When I saw Adam Glass bending nails, bolts, and horse shoes I thought the same thing. Turned out it was true. My steel bending efforts boosted everything else.
Being very strong is a pretty unique thing, but it only really lets you know how far you have to go. It's easy to feel like you can't go further and to make excuses when the passageway is triple locked in front of you, but when you get your foot in the door you see just how far you really have to go. I hear people make excuses and I know it's a reflection of our fast food 'Now' culture. You just thought it would happen too fast, it's not that you can't make it. This applies not just to training but to everything in life. I see people launch a business venture and then bail on it almost immediately because they wanted instant gratification.
I've been training for the Beast Challenge for 18 months now. I recognize that previously my problem was not having a narrow enough focus. I have fixed that now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Progress this week: 100 pistols per leg and 32 kg. snatching

I had a pretty good week for PR's. I hit 100 pistols per leg with the 12 kg. in sixty minutes, and achieved 25 snatches on my right hand with the 32 kg. Left shoulder is still tweakey, so I opted not to test that side. I will hit 30/30 in the coming months with the 32 kg. and I will pistol the 48 kg. It's coming.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Killing the RKC Snatch Test

I had an RKC prep course this weekend at Girya. Below is footage of three female candidates taking the snatch test with the 16 kg. Alyssa Chang demolishes the snatch test in 3:35.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I have cracked the top 5 reviewed instructors and hit 80 pistols per leg.

Today I hit 80 pistols per leg with the 12 kg. This was fairly brutal and I kept a good pace. I took about two minutes between sets of 5 on each leg. Overall it took about an hour. I was stalled in the 40's for a long time, mainly due to mobility issues. I was very happy with these, every one was hamstring to calf. I'll hit 100 per leg next time.
I also seem to be in the Top 5 reviewed instructors on Dragon Door. At least for now. :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Back online and 36 kg. pistols

I've been sans internet for the past week during the move, but now I'm back.
Today for my low volume pistol day I hit 8 reps per leg on the 36 kg. These were all pretty clean, and I was generally happy with how it went down.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 begins with change...

I type this sitting in a hotel room as we house hunt on Day 2 of the new year. People always talk about starting off the new year with a change, but man we are doing it! I tend to think God puts you where you need to be right about when you need it. Sometimes that means being technically homeless for a while.
Training wise for me things roll along just fine. I'm in week three of Kenneth's Maximal Strength program using the beast challenge exercises. This is going very well, better than expected. The FMS work I have been doing has paid off. Yesterday I knocked off 40 pistols per leg in sets of 3 and 5 with the 12 kg. with absolutely no knee irritation. My left shoulder is very iffy, so pressing is on hold, but I'm working on it. I believe Pavel once said something to the effect of 'working your grip and abs will improve your press' so we're going to put that to the test. Until I rehab the left shoulder sufficiently all I have to do is maintain my ability to press the 36 kg. on my right side for RKC II. So far so good on that. Still might have to pull out of the May CK-FMS, but RKC II looks good.