Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008/12/30 - Another little step forward

When I played with the AKC fitness protocol before I cheated by never doing the levels requiring only 30 seconds of rest between sets. This time around I've been able to maintain my discipline and I'm following the protocol exactly as designed. In my current 4x7 I've been using the protocol on my high intensity days and have gone from level 1 - 3. Today I upped it a bit and did a level 4 workout. The session went like this:

Joint mobility

16kg / 2 minutes work / 30 seconds rest of:

Push Press: 16/16

Half Snatch: 10/10

Long Cycle Push Press: 10/10

I followed this with a high intensity day circuit from the BWER program:

4 x through the following in a Superset format:

Quad Squats, Spinal Rocks, Leg Swoops, Jump Squats

Swing (24kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool-down

Today's AKC session showed me that something I've been doing lately is definitely working. I didn't find the 30 second rest periods much of a hassle and made the required rep range for the sets quite easily. From what I've been reading about the 4x7 protocol it might be the waving intensity used in the protocol that is making the difference. If I look at my log for the past 20 or so days I have been making very rapid progress not only in terms of endurance but also strength. Even the body-weight circuit went better today than the first time I did it and this was only the second time through the circuit. Thanks to Scott Sonnon for a great protocol and for Adam and Ryan for bringing us the body-weight version of the 4x7 protocol.

My next kettlebell session will be down at Ballito! We're leaving on the second for a week at the coast. In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008/12/29 - Moderate day and more body-weight work

My current 4x7 is nearing its end and the next one will definitely consist of a combination of kettlebell and body weight exercises. In my session today I selected a recommended moderate day circuit from the BWER ebook to do in conjunction with some kettlebell presses. The session went like this:

Joint mobility

Yaw Press (24kg): 5 x 5/5

4 Circuits of the following with 1 minute rest between exercises:

Hand Press

Table Transition

Supported 1 legged Squat

Compensatory cool-down

The hand press is a great exercise and I can feel that my shoulders got a good workout. The table transition was fairly easy but still challenging because I'm a pretty big guy and the movement feels a bit awkward. The 1 legged squats were a bit of a nightmare and I can feel that I'm going to have to put a lot of work in to be able to get to a full pistol in the foreseeable future. Then again, I've noticed that the incremental progression inherent to CST training methodologies often get you to do movements you thought impossible fairly quickly. Hopefully this is also the case with the ever elusive pistol.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008/12/28 - Low intensity day

Today I worked through the intermediate level of Intuflow followed by the compensatory Prasara flow from the Body-Weight Exercise Revolution program (BWER from now on).

The flow is relatively short and simple and quite enjoyable to do. I am just finding the transitions between the shoulder pose and plow quite problematic so for now I'm using my own improvised transitions. Hopefully as my body adapts and becomes looser I'll be able to perform the transitions properly.

Friday, December 26, 2008

2008/12/26 - Review: Body-weight exercise revolution

I've been training with kettlebells for just over a year now and have had some amazing results. Many years ago when my exclusive training modality was Shaolin Kung Fu I only used a wide variety of body weight conditioning methods. Unfortunately over the years various injuries and just the general contingencies of life got the better of me and got me to a place of being fat, lazy and pretty immobile. Over the past year kettlebells, Intu-Flow and Prasara yoga started giving me back some of my lost physical abilities. For the past few months I've been wanting to incorporate some body weight methods into my training but I simply did not know where to start or how exactly to incorporate these methods into my current training schedule. This all changed with the release of Ryan Murdock and Adam Steer's Body-Weight Exercise Revolution ebook.

The ebook package produced by these two RMAX coaches is really an excellent investment in your general fitness and long term well-being. The ebook is truly comprehensive and does an excellent job of introducing and explaining the 4x7 protocol as well as providing programs for specific purposes such as fat loss, hypertrophy and general athleticism, amongst others. In addition, the ebook includes links to video clips of all the circuits as well as a joint mobility warm-up and a compensatory Prasara yoga flow.

One aspect of the package that I find especially valuable is that it is not just about more sets or more reps but rather about increased movement sophistication. This implies that you can have a far tougher workout in the same amount of time by changing the complexity of the movements rather than extending the session by increasing reps or sets. This of course also trains the neurology to adapt to greater complexity and sophistication.

The science behind the program is sound and draws on some of the cutting edge information in the fitness industry when it comes to not only cosmetic changes but also strength, fat loss, and just general healthy training for an extended training career.

Having said all that probably the most amazing aspect of the protocols presented is that you don't need ANY equipment apart from your own body. Once the information has been integrated you can get fit, strong and lean anywhere without having to pay a cent in gym fees. If you really want to learn how to use your own body maximally I would highly recommend making this small investment into your own health, fitness and well-being. I'm convinced that nobody who tries these methods will be disappointed in what is delivered.

For more information or buying the program please visit http://www.bodyweightexerciserevolution.com/

2008-12-26 - A level up and adding some body-weight circuits

I stepped up my work with the AKC protocol one more level today and also decided to add in a body-weight circuit from the new Body-Weight revolution 4x7 program. I've been wanting to add some body-weight work into my training for a while now but wasn't really sure what to focus on or how exactly to structure my sessions. The new ebook gave me some great ideas and I implemented some of them today. The session went as follows:

Joint mobility

16kg / 2 minutes work / 1 minute rest:

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Press: 12/12

4 times through the following circuit in a superset fashion:

Quad Squats, Spinal Rocks, Leg Swoops, Jumping squats

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool-down

The body-weight work is quite intense and I can feel that my body is not used to it. I didn't experience much endurance problems; it was more of a matter of doing the movements properly. This is sure to introduce a whole new level of learning and I'm sure it will add a lot to my general fitness and especially movement potential.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

2008/12/25 - Christmas discipline

Gladly my discipline stuck around even though it is Christmas day and I put in a quick session before lunch. This is what I did:

Joint mobility

Jerk (32kg): 3 x 5/5

Snatch (32kg): 2 x 5/5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool down

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008/12/24 - I did it again

Yes, it's that time of the year again where my poor credit card gets a solid pounding. Apart from buying lots of Christmas presents for others I bought myself (thus far) two big presents namely Scott Sonnon's Tacfit program and Coaches Murdock and Steer's Body Weight revolution 4x7 program.

Sonnon's program is huge and is based around an ebook and 26 video clips demonstrating the various circuits. The program uses body weight, kettlebells, clubbells and sandbags for physical preparation for tactical responders. Given the sheer size of the program I haven't looked at much of it yet but it looks pretty good so far. A full review will probably follow in the new year.

The body weight revolution program is really good. It also includes and ebook and some clips demonstrating various body weight circuits and a compensatory flow. What is really cool about it is that it also thoroughly explains the 4x7 program and various specific uses of it like functional hypertrophy, strength, fat loss and general athleticism. This program will play a big role in my training early in the new year (obviously combined with the bells).

Today being my low intensity day I did some Intuflow and the body weight 4x7's compensatory Prasara flow. It is a really nice flow that will work even for relative newbies to Prasara. The flow is not as complex (or difficult) as some of the original Prasara flows but it works all the right areas nicely. Don't get me wrong; it is not easy but in my experience just a bit easier than the A or B flows. Good stuff.

Now all I need is some clubbells and I might be sorted until next December. I just need to see how much more I can squeeze out of the long suffering credit card.

Happy holidays to all of you reading my blog!

Monday, December 22, 2008

2008/12/22 - Just a short session

My body felt a bit tired after yesterday's snatches so I chose to just go once through the AKC fitness protocol. The result was a pretty easy session that didn't really feel like much work.

Joint mobility

16kg / 2 minutes work / 90 seconds rest

Push Press: 16/16

Half Snatch: 10/10

Long Cycle Push Press: 10/10

Swing (24kg): 20/20

Compensatory cool-down

My next session with the bells will be on Christmas day; now it's a matter of seeing if I have the discipline to train on the day.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008/12/21 - Snatching the 32kg

In keeping with my strength focus on the moderate days I decided to try something I haven't done yet - snatching the 32kg bell. I have jerked and pressed the 32kg before but have always been nervous of snatching it. I wasn't fully sure that I would be able to control the lockout at the top but decided that I'm going to have to find out at some point. This is how the session went:

Warm up

Snatch (32kg): 5x5/5

Front squat (16kg + 24kg): 4x5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool-down

The 32kg felt pretty heavy in the snatch sets but I controlled it well and my form was solid. There is no way I'll be able to go for longer sets with the 32 at this point but I'm sure it will have a positive impact on my work with lighter bells. Having worked with this weight today I also have developed an even greater appreciation of what it must take to snatch the bell for a 10 minute set - awesome stuff!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2008/12/18 - One small step

Today I decided to take a small step forward by dropping 30 seconds off my rest periods. I started the protocol with 2 minute rest periods and am now down to 1,5 minutes (90 seconds). Here is the session:

Joint mobility

2 minutes work / 1,5 minutes rest / 16kg

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Bottoms up clean: 14/14

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Press: 10/10


The 30 seconds less rest didn't seem to make much difference. I suspect rest periods will only really become an issue when they are 1 minute or 30 seconds long or when the length of my sets start increasing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2008/12/17 - Low reps

In my current 4x7 I'm trying to keep the cardio impact as low as possible on my moderate day. The focus is on strength using some classic exercises like jerks, presses, squats and snatches. Although strength focused I'm still using GS style technique rather than high tension methods. My session today went like this:

Joint mobility

Yaw Press (24kg): 5x5/5

Snatch (24kg): 5x5/5

Front Squat (16kg + 24kg): 3 x 5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool-down

The Yaw press is an interesting military press variation that I found being demonstrated by Scott Sonnon on Youtube. I can definitely see how the movement pattern can have carry over effects for martial arts power generation. Here's the clip of Scott teaching the Yaw Press:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008/12/14 - Training in the heat

Wow, it's seriously hot and humid here today. We're having people over this afternoon so I decided to train early today. The heat really kicked my butt but it was great to work up a good sweat. Here is the blow by blow:

Joint mobility

2 minutes work / 2 minutes rest / 16kg

Push Press: 16/16

Half Snatch: 10/10

Long Cycle Push Press: 10/10

Push Press: 12/12

Half Snatch: 10/10

Long Cycle Push Press: 10/10

Swing (24kg): 20/20

Compensatory cool-down

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008/12/13 - Strength focus

Training has been smooth and consistent this week. The past two days had a joint mobility and compensatory yoga focus. Today's focus was on low rep strength work. My left shoulder felt really good today so I was debating whether I should test myself a bit with the 32kg or stick to 24kg. I eventually chose to go with the 32kg. The session went like this:

Joint mobility

One Arm Jerk (32kg): 5 x 5/5

Kettlebell front squat: (16kg + 24kg): 4 sets of 5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Compensatory cool-down

It was a good session. The 32kg is beginning to feel quite nicely under control.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

2008/12/10 - Making it official

I intended to start my first post IKFF 4x7 on October 30th. I of course injured my left shoulder about three days in, which resulted in a bit of erratic training over the past few weeks. Thankfully the left shoulder is now pretty much back to normal. Today is thus the official launch of my next 28 day cycle.

The goal of this cycle is two-fold; strength building on the moderate days and building general fitness and endurance on the high intensity days. I initially planned on working with the 32kg on the moderate days and the 24kg on the high days. In order to allow the left shoulder to fully mend I've decided not to push my luck and stick mainly to the 16kg and 24kg. I'll leave the heavier stuff for my next cycle (maybe). Since I cheated the previous time I used the AKC fitness protocol I'm going to make extensive use of it on the high intensity days. The plan is to really work towards getting through all 20 levels properly rather than jumping around like I did before.

I started the cycle off today with a high intensity day which went as follows:

Kettlebell joint mobility work

All of the following with the 16kg / 2 minute sets with 2 minute rest periods

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Press: 10/10

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Press: 10/10

Swing: 2 x 10/10 x 24kg

Kettlebell specific cool-down

I enjoyed the session thoroughly. The 16kg is feeling VERY light so I've definitely gained strength in the past month or so.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

2008/12/09 - Another session

The past two days were focused on Intuflow and Compensatory stretching. On my no- and low- intensity days I still do Intuflow and on the low day I add the kettlebell compensatory cool down movements as my yoga practice. On my kettlebell days I now do the kettlebell specific mobility movements as the warm-up and the compensatory stretches as my cool-down. I have noticed some significant changes in my mobility since starting with the kettlebell specific warm-up and cool-down; even more so than what I got from Intuflow. I guess it is because these moves specifically target the areas of the body that get too tight due to extensive work with kettlebells. One result of the greater mobility is that I now rest comfortably in the rack position because I can actually find my hip bone with my elbow. I noticed today that the position actually feels very comfortable and the bell is really projected strongly off my hip bone when doing jerks - YES!

My left shoulder is also feeling a lot better. I still experience the occasional stab of discomfort but nothing compared to what it was like a couple of weeks ago. Here is today's session:

Kettlebell specific warm-up

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 8x1 minute sets (4/4) @ 8 rpm

Front squat (16kg + 24kg): 3 sets of 5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Kettlebell specific compensatory stretches

Saturday, December 6, 2008

2008/12/06 - Short and simple

I felt like some slightly longer sets today after the last few weeks' short sets (1 or 2 minutes only). Here's the result:

Kettlebell specific warm up

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 7 minutes @ 8 rpm: 28/28

Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 12 rpm: 24/24

Swing (24kg): 20/20

Kettlebell specific cool down

That's it! Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. Now, back to Call of Duty 4.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

2008/12/04 - A good moderate day

For the last few weeks I've trained with the 32kg bell on the right and the 16kg left. As was to be expected my body started behaving strangely after a few days of this. I could feel some serious imbalances coming so today I decided to meet in the middle and use the 24kf on both sides. It felt really great and I feel a lot more balanced after this session than I've been feeling lately. Here is what I did:

Kettlebell specific joint mobility

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 8 x 1 minute sets (4/4) @ 8rpm: 64

Front Squat (24kg): 4 x 5

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Kettlebell specific compensatory stretches

Monday, December 1, 2008

2008/12/01 - High intensity

I've been pretty lazy lately. Work is quite hectic at the moment but at the same time I'm starting to slide into holiday mode - quite a mismatch between my internal dynamics and the demands of the outside world. Since I cannot skip work my training has been the area taking the brunt of my laziness. Luckily I got off my butt today and got a session in. I did the following:

Kettlebell specific joint mobility

2 minute work / 2 minute rest

One Arm Jerk (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 12/12

Snatch (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 12/12

Clean (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 10/10

One Arm Jerk (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 12/12

Snatch (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 12/12

Clean (24kg Right / 16kg Left): 10/10

Swing (24kg): 15/15

Kettlebell specific cool down / compensatory stretches

I'm happy to report that the joint mobility and cool down is getting a lot smoother and is not taking as long as the first time I did it. I've also noticed that the movements are already having a positive impact on my mobility. I suspect this has more to do with the cool down than the joint mobility since the latter is somewhat similar to Intu-Flow whereas a lot of the stretches I have not been doing for a while (and some I've never done before).

Friday, November 28, 2008

2008/11/28 - Moderate day

This session felt like it lasted for hours. Not the kettlebell part but the warm-up and cool-down periods. I'm busy learning the Kettlebell foundation joint mobility sequence and the compensatory cool-down sequence and it is taking quite a bit of time to get used to the movements. I guess once I've got the movements and sequence memorized and I don't have to pause-play-pause-play the DVD the whole time it will go much quicker.

My session went as follows:

Kettlebell specific joint mobility

One Arm Jerk (32kg): 3 x 1 minute sets @ 8rpm (right arm)

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 3 x 1 minute sets @ 8rpm (left arm)

Kettlebell front squats: 3 x 5 x 32kg right / 2 x 5 x 16kg left

Swing: 2 x 5 x 40kg (right) / 2 x 5 x 24kg (left)

Compensatory cool-down sequence

I'm glad to report that my left shoulder felt great during the jerks and squats. It is still a bit uncomfortable when I move my head in certain ways but there was no discomfort in the kettlebell sets. I'll keep things light on the left for now but I'm glad to be able to train the shoulder again.

I quite like the compensatory cool down. Some of the movements are not easy but they really do work some of my trouble spots like the left hip. I can see how these movements can become a very valuable part of my total training plan.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Review of Scott Sonnon's Kettlebell Foundation DVD's

Scott Sonnon is known on the world wide web as the Flowcoach. His health first fitness philosophy is rather unique during this time of quick fixes and cosmetic approaches to fitness. Most modern people seem to spend their time developing their public "fitness" persona's by developing an ideal set of pecs or tightening the buns in an attempt to look good in the public eye. In my opinion Scott has always been a bit of a maverick by placing the emphasis on deeper aspects of fitness than just what looks good. He has successfully managed to bring ancient concepts of fitness into modern culture through his development of the Clubbell, the Circular Strength Training (CST) system, Prasara Yoga, his unique take on ancient Russian martial arts and various other innovative and integrative methods.

I was lucky enough to discover Scott's work via Facebook (yes, social networking does have value sometimes) and chose to start off with his magnum opus known as the Intu-flow system. Intu-flow on the surface is about creating full mobility throughout all the joints of the human body but at a deeper level encourages all of us to reclaim our full potential as human beings. The subtext of Intu-flow is all about learning to flow along with all the challenges life throws at us without responding from a place of fear and uncertainty.

I recently got a copy of Scott's Kettlebell Foundation DVD set. Kettlebells are of course currently one of the "cool" tools in the fitness industry. Unfortunately a lot of absolute fluff is being taught in modern gyms about Kettlebell exercises. Just do a search on Youtube and you are bound to find some really...ummm...silly examples of people using kettlebells as if they are the same as any form of modern gym equipment. If you really want to do bicep curls please use a dumbbell - they were designed for that.

Scott's take one Kettlebells is firmly rooted in the original Russian methods. In Western culture strength is often gauged by one's ability to lift a heavy weight once. Naturally a lot of individuals in Western culture will approach any heavy object from this vantage point which leads to people getting excited about their ability to lift a 40kg or 48kg Kettlebell above their heads once. Scott understands that Kettlebells were designed not so much for max strength but for the development of work capacity or strength-endurance, an often neglected aspect of modern fitness programs. Typical gym protocols require one to do 8 - 12 repetitions of a movement whereas the bells were designed to do upwards of a 100 reps per set. Imagine for one moment doing 100 repetitions of Kettlebell jerks with 2 X 32kg bells during a set that lasts a full ten minutes. That is enough to make a grown man cry. Scott understands this approach to fitness, strength and endurance fully.

The Kettlebell Foundation DVD set consists of three DVD's that will allow any aspiring Kettlebell athlete to not only learn proper technique but also essential (and often neglected) methods for keeping the body healthy and mobile for a very long time. In DVD one Scott covers essential breathing methods (derived from Yoga and Russian martial arts) that not only prepares the lifter for hard work but also allows him or her to recover faster and survive the intensity of long term work with Kettlebells. I tried the breathing methods and can honestly say that they make a major difference during my training sets. During my Kettlebell session last night I experienced more endurance and work capacity than I have for a while.

DVD 1 continues with teaching the technical aspects of the major Kettlebell lifts. Scott's attention to detail is quite astonishing and he clearly is an expert when it comes to human movement potential. Even though I am a certified Kettlebell teacher some of the material he shared gave me some food for thought. Scott clearly has a very alert eye and the ability to dissect the minutiae of human movement like few others.

What really blew me away though is Scott's ability to analyze the impact of exercises on the body and to design a holistic protocol that will stop the body from becoming too much of a specialist in one form of movement. Years ago when I was a student of psychology I learned the following concept: The body adapts itself to its task in the world. Scott understands this concept fully and provides ways of keeping the body "unfrozen" rather than allowing it to become so comfortable with one way of being that all other ways of being become inaccessible. In the Kettlebell DVD set he provides a thorough joint mobility warm-up (based broadly on Intu-flow) and a series of compensatory cool-down movements that allow the Kettlebell athlete to remain flexible, mobile and alive rather than becoming locked into a few very specific patterns of movements.

Some of the warm-up moves and compensatory movements are relatively obvious for those who have spent any amount of time under the bells but Scott also shares some techniques that comes from a place of pure genius - or perhaps just way more perceptive abilities than most of us have. I've had many AHAAA moments while watching and working with the Kettlebell Foundation DVD's. All of it makes perfect sense not only on an intellectual level but very much on a visceral level.

If you really want to have a simple and streamlined protocol that will bring all round fitness and, more importantly, a lack of constriction, I would HIGHLY recommend that you invest in the Kettlebell Foundation Set. I will definitely be using these methods and concepts for quite some time. If you want to take your fitness, health and movement potential to another level please visit https://rmaxinternational.3dcartstores.com/Official-Kettlebell-Foundation-DVD-Series_p_6-189.html

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2008/11/25 - High Intensity with some new toys

I finally got my Kettlebell Foundation DVD set and the Prasara Yoga set (both from Scott Sonnon). Apparently they have been lying in waiting at the post office (who never bothered to notify me of the arrival) since the 7th of November. Anyway, I'm really glad I got them at last. Naturally I had to start playing with my new toys immediately. I started with the kettlebell joint mobility warm-up and will over the next few days work through the rest of the material. Here is how my session went:

Kettlebell specific joint mobility

24kg / 1 minute on / 2 minutes off (still only the right side) of:

One Arm Jerk: 16

Snatch: 16

Press: 10

One Arm Jerk: 14

Snatch: 12

Press: 7

Swing: 20 right / 15 left

Light stretching

The kettlebell specific joint mobility exercises are really cool. Obviously their base in Intu-flow is quite visible but they are much more specifically designed to compensate for some of the stresses placed on the body by kettlebell training. Even after my session today I feel loose and mobile and not as tight as I do normally after intense kettlebell work. Look out for my full reviews of both the Kettlebell Foundation set and the Prasara set in the next few days.

Monday, November 24, 2008

2008/11/24 - Moderate day

I'm thinking maybe one more week of resting my left shoulder before I'll be ready to slowly start working it again. Today I stuck to my basic moderate day protocol and the outcome looked like this:


One Arm Jerk (32kg): 5 x 1 min sets: 40

Front Squat: (32kg): 4 x 5

Swing (40kg): 3 x 5

1 x 4 minute round of Flowfit to release the tension

Total volume: 2520kg

Friday, November 21, 2008

2008/11/21 - High intensity day

Today's session was again based on the level 1 AKC fitness protocol (advanced version) with the 24kg bell. Now that I am working with the 24kg I am much stricter in terms of sticking to the rules of the protocol. When I was working with the 16kg I skipped levels and basically fooled around without much consistency or discipline. I don't think I can afford that with the 24kg so I'm staying well within the rules. Once the objectives for level 1 have been completed I will move up a level. Today's session went like this:

Intu-flow Intermediate level

1 minute sets with 2 minutes rest of the following with the 24kg (right side only):

One Arm Jerk: 16

Snatch: 16

Clean: 14

One Arm Jerk: 14

Snatch: 14

Clean: 11

Swing (24kg): 20

Flowfit: 1 x 6 minute round.

Total volume: 2520kg

My numbers dropped a bit during the second round, mainly as a result of forearm and grip endurance. I'm sure consistent practice will take care of it though. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008/11/20 - Moderate day (strength focus)

I think I'm finally starting to figure out the 4x7 protocol. The cycle I'm doing currently is the first one in which I'm actually beginning to get the difference between moderate and high intensity days. Although I knew the difference intellectually since first starting to use 4x7 I'm now also starting to feel it. Moderate days are clearly more about strength and should not leave you feeling smoked. Instead, I think they should leave you feeling stimualted, energized, strong and ready for the high intensity day that follows. Here is today's result:

(BTW. all of this is right side only - still nursing the left shoulder)

Intu-flow intermediate

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 4 x 1 minutes @ 8rpm: 32

One Arm Jerk (32kg): 2 x 1 minutes @ 8rpm: 16

Front Squats (32kg): 3 x 5

Swing (40kg): 5 x 5

Flowfit: 1 x 5 minute round

Total Volume: 2760 kg

The session felt good and strong. It had very little impact on my breathing and I feel pretty fresh and energized after the work. The 24kg is starting to feel relatively light too. Even the 32kg Jerks are improving fast.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008/11/19 - Light day with Intu-flow and Flowfit

I'm really getting into Flowfit and am trying to incorporate it into my training at every possible opportunity. With my shoulder injury I find the Prasara flows a bit of a strain so I'm using Flowfit as a substitute for now. Although, Flowfit is so enjoyable that I'll probably keep doing it in conjunction with the yoga flows. For today's session I did:

Intu-flow intermediate

Flowfit: 3 x 4 minute rounds with 1 minute rest

Tomorrow will be strength oriented work with the bells. Now if only my Kettlebell and Prasara DVD's will get here!

Monday, November 17, 2008

2008/11/17 - More one sided level 1 work

After my Saturday session the left shoulder is uncomfortable again. It is better than just after the injury but Saturday showed me that it's not ready for training yet (apart from some mobility work). Today I did another session from the level 1 AKC fitness protocol and here's the result:

Intu-flow intermediate

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 1 minute: 14 - 2 minute rest

Snatch (24kg): 1 minute: 14 - 2 minute rest

Press (24kg): 1 minute: 10 - 2 minute rest

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 1 minute: 14 - 2 minute rest

Snatch (24kg): 1 minute: 14 - 2 minute rest

Press (24kg): 1 minute: 9

Swing (24kg): 20 (just right arm)

Flowfit: 3 x 4 minute rounds with 1 minute rest between rounds

Total volume: 2280kg

I had a real blast today. The Jerks felt solid and the Snatches with the 24kg are getting easier as well. Flowfit is also really cool and it will definitely be on my Christmas list.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

2008/11/15 - Moderate day

Yesterday was one of those days that I just couldn't get myself to do any kind of training. When I came home after the office's end year function I could just manage to veg in front of the TV and watch some DVD's. At least Juno and Forgetting Sarah Marshall were very entertaining. In fact, the laughter muscles received a serious workout.

Today I decided to carefully start working the left arm again. The shoulder is not perfect yet but is a lot better. The session went like this:

Intu-flow intermediate

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 5 x 1 minute sets (3 sets right / 2 sets left) @ 8rpm.

One Arm Jerk (32kg): 1 x 1 minute set (right only) @ 8rpm

Front Squat (24kg): 5 x 5

Swing (32kg): 10 (only right)

Some stretching and Qi Gong

Total Volume: 2136kg

The left shoulder felt OK but started getting a bit uncomfortable during the second jerk set. I sprayed on some analgesic spray and considered forging ahead but luckily better judgment took over and I continued the session with the right hand only. John Buckley mentioned to us during the IKFF cert that kettlebells played a significant role in his shoulder rehab after his car accident and I'm hoping that some not too intense training will do the same for me. I do believe that training sends healthy nutrients to injured body parts - as long as it is not overdone. I'll see how I feel tomorrow.

One thing that I am very glad about is that my strength is starting to pick up rapidly. Steve's suggestion to re-incorporate the 24kg into my training is definitely paying off. Even the 32kg jerks felt pretty solid today. Going forward I will probably make the 24kg the main tool in my training arsenal and use the 32kg for assistance work.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008/11/13 - Light day with some Flowfit

I have been toying with the idea for a while now to get Scott Sonnon's CST Golden Three Package, which includes Flowfit, Forward Pressure and Be Breathed. Given that money doesn't grow on trees I however decided to only order his Kettlebell Foundation and Prasara Instructional DVD's. Yesterday I was lucky enough to receive a link via RMax coach Adam Steer's Momentum Training Newsletter to his Flowfit level 1 video clips that he uses for his private online clients. I watched the clips and immediately liked Flowfit. Naturally it had to be part of my session for today, so here is what I did:

Intu-flow intermediate level

Flowfit level 1 (4 rounds of 3 minutes each with 1 minute rest in between)

About 10 minutes worth of Qi Gong

I thoroughly enjoyed the session. I really loved the Flowfit and can clearly see the value of incorporating it into a holistic fitness and wellness program. On a light day like today Flowfit can serve as a relatively gentle workout for just warming the body and creating a sense of mobility and relaxation. On high intensity days it will be easy to up the pace and use it as a smoker. Although different from the Prasara A and B flows it is easy to see that Flowfit is a member of the Prasara family. Some of the movements will be familiar to yoga students whereas others are more general fitness moves that form part of a lot of different training programs. The ingenuity of the program is the way Scott strung the movements together in the form of a flow that encourages a relaxed, focused state of mind while the body is being worked. I will definitely incorporate this into my schedule on a regular basis.

For anyone interested I would highly recommend signing up for Adam Steer's Momentum Training Newsletter for some great fitness, health and wellness tips. You can find sign up information on his website at http://www.coachsteer.com/ The subscription link is at the top right corner of the homepage.

Till tomorrow - Keep moving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008/11/12 - Intuflow and Qi Gong

For my no intensity day I worked slowly through the Intu-flow intermediate program. I really enjoy the fluidity of the movements and the way each level adds more sophistication. During some of the more wave like movements I almost felt like I was doing Tai Chi. There was also a lot of popping and clicking going on in my spine and neck during a lot of the movements. Maybe some of the more persistent tight spots are finally starting to let go.

After my Intu-flow set I worked through the Qi Gong set Steve taught during the IKFF certification. For newcomers to Qi Gong it is a very simple, compact set that does a good job of teaching the basics of Chinese energy work. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity though. In as little as ten minutes the set covers all of the Qi Gong fundamentals such as posture, relaxation, movement, stretching and even meditation. I probably worked for about ten minutes and was boiling hot and sweating after the practice. Good stuff!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008/11/11 - AKC Fitness Protocol and 24kg

My current 4x7 (my post IKFF certification 4x7) is designed to recover some lost strength in terms of pressing and squatting. Although the actual 4x7 is a bit on hold due to my shoulder injury the work I am doing is still focused on these goals. On my two moderate days I will focus on short timed sets of presses and jerks with the 24kg, some squat variations, windmills, get ups, and heavy swings. The high intensity days will either be based on the AKC fitness protocol with the 24 kg or long timed sets with the 16kg (and eventually the 24kg). For my high intensity day today I did a level 1 AKC session with the 24kg. Still only working the right side the session consisted of 1 minute sets with 2 minute rests. Here is the blow by blow:

Intu-flow Intermediate level

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 1 minute set: 12
Snatch (24kg): 1 minute set: 12
Clean (24kg): 1 minute set: 12
One Arm Jerk (24kg): 1 minute set: 12
Snatch (24kg): 1 minute set: 12
Clean (24kg): 1 minute set: 12

I did 20 swings with the 24 kg as a finisher and ended the session with some stretching.

Total volume: 2208kg

I thoroughly enjoyed the Intu-flow. The increased movement sophistication of the intermediate level feels great. The kettlebell work today also felt strong and solid and my technique was pretty sound. It really is amazing what a difference some solid instruction by masters like Steve and John can make. Something about the very hands-on teaching approach of the IKFF and the long practice sets seem to drill proper technique deeply into one's neurology. I caught myself a few times during today's session spontaneously correcting my technique when it started going a bit awry.

Monday, November 10, 2008

10/11/2008 - Moderate day

My left shoulder is feeling a lot better but I still chose to be cautious and just work the right side today. Hopefully I'll get an appointment with the chiro later this week to work on the shoulder and some long standing back / hip issues. Today I did:

Z-Health NWU 1

One Arm Jerk (24kg): 4 x 1 minute sets @ 8 rpm
Chair Press (24kg): 1 x 1 minute set: 7
Front Squat (24kg): 3 sets of 5
Windmill (16kg): 1 set of 3

I cooled down with some gentle yoga stretching.

Friday, November 7, 2008

2008/11/07 - Light and moderate days

Yesterday I just did Z Health's level 1 neuro warm-up. Today I worked through Intuflow beginner level and fooled around a bit with the Prasara See Saw flow.

The left shoulder is starting to annoy me now because even the yoga is uncomfortable. I chose the See Saw flow for today because there is no real emphasis on shoulder work. Even so the flow created discomfort in the shoulder. Postures like the child and rabbit pose that stretches and releases the spine and neck somehow also pulls on the injured muscle or tendons in my shoulder. Stubborn as I am I think I will finally relent and go and see a chiro. A buddy of mine got some great results from a doc near us that is quite an expert when it comes to sports injuries.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008/11/05 - Still one sided

I looked at myself in the mirror after my session today - I looked positively scary. My right shoulder and arm were pumped and full of veins and the left side looked pretty puny in comparison. This left shoulder better heal soon otherwise I can start applying for roles in scifi or horror movies pretty soon. It was also interesting to notice how much more tired my arm felt during the snatch set. The time spent on the left arm during the jerk sets obviously allows the right arm to get some quality rest time. Not working the left side didn't give my right arm much time to recover but I got through it. Here is my session:

Z Health NWU 1 warm-up

One arm jerk (16kg): 4 minutes @ 10 rpm: 40
Snatch (16kg): 3 minutes @ 14rpm: 42

Swing (24kg): 20

I was also surprised today to notice how light the 16 kg bell is starting to feel. It almost flies out of my hand during the snatches. It might be the heavier presses on my moderate days that are beginning to pay dividends but a lot also seems to have to do with the improvement in my technique since the IKFF cert.

Before signing off just one last thing: CONGRATULATIONS to Barack Obama on the amazing election win.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

2008/11/04 - A pretty one sided session

Due to the still present left shoulder injury I had to train only the right side today. It feels weird to only work one side but I'd rather do something than just wait for the shoulder to get better. Here is the result:

Intu-Flow beginner level

Press (24kg): 5x5
Press (32kg): 3 singles
Squat (16kg+24kg): 2x5
Swing (32kg): 10

I planned on doing 5 squat sets but even the squats really pulled on my left shoulder so I decided to call it a day.

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008/11/03 - Shoulder injury

I somehow managed to injure my left shoulder during my previous moderate intensity day. I think I twisted the shoulder a bit when I did windmills and my Prasara cool down added to the discomfort. The fact that I did my high intensity day anyway was probably not a good idea and the shoulder is now really pretty uncomfortable. Luckily yesterday and today were lower intensity days anyway.

For a bit of a change (I love variety way too much) I worked through the Z-Health level 1 Neuro-Warm Up yesterday. Today I did the whole Z-Health R-Phase sequence, including the squat positions at the end. Even though I've been concentrating on Intu-Flow lately I enjoyed the precision of the Z movements. Because Intu-Flow is more flowing in nature I think I might have been neglecting proper form in my Intu-Flow sessions. In future I will be sure to focus on accurate execution of the movements rather than just flowing through the set quickly and with too little precision.

Hopefully my shoulder will be better tomorrow otherwise it will be a pretty one sided session.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

2008/11/01 - High intensity day

I am taking things easy this week. My body seems to need a lot of rest after the intensity of last weekend. Although today was supposedly a high intensity day I took things quite easy. I did:

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 10rpm: 30/30
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 14rpm: 28/28
Dbl Kbell front squat (16kg + 24kg): 2x5
Swing (24kg): 10/10

I ended off with mild stretching and some yoga breathing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

2008/10/30 - Moderate day (Strength oriented)

During my current 4x7 the moderate day is specifically aimed at correcting some weaknesses I discovered during the IKFF cert. I found that my overall strength has decreased during the period I was only training with lighter weights and timed sets. Steve encouraged me to start working heavier again, even in my timed sets. I also noticed that my squat form deteriorated dramatically. Although this is partially due to an injury I incurred earlier this year I realized that anything that is not trained will deteriorate - unless maybe if you are a highly skilled athlete. Today's session included some exercises to address my weak spots. I did:

Intuflow to warm up

Press (24kg): 2 minutes: 8/8
Press (24kg): 2 minutes: 8/8
Press (32kg) 3/3

After the presses I did some body weight squats, overhead body weight squats, hip mobility movements and walking lunges to prepare my body for the squats. I then did:

Front squats (24kg + 16kg): 3 sets of 5

Windmills (16kg): 5/5

I ended the session with some Prasara and Qi Gong

I thoroughly enjoyed this session and I feel energized and fresh after the work. I have forgotten how refreshing a slightly heavier but short session can be. It is obvious that this works a different energy system (anaerobic) rather than the more aerobic leanings of long sets.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

2007/10/28 - Starting my post-IKFF 4x7

One thing that became very clear during the IKFF cert is that I have lost some strength during the past few months of just training GS/AKC style with a light weight. I also noticed that I lost some of my previous movement abilities, specifically related to squatting and lunging type movements. My new 4x7, starting today and ending on November 24 is designed to rectify (or at least begin to rectify) this. The plan will work as follows:

* Day 1: Intuflow and some IKFF mobility drills
* Day 2: Prasara yoga and some of the IKFF stretches
* Day 3: Strength oriented lifts like bottom up presses, get-ups and squats
* Day 4: GS style training / AKC sets

I started the programme today with Intuflow, some IKFF mobility drills and hip openers that will help with my squatting form. I also did a few overhead squats with a towel. The session was finished off with a few rounds of the Qi Gong set Steve taught this past weekend.

Monday, October 27, 2008

2008/10/27 - The day after

So today it was back to the real world (or perhaps it is the illusion) after a weekend of exploring the depths of human physical, mental and spiritual potential. I felt pretty tired most of today and also ate like a horse. I am quite surprised though that I'm not experiencing as much DOMS as I thought I would. I mainly feel super tight in the hamstrings and biceps. I'm actually glad about the sore hammies because it means that I used the right muscles for the job during the cert. The fact that my shoulders are not sore implies that I performed the lifts properly rather than trying to use too much strength. Naturally I'm not doing any training today - unless eating can be considered to be a type of physical training. I learned so much this weekend and am still trying to put together the pieces into a coherent framework. I am also pretty excited to start my new 4x7 very soon - maybe even tomorrow. I am not sure yet what it will entail but I'm kind of torn between a body weight protocol and a totally new kettlebell program based on what I got from Steve and John this weekend. Since I haven't yet received Scott's body weight DVD's I might go with an IKFF type 4x7 for now.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

2008/10/26 - Pics and a vid from the IKFF cert

2008/10/26 - Certified

Wow, what a weekend! After two days of intense kettlebell work with Steve Cotter and John Buckley I'm very happy to report that I am now an IKFF certified kettlebell teacher. The weekend was a total blast that taught me things on so many levels that it is hard to put into words. Naturally I'll try anyway.

We started day 2 with an interesting proprioceptive drill designed to gently warm up the body and nervous system. This was followed by some more skipping and lunging drills and a thorough joint mobility session.

Next on the agenda was the dreaded snatch. We first went through a detailed instructional session designed to point out the finer details of this classic kettlebell lift. This was followed by four one minute sets that focused on learning how to rest in the lockout. Each set decreased the amount of reps until the last set which was only 6 reps a minute. Once we all knew how to relax and rest during the lockout phase we concluded the snatch training with a 6 minute set. I was amazed at how easy this last set was. There is just something about the way Steve teaches GS that fully drills efficiency of motion and mental relaxation deeply into ones neurology.

After a brief rest we continued with work on double swings, double cleans and double front squats. This was of course followed by the dreaded one arm overhead squat. Steve took us through some really cool drills designed to prepare the body for the rigors of the one arm overhead squat. We trained this lift via three sets using a descending weight ladder. Set one was a two minute set (for me with the 24kg), then a 4 minute set with the 16kg and finally a 6 minute set with the 12kg. These things really are brutal and I suffered quite a bit due to my hip / lower back injury. During our lunch break I discussed my problem with Steve and he showed me a really cool stretch to help in the rehab of the injury. I'm really happy to say that my overhead squats were significantly improved at the end of the day due to the drill Steve showed me.

After lunch we worked on core / ab work which consisted of Turkish get ups, get up sit ups, and low and high windmills. I really have to incorporate these into my training again.

This ab session was followed by John teaching the finer points of the bottoms up clean and bottoms up press. I was amazed that I could do a couple of perfect bottoms up presses with the 24kg after this very clear instruction by the big guy. My previous best was with the 16kg.

The last challenge of the day was a period of non-stop lifts that covered everything we did during the 2 days of the course. At this point it took some real focus and mental commitment to keep moving. I am however happy to report that every single participant gave it their all and received their certifications at the end of the day. What a truly great bunch of people.

Steve ended the day with a very genuine discussion of the philosophy of the IKFF. I must say that I really love the way he thinks about training and marketing. His approach is honest and compassionate and I can really relate to it. He shows none of the ego or extreme marketing tactics that have become common place in the fitness industry.

In conclusion I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to Dawn for organizing this event and also for being just a really great human being. Also, naturally thank you to Steve and big John for traveling half way across the world to impart their wisdom, wit, compassion and humanity. You guys really rock and I will miss hanging out with you - until we meet again.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

2008/10/25 - VERY high intensity day

The morning of the IKFF kettlebell certification finally arrived. After coffee and a light breakfast I made my way to Fourways high school here in Johannesburg. When I arrived only two or three people were there but there was already a strong air of expectation. The rest of the group gradually arrived and eventually Dawn arrived with Steve and big John Buckley (or wildman for short).

Before giving you a bit of a rundown of the day just some general impressions. Both Steve and John are really great guys. Steve is relaxed but intense and energetic and John is a really laid back gentle giant. They both created a very relaxed atmosphere very conducive to learning and also just for having some fun.

We started the day with a dynamic warm up session consisting of various skipping movements around the class, lots of walking lunges and a very thorough joint mobility session that was not dissimilar from things like Intuflow and Z health. Steve also took us through a couple of mobility moves that I haven't seen before and they have a kind of Chinese martial art flavour - good stuff!

When we were all thoroughly warm and loose we started with the basic kettlebell lifts. First was a very thorough breakdown and practice of the swing - both two handed and one handed variations. Some very specific pointers by Steve and John quickly showed me some of the stuff that have been causing me lower back pain with the swing. From here the whole swing thing can only get better. After a brief 4 minute swing set we moved into the clean.

The clean was thoroughly unpacked and made really simple via some very specific pointers. These guys really know how to teach and make things as simple as possible. After the clean intro it was time for the longest set of the day - a 20 minute set of cleans. I planned on switching hands every minute to conserve my grip but lo and behold I finished the set with only one switch at the 10 minute mark - as did all the other participants. What a sense of accomplishment. The way Steve teaches really helps one to understand energy conservation and suddenly a 20 minute set is not nearly as hectic as it seems.

After lunch we moved on to pressing. Standing presses, chair presses and push presses were covered first. Each of these was finally drilled fully into our neurology via six minute sets.

After a brief rest we got some extensive instruction in the finer aspect of the jerk. The lift was broken down into all of the component parts and each part was practiced via very cleverly designed drills. Once the whole movement was put together we did our last set of the day with a ten minute set of jerks. Weirdly enough the jerk set felt quite easy. I guess there is something about a whole day of practice that helps your body to really get into the idea of efficiency of motion.

After all the hard work of the day Steve took us through a relaxing Qi Gong set. It was just what the doctor ordered and we all felt relaxed, yet pretty damn tired after a day well spent.

The day was really an amazing experience and it will take a while to really unpack and integrate everything I learned.

Apart from the hard work there were also some really fun moments during our lunch break. Watching big John doing a bottom up press with the bulldog was very humbling. He very nearly repeated the feat with the beast. The most impressive moment was however seeing him jerking an 80kg guy and then doing a windmill with the guy resting on his hand. WOW!

Anyway, I'm just going to have a quick bath and then I'm off to day 2.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008/10/23 - Low intensity day

Today was probably my last training session before the IKFF certification this weekend. I am glad the time has finally arrived for Steve and John to show me the errors of my ways and to correct all the small (and probably large) technical errors in my lifting. Thus far I have learnt everything I know about kettlebells either from Pavel's RKC DVD, ETK and web based clips of the likes of Steve Cotter, Valerie Fedorenko and Mike Stefano demonstrating Girevoy sport methods. It would be great to finally learn from a master. I'm hoping to post my experiences on Saturday and Sunday evening after the cert days. Anyway, today I just did some Intuflow and Prasara Yoga.

I worked four times slowly through the Cricket flow and then did a few additional postures like the Cobra, Plough and some forward bends to loosen up stiff back muscles. I am making some good progress with the Cricket flow and it is quite surprising to notice the extent to which Prasara not only brings greater mobility but also a significant increase in strength. I'm really looking forward to spending more time on my yoga and other body weight methods after this weekend.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2008/10/21 - Working on form

On my high intensity day I decided to focus on slower sets with an emphasis on form. The jerk form was OK but the snatches still suck - specifically the corkscrew motion. I'm beginning to suspect that the problem is with the bell I'm using. It is a DD 16kg and the handle might be a bit awkward. Who knows. Anyway, here is the result:


One Arm Jerk: 8 minutes @ 8rpm: 32/32
Snatch: 7 minutes @ 12 rpm: 42/42 - Hand switches at 2 minutes, 4 minutes and 5,5 minutes.

Some Prasara to finish off.

Monday, October 20, 2008

2008/10/20 - Cruising

I took the past three days completely off from any kind of training. My body has been feeling tight and tired for the last week or so and I decided to give it as much of a rest as possible. I also decided to take it relatively easy this week given that the IKFF cert is coming up this weekend. I did a moderate session today which consisted of:

Intuflow beginner level

24kg bell / 2 minutes / 1 minute rest:

Press: 12/12
Snatch: 12/12
One Arm Jerk: 12/12

Swing (40kg): 10/10

Prasara to end the session.

I'm not sure why I'm feeling tired but my analytical mind can come up with a million or more reasons. OK, maybe not a million. It has been one hell of a year starting with my injury in March, my mom in law's death in April, hectic work as usual and the armed robbery in August. I feel like booking myself into an Ashram in India for 6 weeks to get away from it all. I'm just really grateful that I managed to maintain some kind of training schedule through all of this. Once Steve and Ken has been here I'm going to take things easy for a while and just focus on enjoying training rather than preparing for something specific.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

2008/10/16 - Feeling tired

I was feeling tired and worn out today so I took it quite easy. I just did two short sets.

Intuflow beginner level

One arm jerk: 4 minutes @ 12rpm: 24/24
Snatch: 4 minutes @ 14rpm: 28/28

Some Prasara to finish the session.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2008/10/15 - 24kg moderate day

The past two days I just did Intuflow and Yoga. Today I did a moderate session with the 24kg bell. My session went like this:

Intuflow beginner level

24kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 18/18
Half Snatch: 15/15
One Arm Jerk: 15/15

I ended the session of with some Prasara flows.

My work with the 24kg bell is definitely getting easier, albeit gradually. I'm looking forward to a change in schedule once the IKFF certification is over. I'm still thinking of taking a month off from the bells and just doing a body weight 4x7 but I'll see how I feel after the seminar.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

2008/10/12 - Sunday @ level 13

For my high intensity day I decided to do the Cincinasty. Here is how it all went:

Intuflow beginner level

16kg / 5 minutes work / 2 minutes rest:

Jerk: 30/30
Snatch: 32/32
Long cycle: 15/15

Swing (24kg): 20/20

I finished off with some Prasara body flows.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A bit of WOW!

Check this out! I am so getting Forward Pressure.

2008/10/11 - Staying with the program

I'm still moving ahead slowly with my prep for the Cotter cert in two weeks from now. The past two days were spent on joint mobility and yoga. Today I did the scheduled moderate day training which consisted of:

Intuflow beginner level

16kg / 4 minutes / 1 minute rest

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Clean: 24/24

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Some Prasara flows to cool off and release built up tension.

I enjoyed the session and it didn't feel taxing. I'm probably ready to up the time on my moderate days but I think I'll wait until after Steve's cert before I change anything radically.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2008/10/08 - Finally!!!!

Yesterday I decided to take a day off from training. For some reason I had a bit of DOMS from my moderate day and a busy day at work didn't help much - yes, I'm finally listening to my body. Today I was back in business and did my high intensity training. My plan was, come hell or high water, to do a 10 minute jerk set and a 10 minute snatch set. Snatches have always been my biggest problem and so today I decided to go for 10 minutes switching hands on the minute just to get a 10 minute set in. Maybe going through the psychological barrier would finally open up the whole realm of snatch success for me. Anyway, here is the result:

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 10 minutes @ 8rpm with one switch: 40/40
Snatch (16kg): 10 minutes @ 13rpm with hand switches on the minute: 65/65

I just did some light stretching afterwards to loosen up tight spots. All I can say is: WOW! My whole body was shaking after the session. After a few minutes of relaxing I reached some kind of weird physical / psychological high that I haven't experienced for years. I felt like I could take on the world and almost decided to start another training session. You've got to love endorphins. Now that the 10 minute snatch barrier has been reached it is a matter of upping the pace as well as minimizing the hand switches. Who knows, maybe next year I'll be a man among men when I do 200 snatches with the 24kg in 10 minutes.

Monday, October 6, 2008

2008/10/06 - Three days of training

The past two days were my no intensity and low intensity days respectively. As usual my training was based on Intuflow and Prasara. Today on my moderate day I did:

Intuflow beginner level

16kg / 4 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Clean: 24/24

Swing (24kg): 20/20

I finished off with some Prasara flows.

Friday, October 3, 2008

2008/10/03 - Slightly faster, slightly shorter

For my high intensity day I decided to yet again up the pace but keep the time a bit shorter. I did:

Intuflow intermediate level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 12rpm: 36/36
Snatch (16kg): 6 minutes @ 15rpm: 45/45

Swing (32kg): 15/15

Some Prasara movement flows to finish.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2008/10/02 - Moderate day with the 16kg

I just finished a nice and easy session with the 16kg bell. I did:

Intuflow intermediate

16kg bell / 4 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Clean: 20/20

Swing (32kg): 15/15

Some Prasara movements to end off the session.

The session felt pretty easy and I didn't feel like I was working hard. I guess the work with the 24kg bell over the last few weeks has made a difference. I am also gradually in the process of changing my attitude to training. I am starting to believe that slightly less actually ends up being more. My natural tendency is to go as hard as possible in every session - whether it is Intuflow, Yoga or kettlebells. The more I explore the way my body works and learn from people like Scott Sonnon the more aware I'm becoming of the fact that discomfort is good but only up to a point. Pushing yourself to the point of discomfort seems to be good (or else there will be no progress) but trying to push too far into discomfort seems counter-productive. I would rather still be training daily when I'm eighty than having to give up due to burnout at the age of 40. I am slowly learning to let go of impatience and developing a viewpoint that includes going the distance rather than sprinting for 400 metres but not being able to finish the marathon. If I listen to this inner voice that is developing I might still be blogging 40 years from now - if not, well, there is always the Google archives.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008/10/01 - Two days of light training

Yesterday I just worked through the Intuflow intermediate sequence. Today I did Intuflow again and also a few rounds of the Cricket and SeeSaw flows. For the last while I have been pushing myself in the yoga postures to get deeper and really feel a stretch. Today I stayed just outside the discomfort range and I actually feel better and looser than normal. I keep forgetting that Scott's methods are not about force - as he likes to say: "Move to the tension, not through the tension." I hope I remember to keep following his advice rather than overdoing it as I tend to do. I ended off my session today with Savasana (the corpse posture) which basically entails lying quietly on your back while mentally observing your body. I forgot how pleasant it can be to just do...well, nothing really. I felt relaxed and mentally calm after the session - something I desperately need after the last few weeks of stress and tension.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Upside down

I found this fun quiz to identify which Tarot card you are. Mine turned out to be:

You are the Hanged Man

Self-sacrifice, Sacrifice, Devotion, Bound.

Try it out here: http://www.flarn.com/~warlock/tarot/

Monday, September 29, 2008

2008/09/29 - Upping the pace slightly

Today I did:

One Arm Jerk: 16kg @ 8 minutes @ 10rpm: 40/40
Snatch: 16kg @ 6 minutes @ 14rpm: 42/42 (2 min R / 2 min L / 1 min R / 1 min L)

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Some Prasara Yoga postures and movements to end off.

I decided to start increasing the rpm slightly in both the jerks and snatches. On my longer set days I used to work at 8rpm for jerks and 12rpm for snatches. Today I upped it slightly to 10rpm and 14rpm respectively. I am still struggling to extend the length of the snatch sets to 10 minutes. Maybe upping the reps while working slightly shorter sets will help. We'll see.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

27/09/2008 - More level 7 work

For my moderate session today I kept to the AKC fitness protocol with the 24kg bell. I did:

Intuflow intermediate level

24kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 17/17
Half Snatch: 15/15
Clean: 15/15

Swing: (40kg): 10/10

I finished off with some compensatory yoga postures.

2008/09/26 - Low intensity

I started as usual with the Intuflow intermediate sequence. Since moving to intermediate level I am noticing some more changes in my body. My general mobility and body awareness seem to be increasing, apparently due to the increased sophistication of the Intuflow movements.

I followed the Intuflow with six rounds of the Prasara Cricket flow and one round of the See Saw flow. The Cricket flow is improving every time I do it, especially the Crane posture and transition to the Quad Squat. I'm really loving the yoga practice and am planning to get some more of Scott's Prasara oriented materials asap.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

2009/09/25 - Intuflow

I just did a quick Intuflow intermediate session today. In stead of doing the movements slowly I tried to move as fast as possible while maintaining maximal relaxation. Everything felt smooth and I got through the session in just over 10 minutes. I have been noticing lately that I spontaneously use a lot of Intuflow principles while going about my daily activities. This stuff seems to become part of you in unexpected ways. Tomorrow the plan is to do another Intuflow session followed by some Prasara. I'll see how the day goes though because I'm working quite late.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2008/09/24 - High intensity GS session

Today I did:

Intuflow intermediate level

16kg One Arm Jerk: 10 minutes @ 8rpm: 40/40 (Only one hand switch)
16kg Snatch: 6 minutes (2 minutes R / 2 minutes L / 1 min R / 1 min L): 14rpm: 42/42

24kg Swing: 20/20

I finished off by working twice through the first and second kinetic flows of the See Saw flow.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2007/09/23 - A moderate level 7 session

I am still choosing to work with heavier weights and shorter sessions on my moderate intensity days. Today I did a level 7 AKC session with the 24kg. Here is the result:

Intuflow intermediate level (excluding 4CBD, floor work and breathing)

24kg bell / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 15/15
Half Snatch: 15/15
One Arm Jerk: 15/15

Swing (40kg): 10/10

I ended off with some Yoga. Rather than doing my usual Prasara flows I selected some postures from the various flows and just held them for a while with the intent of learning to relax and deepening the postures. I enjoyed the session and am seeing some definite improvement in my work with the 24kg.

Monday, September 22, 2008

2008/09/22 - Low intensity Yoga

Yesterday I just did the Intuflow beginner sequence. Today I decided to add some sophistication by going through the intermediate sequence. I really like the way in which Intuflow adds to sessions by enhancing the sophistication of movements rather than simply adding intensity. I felt loose, warm and comfortable after the session.

I then proceeded to work through six slow sequences of the Prasara Cricket flow. My emphasis at the moment in my Yoga practice is on deepening the postures and smoothing out the transitions. I allow myself to relax as much as possible during the practice rather than making it into a "workout". After the Cricket flow I worked through the first and second kinetic chains of the SeeSaw flow twice. I find the SeeSaw flow really working the core of the body while also being quite relaxing - just what I need at the moment.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

2008/09/20 - High intensity Saturday

Today I did some slightly longer sets again. I generally felt good during the session but am not yet where I was a few weeks ago. Next week I hope to hit some 10 minute or longer sets again. Here is what I did today:

Intuflow beginner level

16 kg One Arm Jerk: 8 minutes with one switch: 32/32
16 kg Snatch: 8 minutes switching hands every 2 minutes: 48/48
32 kg Swing: 10/10

To finish off I did one slow round of the Cricket flow and one round of the first two kinetic chains of the SeeSaw flow.

Friday, September 19, 2008

2008/09/19 - Moderate day with the 24

I did another session with the 24kg bell. I took things up a tiny notch by moving from 2 - 3 minute sets. It was hard work - 30 seconds apparently make quite a difference. Here is the breakdown:

Intuflow beginner level

24kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest:

Press: 15/15
Half Snatch: 15/15
Clean: 15/15

Swing (40kg): 10/10

To cool down and loosen up I went twice through the first and second kinetic chains of the Prasara yoga SeeSaw flow. It is a relaxing and smooth flow but mine needs a lot of work.

2008/09/18 - Low intensity yoga day

As usual I started my session with Intuflow. Like yesterday I worked through the beginner sequence slowly with an emphasis on breathing, relaxation and proper technique.

I then went through the Prasara Cricket flow six times. I also worked slowly with an emphasis on relaxing and breathing into the postures. I worked up a good sweat and felt loose, warm and relaxed after the session.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

2008/09/17 - Just Intuflow

I did a slow and focused sequence of the Intuflow beginner exercises today. I tried to really focus on the parts being worked and combined the movements with deep breathing to relax as much as possible. The whole process was quite meditative and felt kind of like Qi Gong. I'm becoming aware lately of an interesting relationship between tightness in my pelvis/hip area and some apparently related restrictions in my lower and mid back. This is especially noticeable when I do the pelvic side to side movements. When I move from side to side a lot of clicking and stretching also happens in my back - weird stuff. Hopefully enough of this will eventually cure my fall injury once and for all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2008/09/16 - High intensity - NOT

I'm still feeling under the weather from this stupid cold I picked up a couple of days ago. I can feel that my body is working harder than normal when I train. As a result I took things easy today and just did the following:

Intuflow beginner level

16 kg One Arm Jerk: 6 minutes: 24/24
16 kg Snatch: 4 minutes: 24/24

32 kg Swing: 10/10

Twice through the Cricket flow (slowly).

Monday, September 15, 2008

2008/09/15 - Moderate intensity

I took the past three days off due to my left hip still bothering me. I'm feeling better today but not perfect yet. I also have a bit of a Spring cold which is leaving me a bit under the weather. I decided to just work through a short AKC session with the 24 kg bell rather than doing longer sets. Here's the result:

Intuflow beginner level

24 kg / 2 minutes work / 1 minute rest

Press: 10/10
Half Snatch: 10/10
Clean: 10/10

Swing (24kg): 20/20

One slow round of the Prasara Cricket flow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

2008/09/11 - High intensity

It is still very hot here and not difficult at all to work up a sweat. I'm still a bit careful of my hip so opted for a short but intense AKC session today rather than a classic long set approach. Here is the outcome:

Intuflow intermediate level

4 minutes work / 1 minute rest / 16kg bell

Jerk: 32/32
Snatch: 32/32
Half Snatch: 10/10

I only did 1 minute per side for the last set (half snatch) because I started getting dizzy, probably because of not having eaten yet today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

2008/09/10 - Moderate Intensity

Summer is coming early this year. For the last couple of years here in Joburg it seems that we totally skip spring and jump straight from winter into mid-summer. For my session today I chose exercises from the AKC protocol that puts very little strain on the hip flexors since I've been struggling with my left hip for about a week. Here is how it went:

Intuflow intermediate level

16kg / 4 minutes on / 1 minute off:

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Bottom up clean: 24/22

Swing (40kg): 10/10

Twice through the Prasara Cricket flow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

2008/09/08 - Low intensity Intuflow and Yoga

I worked through the Intuflow beginner sequence today followed by a few rounds of the Prasara Cricket and Vine flows. The purpose of the session was just to slow down, release residual tension and be aware of what is happening with my body. It felt good to just observe without pushing anything. One of the things I'm trying to figure out is why I have less ROM in my left hip than the right. It seems as if there is a whole pelvis, hip, lower back (all on the left) thing going on but I cannot fully figure out how it fits together. I have a suspicion that my kung fu training did some damage (particularly the way we used to stretch and some very wrong use of the ma bu stance). As I work more with Intuflow and Yoga I'm sure the puzzle will unfold to the extent that I might regain some of the lost ROM. Let's see where this goes.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

2008/09/07 - Intuflow day

This morning I did the Intuflow beginner sequence. I went nice and slow to really feel the impact of the movements. It is amazing to notice how moving your shoulder can cause a movement in your lower back or hip. The body really does not work in isolated pieces. I enjoyed the slow session this morning and am tempted to do some more Intuflow or yoga tonight. I'll see how I feel later.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The simplest fitness protocol

Since starting to incorporate some of Scott Sonnon's material into my training I've been toying with the idea of doing a 4x7 protocol with just body-weight exercises. I am likely to do this in November after the IKFF cert. My thoughts on body-weight training reminded me of something my Systema (Russian martial art) teacher said during one of the classes. I'm loosely paraphrasing what he said but it amounted to the following: Everybody seems to believe that getting fit requires money, gym equipment etc. All you need to do is lie down on the ground flat on your back. From that position get up to a full standing position in the most efficient way possible. Do that for 10-20 minutes at a time and you will never need a gym again.

Vadim (my teacher) actually made us do this for 5 minutes during one of our classes and I can assure you it is not fun. Such is the weird and wonderful things us humans do with our bodies.

2008/09/06 - Another day's training

Yesterday I worked late so I missed my scheduled high intensity day. All the sitting yesterday for some reason tightened up my left hip and it is feeling pretty uncomfortable today. I did the Intuflow beginner sequence this morning to see if it would shift something. I do feel looser but the hip is still not wonderful. I decided to train anyway and this is how it went:

Intuflow beginner sequence (I skipped the 4CBD, floor work and breathing at the end)

One arm jerk: 8 minutes @ 8rpm: 32/32
Snatch: 6 minutes @ 12rpm: 36/36

Swings (24kg): 20/20

Twice through the Prasara yoga Vine flow.

For some reason my hip felt a lot better after the jerk session. The jerks actually seemed to relax whatever was stuck a bit. The Vine flow is something else. I'm grateful nobody can post my performance on Youtube - it was ugly. I enjoy the flow a lot but it is going to take a long time before I can do any of it in such a way that it resembles yoga.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

2008/09/04 - Something slightly different

I've been thinking about the 4x7 approach's split between moderate and high intensity days. It seems that the moderate day is more about strength work (in other words lower reps) with less of a cardio focus. The high intensity day is supposed to be more metcon oriented (such as a typical AKC sessions or long GS sets). As an experiment I decided to reduce my session length today and do everything with the 24kg while still sticking to the basic AKC protocol outline. This is what I did:

Intuflow intermediate level

24kg / 2 minute sets / 1 minute rest

Press: 10/10
Half Snatch: 10/10
Push Press: 10/10

Swing (40kg): 10/10

Twice through the Prasara Cricket flow.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this experiment. I definitely feel like I've worked but the session was over so quickly. I do think that incorporating the 24 into my sessions will help my work with the 16. Perhaps I'll do one of these sessions a week for a while and see where it takes the rest of my training.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

2008/09/03 - Low intensity

I cheated yesterday and didn't do my pure low intensity Intu-Flow day. I simply had too much work to do - for some reason EVERYONE wants something at the moment. Anyway, today I managed my low intensity day which consisted of Intu-Flow beginner level and 4 rounds of the Prasara Cricket flow. After the armed robbery two weeks ago I still feel emotionally unstable (don't worry - I don't mean men in white jackets fetching me in hug-me jackets unstable) and it is interesting to note how this impacts my flow during the yoga session. I am a bit more rigid and the postures don't flow as nicely as before. On the upside, I got my car back from the police lock-up today. Next step - getting to the UK.

Monday, September 1, 2008

2008/09/01 - Spring day and longer sets

Today is spring day here in the Southern Hemisphere (although the weather doesn't seem to agree). Being my high intensity day I did the following:

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 8 minutes @ 8rpm: 32/32
Snatch (16kg): 8 minutes @ 12rpm: 48/48

Swing (40kg): 8/8

Twice through the Prasara Cricket flow.

As usual I only switched hands once in my Jerk set. For the snatch set I broke the set up into:

3 minutes R / 3 minutes L / 1 minute R / 1 minute L.

That's it for today.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Body composition changes / GS and 4x7

My first introduction to kettlebell training came in September of 2007 via Pavel's "Enter the Kettlebell." With ETK style training I noticed distinct hypertophy of my shoulder region but not a lot happening to my rather overdeveloped tummy - and I don't mean muscles. When I started GS style training (longer sets with lighter weight) I noticed that some of the initial hypertrophy dropped away but I did notice that I was becoming generally leaner. Since starting Scott Sonnon's 4x7 protocol something interesting is happening.

The 4x7 protocol in a (very small) nutshell is based on 4 day cycles that include a no intensity day (joint mobility), low intensity day (joint work and yoga), moderate intensity (which is mainly lower rep training) and a high intensity day (which is based on classic GS long sets). Sinced starting this protocol I have noticed pronounced muscle growth in my shoulder, traps, delts and biceps. My abs also became more streamlined (without any diet changes). I am not sure why this is happening but there is clearly something about the 4x7 protocol that makes a significant impact not only on body comp but also on the ability to achieve PR's in your training.

Although my training has been a bit erratic over the past two weeks I have noticed distinct changes in my body composition as well as my ability to put in some pretty intense training sessions. Scott seems to have some kind of remarkable genius when it comes to figuring out protocols that really work. The most important part for me (being 38 years old) is that I don't feel that I'm harming my body in any way even when I train hard.

I'll be posting some more specifics on my training experiences and the changes in both body comp and general well-being / fitness in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

2008/08/31 - Moderate intensity day

Here is my session for today:

Intuflow beginner level

4 minutes / 16 kg / 1 minute rest between sets:

Press: 24/24
Snatch: 32/32
One Arm Long Cycle: 14/12

Swing (40kg): 8/8

Prasara Cricket Flow: 2 rounds

The long cycle was a killer today. I don't think I practice it often enough. I also think the faster paced snatch set right before the LC took a toll. I was surprised by the 40kg swings though. My 40kg bell has been sitting quietly in the corner since I got it a few months ago. Today I thought I'd play with it a bit - not too difficult at all. The main problem was with my grip and I stopped after 8 reps fearing that the bell might fly through the living room window. Hope everyone had a great weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

2008/08/29 - Flowing along

Today was a no intensity day so I just did the beginner level of Intu-Flow. I feel calm, relaxed and warm after the session. It is amazing how much this stuff makes my body feel like I just did Qi Gong or Tai Chi.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

2008/08/28 Higher intensity day

Here is my slightly higher intensity day:

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 8rpm: 24/24
Snatch (16kg): 6 minutes @ 12rpm: 36/36

Twice through the Prasara Yoga Cricket flow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

2008/08/27 Another session (moderate intensity)

Training has been very erratic lately but I did manage a moderate intensity session today. Here is what I did:

Intuflow beginner level

16kg / 4 minutes work / 1 minute rest:

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Clean: 28/28

Took a short rest and then:

One arm overhead squat (16kg): 2 minutes: 6/6
Swing (32kg): 15/15

Prasara Yoga: Twice through the Cricket flow.

The overhead squats were a bit easier than the previous time I did them. Howie's advice to turn slightly towards the arm that is holding the bell definitely helps. I think this is an exercise where general flexibility may play an even greater role than strength and endurance.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Scott talking about getting Intuflow

Here is a clip of Scott Sonnon talking us through the basic principles of getting your body back into a natural state of movement - or Intu-Flow as he calls it.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

2008/08/23 - Back in business

I've been lying low the past couple of days. Today I decided that it is time to put the past behind me and get on with business. Here is todays' session"

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 10 minutes @ 9rpm: 90
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 12rpm: 48

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Once through the Cricket flow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Armed robbery is a bitch

I haven't been training for the last couple of days. On Wednesday morning (20th of August) at about 12:30 in the morning I fell asleep on the couch while watching the Olympics. I woke up with a 9 milimetre pistol in my face. Three guys (two of them armed) entered my house and proceeded to clean out whatever they could take. I lost my TV, DVD player, Xbox, Hi Fi, New car, PC and laptop as well as other random pieces of household appliances. Thank the Gods that nobody got hurt. Right now my life is a bit upside down but things will eventually be back to normal. I will eventually try to train again but for now I am experiencing unfamiliar emotions that might be fear or desperate anger. Who knows?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008/08/19 - Moderate intensity and a new exercise

With the IKFF certification coming closer I'm going to have to start incorporating some neglected exercises into my schedule. Today I threw in some cleans as well as one arm overhead squats (which I haven't trained before). Ouch! Here is what I did:

Intuflow beginner level

Did the following with 1 minute rest between sets:

Press (16kg): 4 minutes: 24/24
One Arm Jerk (24kg): 4 minutes: 16/16
Clean (16kg): 4 minutes: 26/26

2,5 minutes rest

One Arm Overhead Squat (16kg): 2 minutes: 5/5
Swing (32kg): 15/15

Prasara Cricket flow x 2

The overhead squats were very difficult. I didn't have an issue with the arm above my head but it was hell of a difficult to get down low enough into the squat. I now have to figure out where I'm too tight but I suspect it might be my lower back. I'll be working on these squats in the weeks to come.

Monday, August 18, 2008

2008/08/18 - Starting the week with yoga

Today was a low intensity day. I did:

Intuflow beginner level.

7 Rounds of the Prasara Cricket flow.

1 Round of the Vine flow just as practice.

Once I am familiar with the postures and transitions of the Vine flow I will start incorporating it into my practice as well. I am really enjoying my yoga practice at the moment and keep having a feeling that I want to do more. Unfortunately every day just have so many hours and I don't want to overdo it. I'm still playing with the idea of doing a 4x7 using just yoga and other body-weight methods like Flowfit and Forward Pressure. For now I'm hard at work preparing for Steve Cotter's IKFF certification so my body-weight 4x7 will have to wait until the end of October.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2008/08/17 - Just Intuflow

After a great week of warm weather today was pretty cold. I hope this is one of the last cold fronts of this winter. Luckily today was a no intensity day so I just did some relaxing Intuflow to keep the joints relaxed and ready for some more hard work in the week ahead.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Holistic fitness

There seems to be a trend in the fitness world towards lifelong training with an emphasis on total health and fitness. What is the point of following an overly specialized training programme that will lose its usability once you hit your thirties? We've all seen great athletes becoming fat and unhealthy once their training careers come to an end. Organizations like the American Kettlebell Club, Steve Cotter's IKFF and Scott Sonnon's Rmax International are in the process of revolutionizing the concept of fitness and bringing about a profound shift in how fitness is conceptualized. Here is an example of truly holistic fitness from Lauri Rudach:


We all need a bit of inspiration from time to time. When you train with kettlebells it helps to have something to aspire to. This video of Valery Fedorenko is certainly something to aspire to.

2008/08/16 - High intensity day

Today I did:

Intuflow beginner level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 10 minutes @ 8 rpm: 40/40
Snatch (16kg): 6 minutes @ 12rpm: 36/36

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Twice through the Prasara Cricket flow

I'm glad I did a 10 minute set again. With this ten minute set as my benchmark for the high intensity days I will work towards faster ten minute sets as well as longer than 10 minute sets. I could have gone longer in the snatch set but I didn't want to do multiple hand switches so I decided to end at six minutes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

2008/08/15 - Up a few notches

Today being a moderate intensity day and given my relative inactivity over the past two weeks I decided to take things up a few notches. I decided to take my working sets up in time from 3 minutes to 4 minutes but to maintain the rest periods at 1 minute. This is how it went:

Intuflow beginner level

4 minutes work / 1 minute rest / 16kg:

Press: 24/24
Half Snatch: 20/20
Long Cycle Push Press: 20/20

32kg Swings: 15/15

Twice through the Prasara Cricket flow

I was very happy with my RPM (although I have to admit that form on the Long Cycle got a tad ugly). I was also surprised that the extra minute added to each set didn't seem to make any difference. I'm not sure what to attribute that to. Maybe consistent training? Perhaps the 4x7 schedule allows my body to recover optimally between kettlebell sessions? Who knows. The fact of the matter is that this was a very enjoyable session and I seem to be fully back on track after my tummy bug last weekend. Tomorrow is the high intensity / long set day.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

2008/08/14 - Low intensity

Today was my scheduled low intensity day. I did:

Intuflow intermediate
Cricket flow x 6

It is interesting how Prasara can be used for everything from no intensity to high intensity work by just adjusting the pace. Today I worked at a slightly quicker pace than yesterday and held the postures slightly longer and I worked up a good sweat. Tomorrow I'm back under the bells.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2008/08/13 - Some Prasara improvement

Today was my no intensity day. I did:

Intuflow Intermediate
Prasara Cricket flow x4

I was glad to notice that I'm making some nice headway with the Cricket flow. When I first saw it a lot of the postures looked impossible and I almost filed the book away as a lost cause. I'm now really glad I didn't. The incremental approach of the book builds strength and ability in unexpected ways and new movement abilities creap up on you in unexpected ways. Today I found myself suddenly able to do the full crane pose and even my transition from crane to modified quad squat / frog pose is almost there. It was quite a pleasant surprise. A few more months of this and I'll officially be a pretzel.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2008/08/12 - High Intensity day

Today was not "high intensity" enough for me but I'm still taking it easy after my weekend in bed. This is what I did:

Intuflow Intermediate level

One Arm Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 8rpm: 24/24
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 12rpm: 24/24

Swing (32kg): 10/10

Twice through the Cricket flow

My rack in the jerk seems to be improving as is the second dip. I am actually starting to feel quite comfortable with the jerk. The snatch is a totally different story, in particular the drop. I'll be working on that in the days to come.

I also realized today that I've been missing longer sets since I've started the AKC fitness protocol. I'll be working on my high intensity days to lengthen my sets to 10 minutes and beyond. There is something weirdly relaxing about the quiet discipline of just forging ahead one rep at a time. On the other hand I like the quick pace of the AKC protocol as well so I'll be focusing on that on the medium days. This will allow me to practice some non-classical lifts or do some heavier work. I'm starting to like this programme that is gradually taking form.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2008/08/11 - Moderate day / lower reps

I woke up on Friday morning feeling great. I felt loose and relaxed after Thursday's great Intuflow and Prasara session. Within an hour after I got up I got struck down by a vicious bug that left me in bed for most of the weekend. I cannot recall having slept that long for years. Anyway, now that I'm back in the land of the living I can finally pick up on my training with my second moderate intensity day of the 4x7 cycle. The plan at the moment is to use the AKC protocol framework on the moderate day but working with heavier weight at lower rep ranges. The high intensity day will be based on lighter bells and faster work or alternatively on classic GS style long sets. Here is what I did today:

Intuflow Intermediate

Press (16kg) / 3 minutes: 15/15
Push Press (24kg) / 3 minutes: 15/15
One arm Jerk (32kg) / 2 minutes: 4/4

One slow round of the Cricket flow.

I struggled today, especially in the second and third set. The bug clearly took it out of me but at least I managed to do something today. Hopefully by tomorrow the after-effects would have worn off a bit more.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2008/08/07 - Low intensity Intuflow and Prasara

Today I did:

Intuflow Intermediate level
Prasara Cricket Flow x 6

This was my best Prasara session thus far. I took things slowly and held each posture briefly to try and get the form as perfect as I can at the moment. There were a few moments during the practice where I could actually experientially understand what is meant by flow.

The purpose of the low intensity day in the bigger scheme of a 4x7 schedule has a lot to do with compensatory recovery. Since kettlebells are my primary exercise modality the Cricket flow is a natural choice for me. I find that the bells impact a lot on my upper back / shoulders as well as my lower back / hip / hip flexor areas. The Cricket flow is a great hip loosener and also seems to open up and release tension in both the upper and lower back. The next flow which is a natural choice for me due to my exercise schedule is the Vine flow which also opens up the hip flexors nicely. I'm likely to start exploring it soon. Cheers for now!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2008/08/06 - No Intensity day

This was the first no intensity day of my new 4x7 programme. I just did:

Intuflow intermediate level
2 slow rounds of Prasara Cricket flow

I actually really enjoyed this session. It is amazing how my mind works and how it impacts on my training experiences. Not thinking of Intuflow as my warm up and Prasara as a cool down allowed me to really focus on both as unique exercise systems in their own right. I noticed a lot more happening in my body and also found that my form was significantly better than normal due to not rushing. I am even beginning to think along the lines of alternating my 4x7 kettlebell programme (a 28 day cycle) with non kettlebell based 4x7's such as ones based only on mobility work, yoga and body weight conditioning systems such as Forward Pressure and FlowFit. This may or may not happen but for now I'm really just enjoying exploring all the different ways in which I can use my body.

The Prasara Yoga Cricket Flow

Here's a great video from Youtube showing Ryan Hurst performing one of the B series flows from Prasara Yoga - the Cricket Flow. This is the flow I have been working on lately but I can assure you mine looks nothing like this. Definitely something to aspire to.

Scott Sonnon demos Intuflow

I found this great demo of Scott showing some of the Intuflow advanced sequence. This guy can really move and it is well worth watching.