Friday, June 27, 2008

2008/06/27 - Short and slow

I took some wise training advice from my training partner on the other side of the globe (Howie Brewer) and decided to keep todays session relatively easy and slow. Sorry Howie, I didn't use the classical music yet because my son was playing Xbox and I didn't want to drive him insane - Call of Duty 2 and Vivaldi doesn't mix well. Since snatches are my weakest link at the moment I decided to focus my short session on them.

Intuflow warm up

Snatch (16): 4 minutes @ 15rpm: 60
Snatch (16): 4 minutes @ 10rpm: 40

Prasara yoga flows for 20 minutes.

That's it - short and sweet. I'm signing off until next Friday for a much anticipated holiday at the coast. I'll be training but not posting.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008/06/26 - Eye of the Storm

I've been reflecting on my training of the past few weeks this morning. An important conclusion that I came to is that my basic intent is still (like it was with ETK) to get the reps and weight up as fast as possible. At the risk of sounding too esoteric I have been neglecting the Yin side of my training by pushing the Yang too much. Some interesting blogs and other posts that I read recently further stimulated this train of thought. I cannot remember all the details but some noteworthy thoughts came from people like Steve Cotter, Mike Stefano and Scott Sonnon.

In one of his blog posts Steve talks about the inner experience of training or the intent behind the external movements. In the Chinese internal martial arts, of which he is a top exponent, Yi (intent) is far more important than what is happening externally. Granted, form and body structure is important but the source of all these external machinations come from within the practitioner.

A related thought that caught my attention came from Mike Stefano and has to do with the fact that GS starts first and foremost with perfect form. Once form is mastered time is added, then speed, then weight. In stead of emphasizing a "go for it" attitude GS springs from a calm, stable foundation.

A last concept that struck me comes from Scott Sonnon's Prasara Yoga. Whereas most yoga "systems" emphasize either asana (posture) or vinyasa (breath linkage with form) Prasara is about the free flow that occurs between postures.

So how does this relate to my post for today? I came to the conclusion that the lacking element in my training over the past few weeks has been the internal or in between components. What do I do in my mind between Jerks or Snatches? What do I do with my posture when I am not actively moving? Where can I find restful moments in the midst of dynamic movements? These questions will definitely take a while to answer but I'm glad that I'm finally beginning to ask them.

One thing that I noticed today is that my "organism" responds very similarly to training than it does to general stress. After a few Jerks or Snatches my mind goes into stress mode and wants to "run away." This process rapidly saps my strength and I feel a need to push harder and harder just to get the session over. One of my biggests challenges in the next few weeks will thus be the ability to find the calm centre in the eye of the storm. It is my hope that movements that come from this calm place will be more dynamic and more efficient. They will also just be movements; nothing special or stressful about them. Kind of like the Zen of kettlebell lifting.

Here is todays session:

Intuflow warm up

OAJ (24): 6 minutes @ 7rpm: 42
Snatch (16): 8 minutes @ 12rpm: 96
Swings (24): 10/10

Some Prasara flows to cool down.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

2008/06/25 - Emphasis on form

Today I decided to take it easy and focus more on form than on too much intensity. My legs felt a bit tired after the two previous days' more intense training. This was what happened:

Intuflow warm up

OAJ (16): 3 minutes: 14/14
Snatch (16): 3 minutes: 23/23
GS Presses (16): 3 minutes: 15/15
OAJ (16): 3 minutes: 14/14
Snatch (16): 3 minutes: 23/23
GS Presses (16): 3 minutes: 15/13

I took 2 minute breaks between the sets. This felt nice and easy (apart from the last press set with the left arm). I feel stimulated and energized and not wasted like after the snatches yesterday. I'm also happy to report that my corkscrew technique for the snatches on the right side is coming along nicely. The left arm still needs work though. I finished the session off with some easy and relaxed Prasara Yoga flow practice.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2008/06/24 - Shorter and Faster

After the heavier and longer sets yesterday I decided to keep today short and work on speed. Here's the result:

Intuflow warm up

OAJ (16): 6 minutes @ 12 rpm: 72
Snatch (16): 2 minutes Right: 38
Short break to catch my breath
Snatch (16): 2 minutes Left: 38

Prasara Yoga flows for 20 minutes.

After the fast (for me) snatch sets today I have NO IDEA how guys like Jared Savik and David Whitley can keep going at a pace of around 27rpm for 10 minutes with a 24kg bell. These guys are scary!

Monday, June 23, 2008

2008/06/23 - Interesting thoughts on mobility and motor learning

I am always interested in learning new things when it comes to enhancing physical performance. As a result I've invested in the Z-Health R phase / Neuro Warm Up 1 programs. I've gotten some good results from consistent work with these programs but have recently also started using some of Scott Sonnon's Intuflow work. Time and experience will tell which way I will eventually go but my intuition tells me it might be towards the RMax material. Here is an interesting link discussing the way in which the human organism develops and the rationale behind Scott's Circular Strength Training:

I don't just take things at face value (being a psychologist probably doesn't help) so I will naturally try out the ideas myself. Stay tuned for some future posts on my further explorations.

2008/06/23 - Pushing it a bit

When I was following ETK one of my training days used to be a Saturday. Now that I train more along the lines of GS I train Mondays to Fridays and take weekends off (apart from a bit of yoga and joint mobility work). As a result I find that I want to work hard at my training on Mondays. My current goals are focused on getting to 10 minute sets with only one hand switch in the 24kg OAJ and the 16kg Snatch. My session today was another step in this direction and was a bit of a breakthrough for me. Here we go:

Intuflow warm up

OAJ (24): 6 minutes @ 8rpm (minutes 1-4) and 7rpm (minutes 5-6): 46
Snatch (16) 8 minutes @ 12rpm: 96
Swings (24): 10/10

Some light practice of the Prasara Yoga Cricket flow.

I must admit that I set the bell down for about 10 seconds at the start of the 7th minute in the Snatch set. I thought I was going to lose the use of my left hand permanently. Since GS is also about mental toughness I decided to tough it out and cranked out another 12 reps.

I feel great after this session, not only physically but also mentally because once again consistent training paid off.

Friday, June 20, 2008

2008/06/20 - A good end to the week

Short and simple session, much like most other days. I am finally beginning to see a 10 minute snatch set with the 16 in my future and 10 minutes of jerks with the 24 also seem to be somewhere on the horizon. I have really enjoyed the gains I've made over the last few weeks and am actually quite amazed that a programme this simple can work so well.

Intu Flow warm up

OAJ (24): 4 minutes @ 8 rpm: 32
Snatch (16): 6 minutes @ 14 rpm: 84
Swings (32): 10/10

10 minutes of Prasara flow.

Till next week, cheers!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

2008/06/19 - Body flow and another long set

I have been using Z health R Phase for a while now and have had some good results in terms of increased mobility, especially in my ankles, knees and shoulders. I have however not gotten that much benefit for my real problem area which is the lower back / hip / pelvic area.

I recently ordered Scott Sonnon's IntuFlow DVD and while waiting for it to arrive I got lucky and obtained a free ebook that serves as a basic intro to IntuFlow. I did the sequence for my warm up today and am quite blown away by the results. I don't think my shoulders and upper spine have felt this loose since - well, maybe never. Now I can't wait for the DVD with the full info to arrive. I am also experimenting with some of Scott's Prasara flows after my kettlebell training and it also feels really good. I agree with the Z and Rmax philosophy; no point in being strong/fit if you cannot move. Anyway, we'll see where this stuff takes me. Now for today's session:

IntuFlow warm up

OAJ (16): 10 minutes @ 8rpm: 40/40
Snatch (16): 4 minutes @ 15 rpm: 30/30

Some Prasara flows for about 8 minutes.

Now waiting for dinner guests to arrive. Cheers for now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2008/06/18 - Short but not too sweet

Joint mobility

OAJ (24): 5 minutes @ 8 rpm: 40
Snatch (16) 6 minutes @ 14rpm: 84
Swings (24): 20/20

Light stretching.

That's it, enough said.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008/06/17 - Speeding up a bit

I'm still tired - go figure. I supposed the mega doses of vitamin C and other immune boosters are keeping the cold at bay but not getting fully rid of it. Out of pure irritation with this state of affairs I decided to speed things up a bit. The result, weirdly enough is that I feel less tired after the session than before.

Maxwell's daily dozen to warm up.

OAJ (16): 6 minutes @ 9 rpm: 54
OAJ (16): 4 minutes @ 12 rpm: 48
Snatch (16): 4 minutes @ 16 rpm: 64

Light mobility work and qigong for a cool down.

Monday, June 16, 2008

2008/06/16 - Just a short session

For some reason I was feeling tired today - possibly still that nagging cold. I took it easy.

Joint mobility warmup

OAJ (24kg): 4 minutes @ 8rpm: 32
Snatch (16kg): 6 minutes @ 13 rpm: 78
Swings (24kg): 20/20

Light stretching and qigong.

Friday, June 13, 2008

2008/06/13 - So much for an off day

I am all excited because I went to the car dealership to fill in forms for possibly getting a new car - now the payment schedule must just work for me. As a result of the excitement all yesterdays pain was pushed aside and I decided to celebrate with a Friday afternoon session. This is what happened:

Steve Maxwell's daily dozen to warm up.

OAJ (24): 4 minutes @ 8 rpm (one switch): 32
3 minutes rest
OAJ (24): 4 minutes @ 8 rpm (one switch): 32
5 minutes rest
Snatch (16): 6 minutes @ 12rpm (one switch): 72
Swings (24): 20/20
Power Crunches: 20

Easy yoga for cooling down.
Qigong for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2008/06/12 - The evil that Howie does

I've been following Howie Brewer's training with the AKC protocol closely over the last few days. One of the exercises he uses is the bottoms up clean - which I have never done. Today I decided to give myself a break from my longer set training and do another AKC type circuit. I did the following for 90 seconds each set (45 per arm) with two minute breaks between sets:


Bottoms up cleans (16kg): 15/10
Snatch (16kg): 24/24
One Arm Jerk (16kg): 15/15
Bottoms up clean (16kg): 11/11
Snatch (16kg): 16/16
One Arm Jerk (16kg): 15/15

Light stretching and some qigong.

I really needed to brace my forearm, lower back and abs for the BUC's. In fact, my back felt more painful today than after a solid snatch or swing set. My forearms also know that they've worked - sorry guys. I also just didn't feel strong or energetic today. I suspect I'm fighting off a low grade cold which has been trying to break through for the last few days. I also think the long jerk and snatch sets yesterday took their toll. Maybe tomorrow should be a rest day - we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2008/06/11 - Going for 10 minutes

Today's plan was to go for my first 10 minute jerk set with only one hand switch. I decided to take it slow and focus on form. For snatches I am also currently working on increasing the length of the sets and minimize hand switches. This was the result:


OAJ (16kg): 10 minutes @ 8rpm with one switch: 80
Snatch (16kg) : 6 minutes @ 12 rpm with one switch: 72

Some yoga and qigong.

My arms and legs feel like lead after this session but I think I've gone through some psychological barrier - I've been stuck on 8 minutes with jerks and 4 with snatches.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Musings on EDT, density training and GS

Two protocols I've used effectively while still training in the set/rep format were EDT (Escalating Density Training) and Density Training. The former was developed by Charles Staley and the latter by coach Ethan Reeves. Both protocols basically involve doing more and more work within a specific time period. An EDT example would be to select two 15 minutes time periods for your training session. In the first 15 minutes (A1) you might do C+P and Pull Ups and in the second 15 perhaps Front Squats and snatches. Each sessions goal is to beat the total reps per 15 minute time zone. Once you have upped your reps by a certain percentage you increase the weight.

My limited experience with GS training has got me thinking that one of the aspects that make GS so effective is indeed the concept of keeping time static while manipulating the amount of work you do. In each session the goal is to break your PR from the previous session. What is great about this way of training is that progress is easily measured and your training sessions tend to be short and focused. Also, there are no questions left unanswered when it comes to deciding when to move up in weight. Once you can perform a solid 10 minute set of let's say 10 jerks per minute you can consider progressing to the next size kettlebell.

2008/06/10 - 16's and 24's

I decided to have shorter sets today but in stead of one set Jerk and Snatch with the 16's I added some 24kg sets as well. The idea is to make the 16 (lighter) on the days I exclusively train with it. In terms of the AKC GS training progression I'm just about ready to move up to the 24kg for Jerks anyway.


OAJ (16kg): 4 minutes @ 10rpm: 40
OAJ (24kg): 4 minutes @ 8rpm: 32
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 15rpm: 60
Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 11rpm: 22
Swings (24kg): 20R/20L

Yoga and qigong.

Monday, June 9, 2008

2008/06/09 - GS Style sets


OAJ (16kg): 8 minutes @ 10rpm with one switch: 80
Snatch(16kg): 4 minutes @ 16rpm with one switch: 64

Some yoga and qigong.

The jerks are improving rapidly but I still have a long way to go with the snatches. Although the snatch technique is improving a lot my forearm endurance needs work.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

2008/06/06: Playing with the 24

Today being an off day I decided to just play with the 24kg a little bit.


OAJ (24kg): 4 minutes @ 9rpm with one switch: 36
Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 11rpm with one switch: 22
Swings (24kg): 20R/20L

Qigong for 15 minutes

Friday, June 6, 2008

2008/06/06 - Inspired by Howie

Today's training was inspired by Howie Brewer who has been posting some of his experiences with the AKC's new fitness protocol on his blog. This is what I did today:


OAJ (16kg): 90 seconds: 15/15
Two minutes rest
Snatch (16kg): 90 seconds: 20/20
Rest 2 minutes
OA LCCJ: 90 seconds: 10/10
4 minutes rest

OAJ (16kg): 90 seconds: 15/15
Two minutes rest
Snatch (16kg): 90 seconds: 20/20
Two minutes rest
OA LCCJ (16kg): 90 seconds: 11/11

20 minutes of yoga and qigong.

I like the variety offered by the AKC fitness protocol. It was a nice break from the longer straight sets I've been doing lately. I might mix this type of training into my regular protocol once or twice a week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008



OAJ (16kg): 8 minutes, 8rpm with one switch: 64
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes, 13rpm with one switch: 52
Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes, 11rpm with one switch: 22
Swings (32kg): 10R/10L

Yoga and qigong for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

2008/06/04 - Less hand switching

I am currently placing the emphasis on form improvement and less hand switches. I would rather do less reps and shorter sets with fewer hand switches than going for reps or long sets.


OA Jerk (24kg): 4 minutes @ 8rpm with one switch: 32
OA Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 8rpm with one switch: 48
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 13 rpm with one switch: 52
Swings (24kg): 20R / 20L: 40

Yoga and qigong for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008



One arm Jerk (16kg): 6 minutes @ 8rpm with one hand switch: 48
Snatch (16kg): 6 minutes @ 11rpm (1,1,2,2): 66
Swings (24kg): 15R/15L: 30

Yoga and Qigong for 20 minutes.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday 2008/06/02 - Just GS Basics


One arm Jerk (24kg): 4 minutes @ 8rpm: 32
One arm Jerk (16kg): 4 minutes @ 10rpm: 40
Snatch (16kg): 4 minutes @ 15rpm: 60

20 minutes of yoga and qigong to round off the session.