Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009/01/31 - Day 23: Just Intu-flow

Today being a no intensity day I just did a slow sequence of Intu-flow at the intermediate level. The session felt good and I am definitely noticing an improvement in my ROM and fluidity in various of the movements. I suspect the improvements can mainly be attributed to my recent shift to bodyweight exercises.

Friday, January 30, 2009

2009/01/30 - Day 22: High intensity

I decided today to switch around my usual high intensity day sequence by doing the bodyweight work first and then the kettlebell sets. This is what it looked like:

BWER hybrid routine: 5 supersets / 45 seconds per exercise / 90 seconds rest:

Quad squat / Rocca

One legged squat / Lateral leg swoop

Pike / Crow

Jump squat / Reaching arch

Kettlebells: 16kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rests

One arm jerk: 24/24

Snatch: 24/24

Press: 17/18

I cooled down with a bit of the Prasara yoga Flock of Pigeons flow.

The change in sequence made the kettlebell, interesting. I could feel that I had to work harder than normal to make my target numbers in the latter parts of the jerk and snatch sets and I ended up being one number short of my target on the left arm presses. I actually quite like the pre-fatigue caused by the bodyweight work since it makes the bell sets more intense and really forces me to focus on technique and finding places for brief rests during the sets. I must just continue with this sequence for a while and see what happen when I do kettlebell sets totally fresh again.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2009/01/29 - Day 21: Starting the 6th micro-cycle

I just started the penultimate micro-cycle of my current 4x7. Today's session was short and simple and included:

BWER Hybrid program / 4 rounds of supersets of:

Quad Squat / Rocca

One Legged Squat / Lateral Leg Swoop

Pike / Crow

Jumping Squat / Reaching Arch

To cool down I worked for a bit on the Prasara Flock of Pigeons flow. That's it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009/01/28 - Day 20: Moderate day

I worked through the Kettlebell Foundation's joint mobility sequence today. I tried to focus on correct technique and full range of motion. Even though I didn't really feel like training when I started a few minutes into the sequence everything was flowing along nicely.

I followed the joint mobility with the kettlebell specific compensatory yoga. I normally don't do all the postures but I decided to do pretty much the whole sequence today. This led to some interesting discoveries related to a lack of mobility in my hips and groin area. I will definitely be focusing on these areas from now on.

I finished off by starting to work on the Flock of Pigeons flow from the Prasara yoga series A flows. I chose to give the Cricket flow a miss because my bodyweight work already targets the areas worked by the Cricket flow quite extensively. The Flock of Pigeons is a relatively simple flow but it really works the hip and groin area deeply - exactly what I seem to need at the moment.

Tomorrow I'll be starting on the penultimate micro-cycle of my 4x7.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009/01/26 – Day 19: Intu-flow

Thankfully today was a no intensity day and just entailed working through the Intu-flow intermediate sequence (with a bit of the beginner series and Kettlebell specific joint mobility thrown in for good measure). I woke up with DOMS this morning pretty much everywhere in my body. It doesn’t feel bad, more just a feeling of generally tired and slightly sore muscles. Clearly the hybrid routine I' did yesterday kicks butt. The funny things is that now that the Intu-flow session is over I actually feel like a training session. Oh well, I guess I’ll have to wait until Thursday before putting my body through some harder work again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

2009/01/26 - Day 18: Ouch!

I just barely managed to chew what I chose to bite off today. I have seen some comments on the RMax forums that people often train almost daily without ever really reaching real intensity. According to those same comments the 4x7 protocol coupled with intuitive training can ensure real intensity in a training protocol albeit it only every 4 days. Now on day 18 of my first real 4x7 cycle I can really begin to understand what intensity feels like. Today's session was one of the toughest sessions I've done in quite a while. As I'm writing this I'm very much aware that the session doesn't look like much on paper but it really was quite a smoker. This is what I did:

Kettlebells: 16kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minute rest

One Arm Push Press: 24/24

Half Snatch: 15/15

Long Cycle Push Press: 15/15

BWER Hybrid Routine: 5 Supersets / 45 seconds per exercise / 90 seconds rest:

Quad Squat / Rocca

One legged squat / Lateral leg swoop

Pike / Crow

Jump squat / Reaching arch

I'm very glad this session is over and I'm looking forward to two lighter days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009/01/25 - Day 17: Starting micro-cycle 5

I've been doing the Bodyweight Exercise Revolution's fat loss program for 16 days now and have completed the first four micro-cycles. Thus far the moderate and high intensity days were based on a strength circuit and metcon circuit respectively. With the start of the fifth micro-cycle these two routines are now combined into one hybrid routine which adds a significant amount of sophistication or complexity to the exercises. The routine is designed to be followed on both the moderate and high intensity days but at different intensity levels. My routine for today looked like this:

4 supersets of 45 seconds per exercise / 90 seconds rest between supersets:

Quad Squad / Rocca combination

One legged squat / Lateral leg swoop combination

Pike / Crow combination

Jump squat / Reaching wheel combination

Prior to my introduction to Circular Strength Training (CST) I've been familiar with methods to increase training intensity by adding weight, increasing work time, reducing rest or by simply performing more work in the same amount of time. The idea of increased complexity has never really been part of my training arsenal. I was thus amazed (or perhaps shocked) today when I discovered how much more intense a session can become by just adding a bit more sophistication to exercises. All the movements I performed today are familiar to me as I've been training them thoroughly during the previous four micro-cycles. Putting them together is however a totally different ball game. I'm looking forward to seeing how my performance of this hybrid routine progresses over the next eleven days.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

2009/01/24 – Day 16: Low intensity

On my low intensity day I did:

Kettlebell specific joint mobility

Kettlebell specific compensatory yoga

4 rounds of the Prasara Cricket flow

Just like I found yesterday with my Intu-flow practice I found today that all the exercises and postures are feeling easier and smoother. I have also noticed clear gains in my upper body strength when holding postures like the Crow / Crane pose. Given that the only changes I have made in my exercise protocol lately have been the addition of the BWER protocols I would guess that the body-weight methods are making a real difference. Yet more impetus to keep using body-weight only methods in addition to my kettlebell training.

Friday, January 23, 2009

2009/01/23 - Day 15: Just some Intu-flow

I just did a very relaxing Intu-flow intermediate session today. I noticed some interesting changes which I attribute to my body-weight work of late. Movements like the hip work, 4CBD and the floor work felt significantly easier and I have also noticed during the day that I am moving generally better. I am SO glad that I rediscovered body-weight exercise after years of not doing any or working just with weights or kettlebells. From now on body-weight work will be a crucial part of my fitness programs, hopefully for years to come.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2009/01/22 - High intensity day: Level up

I added yet another bit of intensity to my session today. I dropped another 30 seconds off my rest periods for both the AKC fitness protocol and the BWER protocol. I did:

Kettlebells: 16kg / 3 minutes work / 1 minutes rest:

One Arm Jerk: 24/24

Snatch: 24/24

Press: 18/18

BWER protocol: 5 supersets / 7 reps per exercise with 1 minutes rest periods in between:

Quad Squats, Spinal Rocks, Leg Swoops, Jumping Squats

I've been tired the last couple of days due to going to bed way too late. I'm still in holiday mood which means going to bed late and getting up late. As a result the session today was quite a smoker and I got pretty tired about midway through the BWER protocol. I stuck it out though and feel all the better for it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

2009/01/21 - Day 13: Start of the 4th micro-cycle

Today was a moderate intensity day and the first day of my fourth micro-cycle. The session was not very different from my previous moderate day session except that I graduated from supported 1 legged squats to the unsupported version. I'm still cheating a bit by touching the foot of the non-squatting leg on the floor to push myself away. That will hopefully change as my balance improves. The session went like this:

BWER moderate day program: 4 circuits / 1 minute rest between exercises of:


Reaching Arch

One Legged Squat

To release some tension and cool down I worked twice through the Prasara Yoga Cricket flow after my strength circuits.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2009/01/20 - Day 12: Low intensity yoga

Today's training revolved around joint mobility and yoga. I started off with the Kettlebell Foundation joint mobility program. This was followed by the Kettlebell Foundation compensatory yoga sequence. Working through the two sequences got me nice and warm and I felt like a bit more movement so I worked four times through the Prasara Yoga Cricket flow.

I've been missing the yoga flows lately since I started performing more static yoga postures. There is something very different about holding a posture and flowing smoothly from one position to the next. It seems to be particularly mentally calming; something I definitely need more of. I'll be sure to incorporate flows back into my low intensity days. Who knows, I might even do a full 4x7 at some point based on flows.

Monday, January 19, 2009

2009/01/19 - Day 11: No intensity Intu-flow

Today was my first day back at work and I already feel like I need a nice holiday; in fact, a six month sabbatical would do nicely. I got home at about six after contending with an hour's worth of traffic - yummy!

After vegging on the couch for a while just staring at the TV I managed to drag myself up and went slowly through the Intu-flow intermediate sequence. I worked slowly and focused on getting the range of motion as big as possible without moving into tension.

My body felt quite tired today after the weekend's body weight fun and games and I've also got some significant DOMS in the arms, shoulders, lats and quads. I'm glad about it because I'm clearly pushing hard enough to produce some gains.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2009/01/18 - Day 10: A gradual ascent

With my current 4x7 I'm doing my best to increase the intensity slightly on each high intensity day. In terms of my kettlebell training I achieved this by going 1 level up in the AKC fitness protocol. In terms of the BWER program I added 1 rep per exercise and cut off 30 seconds of rest between supersets. This is what it looked like:

Kettlebells: 3 minutes work / 90 seconds rest:

Push Press: 24/24

Half Snatch: 15/15

LC Push Press: 15/15

BWER High intensity program:

5 supersets / 7 reps per exercise / 90 seconds rest

Quad Squat / Spinal Rock / Leg Swoop / Jump Squats

I was again amazed at how quickly progress has been coming since starting a strict 4x7 format. I don't know how long this type of progress will be sustainable but I'm for sure willing to see how far I can take it before any type of plateau is reached. The kettlebell sets were pretty easy and even the body weight protocol was not nearly as difficult as the first time I did it, specifically in terms of the quality of my technique. It was still quite a smoker in terms of work output though. Tomorrow is a no intensity day; that of course if I can put aside the fact that it is my first day back at work this year.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009/01/17 – Day 9: Starting micro-cycle 3 – Strength Day

Today was a moderate intensity day and the start of my third micro-cycle of the current 4x7. I decided to take things up a notch by increasing the sophistication of the BWER moderate day exercises from level 1 to level 2 and by cutting my rest periods down to only 1 minute. I chose not to up the one legged squat’s sophistication since I still need to master the level 1 version. The session went like this:

4 times through the following circuit with 1 minute rests:


Reaching Arch

Supported 1 Legged Squat

Although the session didn’t tax my cardiovascular system in any way (which is the plan) I can feel that I did some real work. The Rocca is a great strength builder for the upper body and I feel almost like I’ve had a heavy pressing session in the gym after 4 sets of it. The Reaching Arch is also a nice sophistication of the basic table posture and can be seen as both a good strength builder and an excellent agility exercise. 

Friday, January 16, 2009

2009/01/16 – Day 8: Joint Mobility and Yoga

Today was a low intensity day focused on the Kettlebell Foundation joint mobility program and compensatory yoga.

I wasn’t really focused during the joint mobility and didn’t enjoy it much for whatever reason. The yoga was however very enjoyable. One thing that always amazes me about yoga is how much sweat it produces. I don’t feel like I’m working much and my breathing and heart rate is relaxed but I always sweat as if I’ve done a really hard workout. Interesting stuff.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing the strength session of my 4x7 and will hopefully be able to cut the rest periods a bit. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009/01/15 - Day 7: Intuflow

Today, mercifully, was a no intensity day. The body weight stuff yesterday didn't produce any DOMS but I could feel that my thighs and arms were pretty tired. I just did a slow, relaxing Intuflow session at intermediate level. The session was enjoyable and almost meditative - kind of like what Tai Chi feels like. Tomorrow I'll do some more joint mobility as well as some yoga.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

2009/01/14 – Day 6: Ever increasing intensity

I’m beginning to really understand what is meant by high intensity. The 4x7 protocol really lends itself to high intensity training, specifically on one day out of each 4 day cycle. I have struggled in the past to figure out ideal ways to modulate the intensity of my training sessions which resulted either in under- or over- training. With the 4x7 that seems to be something of the past. Today was a perfect example. I did the second of my high intensity sessions in my current 28 day macro-cycle and managed to nicely up the intensity compared to the first high intensity day. This was my session:

Kettlebells: 16kg / 3 minutes work / 2 minute rest

One Arm Jerk: 24/24

Snatch: 24/24

Press: 18/18

Body Weight Exercise Revolution high intensity session:

5 supersets of 6 reps per exercise / 2 minute rest of:

Quad Squat, Spinal Rock, Leg Swoop, Jump Squats

The kettlebell session went well but I could feel my breathing starting to rush about midway through the snatch set. The body weight stuff was again a smoker, but a bit better than the previous day I did this circuit.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2009/01/13 – Day 5: Moderate intensity strength work

Today was the first day of my second cycle of the current 4x7. I again chose to leave out any form of kettlebell strength work and just went through the BWER’s moderate day program. I did:

4 rounds of the following circuit with 2 minute rests between exercises:

Hand Press


Supported One Legged Squats

As usual I felt pretty pumped in my shoulders, arms and upper back after the session. I can also feel that my abdominals got some decent work in. I’m currently still performing all the exercises at level 1 (the easiest level) but hope to make some progress up the levels (4 in total) as this 4x7 evolves.

Monday, January 12, 2009

2009/01/12 - Day 4: Low intensity

Today I worked slowly through the Kettlebells Foundation's joint mobility program followed by the compensatory cool down program. I tried to go slowly and focus my mind on tight spots with the aim on getting them to relax. I must admit that working slowly and with focus makes a difference. I could feel muscles in my mid back relaxing while I focused on correct posture and smooth breathing.

In my current 4x7 I'm following the original 4x7 protocol strictly. On the moderate and high days I just do the scheduled exercises and not a warm up or cool down. I leave the joint mobility and compensatory yoga exercises for the no and low intensity days. Thus far I have found that this approach allows me to focus fully on the work I need to do rather than feeling a bit scattered like I did before when doing joint mobility, kettlebells and yoga all in one session. I'll see how this "new" approach work for the remaining 24 days of my current schedule.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009/01/11 - Day 3: Just some Intuflow

Today was my first no intensity day of my current 4x7 cycle. I worked slowly through the Intu-Flow intermediate sequence. I could feel the after effects of yesterday's body weight session quite clearly and was rewarded by some DOMS in the triceps, shoulders and lats. Clearly the body weight stuff is working. I'm irritated by the fact that my lower back (particularly on the left side) is still very tight. I've been having issues with this area since March last year and have not been able to fully get rid of the tightness. Intu-Flow is definitely helping as is Prasara. I'm hoping the body weight exercises will also bring some positive changes to this area. We'll see how things are at the end of my current cycle.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

2009/01/10 - Day 2 (AKC and bodyweight metcon)

Today I did my first high intensity session of my current 4x7. The session went like this:

Kettlebells: 3 minutes work / 2 minutes rest / 16kg:

Push Press: 24/24

Half Snatch: 15/15

Long Cycle Push Press: 15/15

BWER Body Weight Circuit: 5 circuits @ 5 reps per exercise with 2 minute rests:

Quad Squat, Spinal Rock, Leg Swoop, Jump Squat

The AKC section was pretty easy. I didn't find the extra minute per set much of a problem. The body weight section was a different story. I felt pretty smoked after the 5 circuits and also had a nice pump in my arms, chest and shoulders. My plan with the circuit is to gradually up the reps per exercise until I reach ten reps. I will then start decreasing the rest periods between circuits (hopefully eventually to only 30 or even 15 seconds).

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009/01/09 - Day one of the new 4x7

One of my new year resolutions (yes, I know they generally fail but I'm gonna do it anyway) is to live a generally healthier lifestyle. Although my training has been consistent and I'm significantly fitter and stronger than a year ago my diet has been a big issue. As a result I'm still not happy with my weight and can do with some fat loss. My first 4x7 of the year will hopefully start getting me on the right track. The 28 day schedule is based mainly on the BWER ebook fat loss program and some bells thrown in for good measure on the moderate and high intensity days. On the moderate days the sessions will be strength focused and on the moderate days metcon focused; I hope to go up another few levels with the AKC protocol on the high days.

I started off today with:

BWER moderate day program (4 times through the following circuit):

Hand Press


Supported one legged squat

It was an enjoyable session and I quite enjoyed the pump produced by the slow and controlled exercises.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2009/01/08 - Reflections on my completed 4x7

I have just finished my first "proper" 4x7 cycle. The 4x7 exercise protocol comes from the work of Scott Sonnon and is based on the concept of a 28 day series of micro cycles designed to increase specific physical abilities rapidly. The beauty of the cycle is that it allows for enough rest and compensatory exercises as well as pretty intense training sessions in 7 four day cycles. My just completed 4x7 was focused on maintaining the endurance levels I have achieved via GS training as well as re-building some of my lost strength.

I am pretty satisfied with the results. When I started the 24kg kettlebell was "heavy" and used as my strength building tool. Level 1 of the AKC protocol was my endurance and metcon tool. Having just completed the 4x7 my strength tool is now the 32kg bell and I am up to level 4 of the AKC protocol. The 4x7 protocol clearly works for me (and I'm pretty sure will also work for most other people). One of the important things I have learnt is the value of allowing your body to offload the tension generated by intense training.

Tomorrow I'm starting my next 4x7 (this time even stricter than before) that will be focused on fat loss. To this end I will employ the fat loss program from the BWER ebook as well as kettlebell training. Hopefully I can get rid of some of the baby fat once and for all (not that a 38 year old should see himself as carrying baby fat - but then again, whatever).

Sunday, January 4, 2009

2009/01/04 - A hot day in Ballito

I worked up a great sweat today in the wonderfully warm and humid summer weather here in Ballito. I decided not to do any warm-up or compensatory stretches; I'll leave those for the next 2 days. Today I worked through:

16kg / 2 minutes work / 30 seconds rest

One Arm Jerk: 16/16

Snatch: 16/16

Long Cycle Push Press: 10/10

5 times through a body weight circuit consisting of:

Quad Squats, Spinal Rock, Leg Swoop, Jump Squats

That's it - short and HOT!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009/01/03 - Some body-weight stuff in Ballito

Being on holiday is not that good for consistent training. Apart from the 7 hour car trip yesterday the bed I slept on last night is way too soft - this all translates into a pretty tight and uncomfortable body today. I decided to keep things relatively easy today and only did the BWER moderate day program with some joint mobility. Hopefully tomorrow I will grab the bells again. Today I did:

Joint mobility

4 rounds of:

Hand Press

Table Transition

Supported One Legged Squats

The session felt easy (apart from the squats of course). Maybe the next time around I'll increase the movement sophistication by 1 level.