Monday, August 31, 2009

2009/08/31 - A light start to the week

I started this weeks' training on a lighter note. I'll be bringing in the 24kg and perhaps the 32kg bell as the week progresses. Here is the result:

Warm up with swings and squats

16kg OAJ: 6 sets of 15 (alternating sets between right and left hand): Total of 90

16kg Snatch: 4 sets of 15 (alternating sets between R and L hands): Total of 60

The session felt easy and energizing; just what I needed after yet another long day.

Friday, August 28, 2009

2009/08/28 - Last one for the week

I ended my week with a short session with the 24kg bell. This is the session:

Warm up: 32kg swings / squats

24kg OAJ: 5 minutes @ 8rpm

24kg Snatch: 2 minutes @ 12 rpm

32kg Swings: A few short sets as a finisher

It really is quite amazing how much lighter the 24kg bell feels after just a short warm up set of swings with the 32kg. The 32kg bell will definitely see some more action next week. That's all until next week.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2009/08/27 - Just a short Snatch session

The days this week had been pretty long so I decided to take it easy today. I just did:

Warm up: Swings / squats

16kg Snatch: 6 minutes @ 12rpm

Cool down

That's all for today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

2009/08/26 - Jerks

I did exactly the same volume of jerk work today as on Monday but following a different format. My session looked like this:

Warm up: Swings / squats

24kg OAJ: 4 sets of 20 (10L/10R): 80

16kg OA Overhead squats: 5 / 5

Some deep body weight squats

I realized something interesting today. When I first started using the GS lifting methods as opposed to the hard style methods I was WAY too relaxed. Trying to follow someone doing GS lifts on Youtube is not necessarily a great idea. In my case I was trying to mimic their apparently relaxed style resulting in not only a loss of strength but a pretty inefficient lifting technique on my part. Today's jerk sets drilled this point home nicely. My movements were snappy and explosive when necessary and relaxed when not. Now I understand viscerally why GS can make you strong - it is far more explosive than it seems so don't be fooled by how flowing the lifts can look at times.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

2009/08/25 - Snatching away

I just did snatches today. Here's the session:

Warm up: Swings / squats

Snatch (24kg): 10 sets of 10 (5 right and 5 left): Total: 100

Overhead squats with a towel

Bit of stretching

I was happy with the snatch form today. The bell flowed smoothly and I worked at a comfortable pace. Now I just need to keep doing this for ten minutes!

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009/08/24 - The Experiment continues

I started my third week since I got back in the saddle today. I'm still experimenting with an approach to GS that will work for me in the long run. From recent contacts via email with people like Paul Tucker, Denis Kanygin, John Buckley and Ken Blackburn it is becoming increasingly clear to me that different people require different approaches to GS. Having said that, the consensus is that there is no escape from long sets. It just seems to me that there are different ways of getting to that particular destination. At the moment my approach is based on building volume via shorter sets and testing longer sets once a week or so. Today I did the following:

Warm up: Swings / squats

OAJ (24kg) 4 sets of 15 and 2 sets of 10: total of 80

Snatch (24kg) 2 sets of 10: total of 20

OA Overhead Squat (16kg): 2 sets of 5

Cool down: Deep body weight squats and stretching

My approach to the sets was to do one set with the right arm, then rest for about 2 minutes, followed by a set with the opposite arm. In this way I found that my technique remained consistent rather than deteriorating due to fatigue. I will work on increasing the volume as the weeks progress. I feel pretty energized after the session - stimulated but not blasted.

Friday, August 21, 2009

2009/08/21 - Interesting

Today I finished my second week of consistent training with the bells after a few months of relative inactivity. My approach to GS is quite different from my previous outing. I have been lucky enough to get exposure to some of the methods used in Russia and Eastern Europe via people like Paul Tucker and Eugene (from GS over 40) as well as some updates from the IKFF. At the moment I'm not training mainly long sets 5 days a week as I did a while ago. I am focusing instead on areas I feel are a bit weak in order to prepare for the rigors of GS. At the moment for me the biggest issue is strength. For the past two weeks I've mainly been doing short sets of one arm jerks and snatches with the 24 kg bell. Today I chose to put in a slightly longer set with a lighter bell. Here's the result:

Warm up: Swings (24kg) / body weight squats

OAJ (16kg): 6 min / 8rpm

Snatch (16kg): 4 min / 12rpm

Swings and stretching to cool down

It was quite an interesting experience. The 16kg bell felt very light and flew up easily in both the jerk and snatch sets. I could have easily gone 8 minutes in the jerks and probably 6 in the snatch set but I chose to take it easy (I might finally have realized that impatience is never a good idea). So what do I take away from this session? Clearly shorter sets have a carry over effect if you use a lighter weight for the longer sets. For me this means that some form of strength work is pretty relevant in GS. There is still a lot of experimentation ahead of me but for now I'm glad to have found training templates other than those offered by the AKC or RKC crowd. I guess the real learning here is that there is no one true way; we have to adjust kettlebell (and other training) to ourselves rather than only adjusting ourselves to a particular regime. BTW. thanks to Ken Blackburn of the IKFF for stating this point so saliently in his recent email to me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

2009/08/20 - Snatching

Just some snatches today. I did just 6 sets of 1 minute each and alternated hands each set. I took 1 minute rest periods between sets. That's all for today.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009/08/19 - Jerk emphasis

What a long day this was. I got home at 7pm and pushed in a quick session before going to dinner with friends (btw. good cooking Angus!!!)

I warmed up with some swings and then followed with:

OAJ (24kg): 4 min / 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 min / 12rpm

That's all. Now it is bedtime.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009/08/18 - Snatching

Warmed up with squats and swings. The session looked like this:

Snatch (24kg): 2 min / 12rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 min / 12 rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 min / 12 rpm

Snatching is hard work.

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009/08/17 - Mainly Jerks

Today I focused mainly on one arm jerks, the idea being to focus more on snatches tomorrow. Here's the session:

Warmed up with body weight squats and some swings.

OAJ (24kg): 3 minutes @ 8 rpm

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes @ 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12rpm

Cooled down with some stretching and more swings.

Friday, August 14, 2009

2009/08/14 - A simple end to the week

I had a pretty busy week so I decided to end my training with a short and simple session. I did a short swing set to warm up and then:

OAJ (24kg): 3 minutes @ 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12rpm

I finished off with squats and more swings. That's it until Monday.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

2009/08/13 - Snatching is so much fun

I have always had an interesting relationship with snatching. Whereas the jerk always tend to improve quickly snatching is a different story. I did add on an extra minute to my snatch set today but man I've go my work cut out for me. I warmed up with some squats and swings and then did:

OAJ (24kg): 3 minutes @ 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 3 minutes @ 12rpm

The snatches didn't feel too bad but the more sweaty my hands became the harder it was to hold onto the bell. Maybe time to get some chalk.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2009/08/12 - Step by step

I'm slowly moving forward but for a change I have no sense of haste. I once again warmed up with some swings and body weight squats followed by:

OAJ (24kg): 4 minutes @ 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12rpm

My cool down consisted of more squats, swings and light stretching. I think I'll stay on 4 minute jerk sets a bit and allow the snatches to catch up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

2009/08/11 - Staying with it

I don't want to talk too soon but I seem to be gradually getting back on track with my training. I'm being very conservative and even though I'm itching to up the volume I'm deliberately taking things one slow step at a time. Today I warmed up with body weight squats and some 24kg swings. My session involved the following:

OAJ (24kg): 3 minutes @ 8rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12rpm

I cooled down with more swings and squats and a bit of light stretching. More tomorrow!

Monday, August 10, 2009

2009/08/10 - Moving on

After my session on Friday I immediately went outside to start the braai (barbecue) and unfortunately managed to catch a bit of a cold..nothing serious, just some tightness in the nose and throat and a bit of difficulty catching my breath at times. I decided not to let the minor annoyance put me off and went ahead with my session for today. Here is the result:

I warmed up with some body-weight squats and 24 kg swings. This was followed by:

OAJ (24kg): 3 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12 rpm

I finished off with some more 24kg swings and body-weight squats.

For now I'm keeping things as simple as possible because I think I tried to do too much during my previous outing. The plan for now is as follows (and thanks to Cate Imes for some ideas):

* Learn how to be explosive in the lifts without generating too much tension
* Master the absolute basics of the Jerk and Snatch
* Focus on proper alignment and technique rather than reps
* Keep moving!!!

Hopefully there will be more tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

2009/08/08 - Swinging Saturday

After my re-entry yesterday I wanted to keep the momentum going. I played around some more with the 24kg bells today. Coming Monday I hope to get into a proper 5 day per week schedule. Here is today's session:

Warm up: 24kg swings: 2 x 10/10

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 12 rpm

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes @ 10 rpm

Cool down: 24kg swings: 1 x 10/10

After playing with the bells Warren and I went outside and finished off a great day with about 30 minutes worth of one-on-one Soccer. Naturally he beat me 12-10. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

Friday, August 7, 2009

2009/08/07 - Moving again

I've been tracking my buddy Howie Brewer's inspiring progress with the bells over the past few weeks and months. Today I finally allowed the inspiration to penetrate the sense of inertia that I've been enveloped in for a while. After having not done any type of training since early June I took off slowly just to get a sense of where I'm at. Here's the result:

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes @ 8rpm

OAJ (24kg): 2 minutes @ 8 rpm

Snatch (24kg): 2 minutes @ 11 rpm

My strength didn't seem to suffer much as a result of the period of inactivity but my endurance needs serious work. I was quite happy to notice that I recovered pretty fast from a breathing point of view though; it is more the muscular endurance that will need some serious attention.