Wednesday, September 30, 2009

2009-09-30 - Some new ideas

Lately I've been on a quest to find an approach to GS that works for me. I've been lucky enough to receive some great ideas from John Buckley and Paul Tucker. Mainly what I've been focusing on as a result has been working on building volume via multiple short sets rather than a daily dose of ten minutes in the OAJ and ten in the snatch. Today another piece of the GS "puzzle" fell into place for me when Ken Blackburn of the IKFF shared a pretty nasty jerk workout with me. The volume of work in what Ken shared is simply insane (which means I like it a lot). Although designed for Jerks I decided to apply the protocol to my One Arm Jerks (I really do need more bells). Here is what I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ followed immediately by 16kg OAJ: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 (on the right and left)

The way I did this was to do 5 OAJ's with the 24kg followed immediately by the same with the 16kg. After 2 minutes rest I did the same with the other arm and so on. The total volume was 180 one arm jerks (90 right / 90 left).

I really like this protocol and it will become a major part of my training going forward. BTW, this is a very abbreviated version of the full progression. The volume reached in the full version is incredible. I might have to start thinking about only training 4 days a week rather than five - too much volume might lead to burnout eventually.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

2009-09-29 - More snatching

I finally relented and went to see a chiro today. It was quite an interesting session. I expected a few quick manipulations but he just did a basic spine and neck adjustment and then told me exactly where I have imbalances - get this - without me even telling him where I have problems. I will probably need a few sessions as well as some remedial exercises but so far I'm pretty impressed. Anyway, after I got home I did a session focused on snatching that went like this:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg Snatch: 10 sets of 12

32kg Swing: 15/15

Like with the OAJ's yesterday I first did all the sets on the right and then the left handed sets. I like this way of working because it feels a bit more like the conditions likely to be experienced in competitions. I am also gradually cutting the rest time between sets in order to ensure that each successive set is started from a position of mild fatigue rather than allowing myself to recover fully.

Monday, September 28, 2009

2009-09-28 - A new week

I'm back at work this week after 3 days of paternity leave last week. Not cool - I would much rather hang out with my girls but I suppose life must go on. My training focus today was on one arm jerks. I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ: 10 sets of 10

32kg swings: 15/15

My approach to the jerk sets was different from what I've been doing lately. Instead of alternating between sets on the right and left I first finished all my right handed sets and then did the left handed sets. I decided to do this to more closely mimic the one hand switch approach used in GS. Things felt nice and smooth and it was actually a pretty easy session.

Friday, September 25, 2009

2009-09-25 - Forget yesterday

The only thing that impressed me about my training yesterday was that I actually did it. The intended easy session turned out to be far from it. Today I decided to set things right. I replaced the 16kg in the OAJ set with the 24 kg and added 1 minute to my snatch set. Here's the result:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ: 5 minutes @ 8rpm

16kg Snatch: 6 minutes @ 12rpm

32kg Swing: 15/15

Today felt a lot better than yesterday. More next week.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2009-09-24 - A tough easy session today

My muscles felt tired today, probably due to the heavier work lately. I decided to give myself a break and go for an easier session with the 16kg bell. The session turned out harder than I thought it would.

Warm up: Z NWU 1

16kg OAJ: 5 minutes @ 12rpm

16kg Snatch: 5 minutes @ 14rpm

My muscles were complaining throughout the session. I got it done but it was pretty tough going, especially during the snatch set. I'll decide what to do tomorrow depending on how the muscles are feeling in the morning.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

2009-09-23 - The snatches are catching up

I did more snatch volume work today with the 24kg. For the first time since I started training GS methods I did more snatch volume in a session than OAJ volume. This is a GOOD sign since snatching has always been my weak area. The session went like this:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg Snatch: 8 sets of 12

24kg Snatch: 2 sets of 15

32kg Swing: 10/10

Something I'm doing is clearly working. I think it might have to do with a gradual improvement in my snatch technique. It really is amazing what happens when you start working with your body to find your own technique rather than merely imitating others.

Monday, September 21, 2009

2009-09-21 - More volume work

My focus on increasing my training volume continued today with my Jerk focused session. I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ: 8 sets of 10

24kg OAJ: 2 sets of 15

24kg swings: 15/15

That's it for today.

Friday, September 18, 2009

2009-09-18 - Working on snatch volume

Today the objective was to work on snatch volume. Here is the session:

Warm up: Z-Health NWU 1

16kg Snatch: 10 sets of 15

24kg OAJ: 4 minutes @ 8rpm

The snatches went well and was in fact quite easy. As a result I treated myself to a quick timed set of one arm jerks with the 24kg. Next week the 24kg jerks must start moving closer to the 6 minute mark.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

2009-09-17 - A bit of both

Today I decided to do a session incorporating both OAJ's and snatches. Lately I've generally been splitting these into different days. The session went like this:

Warm up: Z-Health NWU 1

16kg OAJ: 5 minutes @ 10rpm

16kg Snatch: 5 minutes @ 14rpm

The jerks were EASY! Snatching still needs some work but Howie's advice yesterday to follow a trajectory more similar to jerks rather than an arch made a clear difference. I had no lower back pain after the session and will work more on this new trajectory in future sessions. Thanks Howie!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009-09-16 - Some snatching

Just a simple snatching session today. Here goes:

Warm up: Z-Health NWU 1

24kg Snatches: 10 sets of 10

I did 10 snatches on the right, rested 1 minute, 10 left, and so on. The session was fairly easy but the snatch technique still needs work because I could feel my lower back complaining during the last two sets. Hmmm, what exactly am I doing wrong?

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009-09-14 - One Arm Jerk volume PR

Since getting back under the bells again a few weeks ago I've been exploring various methods of training for GS. In the West the AKC way still seems to be the most familiar method but different approaches are gradually emerging from the likes of great lifters like Vasily Ginko and others. A common theme I've been noticing lately on the internet is the idea that GS should be adapted to the athlete and not the other way around. Of course certain basic principles need to be adhered to but there can really not be only one training regime that will impact each athlete in exactly the same way.

While doing research today on the various GS training methodologies I started thinking again about Z-Health and the concept of the perfect rep. I read through my Z-Health materials again and decided to focus my session tonight on perfect reps as well as on finding a lifting style that feels comfortable to me (rather than trying to imitate one of the champions like Fedorenko or Ginko). The result of the session surprised me. I did:

Warm up: Z-Health Neurological Warm up level 1

16kg OAJ: 10 sets of 20

Finisher: 24kg swings: 15/15

My jerk sets consisted of 20 jerks right followed by 2 minutes rest, 20 left, etc. My end total was 200 OAJ's, a significant PR in terms of training volume in one session. I don't know what brought this about really. Obviously my training with the 24kg over the past few weeks helped but I do think Z-Health had something to do with this as well. My technique just felt so much more efficient and also, um, unique to me. Everything felt smooth and efficient and to a large extent minimalistic. My initial dip was hardly noticeable and even the second dip was not deep but crisp. I also found myself spontaneously changing my swing motion. Rather than following the bell with my eyes I chose to keep my neck aligned with my spine and the bell just seemed to move by itself. Hmmm, there seems to be something to the idea of finding your own "groove" and tonight I was definitely well inside that groove. Hopefully something good will come from this in the next few days and weeks.

Friday, September 11, 2009

2009-09-11 - Just for fun

I only trained on Monday this week given the fact that Caela decided to arrive on Tuesday. I'm really glad that she did because she is just totally awesome. Anyway, now that my girls (mom and baby) are back home at last I decided to pick up the bells again. The session today really was just for fun and had no intense purpose.

What I did was three sets of 4 minutes each that were basically an OAJ and Snatch cocktail.

I did two minutes of OAJ and two minutes of snatches with the 16kg. OAJ @ 10 rpm and snatches @ 14rpm. I took 2 minutes worth of rest between sets and did three sets in total.

Twelve minutes worth of training time (plus the rest periods in between) that gave me exactly what I needed today. Next week serious training will commence again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

2009-09-08 - Another miracle

Today's training was of a very different nature. No bells, no timed sets, no ordinary levels of exertion; just nature doing its thing. Our little baby girl Caela arrived in this world via C Section today at 2pm South African time. It was a hard day from a physical and emotional point of view but so well worth it. In moments like these you re-realize what is really important. I'm so looking forward to bringing mommy and baby back home. At that point my training will start anew...not for another PR, but simply for being the best dad and husband I can be for my two amazing girls. Love you both immensely and am so grateful for having had the opportunity to be there through this entire process.

Monday, September 7, 2009

2009-09-07 - Monday

Monday is here again which means work in various forms, including the bells (at least the latter is fun work). My session for today went like this:

Warm up with swings and squats

16kg OAJ: 2 minutes @ 10rpm

24kg OAJ: 4 minutes @ 8rpm

24kg OAJ: 2 minutes @ 8rpm

16kg Snatch (finisher): 2 minutes @ 14rpm

At the moment the main objective with the 24kg OAJ's is to work towards six minute sets. This will obviously translate into longer sets with the 16kg bell on the days I mainly use it. I think it is also time to expand my collection of bells in order to start working competition style jerks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

2009-09-04 - Snatch Friday

The focus was on snatching today. Here's the session:

16kg Snatch: 2 minutes @ 14rpm

16kg Snatch: 6 minutes @ 12rpm

24kg OAJ: 2 minutes @ 8rpm

That's all for this week.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009-09-03 - Impressive stuff by Valery Fedorenko

This guy is a machine. Check this out:

2009-09-03 - Just jerks

Today the focus was on one arm jerks. The session was short and energizing and I'm feeling pretty good right now. Here is the result:

16kg OAJ: 2 minutes @ 10rpm

16kg OAJ: 6 minutes @ 8rpm

24kg OAJ: 2 minutes @ 8 rpm

Some swings as a finisher.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

2009-09-01 - No training today

Given the quiet state of the economy at the moment I'm kind of grateful that I didn't have training time today due to late meetings. Although I missed the bells it feels good to be able to be working on new and interesting projects from a work perspective. The next couple of days at work will also be filled from early to late but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to fit in some time under the bells during the evenings. BTW, for all those in the Southern hemisphere - happy Spring day. There really is little that compares to snatch sets with sweaty palms.