Friday, October 30, 2009

2009-10-30 - 24kg Snatch set

Today's session was really pretty pathetic. Here goes:

Warm up: 24kg swings

24kg Snatch: 3 minutes @ 12rpm

24kg swings: 5x10/10

Systema basics

I'm experimenting with my snatch technique because I know beyond any doubt that it needs some serious reform. I only managed a three minute set. I'm not sure whether it is simply because I suck at snatching or whether it is just part of the process of learning. Hopefully by the end of next month things will look a lot better.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

2009-10-29 - 24kg OAJ

A short session today.

Warm up: 24kg Swings

24kg OAJ: 5 minutes @ 8rpm

24kg Swings: 5x10/10

Systema basics

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2009-10-27 - 16kg Snatches

Today was benchmark day for 16kg Snatches. I chose to go with a six minute set. Here is the session:

16kg Snatch: 6 minutes @ 14rpm

Cheat pull ups: 3x3

Systema basics

I feel OK about the Snatch set, not happy, just OK. I haven't been training long sets for the past month so a six minute set is not too bad for now. At the end of next month I'm looking for an 8 minute minimum though. Thursday and Friday I'll test myself with the 24kg.

Monday, October 26, 2009

2009-10-26 - Starting my first "test" week

Lately I've been doing mainly volume work in a rep rather than timed format. In order to gauge my progress (or lack thereof) the last week of each month will be a test week. I intend on doing 4 sessions this week, 2 with the 16kg and 2 with the 24kg to see where I'm at. The session today went like this:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

16kg OAJ: 8 minutes @ 9rpm

32kg swing: 15/15

24kg Bent over row: 3x5/5

Systema basic exercises

So what have I learnt so far? The Jerks were easy but the rack position wasn't. It seems to me that volume work "greases the groove" when it comes to the actual execution of the lift but perhaps lacks a bit when it comes to longer sets that require a solid resting position. This is something my next month needs to look into (perhaps via more rack holds). The 16kg set actually felt pretty easy (apart from the rack part) and I'm pretty sure that I can work at this weight at a higher rpm. Tomorrow I will test snatching with the 16kg (my weak exercise). I'm not expecting much, perhaps only a 6 minute set, but we'll see how it goes.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2009-10-23 - Short and simple

Given the high volume work lately (and the resulting tired shoulders) I nearly decided not to train at all today. I did eventually manage to get myself into training mode and I decided to follow a classic timed set approach. Here is the session:

16kg OAJ: 6 minutes @ 10 rpm

16kg Snatch: 5 minutes @ 15 rpm

Some Systema drills, both individual and with Warren.

That's it! Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

2009-10-22 - Back to the source

After spending some time training exclusively with kettlebells I started incorporating some stretching and joint mobility work from people like Pavel, Scott Sonnon (Intuflow) and Eric Cobb (Z Health). My main fitness background has been martial arts (Chinese Kung Fu and the Russian martial art simply called "the System".) I recently realized that the work of Sonnon and Cobb come from the Russian martial art tradition so for my session today I decided to go straight back to the source.

I spent about 40 minutes "playing" with various drills from RMA and I can say in all honesty that I am feeling pretty good right now. A lot of the drills are somewhat similar to what you will find in the work of Sonnon and Cobb, yet totally different. Systema is all about teaching you to use your OWN body wisely. For that very reason it can never be a martial art based on stances, katas or ranks. In some ways I guess it allows you to capture yourself at your from restrictions and savoring the moment. When I look at my little girl, Caela, I realize completely what life eventually sucks from us...the ability to react freely and totally spontaneously to whatever situation you find yourself in. The process of reclaiming myself must include at least something of this.

Today I just "played" in the garden with some basic Systema exercises and I had a pretty good time. A part of the reason why I chose this route was the fact that my shoulders are taking some major strain from high volume KB training. Luckily all the rolling around on the grass seems to have brought about some improvement. More to follow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009-10-21 - Snatching away

Today the focus was on snatches. I'm still following a volume rather than time based approach. I'll test during the last week of the month to see what I've gained through this. The session today went like this:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg Snatch: 5,7,9,11,13
16kg Snatch: 5,7,9,11,13

Some RMA basic exercises

The 24kg set was followed immediately by the 16kg set. Rest period between sets was 2 minutes. Total reps: 180

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

2009-10-21 - GS and Russian martial arts

Pavel brought about a mini revolution in the West when it comes to fitness and strength training via his "Russian Kettlebell Challenge." Since then it has become clear that there are various other approaches to kettlebell training that are less famous in the Western world. The same thing seems to be true when it comes to martial arts. Most Westerners are familiar with Karate, Judo, Kung Fu, etc., but very few Westerners are familiar with the Russian martial art simply known as "the System."

What seems to distinguish Russian approaches to kettlebells and martial arts is the emphasis on no-harm, relaxation and survival. Whereas there is often an emphasis in Western countries on the external aspect (such as a flat tummy or gorgeous pecs) the Russian approach is all about survival and economy of motion. The intent of both RMA and GS is to survive a confrontation (whether it be with an enemy or a set of heavy kettlebells) with the least effort. I have yet to find any system that is so user friendly and that allows for anyone to discover their own unique movement potential as the Russian "System." Systema has no "rules" or "katas" in the formal sense of the word...just movements that contribute to health, survival and freedom of expression. Systema also does not include the concept of competition or an opponent...just blending with the force being imposed on you. Use just the tension that is really required...nothing more, nothing less. Hopefully I will soon be in a position to share some more practical info on the power brought about by a thorough study of the traditional Russian martial arts. For now; feel yourself living via your breath!

2009-10-20 - Some heavier work

I worked in some 32kg OAJ's during today's session. This is what I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

32kg OAJ: 5,5,5,5,5
24kg OAJ: 5,7,9,11,13

Core work and RMA basic exercises

The rest period for the jerk sets was 2 minutes and I completed the reps with the 32 and then the 24 before resting.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2009-10-15 - Light snatching

I did a light session today consisting of:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

16kg Snatch: 5,7,9,11,13,15,9,7,5,3,5,7,9 - 210 Snatches in total

Core work

The snatch sets were done both on the Right and Left followed by 2 minutes rest.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

2009-10-14 - I finally managed to squeeze some training in

Work is absolutely insane at the moment! My usual early evening training schedule has taken a bit of a battering as a result and I am REALLY not going to get up even earlier in the morning to train. Today I luckily had a slightly earlier end to the work day so I managed to squeeze in some training (possibly the only time this week). I focused on one arm jerks.

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ: 5, 7, 9, 11, 10, 10
16kg OAJ: 5, 7, 9, 11, 10, 10

32kg Swings: 15/15

Core work

My approach to the jerk sets was slightly different today. I started off doing 5 right / 5 left with the 24kg followed immediately by 5 right / 5 left with the 16kg (20 reps total). I then rested for 2 minutes and repeated the process all the way up the ladder. This added up to 208 reps. I'll be pretty happy when I get to 300 reps per session but so far I seem to be on track. I also need to get some competition bells so I can start training proper jerks as opposed to only OAJ's.

Friday, October 9, 2009

2009-10-09 - Friday fun and games

After my heavier session yesterday I experienced something I don't feel too often with my kettlebell regime - the DOMS. As a result I decided to take it fairly easy today and only play a bit with the 16 kg bell. The session went like this:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

16kg Snatch: 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 15 (left and right, 2 minutes rest)

16kg Kettlebell juggling

Core work

I planned on doing more snatches today but my form started breaking down towards the end. I decided to listen to my body and fooled around with some juggling instead of forcing the snatch issue. Juggling the 16kg is awesome and I am for sure going to do more of it. Looking at someone like Vasily Ginko on Youtube makes juggling seem easy but I assure you that it is a fun way of training that really requires mastery of the bell and can induce a major butt kicking.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

2009-10-08 - Shorter, heavier and more intense

I didn't feel like a very long session today so I decided to go heavier instead. This is what I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

32kg OAJ: 5,5,5,5,5
24kg OAJ: 5,7,9,11,13

Some core work

I did a set with the 32kg followed immediately by a set with the 24kg. The rest period was 2 minutes between sets. I did a total of 70 one arm jerks per arm; quite a bit less than normal but the 32kg bell really ramped up the intensity. It was fun to work with a heavier weight for a change and I'll definitely need to do more of this.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

2009-10-06 - Snatching for volume

The volume in both OAJ's and Snatches are gradually going up but I'm still far from any kind of respectable numbers. Anyway, so far, so good. Here is my session for today:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg Snatch: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3 (Did this on L and R with 2 mins rest)

Some core work

I did 84 snatches per arm total. This process needs to continue until I can do at least 180 per arm - WOW! After my second chiro appointment today I decided to start adding in some dedicated core stability work. Apparently a lot of my physical discomfort has a weak or unstable core as a major contributory factor. I thought it was all bullshit until I tried some of the core work. OUCH!

Monday, October 5, 2009

2009-10-05 - A slowish start to the week

In preparation for the heavier snatch session tomorrow I decided to take today relatively easy. I just worked a few sets of OAJ's with the 24kg. This is what I did:

Warm up: Z NWU 1

24kg OAJ: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9
(I did these Right then Left with 2 minutes rest)

That's all for today.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Elimination diet

One aspect of my physical health that I've been neglecting for a LONG time is diet. Even though I've been training pretty consistently I've put just about anything going around into my mouth. As one wise person once said: You cannot outrun a doughnut. As a result I finally decided to clean up my eating and drinking habits. I've had a copy of Dax Moy's Elimination Diet ebook for some time now and I eventually decided to incorporate it on the 21st of September. So far I have dropped 11 pounds and I am starting to feel a lot more comfortable. The promises made by Dax are pretty big and thus far I've been suitably impressed.

One thing I love about this "diet" is that it is not some silly crash diet or gimmick. All it really entails is to eliminate all the "crap" from your diet. This includes processed foods, anything containing caffeine (because it leads to water retention), alcohol, and simple carbs. So far on this eating strategy I've been eating WAY more than normal and yet, the pounds keep dropping off. Another plus about this way of eating is that I think it is pretty sustainable. It really just entails eating healthy, natural food rather than shoveling unnatural stuff into your mouth. If you are in any way interested in a healthier way of eating I can highly recommend the Elimination Diet. Check it out here (and it is free):

2009-10-02 - An easy outing

This week has been hectic. Work was in fact so busy that I didn't even get time to train yesterday. Given the tough week and heavy training lately I decided to give myself a break by only working with the 16kg today. I followed a similar format to the one I used for the OAJ's on Wednesday.

Warm up: Z NWU 1

16kg Snatch: 10, 14, 18, 22, 26, 30, 15

32kg Swing: 15/15

The snatch sets were done as follows: 10 right - rest 2 minutes - 10 left, and so on all the way up the ladder. This resulted in 135 snatches right and 135 left for a total of 270. I'm very happy with this outing since this is by far the highest snatch volume in a single session for me (the numbers still suck though). More on Monday.