Wednesday, May 28, 2008

RKC Kettlebell Training: Almost the Perfect Mix of Olympic Lifting and Powerlifting

...And that's the appeal to me.

I love moving heavy weights quickly over my head. That's Olympic Lifting.

I love pulling and squatting heavy weights. That's powerlifting.

(Admittedly, I love the first more than the second.)

The RKC School of Strength is the perfect blend of both worlds.

This week I stayed completely off the platform and still worked my legs hard with pistols. Worked the entire body hard with double clean and presses. And I worked my lungs hard with snatches.

Tonight I used the 32kg bell and hit 100 snatches in 8:26. I don't know if that's good or not, but it's good for me and it's a starting point--something to beat in the future. And the best part is the KB felt incredibly light. I'll have to ask KJ if I can use this for his VO2max Protocol. It may be too heavy. I was averaging 10 snatches with a switch (5 each hand) in about 20 seconds. Hard and fast--the RKC way. Good stuff.

I am also working on doing a little bit every day--tonight was just 10 minutes. That's all I wanted. That's all I needed.

And that's the brutal efficiency of RKC kettlebell training. A little bit goes a very long way.


On the Z front, been doing less of it lately. I'm using the KB as mobility work: The unilateral nature is (once again) having a very therapeutic affect on my body. I will probably stay with the KB training for the next 3-4 months and then decide if I can get on the platform or not. As I posted last year, there are still plenty of things I can't do repeatedly with the Beast. Time to work on them. Fortify.

Fortify. I can think of no better way than Z-Health and the RKC. None. They cover all the bases. I think everything after them is specialization.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reboot. Recharge. Rebuild. Reevaluate.

After one month of hip aggravation, it's time to reconsider the direction of my athletic career, such as it was.

Some Z combos/drills/principles provide momentary alleviation, but none sofar have proved the cure.

Do I believe the right Z combo exists?


Do I have the patience to find it and work on it and get back on the platform?

Probably not.

I'm 35 1/2 years old. I've devoted my entire adult life to my weightlifting, always with the belief I could make it. This past month, I've reached the point where I'm not sure I care anymore--I want to live the rest of my life, and to live adventureously. I'm starting to crave the outdoors--flying, sailing, boating, etc.

Kettlebells, my trusty kettlebells, provide for the alternative life.

I've consulted several friends on this matter who have encouraged me to move on. I still have one or two more to speak to. Spoke with Rif and Brett Jones ealier in the week, and after Rif's excellent post, "Training for Life,", it may be time to embrace adulthood while I can still move well. The Bible says "there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors." I will make a decision soon.

In the meantime, I've rediscovered my love for windmills, and how much they love my lats.

The thing I love most about KB training is how well they take any exercise and amplify it. They make everything harder--sparing the joints and punishing the musculature. Good stuff. When I return to them, I always forget how much I love them. Right now my left lat and rhomboid aren't sure if they agree with me though.

Monday's training:

A. Windmill, R+L, 10x 1+1, 40kg in 15 mins.

B. Fsq + Press, 3+3, 2x32kg: 7 x 3+3, focusing on bone rhythms.

Felt good, relaxing. Crashed afterwards.

Tonight's training:

A. Windmill, L+R, 3x5+5, 32kg

B. Clean + Press, 2x32kg: 5x5+5

C. Snatch, 24kg:
(5+5) 4, rest 2'
(5+5) 3, rest 90s
(5+5) 2, rest 60s
(5+5) Done. Smoked. Out of shape. (Round is a shape...)

Probably pistols and chins tomorrow.

That's all for tonight.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Getting It Done.

As far as training goes this week, I just decided to follow my own advice (surprise!)--just do something for 10-15 minutes each day.

Monday, I did 15 minutes of bodyweight chins and parallel dips descending ladders. I got 46 reps of each: (5,4,3,2,1) x3; 1 = 46.

Tuesday, I snatched the 32kg KB for 12 minutes, 30 seconds on, and 30 seconds off, alternating between L and R hands. This broke a good sweat. Surprised me really.

Today, I went to the platform and did some Presses and some Deadlifts, with a clean grip.

Presses: work upto 80kg for 5 reps, then rest 60s, 70/5, rest 60s, then 60/5 x5 with 60s rest.

Deadlifts: Worked up to 190kg and was going to do 5, but felt too slow, so did one and dropped back down to 140kg/10. Pretty easy. Breathed too hard though.

Generally, after literally a month of doing not much of anything, I feel pretty out-of-shape. Better get back in shape real quick as I have to teach at the RKC the first weekend of June.

Off to stretch--yes--I said "stretch." Not for gaining flexibility but for stress relief. Feel like I could use it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Not Much Training This Week...

Both hips still bothering me--not too much making a dent.

Going for the acupressure "resets" this weekend from a couple of months ago.

On the bright side, right knee feels great.

Just got back from the platform where light snatches and light squats were on order. Felt good while there--good, not great--but after I got done the all-to-familiar tightness and achy-ness returned.

A. P.Snatch, AK, 60kg/3, 70/3; (80/3, 85/3, 90/3)2; RPE = 6
B. BSQ: 60/3, 80/3, 110/3 x3, 120/3 x3; RPE = 6; Felt OK, bone rhythms were off.

Will continue with acupressure and relaxation work to turn this mess down.

I will also start working in some other exercises--last week I was messing around with bodyweight exercises and kettlebell work.

This week I'll get back into deadlifting and more kettlebell work. My tendency is to back off instead of changing it up. I will change it up this week.

Need to get back in shape after a essentially a month off. Lots of swings are on order I think to try to get the bone rhythms back. Worked in the past. See if it works again.

Not giving up though.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Learning From Your Past

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana, Poet, 1905

Yup, that's me.

Repeating the past.

I was supposed to compete at the Moorestown Open last Saturday.

I did not.

I injured my right hip--again--on Saturday, April 9th, under some moderately heavy snatches (opening attempt weight).

Fortunately, three weeks later, I'm back on the platform, remembering my past.

Here's the problem: When I trained for the Savannah meet, I tried something completely different. I trained using a lot of combo lifts and trained myself to get under the bar with some of the lighter weights. It worked great. I survived the training, and survived the meet. Check off one goal.

For this meet, I was so focused on my strength and speed--both of which are/were up to 1999/2000 levels (speed was better than EVER), I failed to train my body very specifically to accept the shock of the bottom position--reactive strength is the preeminent quality in that position. I listened to advice that "worked" for me when I was younger. Come to think of it, it didn't work for me when I was younger--I got injured--so it was bad advice for me. I failed to learn from the "advice" my body gave me when I was training for the Savannah meet. This worked. And it worked well. I snatched 10kg below my best. Not bad for 19 days of training. For the Moorestown meet, I didn't get under the bar until I "had" to--which was around 115/120kg. By then, it was too late. The body wasn't used to getting under the bar, so patterns were off.

Not only that, I should have paid closer attention to my body earlier in the prep work. My left knee was starting to pop/crackle going up and down stairs and while squatting--sure signs that I was losing mobility in the left hip.

So what now?

Move ahead. Intelligently. Slowly. Methodically.

I may jump into the NC State Championships on May 31st (just announced this past week and not on the USAW schedule--brilliant!), but most likely I'll train for a meet in Norfolk, VA on August 10th.

This will allow me time to train my body very specifically and also to do some "brain training"--apparently I have some eye tracking dysfunctions that I need to work on.

In the meantime, training will be very focused on the different pieces of each lift, working on my weak areas, and combining them in combos. I'll also use the KBs and perform some general strength training. I will have to break slowly back into squatting.

Learning. That's what life is all about. Too bad some of us have to learn the same lessons repeatedly. My short term goal is to finally learn this one: Activities are VERY specific. The more complex the activities, the more specific the training must be. This is the SAID principle: You always get exactly what you train for. General strength training is good, generally, and specific to most of the general population. Not so for weightlifters. Heavy front squats are good, but they're not as good as high point cleans, which train the weightlifter to get under the bar and then stand up.

Specificity in training is key--and it's specific to you and to me, the individuals.