Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Success or Failure or Both?

Both: Not something we tend to think in terms of. We tend to be either/or. I know I do.

Almost finished up my hypertrophy cycle. Long story short--too much volume, poor recovery, put on some fat, little if any muscle.

However, during this time I came to the conclusion that I don't have to pick either Oly or KBs--I can do both. So, this week I'm trying alternating days of Oly and KB. So far, so good.

I've also isolated the problem in my right hip, left knee, and left hand/wrist to locked down T1-T8 while my arms are over my head. I stumbled on that one tonight. It sure made the overhead squatting much, much easier. In order to work this, I did some thoracic A/P while my torso was in extension. The two drills that made the biggest impact were while I was in a neutral stance and while I was in posterior 45 degree lunging positions.

Also noticed that I'm not stretching out enough on my snatches and cleans. I will have to monitor this while KB training, since the two tend to have opposing patterns.

The Oly work is staying light since I really haven't done anything consistent since early April. It's almost like starting over again...almost. However, the bar speed is really fast. My KB work will be all unilateral, focusing on generating as much force as possible, especially on the ballistics. The past cycle had a lot of doubles work in it, which interestingly doesn't do too much for me. I think I've posted on this before, but the KB work seems to work best for me if done unilaterally--works imbalances and stabilizers.

My close friends think I'm crazy for getting back on the platform. I plan on taking this even slower than I did last year preparing for the November meet. I've got at least a 12 week cycle lined up to get me into peak shape--none of this 6-8 week rush delivery stuff.

I will still look for a meet and will still attempt to qualify for the American Open in December at my buddy Joe's place in Arizona.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

90 Pounds In 4 Years?

Ah, yes...the good ol' days...when I could actually move significant amounts of weight.

I bought The Purposeful Primitive last weekend and have been transported back in time to a time when I trained, ate, slept, and occasionally went to class. Arguably college was the best time of my life training wise. I graduated high school in June of 1990 weighing approximately 165lbs. Just after Christmas break my senior year of college--February 1994, I weighed in at 252lbs. That's approximately 90lbs in 4 years. It's amazing what testosterone surging through a young male with plentiful food and little stress can do to physically transform a boy into a man.

Almost 15 years later, I weigh approximately 220lbs, and have been re-inspired by Marty Gallagher's magnum opus to train similarly to the way I did all those years ago. Only this time, I will use kettlebells. I'm sick and tired of hearing people say the kettlebell is a tool primarily used as a means to acquire strength-endurance.


Just because that's the way it's used in GS or the way you use it, doesn't mean I have to use it that way. You can do anything you want with a kettlebell. It's all in the size of the bell(s) and the loading parameters you choose. Nothing more. Nothing less.

I'm going to divert my training from the intent of my last post, and rebuild myself using Old School methods. I'll pry open my shoulders and hips to allow myself back under the bar and my intent is to pack on usable muscle--about 20lbs of it using only kettlebells over the next 12 weeks. As I said, it's all in the way you design the program. I believe the KB is superior in all ways to a dumbbell and in many ways to a barbell. It's the way the bell sits in the hand--it recruits more musculature.

I'll be on the platform once a week for a low volume Olympic lift and low volume barbell squat session.

The plan will look like this:

Tuesday: Day 1, KB

Thursday: Day 2, KB

Saturday: Day 3, KB

Sunday: Day 4, Olympic lifts

Just about all the work will be done on Days 1-3. Day 4 is just to keep a touch on the barbell and to measure progress.

This is a major change for my training as I haven't engaged in this particular style of training for 10 years--since summer of '98 and of course, I didn't have KBs then.

I think this will be a very valuable experiment as I've been lifting weights now for 19 years--and touched them 20 years ago. If I can make good gains on this program I'm putting together, anybody should be able to. The next 12 weeks will tell.

I forgot to mention, I started this program on the 1st of July. I've gained 4lbs since then. I'm on my way.