Monday, January 18, 2010

01/2010 Upgrade

For the first quarter of 2010, I've stacked a few goals in sequence. They all naturally follow an introductory, therapeutic season with a 12kg bell completed at New Year's.
  • HKC (completed 01/10/2010 at Condition Gym)
  • PM with new 16kg kettlebell
  • Begin RoP with new 16kg kettlebell 
I have a basic need to handle a heavier weight. I'm going to swing the 16kg regularly and swing 24kg periodically. I have another basic need to improve pullups. I will do them in sets of varying length and density. Last, I have an elbow/wrist issue in my left arm that hinders every overhead motion. I've done 4 5-rung ladders of MPs with 12kg, so the arm can lift and can find a groove. It's just not right yet. To weave all this together, I've adapted the Program Minimum as follows, and I'm really excited about it. 

All @16kg unless noted 
Wk 1
- M: 5-10min alt TGU, ladder CP, ladder pullups at :00, 1x5/5 snatches
- Tu: pullup sets at :00, 12min medium swings
- Th: 10-15min alt TGU, short CP sets, ladder pullups/:30
- F: pullup sets/:20, 15min medium swings

Wk 2
- M: 5-10min TGU 2 per side, short CP sets, ladder pullups/:30, 2x5/5 snatches
- Tu: pullup sets/:20, 12min fast swings
- Th: 10-15min TGU 2 per side, short CP sets, pullup sets/:30
- F: 12min medium swings with 24kg, 1-2 pullups between swing sets

Wk 3
- M: TGU 3 per side, no presses, pullup long set test, 4x5/5 snatches (a press, a pull up, a pull down)
- Tu: no pullups, 12-15min fast swings
- Th: TGU 3 per side, ladder CP, pullup sets/:30
- F: 12min fast swings with 24kg (or 15min slow), 1-2 pullups between swing sets 

Pullups are done either at the top of the minute or at every 20sec or every 30sec to train density. The total volume is not the focus. I can do 5+4+4 as easily as 3+3+3+3 with rests between sets, but I cannot do 10 straight or 4x5. I have adapted to an arbitrary number. The /:20 and /:30 sessions should eventually train my body to do 10 or 12 straight, and I'll test for a single long set once a month.

Swings... I've done 20x20min swings before, so volume conditioning is not really the point. The point for me is training for heavier weight. 200 reps is a good benchmark for me, and this rotation tops 180 almost every session after Wk 2. After an introductory week at 16kg, swing days will alternate 16kg and 24kg. 24kg swing days will use 1-2 pullups during recovery to try to train the body to do 20-plus pullups in a long session while fatigued. Wish me luck.

I can already snatch 16kg. Each Monday's snatch session will add a set of 5/5. I would be thrilled to find myself doing 5x5/5 in :30/:30 at the end of a PM. This is not a snatch centered program, but there would be nothing wrong with replacing a :30/:30x12min swing day with 60/60 snatches on that same cadence.

If this modified routine accomplishes the goals for which it's designed, I may not be in any hurry to start an RoP. I would love to help more newbies wrap their heads around these two things. First, the basic routines are there to train you to handle weight with clean form. Second, you don't have to do "everything" to be fit. You can add a focus exercise if you understand waviness of load and cycling. I have no need to test my swing limits, but I would love to test :30/:30 snatches around week 6 as a by-product of swinging new weight and practicing snatches weekly. I'm really stoked about this. I actually laid awake Saturday night thinking about swinging my new 24kg next Friday!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Basic Welcome Message

First, thank you for following along.  This will be an ongoing conversation about health and physical training that began for me in the Summer of 2008 at age 38.  There was a catastrophic injury and a long rehab.  That rehab was the first commitment I had made toward my own fitness in some 15 years.

I am a kettlebell enthusiast and certified instructor of kettlebell skills.  My training on shiny white machines stagnated until I found a new motivation in moving myself and simple pieces of iron in the Summer of 2009.  What followed has been an exciting and interesting discovery in strength and well-being that continues to this day.

Every few months some men's magazine or website will present "15 physical skills every man should have".  15 pullups, 25 pushups, run 5 miles, carry someone your weight up two flights of stairs, that sort of thing.  Useful stuff for getting out from under a motorcycle or into an open window overhead or carrying an injured comrade to safety.  There are strong, rippling monsters of manhood that cannot do a pullup or touch their toes.  There are people who can run a marathon but cannot carry a heavy load up stairs, and vice versa. The day I handed my walker to my nurse and clambered up two flights of stairs because the elevator was broken, I committed to be more physically fit.  Here we go.