Thursday, March 31, 2011

Training Log 03/30-03/31, post-op recovery wk

I had septoplasty last week to open my nose, part of an ongoing plan to silence the sleeping giant.  Just yesterday, I got a post-op cleaning and clearance from my doc to resume training with observation for nosebleeds.  I'm breathing "okay", but that should be much better over the coming weeks.  By state champs in June, I may actually be breathing freely and sleeping deeper at night.  That would be awesome.

03/30 warm-up training
Sun Salutations and joint mobility to warm up
30min of 12kg Turkish Get-Ups and RKC Arm Bars
15/15 snatches and a few OAJs at 12kg
Stretch out well

Lunch: stretch lats and legs, a few pullups and close squats

This was light, on purpose.  Got all my joints to pop.  Got declined a few times to feel the blood rush to my nose again.  This is still technically a back-off week in my training cycle, so nothing too heavy or too long.  No idea what I'm doing tomorrow, maybe OAJ and 1HSW at 20kg.

03/31 PM assistance work, single 20kg KB
Sun Salutations, joint mobility
5min 20kg get-ups
- circuit
5 Goblet Squats
5ea Long Cycle Clean & Press
5ea Long Cycle Clean & Jerk
- 3 circuits
Snatch: 5ea x3
10' cycling, 2.6mi 
Stretch out

144lb weigh-in (-2 this wk)

Right knee was sore during lunge phase of get-ups, so cut them short.  Did some lighter get-ups earlier in the week, so mobility is overall really good. Was pleasantly surprised by 20kg snatches, purely as an experiment.

I am not yet sleeping "better", not consistently.  I should have been 8hrs rested when my alarm sounded, but I was dead to the world.  Better to keep the commitment later in the day than to tempt fate with a cloudy head.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2x16kg Jerks and muscle motor groups

I had a goal this week.  I wanted to test my longest set of snatches and my longest set of jerks.  I actually practiced rack carries to investigate why I struggle to find rest in a set of jerks.  Learning a lot about myself and this kind of training.

First, in my last entry, I mentioned an article by Rudnev and Lopatin on how kettlebell sport is an endurance sport, better suited to rowers and cross-country skiiers than to powerlifters.  The question has been raised whether you (the royal "you") really need the additional maximal strength to excel in this sport, or whether it's just sexy and distracting.

Second, the latest edition of the Power By Pavel Newsletter came out today from the RKC school, including three articles on the topic of rep speed.  The article "Lifting Speed Matters", by neurophysiologist Chad Waterbury, was my take-home message.  In brief, our strongest nerve-muscle "motor groups" are only recruited into a movement after our two weaker and longer-lasting motor group types have already been fully activated.  Therefore, to produce power efficiently and safely, lift quickly with a maximum force to recruit all three muscle types.  These strongest motor groups only have seconds of reserve before they turn off.  The next strongest last for minutes before they fatigue out.  This was presented with the angle that lifting too slow or too long leaves the lift supported by weaker motor units, causing soreness and long recovery.

There is a complementary point behind this, that sub-maximal training can be extended for minutes instead of seconds.   Training medium-heavy for 3min, 5min, 10min builds endurance in your fast-fatigue-resistant motor units, and this is where kettlebell sport comes in.  When those motor units can keep you and the bells upright between reps, your strongest motor units can recover and join in the next launch.  This is the value of carrying weight around: learning the difference between support and launch, letting the launch muscles rest between reps, training the support muscles to be strong enough to assist the launch.  My previous weakest link is no longer my current weakest link.

03/23 Stretch and recovery work
5am on the job, followed by foam roller and sun salutations

Before lunch, a few pullups and pistols. Helluva day.
Evening work: 2x16kg rack carries 3' + 1'rest x3
Learned a lot about myself.
Stretch well.

03/24 2x16kg Jerk
Warmup: Windmills, OAJ, stretch and joints, 220 step dbl carry
- Jerk. PR is 27/2'. Go 4-5' at whatever slow pace is necessary.
1'@6 to warmup

31/4' (8,8,8,7) PR
hands got sore, not muscles
2'@8, 2'@4 walking around
 = 55 total

5 FSQ 30 JSQ x1
C&P 5 x2
Peterson Step Ups 15,15
15' cycling, 4.2 mi on variable hill program
Stretch, 250 step dbl carry home

Just wow.  PRs in both biathlon events this week at 16kg.  Take a few days off and resume added volume work with 12kg snatches and 2x16kg carries next week.

My flexibility has changed.  In a seated hamstring stretch, I touched forehead to knee, both with feet together and in a 120deg split.  I've never, ever done that before.  Granted, I wake up every day with a tight right IT band, but I am overall not carrying a lot of soreness around.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Training Log 03/22: snatches and the long timed set

03/22 16 Snatch
Windmills, swings, stretching and joints
- Snatches
2'@12 to warmup
5' test, as slow as needed: 30/30, screwed up video
4'@12, on video
4mi/15' stationary cycling on hills program
Stretch thoroughly

The goal today was a long timed set.  Not any particular total or speed, but minutes.  I've been adding overhead carries to my training lately because my joints get fatigued with the bell overhead.

I've read some interesting commentaries lately about strength vs endurance in kettlebell sport.  There's commentary from Cate Imes on the question "Do you need more strength?", something that's been enticing me lately.  I've toyed with taking a block of time to do an EDT schedule and build up my strength, but the fact remains I can snatch 16kg and jerk 2x16kg for a few reps just fine.  My problem is stamina.  I feel the need to train up a weight because I'm not recovering properly.

There was also an article by Rudnev and Lopatin, "Strength or Endurance, development of strength and strength endurance in kettlebell sport", reviewing the emphasis on endurance training in KS.  In tests, athletes fared better in KS with backgrounds in cross-country skiing, rowing, and running than with backgrounds in powerlifting or maximal strength training.  The difference was not being able to lift twice the weight, but being able to recover between lifts without putting the bells down.  The image of a Siberian infantryman with his weapon and backpack on cross-country skis comes to mind and makes sense to me.  That's my problem right now, and it's been a long road to come to admit that.  I will eventually have to train strength to increase my margin for weakness, but that is not my problem today.  Carrying two bells up and down stairs for 10 minutes, that is my problem today.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Training Log 03/19-03/20

I woke up Wednesday and Thursday with my left shoulder seized.  Describing it clearly would be more complicated than just listing what made it hurt.  Turning my head left more than 45 degrees.  Lying down on my back or rolling from side to side on my back.  Made stretching REALLY difficult.  Supporting my head in a lying position.  At one time, lifting my left arm while upright.  It was serious.  Overhead stretching was the only thing that gave me relief.  I started muscle relaxers, RKC arm bars 24hrs in, and some nerve glides and myofascial release work.  By Friday night I felt better.

The only thing I've changed or added lately has been some arm stretching designed to treat forearm pump.  External and lateral shoulder rotation, wrist extension, similar to an arm bar.  It felt fine at the time, and it felt fine when I resumed it on Friday.  I don't suspect it caused a problem.

03/19 Sat 16kg Snatches
stretch, windmills
- Snatch:
sets of 5 to warm up x2
2'@15rpm x1
3'@15rpm x2 (drifted 15-18rpm and didn't count)
- conservatively estimated 50ea side including warmups
Overhead carries: change hands @80 steps, 4 sets non-stop
Swings: 1' each arm non-stop (40ea)
Cycling: 3.5mi/12', Level 8, HR ~140

Stationary bike program "Hills - Around the World" has become a standard for me.  Good random-ish mix of resistance.

Did not snatch the 12kg today, on purpose.  Wanted to test form and stability, not stamina.  Short sets at comp weight, worked well.  Do not like incomplete chalking at all, will need to consider outdoor snatching as the summer approaches.

Recently bought the Diesel Crew's grip training DVD, need to work a few weeks on grip strength.  Grip and my left external rotated/overhead ROM are my two limiting factors in snatches and pullups, and the ROM is affecting jerks as well.  Right now, these are as important as jump squats and hip drive.

03/20 Sun 2x16 Jerks
stretch, windmills
OAJ 5ea x2
 A tad stiff, be watchful.
LC: 2'@8 x1 (8,10)
J: 2'/12,12. 2'/10,8. Not able to finish 3' today.
OAJ: 4' 18,16R/18,16L
Seated dips: 20 x2
FSQ 5 + JSQ 30 x2
CP: 5ea x2
Peterson Step-Ups: 15ea x2
1' oh walk ea x2
Stretch out, again later in the evening.

Notes: I have GOT to slow down and last 5' at something. If I don't break 5' J and 6' SN by month's end, I'll consider myself seriously behind schedule.  I'm probably missing next weekend following a minor surgery, so the clock is ticking.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Training Log 03/12-03/13

Sat 12-16kg snatch
Warm up well
TGU: 2ea
- SN:
12/4'@20rpm x2
16/4'@15rpm,  finsihed 90" ea due to grip and skin
Half Pullup: 2x15, finished 2x10 barely
DL: 10@100#, x3
4mi/15' cycling @L6, 95rpm, 130bpm HR
Stretch out thoroughly

Cycling felt good, "Hills" program on the machine.  Snatch felt good.  Grip was just wrung out by the time I started the 16kg set, even though I took minutes between to rest.  Deadlifts and Pullups confirmed it was the grip.  Took a long, deep stretch session afterward, felt great.  I feel "close", like I need to make some little adjustment in programming, but I fool with my programming too much as it is.  Hope jerks work tomorrow.

Sun 2x16kg LC/Jerk
Windmill: 3ea x2
OAJ: 5-10ea x3
LC: 2'@8rpm x1
Jerk: 2'@12rpm x3
Front Squats 5 + Jump Squats 30 x3

C&P: 5ea
Peterson Step-Ups: 15ea x2 

1' OH walk ea x2
1H Swings 1'ea x2
Stretch out well

Jerks got fatigued, a little wobbly at the top.  I did launch off my hips instead of my arms this time, and wearing VFFs instead of shoes with a heel.  Not a whole lot quicker, but I am completing longer total time.  The pros recommend 16-18rpm Jerk.  I can do 15/1', but I can't keep it up for any length of time.  In this session, I started set 3 at 15rpm to experience a last-ditch sprint.  Kicked my butt, but I did recover my breath and finish out the 2'.

Sample video of a few reps LC, start and end of 1st set Jerk, and entire 3rd set Jerk to show my fatigue management.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Training Log 03/05-03-11

This represents a change of content for this blog.'s new design has dropped their forum user blogs.  We're all hoping they reappear.  There are little banners and boxes saying "click the user's 'blog' link", but there are no blog links.  What's worse is that emails and forum posts asking about this have gone unanswered.  My last 2 years of training was on that blog.  I may take advantage of this blog's post-by-email feature and start just sending the notes from my iPhone straight to the site.  Those particular entries will be less formal than my articles.

03/05/11 - Snatch Saturday
TGU: 2ea @16
- Snatches:

12/3'@20rpm, 2sets
16/3'@15, finished 2'30" 
Total = 157/8'30", 2032kg total
Half Pullup: 2sets 10oh, 10uh
DL: 5@90#, 10@100# x2sets
Peterson Step-Ups: 15ea x3sets
Terminal Knee Extension machine: 70# tested well

Stationary Cycling: 2.5mi/10' @Level 8, 3' cool down

The 20rpm snatches were leading over the top internally rotated, which was causing my right hand to tingle again.  I may not have 20rpm in me anymore without some serious posture finagling.  At 16kg, one of my calluses dried out from the chalk and started to split at 1'15", so I changed hands.  Other hand cramped at 1'15".  Convenient that I can fail on either hand in the same number of seconds.

Dead lifts felt GREAT.  Step-ups are an interesting addition; "hurt" on the right but "challenged" the left more.  Never liked stationary bikes, but this was a good replacement for running.  I am still not completely over that cramp-up from Tuesday.

03/06 2x16kg LC Sunday
Windmill: 3ea
OAJ: 5ea x2
LC: tried 10rpm, too fast
 2'@6, 3'@6
J: tried 15rpm, too fast
 1'@15, 2'@12
FSQ 5 + JSQ 25 x2 
MP: 5ea, 1xSC, 1xLC, 1xDbl LC
Peterson Step-Ups: 15ea x2
A slow get-up and stretch out to close 

Jerk does not have a rhythm, and that impacts both my jerk and my long cycle.  Work on timed sets at 10-12rpm until 5-6' set; postpone LC beyond a single 2-3' set.  8'15" x12rpm is 100 reps, respectable at this level.

03/08 12-16kg Snatch
TGU: 2ea
- Snatches:
12/3'@20 x2 sets

 55+55/6' , 35+35/3'
16/3'@15 x2 sets:

  22+22/3' , 22+22/3'
 = 180x12, 88x16
Half Pullups: 1 set 10

Deadlifts: 1 set 10@100#
 Grip FRIED, move on
Cycling: 3.0mi/12'@L8 x HR 137/144, 95rpm, 11'30" 

Snatch worked well.  Did 3' each by mistake again, but without the cramps and profanity.  Forearms had so much pump they were visibly red.  Pullups and deadlifts were a formality to get the movements in.  Stick to the sport moves and the assistance exercises.  This was the highest volume of snatches I've done in a year, and it was in long timed sets.  I finished strong, 2 x 3' @16kg.  Getting it done.

Stationary cycling is not my choice, but it's my least objectionable machine class alongside stair climbing.  I've got stairs, and cycling lets me work hip flexors in equal volume with extensors.  This is a better substitute for running than I want to admit, and my leg's not complaining.  12' at pace and resistance.

03/10 AM work early
stretch out
Half SQ: 5ea, 10ea video
HKR: 15, 15 (2 PS)

PM 2x16kg Jerks
Windmill: 3ea
OAJ: 5-10ea
- 2x16kg J:

2'@10, 1'30"@12 smashed finger
1'30"@6, 2'@6
- disappointing launch, form was off. Had one aching wrist and legs tired from pistols. Not the best way to start.
FSQ 5 + JSQ 25 x2
MP: 5/5 x2
Peterson Step-Ups: 15ea x2

 Felt "off" the entire session.  I think my knees were tired from doing substantial pistol sets earlier.