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

TEST
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.

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