Sunday, August 28, 2011

Training Log 08/27-08/28 LC at different weights

There is a common mantra that you train light to build strength and lift heavy to demonstrate strength. I'll have LC at different weights and set lengths starting this weekend, with a long 20kg set on Saturday and a number of short 16kg sets on Sunday. This Saturday didn't last all the way to the programmed "5-7'@4-6rpm" set, but I did get 7'@6rpm work done in 3 subsets. I barely jerk 16kg pairs at the 9-10rpm Coach requested of me for sustained sets, so this will be a whole new technique and conditioning experience for me. Right away, my cleans are too bumpy to transition smoothly and keep the pace up.

08/27 Sat long 20kg LC and squats
Warm up, band work, jumps
- 20kg LC
Goal: 5-7' @4-6rpm
Done: 3'@6rpm, 2'@6rpm, 2'@6rpm

Test Olympic Clean and squats with the EZ-Curl barbells on hand
5 @40lb, 5@60lb. These bars are not good, don't rack right at all.
10 @2x20kg

Stairs: 10' work

Notes: this LC is so much heavier than the 16kg LC I did 5' at a time earlier in the week. It wasn't unmanageable, but it was unfamiliar. I got tipped backward on my heels several times and clunked a few cleans into the rack so hard I had to reset to accomplish a jerk afterward. Lightweight practice will refine my speed, breathing, and technique, but it will not train the geometry of counterweighting the bells.

The 2x20kg squats felt surprisingly good. 10 reps well below parallel really surprised me. I may be prepared to start hi-vol squat training at this weight, which would be huge in support of this training.

08/28 Sun short 16kg LC and DL
Warm up, stick work, jumps
- 16kg LC @9-10rpm
25/2'30", 1'r, 23/2'30", chaotic, rest
21/2'30", rest, 22/2'30"
- total 91/10'

Dead lift 150lb: 8, 8, 8
1/4 Dips: 10, 10, 15

Notes: DB DLs suck. Wobbly grip, feet not clear of the weights, the awkwardness affects my focus and the qualit of every rep. 8-9rpm LC ok, but 10 was chaotic. Need to work up to that. Last set, did not look at the clock, and it was smoother. Going forward, pace by breath until I meet the speed. I backswing with the handles parallel by instinct, maybe pronating the hands to impart a little rotation at the top will smooth out cleans. Good speed work.

Peeled one dry callus from palm, never stopped. Found it on the handle later. Didn't even phase me. The new skin beneath did not blister.

Friday, August 26, 2011

At least exert yourself

Ed. note: There is a slim chance that a couple of people I know will recognize the situation I describe and the people I'm talking about. I mean no offense, but this profoundly affected me and needs to be said. It's not hurtful, it's just blunt, and it is heart-felt and honest.


I did some jerk and some long cycle with a pair of 20kg (44lb) kettlebells today, my current standard, and a pair of modest jerks at the end of the 90min session with a pair of 24kg (53lb) bells. Now the 2 24kg bells were a personal record, and 48kg (106lb) overhead for the first time was every bit heavy. Not three months ago, I nearly put 2 20kg bells on my head with that same lift, but now I train with them regularly. It was a big deal to me that I didn't eat those green 24s.

I saw some new folks training this week. One was pressing a pair of 35lb weights without pausing at the shoulder or at the top and deadlifting 53lb in a circuit.  Realize that they were deadlifting, from the floor with both hands, less weight than they were lifting overhead. Now realize that again. When I was 16 years old, I deadlifted a spinet piano once when it tipped over on a moving truck ramp, and I had never lifted weights in high school. They were deadlifting 53 pounds, in a gym, for which they paid money.

These folks were turning their heads to make eye contact and chat. They were talking freely instead of bracing themselves with a deep breath to protect the spine. These are not just my pet peeves; these are details that you cover subconsciously every day to lift things out of your car because the reach feels awkward.

I'm glad they were trying, but let's face facts. This was not exercise. This was not focused; this was not even safe. Going to a gym to get less old/fat/feeble does not automatically make you less old/fat/feeble. Hard work does. I accept I'm good at this because it's my hobby, but I am not the strongest person my size that I know. I know a 120lb woman who can deadlift over 200lb, which I cannot. If some guy bigger than me doesn't want to launch 40kg (88lb) overhead like I do, that's fine, but I know he can lift it off the floor. The point is that he was not even exerting himself, so he was wasting his time and not getting any healthier.

Clinical studies have shown as little as 15min of strenuous exercise on 3 days a week can reduce your body fat and blood lipids.  90min a week was shown to add as much as 3 years to your life expectancy in a long-term study in Taiwan. This isn't about kettlebells or about fat shredding or cardio vs HIIT vs strength training. What I do and call "cardio" is carry 40kg up and down stairs after my regular workout, but I couldn't survive a modern aerobics class. I don't care. I'm stronger than 3 months ago. My cholesterol is down. I eat like a puppy in a bacon store, and I can see my abs in the mirror. None of this would be true if I were too lazy to actually exert myself or too bored by the experience to keep it up.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The longest 10min of my life, and the next-longest 10min

I prematurely published my log for 08/14-08/20 on the 19th, so I edited the title and wrote a new piece for today. I even did some sets of 5 heavy last night after work that aren't listed, but I'll just call it pre-dinner and let it go. Today's session was good enough to post on its own. I don't do this often.

08/20 Sat 2x20kg Jerk
Mobility, band work, 2 sets 5 Bench Jumps

Goal = J:2x20/6-8/1'/1'r x7-9 (felt another set in me at the end)
Done = 10 sets 8/1', a PR by 3 full minutes

Partial BW dips: 2 sets 20
20kg SW: 30ea, 20ea
10’ Stair carries: 2'carry/30"rest x5, longer rest on #5


This is actually the first time I've accumulated 10 minutes of Jerk in one session. My Spring cycle was organized to stretch short sets into long sets. The long sets wore me out, so I never actually did 3' x 3 or 5' x 2 or any volume that added up close to 10'. I was one of the few competitors at State who did not finish the clock. The pure beginners, the still-overweight women snatching 8kg, finished their clocks. I made rank plus 9, completely drained, and set the bells down. I knew I had done something wrong.

This was a technically good session, including a few recoveries. The overhead squat training helped me later on. I'm working on launching the bells straight up instead of up and back, more Denisov, less Goncharov. The balance is tenuous, but there's less strain on my back. My new shoulder-width stance can accommodate a clean, more stable and ready for LC. And obviously, I'm recovering well. This is a good place to be 11 weeks out from Regionals.

Clearly, this was not elite mastery of the 10' clock, but this is my new baseline. I had a baseline a year ago of 3200kg ballistics every workout, based initially on 200 16kg swings. Now I have 80reps/10' at 2x20kg... which is ironically 3200kg. (I just noticed that!) What's important is that I did 10 minutes of my skill, then 10 minutes of 2x20kg stair carries for conditioning. This cycle, that's step 1, ground floor, my de-loading routine after a month of heavier stuff.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Training Log 08/14-08/19

19Started off with Sunday afternoon doubles strength work, on the roof and in the sun. Simple circuit, brisk pace, killer. Again on Wednesday morning, since I was already up from having been paged. Detecting a shift toward the LC, reflected in my choice of work and snatch quality.

8/14 Su 2x16kg Complexes
Knee mobility, stick drills
- all done 2x16kg
5 C&P
10 FSQ
5 Ren rows
- 5 circuits/15min
First 2 circuits consecutive, sets 4 and 5 on video

16kg SW: 20ea x2 sets (calluses)

Notes: Felt good.  I like this work, having this particular day in my routine. I'd like to think I'd start doing this with 20kg, but the whole point was doubles work for symmetry and I can't press 2x20kg. Pressing 2x16kg is still teaching me things. 50 reps squat is a good addition. Including bodyweight squats, full double-bell squats, overhead squats with sticks and light barbells, and jump squats/jerk bumps, I will squat thousands of reps this month. 50/daily bodyweight, 60-90/Tuesday jerks, 50/Sunday = 400-450/wk with great variety.  This is good.

8/16 Tu 2x20kg Jerk
Mobility, stick work, 5 bench jumps
- test number of sets, previous PR is 5 sets 8

Goal = J:2x20/6-8/1', 1'r x5-7
Done = 6888888 rushed last set, broke lockout

5SQ/30JSQ x3
30# OHSQ: 5 deep

Notes: Great session, like I never missed. Joint work, jumps, OHSQ doing a world of good. Get to 10' volume quickly, raise density gradually. 6rpm did me little good, too slow, too much rack time.

08/17 We 2x16kg short sets
Got paged, worked, did some sets of 5
Joints, stick work, slow DLs to warmup
5 CL, 5 FSQ, 5 alt MP
- 3 sets
Light stretch

Th 20 SW
TGU 1 rachet style, some elbow soreness
OAJ 2x5, L ankle turns during dip
SW:1'/1'r x3 ea, some broken up
Rack carry: 4' out of 5'

Notes: grip really challenged, some minutes of swings were 30",15",15". Borderline with the new skin. Rack carry needs work, caused numbness, may need chalk/belt. Work more on L ankle mob; L launch is rotating foot around.

Almost too many things. Feels random. Love TGU, but beginning to see them as a distraction. Shoulder is never quite vertical in TGU, better for acclimating to heavy support than a warmup for the jerk.  I'd warm up better with a windmill, which can play around at vertical and assume an OHSQ.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My forehead and the wall

I planned a break at the beginning of August, which overlapped a trip to the family hometown and ended with a few days of fever and throat trouble. All told, maybe 12 days of joint work and light calisthenics, no weights. Did some pistol squats early in the break, felt good.

Then this happened, I resumed training a few days ago with get-ups, double presses, pullups, and some double KB swings, all fine. My second session back, I reintroduced the KB snatch, 1min sets with 1min rests, and I blistered both hands in short order. Keeping in mind that I did heavy-bell swings for for the whole month prior to the break, I expected to be conditioned for snatches.

Now I'll have to let my hands heal and rebuild. There are two competitions on the calendar in two months, and I can't snatch. With or without swings, apparently I have to train snatches constantly to maintain snatches, and therein lies a dilemma.

The snatch has always been uncomfortable for me. I have issues with an elbow and nerve impingement and calluses. My score creeps at a glacial pace. I have never had this sort of anatomical difficulty with the jerk or the long cycle, and the squat work in jerk training is good for my legs. The jerk is just "hard", but it's not "tricky" or "complicated". I love LC. I'd train entirely around competition LC, but I would lose snatches altogether.

At what point am I adding marginal cost to simply compete this event instead of that one, or to compete at all instead of just being healthy and having fun? That is the question. This week, I am officially beyond health and fun and training toward heavy-bell biathlon, and I'm not sure anymore if that's what I want.

08/06 Sat 16kg warmup work
TGU: 2 slow ratchet get-ups each side, 8'
5 2x16kg military press
5 30lb barbell overhead squats
a few pullups (5, 3, 3, 3, 5)
- 5 circuits

2x16kg swings, 10sw/10breaths x10sets
Stretch in the sun

Notes: Sore throat, watch my health. BW 146 with breakfast, still lean. 1 OHSQ set at 2x16kg, and it was too heavy. 30-40lb BB is just right for now.
8/7 Su: Thighs ruined from dbl sw. I knew better than 10x10. (grin) Foam roller, stick OHSQ, and menthol rub. Consider OHSQ and stick work as warmup for a while. I'd have much to gain from a good OHSQ.

08/08 Mo: Cont'd OHSQ with stick and shoulder dislocates. Sore throat spread to wife and a coworker. Not run-down, but not 100%. Consider down a bell this week and reset Sat or Sun. It's just 1wk.

08/09 Tu: Both of us have sore throats. Lost 3hrs sleep. Worked at home. Stretching, 20kg 5J and 5P and GSQ, stick work. Presses were solid.

08/10 We: Fever down, throat 50% better, hamstrings 3/4 better. Train Th morning. Keeping up shoulder dislocates and OHSQ, some Hindu pushups. Feel ok.
08/11 Th 16kg and 20kg SN sets
1-2 TGU, 5 OAJ, get my pulse up 

20kg SN:1-2'@16rpm/1'r x5-6 all L first, then R, 16kg when fatigued
1'SN @20kg,20kg,16kg, 20kg SW 20reps,20reps, stopped for blisters
10 20kg GSQ/5 40# OHSQ x2
5 bench jumps, stretch

Notes: chalked, probably shouldn't have. Blistered bad. Hate snatches, and chalk. Love squats. OHSQ 30-40# for a while with bench jumps. When ready, train SW to rebuild SN.

Note to self: I need a heavy low pull to support the clean of "clean and jerk". If I have this much trouble adapting to 20kg snatch, I will seriously consider training Long Cycle with swings and barbell work for support.
08/13 Sa 16kg Jerk
Mobility, stick work and OHSQ, Jumps

Goal = 9-10/1', 1'r x5-6 sets
Done = 12,12,12,12,12,15. Focused on fixation. Actually got better 4 sets in.

5FSQ/30bumps: 1
10’ Stairs total volume: finished 4 laps/5:30.

Notes: Stairs ended with serious systemic fatigue, muscles twitching, grip and back tired. Jerks felt fine; carries were rough. Quick and constant work today, but worn out a little earlier than if I'd been healthy. Wife had 102 fever from this last night.