Thursday, May 2, 2013

Intermission, and a study on training programs

So the Punch Kettlebell Sport Championship was an enormous success. The facility was festive. The host members were warm and enthusiastic and sporting team colors. The Facebook event is full of pictures and stories, which I won't fully replicate here. Jessica DiBiase from the Ice Chamber scored MS numbers in 20kg biathlon, and with style and grace. Scott and I both posted good sets in Mens' 20kg Long Cycle: 67 reps at 85kg for Scott, 50 reps at 70kg for myself, both in excess of rank requirements for our new weight classes.

"No count."

Personally, I have been trying to move up to 24kg Long Cycle for over a year now. In 2012, I was nowhere near ready. I've publicly committed to compete 24s in 2013, but have not yet been able to overcome the sheer weight. I have made three organized attempts to move up, with differing results.


Summer 2012 - KB volume at 65kg. In traditional fashion, I trained high volume KB work and running. It got me nowhere. My autumn score with 20s was exactly the same as my Spring score, to the last rep. I recognized something written frequently by Dan John, that I needed a higher level of general fitness instead of specializing in sport training. I'm 43, and I've been at this all of 3 years. I will not thrive on sport alone.

Winter 2012 - strength training. I did limited LC work alongside a Wendler 5/3/1 program. In December, I recorded 3 sets of 2x24kg LC at 6/1:00, 1:00 rest. To this day, that remains my best timed 24kg work. That winter, I put 100lb on my powerlifting total and 11lb on my body that remained with me through the Spring. Here in the 70kg class, it is a Big Deal that I'm no longer cutting weight before meets.

Spring 2013 - KB volume at 70kg. Since the peaking cycle for the Punch meet in April, I've spent the intermission on a more traditional GS program.
  • M,Th - Jerk at 2x24 and single 28, pushups, pullups
  • Tu - Cleans at 2x24 and single 28, front squats, 1mi run in the hills
  • F - LC at 2x20 for long, timed sets, back squats at high volume
  • Daily Indian club work for shoulders and elbows
Only 3 weeks into this Spring plan, my assistance work is thriving, but my KB results are mixed. Last week's LC sets (of 5) were better than this week's (with misses), indicating that I am operating at my limit, without any real margin for error. This may work itself out by August, but it will not prepare me for May, and it is not guaranteed to work by August if I don't include more strength work.

And so, I will probably lift 20s at the ATC Throwdown, again, while the rest of my peers move up a bell, and that grates on me. I have to remind myself that I do this first for my health. I will probably resume powerlifting twice a week as early as Monday, despite the May 18 meet. That meet is probably more social than competitive for me now. It will be interesting to see if less KB work and more strength work improves my KB scores in another 6 weeks, and an intriguing story to tell.

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