Thursday, January 30, 2014

1 wk out

I would love to say I'm ready to thrill and amaze, but I'm not. Truth be told, I took a few steps back this Autumn to retool and restart. I've only lifted bells 11 sessions now, compared to so many of my peers who've lifted 40 or 50 times since our last competition. My conditioning's a little off, but here's where I do stand.

My overhead is strong and more symmetrical, more of a hammer-grip alignment overhead. My first dip is deeper and quicker than before, a significant improvement given my legs. I'm breathing more through my nose, more relaxed, even when I'm running.

I'm still struggling in the rack. I think the new posture in my arms has my hands dorsiflexed differently and feeling sore under 20kg. This doesn't limit me with 16kg, so I have to get it resolved before I can lift 24kg. The discomfort is affecting my breathing and my state of mind. To quote an American MS, Catherine Imes, it's one part optimizing my technique and one part "getting comfortable with discomfort".

Really looking forward to the West Coast Classic. I wish I could say I was better prepared for it, but I do believe I'm better prepared for the rest of the season. See you on the platform, and again at the Punch KB Sport Championship in April.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Compulsive coin-flipping

I knew what I was doing. I spent 2 months getting stronger but not working conditioning, kettlebell calluses, or kettlebell technique. I knew my conditioning would be off, but I hit the top of my weight class and pressed 2x24kg twice and squatted 185lb for tens. It was worth it. I also suffered a minor injury that took me out of jerk and running entirely. So, I've had to make a tough choice between the lesser of two disappointments here.

I'll be lifting 20s instead of 24s this February. I'm healing from a calf tear, and I've banged a knee up this weekend. I'm making solid reps with 24kg, but I'm nowhere near 10 minutes or rank. It seems more meaningful to earn that "2" pin than to get 5 minutes and a small PR this time. I wouldn't have made that call a few months ago, and I will try my hardest to lift 24kg at Punch in April.

2014 IUKL/AKA West Coast Classic Kettlebell Championship

I am really excited to see Team Kettleguard in their home gym in a couple weeks. The West Coast Classic was a great show last year and promises nothing less this year. I only wish I was better prepared, but February is never my peak season for kettlebells.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Winter weather and purple bells

Sunday, I felt itchy for a run. Didn't need to run, not even in my program right now. Just felt like a run. So I did run/walk intervals for 2 miles in the 40F weather. Calves are tight, but my once-torn calf is functional and safe again. Also doing leg-injury rehab on both barbell days. It leaves my legs pretty fried, but they are recovering stronger and quicker each week.

Monday, I completed 26/5:00 with double 20kg bells, plus a couple minutes of a second set. My hands were sore, so I cut the second set short in favor of some maintenance work. It's something in my rack, relieved when I hold the handles more parallel than usual. May require a technique change, but it's not my legs and not my overhead, which is a big deal.

Tuesday was Bench Day, 8F and windy. Never liked bench, but the combination of work I'm doing around it is keeping me strong. During season, I always quit training bench. Then my shoulders get sore, and my press gets weak. I have resolved to maintain my 2x24kg press throughout this season.

I'm approaching a training regimen that actually keeps me healthy, even if it's not traditional Russian champion training. I'm maintaining some muscle and at the top of my weight class now. I've crossed a couple of long-time goals off my list. Even if I have to compete 20kg bells in February, I'm on a path to get over the hump with 24kg this year in a way that could last.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Slowly we turned, step by step

I began training Long Cycle again 2 weeks ago with a guideline in mind: reach rank (50reps/10:00) with the lighter bells before moving up. I knew that I had no cardio and thin calluses. I also saw that AKA/IUKL are now competing 20kg bells, so I can do that in February if I have to. So far, it's progressed like this.

2x16kg: 2x5:00 sets, 6:00 + 4:00, then 50/9:00 without a clock to watch. Move on.

2x20kg: 25/5:00, followed by 2x16kg:30/5:00. There was a small loose spot on my palm, so I need to be careful. Test 20kg in a couple more sessions.

Swinging 24kg for sets of 25. Training upper body for long sets and squats for strength. Squatted 185lb today for sets of 5 outside the rack, just free on the platform like some rogue Oly lifter. Felt good, felt right.

I'm working a mix of therapy and body building and correctives that feels like it's been missing for a long time. I have observed in the past that I have about 3 weeks of training without any correctives or therapy before I start to hurt. That style of peaking cycle and recovery cycle won't work with the new AKA US schedule. I have 3 meets in the Spring and probably 3 in the Fall. Let's try staying healthy.