Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Come Back?

Could it be? My elbows feel miraculously better today. Hmmm? I spent most of the day yesterday doing Rif's stick extensions and the Z-health drills Geoff showed me. Today, things feel good. I like that...

Today's workout was pretty good, too. Atleast for me anyways. I went heavy. Heavy getups, heavy windmills and semi heavy swings.

TGU w/ 32kg
2/2 x 4 sets
Windmills with 32kg
3/3 x 5 sets
Dbl swings w/ 2 (24kgs)
10 x 10 sets

Getups felt heavy, windmills felt good. Together they made 9 sets each arm. I snatched up the 32kg before each set, and today i lowered it the "snatch" way. Elbows - I still have them! No pain, no rain. I'll take it. Elbows have felt great all day. I'll take that too. It might be a come back, still too soon to tell. Don't want to rush anything. BUT, it could be... And if so, I would just like to thank God, Rif, Geoff, Franz, Brett and Doug. You guyz rock.

Goodnight everybody.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Interesting day today. I met Geoff Neupert today. Aside from being a really great guy, he introduced me to Z-health. I don't know enough about Z-health to say anything about it other than I need to learn more about it. I'm convinced there is something to it. I walked away from Geoff's studio feeling pretty doggon good! So, before today I was curious, now i'm fascinated. So, i'll be trying to learn more about Z-health.

Also today, I ran across a link to Eugene Sandow's books from the dragondoor forum. I read a couple of his books online, and i've got to say he was a genius. A man before his time, or atleast a man before our time. It's amazing how we have complicated exercise and health. Eugene was perhaps the greatest strongman that ever lived and he knew the secret to strength. Simple focus. That's it. Simple Focus. Put your mind on the muscle. Put your mind in the muscle. Concentrate. The weight doesn't matter, the focus and the tension matter. It was an awesome thng to read his material. It was a humbling thing as well...

Anyway, these two events have been the highlight of my day. To sum it up, I feel enlightened. Z-health is cool, Geoff Neupert is a great guy, and Eugene Sandow was a simple genious.

Oh I worked out too:

TGU w/ 32kg
1/1 x 5 sets
Windmills w/ 32kg
2/2 x 5 sets
DBL swings w/ 2(16kg)

See ya.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Week

Well, training this week was interesting. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were pretty much carbon copies of last week's training. Thursday and Friday, however, were different. Different for two reasons:

1) I didn't feel like doing anything. Nothing. This never happens, I never feel like doing nothing. I must be tired, or toast.
2) I did something anyway and actually had what I would call 2 great workouts. Go figure.

Both Thursday and Friday I didn't want to do what I did last week, and I just felt zapped. But thursday morning a voice in my head (I'm really certain it wasn't my own voice.) said "try presses today, but keep it light." So, I did. I pressed the 16kg. I know, big whoop. But it was a big whoop. It didn't hurt my elbows. It felt good. And, it felt great to focus on total tension and get my lats flaring like Cobras. Oh yes, Cobras.

That made Thursday great. But, I have to give credit to that voice. It wasn't my idea to press. I've been afraid to do it.

Thursday's Show:

A1-Pistols w/ 16kg x 4/4, 4/4, 4/4
A2-MP w/ 16kg x 5/5, 5/5, 5/5
B1-Single Leg DL w/ 2(16kg) x 5/5, 5/5, 5/5
B2-DBL MP w/ 2(16kg) x 5, 5, 5
C1-Windmill w/ 24kg x 3/3, 3/3, 3/3
(I snatched it up into position-bonus...)
C2-Buttoms Up Press w/ 16kg x 5/5, 5/5, 5/5

Again, it all felt great. Yeah for me.

Friday was similar to last Friday, but when i did my TGU's I started from standing and I snatched up the 32kg into position.
No pain, Yeah again for me. Don't know why i tried this, i just did...

Friday's Show:

TGU w/ 32kg
2/2 x 4 sets

Swings w/ 24kg for 10 minutes
210 total

I wasn't tired (winded) but the burn in the butt and hamstrings was a set stopper...

Anyway, things are looking up and I am feeling good.

See ya.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


How many of us got started with kettlebells just because we were curious? How many of us saw someone else use them, maybe a friend or colleague, and just had to give them a swing? Lately I've noticed that kettlebells are contagious. People seem to get kettlebell fever much like catching a cold or flu. They get around someone who uses them, they pick them up, then boom! They're addicted.

It's a really neat phenomenon. Just at my fire department kettlebells are spreading from one person to another, from on station to another, from one shift to another. It's an awesome thing to witness. People who never before even cared to exercise are drawn to the small looking ball and handle like a moth to a flame.

It's really quite amazing if you think about it. I've seen people run marathons; even have friends that do. But i've never been drawn to running, especially after running a mile. I have a bicycle because i see other people riding them. Thought i'd give that a try; not really my thing. My point is how many things out there in the exercise world have the same feverish effect as a kettlebell? People seem to stick with it, then spread their kettlebell germs to others. Don't really know why. It's one thing for me to love it and stick with it. I've always exercised since i was 13. It's another thing for people that don't like to walk to the mail box to be suckered in to exercise by swinging a kettlebell. It's pure magic.

If you don't know what i'm talking about, or if you've never picked one up, just try it. But BE CAREFUL; you might catch the kettlebell fever and get in the best shape of your life.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What I've learned so far.

Well, here are some things i've learned over the last few days. For one, deep tissue massage with the thumper, especially on trigger points, really helps my elbow. For two, I can grip anything if my arm is straight; even heavy kettlebells. For three, I can press all day long if my hand is open and flat. And for five, if i use my grip while my elbow bends, it freakin' hurts. But knowing all this, i'm actually having a lot of fun with handstand pushups on blocks and swings.

For the handstand pushups, i put my hands on blocks to allow my head to lower past my hands so it is more military press like. This has gotten cool for me because I weigh almost 170 (lost 8 lbs since elbow pain started) and I can do these easily. Lately i've been practicing total body tension and really trying to use the lats. Different experience upside down; at least for me.

With the swings, i eased in to them at first about 2 weeks ago. I was scared a little because of having to grip the bell, though it is a hook grip it's still a grip. Well, the swings have been causing no pain or problems. So today i did double kb swings with the 32kgs. I wanted to feel like like i could lift heavy again. It worked, they were heavy. Maybe i can put that 8 lbs back on. Anyway, not even the slightest hint of discomfort.

So, Today's workout looked like this:

A1-Double Swings
2(24kgs) x 5,5,5
2(32kgs) x 5,5,5,5,5 - Wow, heavy. Cool, very cool.
2(24kgs) x 10,10,10,10,10 - So light and easy after 32kgs!

A2- HSPU on blocks x 3 for 13 sets = 39 total reps

I did this today because I did a kb workshop this afternoon called Pulls and Presses. So i had the urge to pull and press....
Oh, and the workshop went well.

Yesterday's workout:

TGU w/ 32kg for 5 minutes = 5 per side
Getting the kb to straight arm position hurt today; fine after arm is straight. Elbow no like bending while gripping. With a lighter kb, I can cheat it up better using other arm.

32kgs x 10 for 10 sets = 100 reps @ 30 sec b/w sets
24kgs x 10/10 for 5 sets = 100 reps @ 15 sec b/w sets
Hand to Hand w/ 16kg x 50 for 5 sets = 150 reps @ 30 sec b/w sets

That's this weeks lesson. Hopefully i'll carry it with me to next week. In September, I hope to ease into snatches. But if the bo's still say no, i just won't go...

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Am Random

Been reading and studying my RKC manual some today. Trying to prepare for another workshop that I am doing on Saturday. It's good to go back and re-read, re-think, and remind myself of things I already know, did know, maybe forgot, and maybe took for granted. It's amazing some of the little details that I forget. The learning process never stops. If it does, you're dead in the water. I know I could read this manual 1000 times, and though I pretty much know it from cover to cover, I would learn something everytime.

Today I read about cleans and presses. (setting myself up for when i start doing them again, I guess) They seem simple enough, but they are so not simple. Take the press for instance, you could grab the bell and simply press it up with your arm. OR, you could crush grip the bell, brace yourself, tighten and contract every muscle in your body that you are cognitively aware of and wedge yourself between the bell and the ground. Whole body; one solid muscle. Wow..........

Anyways, I'll be teaching presses this weekend. Could you guess?

Today, real simple workout:
A1-Pistols w/ 16kg
3/3 x 6 sets
A2-Handstand Pushups on blocks
4 x 6 sets
B1-Resilient elbow press w/16kg
8 x 3 sets
B2-Windmills w/ 24kg
3/3 x 4 sets

Felt great and fresh as a daisy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Staying the Course

Been sticking with the plan this week. Almost been 2 weeks now and haven't deviated away from it. I honestly think it may be working. Elbows are having some good days. They remind me every now and then that they are there, but they feel better. And to me that's a good thing.

Doing lots of streching, thumping, rubbing, trigger point therapy, extensor strengthening... Workout wise, lots of get-ups, swings, hand stand pushups on blocks and pistols. Again, I see/feel some progress. It's a little at time, but it's progress. I'm going to try another 2 weeks of this and evaluate as I go...

TGU w/ 16kg for 10 minutes: 20 per side
Swings w/ 16 kg; 15 sec on, 15 sec off
10 reps by 30 sets = 300 reps
Hindu Pushups 10 reps x 3 sets
Body totally tapped/tired/fried. Don't know why, but this zapped me. Long days at the fire station???

A1-Front Squats w/ 24kg
6 x 4 sets = 24 reps
A2-Handstand Pushups on blocks
5 x 4 sets = 20
A3-Halos w/ 16kg
5/5 x 4 sets
B1-Windmills w/ 16kg
5/5 x 4 sets
B2-Resilient French Press w/ 16kg
5 x 4 sets

TGU w/ 24kg for 10 minutes: 15 per side
Double Swings w/ 2(16kg)
10 x 20 sets = 200 reps
Hindu Pushups x 10

That's pretty much how it's been going and what I've been doing... With all the handstand pushups and get-ups i'll bet my press will really increase when I get back to it. We shall see.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Right Way

Is there a right way to train? Absolutely! What is it? Well, it may be the thing you like to do, or at least the thing that you will do. Whatever gets you moving. If you hate riding a bike, would riding a bike be the right way to train for you? No matter how good bike riding might be for your body, if you don’t like it, you won’t do it.

Everyone wants to know “What is the best way to train?” It’s really a loaded question that will take decades to answer. There are more effective modalities than others, but for what goals? There are movement patterns that are good for your body and there are movement patterns that are stressful on your body. But none of it really matters if a person can’t pull themselves up off the couch. None of it really matters if a person doesn’t like performing that particular modality. None of that really matters if a person doesn’t even know why they are training.

A better question might be “Which way will you train?”, or “What are you training for?” I’m a firefighter and I want to be ready for whatever. I like to train with kettlebells. To be fair, I’ve been training for 19 years. I’ve tried many different things. Powerlifting, bodybuilding, high intensity training (almost killed my body), all bodyweight training, isometrics, I’ve even tried flexing and moving like animals. Nothing I’ve ever done has been as fun, as effective, and as rewarding as training with kettlebells. Kettlebell training is the best modality of training out there; for me. But that’s me. On that note, however, as a trainer, I’ve never seen clients take to and enjoy training like they seem to do with kettlebells. People seem to fall in love with this beautiful little ball with a handle.

A question I always get is what makes the kettlebell so great? I have an answer for that. But set facts, physics, body mechanics, and whatever else aside. The real answer and the only answer that matters is once you pick it up, it hooks you. You’re addicted. You can’t help but feel powerful with that handle in your hand held high in the air after you’ve gotten up from a Turkish Get-up. You can’t help but be amazed at how hard you’re breathing after you perform your first set of 10 swings. You can’t help but notice how good your body feels after just a few sessions with a kettlebell. Best of all, it is fun. And, it’s hard to ignore the results training with a kettlebell brings.

YES, it’s just another tool in your fitness tool box. But it’s a tool that calls you out, it’s a tool that begs to be used. YES, kettlebell training is just another training modality. But it’s a modality that yields awesomely powerful results. NO, it’s not just a weight with a handle. It’s a kettlebell. It will make you stronger than you’ve ever been. It will give you the heart of a race horse. Don’t knock it till you try it. Pick it up. Swing it, Snatch it, Press it. Or, just look at it and wonder. Smirk at it because it’s not attached to a bench. It may be the right tool for you, it may not…

And yes, there are different styles and philosophies for training when it comes to all modalities. What matters is that you choose the style you enjoy. If you like running, do you like to sprint or do you like to jog? IF you are a sprinter, sprint. IF you are a marathon man/woman, run the marathon. Train for you, your goals and your style.

Oh, as I was saying when I started, there is a right way to train. It’s the way that fits you; the activity/modality that you enjoy. For me, it’s kettlebells.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Yesterday, I practiced a few pistols and handstand pushups for about 30 minutes. Today, I’m still keeping it simple, just doing swings and get-ups. Simple and sinister, so says Enter the Kettlebell. Still trying to concentrate on what my body is doing and how it feels. Really trying to make my swings “pretty”.

A- TGU for 5 minutes
32kg x 6 reps per side

B- 2 hand swings w/ 32kg
15 reps x 7 sets; 30 second rest b/w sets = 105 reps

C- Swings Proper w/ 16kg
10/10 x 10 sets; 30 seconds rest between sets = 200 reps

Get-ups felt heavy; 5 minutes was all I needed. Swings were good. Used a hook grip through-out and tried never to squeeze the bell. Hip hinge was good and crisp, good stretch in hamstrings. Felt fresh when I finished. I’m just so happy to be able to swing.

That’s it, real simple. May or may not workout tomorrow. If I do, it will probably be mostly “Resilient” exercises. I have my first Intro to Kettlebells workshop tomorrow. Hopefully all will go well. Time to grow! The journey has just begun.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

And the Beat Goes On...

Worked on TGU's and swings again today. Keep reading everyone's blogs and their experience/joy/self torture with Kenneth Jay's VO2 Max workout. So naturally, I'd love to try it. But I know I should wait. Again, I will focus on what I can do...

So, why not combine the VO2 max workout with swings. I can do swings, atleast I can for now. Today went something like this:

A-TGU's w/ 24kg
10 minutes --> 14 per side.

Felt good, a challenge today. Monday's workout must have worked on me a little bit. I did have the ambition of a double TGU with the 24 kgs until I picked the one up. Oh well, I now have a goal to train for.

B-2 Hand Swings w/24kg
15 sec on, 15 sec off: 9 reps x 11 sets = 99 reps

C-Swings w/ 16kg
15 sec on, 15 sec off: 9 reps x 36 sets = 324 reps

I'm tired now. No mas, senior.

Did about 10 sets with eyes closed. Trying to focus, trying to get perfect. I'll keep trying...

It's about 13 hours later, elbows and body feel okay throughout most of the day. We'll see what the morning brings.

That's it for now.

Monday, August 6, 2007

What I Can Do

Today started a new beginning for me. I have decided to focus on the things I can do for now and not worry about the things I can't do. If you knew me, you would know this is a monumental decision...

Today, I can do Turkish Getups. I've also decided I will do them extremely well. So,Here's what I did:

A-TGU w/ 16kgs
15 continuous minutes; ended up being 26 reps per side. I know, this is an exercise not a lift. I focused on my body. It was strong through out, the last rep was as strong and pretty as the first rep. 15 minutes, it was easy.

THEN (because i felt strong, and i'm a little crazy), I successfully attempted a double Turkish Getup w/ 2(16kgs)! Twice!

B-Double TGU w/ 2(16kgs)x 2!

C-Towel Swings w/ 24kgs
20, 20, 20, 20, 20 = 100 reps

Focused on body, strong and crisp. Elbows fine.

D-Swings w/ 16kgs
10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10, 10/10 = 140 reps

Could have done more, but decided to set her down... Elbows felt good. Will pay attention to how they feel the rest of the day and tomorrow when I wake.

I feel good. I was extremely pumped after the double TGU; Especially after doing 15 minutes of TGU's to start with.

So, new week, new day, new focus. I will be good at the things I can do.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Press On, Brother

Today I wanted to work on presses. My friend Rif suggested that I might try some Waiter's Presses to help with my elbow problems. So, in the spirit of keeping my training simple, I just did some presses, pistols and one leg deadlifts. Because I can't train the way I want I'm really trying to focus on my body and using total tension. This is a hard skill to master. For me anyways...

16kg x 5/5
24kg x 3/3, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2
A2-Handstand Pushups
Bodyweight x 5,5,4,4

B1-One Legged DL
2(24kgs) x 5/5, 5/5
2(32kgs) x 4/4, 4/4
Still trying to / pretending to extend wrist while hook gripping bells. Does not seem to aggrivate the elbows...
B2-Waiter's Press- My name is Tim, I'll be your waiter this evening...
24kg x 5/5, 5/5
32kg x 1/1, 1/1, 1/1
24kg x 5/5
If weight is not right over bottom of palm, elbows feel it. But if weight is not near fingers and over bottom of palm, all is well.

Friday I did 11 minutes of TGU's with 24kg => about 13 TGU's per side
Not gripping hardly, no problems.

Thurday's Workout was pretty similar to today's

A1-Dbl front squat
2(16kgs) x 5
2(32kgs) x 5,5,5,5,5,5,5
A2-Handstand Pushups
bodyweight x 3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3

B1-One Legged DL
2(24kg) x 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, 5/5
B2-Bent Press
24kg x 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, 5/5
light weight for me and not gripping hard, no problems...

Well, I've determined one thing out of the last couple weeks of my training: I need a new hobby.
Have a great weekend.