Monday, June 30, 2008

Training 6/30/08:

VO2 Max and RKC Level 2 Wrap up...

Prep work:
Thoracic Rotation
Goblet Squat x 5
various swings and a couple of snatches

16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 50 sets

16kg Windmill 5+5

I am convinced more than ever that Kenneth Jay's VO2 Max protocol is the way to go and will be working towards 80 sets of 8 reps per 15 seconds! Loads of fun - BTW - Kenneth is simply brilliant when it comes to the science behind the conditioning. Check out his Advanced Strength Strategies DVD is you haven't already.

RKC Level 2 wrap up -
The good - a great group of people there to learn
The Bad - we had to spend a lot of time reviewing Level 1 exercises and materials.
People need to work on perfecting and honing perfect form not get distracted by shiny things.
Overall - it was a great weekend and those that made it through earned their Level 2.
Great job and congrats to the new Level 2 RKCs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Travel Schedule...

For the interested or just bored - here is my travel schedule for the coming months...

June 26-29 - RKC Level 2
July 10-13 - Durham, NC for Z Health I-phase
July 18 - FMS course outside of Boston
July 26 - Corrective Strategies Workshop - Los Angeles, Ca
July 31 - Aug 3 - LA RKC
Aug 7-10 - CK-FMS in Minneapolis
Aug. 23-24 FMS course in Dayton, OH
Sept 5-6 - FMS course in Liverpool, England
Sept. 26-27 - Kettlebell Basics Course at the Cooper Clinic, Texas
Oct. 3-5 - RKC in Hungary
Oct. 9-12 - RKC in Minneapolis
Oct. 16-19 - World Golf Fitness Summit, Annaheim, CA

Potential workshops -
Early November in San Diego
November 29 in Atlanta

Want me for a workshop? Better start working on it now!

Quick training 6/25/08...
Prep work - Thoracic rotation, ASLR, Full Body Z
Snatch Grip DL 275 x 5, 245 x 5
Side press 85 x 2, 65 x 2

Side press peak is always quicker than DL so I will cycle back and maybe go to ladders.
DL - I might shift to a double overhand Sumo DL when I get back from MSP.

Off to MSP for the RKC 2

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Your Genes aren't your fate..."

Read this - then think - and then rinse and repeat...

Genes become the excuse for everything and as powerful as they are they are only "switches" to a certain extent. (Could get into a very deep rabbit hole here of quantum physics and wave vs. particle type of discussion in relation to gene expression but let's keep it simple shall we...)

We influence which position the "switches" (ie. our genes) are in by the lifestyle we lead.

Very interesting stuff

Training 6/23/2008

Snatch grip DL
255 x 5, 235 x 5
Side Press
80 x 5+5, 70 x 5+5

16kg VO2 Max Snatch - 8 reps per 15 sec. x 40 sets

Easier to hit 40 today than it was to hit 30 the other day - nice progress.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quick training 6/20/08

Snatch grip DL
245 x 5, 225 x 5
Side press
75 x 5, 65 x 5

Quick PTP workout.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Situational Correctness...
Oh yeah - and some training...

Couple of items from the forum that have caught my attention and felt I would comment on a bit here -


People get very confused and confounded when seemingly contradictory information gets put out there. Situational correctness has been lost on most people.
One of the classics for the forum is the difference between the low rep strength focus of Pavel's Power to the People and the higher rep conditioning focus of Kettlebell training. Different goals mean different techniques and applications. You don't go to a tax lawyer for a murder defense but you still need to have access to both the tax and defense professionals.
People seem to forget this when they are looking for an answer or a philosophy to follow.
They want one answer for everything and it just doesn't exist.

There is no contradiction between the High Tension Techniques and Hardstyle kettlbell training and the Relaxation techniques and drills of Pavel's Fast and Loose. They are both skills to be learned and practiced and applied.
So get busy learning them and applying them!

Situational Correctness...

Since Pavel's Power to the People book and DVD the idea of performing a limited numer of exercises on a consistent basis without changing exercises every 4 weeks to avoid the dreaded "adaptation" people continue to have questions as to whether it will work on not.
Well - it does work but this is another one of those "contradiction" areas where the fervor over having ONE answer leads to confusion.

In Marty Gallagher's new book The Purposeful Primitive he details the training of several Iron Giants and instead of getting mired in the differences between them he draws correlations between the similarities and USES the differences to target certain goals or even a restricted number of training days a week. Imagine that!! Finding similarities and using the differences - revolutionary!!
There are powerlifters who train on the Big 3 lifts exclusively and there are those that train almost everything but the Big 3 and rotate lifts constantly - who is right and who is wrong???

Neither is wrong and both are wrong - or - Both are correct and both are wrong!

It depends on the individual situation - goals, recovery ability, number of available training days per week, training experience, Injury and medical history, nutrition, individual likes and dislikes, etc.... Apply the correct tool/technique to fit the situation! Again - Situational Correctness

For me - simplicity works and I find I can adjust that simplicity to fit most of my clients needs and goals. If you haven't tried it. Try it. Just press and deadlift for the next 6 months or so...

Speaking of Training:
Snatch grip DL 235 x 5, 225 x 5
Suitcase DL 145 x 5 + 5
Side press 70 x 5+5, 65 x 5+5
32kg KB swings (20 reps per set) 6 sets of various swing styles
(20L, 20R, 10L+10R, 20 alternating, 20 sidestepping, 20 2 arm)

Lats, mid back and grip certainly feel yesterdays training - I am focusing on my lats/armpit connection during the DL and swing - big difference. I think that is why I could "sprint" to 8 reps a set yesterday and not have issues. Still progressing and learing everytime I pick up a KB.
How about you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back to Basics...


One rep does make a difference...

Todays training is dual titled (like a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon - yes??) because I am returning to a PTP style barbell workout and adding one rep per 15 seconds on the VO2 Max protocol does make a difference...

Snatch Grip DL 225 x 5, 5
suitcase DL 135 x 5+5
Side Press 65 x 5+5, 5+5

16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds + 15 seconds off
x 30 sets in 14:45

After a couple of sets I knew the extra rep was going to hurt me - the virtual force of accelerating the KB made its impact! And after the grip work of the snatch grip and suitcase DL my forearms are feeling it as well. Shooting for a 4-5 day a week routine. Maybe step cycling just to ease back in to the DL etc...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From Aaron's Schwenfeier's blog:

This is how professional interaction should work. Aaron and I don't agree on everything but we continue the discussion and don't get mired in the differences. In the end we agree on FAR more than we disagree. Plus he has some great information - like this:

"The lumber spine has greater flexion/extension range-of-motion (ROM) based on disc height and spinous processes which project almost straight posteriorly, while the thoracic discs are smaller and the spinous processes project more inferiorly, which decreases flexion/extension ROM. The architecture of the thoracic spine lends itself to greater rotational ROM based on the position of facet joints, and the lumbar spine's facet joints decrease rotational ROM when compared to the thoracic vertebrae. (check out a good anatomy/biomechanics text)"

And this:

"When we have good diaphragmatic breathing, the diaphragm (again, refer to a good functional anatomy text) pushes down on the viscera. This "pushing" down creates pressure on the pelvic floor, which creates reflexive activity of the deep abdominal muscles... (something to think about.) From this we potentially improve:
1. Lumbar spine muscle function and control leading to:
2. Improved hip and lower body function
3. Increased thoracic spine ROM leading to:
4. Improve scapula and glenohumeral function and ROM
5. Improved function of all muscles, especially scapular, shoulder, and hip muscles
6. Improved movement efficiency."

Great information!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Training 6/16/08...

Prep work:
Goblet Squat 24kg x 5+
Thoracic Rotation

24kg Get-up x 5+5

24kg Snatch (10+10) + 10 Burpees x 5 sets in 10:40 (approximate)

Snatches kicked this workout up a knotch. Being short on sleep has resulted on some missed workouts but still keeping after it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thoracic Mobility...

The thoracic spine or rib cage is a central player in shoulder mobility and health but it is also part of the entire spinal "engine" as described by Gracovetsky. One of the best descriptions I have found for thoracic function comes from a September 2007 Newsletter by Robert Burgess, BEd, PT, PhD, Feldenkrais Practitioner. He posed the question - "An immovable cage or a mobile spring?" In reference to the thorax or thoracic spine.

Think about it - with all of those ribs connecting to the spine and up front on the sternum how can there be much movement in the "rib cage"?

Well - let us examine this further...

Burgess in his newsletter cites Buchalter et al 1988 and Willems et al 1996 for data on movement in the thoracic spine. The Thoracic spine provides us with 50 degrees of rotation, 26 degrees of side bending, 25 degrees of extension and 30 degrees of flexion in sitting - " fact with each pair of ribs moving on the next- the thorax behaves like a hooped spring."
"The pelvis and thorax rotate in opposing directions and together with side bending are the prime movers of human locomotion (Gracovetsky 1997)."

Breathing - if we are breathing correctly and using the diaphragm and intercostals for respiration there is a tremendous amount of movement in the thoracic spine. However, most people breath through their traps and upper chest which facilitates the development of kyphosis (rounding of the upper back) and a rigid rib cage.

Anatomy - But what about the ribs and the connections to the spine and sternum? Surely that means the thoracic spine is rigid - doesn't it?
Not if you look at the actual anatomy of the area!
The ribs connect up front on the sternum by way of a large series of cartilage joints - rather than being more solid "bone to bone" joints like the Sternoclavicular joint. These cartilage joints provide a more mobile situation and even the sternum has at least two semi-movable joints in its structure.
Look up Costral Cartilages and Vertebrocostral Joints (New Atlas of Human Anatomy 1999, McCraken) if you would like to appreciate the actual anatomy of the rib cage and the reasons behind it's mobility.
Think about breathing and CPR - you can compress the chest 2"+ during CPR - Where does that movement come from?

So - is the rib cage a cage or a spring?

From Dead anatomy to Living Function -
Dead anatomy is a cadaver laying on a table. Living function is a miraculous interplay of the anatomical structures and the Neurological and Physiological systems of the human body.
Dead anatomy is only a starting point. It cannot and will never match up to the myriad wonders of the whole integrated system.
Mechanoreceptors, Golgi tendon organs, intrafusel muscle fibers, and many, many other neurologically based structures change the dead anatomy freeze frame picture into a flowing movie.
Ten of the ribs have joints connecting them to the spine and have two more joints where the ribs meet the costral cartilages and then where that cartilage joins the sternum. All of these joints are alive with neurological pieces and parts that relay information to the brain. Instead of being a piece of dead rigid cage - the thoracic spine is alive with movement and function.

For the shoulder the thoracic spine is essential to the health and movement of the scapula and thereby the glenohumeral joint. If you lack shoulder movement check the thoracic spine.

What about the rest of the spine?
Yes you need mobility and movement skill at the Lumbar and Cervical areas of the spine but don't forget about the Thoracic spine as an integral part of the "spinal engine".

Want to know more about the interplay of the Thoracic spine and shoulder? Please check out Secrets of the Shoulder by myself and Gray Cook - click the link.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back from the June RKC...

Here is a pic of me demonstrating the KB Front Squat:

It was a great RKC weekend - a great group of RKC Candidates made their way through a grueling three days and were transformed.

Now - back to work and training...

Speaking of training...6/10/08...

Prep work:

Goblet squat 32kg x 5, Thoracic Rotation, ASLR

32kg Get-up x 3+3 - Shaun C. Snatch switch at the top continuous style

32kg MP ladder 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

superset with

32kg Front squat ladder 1+1 - 2+2 - 3+3 - 4+4 - 5+5

32kg One Arm Swings 8 reps per 15 seconds with 15 sec. rest - 10 sets

20kg Windmill x 3+3

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Off to the RKC...

I leave tomorrow morning for the RKC in MSP. These are always intense and exciting weekends and I love being a part of them.

Will blog if I can.
Training 6/4/08:

Quick and simple...

Prep Work:
32kg Halo x 3+3
32kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation

32 kg Bottoms Up Get-up x 1 R + 0 L
32kg Get-up x 2+2

32kg Snatches 3+3 in 15 seconds with15 seconds rest
x 10 sets in 4:45

Quick and simple - the hand switch adds some time but it was a good little sprint.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Training 6-2-08:

Prep work:
24kg Halo x 5+5
24kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation

24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 5 singles each arm

{24kg Alternating swings x 20 + Burpees x 10}
10 sets total in 18 minutes (first 5 sets complete in 7:56)

A nice PR and progression on my Alt swing + burpee workout - I think I finished the 10 sets in just under 20 minutes last time so knocking just shy of 2 minutes off of that and getting the first five sets done in less than 8 minutes is another big progression. Fun stuff - I was huffing and puffing - great conditioning work.

Very busy right now personally and professionally - Travel to MSP this thursday thru sunday and fitting in clients and other business progressions is making this a challenging but very rewarding time.

More in the morning...

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