Friday, August 31, 2012

Squats - A Day Early

We're away as a family over the weekend, might ride bikes a little but no lifting other than some bodyweight stuff, so I decided to do my usual Saturday FSQ workout a day early.

Warmup - the usual, cossacks, shoulder dislocates, OHS w/ stick, etc.


bar x 3 - paused and exhaled

95 x 3 - paused and exhaled

135 x 3 - paused

Too long a wait after the last warmup - house full of kids, older son came home from college, etc.

165 x 2 paused, 2 paused, 3 not paused - video taken from the other side (my right).  Video:

Assisted 1-arm pullups - have been assisting with 2 fingers over, today only 1 finger, index finger, over but slightly narrower grip spacing.  2 left pulling, 2 right pulling, rest, repeat

HLR: L, R, L, R in a single set, as usual of late - more doesn't feel good right now, and these are consistently better to the left than to the right, feels like something in my back that doesn't bend as well on one side as the other.

Onward and Upward

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bench Press

Didn't get to bench press yesterday, so I'm doing it today.

Walk about 2 miles to warmup, then cossack sequence on the front porch

DB BP: 20's x 5


bar x 5

95 x 5

Feeling the need to recycle on BP so we'll try 135:

135 x 3, 2, 5 - better setup, 7 - shorter pause on chest, not sure it's really 2 more reps ...

Again got short on time today so that's all, but that was enough.  My left shoulder works just fine _if_ I hit the right groove.

Onward and Upward!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Front Squat - Improvement Continues

warmup - shoulder dislocates, OHS w/ stick, OHS w/ empty bar


bar x 2, 95 x 2, 135 x 2

160 x 5, 3 - was short on time, not much rest between sets, but otherwise felt good.  Video:

No time for more today, but 160 x 5 is excellent - my PR was 165 x 1 a few months ago, and now I might hit 165 x 5 in a few days - cool!

Onward and Upward!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Assisted One-Arm Pushups and Hand Stands

Assisted one-arm pushups using a furniture slider moved straight up, left side first: 5, 3 - thought about 5, 3, 2 for this but the 5 and the 3 were enough for me today

Short rest then:

Wall-supported handstand holds for time: :30, :20 - still tired from pushups, still hard on wrists due to lack of flexibility.  Need to try to increase volume of these because I feel far from "at home" in this position.

Stretching including splits - aahh, feels good.

[Edit] - Later, did 5 assisted one-arm pullups each side, same format as usual - pulling hand under, assisting hand two fingers over.

Onward and Upward!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Mix of Things

Did some pretty vigorous stretching to start including t-spine rotation from a lunge position, started to cramp in obliques.

I've been feeling the lack of snatches last Friday, plus I've been missing my kettlebell presses and pullups.  I decided to do a few press/pu supersets as I'd been, but to substitute assisted one-arm pullups for the weighted ones I'd been oding.

24: press x 1, pu x 1 w/ one hand under, two fingers over

24: repeat above but triples - get twice as many pu this way since we need to do both sides.

24: snatch, 3+3 on the minute for 8 sets - I've concluded that my snatch form and my snatch fitness are both pretty awful.  24 kg feels like a nice change of pace.  Turning the handle on the backswing definitely helps.  I'm still not sure exactly what sort of grip I want in my left hand, etc.

HLR: L + R + L + R, then L + R

Onward and Upward!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breathing Front Squats

Yesterday, Friday, just some stretching and more driving.  Was a planned kettlebell snatch day but I've been feeling burned out on those, anyway, so I'm happy to have had the day off.  Did a few assisted one-armed pushups in the hotel room - 5 each side in a single set.

Today, Saturday, per Marty:

FSQ: 135 lbs. to (failure minus one)

I didn't really make it that far because my left middle finger started going from stretched to actually painful so I stopped.

But Marty said his goal for me was 9 - 11 reps, and I got 12, so I'm content.  I think, had my finger not bothered me, 20 reps wasn't out of the question.  6 reps straight through then breathing every 2 reps after that.


Onward and Upward!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Variety - BW work

A busy day including travel, so:

Handstand: 40 seconds, then 30 seconds - excellent, up from 2 x 20 seconds the last time we did these.

1-arm pushup, assisted - will do these then head out, will update blog entry later today

NB: Marty says he wants me to take a break from squatting 5's and try 135 x near-max reps (failure minus one).  I will be dong that on Saturday.

May also do some pistols later today, maybe some qigong - we'll see how my time is later.

Onward and Upward.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FSQ and BP

warmup - little stretching

FSQ:  3 reps each: bar, 95, 135, then

155 x 5, 5 - video

DB BP: 15's x 5, 20's x 5

BP: 3 reps each: bar, 95, 135, then

155 x 3, 2 - that's all she wrote on this weight today

A few toe touches to stretch the lower back and hamstrings, then

HLR: legs L, legs R, L, R, same as a few days ago, all in a single set - getting easier

Onward and Upward

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Just a Walk and Yard Work

I took a short nap yesterday around 6 PM for half an hour.

Today, I did the same thing at 11 AM.

These things together convinced me that I needed to do _no_ weight lifting today.  Just a bit of stretching, a walk to the grocery store, and some moderately vigorous yard work.

Tomorrow, we try front squatting _over_ bodyweight for 5 reps for the first time, 155 x 5.

Onward and Upward!

Monday, August 20, 2012

My Take on Pavel's Departure from DragonDoor - plus a Short Snatch Session

I posted this on the private, RKC-only forum a day or two ago but I think bears repeating here:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Pavel and John have made an announcement to let us know a change is coming. This doesn't obligate each of us to offer an opinion. In another life, I had a business partner with whom, at one point, I had a profound difference of vision as to the future of our joint endeavor and we also elected to have an amicable parting of the ways. These things happen, the current RKC community has been informed that this one is going to happen, and the details relevant to each of us will, no doubt, become evident in the ensuing months. 

Our anxiety may make it difficult for us to sit silently as we watch two people who have been friends, business partners, and very important people in each of our lives dissolve their relationship and offer each of us different visions of where our individual futures under their leadership could be headed - but that's life, this is their issue first and foremost, not yours or mine, and we owe them the respect they both have earned by allowing them to complete this separation without a lot of noise from us. It is, at best, arrogant for any of us to think that something we have to say at this point will make a difference to Pavel and John. 

When a choice is to be made, a time that will come but clearly hasn't come yet, we need to continue to treat each other with kind of kindness and respect that John and Pavel have shown for each other and towards each of us over the years.

Just my opinion, your mileage may vary.

My practice for today - I had originally planned to try to improve on my 140 snatches in 11:45 from Friday, but after doing 64 snatches, I quit.  I did a lot yesterday, supposedly an easy/off day, including a bunch of extra assisted 1-arm pushups and jackknife pushups and the like because people started talking about all that at the dinner I was at.

Today, I'm tired.  My weight continues to drop slowly, about 1 lb. per week, and I was 151.8 this morning.  The snatch session just didn't feel good after about 5 minutes so it was time to make a decision I've been thinking about for a while - as I get to harder and harder snatch workouts, maybe the format should be one easy and one hard workout each week.

That's my plan for now, and we'll see how Friday's snatch session goes.  If I'm still tired, it may be that this week is backoff week for snatches - we'll just have to see.

Onward and Upward.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday - Walk, Handstands and One-Armed Pushups

Walked a couple of miles w/ my wife in the AM, later stretched and did.  Some stretching on the front porch - bayonet stick shoulder stretch from SJ (been doing this one more lately), cossacks, OHS w/ stick, etc.

Assisted 1-arm pushups: used furniture slider for assisting hand where the elbow is kept locked.  I moved the assisting hand straight to the front - to the side gives more assistance.  Last time I did these, I did 3 each side.  This time, 5 each side, then 2 more, then 2 more.  Form improving, strength at this movement improving.  Thank you, Max Shank - this is a great way to work up to (or back to, in my case) a one-armed pushup.

Handstand: wall-supported for the most part, 3 x 20-second holds on the wall, a few quasi-free-standing but not really, more like abortive attempts that took a while to fall down.  I find it difficult to get all the way to heels on the wall without breaking my elbow locks - I seem to break my elbows slightly when getting to the final hold position - a thing to work on for sure.  Working the wall-supported version with locked elbows also challenges my wrist flexibility - working this version up to a full minute seems like the next logical step.

Onward and upward, and snatches tomorrow.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Snatches on Friday, FSQ PR and BP on Saturday

Friday:  Yesterday I did my usual-of-late 20 kg snatch workout of 8+8 on the 1:15

Instead of stopping when I felt like I could no longer do 8+8, I switched to 6+6 two sets then 5+5 for two more sets.  Here's the layout of the practice session:

00:00 - start 8L + 8R = 16 reps
01:15 - start 8R + 8L = 32 reps

02:30 - start 8L + 8R = 48 reps
03:45 - start 8R + 8L = 64 reps

05:00 - start 8L + 8R = 80 reps
06:15 - start 8R + 8L = 96 reps

07:30 - start 6L + 6R = 108 reps
08:45 - start 6R + 6L = 120 reps

10:00 - start 5L + 5R = 130 reps
11:15 - start 5R + 5L = 140 reps total in 11:45

Notes - this is an intermediate stage between 5+5 on the 1:00 for 200 reps and eventually 10+10 for 140 reps.  For comparison's sake, the snatch test would be 10+10 on the 1:00 - this is 8+8 on the 1:15.

My next workout like this will hopefully get closer to the goal of all 8+8 and 160 reps.  When I hit that, the next thing will be to switch to 9+9 and lower the total goal volume to around 150 reps, to be followed by 10 + 10 with a total volume of 140 reps.  That accomplished, I will begin to reduce the rest periods.

Note also that this is training, done twice a week, and not a maximum effort but a moderately hard effort.  I have asthma and I cannot regularly push myself as hard as some people.  My training concept is to keep the effort hard but still moderate enough in intensity that I'm well able to walk away from it a few minutes later with my pulse and respiration mostly back to normal.

Saturday:  FSQ and BP.

NB: A bit of "runners' knee" on the right side, not quite sure why except that I've been realigning lately, able to keep my right knee pushed out when doing getups - unfortunately, there's no such thing as a free lunch and I may have been compensating for something there and just found out why.  We'll see, and we'll see how it holds up squatting today.

Warmup - shoulder dislocates and OHS with a stick

FSQ: warmup with bar x 3, 95 lb. x 3, 135 lb. x 3 - Marty wants +5 lbs. per session so here goes

150 x 5 - videotaped, felt good, 5 - videotaped again, here are both sets:

Bodyweight this morning was 152 lbs.

15 lb. x a few, looking for groove, hurts, then remembered to keep elbows in - ah, feels great
20 lb. x 4

bar x 3, 95 lb x 3, 135 x 3, all pinkies just inside the rings

Stretched hip flexors a bit, then

150 x 5, 5 - last couple of each set were definitely weaker but hey, they touched, they paused, and they went back up.  Very important to keep my elbows in, nice that the grip inside the rings is working, may try to go narrower but likely not by much and not too soon, either/

HLR: best to date, a left, a right, a left, a right, all in a single set, all (of course) paused at the bottom, no kip, etc.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Variety - Bodyweight Exercises

An off/easy day - some easy stretching to start

Then a few each of

Frog Press to Headstand - what my wife showed me she learned in a yoga class

Straight-leg Press to Headstand - what I usually do

Kick-up to Handstand and hold - getting better, did these on thick mats, makes wrists flex more, don't like that, probably won't use thick mats again for this.

1-arm pushup work - with sliders on carpet and assisting arm going out straight ahead, wide stance for feet, 2 each side, rest, 3 each side

HLR to finish, left-right pair, 2 - only a minute between the sets, an improvement

Onward and Upward.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Front Squat, DB BP w/ Loose Plates, and Bench Press

Warmup - yard work

FSQ: bar x 1, 135 x 1

145 is our new working weight for at least a week, which is 2 sessions

145 x 3, 4, 4, 5 - video of last set below

NB: This is effectively bodyweight. I compete at 148 and weighed 152 this morning, height is about 5' 7", age is 57.

DB BP: used Oly plates today, 5 reps @ 10 lb plate in each hand, repeat twice w/ 2 x 10 in each hand and that's heavy enough for this fake dumbbell method.  Supposed to be picking up some more real dumbbells tomorrow.  Video

If you don't know Marty's Gallagher's methods, please note that this isn't supposed to be heavy, it's just supposed to give you a nice stretch at the bottom of the range of motion.  I have a problematic left shoulder and a tight pec minor there, and this is _the_ thing that helps it more than anything else.

BP: bar x 2, 2, 5 - all without getting up from bench, must, must, must, must remember to stretch out upper chest and extend t-spine - that's what lets the left shoulder work.  Pinkie on rings for the most part, narrower didn't feel good.  This is the best stretch in the left pec minor and the best the left shoulder has felt in the last few weeks since vacation and no BP for 8 days - that really caused me to lose some flexibility here.

Onward and upward, Comrades.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Variety - BW-Only Windmills, Assisted 1-Arm PU, HLR

Some nice stretching on thick mats to start

PU/CU variations - a few of a variety of them, the hardest being 1 finger over assisting 1 hand under, always pulling chin straight up to the main side.  Got 3 each side assisting w/ 2 fingers - that's a better rep range for me, single finger assisting is too tough, especially pulling left w/ right assisting.

Windmills, bw only, 5 or 6 each side - good for the hips, good for the hamstrings, good for all those little glute and lower back muscles.  Try to focus on maximum rearward displacement of bearing hip, and keeping bearing side big toes on the ground.

A few airborne lunges - I have no control over the bottom of the movement so I'm only going as deep as I can manage.  Dorsiflexion is definitely an issue here, especially on my left side.  Will need to find a suitable box for the back knee and gradually increase the ROM from there.

HLR: as usual of late, one to the left and one to the right.  Tried looking mostly down - at a spot about 2 feet in front of me on the floor - seems to do the trick as well or better as looking straight ahead, will see what Pavel, Rif, Max and company have to say - asked on the RKC-only forum.

28 kg: mil press, lf, 1 - just to make sure I can keep doing these, and this lets me skip it tomorrow.

HLR: as above one more time.

Splits work on the front porch.

A nice variety/easy day - onward and upward, Comrades!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Off Day, Qigong + Snatch Day

Sunday, yesterday, no lifting - took a 2-mile walk, felt really tired both before and after it, and then took a nap from 5 to 8 PM - felt much better afterwards.  My wife says I've been burning the candle at both ends for the last 3 weeks and I just needed a break.  No problem falling asleep at 11 PM.

Monday, August 13:

qigong on the front porch including 3 alternating crane pistols each side - since I'm only doing these 2 or 3 times a week, I'm going to try to do more of them.  In all cases, I do my best to completely relax at the bottom, pause that way, then re-pressurize and come up.  Calf stretching before qigong - should help, not sure it does, though.


20: snatch, 8+8 on the 1:15, 6 sets, 96 total reps.  Would have done more but the phone started ringing off the hook and, after ignoring it a few times, it just got to be too much of a distraction.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Squat and Bench Press

Training w/ friends, a few 2 x 24 kg swings, 1 or 2 HLR straight to the center

How to warmup for squatting?  By squatting, of course.

Shoulder dislocates with a stick.

OHS with a stick


empty bar x 3

135 x 5, 5, 5, 5 - video of 4th set

That felt good enough that I decided to try the next workout's weight, 145, for the final set

145 x 3 - yes, it's heavier, and yes, I'm getting tired. :)

DB BP: 35's x 2, 5 - gradually finding the good spot for the left shoulder again

BP:  145 x 5, 2 - grip pinkies just inside the rings, shoulder almost stretched out enough but not quite so we'll stop here.

HLR: 1 to the left side, 1 to the right - getting tired but basically OK, I think

Friday, August 10, 2012

Snatches - All Nose Breathing

First, qigong on the front porch including 1 crane pistol each side.

Then my plan called for a new set of 8+8 snatches, 20 kg, every 1:15.

This time, I decided to strictly nose breath both in and out.  Here's what happened:

0:00 - 8L + 8R
1:15 - 8R + 8L - lost nose breathing on exhaled

Decided to take an extra full minute's rest

3:30 - 8L + 8R
4:45 - 8R + 8L - excellent, nose breathing throughout this time.

I knew, not having done these for over a week, that I'd have to back off, so I decided to learn something from the experience.  My form was much better when I kept the nose breathing both ways.  Also, I noticed there is a subtle shift in the spine when I switch hands and that doesn't always happen as it should.  Today, both times the right hand went second, it didn't feel great - things just weren't properly aligned.  Given that my right is usually my strongest side, I'm not troubled, but I need to keep trying to find a way to self-adjust my spine between hands - maybe just relax more into the first rep after each switch ...

long break, then toe touch stretches then

HLR to the side, first left and then right, one single each side is plenty for me right now - excellent result today, didn't have to let go of the bar and reset between the two sides, form/skill is definitely improving.

Onward and Upward!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bodyweight Exercise Workshop, First Day Back

This is my first post in a week (actually 8 days).  After lifting last Wednesday, on Thursday I traveled to Minneapolis, MN, to participate in the Bodyweight Exercise Workshop put on by Dragon Door and led by Pavel, Master RKC Mark "Rif" Reifkind and Senior RKC Max Shank.

Thursday, August 2 - Travel Day, uneventful.

Friday, August 3 through Sunday, August 5 - Bodyweight Exercise Workshop.

I am _still_ sore and didn't exercise at all on Monday, which was my travel day to home, and for two more days after that.

It was a _tremendous_ workshop.  The RKC is a principles-based system, and while I felt pretty well-acquainted with the principles before this workshop, learning the specific skills and progressions to put those principles into practice with only one's bodyweight was fantastic.  I feel I have many more tools in my arsenal, and I intend to be doing a freestanding handstand one of these days.  The ring work was enlightening - you can really find your own groove on the rings, much as you can with a kettlebell.  The floor work, specifically the one-armed pushup, was harder on my old shoulders but I intended to find my groove there as well - the details of how to do a one-armed pushup will be, I'm quite sure, the "missing link" for me and enable me to reachieve this movement after not having done it for a number of years.  And last but not least, all the Primal Move stuff we were exposed to as warmups was fantastic - I'm looking forward to learning more about that.

Today, I decided to start with one hanging leg raise to each side, that is, bringing my feet to the outside of first my left hand and then my right for the second rep.  Tough move but one I want to get good at - at the workshop, I volunteered to demonstrate this, did it right side first but then had trouble completing the left side - just too tired.  I will try to gently GTG on these and likely do them at the end of a workout but for today, since I felt so out of the exercise groove, I decided I needed a good, swift kick in the pants to start, so a pair of HLR's it was.

FSQ:  started with the bar only, did the Franken variation and moved up and down through the short ROM around the sticking point - simple, brutal, effective.

95 lbs. x 3

Then took a break from FSQ to do:

24: mil press, 2 supersetted w/ pullup w/ bell on left foot, did one rep pulling more to left side, second rep pulling more to right side - using a tip from the BE workshop about making pullups harder.

Back to FSQ:

135 x 2, 4, 4, 2 - left middle finger was tight, decided to stop here.  My wife watched and gave me feedback about my knees buckling in - I am essentially clueless on this.  I can try to keep them pushed out but I can't tell if I'm doing it successfully or not.  For a first day doing this again in 8 days, I'm content - would have liked more but this will do.

DB BP: 2, 2, 2 - all rather weak, shaky, and the first few hurt - not good, no bar BP today, will try these again tomorrow.  Good that they felt better as they went along.

Now a little bodyweight stuff:

Uneven chinup - using Olympic bar attached to the top of my power rack (thicker than usual p/u bar), main hand underhand grip and just inside the ring, supporting hand overhand grip and only first two fingers using overhand grip.  One right, one left, rest, two left, two right w/ my wife watching

Hand stand kickups - one, two, three into a wall-spotted handstand, rest, repeat - not good but I know what I need to work on.

[Edit] - did a few standing wheel rollouts on my 4th step incline board.

Onward and upward.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Day Off then FSQ/BP today

Tuesday, yesterday, I did no exercise - I had planned to have FSQ and BP day but, boy, was I tired, probably largely due to having stayed up later than usual to watch the Olympics on TV the night before.  I decided to take the day off and even took a nap in the afternoon, and today, Wednesday, I'm still a little tired but I intend to lift today.

Tomorrow, Thursday, I'm flying to MN to take part in the Bodyweight Exercise Workshop over Friday through Sunday.


28: mil press/pu: 1 (bell on left foot), 1 (bell on right foot) - videotaped this one, here's a link:

NB: This is my RKC-II press weight for my age if I elected to go in at my daily 153 lbs.   If I drop below 150, and since I compete as a 148 in PL, I do this regularly, then my RKC-II press weight is 24 kg.

I'm not sure where my 32 kg press is these days, but I can certainly do 28 kg for more than one single in a workout and probably could do a few doubles or triples.  In other words, my kettlebell military press is "good enough" for my current goals, which are to increase my powerlifting numbers while not losing my kettlebell press entirely.  Maybe an improved bench press actually starts to help my kettlebell military press if my bench press improves enough.

FSQ: bar x 2, 135 x 2, 4, 6, 4 - tried my wife pulling right knee inward w/ jumpstretch mini for final set but it didn't work, just dropped it in the middle, will revisit in the future - it's a good idea, we just need to find a place for her to be.

Took about a 45 min. break to teach a lesson, then:

DB BP: 35 lb. dumbbells x 4, pause and exhale

BP: bar x 5,
135 x 8, pinkies just inside rings
135 x 8, same grip - almost too easy
145 x 5, same grip, still pretty easy for the first few reps and stil could have cranked out another or two

WHEEL: Standing, on board w/ top end on 4th step, 3 reps to full extension

Onward and Upward, Comrades