29 November 2008

2 x 16 kg jerk: 10 reps
2 x 24 kg jerk:
2 min/10 reps
4 min/21 reps

Wanted to do another minute, but old friend fucking headache came back. Shit, I was feeling so strong. Will have to stick to one arm and assistance stuff. Still, my (paultry) new best... by one rep...

32 kg OAJ: 10L/10R
24 kg OAJ: 15L/15R

50 kg jump squats: 35 reps
60 kg jump squats: 30 reps

Headache is getting worse, should stop (hope I'm not popping an aneurism!)

Two thoughts from today's workout. First, warmup is important. I am sure my headache is coming from the strain in the neck. I guess for PTP type workout it is ok not to do it, but for strenuous endurance stuff it is. Next time I am going to get the shoulders and the neck ready for jerks.

Second - I think I am getting the technique of jerks, at least improving in it. Couple of aspects I got good feeling of are: a) resting the elbows on the iliac spines and keeping the arms and shoulders as relaxed as possible b) pushing the bells with the legs through the hips, through the arms, with the latter getting into the lift as late as possible c) finding the least strenuous overhead position d) on the way down exclude th arm completely; rolling the bells over the shoulders helps a lot. Oh yeah, keeping the legs straight in the rack position. It is easier if you do some hip flexor stretches before the workout. Another one - taking an extra breath in the overhead position, it is easier with the bells up there than with the forearms pressing on the abdomen.

That'll be all for today. I am going to shut up now...

26 November 2008

60 kg BB squat: 60 x 4 x 4
24 kg snatch: 10L/10R
16 kg snatch: 30L/30R
2 x 16 kg jerk: 3 min/25 reps

Feeling very weak today for some reason.

23 November 2008

Barbell squats:
80 kg x 5 x 5

Treadmill run: 30 minutes
Still a shit runner, but getting marginally better.

It looks like I am progressing better in squats than GS! Should I switch to PL?


Or rather Supermethods of Special Physical Preparation of High Class Athletes, the article by Professor Yuri Verkhoshansky, well known world sports scientist. I wanted to discuss it here as I think it is applicable to girevoy sport training, even for low ranked amateurs. Full text of the article can be found on Verkhoshansky’s site.

There is a lot of theory in the article that I am not going to bore you with. Those interested can read the original. In short, the Professor states that the key mechanism behind sports mastery in the specific motor potential and the ability of the athlete to utilize in during competition. The development of this motor potential is achieved by methods of Special Physical Preparation (SPP). Finally, the progress in sport is based on very specific morpho-functional specialization, which can only develop if SPP is applied during many years of training.

So, what are these methods and what makes them different from “normal” training. Now it is getting interesting. Traditional training depends on conscious effort. For example, you load the bar, squat and then try to stand up. The load is gradually increased and you get stronger. At some point, however, the point will be reached when you cannot get up with the bar no matter what reward is promised to you. From this it follows that the effect of the traditional training is determined by the athlete strength of will.

It is known, however, that under hypnosis or under extreme conditions people are capable of demonstrating remarkable feats of strength. We have all heard stories about women lifting cars off their sons, small guys fighting off big badassess and elderly people lifting their very heavy belongings and carrying them out of a house engulfed by fire. Somewhat similar conditions can be recreated in the laboratory by forcing the body to perform work above the limit. The simplest example is running down a slight incline at maximum speed: you are forced to run faster than you possibly can on the even surface, and this extra speed is largely independent on your will power, you just have to do it if you don’t want to fall.

Apparently, there are four groups of innate potential of the human organism:

Reserves used in reactive movements. Usual level of activity, constitutes about 15% of the maximum possible effort.

Reserves used in under conditions of elevated muscular activity. That would be sports training, among other things, about 20%.

“Special” reserves utilized only under conditions of great intensity or duration, about 35%. The example would be performance at the Olympic Games.

Finally, “innately defended” physical potential, used only under extreme, life-threatening conditions.

The last two potentials are locked by the body behind some sort of mobilization barrier. Central nervous system normally simply inhibits your efforts at developing maximally possible effort your body is capable of. The reason behind it is the protection of the musculo-skeletal system. I frequently anaesthetize patients for Achilles tendon repair. It is interesting, that Achilles ruptures are often seen in reasonably fit individuals, not overweight middle aged guys as you should logically expect. One of the surgeons told me that such tears most commonly happen when the load is applied unexpectedly. For instance, when a person misses the last step on the stairs in the darkness. What happens, I suppose, is that the calf muscles contract reflexively, and the inhibitory control of the central nervous system is lost for a moment. As the result the muscles contract with the force exceeding the strength of the Achilles tendon and it ruptures. It would be nice, of course, to be able to show off extraordinary strength, but these demonstrations in normal people are more likely to end up in serious trauma.

In his article Verkhoshansky has an illustration of mechanical response of triceps muscles of gymnasts of various ages, achieved by either voluntary contraction or by electric stimulation. As expected, by voluntary flexing (rather extending) the triceps 10 – 14 year old athletes show the weakest force of contraction, 17 – 18 year olds develop more force and 19 – 21 year old guys develop the highest force. Amazingly, when the triceps muscles of the same guys are electrically stimulated that develop similar force, which is higher than in the three preceding examples! The evidence that the nervous system is the main limiting factor in muscular strength, not the muscles themselves. So the skill of the high class athlete is the ability to utilize this extra potential that has been there all along.

One way to overcome the inhibitory barrier of the nervous system is doping. As it follows from the example above, this way of increasing your muscular potential is dangerous and can be lethal.

Better way to do it is to trick the body into using more power. But how? Professor talks about two main ways: the shock method and the stimulation method.

Shock method.

This method, developed in the 1950-s, is intended for the explosive ability of the muscles and the reactive ability of the neuro-muscular apparatus. It is the same as plyometric method. The essence of the method consists of a stimulatory muscle stretch created by the kinetic energy accumulated from the athlete’s falling body from the specific, strictly proscribed height. The resistance of the falling body is sharply stopped and reversed. The stretching of the muscles triggers the stretch-contraction reflex, which adds to the voluntary action of the muscles. The simplest example of this method is depth jump: jumping off a chair and bouncing off the floor trying to jump as high as possible. Before you try it – warning: try something lower first, it is possible to screw up your knees from the first attempt if you haven’t done it before.

Verkhoshansky quotes an experiment on weightlifters. Experimental group did depth jumps for three weeks, three times a week, 40 jumps per session. Squats and traditional jumping experiments were removed from their training program. Those in control group continued traditional training. After three weeks speed of movement, maximum effort, maximum strength and power of effort was considerably higher in the experimental group. There are no actual numbers in the text, only the graph, and visually it looks like 2 – 4 times difference in parameters.

When you think about it, it makes sense to use plyometrics in GS training. In fact, the sharp reversal of the bell at the bottom of the snatch makes it a plyometric exercise to a degree to start with. Maybe that is why its impact on strength and power is so remarkable. I also think that plyometrics can be useful for training for double jerks. And one such exercise is included in the AKC methodology: jump squat, a nice video of which has been posted on Youtube (and Igx), coming from the Father of AKC philosophy, coach Philikidi. The video is at this link:


The original jump squats should be useful for GS as well, and the load can be regulated by the height of the step from which you jump and the depth of the squat. We can leave it to Kenneth Jay to put it into math, for me it is enough to know that the higher the initial height, the more profound the impact of the jump. You can also do just series of continuous jumps, from very low to very high positions, for numbers or for the distance. Here is some cool video:


It is important to remember that it is a high impact exercise and must be introduced very carefully. In fact, the Professor insists that it should not be used in children or athletes of low rankings. I think it should be ok, as long as the load is selected wisely.

There are plyometric exercises for the upper body as well, an example of a pushup is here:


There are some videos of pushups done on unstable medicine balls. I don't think it is a good idea. The whole point of the shock method is maximal mobilization of physical reserves, and doing it an unstable objects reduces the effect and mixes the goals.

Another exercise that fits shock method is skipping rope jumping. You can also regulate the load by adjusting the depth of jumps. It is good cardio exercise as well. I came across a site on the Net that offers heavy skipping ropes, up to 3 kg I think. I believe it would be more appropriate to place the load on the hips, so that the impact of jumping and the corresponding stretch reflex are amplified.

Stimulation method.

Another way to trick the body. It essence lies in performing traditional exercise with considerable load (80% RM) and then performing sport specific routines. For example, sprints after doing 2 sets of barbell squat for 4-6 repetitions and 3-4 minutes break between sets. In the experiment quoted in the article doing back squat increased explosive isometric effort of leg extensors by 26% after the first minute, and then by 65% after 4-5 minutes.

The stimulating effect of the initial exercise does not last long, and it is important to time the main exercise appropriately. It seems like 4-5 minutes is the optimal time.

Paul Tucker once mentioned that doing 2 x 24 kg jerks at the beginning of the session makes the consecutive sets with 16s easier, as the body is primed by heavier bells. I also noticed that when working with heavy(er) bells the third and fourth sets are the most productive. Stimulation method in practice, I guess.

Verkhoshansky’s primary interest is track and field, and the examples of exercises in his article are selected appropriately. It is almost always squat with 80% RM first, followed by running or jumping. It can also be combined with deep jumps. It goes without saying that it should be done very carefully.

The form of the priming exercise has no value and is not important, as long as appropriate groups of muscles are employed, i.e. those that are targeted in the main exercise. Between the sets flexibility and relaxation exercises should be performed. Stimulation method should not be used at the end of the session or in fatigued state. It is a powerful training method and should not be used too often.

Here you are two methods to force the body to utilize its carefully guarded reserves for your disposal. Feel free to report the experiences.

22 November 2008

I am away from home and on call, so workout is going to be fragmented.

20 kg snatch:
3 min each arm (1 switch), 50 rep/arm

Skipping rope: 5 minutes

20 November 2008

2 x 24 kg jerk:

2 min/10 reps
2 min/10 reps
3 min/15 reps
3 min/15 reps
2 min/10 reps

Rest 3-4 minutes between sets

60 reps total (2880 kg)

BB squat 55 kg:
4 sets of 4 reps

Who is who in nutritional supplements by Dr.Lyuber

Sports nutrition: who is who (or what is what)

Dr Lyuber is not completely unknown to the Western public: his workout routines have been mentioned by Pavel in Beyond Bodybuilding. I have read his book Bodybuilding Our Way and have a lot of respect for him. His main goal of training is getting big by lifting bigger weights and getting strong, not meaninglessly pumping muscles for show.

I came across his article on nutritional supplements at http://www.ironworld.ru/diet/detail.php?ID=1960 , the site mostly aimed at bodybuilders. As with everything else Dr Lyuber writes about, this article is logical, consistent and makes a lot of sense. Below is somewhat shortened version of the article translated to English.

Frankly speaking, starts Dr Lyuber, for the last ten years I have not been involved in the intricacies of the topic of nutritional supplements, mostly because I have already burned myself with it. When supplements became popular in Russia I, like majority of people, was charmed by the advertisements of the industry (in my case it concerned Weider, Twinlab and Cybergenics), almost believed the scary fairy tales about steroids and started using “miracle-products” from “over the curtain”. The consequence – three years of my life and not one thousand dollars were wasted, and while deciding which super-duper supplement differs from the other I managed to lose around twenty kilos in bench press and several centimeter of biceps, while acquiring the “ears” on the waistline (love handles). One day I got fed up with this “progress”, roids were unconditionally rehabilitated and life miraculously transformed: the waistline god “dryer”, the weights started moving up again, and again I was not ashamed to wear short sleeved T-shirts. And the hobby of bodybuilding became way cheaper.

Recently, however, the doubt has returned: maybe in recent years food technology was “revolutionized”, made “breakthrough to the future” and turned from means of pumping money from trusting like children “muscle pumpers” into something really worthwhile and necessary? Reading articles in various journals added to the confusion and the feeling of being left behind. Thankfully, the period of intellectual suffering didn’t last long, and having dived into the bodybuilding movement and communicated with those who have been there all along the spirit relaxed again and the confusion has left.

Some aspects of nutritional supplements

I can dig out a lot of these aspects, but the first one, visible without glasses, I would call “aspect of incorrect directive”. For many neophytes who set feet in the gym for the first time the only information on bodybuilding is that from magazines with shiny covers, and they religiously believe that as soon as the start taking this or that advertised supplement their muscles will immediately proliferate and they will soon look similar to that big guy on the picture. When it doesn’t happen, they direct all their enthusiasm to experiments with the next product that “explodes the most hopeless muscles”. Sad, these “musculateurs” don’t realize that nutritional supplements are nothing more than SUPPLEMENTS, and without well planned training, balanced nutrition with “usual” products and proper rest any supplements will be useless. Exchanging the directive to “plow” with the directive to “search for a miracle” is the road to nowhere.

Another side of the same aspect is that if you want not only “build a bit of muscle” but body composition that fills modern bodybuilding magazines and believe that can get away only by finding proper nutritional supplement – I recommend you to take off the “pink glasses”. If you think that athletes whose bodies decorate advertising posters take the same stuff that they advertise – it is completely true, and if they do, then it constitutes only small addition to the real “formula of champions”. This formula is well known, but not widely advertised due to tradition. At the first glance it looks like this: “steroids + HGH + insulin + synthol + other small stuff (thyroid, clenbuterol, antiestrogens, diuretics and so on)”. And if someone standing at the highest step of the pedestal tells you that he never took anything from the above list but “became massive and defined thanks to the products of ISS – BSN – Dymazite” – take it as you take the TV adverts of beer: everyone on the screen is young, slim, beautiful and smart, but in real life we see only stinking idiots with big bellies. I am exaggerating, of course, but the distance between the promised and delivered for nutritional supplements is similar.

Anyway, let’s not shake the air for no reason and rather discuss another aspect of supplements, purely “applied”: is it really necessary to take great amounts of supplements and is it really useful? In order not to pile everything in the same heap I suggest that we classify the abundance of nutritional supplements into several groups. It can look like this:

Protein powders, amino acids, food substitutes
Gainers and energetics
Vitamins and minerals
Preparations for joints and ligaments
Fat burners
Creating and its derivatives; nitric oxide
Potency stimulants
General tonics

Useful effects of nutritional supplements

We will now discuss useful effects of supplements in relation to the goals of bodybuilding and the necessity of every group from the position of average athlete, never mind on steroids or not, who does not have an extra suitcase of money.


The fact that a bodybuilder needs considerably more protein than usual person has been established and proven long ago. And if it is not possible to get the necessary dose from food, the only way out is to add protein cocktail, food replacer or amino acids to the ration. Another matter is that it should not cross reasonable limits and these should not replace the usual food. On the other hand, addition of special additions like metoxyipriflavone to the powder does not carry any additional benefits and only allows the manufacturer charge extra dollars for usual protein.

Gainers and energetics

The usefulness of these is very doubtful. They can indeed help increase the bodyweight, but large part of the gain will be fat, for simple reason that the amount of calories that these gainers carry is difficult to direct to the muscle building, and currently used training methods often don’t have significant energy requirements. And if you need a “gainer” you can construct it at home: add couple of teaspoons of sugar to your protein and you will get your happiness.

Vitamins and minerals

It would be silly to argue that extra doses of vitamins and minerals are needed for bodybuilders, especially C, E and B group. Another thing that multivits can be successfully bought at the pharmacy. And it will be several times cheaper than getting it from a sports nutrition shop.

Preparations for joints and ligaments

Everyone seriously working out with iron has had problems with joints and ligaments: the load is definitely “unphysiological”. This topic is even more acute for steroid use, when joints and ligaments fall behind the development of muscles. And thank God that in addition to the grandfathers’ advice to “eat some gelatin” we have chondroitin and glucosamine. They are definitely working and helping. If they contain what is stated on the label. So far I have tried only one supplement whose effect I felt the next day.

Fat burners

The situation with fat burners is ambiguous: on one hand those who while fighting with fat has tried very hard diet in addition to large volume of aerobic exercise and did not get desired results – these supplements are necessary. On the other – the majority of names that are currently advertised is frank garbage created for pulling money from trusting consumers. In addition, after banning ephedrine which substances are not credited with fat burning properties? Open any fitness magazine – and will definitely find “new discovery”. But honestly – there has never been an alternative to ephedrine for burning fat. Rumors are that the ban will be removed, at least in the USA.


Creatine and its derivatives: the furor doesn’t stop. No doubt, the logic is there, as creatine is indeed “working” supplement and can help some athletes to increase – sometimes significantly – the strength and muscle mass. However don’t forget the fact that 30-40 percent of athletes creatine brings nothing, except wasting money (to the lesser degree it is true for “transport forms of creatine”). The story is similar for the newly fashionable nitric oxide: some blow up on it, some – not a sneeze. The only way to see which group you belong to is the method of “scientific poking”: i.e. to at least once try the action of creatine and nitric oxide. The best time for such experiments for the “natural” is the period of heavy loads, for a “chemist” – the time between [steroid] cycles.


Not so long ago there was unbelievable fuss regarding this group of supplements. Some even claimed that this is the alternative to steroids (?!) Now this craziness has died out, and prohormones are sold only in the black market, as these drugs are on the list of illegal substances. And has melted away the only advantage of prohormones as opposed to steroids - similar though much weaker action – that those using them could still call themselves “natural bodybuilders”. Now the future of prohormones is very questionable, and the number of the “naturals” on the pages of Ironman should go down.

Potency stimulators

Confused by the advertising industry neophytes place large hopes on various potency stimulators – yohimbine, tribestan and so on. As far as the intended effect is concerned, I can say from my own experience and the experience of close friends – some of it indeed “works”. As far as their effect on training – it is under a very large question mark.


Supplements based on adaptogens – ginseng, eleuterococc etc. – help normalizing body functions and improve work capacity after overtraining. However the effect is not as remarkable as is claimed, and therefore do not get your hopes too high. Moreover, these supplements are considerably more expensive than their full analogs sold in pharmacies.


This group contains the largest number of names, probably thirty percent of all that is offered for sale. Here I classified all products that have not made it into the remaining groups, despite of their diversity: shark cartilage, vanadium, collagen, G-factor, Pro-h GH, Ginkgo Biloba, Saw Palmetto and whatever else. They are all united by one quality: while there is possibility that they may be somewhat useful for the main goals of bodybuilding – increase of muscle mass and getting rid of fat – they are absolutely useless: in most athletes they don’t lead to any changes.

Putting it all together.

If we summarize all of the above about the applied aspects of supplements, the result is far from optimistic. We can conclude the following.

Certain supplements may optimize the diet, i.e. eliminate the deficit of certain ingredients. At the same time, if you have the opportunity to balance your ration with natural products, extra intake of surrogate supplements is not that important. The exception is only vitamins, because getting the necessary amount from food is problematic. I will also make the disclaimer: “chemists” are excluded: to get 300 – 400 gram of protein from usual food is simply unreal.

There are working supplements, however much of what is on offer is inefficient and has not been able to confirm promises given in the advertising “traps”.

There is no supplement in regards to their effects on the muscle that comes close to steroids. And so far there is nothing on the horizon that could constitute competition to the “champion’s formula”.

[There are two more conclusions that are specific to Russian readers; therefore I am not citing them here]

That’s it. As always from Dr Lyuber, honest and down to earth. Do nutritional supplements work? I agree with Dr.Lyuber in that most of them show various results for different users. I guess there is no harm trying, except for the wallet. But what the hell, this pill can be your door to fame and world records… On the other hand, what achievements are actually expected from amateur athletes, the majority of visiting fitness forums and reading this blog? Does forty-something guys like me need to take complex composition of protein, nitric oxide releaser, high absorption glutamine and what not, because its manufacturer promises great results in only six weeks, just to add ten more reps to my jerks with two sixteens? Or maybe just eating enough food is enough? Sure, enough protein is important for those who want to build mega muscles. But other calories can be obtained from other, more conventional sources.

Luber’s views are in coherence with what I have believed for a few years now, namely that most supplements are useless and are not needed if things are kept in perspective. Most of us don’t make a living by being a professional athlete, why bother?

One group that always attracts my attention is vitamins. Multivits are the subject of various scams, celebrity adverts and pyramid marketing. You can show me all the studies you want, but the cheapest brand sold at supermarkets is no worse (or not much worse, at least not as much as the price would suggest) that expensive brands sold by post orders. Latest variations like Juice Plus make sense, but I am still to see some evidence that they make any difference in people's health. One company marketing these things actually uses some sort of transcutaneous chromatography that demonstrates that their supplements increase antioxidant capacity/activity of blood. Great. But I want to see is this increased number will make me live longer or get sick less likely. On the other hand, well structured training without overloading yourself, eating sensibly and sleeping enough will do ninety percent of the trick.

17 November 2008

Away from home, training at the commercial gym. I generally hate it: the music is deafening and couple of guys are queuing for the squatting rack breathing down my neck - for doing biceps curls from its safety bars. Biceps curls either with barballs or dumbbells seem to be tha main exercise done by everybody!

Anyway, today:

BB squat: 75 kg x 5 x 5
Bench press: 50 kg x 5 x 2 sets
DB MP: 2 x 20 kg, 2 sets of 5

Haven't done BP for ages, and not going to start. This exercise is something I have unlearned in the last year. On the other hand, squat is feeling good.

16 November 2008

Had a very nice - intensive - session in the sauna yesterday. It is so good. If you ramp the steam high enough the body stop distinguishing very hot from cold when you slap yourself with a wisker. After I finished it took about ten minutes to pass out in front of the TV. Slept like a baby through the night.

Today - indoor rockclimbing session with my wife and younger daughter. Though it is not very strenuous, forearms are fairly worked up.

At home some GS:

2 x 16 kg: 3 of 4 min sets/4 min rest
39, 39 and 29 reps

Short and simple, still about three and a half tons in volume.

Mental Preparation

We tend to concentrate on sets and reps and the technique when discussing GS training. This article from Rybinsk Girevoy Sport Forum discusses mental endurance training and mental tricks to increase the numbers. ote on the Static Dynamic Method, http://girevoysportafter40.blogspot.com/2008/10/static-dynamic-method-in-girevoy-sport.html

Methods of Training Mental Stability in Gireviks.

Girevoy Sport is probably the only sport that allows developing fantastic strength and general endurance by using free weights – kettlebells. In order to overcome the increasing physical fatigue during competition lifts girevik has to display willpower of special kind: it should not be impulsive, as the athlete has to last for ten minutes of competition set. Neither should it be too “soft”, as the intensity of lifting is fairly high, and the athlete has to motivate himself virtually every second.

An experiment was conducted at the Youth Sport School No.3 of Tambov City (Department of Girevoy Sport). Its main goal was the implementation of various methods for the development of mental endurance among gireviks. The experiment included 12 trainees, aged from 14 to 21 years, at the level of KMS (not bad, KMS at 14!) We would like to note beforehand that the methods tested have improved the results and may be used elsewhere for the same purpose.
The following methods of mental training were used:

1. Physical methods

1.1. Between sets of isometric or dynamic exercises the athlete is pushing the exercised bodyparts against an immobile object or fully flexes the limbs and holds them in this position, in order to impair the blood flow during the recovery phase.

1.2. Competition method. Kettlebell sparring: the athletes stand in front of each other and perform the lifts in synchronized fashion. One of them is setting the tempo at any rate he wishes, another girevik follows. After one minute the roles change; and so on until 10 minutes expire.

1.3. Varying of the goals of training. During one session the goal would be keeping the tempo constant during certain time, during another – performing certain number of repetitions (fairly high) independently of time.
1.4. Methodof “covering the distance”. For instance, after each snatch th athlete makes a step forward. The goal is to cover the distance, not the number of repetitions.

2. Psychological methods

2.1. Active vocal support. The embers of the team shouting “go on”, “you can do it”, “hang in there” and so on.

2.2. The coach councels the athlete that the physical sensation during competition lifting is unique and cannot ever be repeated again. Therefore the athlete has to force himself to experience positive emotions during the set.

2.3. Mental division of the set into parts. For example 100 repetitions are broken down into 25s, and the last 25 into 5 of 5. This mental manipulation of numbers is fairly useful for improving the final result, as imagining large numbers is mentally more difficult than moving towards the goal by making “short steps” and reduces mental strain.

2.4. In order to improve overhead fixation the athlete can mentally repeat some long number, for instance “one hundred and twenty”.

2.5. Distraction method for isometric exercises and static holds. During exercises a music is played, and the signal to end is the end of the song/piece.

2.6. Change of the weight of the bells without telling the athlete (by adding the lead shot)

2.7. Good communication with the coach and convincing the athlete that he can achieve the goals.

2.8. Intentional incorrect counting by the coach of reps during high intensity and control sets.

2.9. Playing back various distracting noises, such as noise in the competition hall.

Nothing fantastic, but fairly useful hints. I have been using the breakdown of long numbers for a while now. It is indeed easier to stand longer sets by doing so. Playing noises seems to make sense too, it sort of gets you out of the comfort zone of the basement or the friendly training gym.

12 November 2008

16 kg snatch: 10L/10R
2 x 16 kg jerk: 10 reps

2 x 24 kg jerk:
4 sets of 2 min/10 reps, rest 3 min

5 min rest then
2 x 16 kg jerk: 3 min/30 reps

16s feel very light for a few first reps after working with 24s. Some guys on Russian GS forums mentioned that in order to improve their snatch numbers with 32 kg they train with 38 - 40 kg bells. Feels right.

08 November 2008

I hope assembling Ikea furniture counts for a workout, because I am tired as shit after about five hours of screwing (in the literal technical sense, with a screwdriver, even though electrical). Have a bit of time, so did few kettlebell tricks too.

2 x 24 kg LCC&J - 5 x 5
Not easy. Never done it before with this weight, so co-ordination is seriously off: cleaning the bells far apart, rocking on the heels etc. Anyway, the first pancake always comes out crumbled as they say in Russia.

3 pulovers on the pullup bar, for the heck of it.
24 kg snatch: 10L/10R; 5L/5R/5L/5R

Gotta go, friend's birthday. Tomorrow have to do errand running, hopefully will be able to find time for working out.

6 November 2008

Tried to squeeze in a short workout.

16 kg snatch:
switch on the minute, 14 minutes, 210 reps.
(Had 160 reps at 10 minutes)

Volume - 3360 kg

05 November 2008. Dedicated to enemabagg!

2 x 16 jerk: 10 reps warm up
2 x 16 jerk: 10 minutes 65 reps

BB squat: 75 kg x 5 x 4 sets

Volume - 3900

Ryabchenko 2 - on rack

Yesterday I turned 46. So this blog becomes more relevant to older athletes (that’s how I want to call myself). Last week I spent four days in the Blue Mountains, the area couple of hours of driving west of Sydney. Very nice. Lots of food and wine. No training except for walking in the bush. It (lots of food) culminated at Uighur restaurant and was accompanied by generous amounts of Vodka.

Today I noticed that someone posted the review of Sonnon’s DVDs on the Irongarm, and another poster questioned the correctness of the rack position on the promotional photo. As far as I know Scott Sonnon has been interested in classic GS for a while now and probably has a good idea about the rack. I am definitely not the one to question his technique. But the post reminded me of a page in Ryabchenko’s article discussing this, and I thought I should post it here. Yes, it is the same article by the Maestro with the famous training protocol. There is much more in it on various aspects of the technique and teaching GS lifts. Here is what he has to say about the rack position.

According to Ryabchenko, the rack is the foundation of GS, and there is no sense to teach complicated moves without getting the rack right first. There is simply no good girevik without good rack (as well as without correct breathing). There are two basic variants of rack position.

On the picture above is the diagram of the rack where the hands are parallel to each other and at the same time perpendicular to the body. Ryabchenko calls this rack classical. The photo that follows shows Andrey Popov, many times champion of Russia and the World, typical example of such rack position.

The next figure shows another variant: the hands are parallel to the body and at the same time are turned away from it, while the bells are sort of resting on the forearms. The photo shows Ilia Popov, also many times Junior champion of Russian Federation and the World.

First time Ryabchenko noticed this variant of rack used by Ivan Ament from Kazakhstan, and he was immediately impressed by the rationality of it. In this variant the bells travel shorter distance and therefore less energy is spent during each lift.

Obviously, there is unlimited number of intermediate positions between the two variants, the most typical shown on the next figure.

Sometimes because of the mistakes made by coaches or, more commonly, when the athletes at the beginning train without guidance, they learn incorrect habits, which are especially visible in rack position. The next picture demonstrates the extreme bad case of incorrect rack.

In such position the bells are constantly pulling out, thus wrecking the coordination of the muscles. The arms fatigue faster. There is also another danger. Because in such rack the bells are positioned further forward, the center of gravity is also shifted in the same direction. When the bells are lowered the athlete is forced to extend his back more, and this increases the risk of trauma, which increases even more as the athlete gets tired.

I tried the second variant of the rack and have to admit that it did not feel comfortable at all. It may be my anatomy or bad habits, I don’t know. Most importantly, I am paying attention to not turning my palms in and to keeping them at least parallel to each other, as in the classical variant. Feel free to experiment and let me know how it feels.