31 December 2009

There must be something wrong if I am training on this day. Because of all the partying I didn't manage much anyway.

2 x 24 kg jerks:
5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 5
Rest 2 minutes.

2 x 24 kh overhead holds;
30 sec x 3 sets

That's it. 24 kgs feel disproportionally heavier than 20s, and I want to take things easy. The assignment from Denis was the usual sequence, two pyramids to 15 reps. I am too wuss today to do it.

And now by far more important entry. To all my readers I wish great, happy and prosperous New Year. Great health, great life and great training. May all your dreams materialise. Happy New Year!


26 December 2009

24 kg snatch:
5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15
Rest between sets 2 minutes

Same type of workout as the previous session. The numbers are for aech arm: 5 left, 5 right, then rest 2 minutes, and so on.

Tore my hands quite badly. An excuse to skip assistance work :))

23 December 2009

It turned out I forgot to cance the PayPal payment for the next month of coaching, and therefore Denis is stuck with me for another month. Today I did the next planned workout, or rather part of it.

2 x 20 kg LC:
5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3, 5, 7, 9 reps
Rest strictly 2 minutes

I was supposed to do more sets, 11, 13, and 15 reps as well as a shitload of assistance exercises but was just not able to.

The summary of the month

Last month I trained under the guidance of Denis Kanygin. I already mentioned that I was impressed by his professionalism and work ethics and will not hesitate to recommentd him as a coach. Unfortunately I came down with quite a bad flu and could not train for ten days. I only managed to complete 5 sessions with Denis (another one has been written by him for me and I am going to do it next week).

I am not serious enough student to take continuous coaching and not going to continue working with Denis. I am planning to use his services from time to time though, mostly for correcting the technique.

What have I learned while training under Kanygin? A few things.

Firt of all, volume approach, as well as escalating density training work and are used by GS coaches. Of course I knew that, but hanging on IGx where GS is represented by AKC guys - read timed sets - doubts creep in. Now I know at least one coach in flesh who uses these methods. Density progression makes perfect sense. First you build the total workout volume with short sets with fixed rest period, then gradually increase the duration of sets and decrease rest. Very simple to design and follow.

I don't want to be misunderstood: timed sets are very important for peaking and preparation for competition. They are the logical conclusion of volume training. After all, GS is about lifting for 10 minutes non-stop. But just like you don't run full marathon distance every time you go for a run, you don't have to stay the whole 10 minutes.

Second lesson - the technique. When you train alone you get stuck in your own ways, so to speak. You may lift with incorrect technique and get used to it, so after a while it feels quite comfortable. Those in my situation benefit a great deal from consulting knowledgeable coaches. Every time I do Long Cycle I am trying to pay attention to the pointers I was given.

Third. Assistance exercises areimportant. I believe some sessions should consist only of assistance drills, especially if previous session was especially high in volume and/or intensity. Static holds, swings, squats and their variations and bumps. One exercise I have never heard of before, chest bumps. This is part of the technique I never thought about: chest muscles alone should be able to push the bells above the head. My chest muscles are far from being able to do this.

So I am going to adjust my training slightly. Most importantly, I am going to add assistance drills, even a little will make a difference. I am also going to adjust progressions. Previously the goal was to achieve 60 reps in 10 minutes with the given weigh and then move to heavier bells. Now I don't feel that this is particularly beneficial for me. Instead, I am going to build volume and move to heavier bells with shorter sets. In the recent tread about competing I mentioned that getting on the platform with kettlebells below 24 kg does not seem feasible to me. To WKC crowd I am wrong. But as I mentioned, I want to follow Russian standards of GS, and minimal comp bells for men there are 24-s.

To those in my situation - in their forties, working full time jobs and lacking free time - I sincerely advise to use the services of a qualified coach, in 3D or virtual.

19 December 2009

The day after the last training session I woke up with the sore throat. It got worse, and in couple of days I was sick like a dog. So today's session is sort of slow, carefully working back into gear.

20 kg snatch:
6 sets of 20L/20R, rest 2 minutes
Total - 240 reps

This was hard. Once again, I have no idea where peole get this notion that switching hands or taking a rest between sets is not useful for GS. Just about every muscle that takes part in this lift is stressed. My calves, back shoulders - all were hardly firing in the last couple of sets. And hands barely survived the workout without dropping the bell on the floor. Who cares anyway.

20 kg press:
15L/15R, rest 2 minutes

20 kg overhead 1/4 squat walks
20 m left/20 m right

The assignment was to do more, sets of the last two exercises, but I am being cautious (and weak and lazy) and going to stop here.

9 December 2009

2 x 20 kg LC:
15 reps x 5 sets, rest 2 min
@ 6 reps/min

2 x 20 kg bumps:
50 reps x 2

2 x 20 kg chest bumps:
30 reps x 2

2 x 20 kg squats:
10 reps x 4 sets

5 December 2009

2 x 20 kg Long Cycle:
5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3

The assignment was to repeat the pyramid to 15 reps, but stopped because of pain in the groin.

Overhead quarter squat 2 x 20 kg:
15 x 5 sets

2 x 24 kg bumps:
30 reps x 1 set

Coach Denis Kanygin

Those who follow my blog probably noticed the difference in my training in the last couple of sessions. The reason is simple: this month I am using the coaching services of Denis Kanygin from http://www.workoutiq.com/

My biggest problem with training is the absence of a GS coach in Australia. My training therefore is picking bits and pieces here and there and trying to make the best of it. I am not complaining really, I don't have far reaching goals and am happy with what I do. The problem is the correct technique; if it is bad enough and I progress to higher weight the injury becomes more likely. This - to avoid injury - is on the top of my list of goals, therefore it is mandatory to check the technique at least from time to time.

There is not much choice of GS coaches, even on the Net. But when looking around I specifically wanted two things. First, I wanted a Russian coach. Second, I didn't want a champion or a particularly higher ranking athlete. The info on coach Kanygin's site met these rather capricious criteria, and I contacted him.

Was my choice correct? See for yourself. The first Denis did is analyse the video of my Long Cycle which was posted on the 19th of November. For your convenience I re-post the video.

And now the analysis of coach Kanygin. He did it in English, so my translation will not spoil anything. Here it goes.


Phase 1: bringing bells up into the rack position (clean)*

1. you are not using your toes

On the up swing, after your thrust you hips forward and lock your knees, as the bells pass knees - go up on both toes and bring your shoulders up and back. Involving these muscles will create extra momentum and make moving of the weights much easier. It will result in bells 'floating' up - all you need to do then is to get under bells, pull them in slightly as you push your hands through the handles. This approach ensures that your arms stay relaxed.

2. no use of shoulders

After knees lock, bring both shoulders up and back. Keep arms relaxed. This will engage powerful muscles up thoracic region and add quite a bit of power to the movement. Shoulder movement should be done at the same time with going up on toes described above.

3. way too much arm involvement

On the up-swing keep arms relaxed. As the bells float up, bend your arms, get under bells and pull them in. Keep arms relaxed during the movement. Kettlebells should be 'launched' by the power of legs and torso, followed by shoulders and toes. Keep arms relaxed.

4. not enough leaning back

To maintain balance and keep mechanics of the movement more efficient, lean back to counterbalance forward pull of kettlebells. It will also give you greater leverage and help momentum do most of the work.

Summary of Phase 1:

Here is the sequencing of movement:

1. on the up-swing as bells start to pass the knees, lock legs and thrust your pelvis forward - start to lean back compensating for pull of the kettlebells and shift in center of mass.

2. after knees as locked, go up on toes and bring both shoulders up and back

3. let the bells 'float' up

4. bend arms, get under bells, pull them to the chest.

5. keep arms relaxed, minimizing their involvement.

Phase 2: Rack position

1. try to lock your legs a bit more. Overall very good.

Your rack position looks good. Do your best to lock your knees. Need to work on your lumbar and thoracic flexibility. When in the rack, relax your latissimus dorsi and trapezius muscles.

Phase 3: Getting bells to under-squat position (second dip)

1. need more thoracic involvement

You need to involve your thoracic a lot more in this movement. Thoracic and legs should provide equal amount of power to the bell movement. You need to practice in more and get to the point where you can bump both bells above your head using your thoracic only without any leg involvement.

2. need to use shoulders more

As chest bumps are executed, you also need to bring both of your shoulders up and back. It will add extra power to the velocity of the bells.

3. timing looks good

Phase 3 Summary:Here is the proper sequencing for this phase:

1. Do first dip

2. As you come up from the first dip, lock legs

3. As your legs are locked, go up on toes and at the same time engage thoracic in 'chest bump'

4. As you do the 'chest bump', bring both shoulders up and back5. Do second dip and get under the bells

Phase 4: Lockout

1. Shoulder flexibility needs more work

Arm positioning in the lockout is not as efficient as it could be

Phase 5: Brining bells down from lockout to rack position

1. improper timing/sequencing: legs get involved before bells start falling.

Seems like you use your legs to 'bump' bells of from the lockout. Instead you need relax arms and let the bells fall onto your chest. When the bells are falling, then you need to go up on your toes and elevate both shoulders and rib cage toward the bells.

2. not moving shoulders up, toward the bells

As the bells are falling down toward your chest, move your chest and shoulders toward the bells.

Phase 5 Summary:

Here is the sequence of phase 5:

1. relax arms and let the bells fall towards your chest

2. as the bells are falling, go up on your toes and elevate rib cage and both shoulders

3. as the bells hit your chest, let them force you onto your heels, push your shoulders down.

4. bring pelvis forward and try to keep knees locked

5. this way the shock is absorbed into the skeletal structure, upper body and heels

Phase 6: Bring bells down from rack position (downward part of clean)

1. no shoulder involvement

As you bump bells from the rack position, you need to elevate both of your shoulders up

2. no toes

As you bump bells from the rack position, go up on toes

3. need to lean back more

Lean back to maintain proper balance and compensating for bells pulling you forward

Summary of Phase 6:

Sequencing of phase 6:

1. bump bells of from your chest

2. start to lean back - keep legs locked and arms relaxed

3. go up on your toes and at the same time elevate both of your shoulders

4. let the bells pull your shoulders down and push you onto the heels (this allows for great shock absorption and makes it much easier on grip and back)

5. bring hips and knees back and let the bell swing behind the knees

The end of the report.

So far I am quite impressed. The analysis is very detailed, and I have plenty of pointers to work on for a while. The coaching is also neatly organized: the assignments are sent via a shared Google spreadsheet, and I am also supposed to enter what I managed to do during the session, so that it is easy to compare the two.

In short, so far I am very satisfied with the services of Denis Kanyging and recommend him to anybody who needs an Internet coach.

1 December 2009

Treadmill run:
6.6 km in 44 minutes.

Several accelerations in the process. Not particularly impressive.

27 November 2009

2 x 20 kg swings:
1 min sets x 5

2 x 24 kg bumps:
40 reps x 1

2 x 24 kg overhead holds
30 seconds x 5
rest 2 minutes

I have not recovered after the last session, and everything today felt very difficult.

24 November 2009

2 x 20 kg jerks:

5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9, 7, 5, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13

15 sets, 2 min rest

2 x 24 kg bumps:

40 reps x 3 sets, rest 3 min

2 x 20 kg overhead quarter squats:

15 x 5 sets, rest 2 min

2 x 16 kg chest bumps:

20 x 3 sets, rest 2 min

2 x 16 kg front squats:

5 x 5 sets, rest 2 min

Quite a change in training. I will explain later.

23 November 2009

The goal was three 4 minute sets with 4 minutes rest in between. However only managed

2 x 19 kg LC:
4 min x 2 @ 6 reps/min then
2 min @ 6 reps/min

FUCK! Will have to repeat the attempt next time.

Punishment for not completing the workout:

32 kg OAJ:

22 November 2009

Treadmill run:
30 minutes, 4.5 km
Did repetitions: run at increasing speed then walk.
Managed several minutes at 14 km/hour

Unfortunately was interrupted: got called to the hospital.

I forgot to enter another run on the 17th of November. The idea was to limit running time to one hour. Waving the speed up and down I managed 9.5 km. That- for me - is quite remarkable.

Both without oxygen ;)

21 November 2009 - Hyperoxia in action

You won't believe it, but I did it! I got hold of a small oxygen tank and did snatches with it. For the sake of documenting, here is the workout:

20 kg snatch:
switch every 20 reps
160 reps total

Is it easier to snatch with the oxygen mask on? I don't know, but it seems so. Not as short of breath at the end of the session. I it also seems that heart rate is lower at the end of the workout. In terms of perception of effort the effect is not that dramatic.

There are also some operational difficulties. Venturi mask is quite uncomfortable. I also think it adds to the dead space and causes slight re-breathing of carbon dioxide which, when you get over 100 reps, is not insignificant. I changed the position of the mask on my face a few times, thanks to the free hand. Another thing is the tubing: whichever way you put it it is always on the way. Eventually I placed it through the shorts at the back, so that the tubing comes from around the back.

Useful or not, this kind of experimenting is fun.

Hyperoxic training

Hypoxic training has been around for quite a while. The idea is to train and/or live in the environment with lower concentration of oxygen. This leads to the body producing more red blood cells, the effect similar to EPO doping. So when you exerciser inhaling air with normal oxygen content the performance improves. There are two basic ways to produce hypoxic environment: go to areas at high altitude or spend time in hypoxic chamber.

Reading the latest edition of the Lore of Running I came across opposite idea, training in the environment enriched with oxygen. One of the first people to try this was Roger Bannister who in the 1950-s broke 4 minute mile barrier. He was a medical student and then a research fellow at the time and spent some time in the lab studying running performance. They did a lot of interval training on the treadmill while taking blood samples for lactate concentration. Most subjects were serious athletes and were able to push themselves to the limit.

Among various factors affecting performance the researches tested the effects of inhaled oxygen concentration. Interestingly, some runners said that with oxygen mask on they could just run forever. Interesting, because it re-kindles the debate about what makes you tired during exercise. I don't remember exactly, but I believe there are three main theories of sports fatigue. One is Metabolic (proper name is different): as you exercise more and more energy production happens anaerobically, and the accumulation of lactate and the resulting acidosis severely impair the ability of the muscle cell to contract. Second, Substrate Depletion theory. According to this view, muscle cells get depleted of energy substrates: creatin phosphate, ATP, glycogen, so that there is no fuel for the muscle cell to contract.

There are some observations that contradict both of the theories above. Particularly the Substrate Depletion one. According to that theory finishing Ironman Triatlon in Hawai - 7.5 km of swimming, 180 km of cycling followed by full marathon - is a biochemical impossibility: there is just not enough energy substrate to cover this kind of activity.

Hence the third theory, that of the Central Governor. According to it is the central nervous system that limits the volume and intensity of exercise so that serious damage to the heart is avoided. What triggers the feeling of exhaustion is not clear, though it looks like the body temperature plays a role here. In any case, this theory makes most sense to me. Flexibility is limited by the nervous system, so is 1RM in lifting, so it is reasonable to suggest the same happens with endurance activities.

If the Central Governor theory is correct then the whole purpose of training is to re-set your Governor, so that it allows you to perform at higher intensity. There are various ways to fool the Governor in strength training. Plyometrics, for example. By pre-stretching the muscle before the jump Golgi apparatus is activated, and the resulting contraction of the muscle is stronger.

It looks like training in oxygen enriched environment may have similar effect on the Governor for endurance. With more oxygen in blood the physiological demands on the cardiovascular system are lower, and the brain gets fooled into believing that current intensity level is actually lower that it is. The result - you can sustain higher intensity longer, and the training effect is superior.

There is not much literature on the subject and frankly, I am a bit lazy to do comprehensive search. There is one interesting link -
http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0427.htm - that discusses a piece of research on hyperoxic training on cyclists. Not exactly randomized or controlled, it is nevertheless impressive. A group of cyclists were followed throughout their training until they plateaued. After that hyperoxic training was introduced for six weeks.

Hyperoxic training improved the athletes' performances considerably. Quote from the link: Their endurance while pedalling at 85 per cent of maximal workload (90-95 per cent of maximal heart rate) increased by 32 per cent, and heart rate during high-intensity cycling declined by around five beats per minute, a change which would make tough pedalling velocities feel easier. Since the athletes had plateaued just before the hyperoxic work began, it's likely that the high-oxygen training was responsible for these two major advances. Importantly, the athletes achieved their gains without having to spend more time training; they trained with the same frequency and duration which they had used before the six-week, hyperoxic-training period. The only change was the raising of interval intensity from 85 to 95 per cent of maximal, an increase made possible by the supplemental oxygen. End of quote. Read the whole thing, it is interesting.

The bottom line? This weekend I am on call. I am going to borrow an oxygen cylinder from the hospital and do some snatches with the oxygen mask on. That must look freaky! I will report the results.

19 November 2009

Instead of starting 4 minute sets today I decided to build some volume and intensity first. The goal today is to repeat last session - 4 x 3 min sets, but at 7 reps per minute. Let's see how it goes.

2 x 19 kg LC:
2 x 3 min @7 reps/min with 3 min rest
14 reps @6 reps/min (couldn't do more)

Untimed rest, then:
7 seconds interval - 20 reps (1 min 20 sec)
Untimed rest
6 second interval - 10 reps (1 minute)

Session total - 85 reps

I filmed the 2nd set. As always, comments will be greatly appreciated

Faster tempo definitely has its beauty. Measly 1 rep per minute increase, and I am not able to finish the third set. A little pointer at what I should work on.

When I asked for a remedy for the sloppy clean Will Bill advised to try LC at fast cadence. What a great advice! Everyone should try it, fast tempo forces you to watch the technique. There is just no time for sloppy reps when you lift fast, and knowing there is no time to re-adjust the grip or get your breath together you start concentrating very hard. As I said before, every method serves its purpose. Thanks Wild Bill!

15 November 2009

Went for a walk with my wife in the Blue Mountains today. It is amazing, just under two hours of driving from Sydney, and you are in total wilderness. Believe it or not, peole get lost and die in this region on regular basis, that's how wild it is! Pretty tiring and relaxing at the same time. Every time I come here I keep telling myself that I have to do it more often...

Decided to do a little lifting and see how it goes. Starting now.

2 x 19 kg LC:
3 min sets x 4
6 reps/min, 72 reps total

Better than yesterday...

14 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
3 min sets x 2
6 reps/min
36 reps total

Very hard today for some reason.

Video feedback

I want to thank everyone who posted comments to the videos in the last post. I think that it is a good idea to film your lifting as it is very revealing. One thing is to feel the lifts, quite another to watch them from the outside.

There are several points in my LC that need addressing. I am going to briefly go through them here, so those with similar mistakes may hopefully benefit as well.

Cleans. Too high. To my defence I must mention that couple of months ago they were better. I am being very careful with the impact and probably that's why overdoing the landing on the chest. One solution suggested by Wild Bill is to try cleans at high rep per minute. This way the speed will force you to land the bells more precisely.

Another issue - very common - lockouts. I am generally paying attention to make sure to lock the elbows and hold the top position for half a second. Looks it is not enough. As mentioned by David, static holds are good for correcting this problem. Lots of Russian coaches recommend 30 seconds alternating rack/top holds. They are also great for endurance: your muscles will be buzzing.

Losing the contact of elbows with the hips during the first dip. One solution: watch it and don't do it. By the way, static holds at the bottom of the first dip are also useful for correcting this.

Thanks again for the input. I am going to move onto the 3 minute sets next session and eventually build up the volume to 6 sets. Videos to follow.

11 November 2009

Still building up volume

2 x 19 kg LC:
2 min sets x 7
6 rep/min, 84 reps total

If you count both clean and jerk then total training volume is 6552 kg - 6.5 tonnes
(I need a smiley, the one with rotating eyes)

The problem with training without a coach is that learned mistakes go unnoticed. I am going to post training videos of myself here more often. I will appreciate any comments.

The videos below are set 2 and set 4 of today's session. Pretty depressing to watch. But at least I have some ideas what to work on.

Interval training and more

Great resource: http://www.pponline.co.uk. A lot of training material. And though there is nothing on GS some principles of endurance training can be utilized in oour training. One of the articles I read recently is Interval Program Training: To make your workouts more realistic, you should aim to trim down the recoveries. I am not in the mood to make a synopsis of it, and cutting it would only spoil the material. In short - it is the variation on the theme of escalated density training. I highly recommend reading it.

8 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
6 x 2 min sets/2 min rest
6 reps/min
72 reps total

For some reason the session was very hard today. Could be the second adaptation wave after Tuesday's run (by Sergeev). Or just Sunday. I am going to try and build more 2 minute sets before progressing to longer ones. Good news - no headache.

3 November 2009

14 km treadmill run
1 hour 40 minutes
Average speed 8 - 8.5 km/hour

The goal was to cover the distance, so I alternated 15-20 min runs with 3-5 min walks at various tempo. My legs are done, probably because I don't run often enough. Feels good though.

2 November 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
5 x 2 minute sets, rest 2 min
6 reps/min, 60 reps total

The headache is not coming back. So far so good. I am going to do more 2 minute sets at the next session.

It's my Birthday today. I took a day off work, but I am working out... I need a life...

31 October 2009

2 x 19 kg static holds:
30 sec rack/30 sec overhead
managed only 5 minutes

Definitely valuable. Definitely overlooked.

2 x 19 kg jerks:
2 min sets x 3 , 8 reps/min
48 reps total

Interesting, my biggest problem for now is pain in the hands, where the handles of the bells are sitting. The heel of the hand. The pressure of the metal at times becomes unbearable.

Now, the question: how do you count the volume of static holds?

27 October 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
10 x 1 min sets, rest 1 min
6 reps/min
60 reps total

Sort of threading the waters of the headache and being careful not to bang the bells against the body both during cleans and lowering to the chest. So far so good. I am going to build more volume next session with 1 minute sets before I proceed with the next step.

Now, is the total volume of this session 2280 or 4560 kg? Feels like the latter!

Omnes viae Romam ducunt

I like Latin. So brief and dry, always to the point. The expression in the title means "all roads lead to Rome", meaning that there are many ways to get to where you want.

A few days ago I bought the fourth edition of the Lore of Running, a comprehensive reference book by Tim Noakes, Prof. of sports sciences at the University of Cape Town. It covers everything, from physiology to methods of training to specific training programs for chosen distances to dealing with injuries. The chapter on training methods of champions is the most interesting - and most relevant for those who practice the sport, and not necessarily only runners. Running is primarily endurance sport, and many of its features may be extrapolated to other activities, in our case to the beloved girevoy sport.

One chapter that caught my attention is about Emil zatopek, one of the greates runners ever existed. When he started training there was no running tradition in Czechoslovakia, and he had to find what works all by himself.

Classical training for long distance running consists of building a base with long slow runs, then speed work is added: intervals, hills etc. Against all the rules Zatopek made interval training his basic training activity. That's what he said about his training (taken from http://www.ioa.leeds.ac.uk/1960s/66163.htm:

I started running during the war, and there were no books at that time to speak about interval training, or what the Fartlek system was ... But I thought that in order to improve my running, I should be able to run faster, and it is not possible to learn how to run fast if I ran long distances at a slow pace as other long distance runners did. To run fast it is possible to sprint 100-200 metres, that is all, but it is not possible to sprint 5000 metres. What is possible is to divide the distance, to run 500 metres fast, then to run easy, then again fast, then again easy, and again fast. Running 10 times 200 metres, means to run 2 kilometres in sprint.

It was like a small revolution in our sporting club as I said, "Good-bye my friends, I will try another system". I ran 100 metres, as fast as possible in a straight line, on the track, and again another athlete told me, "You are crazy, what are you doing, you want to change your distance and become a sprinter?" If something is new you are never clever enough, you never know if it will prove good or not, and I thought, well we shall see. Next year I was the best in our club and the young boys came to me saying, "You are right, we will try to run with you," and I said, "Yes come, we will run together," but I was little more progressive and I was better and as I tried to run 10 times 200 metres fast my friends told me, "We are not able to follow you". Later, I tried to run 400 metres fast and 200 metres slowly, only to relax to get new energy.

Zatopek's training program consisted of lots of 400 m intervals run at various speeds. According to some, he did as many as 100 of those in a session. That's volume of 40 km. IN the Lore of Running though Noakes mentions that usually Zatopek ran about 18 - 20 km in a day, later increasing his training to two times a day.

Searching the Net I come across a very good article on interval training at http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0600.htm I highly recommend reading the whole article to those interested in this method of training.

Zatopek's philosophy was simple. He said that he needed to run fast, and for that running short distances was best. He said he needed endurance, and for that he ran short distances many times. The logic is unbeatable, though I suspect never mind how Zatopek trained he would still be a champion.

I don't want to simplify things and simply put up an argument of "this against that", fast short sets against long timed ones. I suspect Zatopek had a good aerobic base achieved by running in the snow in the army boots before he started his intervals. My argument is against anything set in stone.

I personally believe in volume training. This method is used in every endurance based sport. For instance, when you start training for middle distance running they recommend starting from walking. In fact, for many early marathon champions walking constituted the main mode of training, with relatively little running added here and there.

Let’s say you want to start training for 5000 m distance running and achieve Rank 1, which requires you to cover this distance under 15 minutes (not a real rank requirement). Which training method makes more sense to you?

Method 1. Your main goal is to be able to run for 15 minutes. Once you can do this try run faster and faster, until you can fit 5 km into this time frame.

Method 2. Your goal is to be able to run 5 km. You start by alternating running and walking, gradually training yourself to run 5 km non-stop. Then you add some speed work and try run this distance within the required time frame.

Which one is more logical? For me, the second one. In fact, it has been used by running coaches for generations. Classing running adage says: first run for the distance, then for speed.

Interesting, that among OTW crowd definitions sometimes are mixed up. I heard the following several times: do jerks at low cadence for time until you can last the distance, 10 minutes. Then work on increasing cadence. I wonder, since when distance is measured in minutes, the units usually reserved for time.

I am not exercising in eloquence. Distance in GS is the number of repetitions. You want to achieve WKC Rank 1 under 70 kg – make sure you can do 50 jerks (the requirement) with 2 x 20 kg bells, at all, never mind the time. Starting with 10 sets of 5 reps is fine. It even makes sense to aim for higher number of reps, say 75 or 100. Just doing 100 jerks in a session will make you much stronger. Working on density at later stages will get you to your goal. This is similar to Zatopek’s 50 intervals of 400 m, though you don’t have to sprint. Does it work? Anecdotally at least, there were several reports from Dragondoor guys who tried GS-like sets for the first time and demonstrated the ability to last full 10 minutes.

A provocative thought. The number of GS participants in the US is not skyrocketing. You may say it is because GS is very hard. Well, marathon is also extremely demanding, however the number of crazy runners is enormous. It also seems to me that the number of MS in GS in America is not growing as fast as the number of Black Belts after the introduction of Judo and Karate in this country. Could it be that many trainees are put off – or injured – by long timed sets, dominating methodology of the dominating GS body in the USA, AKC?

Whatever. As I always said, there are many ways to achieve the goal. What to use depends on your determination and other factors, including age.

Omnes viae Romam ducunt.

Oh yeah, a little addition. Don't misunderstand me: timed sets are not worthless, I never said that. Everything in training has context, and GS is not an exception: every method has its place. Volume training is valuable for building a strong strength and endurance base and improving technique. When preparing for competition timed sets are invaluable. as Ecclesiastes said, there is time for everything. But this is the topic for another post.

24 October 2009

A little try at speed work.

20 kg snatch:
1 min sets, 1 min rest
20 reps/min
8 sets, 160 reps total

Gets you out of breath quite nicely.

22 October 2009

2 x 19 kg jerks:
10 x 1 min on the minute sets
8 reps/min, 120 reps

Several minutes break, then another
5 x 1 min on the minute sets
8 reps/min, 40 reps

Total volume: 4560 kg + 1520 = 6080 kg

Did short sets on purpose, in order to avoid the headache. Paid special attention not to bang the bells too heavily and not to shake the head too much. The plan was to stop when headache appears, but it never came. Hope this is the beginning of my recovery.

20 October 2009

Treadmill run:
12 km, 85 minutes

Feels good. Hard but good. You start understanding the impoortance of running technique by 6-7th kilometer. I am trying to follow chi running methodology, so far with variable success.

18 October 2009

Easier workout today

2 x 19 kg jerk:
8reps/min, 36 reps
4.5 minutes

2 x 19 kg jerk:
8 reps/min, 25 reps
3 minutes

17 October 2009

2 x 19 kg LC:
7 reps/min/2 min
14 reps

Wanted to try and put more volume in the same time, but the headache started appearing from afar. So converted to the standard 2 x 5 sets at 6 reps/min.

2 x 19 kg LC
5 sets of 2 min at 6 reps/min
rest 2 min
60 reps total

Total workout volume 74 reps = 2812 kg, not that much. It is amazing how much difference 2 kg increase in weight makes: it feels so much heavier.

I am trying to make an aapointment with the chiropractor recommended by Terra from IGx. Hope he can do something about my headache.

About an hour after the session I have the headache. I must do something about it. Chiropractor is one option, and I am planning to see one next week. Next step will be to see a sports physician. In regards to training, maybe I should take a break from LC and switch to biathlon for a month or two. The intensity of jerks is less than that of long cycle: it is less complex movement and less elaborate - there are no cleans. In fact, you can say that for the same number of reps the intensity and volume of LC is double that of jerks, as you are lifting the same weight twice. Therefore, unless you do double the number of reps with jerks, the intensity of the latter will be lower. Maybe I should do it...

14 October 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
44 reps/slightly over 7 minutes at 6 reps/min

The goal is still 10 minutes/60 reps with 2 x 20 kg, which was carefully attempted today. At the 7 minute mark the headache started creeping in, and I stopped before it came to full force. I think it is coming from me overly straining my neck. I also tend to bang the bells against my chest during cleans, and that also seems to cause excessive impact on my head. Something to work on.

A bit of volume to finish with

2 x 18 kg jerks:
3 min/20 reps
2 min/20 reps
2.5 min/20 reps
2 min/20 reps

Total volume 4464 kg.

I am thinking of possible solutions for the headache problem. One, to stop LC for a month and see what happens. Two, ignore getting to 10 minutes with the current weight and to start the next step of REDT with 19 kg bells. After all, the original progression stops at 8 minutes, not 10 anyway. That's what I am going to do next session, 10 sets of 1 minute LC with 19 kg. At some stage I will come back and try going full 10 minutes with 18s.

Rudnev on snatch

Went to gym for the treadmill run today, but overdid the speed and got shin splints after 2.5 km. It was too painful to continue, and I went home. That’s why I decided to do some snatches at home. I set Wild Bill’s timer at 1 minute intervals and did

20 kg snatch
1 minute sets/1 minute rest
300 snatches in total.

I did 15 reps a minute, so that intervals looked more like 50 seconds work, 70 seconds rest.

This type of workout is great. It keeps your heart rate high – but not too high - for a long time, my workout took 40 minutes. It also allows you to work on the technique: you don’t get too tired to just trying to squeeze another rep, and there are more than enough reps to try various adjustments.

And that’s what brings me to the main theme of today’s post, technical aspects of snatch. As you remember, couple of months ago I mentioned that in Russia now they gave dedicated periodical, Girevoy Sport magazine. Couple of days ago I received it in the post, Vasily Ginko sent it to me at my request when he was in Sydney. It is a nice magazine with the glossy cover and good quality paper. Most articles are more of an entertaining value. However in the last article Sergey Rudnev discusses the technique and his approach to teaching GS snatch.

I am not going to translate the whole piece, most details are well known and have been discussed before, here and elsewhere. There are several points though that caught my attention.
First point is the biomechanics of lower phases of snatch, when the bell is below the waist. According to Rudnev the arm holding the bell must come in contact with the body and stay in contact until the bell is swung upwards. After the bell passes the lowest point of the trajectory the hand is turned so that the thumb is pointed downwards. The bell stops due to the natural loss of momentum. At this moment the legs and the back are straight (!) and the upper arm, forearm, the back surface of the hand and the center of gravity of the bell form one line. Swaying of the bell is unacceptable. When initiating the movement of the bell forward from the dead point the legs bend and extend, so that they are straight by the moment the forearm gets separated from the body. That – the contact of the forearm with the body – is new to me. In order to practice this phase Rudnev makes his trainees do lower swings. They are similar to normal swings except the forearm does not lose contact with the trunk.

Another moment I never thought about and which makes a difference is the position of the bell on the upswing. Rudnev does not talk about it, however in the photographs of his trainee, Nikita Balagov, record holder of Russia, 191 reps of snatch (under 70 kg) this is clearly visible. By the time the bell passes the legs on the way up the thumb is pointed forward. In other words, while the KB is moving from the dead point to this level the arm completes 180 degrees rotation: from thumb backwards to thumb forward. During my snatch workout today I tried this and results are quite dramatic: much less strength is spent, it is especially noticeable in the arm and the shoulder (I think).

Rudnev is very specific about the legs being straight in the lowest snatch point and he recommends doing low swings with the special emphasis on this detail. Another common mistake among novices is early reversal of the bell at the bottom. This however has been discusses many times on IGx.

Last point – this time mine – volume training has its valuable place in GS training. I had 300 reps today to try various combinations of tricks that I discussed above. As the result I could train with relatively heavy bell of 20 kg and at the same time be fresh enough to being able to think about the technique.

Oh yeah, really last one. My hands are fucked, or, more precisely, right hand is. This points to another interesting phenomenon. My right hand is stronger and probably because of this I tend to either grab the bell harder or overlook the correct grip, or something else, which resulted in two torn calluses. Left palm feel abused too, but the skin is intact. Another detail of the technique to watch.

11 October 2009

Treadmill run:
about 3 km, 3 minutes intervals
however after the 2nd attempt got a bad shin splint and stopped

Later at home:

20 kg snatch:
1 min snatch/1 minute rest
15 reps/min
300 reps total

Besides my hands being fucked up there are several useful points to be taken from this workout. Check the next post for more musings.

10 October 2009

20 kg snatch:
switch every 20 reps
190 reps total (last switches at 15 reps)

I haven't touched kettlebells for a week, and that's probably the reason it felt so hard today. My forearms are killing me and I am seriously out of breath.

By the way, just an interesting question: why is it that after you stop intensive exercise for the first minute of rest it feels worse than during actual exercise? No catch, I have no idea.

Missed wisdom of Lorraine Patten

Sitting doing nothing and browsing the Net I came across the article by Lorraine Patten on Dragondoor, Navigating Girevoy Sport Training. I was always under the impression that Lorraine follows AKC methodology of long timed sets. This article showed that I was wrong, and from what I've seen around, Lorraine's methodology is the most scientifically sound. So, what's so different about it? You can read the article at http://www.dragondoor.com/articler/mode3/416/ Here I am only going to go through points that drew my attention.

First of all, this methodology alternates between three phases of training: strength, volume and GS-specific work. During strength phase Lorraine does squats, deadlifts and otherbasic lifts for two months, with no snatching during the first month. During volume phase that also lasts two months volume is built. Interestingly, Lorraine is the first Westerner who mentions working one ar at a time. The only other place where I have seen this method mentioned is one of the Russian GS forums.

Finally - GS-specific work, and this phase lasts four to six weeks max. During this phase Lorraine does max sets. Again, she often works one arm at a time: left to the max, long rest, then right to the max.

Final important point is that GS requires continuous analysis: what is your weakness and how you can address it.

As I said, this article is the first example of a structured GS program I have seen anywhere except from Russian sources. In fact, it is the first example of what can be called Block Training in GS, which I have not seen anywhere, full stop. And this methodology works: it was mentioned in the article that Lorraine did 126 reps of snatches at GS competition in San Diego in 2007. Lorraine is a dentist and fits the profile of the audience this blog is aimed for, those over 40, and this makes the article particularly valuable. One thing is to read about methods used by some 20 year old champion, quite another to discover the method that worked for someone who started GS later in life and achieved good results. Thanks for sharing your experience Lorraine!

6 October 2009

12 km run
85 minutes
average speed about 8.5 km/hour

Interesting, GS and running, both being endurance activities, have similarities in terms of perception of difficulty. When I started running today it felt like all I am going to manage is a kilometer or two. But as I ran it got easier, and I fell into a rhythm and was able to make a new personal best in terms of distance. Similar feelings often accompany long GS sets, both with LC and snatches: it is agony at the beginning which eases off as the set progresses (becoming agony closer to the end). I am sure there is some interesting physiology behind all this.

2 October 2009

I am getting a little obsessed with 10 LC set with 18 kg. So decided to try it - AGAIN! - today. Warmed up thoroughly, did lots of mobility drills for the shoulders and the neck. Alas, at the end of the 2nd minute it started waking up. Bitch! It was mild, sure, but I know what happens if you don't back off: last time it took me about an hour and lots of strong pills to get it under some sort of control. I guess I will have to wait it out.

It is obviously ridiculous to count 12 reps of LC as training session, so I jusd had to do something else. For some reason or another snatches are ok and I did some with 24 kg, and not too badly at that.

24 kg snatch
switch every 10 reps
100 reps total

Shit, I timed myself, but was so winded at the end of the set that forgot to look at the clock. Idiot! Interesting, snatching 20 kg is mainly limited by grip endurance, but increasing to 24 kg got me out of breath before hands had a chance to fatigue. Measly 4 kg...

I have a feeling that the headache is somehow caused by cleans. I am sort of banging the bells against my chest during cleans, and it seems to trigger some muscle spasms which eventually cause pain in my head. I have to look up some stuff on cleans technique.

A little finisher:

24 kg OR push press:

Snatch stats

I swear, I am not posting it to bait anyone or start a new fight. I was just curious about my snatch training progress. You probably noticed that my main focus is on long cycle, mainly because of lack of time, lazyness and lousy will power: do one lift and you are off, as opposed to two.

My work is structured in such a way that every week I spend two to three days away from home, in a smallish hospital in regional Australia. The hospital rents a place for visiting anaesthetist, and couple of years ago I bought a 20 kg kettlebell of DD design, but with the stripped handle. I do continuous snatches by the method described here earlier a la Vasily Ginko.

Recently I hit couple of personal records, the latest being 120 reps with one switch. Nothing too remarkable, but taking into account that I don't pay much attention to snatches anyway I was curious to see how much effort was put in this.

From the 22nd of July to 26th of September I did 11 snatching sessions. Three of them were "prikidki", or max attempts. It is about 5 sessions a month, slightly more than
1 session a week.

Of course, other activities such as long cycle and running must have some transfer on snatches: cleans in LC improve posterior chain while running improves VO2 Max and lactate threshold.

However, the effect of this experiment of one is quite clear: with almost no sets with one switch my one switch numbers improved significantly. I am not going to generalize my - very modest - results. But for now at least the little program works.

And yeah, sorry for the bold, it's fun to do it...

30 September 2009

I am beginning to worry, workout was interrupted - again - by the dreadful headache on the 7th minute. I started subtly before that, and I was hoping I can work thgough it. But it got too intense.

The headache is occipital spreading to the forehead, and feels like it is coming from the neck. I I going to try some neck and shoulder mobility drills and see if it helps.

So I am still stuck at:

2 x 18 kg LC
6+ minutes, 39 reps

28 September 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
6 min, 6 reps/min, 36 reps

Stopped because of a headache. It may not be the best idea to work out after a long run yesterday and being on call last night.

Attention deficits and lateral argumentation

This is the comment on my post of 26th of September by Brian:

Eugene, I believe that you are over thinking! GS (snatch) is a 10 minute competition that allows you one switch! You repeatly say that you love the multiple switch sets and you talk and talk about how much better they are than the OTW but you are forgetting that that is not GS. Its like saying that you love marathons but you never run the full 26 miles and that you prefer to walk every 2 or 3 miles! The bottom line is that snatching for 10 minutes with one switch is damn hard and switching mulitple times is easier. Im excited that you are challenging yourself and you working out for long sets and you enjoy it, but try not to put down one switch training because when it comes down to it, training with just one switch is leaps and bounds harder than switching every minute or 20 reps.

My workout on that day was single switch max snatch set. And yet Brian urges me not to "put down one switch training because..." Such is the strength of the belief in OTW that its practitioners cannot pay enough attention to what is written in black and white. The analogy with marathon is also off: do marathoners cover full distance every training session?

As I am becoming addicted to running I am re-reading Daniels' Running Formula. How do you think 5000 m runners train? By running 5000 m every session trying to get faster every time? It may be unbelievable but no! Several methods are used: easy long runs, repetitive runs, hill runs, lactate threshold runs, race pace runs, intervals and even strength training. Why GS should be different beats me. Every training modality has its place and should be used accordingly. Brian, go tell 5000m runners doing intervals that it is not middle distance running, see what they say.

This kind of reasoning is not unique. Couple of days ago there was a discussion of long multi-switch snatch sets for fitness. Catherine Imes made some input. When I replied to it her consequent response was totally out of wack. Instead of continuing the discussion of merit of multi-switch she said that she has responsibility to her clients, totally ignoring principal points of my post. And a nice touch at the end of Cimes' previous post: "hey, who am I to argue..." Catherine, you are not arguing, you are making sure to have the last word, no matter what.

What the hell, I should get used to it by now. The philosophy of GS in the US comes from one source, Valery Fedorenko. I don't want to take anything away from his achievements as an athlete or a coach, but having single source of information unfortunately led to single-sided approach to this sport, and the religios blindness of OTWers sometimes becomes fucking irritating. There is just no way to have a discussion.

But hey, who am I for you to listen to? I am an amateur approaching fifty year old mark and don't have great achievements in GS. Any achievements for that matter.

Therefore this is entirely up to you. I am not sure myself why I continue posting here and on IGx. I guess there are people who have an open mind, and they will get the points I am trying to get across. This blog is for those who are interested in the information that exists out there.

FYI, Brian and Catherine, continuous snatching as laid out on my blog has been recommended by Vasily Ginko, current GS world champion for that matter. Similarly, Russian EDT has been recommended for beginners by a coach and MS Alexey Mandrigelya on Rybinsk GS forum. Ryabchenko - well, Rayabchenko is Ryabchenko, a household name among Russian gireviks. Every author of articles I translated - Rudnev, Lopatin, Gomonov for starters -is either a famous athlete or a coach - in Russia mind you, the country where GS is taught professionally. If they are not reputable to you - well, who am I to insist.

In brief, GS should include several modalities of training that affect various qualities necessary for this sport. By adhering just to one you rob yourself of progress and fun in the long run. But hey, who am I to argue...

27 September 2009

10 km treadmill run

I am getting addicted...

26 September 2009

20 kg snatch:
max attempt:
60L/60R - new PR.

I am loosely following non-OTW, multiple switch routine which, according to some, should not result in the improvement of GS numbers. Yet the progress is apparent.

It is not a secret that I believe that volume training should be the backbone of GS training. Gradually build the volume and then increase the intensity - with or without the concomitant decrease in volume. An attempt to define mathematical aspects of GS training has been done on this blog a while ago. Just a little reminder: intensity in GS is reps per minute or total number of reps in a set. So longer set (more reps) is more intense than a shorter one (fewer reps).

High intensity training is also important, but just like max attempts in powerlifting or olympic lifting it should not be used often. There are two problems with intensity: it is more likely to result in injury and it is mentally hard. Yeah, yeah, "no pain..." and shit like this. I am not interested in olympic achievements. On the contrary, my main goal actually is to stay injury free. And looking forward to workouts is another one. In any case, from what I read in most endurance sports athletes do not train by doing max or near max efforts every session.

I said couple of times that in my opinion volume forces improvement in technique. Catherine Imes says not necessarily. Of course "not necessarily"! Is there any method that will enforce the technique "necessarily"? Any magic guaranteed way? Not even presence of the best coach in the world can guarantee that.

Let me explain what I mean by volume leadin to better technique. First, technique generally gets better from doing lots of repetitions, and volume training results in a lot of repetitions. Just before I get objections: not mechanical or mindless repetitions. On the contrary, the trainee should analyse every one of t5hem and pay attention to the efficiency and economy.

Second aspect of volume training - curiously - has been addressed by Catherine herself. A while ago she posted something about long sets teching you "to survive". It is true: long sets lead to fatigue, and you have to adjust your every little move to squeeze another few reps out of the set.

A while ago there was a post on the Russian forum http://girinavsegda.forum24.ru/ The adminitstrator of the forum posted his recommendation for developing the technique of jerk:

The bell 16 kg is jerked with one arm at maximal tempo and for maximally possible duration. The goal of the workout is to reach maximal exhaustion, when there is no strength to continue jerks. This is where actual work on the technique starts: you literally begin to jump up, pushing the bell with the whole body and momentarily dive into minimal dip. This is important when starting to learn jerk: you squeeze another 10-15 reps this way and then switch hands. This way you find your optimal technique, unlike trying to copy someone else's which might not fit you just like someone else's clothes...

This is obviously true for any other lifts. I can just see the advocates of long sets point the finger at me: "Aha! Long sets!" But they would be wrong. You need fatigue to improve the technique, and multiple switches allow plenty of that. During snatching with multiple switches you experience fatigue several times - unlike in one long set. You can even regulate the degree of this fatigue by chosing the number of reps to switch. Switching every 10 reps will cause less pronounced fatigue than every 20 or 30.

During continuous snatching with multiple switches you also learn to pace yourself, just like during max sets: you know that you have to get to these 200 reps. Likewise, you have to pay attention to the economy of your lifting. So you get most the benefits of max set and at the same time get more conditioning, simply because you are able to lift for more reps. And if you are paying attention to the technique more reps will translate to technical improvement.

To summarize this blubber - multiple switches are good for GS.

24 September 2009

Russian EDT continued...

2 x 18 kg LC:
7 min @6 reps/min
42 reps total

22 September 2009

20 kg snatch:
dismal attempt at max set:
42L/50R in 7 min

Too weak after yesterday's run.

21 September 2009

10 km treadmill run
1 hour 10 minutes, average speed about 8.3 km/hour

I am proud: I never ran this far in my life! The longest was 8 km when I was a kid, I mentioned it in one of the previous posts. I am really tired.

Interesting that with the increase in volume you start paying attention to the technique: place the leg under your center of gravity, strive for high stride rate, close to 180/min, get your heel up, stay upright, move your arms forward, not across the chest and so on.

Someone posted on IGx about taking coaching for running. I was skeptical and joked about it. I must admit now that I was wrong: most runners get injured, mostly because of the bad technique. Learning to run correctly pays off. And it feels good.

Continuous snatching

I have been doing continuous snatches with multiple switches for a while and find them very useful. OTW crowd generally dismisses multiple switches as useless, but this way of training can be used to increase GS snatch numbers.

There are two major physiological components that need to be developed for snatching: cardiovascular and local muscular. Cardiovascular refers to the ability of the heart to support muscular work for prolonged periods of time. That's where VO2 Max comes into play. Muscular component reflects the efficiency of muscles to utilize whatever is needed to sustain work and is better determined by Lactate Threshold. There are plenty of good sources of info on these parameters, and I am not going to discuss them. In short though, VO2 MAx can be improved relatively quickly by high intensity training, while LT benefits more from slow sustained loads and takes much longer to get to the athletes maximum. Apparently many young cross-country skiers have the same VO2 Max as older record holders, however their times are far behind.

In order to improve cardiovascular endurance for snatching you can run. Alternatively you can snatch for long periods of time, and it will be probably more useful as it is more sport-specific. One way is to snatch intermittently. The problem with this way is that after a while you become good at it and need to either increase the cadence or the weight of the bells. Snatching at high speed is a problem because first, it ruins the hands and two, it may lead to the deterioration of the technique. Besides, if the goal is GS it feels better if the set is contimuous.

This may bring us to OTW. The problem with OTW snatches though is that your hands is going to give up relatively fast, thus limiting the total number of snatche and the duration of the workout. Snatching with multiple switches eliminates this problem. By switching every 10 reps - for example - will allow you to specifically address cardiovascular component of performance.

So what about local muscular endurance? Multiple swithching improves that too. How? By switching hands the load on the hands is imtermittent, akin to interval training for these muscle groups. Even though one arm rests while right one snatches, the rest is not enough to allow for full recovery of muscles, and this is especially beneficial for lactate threshold improvement. So with continuous snatching you get the best of both worlds: continuous cardio and intermittent loading of the arms.

This is the basis for snatch progression used in Russia. I came across it a few times on the discussion boards.

Start snatching with switches every 10 reps and aim to achieve 200 to 300 of reps in one set. Alternatively it is ok to choose the number of reps required for the ranking of choice and add 25-30% to it.

When this number of total reps is reached, increase the number of reps between switching. So the progression will look like this:

Switch every 15 reps
Every 20
Every 25, 30 and so on.

Every time the number of reps between switches is increased the goal is to reach the total number of reps in the set. It nakes sense to try max all out GS style - timed or untimed - snatches every time this goal is met. The total time of the set does not matter at this stage.

As soon as one can do the desired number of snatches with one switch, the next goal is the increase in cadence. This is done from the beginning: the pace is set higher than in the previous macrocycle and the sequence is repeated from the very beginning: switch every 10, 15, 20 and so on.

Like any other training programs on this blog this is just the template. The idea is to increase the density of snatching per arm. The weight of the bells may be varied from week to week or from workout to workout. Or not.

17 September 2009

Today I work away from home. It's 10pm and I just came from work.

20 kg snatch:
switch every 20 reps
160 total

Took about 11 minutes to complete.

16 September 2009

5 km run:
slightly over 30 minutes

Getting better!

15 September 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
5 min sets x 2, rest 5 min
6 reps/min


I was thinking why I couldn't complete planned workout on Saturday. Besides having some alcohol the day before I think the issue may be not eating enough.

Those who know me from IGx know my attitude to losing weight. Not that I am against it or particularly want the world to go opbese, but there are more important health issues. In any case, negatives brought about by being fat can be relatively easily corrected without actually losing that fat. My view on obesity is also that of the professional: it's a disease, not character trait or the sign of being stupid or lazy. Am I lenient to obese because I am overweight myself? My weight is around 70 kg, BMI of 22, body fat as measured by Tanita - around 17%. Excessive? To some maybe, but I am not interested in getting rippedcall me lazy if you wish.

I digress. On Saturday I had very light breakfast and was eating sporadically throughout the day. Usually I eat lots of meat and other protein, that day I was more into sandwiches and muffins. When I started the workout I felt fairly weak straight away and had doubts about finishing it from the very beginning. Looking back now I can clearly see that my food intake wasn't great on that day, and that may be the most important reason for not having enough strength.

Dan John emphasized pre-workout nutrition time and time again, as per his definition: eat something on the day of the workout. It also seems to me that these goals - losing fat and getting stronger - don't mix well. When Vasili Ginko was in Sydney he mentioned that couple of years ago he wanted to try compete in lower weight category (he is a big guy and competes in over 90kg). He said that after dropping about five kilos he was feeling too weak and abandoned the whole project.

The issue of weight control is an interesting one. It is completely solved for the general public (and many of my colleagues): fat people eat too much, they are too lazy, dumb, don't have will power and so on. For those involved in clinical research it is a serious puzzle. What controls appetite? What are physiological mechanisms of regulating body weight? How does metabolic adaptation work? These are the beginning questions, and by trying to get answers you open the Pandora's box of more questions and paradoxes. From time to time someone will go on a diet, lose weight and proclaim himself a guru of obesity solution. I wholeheartedly congratulate them on the achievement, just like I would congratulate anyone claiming to get cured of his cancer by taking vitamin C or barley grass. Just keep in mind that the study of one does not mean much. That's beside the point that there is a good chance of a relapse.

Anyway, this post is not about obesity but about eating when training. Eating enough that is. You want to lose weight with GS? It will work in untrained people very well. Those who have reasonable or high level of fitness must make a choice between getting rid of fat or getting their numbers up. Two together will not work. That's my opinion.

13 September 2009

Second attempt at 3 x 4 and fucking yeah!

2 x 18 kg LC:
3 sets of 4 min, 4 min rest
6 reps/min

72 reps total

Longevity of GS

I don't even know if the title of this post makes sense. Anyway, this topic came up on Rybinsk forum a few months ago, LC competition among masters and veterans in Kerch, Russia (it might be the Ukraine, I am confused about the geography of the Former USSR). It was marked as World Championship, but was mostly represented by the former republics of the Empire.

The comp happened in February, and I understand 24 kg bells were used. As I am more involved in the Long Cycle I was wondering what sort of results older guys show in competitions like these. Here is the table, and the results are interesting.

The columns are: name, year of birth, bodyweight, country represented and the number of reps (it seems that for some reason the results are published in Lithuanian language).

Quite a few guys fired numbers that would put much younger gireviks to shame. Check out the last guy in the table, Nikolaj Sazonov, he did 90 reps at the age of 70 or almost 70! Slightly younger Adolfas Vejelis did 100 reps, and yet younger (but a little heavier) Povilas Drazdas squeezed 111! Bloody hell, that's all I can say...

Apparently there are a few sports where older athletes show impressive results, ultra-marathon and some martial arts being couple of examples that come to mind. In both of these experience plays important role. It could also be a case in GS, where technique and the ability to pace yourself make one a good girevik.

12 September 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:

The plan was 3 sets of 4 min, 4 min rest
Managed only 4 min sets x 2, and
2 min of the last set
@6 reps/min

Total - 60 reps

Must be yesterday's whiskey...

8 September 2009

3+ km treadmill run, about 20 min

I was all fired up and wanted to go for longer and faster run. After 3 km however I got some pain in the inner part of right foot. It got worse and I had to stop. I also got a headache which became noticeable after the run. One of those days I guess.

On the positive, my running technique is getting better, as well as my endurance. I ran at 9.5 km/hour and could sustain it for considerably longer time.

7 September 2009

20 kg snatch:
switch every 15 reps
180 reps total

I did not accurately time myself. Judging by glances at the wristwatch on the coffee table it took about 12 minutes.

Main limiting factor is the grip, especially on the left side.

5 September 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
3 sets x 3 min @ 6 reps/min

2 x 18 kg Jerks:
2.5 min/30 reps

2 x 18 kg:
10 sec rack/10 sec overhead hold
2 minutes
"Cruel and unusual"

2 September 2009

The start of the next cycle of REDT, LC with 18 kg.

2 x 18 kg LC:
6 sets of 2 min @6reps/min

Cutting corners a little. Didn't train LC for a while, so decided to start with 2 minute sets.
Last set was hard on the grip.

30 August 2009

20 kg snatch:
switch every 15 reps
90 reps

Got interrupted, had to pick up the phone as I am on standby for the hospital. Shit. Will try to do something in the evening.

29 August 2009

Treadmill run, 7 km in 47 minutes.

When I ran 7 km few days ago I proudly mentioned it at work - and was laughed at by several nurses who run or used to run. "Eugen, I can walk nine kilometers in one hour, let alone running!" That's how thiungs are pout in perspective. It was all lighthearted of course. I also stated many times that I am a shit runner and am tremendously proud of my measly progress.

In any case, today at the gym I made a bit of an effort to beat my previous record and set the speed on the treadmill between 8.0 and 9.5 km/hour. The new result:

I was also continuously watching, checking, analysing and adjusting my running technique. This, by the way, is an interesting thing to do. The reason there are TVs in fromnt of treadmills is to distract the runner from the torture and suffering of running. At least this is the opinion I get from most people who run in gyms. I believe in sort of Zen way. I don't like cliches and don't want to fall into the "mindfullness" lecture. However it makes sense though that you will do something better if you pay attention to details. Listening to the pains and strains, making sure the head is not bobbing up and down in the mirror, the arms mowing forward rather than across the body, breathing, posture, abdominals - all this should reduce the chances of getting injured and improve the result.

25 August 2009

20 kg snatch:
one switch, 100 reps
about 7 minutes

Another PR

24 August 2009

7 km treadmill run: 1 hour

When I was a kid of about 13 our physical culture lessons often happened at the local stadium, Dynamo. Once, while other kids were playing soccer my friend and I went for a run on the track. We decided to go for 20 laps - 8 km - jogging. At lap 10 I suggested we call it a day, but Miroslav insisted. I obeyed,and we completed the goal. Out teacher gave us shit when he found out: too much, too dangerous and so on. The funniest thing was,I wasn't that tired: we went back to school to do the home work, and the evening at home was nothing usual. In any case, I did not feel sleepy.

I wonder where has all this strength gone. It is definitely not testosterone: I was in pre-puberty age. My theory is it's the technique. We run correctly when we are younger and then lose this ability as we age. After reading Born to Run I also got Chi Running. It makes a lot of sense: you want to run without getting injured - you have to learn to do it correctly. SO when we are kids we run instinctively. Years of sedentary work and various - usually self-coached and sometimes doubtful - fitness activities somehow take our ability to run away. Just a theory.

It feels good to run. And it is nice to see some progress.

23 August 2009

2 x 17 kg LC:
10 min, 6 reps/min
60 reps total

Another step in the REDT completed!

2 x 17 kg jerks:
40 reps/4 minutes

22 August 2009

2 x 17 kg LC:
8 minutes @6 reps/min
48 reps total

20 August 2009

20 kg snatch:
switch every 15 reps
150 reps total, 10 minutes

Previous sessions of continuous snatching improved the endurance, and 150 reps though were not too easy were not too hard either. What made me stop was the grip. Just by increasing reps per arm from 10 to 15 made a difference on the grip load.

19 August 2009

Continuing REDT LC

2 x 17 kg LC:
5 min/6 reps/min x 2 sets
60 reps

16 August 2009

Nex step in REDT LC:

2 x 17 kg LC:
4 sets of 3 min, rest 3 min
6 reps/min

Total - 72 reps = 2448 kg

15 August 2009

Continuing with REDT LC.

2 x 17 kg LC:
5 sets x 2 minutes/6 reps/min

2 x 17 kg Jerks:
30 reps, +/-3 minutes

Managed to hit myself on the right eyebrow during jerks. Talented! Though this kind of thing has been mentioned before.

10 August 2009

20 kg snatch:
Switch every 10 reps
220 reps total, about 17 minutes

This time was FUCKING HARD. Not sure why, must be one of those down cycles, but even before I got to 100 reps I struggled with the breathing, and by the end of the workout my abdominals were screaming. Large(r) volume also uncovers technical flaws: left forearm was much more tired than the right; calluses of the left hand are also more irritated.

All that matters today though is that I managed to do more reps than last time, so all is well.

GS magazine

During his visit to Sydney Ginko mentioned that Russian GS Federation started publishing Girevoy Sport magazine. Apparently it will be a quarterly publication and will be about 60 pages on glossy pages. Below is the cover of the latest issue taken from Valentin Egorov's site, http://www.girevik-online.ru/.

I might have mentioned before that GS in Russia is taken seriously, just like any other recognized sport. If you are studying in one of many sports universities in that country you can choose GS as your speciality. There are also many specialized GS schools and official training sections where qualified training is available for those willing to learn.

Now there is the Magazine, another step in the development of the sport. It will contain articles about gireviks as well as technical articles on GS.

This publication means that there is growing interest to GS in Russia, and it is a matter of time that GS grows around the world. And unless you believe that this journal will be used to spread misinformation and slow down gireviks outside of Russia, it is also the testimonial that at this point in time Russian GS is far ahead of competition.

Seminar memories

I was planning to do a big review of the seminar with Ginko in Sydney that took place three weeks ago. The problem was, I went only to Level 1, and this is all I can comment on.

Was it wirth it? Definitely. Vasily's teaching is not focused on GS, but resembles - in a way - the approach taken by Dragondoor: he promotes kettlebells for general health, strength training, building muscle and - for those interested - GS. The lifts are taught in progression from the easiest to most difficult. For instance you learn two arm swing first, then one arm, then swinging two KBs, then outside swing, with one and then with two bells. Other lifts follow the same teaching pattern.

Separate part of the seminar was juggling, and that was something I haven't seen or heard to be taught by anyone else. We were shown basic moves, also from the simplest to more complex. That was a lot of fun and caused extensive damage to the lawn at Fox Studios where we trained! At the end the Maestro gave a demonstration that lasted good several minutes. Very, very impressive.

I cannot comment on Level 2, but consider this. On the first day my wife came home at 7 pm., and on the second - the day of certification - at half past ten! I was preparing dinner in the honor of the Russian guest, and the barbeque got cold. Thankfully another friend (also Russian) visited our house that evening, and we started warming up with wine and lamb chops well in advance.

When Vasily finally arrived we had dinner. Obviously, I tortured him with questions about him, his training and training methods used for GS in general.

Unfortunately, a lot of the stuff he told me is copyrighted Level 3 material, and I cannot disclose it here. But without going into details I can tell you this: there is no big training secret carefully guided by Russians, like some of the IGx posters believe. There is no secrets whatsoever. I already mentioned that Russian EDT template and its variations are quite popular among Russian gireviks, and principles laid out in various articles from Rostov GS site are used a lot in that part of the world. Ultimately it all comes to general principles of the science of sport training and common sense.

In summary, the seminar was very useful, and I managed to improve certain aspects of my technique in all relevant lifts: snacth, jerk and clean. I highly recommend training with Ginko to anyone interested in kettlebells, for GS or any other purpose.

8 August 2009

Starting with 17 kg bells today, first workout of the next progression.

2 x 17kg LC:
6 reps/min, 1 minute x 10 sets

In spite of such small increse in weight the lifts feel quite heavy. Maybe because the previous workout was heavy. Or maybe the ballistic nature of these lifts even small increases in weight make a difference once the bells start moving. In any case, this is it.
Total volume 2040 kg.

Addendum to the previous post

Talking about REDT in the last post I was incorrect in the description of the method. I mentioned that you should not skip the workouts of the progression. My apologies, this is incorrect. It is ok to do longer set if you feel you can do it. I think it makes sense to progress slower as the bells become heavier.

Other variations may also seems feasible. For instance, even though it is not necessary, you may want to maintain the workout volume once you get to workout 6 and higher. So if you did 6 minute set, you can follow it with couple of 2 minute sets, or 3 and 1 or whatever.

REDT is the general GS training template and should be rather used as a guideline, not a program set in stone.

Thoughts on Russian EDT

If you follow this blog you must have noticed that I am a typical lazy recreational sports enthusiast with severe ADHD. I tend to jump from program to program and generally don't work out often enough to get really good. Well, there are numerous advantages of that... No, bullshit, I am just kidding. I have decided recently that in order to justify the title of the blog I should get some sort of numbers, rep and timewise in classic GS lifts. So I am concentrating on LC and - less so - on snatches. The reason for LC is the time economy. I do snatches when I am away from home: at that place I have one 20 kg bell.

Another feature of this blog is that I am not a great fan of long timed sets as the main mode of training for GS. This is the result of - most importantly - me being lazy, as well as the info obtained from Russian GS forums and articles. No, I am not about to re-start the timed sets debate. But I want to share my thoughts on Russian EDT that I posted more than a year ago on this blog. The system is suitable for training jerks or long cycle, but with some modifications it is also suitable for snatches. A little reminder:

Russian EDT template:
Each line is the scheme for one workout. Decide on the cadence and keep it constant throughout all 10 workouts.

1. 10 sets of 1 minute sets
2. 5 sets of 2 minute
3. 4 sets of 3 minute
4. 3 sets of 4 minute
5. 2 sets of minute
6. 1 set of 6 minutes
7. 7 minutes
8. 8 minutes
9. 9 minutes
10. 10 minutes

That's one step of the progression. After you complete the step you can decide which way you want to progress. You can increase either the cadence or the weight of the bells. Do not skip the workouts of the progression after the increase; if the workout feels too easy you may increase the frequency of training.

Do assistance work as deemed feasible. I believe that for GS you should run at least once a week.

I really think Russian EDT template is the best way to train for GS for beginners. I believe the advantages of this system are:

1. Less strenuous mentally. The duration of the sets increases gradually which gives you a nice spread between many short sets and few long ones, up to 10 minutes at the end of each step of the progression

2. From the very start of training it allows you to get through reasonable volume. Obviously, you should build up the total number of reps in a workout carefully, but it will be higher compared to starting with the longest possible timed sets. Everyone can do 10 one minute sets right from the outset, but few beginners will be able to last longer than 3 minutes the first time. The technique will be an issue with shorter sets, but the volume will have the effect similar to long sets, the proverbial need "to survive". Besides, after workout No.5 in each step the duration of the sets is 6 minutes and higher. So you will have all the benefits of long sets while anticipating the reward of completing the step: the permission to return to multiple short sets.

3. It is simple and well structured and allows you to progress either toward the load or the cadence. In other words, as you reach 10 minute set you can either increase the weight of the bells and re-start the progression at the same tempo, or stay with the same weight and increase the cadence.

4. The intensity of workouts gradually increases then drops at the beginning of the new step of the progression. The reminder: the intensity in GS is the duration of the set, reps performed in one go or average weight lifted per minute of the workout.

One disadvantage of the method is constant volume of workouts in each step of the progression. But this should not be a problem until more advanced stages of training. And the solution is simple: once serious volume is achieved one can alternate lighter and heavier bells each workout. Alternalively, substituting the number of KB sessions by long runs is another option.

Though it is a bit of a kick below the belt, I will mention that this method - among several others of course - is quite popular among Russians, as confirmed by Vasily.

4 August 2009

2 x 16 kg LC:
6 reps/min, 10 minutes
60 reps

2 x 16 kg Jerk
30 reps/3 min (no belt)
30 reps/30 min (with belt)

Long sets definitely have their flavor. A minute into the LC set I was sure I am not going to last. But as the set progressed I tried to use the 10 seconds Gymboss interval for some rest in rack, as well as taking extra breaths on the top. Honestly, I cannot be sure about the quality of the lockout, especially during the last few minutes. These 60 LC reps is my PR by the way, no matter how modest.

In any case, I completed the first progression of Russian EDT for LC and will now increase the weight of the bells to 17 kg - by one kilo. Next week is back to ten 1 minute sets. The low density of the first step of the progression is sort of built in periodization in the method. I sure will be ok with easier workout next time.

1 August 2009

It was either going for a run or doing snatches. Snatches won.

20 kg snatches:
switch every 10 reps
200 reps total

Whoever says that snatching with multiple switches is meaningless has not tried it. It took me good several minutes to catch my breath at the end of this workout, and my heart rate was close to 200/min. The reason I am doing it this way is to get my GS snatch numbers up. Keep following my blog, and it will be clearer how I am going to do it. First 50 customers will get 60% discount! Just kidding... Keep following though if you are interested.

30 July 2009

2 x 16 kg LC:
6 reps/min, 7 min, 42 reps
6 reps/min, 4 min, 24 reps


27 July 2009

20 kg snatch:
switch every 10 reps
160 reps total

Went for a run 15 minutes later but could not do it, as my calf muscles cramped up after 400m.

So instead did

20 kg ETK press ladders:
1-2-3 x 3 sets

25 July 2009

Went away for the weekend and took 16 kg with me. So did all kind of stuff while chatting to my friend, all one arm: snatches, cleans, squats, overhead squats, push presses, jerks, presses etc. Sort of variety workout.

22 July 2009

20 kg ETK ladders:
1-2-3-4-5 x 3 sets

20 kg snatch:
switch every 10 reps
5 sets/arm, 100 reps total

19 July 2009

I haven't recovered from the workshop on Saturday: my butt, traps, legs and arms are sore. No surprise, it was more or less six hour workout stretched over the course of the day. I didn't have much time either: today my wife went to Ginko's seminar, and I have to look after (entertain) my younger daughter and my mom who is visiting us from Moscow. So the workout was short:

2 x 16 kg jerks:
10 minutes/40 reps

Ginko Seminar

Vasily Ginko came to Sydney to conduct Level 1 and Level 2 certifications. I went to Level 1 on the 17th. I need time to write the detailed report about the workshop. For now I will say only one thing: it was incredible.

12 July 2009

Front squat:
50 kg x 4
60 kg x 5 x 5 sets

ETK ladders 24 kg:
1-2-3 x 5 sets

Chin ups:
13 (max)

2 x 16 kg MP - 15 reps
(arm finisher)

8 July 2009

2 x 24 kg jerk:
2 min/10 reps x 4 sets

2 x 16 kg:
Dan John's 2-3-5-10 ladder

Did the ladder mostly for fun, to try it. Dan John suggested 5 sets of them. Must be bloody kidding...

2 x 16 kg MP:
15 reps

4 July 2009

1 km/7 min run

Front squat:
55 kg x 5 x 4 sets

Chin ups:
6 x 5 sets (failed on the last rep)

ETK press ladders 20 kg:
1-2-3-4 x 5 sets

Intermittent snatching

An overlooked article from Rostov site, Alternating Snatch by Rustem Hairullin, PhD. From Kazan. http://www.fgsrostov.aaanet.ru/10_stati.htm, under No.17.

According to Hairullin GS snatch is a relatively simple and technically the most accessible lift. However despite of its seeming simplicity the snatch carries a few negative moments. During snatch the muscles of arms and the back are subjected to significant forces, which may lead to trauma. One of the most unpleasant moments is tearing of calluses on the palms. This may deter some women from taking up GS.

According to the rules the snatch is performed by one arm and then another. Sometimet during competition due to several reasons the bell flies out of the hand, and if this has happened during snatching with the first arm, the athlete gets zero points for the lift.

To avoid this unpleasant complication Hairulling suggests changing the rules of competition for women and offers the Intermittent Snatching, where the bell changes hands after every rep.

The technique is as follows:

From starting position the bell is snatched to overhead position. When the bell is lowered the palm of the free hand is applied to the dorsal area of the gripping hand, and the bell continues moving down. With the bell between the legs – the precise position may be chosen individually – the bell is transferred from one hand to another. The snatching continues. Positives of such lifting are considerable decrease of the load on the muscles of the arms and the back and the palm of the hand. Thye chance of trauma of working muscles is reduced, as they don’t get worked up to serious failure. Less chance of dropping the bell with the consequent disappointment, therefore better opportunity to realize the athlete’s potential.
Hairullin believes that for women snatching should be performed this way, intermittently. This way of lifting may also be beneficial for some junior groups and veterans, as it may reduce the compression load on the vertebral column.

According to Hairullin, this way of snatching fully supports the slogan “do not harm” and may facilitate further development and popularization of GS, one of the most accessible traditional sports.

And a very modest comment from me. Changing hands every rep (or every other or more) is a nice way to prolong the set and keep the cardiovascular workout going. All that without killing yourself. Very useful for easier sessions. Hairullin didn’t know when writing this article that many AKCers already do long sets of one armed lifts. In any case, another trick in the hat, at least to fight boredom.


A few months ago I bought GymBoss, the interval pager. It allows to set two time intervals and is useful for - soryy for the repetition - interval training. I was planning to do snatches with it and time left and right arms or work/rest intervals with heavier bells. After pulling my back though I am not doing snatches for a while, and cleans only with light bells. Ginko is coming to Sydney in couple of weeks, and I want to check my technique with him (with Him!) before starting snatches with a light bell.

I found another use for the GymBoss in the meantime: it is useful for setting the tempo of other lifts. I do LC EDT style at 6 reps per minute, and physically watching the clock is a pain. But setting the timer to beep every 10 seconds does the trick. It helps to get the rhythm going: beep, jerk, lower, re-clean, rack, rest. Beep - next cycle. Very convenient.

2 July 2009

2 x 16 kg LC:
5 min/30 reps, 5 min rest
5 min/30 reps

then, after 4 min rest:

2 min/10 reps, 1 min rest
2 min/10 reps, 1 min rest
1.5 min/10 reps, 1 min rest
1.5 min/10 reps

The last 4 sets are for finishing whatever strength is left in the body, especially the forearms. It is akin to pause-rest method, where by making short pauses between repetitions it is possible to pull through bigger volume. Nice finisher.

Going for a run later.

Here it is:

4.5 km run, about 40 min

27 June 2009

ETK ladders 24 kg:
1-2-3 x 5 sets

BB front squats:
50 kg: 5 x 5

Chin ups:
12/6 - both to failure

2 x 16 kg LC:
5 min @ 3 reps/min

Program minimum

After learning GS and experimenting with various methods I have formed an opinion of the optimal training template for myself. It is always fun to get into the battles between the OTW/AKC and DD supporters. Which are quite solly, the battles I mean. Methodology follows the goals of training. There is no point to do timed GS sets if the goal is muscle mass and vice versa, if one is chasing GS then 5 x 5 will be of little use.

So what are my goals? A little bit of everything. It is cool to jerk two 16 kg bells for 10 minutes, but it eats away my strength. Heavy stuff is nice too, but I tend to tighten up and with my personal traits I invariably get injured whenever I come closer to meaningful weights. But I want to be able to squat respectable (among amateurs) weight and press big kettlebell above my head, a la Pavel's closest to half bodyweight. I am not planning to compete in PL or GS (unless for fun with the same weaklings like me), so I can just enjoy my workouts and their results. My goals are: resonable strength, reasonable endurance, reasonable looks and, most importantly, freedom from injuries.

After giving it a though I eventually have a plan of training. From now on my training will consist of the following workouts:

- squats, KB MPs and pullups

- GS lifts:
- Russian EDT with light bells
- long(er) timed sets of LC or jerks
- shorter sets with heavier bells

- running/jogging

I like the Russian EDT template and will use it to build the reps. At this stage I am planning to do it at 6 reps per minute for LC. The goal is 60 reps. As soon as I can do it with two 16s I will increase the weight of the bells by 1 kg and repeat the sequence.

Longer timed sets are important, just as running the competition distance is important to long distance runners. Long GS sets allow improving the technique, get the rack and overhead phases right, as well as building the stamina and the habit of being comfortable with unpleasant sensation. I am planning to build LC with 16s at low rate - say 3 or 4 per minute - up to 15 to 20 minute sets.

Heavier sets are important for building strength. A person whose opinion I value recommended to ditch 16 kgs altogether and concentrate on 24s instead. Unfortunately my back does not like the cleans, and I at this time am going to stick to jerks only, while rehabilitating my back with lighter KBs.

Squats, MPs, pullups and the rest - goes without saying. These exercises are fun and functional (forgive the f-word). Doing squats regularly gives you this feeling of solid strength all over, such great lift it is. While my back is healing I am going to gravitate towards front squats. Later I will try do breathing sets of 20.

Running is running. It develops endurance which is so important for GS. It is also a great rehabilitation method for probably soemthing like 90% of all ills, at least according to Russian freaks: there are plenty of stories of people getting rid of cardiac disease, arthritis and what not, and I believe it.

I am going to rotate between these types of workouts or combine them with each other when I have the time and energy to do so. I want to try to run and train for strength once once a week as a minimum.

So here it is, my Program Minimum. As I said earlier, becoming a Master of Sports is not one of my goals, I simply do not have the time to train for it, to start with. Doing what I have planned should, in my opinion, cover what one would call "overall fitness". Feel free to criticize or suggest changes.