29 February 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
40 reps/7.5 minutes

2 x 18 kg jerks:
25 reps/3 minutes

2 x 18 kg rack/overhead 30 sec static holds:
could only manage 2 minutes, the arms are too tired

18 kg snatch:
1 min sets/30 sec rest/switch every interval
3 sets/15 reps/set/90 reps total

Total volume - 3960 kg. Though slowly, but progressing.

25 February 2009

16 kg snatches
1 min on/30 sec off
switch every interval
7 sets each arm 17 reps/min
20.5 min/238 reps total

Good cardio.

24 February 2009

5 km treadmill run, about 35 min.
Getting better.

23 February 2009

50 kg BB squat: 50 reps, about 7 minutes
3.5 km treadmill run, about 25 minutes

Squats are great, absolutely great!

Later today:

20 kg OA Press
25 reps/arm, 7 minutes

I wonder if there is such a thing as OA GS press: resting the elbow on the iliac crest and done in pacing manner.

Gentle intervals

The workout I did yesterday was sort of VO2 Max style. Not exactly, of course, because the original method as developed by Kenneth Jay calls for maximum intensity during lifting interval. In fact, the method I used yesterday is quite the opposite. The idea behind interval training is to increase the average intensity of the exercise, while doing intervals "soft"style - at moderate pace and using GS technique - helps to increase the volume and the duration of elevated heart rate.

One of the maketing points for kettlebells that Pavel Tsatsouline used was the mention that snatches were popular in the Soviet Navy as the substitute for jogging and running. Not surprising, of course, we al know how snatches tax cardiovascular system. The problem for those who are not very fit is the duration of working out: how long can you snatch without stopping? Advanced trainees can do long timed sets, and some Russian gireviks dump running in favor of snatching with frequent arm switches. But even when switching hands snatches are hard for many average trainees and are hardly comparable to jogging in their intensity.

The solution? Break one long set into many short ones. I was thinking about it and remembered a program from the book Lore of Running which gets you to run a marathon in under a year. Interestingly, the program does not start from jogging, it starts from walking. Then walking is alternated with short jogs, then replaced with jogs completely. Later on fartleks are added. Cardio kettlebell way can be done in the same way, alternating short sets and short rest intervals. My average heart rate was around 14-0-150 per minute. Is it better than doing ten minutes non-stop and getting the pulse to 170? No, it is simply different, similar to a light jog. It odes not exhaust you but keeps your heart rate reasonably elevated for the reasonable duration.

This workout also reminded me of other ways of EDT. On his forum Wild Bill mentioned the method of getting 100 reps in jerk. You start with 10 sets of 10 reps and rest of 1 minute. Gradually you reduce the rest interval by 10 seconds until you can do it non-stop. Varations are endless. You can first decrease rest between the first and second set until they fuse together, then the second rest interval and so on. Or you can decrease every alternative rest period: between the first and the second, third and fourth, fifth and sixth and so on, then fuse these longer sets together. Or you can work on reps: 10 sets of 10 reps first, then 9 sets of 11 reps, then 8 sets of 12 reps and so on, all with the rest of one minute in between. Eventually you will get to 2 sets of 50 reps, and it is up to you how to proceed from there. One of the ways is to increase the first and decrease the second set: 55-45, 60-40, 65-35 etc. Obviously, when using heavy bells - "heavy" as determined by how you feel - you can set the goal at lower number, say 50 reps, or 30, or whatever. It is easier to follow small goals than keeping your sights at MS.

Just another method in the arsenal.

21 February 2009

20 kg snatch:
30 sec on - 30 sec off
different arm every interval
20 min/180 reps

Not exactly VO2 Max protocol, the idea here is to increase the time of elevated heart rate and get through sensible volume. Feels like going for a 20 min run.

19 February 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:

45 reps/9 minutes


2 x 18 kg cleans: 30 reps

18 February 2009

Short late night workout after a visit to the nice South African steak restaurant.

32 kg OA Jerk:

15 February 2009

20 kg snatch:
40L/40R (one switch), 4.5 minutes

14 February 2009, later

5 km treadmill run, slow
about 40 minutes

14 February 2009

It is not an official workout, just trying to get tired in order to overcome insomnia: it is 1:20 am. It's fucked up, of course, but I really don't like sleeping pills, they make me grumpy the next day. In the spirit of the Crossfit I should name this workout "midnight express"... The name changes if it is done during the day, obviously.

20 kg OA paced press:
20 reps/arm x 2 sets

Planning to go for a long run tomorrow (later today).

12 February 2009

2 x 18 kg jerk:
50 reps/7.5 minutes

24 kg OA clean:

10 February 2009

After the post of ab g-d on IGx about the lady who did 100 reps of OAC&J with 24 kg I got tempted and decided to get a feel of it. I don't have 24 kg where I am today (good excuse anyway) and did it with 20 kg.

20 kg OAC&J: 50L50R, 12 minutes.

Interesting. A lot of it is pacing, especially not starting too fast. But no doubt, 100 reps with 24 kg for a girl is respectable.

20 kg OA Clean:
Switch every 20 reps
120 reps total, 6.5 minutes

More on block training

There is more on block training in Verhoshansky’s article, and though the topic and its presentation are very academic, there are a few more things I would like to add to the previous post.

Block training reduces the probability of overload of cardiovascular system. This is because the training load is applied in appropriate sequence. In the case of runners, first, dilation of heart chambers is achieved, and only then the intensity is increased to the level demanding high levels of heart rate.

Block system differs from the traditional way of training, which is best described by the slogan: “in order to run you have to run”. In block system the means of special physical preparation are applied not as an addition to the main training but as independent – and at the same time as organic – component of training, which ensures the development of specific morpho-functional foundation for consequent development of speed endurance.

Concentrated use of training in Block A leads to some decrease of functional indicators (max running speed, results in control jumps, max anaerobic capacity etc.) by 10-12%. This is, however, temporary phenomenon caused by predominantly catabolic processes of this type of training. And after moving to the next block the indicators not only return to the previous level, but considerably exceed it, by 20-40%. This, again, lays the foundation for further growth.
Consequent use of blocks A and B is principally new training method. It achieves two goals. First, it helps overcome incompatibility between high volume training and intensive speed work. Second, it initiates connection between them, through the phenomenon of delayed training effect.

That’s the end of what I wanted to translate. I particularly like the dismissal of “to run you have to run”. The key is not to train more, but to train smart.

8 February 2009

2 x 18 kg LC:
5 reps - warm-up

Main set:
40 reps - about 9 minutes
Bloody intense!

24 kg OAJ:

5 February 2009

20 kg OAC&J with pause at the top:
Set Wild Bill's timer to beep every 10 seconds
One lift every beep, hold overhead
Switch arms every minute

10 minutes, 60 reps

Very good exercise. Besides making you aware of the lockout it also pumps you up.

Then went to gym.

BB squats:
50 kg x 5
70 kg x 5
80 kg x 3

2 km treadmill run
about 17 minutes

For some reason it was quite difficult to work out today. Maybe because of the heat outside. One observation though confirms science: endurance work compromises strength training. Since I started doing longer sets my squats feel much heavier. I think I will stop doing them for now.

Block training

I have come across this term a while ago but somehow did not manage to get more detailed texts on this subject. Recently though someone mentioned that block periodization will be covered in Pavel’s new book on kettlebells. I asked what it is on the Igx, and Kev posted a video to the lecture by Prof. Issurin, where he gives a little introduction of this topic (more of a tease actually).

After a bit of searching I have an idea of what block training is. This post is a brief summary of it.
Block training is an alternative to the traditional periodization. Why do we need an alternative? There are several reasons, the main one being that as the athlete progresses to the serious level, the volume and intensity of his/her training becomes unacceptably high. According to Verhoshansky, this increase in volume sometimes becomes the end point of training. As the time available for training is limited it is clear that other ways of growth should be devised.

Verhoshansky believes that this problem is in turn the result of the traditional system of training, which he coins as complex-parallel. It implies simultaneous development of various qualities in an athlete: strength, endurance, speeds and so on. The principle in the USSR was: “If you want to beat your opponent, you have to train more than him”. From what I read in the Western publications, this principle is probably used throughout the entire world.

Partly this approach is correct. In order to progress athletes of very high qualifications need serious training stimuli. The problem is that at intensities and volumes of training required for this progress specificity of training is reduced and sport-specific training turns into sophisticated GPP workout. The athlete progresses, but not in the most efficient or safest way.

In order to better understand the principles of block training, let’s consider the example from Verhoshansky’s article. It concerns preparation of middle distance runners – the discipline in my opinion quite close to girevoy sport.

Training is done by alternating three training blocks: A, B and C.

Block A consists of specialized training that has as its goal the development of muscular strength and its variations: absolute, explosive, reactive, local muscular endurance etc.

Block B uses various methods of gradually increasing intensity, such as repetitive, intermittent, interval, serial, control and other methods, in order to develop energetic potential of the body.

Block C – participation in competition or its imitation, tactical training, modeling of competitive programs etc.

Practically, applied to middle distance runners this training will look like this.

The goal of Block A – increase of aerobic capacity. This is done by using local intensification of muscular work: exercises with weights, jumps, as well as special regimes of distance work, with increased strength component and at slow tempo, such as running uphill. Verhoshansky stresses that the goal of this block is increasing intensity in order to develop local muscular endurance.

Distance work in this block is performed in the aerobic zone, below anaerobic threshold. That in creases aerobic capacity and prepares the athlete for prolonged running at optimal, constantly increasing speed.

Block B. Specifically directed increase in power and work capacity by increasing the intensity of distance work. That achieves the following.
Increase in anaerobic capacity
Perfection of the running technique
Improving of running technique at high (highest) speed
Development of the ability to maintain speed of running at submaximal level while keeping the technique adequate.
Increase of the stride length
Synchronization of breathing with running in the state of increasing fatigue.

Block C. Final phase in the cycle. The goal – increase of power and capacity of the energy potential of the body by maximally increasing intensity of distance work while decreasing its total volume, longer running at higher heart rate.
The most important criterion of mastery in block C is the ability of the athlete to effectively spend energy during competitive running. The winning athlete is the one who, at the same speed of running, spend less energy.

Expressed graphically the progress of the athlete over three blocks looks like this.

w – athlete’s power
i – intensity of training
p – volume of training
f – athlete’s functional state

(From Verhoshansky, Theory and methodology of sports training: block system of training of athletes of high qualification.)

The idea of block training is quite simple. Instead of simultaneously training all qualities necessary for a specific sport you do it in blocks, addressing each one in a concentrated way: strength, then speed, then endurance etc. In this way the functional systems of the body are taxed during different periods, allowing for better recovery. This way of training is primarily advocated for high class athletes, when traditional training becomes impractical. On the other hand, it should be quite useful for older athletes, in whom the ability to recover is decreased and in whom time limit is a factor.

To add the oil to the debate, I find the logic of the middle distance running template above very applicable to girevoy sport. Don’t you think it can be translated to GS?

Block A – volume training, lots of reps at low to moderate intensity. As you remember, intensity in GS is measured by the weight of the bells and the number of repetitions in a set (which is more or less equals the duration). Rest intervals between sets would be liberal, allowing for adequate recovery. Supplementary strength training with a barbell and jogging.

During block B you would work on increasing the intensity by introducing repetitive and interval work as well as occasional control sets. Rests are shorter, speed higher. Total volume stays the same. Running at higher speed and intervals.

Block C – OTW paradise. The volume goes down and the intensity up. Long timed sets with the emphasis on increasing the duration. Speed here is secondary, making sure the technique stays clean. No supplemental work except for specific assistance exercises.

After completing the cycle – back to block A. You can either increase the weight of the bells by couple of kilos or stay at the same weight and increase the volume.

What’s nice about this way of training is that it brings variety and makes working out more interesting. Also, because training stimuli change relatively often it keeps the body from adapting and hitting a plateau.

2 February 2009

20 min outdor run

1 February 2009

Got an unexpected invitation from very good friends of ours for lunch. On the way there got another invitation from another very good friend - for dinner. The result - not much time for training, so had about half hour between the parties. What to do when the time is in short supply? Big compound exercise. Therefore:

2 x 18 kg LC: 35 reps/7 minutes