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.