29 December 2010

I haven's been logging much of my training, mostly because it has been fairly sporadic. I regularly do pushuos, pullups and pistols. Sometimes one set to completye failure, sometimes multiple sets way below max rep. Curiously, my daughter's boyfriend commented on the size of my arms a few days ago. Go figure: when I was 20 big guns were the goal of goals, and I could never make them grow. Now I don't really care, and get the arm size as a side-effect. Lesson, if you want one: pushups and pullups are good.

6 x 8

2 x 12 kg vertical lift:
10 each side

2 x 16 kg thrusters:
10 reps

11 December 2010

5 reps of chinups/10 reps of dips
5 sets (rest 1 minute)

Chinups (rest untimed):
5 x 5 sets

That's 50 chinups in this workout!

16 kg snatch in gloves:

9 December 2010

I haven't logged last two sessions. During those I did front levers (can do it now with one leg extended for a few seconds), weighted chinups with 24 kg (several singles), hit a new latest chinups PR - 15 reps. Plus pushups and pistols at moderate volume. I am also trying to re-learn my handstand, it is ugly at this stage.

Today I couldn't resist the itch and did some jerks with two 16s at 6 reps/minute. I could only last 6 minutes: the pain in the forearms from the pressure of the bells is overwhelming! Otherwise I could easily go for full ten minutes. I guess I have to re-learn that too.

To finish off.

Front levers, one-legged:
5 seconds x 4

Top chinup hang:
30 seconds x 2

12 kg snatch:
More of a rehab movement this time...

Handstand work, trying to walk/stand for the duration. Longest is about 20 seconds.

4 December 2010

Flat back tuck front lever:
4 sets of 5 - 10 seconds

Weighted chinups:
20 kg x 3
16 kg x 3 x 3

Dips on bars:
20 x 2 sets

Romanian deadlift, 24 kg KB:
20 x 2

30 November 2010

I don't post all of my training lately, mostly because a lot of it is unstructured and happens away from home. I do pushups and pistols at work several times a week GTG style. It raised eyebrows at first, but by now most of my colleagues and nurses are used to it. Today I returned from work early and could train properly.

16 kg weighted chinups:
3 x 4 sets

Dips on bars:
10 reps at slow tempo
2 reps very slow: down, up and pause 10 seconds each
Lots of burn and pump

12 kg swings:
1 set of 20
Light weight just to test the waters and start low back rehab

Hang on bar 60 seconds

2 x 12 kg overhead squats;
1 set 0f 5 reps
Surprisingly difficult: my shoulders are very inflexible

23 November 2010

12 kg weighted chinups:
3 x 5

Ring pushups:
15, 15, 11

20 November 2010

Today is the classic "when you are in a hotel and have no access to equipment" day. The feast for BW trainees. I am on call at a remote hospital. The theatre is covered by a very competent senior trainee, and I have to jusy be in the vicinity and be available for something horrible. After having lived and trained in South Africa the difference in definitions between these two countries are fairly different. Violent crime and serious road trauma in Australia are rare. I can be on call at a major trauma hospital and not come across a patient with something more serious than a broken arm as the result of fooling around on monkey bars. Well, that's why I am here, away from the stress of crime. It's good when local newspapers, in search of a sensation or scandal, dig up domestic animals rights abuses or seriously discuss the harm of Family Guy for young minds. It's certainly better than discussing a girl shot and killed over her mobile phone or hijack of a car with the mother and her two kids in the middle of Sandton.

But forgive me as I digress. I am working out in the most primal way in the motel room.

Frog stands:
10 sets of 7 seconds
As prescribed by Coach Sommers in his Gymnastic Bodies. Very unusual cramps and spasms all over the body. Good anterior pump. Wrists feel molested.

Chinups (on some decorative boards placed between the cupboard and the wall)
The boards don't look too relaible, and I am moving very slowly (an excuse for superslow of sorts)
7, 6, 7, 7, 4. Last set really slowly both ways, nasty burn at the end.

Handstand pushups:
5 x 3 sets
Right shoulder is sore and too much pressure in the head

3/leg x 7

Lizard stretch
Hamstring stretch
A bit of PNF

Finisher: 22 pushups

18 November 2010

During the last week I was doing some GTG a la Pavel at work. Sometimes I do pushups between cases, yesterday I was doing pistols. Haven't done them for a while and feel quite weak, but did 9 reps per leg. Today short home session.

5 x 7 sets, rest 1.5 min

Dips on bars:
10 x 3 sets, rest 1 min

Deception of big numbers

Aspiring gireviks have for ever been inspired by monsterous numbers displayed by champions. Few days ago someone posted the video of Denisov making a new world record, 116 reps for long cycle with 32 kg bells. The numbers are without doubt impressive, however some math may reveal something we might miss.

Denisov’s bodyweight is around 110-115 kg. The weight of the bells he lifted – 64 kg – represents about 60% of his bodyweight. On the other hand, for someone in the weight category under 65 kg it would represent 100% of bodyweight. The latter athlete will produce fewer repetitions with this load and his achievements will not be as impressive as Denisov’s. And this illustrates a major drawback of GS.

I don’t remember if it was Rudnev or Lopatin who said that light and heavy gireviks are in fact involved in somewhat different sports, even though it is still GS, just because the load/bodyweight ratios are so different. If Rudnev did 116 reps in LC with two 20 kg bells I doubt if anyone would gave it another look, even though lifting that weight is similar to Denisov lifting two red bells. There have been calls for changing the weight of the bells in GS according to weight category, however so far nobody has been interested. It is probably more because of the traditional nature of this sport. Sumo, strongman lifting and – to some extent heavyweight armwrestling – are similar in this respect.

Big guys will always be the most impressive in sports where size matters. However doing some math can be useful, especially for those of us in the Masters and Veterans category. The age makes us more fragile. The ability to recover from training and heal from injuries goes down, and more care should be taken in order to stay injury free and avoid overtraining. Sure, there are role models like Fuglev and Louie Simmonds, but is it wise to model ourselves on these guys? Do you have the luxury of planning your life around training? Do you actually want to turn into the full time sport professional?

I think it was WKC/AKC that several years ago who suggested smaller bells for older athletes. When this proposal has been first published I was critical of it. After all, a sport is a sport, and rankings should follow its origin, Mother Russia. Now, recovering from sore back I admit that my reaction was somewhat cavalier. As we age it makes sense to loosen up and not try and chase superhuman achievements, in physical sense. High volume AND intensity will eventually catch you. It’s ok to push yourself when you’re 18 and don’t have full time job, family, kids and myriads of other worries. It is entirely different when you hit your forties.

I mentioned it before on these pages and now am convinced more than ever before: intensity – both in terms of the weight of the bells and the duration of the set - should be used with care and infrequently. Vast majority of coaches on Russian sites recommend lifting lighter bells for higher reps as the staple of training, and virtually all GS programs I have come across use 10 minute sets once every 5 – 10 sessions, the rest is variation of technical drills, tempo, volume and GPP.

There is another point that is applicable to every athlete: the deception of specificity of training. It is believed that in order to do jerks better you should do more jerks. While this is true to a point, it also has drawbacks. Doing only one lift causes muscular imbalance that may lead to vulnerabilities. Most GS lifts tend to develop mostly posterior chain and neglect anterior muscles (not my idea). In order to avoid imbalances all-round GPP is very important.

In the book on Block Training Verkhoshansky conducted a very interesting experiment that lasted three years. One group of middle distance runners were trained the traditional way. Experimental group ran half as much as controls, but also did assistance drills: plyometrics, strength exercises, intervals and so on, structured into overlapping blocks. At the end of every year competition times of the experimental group were better. It seems to makes sense for GS as well, and I wouldn’t be surprised doing more pushups, pull-ups, running and other drills would improve GS numbers. Technique-specific drills are also important: overhead and rack squats, static holds, partial presses, bumps, swings and so on.

14 November 2010

Went to the beach this morning. While there did three sets of pushups with variable width.
10 (normal), 15 (wide), 10(diamond)


Dips on rings:
11, 13, 10

10 kg weighted chinups:
2 sets of 3

Dips on bars:
10 - normal speed
2 (!) - 10 sec down, 10 sec up, 5 sec pause at the top)

Slow reps have certain charm. Give a good pump too.

Pullup top holds:
20 sec x 2

Hamstring stretching.

Lifting story and long service leave

I discovered Pavel when I was still living in South Africa, around 2003. In 2004 I moved to Australia, and my interest in Pavel's writings continued. I eventually bought Russian Kettlebell Challenge and Beyond Bodybuilding, among his other books. In 2005 I bough one 16 kg and one 24 kg bells, the latter one ugly sucker, one of the first productions of Kettlebells Australia.

In retrospect I realize that my training wasn't correct, mostly because of too much volume and intensity I tried to cover. I injured my shoulders, elbows and hips several times. All of it healed though.

In 2008 I read Dan John's works and - of course - was impressed. One of the lifts he recommended was clean. The next day I tried it - and immediately pulled my back. In retrospect I realize it is because I lowered the bar instead of dropping it to the floor (I don't have a platform to do it). Nevertheless, it wasn't so bad, and the back healed quickly.

I continued various templates of lifting and at some stage decided to improve my deadlift and squat. At bodyweight of 70 kg I got to 115 kg in squat with good depth (don't remember the DL PR, it wasn't too impressive, about 120 kg I think). When unloading the plates from the bar after hitting squat PR after I got up my back was sore. The pain increased in the next few hours to the point that the next day I could hardly walk.

A few months after I started this blog and decided to focus on Long Cycle I damaged my back again, this time by incorrect lowering during re-clean with two 24s.

In the next couple of years I had two more episodes of serious back pain, once triggered by cleaning kettlebells and once - the latest - by bending over to pick my shoes (I did squat two days ago).

In retrospect I realize that my back problems are self-inflicted. I probably still do too much volume and my technique is far from good, especially in squat.

I did some sort of sports from adolescence. Never too regular or programmed, however I was always reasonably average-guy-strong and in reasonable shape. Looking back I can say that best results in terms of strength, looks and lack of injuries came from my gymnastics training. When I was about 20-21 I was literally obsessed with grinding routines on parallel bars and rings. I started gymnastics late and never participated in any competition, let alone being on one of those admired Russian gymnasts. But I could do a few elements, and especially summersaults helped break the ice when trying to impress the girls.

I have had back pain for the last three weeks. It is most certainly the result of my incorrect technique of squat and deadlift and to some extent kettlebells. The fact that it is recurring worries me: I am doing something that may lead to long-term problems. I don't want to end up like some of the patient in the pain clinic I was involved with in Johannesburg, on opioids and in constant pain. My low back is not the only problem: in the last five years I also had several episodes of severe neck pain, to the point that I had to miss work. So here is my spinal health plan.

  1. To stop lifting for the next six months, both barbells and kettlebells. Not a very rational decision, but I want to give my body sufficient time to heal and re-adjust itself.
  2. Instead of lifting I will concentrate on bodyweight exercises: pullups, rings, handstand stuff and running.
  3. Find a good osteopath/chiropractor/kinesiologist and see him on regular basis. The idea is to get guidance in correct musculo-skeletal behavior and special exercises for the back.
  4. Find a coach who can help me with the technique of big lifts. I know of a few people who could help me here.

This plan means that for the next six months this blog will not justify its name. I will get to kettlebells as soon as I can, but it will be 12 kg snatches, not something one would want to follow on the GS blog. I will keep posting my training here for those who are curious. After all, if the plan works and my back gets back to what it was 30 years ago it may be used by someone else.

11 November 2010

6, 6, 6, 6, 7.

All reps slow and in good form.

Testing the waters

My back is getting better (after very unpleasant two and a half weeks), and I am carefully testing the ability to flex some muscles.

Dips on bars:
10, 10, 10, 13


Still hurting a little when doing something involving lower body. Hopefully will feel ok for more serious workout by the weekend.

3 November 2010

I am working like a dog and in addition to my low back my neck is sore as well. Today I decided to do pushups after every patient I attend to. The reaction of my staff was amused and funny at the beginning. After several sets however one young nurse joined me and did a set too. It feels good: less of the tired feeling in the shoulders at the end of the day.


Pushups - 7 sets of 10 in variations
BW squats - 2 sets of 15

27 October 2010

Two days ago getting ready for work I bent down to pick up my shoes. When I got up my back was absolutely fucked. I am walking around like a cripple and can barely move without shooting pain in the lumbar area. So for the next couple of weeks it's only upper body stuff.

13, 7 (both sets to failure)

It is interesting that you start realizing the importance of some body part when it is injured. It turns out lower back moves during chin-ups! I had to do them slowly and smoothly, otherwise it hurt.

Dips on bars:
15 - to failure

Stretching a la Pavel: front splits with isometric contractions.

23 October 2010

Reverse partial muscle-ups on rings:
5 singles

You assume the position on rings as if you're going to do dips. From that - descend until you just pass the transition point, reverse and finish where you started. I haven't done muscle-ups on rings for almost three decades and need some assistance work to get back to them. Muscle-ups are a great exercise, as well as time saving, combining the pullup and the dip in one movement.

Weighed pullups on rings.
5 kg x 5 x 4 sets

Shoulders are a bit sensitive, hence only 4 sets. I wonder why it is so much more difficult with false grip.

BB squats:
65 kg x 20 reps

20 October 2010

Ring pullups:
5 x 5
used false grip in couple of sets, it gives forearms tremendous pump

BB squats:
62.5 kg x 20
Surprisingly, today this was easy. May be something to do with the fact that I had unusually long sleep last night.

Few more elements on rings: hanging leg raises (high), L-holds etc.

16 October 2010

I am starting back with GS. I have been in correspondence with Sergey Rudnev who kindly advised me on the training program on jerks, suitable for my life style, age and physical condition. I am not at liberty to publish the program here: Rudnev is associated with a certain GS organization, and by training others makes his living. You are welcome to follow it here.

I am planning to do GS training (jerks only) twice a week and supplement it with bodyweight exercises (pullups, rings etc.), squats once a week and light running. Hope one will not interfere with another.

2 x 18 kg jerks: 9 reps, 1 minute
2 x 20 kg jerks: 9 reps, 1 min
2 x 16 kg jerks: 21 reps, 3 min

BB squat:
50 kg x 3
75 kg x 5
60 kg x 20

Static holds revisited

As I mentioned, I am currently doing exercises other than GS, one of them - pullups, on rings or bar. With my innate urge to research anything I do I was searching the Net for the info and came across a very interesting exerpt from Sommers' "Building the Gymnastic Body" The quote in question relates to inproving pullup reps:

"Many people believe that an easy way to increase your repetitions in the pullup is the focus on performing a bottom static hold (the "hang" portion of the pull-up). I agree. In addition, I would submit that it is equally important to train the top position as a static hold as well."

Counter-intuitive and unexpected, especially bottom static hold. Which brings us - again - to the question of the value of static holds in GS, rack and overhead. Static holds are very popular among Russian GS coaches, but are snubbed by US gurus. One line of reasoning is that according to OTW, the most popular (as far as I am aware) training method in that country, jerks are performed at very low cadence striving to get to the 10 minute set. As such, this method includes long periods of rack holds, therefore no additional static work is required.

One critique that comes to mind immediately is that the method does not emphasize overhead holds. At the same time, overhead holds are very useful: they help find the correct top position, the one of most efficiency that leads to the least fatigue.

Sommers' remarks on static holds pullup holds are interesting to me for one reason: static exercise helps improve the results of a dynamic movement. I suspect the situation in GS should be similar.

13 October 2010

I am enjoying my GS off time. Yesterday my friend finally fixed up the rings to their permanent place and today I did some long forgotten stuff: pushups, flys, straight body raises, pullups in L and some other elements. My wife joined me in this venture and it seems she got a good workout.

Rings are unstable and that's why anything you do on them has double effect. Flys, for example, load the whole anterior chain, and after 10 reps abdominals are simply burning. Hence the time saving effect: the chest and the gut are loaded at the same time. The same is true for pullups in L: hang on the rings, lift your legs to 90 degrees and do pullups. If normally I can do 10 - 12 reps on the bar, in this position I can barely squeeze 5.

9 October 2010

BB squat:
50 x 3
72.5 kg x 5 x 2

11, 8

Dips on rings:
11, 7

2 October 2010

BB Squat:
50 kg x 3
70 kg x 5 x 2 sets

Dips on rings:
BW: 12, 13

Hanging leg raises:
10, 11

For me squat has one very practical side: it is faster to set it up. The bar is sitting in my power rack, and all I have to do is to put some plates on (with my strength it's not much either!) As opposed to deadlift: unload the bar in the rack, take it out, load some plates (awkward), then do everything in reverse when finished. Well, deadlifts are important and I will do them. Just wanted to complain a little.

One thing puzzles me: how come my biceps gets pumped up from ring dips, whereas it doesn't from dips on fixed bars?

PL program by Surovetsky

I seem to have run out of fresh articles on GS. It's one of problems with fringe sports - not much research. Also, those who train don't mind to stick to old methods.

As I mentioned earlier I decided to take a little break from GS. Just to start moving my joints in other directions. It is also useful to get detrained a little, so that the body starts responding to training again. Consider it a block training system, alternating pure GS with pure strength training. To stir a bit of controversy, I am also becomeng interested in static hold training by Pete Cisco. I especially like his philosophy on the frequency of training.
Rant mentioned PL system developed by Surovetsky. I got interested and did some search. Two interesting things happened as the result. First, while Rant posted the table which referred to nine week long cycle, original system was developed for sixteen weeks. Two, it turned out this methodology is very popular among Russian powerlifters. I read quite a bit about positive results achieved with this method. So I decided to share it with those who might be interested. The link to the system in Russian is here: http://www.bypowerlifting.ru/library/system/121-pragrammy-trenirovok-zasluzhennogo-trenera-rossii.html

Ascold Surovetsky is an Honotrary coach of Russia, CMS in powerlifting, European PL champion and World silver medalist in veterans division in 1996. Best results in under 75 kg category: squat 200 kg, bench 140 kg, deadlift - 262, 5 kg, total - 585 kg.

The system consists of 8 microcycles lasting 16 weeks. Three sessions per week. The first table shows calculated weights percentages for squat and deadlift only, based on current max. Bench is trained every day using two systems described below. Percentages are not recalculated after max efforts in the table, only after getting through the whole program.

Sorry for the quality of the table. You can either compare it with the original at the link or email me and I can send you Excell spreadsheet. It is simple though, the percentages in microcycles go from 74% to 88% except for heavy sessions for DL and SQ (DL-h and SQ-h).
Bench press. System No.1.
Percentages based on current max. Three sessions a week. Last set in a session is performed with the pause on the chest. First sets in sessions 1 to 10 are the same. Last column in the table is actually Partials with 100%. These partials are done from pins at 10-12 cm from the chest.

Bench Press. System No.2.

On the original site the description of the program is followed by the interview with the author. I don't have time to translate everything, but here are some basic points.

The program is suitable for lifters of all levels. Also, depending on the time before competition you can start the program from anywhere. You can also repeat the program as many times as you wish, as long as you get results.

Nice template, though a bit complicated. Very pleasing for the geeks who like percentage calculations. Enjoy.

26 September 2010

After reading IGx thread on BW training I recalled that my wife bought a pair of gymnastic rings more than a year ago. I got them out and hung them on the bar of the power rack. My younger daughter joined me, and we played with various stuff: dips, pullups, pushups, Bulgarian pushups, Ls etc. Very cool and very taxing. BW exercises are really good, either for variety or even for as stand alone stuff for muscle building.

When I was at medical school I did some gymnastics. Nothing fancy or too advanced, but I could do a trick or two. Spring preparation for the beach was done exclusively with BW exercises and it was very productive in terms of visible muscle. Handstands and summersaults on top of that earned a lot of respect from friends and made female couterparts more welcoming.

I also remembered something interesting. In 2003 I joined Kung Fu school in Johannesburg. Their methodology was not scientific at all: 2/3 of the session consisted of very intense GPP and the last 1/3 was devoted to technique and sparring. Basic principles of training state that it should be done otherwise. Never mind this though. We did literally hundreds of pushups, always to failure. After a few weeks I noticed at the time that my arms became considerably larger, even though I did not touch a weight. It seems intensity - forced BW reps - did the trick.

That's not to say that I am the proponent of HIT or Mentzer's methods in general. For one I am too lazy for that, and volume approach is the preferred method for me. But it works, no doubt.

21 September 2010

I am still sore from multiple deadlifts. The last thing I want is to injure my back again. So today only bodyweight exercises.

Handstand pushups:
5, 4, 4, 5, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 3, 1

Alternated with

Hanging leg raises:
8, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 8

All in 20 minutes. My arms are strong enough to do more HSPUs, but the problem is the pressure building inside my head. I haven't done them for a while, so should take it easy for starters. Feels good, though this workout didn't get me breathing hard.

19 September 2010

70 kg x 5
75 kg x 5 x 10 sets

5 x 5

Did the workout Bryce Lane style, in 20 minutes. Did chinups between some of the deadlift sets. Even though the weight is fairly small the fatigue accumulates.

I want a bit of rest from GS. To move my body in other ways. Variety - more fun, easier to stick around. Hopefully deadlifts will give me a bit of strength so that I will be able to handle KBs better. For now I am planning to alternate deadlift/chinup workouts with jerks for multiple sets, same style.

17 September 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
10 x 2

I was on call yesterday and finished working at 4 a.m. Managed to sleep until about 10 a.m. and the whole day was feeling a bit down and irritable. Pushed myself to lift at least a little bit, to keep the memory alive. Planning to have a good workout weekend.

13 September 2010

4 km outdoor run

Did it with my 13 year old daughter. Summer is coming, and it is really nice to run along the beach. Slow run, no great effort. The route is up and down, like most areas in Sydney.

12 September 2010

BB Deadlift:
70 kg x 5
80 kg x 2
90 kg x 2
100 kg x 2
105 kg x 1
107.5 kg x 1

5 reps x 4, rest 1 minute

24 kg KB:
OAC&P: 3L/3R x 2
Loaded OAC&P: 3L/3R x 2
Double MP: 5 reps

Loaded OAC&P: clean and press one KB while holding KB of similar (or not) weight in your free hand. I find it useful when I don't feel like going heavy but still want to get decent load. I have a problem with cleaning heavy weights - my back hurts. Loaded clean is a bit of compromise: not as heavy as double but heavier than single KB clean.

I recently started doing other stuff besides GS jerks. Mostly for variety and GPP. It feels good to switch to other stuff from time to time.

11 September 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:

5 reps/min
43 reps/ almost 9 minutes

Still stuck around 45 reps.

For the heck of it:
12 kg vertical lift:

20 reps (10 each arm)
30 reps (15/arm)

Fun. Gives you quite a bit of pump, useful for the beach season.

8 September 2010

I think I had some sort of bug last week, and that's the reason my lifting was so weak. My wife is complaining of daily headaches and general feeling crap, she probably got it from me, while I probably brought it home from work. I still have lingering headache, though light enough to be able to train. Still going to avoid serious strain.

2 x 24 kg jerk:
1 min/10 rep sets x 6
rest 1 minute

Barbell deadlift:
70 kg x 5
90 kg x 5
95 kg x 5
85 kg x 5 x 6

5 August 2010

Let's try today...

2 x 24 kg jerk:
6 reps/min
5 min/30 reps

2 x 24 kg jerks:
10 reps/min
10 x 3

Slightly higher speed on the main set and a few "sprints", for the sake of variety. Will revert to the usual 5 reps per minute the next session.

4 September 2010

I noticed soon after the last workout that instead of 15 kg plates on my barbell I had 25 kg. So all lifts are actually 20 kg heavier. I was wondering at the time why 60 kg deadlift feels sort of heavy.

I did not touch the KBs the whole week and hardly have time to train today, the reality of many amateurs. That's why I smirk at the motivaional remarks of many coaches: "do you have what it takes", "are you prepared for the sacrifices" etc. No, I don't and aren't. I have to pay the mortgage, private school fees, insurance, petrol, food and so on, kettlebells are at the bottom of the list. But I do have some time before they call me back to the hospital, so I am going to do some lifting.

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min
13 reps

I woke up with quite a bad headache. It got better during the day, however 10 jerks brought it back. The lifting session will have to be postponed until better times.

29 August 2010

GPP session

Barbell deadlift:
50 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
70 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
60 kg x 5
60 kg x 5

28 August 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
9 minutes(!) @5/imn
total - 45 reps, new PR

32 kg OAJ:

23 August 2010

1 hour, 8 km

Haven't done a meaningful distance for a while. Hard but feels good.

22 August 2010

2 x 26 kg jerk:
2 min/10 reps x 5

BB Deadlift:
50 x 3
60 x 3
70 x 5 x 2

2 x 26 kg farmers walk:
1 min x 2

For the sake of variety I decided to change the workout, increase the weight and do repeats instead of long sets. Going heavy feels good and forces the technique. Doing shorter sets gives a bit of a mental break from the grinding nature of GS.

Deadlifts. It seems that box squats hurt my back as it happened before. This is very unfortunate as they are great exercise. On the other hand the sportsman of my level doesn't need something sophisticated, and I decided to go with deadlifts for a while. Today was quite a surprise; deadlifting 70 kg - laughable weight - was not easy. My best couple of years ago was 110 kg (I think, could be 115). Specificity of strength in action.

I also decided to concentrate more on jerks and do snatches less frequently. I have very limited time to train, so maybe it is better to concentrate on something I like plus a bit of general fitness, such as deadlifts and running. I would go for long cycle, however - gentle me - they also hurt my back, so I will stick with something milder. Call me a wuss if you will. Besides, some time ago I progressed in snatches quite well by doing contiunuous sets with multiple switches several times a month. Maybe this is the way to go for me.

20 August 2010

24 kg snatch:
switch every 10 reps
40 reps total, what a wonderful result!

Was planning to get over 100 reps, however not feeling strong enough. Going to take it easy.

24 kg two armed swings:
20 x 2

19 August 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk
5 reps/min, 8 min, 41 reps

New PB

Would be nice to do some assistance work but have to go fetch my daughter from the violin lesson. Realities of amateur sports life...

15 August 2010 - assistance session

I have decided to rotate between jerk, snatch and assistance days. Today is the assistance day.

+/- 3 km run/walk

2 x 24 kg alternating holds:
15 sec overhead/rack
6 reps/3 min
5 reps/2.5 min

32 kg two-armed swings:
20 x 3

32 kg OAJ:
switch every 5 reps
30 reps

Box squats:
70 kg x 5
80 kg x 5
90 kg x 5
80 kg x 5

14 August 2010

24 kg snatch:
switch every 10
100 reps/7 min 45 sec

Not feeling too well today, will call it a day.

13 August 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
5 reps/min, 7 minutes/36 reps

Getting back to my pre-holiday numbers.

32 kg OAJ:
10 L/10R

9 August 2010

5 km treadmill run

8 August 2010

2 x 24 kg static holds:
15 sec rack/overhead
8 reps

2 x 24 kg bumps:
30 x 2

32 kg two armed swings:
20 x 2

Box squats:
50 x 3
60 x 3
70 x 5
80 x 5

Took it easy today as I haven't done volume in a while. I decided to add box squats to my routine, for getting overall strength up. Today I was using the bench which is slightly above parallel, should find something lower.

More specifically for gs - I am going to build the duration, aiming at 15 minute sets, by doing jerks at slow pace and/or long pauses at the top and snatches with multiple switches. Another big thing - shoulder flexibility. For overall endurance - long slow runs.

Later on I will outline my training plan in more detail, though practice always turns out not as planned.

7 August - First GS Comp

Today I participated in my first GS competition. Mind you, altogether there were four competitors, but this nevertheless was max effort for me. Everyone produced impressive numbers - Anthony went over 100 in jerk and over 70 per hand in snatch, while Mick did something like 80 reps with long cycle, both with 24 kgs. One competitor, 49 year old Shaun, performed in biathlon with 16 kg and did about 80 reps in jerk and over 160 in snatch.

Yours truly was the least impressive: 31 in jerk and 37L/38R in snatch, both for about 6 minutes. At least I have the starting point.

I am still planning to achieve my goals for the year. For jerk I am going to do more timed sets and REDT, for snatch - continuous lifting template. I am also planning to do more assistance exercises, including running.

3 August 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min, 6 min/30 reps

24 kg snatch:
switch every 10 reps:
40 reps total

On Saturday I am going to the GS comp. My results are very weak, the consequence of holiday and three week break in training. But hell, I have to start somewhere, even with neasly numbers. Will post the results on the weekend.

1 August 2010

Last session was on the 11th of July, about three weeks ago. I have been away on holidays and didn't have a chance to get back to training until today. Not expecting a great workout.

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min, 22 reps

20 kg snatch:
20 left/20 right

A post on de-training is warranted...

Advantages of being big

I was paging through Siff's Supertraining and came across the chapter on the dependence of strength on body mass. There is an equation worked out by sport scientists that predict the total of powerlifting lifts. Inserting various bodyweights into the equation and plotting the results produces the graph below.

Dark blue line is the result of PL lifts, whereas RS is the relative strength (lifted max divided by bodymass, I multiplied it by 50 to get two lines onto the same graph).

Interesting. Big guys are stronger in the absolute sense. That is why in weightlifting in the highest weight categories you see so many big guys, thoughy many of them are frankly fat. By gaining mass by eating leads to increase in body mass, and some of these gains will be muscle. From my memory I can recall this trend being broken couple of times: by Yury Vlasov in the 60-s and more recently by Pisarenko in the 80-s. These guys were training more like bodybuilders in the sense that they were bulking by gaining muscle mass, not eating themselves up. But whatever the body composition, smaller guys will always be at a disadvantage in terms of how much they can lift compared to bigger guys.
And that is why gireviks in the lighter weight categories impress me so much: lifting one's bodyweight for ten minutes is quite different than lifting, say, two thirds of it for the same time.
Another interesting observation is how relative strength changes with bodyweight. It looks like it peaks between 60 and 70 kg and then declines. Does it mean that in this range of bodyweight you get most efficiency in terms of force production?

11 July 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:

In stock traiding if you miss the stop and don't get out of the trade in time it becomes long-term investment. My timed set became interval session when I realized that I haven't recovered from 20 squats. It is not going well today and I am not going to push myself.

2 x 24 kg swings:
10 x 4

8 July 2010

BB breathing squats:
65 kg x 20

6 July 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
@5 reps/min, 8 minutes, 40 reps

24 kg One Arm Clean
switch every 10, 100 reps

5 July 1020

24 kg snatch:
31 left/31 right

Not sure why my snatch deteriorated all of a sudden...

24 kg swings

3 July 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
5 reps/min, 8 minutes/40 reps

24 kg snatch:
max set - 28 left/23 right
this didn't go well at all...

Not feeling strong at all. Will call it a day.

How to improve jerk

I found an interesting article on Russian site www.shtanga.kcn.ru, “How to Improve the Technique of Jerk”. Even though it is written for Olympic lifters, some aspects of oly jerk are similar to that in GS, and advice regarding its technique is applicable to our sport. Well, have a look. For the sake of relevance and time I trimmed the article, and for those wishing to play with Google translator full text is at http://www.shtanga.kcn.ru/tolchok.htm. I apologize to weightlifters for possible mistakes in terminology. In case you are wondering, by "send-off" I meant that phase of the jerk when the bar is pushed from the chest up, the initial moment of the upward movement. Feel free to point out the correct word to me. Here it goes.

Recently on the forum run by Movladi Abdulaev I was asked the following questions: “What do you do to improve fixation of the weight above the head? I have enough strength, however the problem is that my “scissors” are very high. How can I correct this?”

Instead of answering these two questions related to the fragments of the jerk technique I decided to answer more complex one: “how to improve jerk of the barbell from the chest?” and place it on the site Problems in Olympic Lifting.

I will start from the fact that success in jerk depends on the whole array of factors, and that some of these factors respond well to training.

I have elaborated on the conceptual principles of training in the earlier article, Some Problems and Perspectives of Weightlifting (http://www.shtanga.kcn.ru/problem.htm.) in the section "On the Simplicity of Training”:

Most sport specialists, theoretical and practical, often miss the fact that correct approach to training is built on three fairly simple but basic principles.

First basic truth: training is nothing else than rehearsal of competition. In other words in competition only that quality can be shown in full measure that was specifically developed during training. For instance, if you need leg strength during competition don’t expect to show it if you trained only arms. Similar fiasco will expect you if instead of leg strength you train endurance.

Second basic truth: if you have to train complex movement consisting of several phases then you have to break the movement into its components and first of all train every component separately until it is perfect and only then tie them into one movement. As a matter of fact, training of complex movement is better learned from the end, this way correct habits are formed better.

Third basic truth: the speed of navy convoy equals the speed of its slowest ship, the strength of the chain equals the strength of its weakest link, the limit of weightlifter’s strength in performing complex lift equals the limit of his strength in performing the phase that is trained the worst. That is why special attention should be devoted to lagging links.

My correspondent has already worked on the third component by acknowledging his weakness and asking for the advice. So now he has to address his weaknesses in the technique.

The problem can be solved either by applying the first basic truth - whatever you train will be trained – in the straightforward manner, or by employing the second and third principles, i.e. the detailed analysis of your weak link and subsequent separate training addressing weak components of the technique.

What is the simple and unsophisticated way of training? One our coach from Kazan, Bekir Emiruseynov once told me that he has understood why during the years of his competing he never dropped the barbell from the chest: because he did lots of jerks from the chest in training. He jerked sub-maximal and maximal weights from the stands for singles, lower weights from the chest for several reps etc. He said: “I don’t understand this all this banter about the problem of jerk from the chest. One just has to jerk from the chest a lot, and the “problem” will disappear”.
This is straightforward and unsophisticated. It is, by and large, correct: Bekir did not waste his time on other rubbish, did not try to get through his jerk by benching, squatting and bending of horse shoes. Bekir acted simply: he did lots of jerk from the chest, though most probably to the detriment of other components of competition lifts.

That’s what I more or less told Bekir: “Have you ever thought that such massive training of such complex movement as jerk not only brings success, but at the same time reinforces already learned errors? Vardanyan also lifted very heavy weights, mostly because he had very strong send-off which did not materialized from thin air, of course, but was developed by long and special training. However, he could lift even bigger weights if he changed his second dip from soft and high scissors to deeper one and harder, and used the time spent on send-off on let’s say improving snatch or clean?”

Therefore the most efficient way of training is the way of getting rid of errors and optimal reinforcement of all components of the lift, including those that the opponents don’t even start thinking about.

The beginning of this way looks like this: I am going to consider the factors determining the jerk from the chest and then name exercises that may influence these factors.

Lifting the bar from the chest depends first of all on the speed and precision of the send-off, as well as the depth, stability, speed and precision of undersquat.

At the same time, the speed of the send-off depends on the length of the path of acceleration and the force applied during this acceleration.

This force depends on the fatigue of the legs, as well as stability of the back and the chest during racking the bar on the chest, on the deltoids. The fatigue of the legs depends first, on the strain required to clean the bar to the chest and second, the duration of the rest before jerk from the chest.

The depth and stability of the second dip depend first, on the position of the legs and second, on the specific (static) strength of the legs in that position.

The speed of the second dip depends obviously on the speed of placement of the legs into the necessary position.

As deep second dip is often perceived as dangerous, its improvement depends on special mental preparation.

To complete the picture I can add that in some competitions (usually internal) the judges are forgiving to pressing at the end of the jerk. Moreover, arms trained for partial presses usually can handle overhead fixation better.

Now, which aspects from the list above are trainable and how to train them?

In my opinion the following is trainable:

  • Optimal length of acceleration path
  • Vertical precision of acceleration
  • Leg strength during send-off
  • Reduced fatigue: by improved strength endurance to static load of the back and shoulders during prolonged racking of the bar on the chest, improving leg strength for clean to the chest, more economical way of clean
  • Optimal position of the legs during second dip
  • Specific (static) leg strength in second dip
  • Speed during second dip
  • Psychological preparedness for deep second dip with maximal weight
  • Arm strength for top press

Optimal path of acceleration and precision in direction is best trained by jumps with the barbell on the chest. This exercise is not new but in this era of chemistry is used rarely. One should start with light weight and increase it gradually, because all jumps with heavy weights are dangerous, first of all for the spine. During jumps you don’t have to concentrate on landing on the heels or something else. Just make sure to jump as high as possible and land in the same place where you started.

Jumps with significant weights also train the leg strength for the send-off. However I repeat: jumps are dangerous. That’s why it is better to train leg strength – especially at the beginning – by half-squats with the bar on the chest. They are performed to the depth op undersquat (angle in the knee joints 100-110 degrees). The weight should be (not straight away, of course) significant: 120-140% of the best result in jerk.

Reducing fatigue during rack is trained – of course – by static holds from stands, minimum for 15-20 seconds, with maximal and supra-maximal weights (110%).

How to improve leg strength for getting up with the bar on the chest the readers probably know without me.

Optimal position of the legs during second dip should be first felt without the barbell. Later on you should do static holds in this position, gradually increasing the weight. Next step is to get into the position as fast as possible. First try doing this without the barbell. During this the most important is to pay attention to the correct position of the feet, and when it is satisfactory try achieving it with higher and higher speed, sharpness. Don’t be shy to stomp the foot that is in front.

Do not forget that by not repeating the skill you forget it, and while you are re-learning stop doing jerks from the chest at all and be patient.

Specific leg strength in the second dip can be trained with squats in the scissors position with the barbell on the back.

Obviously, top press is trained by static holds of significant weight (150%), either standing or lying down.

The end of the article.

I think many advices in this article are very relevant to Girevoy Sport. As weightlifting, GS is also very technical, and the technique eventually determines the number of reps you can do in ten minutes. Jerk, snatch and long cycle are very complex and have many similarities with Olympic lifts, and the approach described in the article can be applied for GS.

Several earlier posts focused on various technical aspects and recommendations given in regards to improvement. Many Russian coaches recommend static holds, both rack and overhead, bumps and jump squats. In view of the above discussion the value of jump squats with the barbell on the back may be questioned, as the loading is not exactly the same as during actual lifts, and maybe bumps (jerks from the chest without second dip) are better alternative. Quarter squats in rack or overhead can be very useful for improving jerk. For improving snatch of long cycle technique similar dissection of the lift can be done and appropriate exercises developed.

From the resources I have seen so far the most systematic way of teaching GS lifts in accordance to three basic principles described above is presented in Kanygin’s Kettlebell Systema. Every lift is broken into components and every component is taught by specific drill. At least an hour is devoted to each lift in that series. No, I am still not getting commission and say it here only because it is true.

Working on the weakest link of the technique makes perfect sense. For me it the lack of flexibility in the hip flexors which affects rack position, lack of speed in the second dip and general lack of endurance. All of these can be addressed separately.

Another relevant conclusion based on the principles of correct training is that more time should be spent imitating GS competition by doing long sets for high repetitions. Everyone reading this blog knows that I often expressed the opinion that volume training has advantages. And it does: it is better for building strength to be able to lift bells of competition weight. However when the strength is sufficient and the goal is to compete one should prepare specifically for this task by lifting for high reps and long time. Again, Russian EDT may be a good compromise between the two.

30 June 2010

Today is 23rd wedding Anniversary, day off, and I sneaked downstairs for an hour to train.

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min, 7 minutes, 35 reps

New PR! The progress albeit slow but is there. I like timed sets more and more, though they are hard as shit.

2 x 24 kg rack/overhead holds
20/20 sec x 3

24 kg OAC&J
10 left/10 right

2 x 24 kg static rack hold:
3 minutes (highly recommended)

28 June 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
5 reps/min, 6 minutes, 31 reps

27 June 2010

24 kg snatch:
max set - 28 left/33 right (61)
4 minutes

I am experimenting a little here: trying to follow "from speed to distance" method described in earlier post (http://girevoysportafter40.blogspot.com/2010/01/yet-another-way.html) I am keeping the cadence intentionally high, building up the distance - reps/duration.

BB squats:
singles (kg)
50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75

26 June 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min
6 minutes/30 reps, rest
4 minutes/20 reps

I am getting hooked on long(er) sets.

24 kg snatch:
20 left/20 right

Snatching is much harder after doing jerks.

24 June 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 minutes @5 reps/min
26 reps

@8 reps/min - 13 reps
too tired

Abadjiev SAID

In this article I have used the material from the following websites:


For those who don't know Ivan Abadjiev is a famous Bulgarian weightlifting coach. His biography is quite fascinating. Before becoming a coach he was an outstanding weightlifter himself, taking silver in one of the World Championships. His coaching career started in the sixties, and he was known by his frequent critical comments in regards to training methods used in Bulgarian weightlifting. When Bulgarian weightlifting team came home beaten from 1968 Olympic Games Abadjiev reputation reached the ears of some high rank bureaucrat who said: "if he is so clever let him show what he can do". Abadjiev became national coach.

In the next Olympics Bulgarian team won three gold and three silver medals. During thirty years of his career Abadjiev produced 9 Olympic, 57 World and 64 Eropean Champions! In spite of such achievements his life was not that of a celebrity as one would expect. In 1884 when Soviets boycotted Los Angeles Olympics and organized alternative games, Druzhba-84, Bulgarians won in six categories, while USSR only in four. Abadjiev was summoned to the Bulgarian Olympic Commitee and was asked to resign. International Weightlifting Federation has found it unacceptable that such a small country gets most medals. Abadjiev did not resign. Few years before Olympic Games in Seoul one of the Bulgarian sports functionaries told Abadjiev: "All you can win is three gold medals. Any more and your head will roll, together with mine". Winning 1992 Olympics was not the biggest problem for Bulgarians. On the contrary, they were tested positive for banned substances and left the Games early. Abadjiev suspects foul play, as athletes who were caught were main opponents of Soviet weightlifters.

After 1992 Olympic Games Abadjiev formed a new national team that a year later won Eropean Championships. After that he was fired from his position. He could not find a job even in small clubs. He tried applying for work to weightlifting clubs of other countries but was declined: most clubs could not afford to employ such a celebrity coach. Eventually he took employment as the night guard in a kindergarden. Later he worked at the company manufacturing metal doors. Naturally many of his friends turned away from Abadjiev in fear of staining their reputation. In 1993 He got lucky and managed to get the position of a badminton coach, and in 1995 Abadjiev was invited to Turkey to coach his former trainee Naum Suleymanoglu who defected from Bulgaria couple of years earlier. Suleymanoglu won gold in Atlanta.

Abadjiev's philosophy of coaching is based on the principle of Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands, or S.A.I.D. that states that adaptation to stressor is specific to that stressor. The corner stones of the program are the three maximum sessions performed on alternate days, e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Time permitting, and with increased work capacity, lifters can then add lighter sessions (up to ~85%) on the 'off days' which function as active recovery from the preceding heavy workout. The last stage is to perform similar 'tuning' sessions on the morning of a heavy workout. There is substantial practical evidence that suggests a moderate session in the morning can actually improve the quality of a later workout.

When a lifter first begins to employ maximum lifts in training, the workout may require several days to recover. However, over time, tolerance to the heavier loading develops and the athlete can progress to maximum without significant preparatory arousal. Subsequently CNS fatigue is reduced and training consistency will improve.

Recently someone posted the story on IGx how one weightlifting coach trains a fifty-odd years old female in weightlifting. The principle is high intensity and limited volume. Several interesting replies were posted in response, one of the the observation that those practicing low volume/high intensity approach get away with doing no warm-up before the session. One of the first posts of this blog tells the story of Prof. Sergeev who advocated low volume training and long recovery intervals for rowers with good results. Earlier I did a post on interesting training methodology for running 10 km. Instead of the traditional approach where you first run 10 km slowly and then gradually increase the speed, it advocated running at the goal speed for as far as one can, gradually increasing the distance. We all know about the ideas of Mike Mentzer, big proponent of high intensity, low volume and long rest. I tried to start more discussion on IGx on volume vs intensity in this context, unfortunately the question has not been understood.

In Girevoy Sport as it exists in the US SAID principle is applied in the form of OTW training. Every session you do one timed set followed by assistance exercises which for jerks is one arm jerk with heavier kettlebell and swing for snatch. Both assistance exercises are done with heavier kettlebell. More advanced trainees do jump squats. This method is closest to Abadjiev's standard, as you imitate competition during every session. Is this the answer?

Everyone reading my blog knows that I like volume training. As much as I hate to admit it looks like OTW principle has more substance than I wanted to accept. It is sport specific and focused and is based on SAID principle. For me the problem with it is mental challenge. I never tried to conceal the fact that my motivation is not of the highest ranks and that I don't aspire to conquer the world of kettlebells of my age group. On the other hand, the path of intensity may be more suitable for people with limited training time like me. OTW may produce better results in shorter time, if results is what one wants.

I tried OTW when I started doing GS training with Dmitri Sataev. I didn't like it, it was too hard, and I dreaded every workout. I still think that before embarking on OTW one has to build a base with volume. Multiple short sets are less challenging and at the same time allow getting lots of reps in a session. It goes without saying that the technique is paramount. The good thing is that volume facilitates the technique, to an extent of course.

I think EDT is a good compromise between OTW and volume training. I know for a fact that it is favored by several respectable coaches in Russia. With this method the volume stays the same while the intensity is gradually increased. Out of ten sessions six will be very similar to OTW, and the other four are the variation of interval training.

Next question is, what size bells should be used in training? Again, following the principle of specificity it makes sense to use competition weight. In case of beginners however it is not feasible and one should progress through the weights gradually. And this is where I believe volume training again has its advantages.

Another interesting aspect is the speed of lifting. OTW method suggests starting lifting slowly and building the duration. After you can last 10 minutes you reduce the duration, increase the cadence and build the duration once again. Another possible variation is to start lifting at the cadence needed for the result and work on increasing the duration. So if you want to jerk two bells for 100 times in ten minutes start lifting at 10 reps/minute and every session try to last longer. To my knowledge nobody has ever tried this method, so feel free to experiment.

From now on I am going to do more timed sets, slow and fast. I have reasonable strength and endurance base, and now it is time to start working on specificity. I think I wasted time with lighter bells for a little too long. If it works or not - you will see in the next few months.

22 June 2010

Today is 69th Anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War that started in 1941. Sad day for Russia as well as Germany.

Today's workout.

2 x 24 kg jerks:
8.5 reps/minute - 25 reps
5 reps/minute - 21 reps

20 June 2010

I decided to go back to posting my training here instead of IGx. There is too much spite there, and I just don't see the point of sharing there. The "hate" would be ok, but there is just too much spite, and for the sake of dignity I am bringing my training journal back here. Whoever may be interested is welcome here.

For a few weeks of my absence I have been doing jerks and snatches, in different sessions. A week ago I did 10 sets of 15 in jerks with 24 kg. For the whole week I had a stomach bug. Still not one hundred percent but well enough to start training again.

So here it goes.

2 x 24 kg jerks:
7.5 reps/min, rest untimed
20 x 2

5 reps/min

20 kg snatch:
max set:
43 left/52 right

During snatch I was trying to pay attention to getting up on my toes and engaging the shoulder when sending the bell up. It makes a big difference in the economy: the bell just flies up. It may be a tad more demanding on the grip, but on the other hand the movement is smoother when more muscles are involved and I cannot say for sure. In any case my numbers are better than one week ago.

Kettlebell Systema by Denis Kanygin

Last week I received Kanygin’s Kettlebell Systema DVD set. It’s three DVDs, each devoted to the GS lift, the jerk, the snatch and the long cycle. I though I’ve seen it all until I watched all three DVDs.

I have trained with Denis for couple of months and must say that the quality of his DVDs does not surprise me. I mentioned several times how impressed I was with his work ethics and knowledge. This DVD set is completely in keeping with what I have experienced with Denis before.

These DVDs are the most detailed instruction on the technique of GS lifts. At the beginning of the series Denis makes a point how important it is to learn each lift in stages by doing appropriate drills. Sure, one can learn any lift in a few hours, but this way you tend to learn lots of mistakes which are difficult to weed out later. I must admit, this was the way I learned lifting kettlebells and now agree with Denis that this wasn’t the best way to do it.

Each lift is broken down in phases and each is discussed in minute detail. GS is about efficiency, that is why attention to nuances of the lifts is so important. How much detail is discussed is clear from the duration of DVDs: 1 hour 27 minutes for jerk, 1 hour 8 minutes for snatch and 1 hour 46 minutes for long cycle. That’s over four hours! And this instruction is packed with important information.

Take the snatch DVD for example. It discusses how the movement is initiated from the bottom, the trajectory of the bell on the way up, change of grip, correct overhead position, how to initiate the movement of the bell from the top down, how to save your palms, the correct trajectory on the way down so that the bell doesn’t jerk your arm and back. For each phase there are drills that help to understand the movement and avoid mistakes. What’s even better, there are detailed training programs for beginners and intermediate learners.

All in all this is the best video instruction on jerk,snatch and long cycle I have seen so far. It is pedantic and very thorough. If you are interested in the lifts of Girevoy Sport this is a good buy. It is perfect for those training at home and who want to improve their technique. Top quality, very good stuff.

In case you are interested in finding more about Denis and his system here are the links:

www.kettlebellsystema.com or www.kettlebellsystema.com/shop

It goes without saying that I do not profit from putting this review here, so there is no bias.

GS vs RKC and other Cs.

Today I received the Kanygin’s DVD set, 3 disks with detailed video coaching on Jerk, Snatch and Long Cycle. I just started watching it and will post full review of it in the near future. In the introduction Denis mentioned that neither he nor most of his clients don’t have competing in mind but do GS style training for general fitness. This got me thinking.

It has become the sort of traditional pastime to ridicule GS. IGxers find it boring, “akin to watching the paint dry”, while Dragondoor posters – usually those with no experience in GS – keep rumbling about how superior RKC is for the average man because of more tension etc. I never cared about this: more tension – thumbs up to you. I like training the way I am and don’t really care if someone else thinks it’s not enough or if other activities are better. Don’t like it – don’t do it. But today it dawned on me: nobody criticizes rugby or basketball players or for developing quite a useless skill. Seriously, is it “functional” to be able to throw the ball into the dust bin? Or cyclists for their monotonous and boring sport? There is not much variety in pedaling for one hundred kilometers, is there? If all round fitness is the goal then everyone should do Crossfit. For the record, I believe that Crossfit is not a bad idea if it is not taken with excessive fanaticism leading to rhabdo and serious personality changes. But hell, there are lots of strange people around, why blame the movement?

“No fitness system is complete without a press”, according to a DD poster. Really? Why is that? And don’t start the “functional” line: do you often have to press things from the shoulder up? Is arm strength that important? In my opinion arm muscles are the most useless and least functional. Lifting is done more efficiently by using the muscles of the legs and back, while the arms just support the load. Not even mentioning the fact that most of us don’t need to lift anything heavier than a stack of paper. And those who do – farm workers and those who move furniture – are good at it anyway and don’t need to go to gym to get more physical skill. Do basketball players do presses? Do Oly lifters do presses? Not according to Ivan Abadjiev, the famous Bulgarian weightlifting coach. There is another one: you need pressing to become a better fighter? Ha-ha! Every boxer will tell you that the punch is initiated from the hips. The strength of hitting is not in the arm muscles anyway, it’s in the technique. Otherwise powerlifters with the best bench would be best fighters around.

But even if you insist on the importance of press here is something to think about. Jerk gives you enough arm strength due to the static hold part at the top. Do lots of heavy jerks and your press will get better too. I can testify to that: I can press 32 kg bell without ever training for it. To add to the superiority of jerk, you can jerk more weight that you can press, without exception, and more weight always translates into more training effect.

Another DD amateur gem: improving the technique and finding the more economic way to lift in order to squeeze couple of more reps is sort of cheating, a sign of weakness. Besides serving as the method to suck up to the DD seniors this statement is simply delusional. Improving the technique is somehow making you weaker, really? Is learning good squat technique somehow limiting your strength? By being able to “squeeze couple of more reps” you are increasing time under tension and therefore the training effect. Is there a point to learn good running technique in order to run longer and faster and reduce the risk of injury? What’s the point of Rippetoe’s Starting Strength where the technique of several lifts is described in detail? Shouldn’t you just take the bar and squat, like a man? This of course is retarded, just like the suggestion that doing kettlebell snatches with good technique is somehow inferior. Sure, it makes me less of a man if my palms are not bleeding, but I can live with it.

Classic GS lifts give you about as much fitness and as functional as you need. Both move the weight to above the head, the ultimate display of physical ability. The load - two 32s or 24s - is not that insignificant either, especially for the lighter guys. Snatch gets your heart rate going as much as intensive run.

For some reason in some posters' minds GS is equated with snatching 12 kg bell for 20 minutes. Sure, that may be a part of GS training at some stage and it is useful. But remember the goal of the sport, doing lots of reps with 24 or 32 kg bells? Try it, see how "easy" that is.

And now for the boring part. GS is cyclical, and so is running, cycling, swimming and many other sports. But even putting cyclical activities aside, I still don’t see how powerlifting or exercising on the gym machines is more exciting than doing jerks and snatches. Where is this idea of training exclusively with timed sets coming from anyway? Sure, most of training should be sport specific. But GS employs many other methods as well: repeats interval, variable sets and so on. Guess what, GS athletes also go for runs, how’s that for variety?

If you want to become stronger and improve endurance GS lifts will cover it. They will not make you the elite runner of boxer, and neither will Hardstyle, Oly lifting or whatever else is claimed to be superior. You will get pretty fit and will look pretty good. Snatch and jerk will make you explosive and can help you lose weight if this is the goal. Doing them for timed sets will test your mental quality. Long cycle – which is a combo of two great exercises - will make you gasping in minutes and is probably one of the most time efficient workouts you can think of. Enjoy.

GS is boring

I generally don't care what other people do. Religion, eating, reading, wearing - whatever. You like Sex in the City - fine, though I will still think it's a shit movie. On the other hands some movies I watch make other people wonder if it is safe to let their kids near me. Anyway, what do I care. The same goes with exercise. There used to be debates about sports. Marathon running is inferior to weight lifting because marathoners look like this and lifters look like that. It is stupid of course: every sport develops certain quality, and weight lifters will fall out of the race after ten minutes. Most of them anyway. But who cares anyway? People tend to do things they like, and lifters become lifters not after some thorough analysis and research, but because they like it and probably are good at it. Not necessarily good though. I am a crappy runner, but I like it. So I run and don't really get upset when some schoolgirl wheezes past me.

When I came to South Africa in 1991 I saw cricket first time in my life. My first thought was "what a wanker's pastime". It took me good few years and some explanation from friends to understand the beauty of it. Same with rugby: I used to think it's the sport of retarded criminals. By the final of 1995 World Cup when South Africa took it from Kiwis I was ready to enjoy and appreciate this sport.

Most recent argument in the Net circles I hang around is about - surprise - Girevoy Sport. Just when I thought we are past it. I for one used get quite irritable when GS crowd - mostly AKC folks - slammed Hardstyle and Pavel for degrading the real art of kettlebell, lifting for reps in 10 minutes. That was crap. KB is a ball with a handle (or, as recently put on IGx, a handle with a ball!) and can be lifted in the variety of way. Press it, jerk, snatch, throw, drag - whatever takes your fancy, what's the problem?

The problem seems to come from the side of non-kettlebellers. I realize of course that most IGx "hate" is simple dick waving and baiting the uncorrupt out of boredom. Some of it is bordering on spiteful though. "Boring" is the first objectionable attribute of GS. Honestly, I don't see what's wrong with boring. For in depth discussion on boredom look up the article by Brad Warner, Zen Master and the author of Hardcore Zen, his argument is very appealing and close to heart. But in simple words - there are many boring activities. "GS is as boring as watching the paint dry". For your information, most of us would benefit a lot from watching the paint dry! Zen meditation is sitting and staring at the wall, and it changes lives! But Enlightement and other nonsense of this kind notwithstanding, many sports are boring. Running, cycling, walking,swimming - all cyclical activities. When you start running it is not only boring but also hard. But keep doing it and you transcend the boredom and fatigue and get to the next level where you are able to almost lose yourself. It is not really possible in GS - try losing yourself with 48 kg on your shoulders! - but you get the gist of similar sort. I am not going to exercise my writing skills by describing the "pleasure and pain of every rep" and crap like this. But you can try it yourself: surprisingly, it turns out to be quite addictive.

Boring or not - who cares anyway. I am bored watching basebal, yet the whole US is fascinated by it, so my boredom with it means nothing. Just like someone else's boredom with GS means nothing. But there is another argument against GS, this time from Hardstylers. Apparently in GS the technique of lifting is so perfect that it takes away the physical part away. According to this view trying to spend less energy in order to lift more is somehow demeaning to the idea of sport. Real men supposedly just deal with the weight. This, of course, is the opinion of one idiot on the Dragondoor Forum, but I heard it before.

In the recent years the Hardstyle movement has become strange mixture of really good and really bad. You have excellent Pavel's books with very efficient straightforward programs that work well. You also have VWC, mediocre though hyped up adaptation of interval training. Finally you have the Forum, bizzare place where idiocy is tightly interlaced with frank ass kissing, though occasional gems make it worthwhile for me to visit it every month or so. If anything is boring, by the way, DD Forum is it. But whatever, its members like it, what do I care.

Something posted on IGx brought my attention to the tread on how to lower the bell when snatching on DD Forum. The discussion by itself is pretty meaningless unless you do GS. Most of the effort in snatch is in sending the bell upwards, so what does it matter how you lower it? Sure, by throwing it down actively you create momentum that requires more effort to reverse the movement at the bottom... Blah, blah, blah... Take a heavier bell or do few more reps, you will get the same effect for all fitness purposes. But then somehow the topic developed into the GS vs.HS debate. Apparently HS carries over to other activities, while GS does not. You know what? I really don't give a fuck!

It's time to come to the conclusion of my ramblings. Why do people do GS? For the same reasons people do any sport: they like it. Will GS carry over to other activities? Let's see... If you can jerk two 32 kg bells for 10 minutes - I am sure you will be stronger and your endurance will be better compared to those who cannot. Are these qualities going to be better than if doing HS? I don't know. If you have decent GPP neither GS or HS will make a better skier, basketball player or swimmer. And if you are a beginner whatever you do will make you physically better off.

So those of you who think GS is inferior to other sports - fuck off. Just fuck off and go do whatever you like doing. It's all relative. My mom believes all olympic lifters and boxers are retarded, but she likes figure skating, so what does that mean? We do GS (or whatever you would call it in my case) because we like it and don't need explan or justify it to others.

Quick jem

From Rudnev's consultation page (abridged):


Regarding classic jerk, last session I jerked two 28 kg for 10 sets and rest interval 1 minute. Which further way for progress would you recommend:

1) reducing rest time between sets or
2) reducing number of sets simultaneously increasing their duration (for instance 8 sets of 1'15", 6 sets of 1'40", 5 sets of 2' etc).


Second variant is better. Do interval training as peaking session once every two weeks. It all depends on when your competition is though.

3 June 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
15, 15, 10, 15, 10, 10, 15, 10, 10, 10

120 reps in one hour. 5760 kg.

29 May 2010

24 kg snatch:

Switch every 5 reps,
100 reps (about 6-7 minutes)

2 x 24 kg jerk:
5 reps/min

3 min - 15 reps
2 min - 10 reps

28 May 2010

Barbell squats:
70 kg x 5
65 kg x 5

This concludes the first cycle of PTTP. I am very curious to see where it goes.

27 May 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
10 x 10 sets
under one hour

That's sweet 4800, close to five tons.

Doing it while watching "Like Father Like Son" with my younger daughter. No effort, though felt it at the end of last set.

Current training

I've been away from the blog for a while. For some reason I cannot post from my home PC, when I try I get some error message. And I am too lazy and buzy to try and figure out what's wrong. I haven't stopped training, even though it - training - has been rather sporadic. I had some change in my work lately. To cut the long story short, my working day is 10 hours, and the hospital where I spend most time is about an hour of driving away from my home. This does not leave much time for jerking kettlebells. But it's ok, even doing it once a week makes me feel good.

Given the the low frequency of my training I now try make it up by volume. I also followed the advise given to me by Makarov (last year, mind you) and tend to work out with heavier bells. My session consists of multiple sets of either jerks or snatches. Sets either fixed or waving, as used by Denis Khanygin. For example, last week I did 7 sets of jerks with two 24 kg, 10 reps each set, liberal rest. Yesterday I did snatches with 24 kg, the sets as follows: 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 9. The rest should have been 7, 5, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, but my hands started burning, and I didn't want to rip my palms.

General idea of my current training is to build up volume up top 200 jerks or 300 snatches (150 per arm) in one training session and then start reducing rest between the sets. It should be good for building numbers, but I don't really care at this stage. Finishing the above in an hour makes it fairly good workout in itself: it's 3.3 jerks or 5 snatches per minute, or total volume of 9600 or 7200 kg! Let's see if I can get there. Or maybe I will drop the bar and settle for less. I am also planning to do continuous snatching with multiple switches.

I have also started doing some barbell work. PTTP style, only squats and not every day. I do two sets of 5, yesterday squatting with 67.5 kg in the first set. I also occasionally do some BW stuff, like hanging leg raises of pullovers over a bar and a bit of stretching. On weekends I try go for long walks. It is about 10 km from where I live to the famous Bondi beach, most of the way along the coast. Couple of weeks ago my wife and I walked to Bondi, had a snack and coffee and then walked back.

I am also going to start posting my training on the Irongarm, this way my records are more likely to be consistent.

Another training program

I haven't been logging my training here for about two weeks. For some reason the Blogger doesn't accept my posts, and I am too buzy and lazy to contact the help desk and sort things out. I am typing this on my laptop at work and hoping to be able to post this.

I have been training, though sporadically. Trying to find the time (and motivation) to increase the volume. Doing ok.

Today I came across an interesting site and want to share it with those interested. The site is http://hundredpushups.com/index.html and as it follows from its title it is about training to be able to do 100 pushups non-stop. If you think of it the goal is exactly the same as what we are trying to do in GS: lots of repetitions in one set. And one hundred reps in any classic lift is an honorable result.

Well, how do they go about it? Volume? Intensity? Actually, their approach is a bit of a mixture of the two. Let's have a look.

It is a six weeks long program, training three times per week. The first step is to test yourself. The training volume is then dosed according to your current best. Here is the table for the forst week of training.

I am sorry for the quality of the image, you can get better view at the original site: http://hundredpushups.com/week1.html The program progresses in logical steps: each week you get re-tested and the number of pullups increases according to your results. This table is reproduced here for the sake of illustration, you should read the whole methodology at the site if you are interested.
The idea of this template is pretty straightforward: volume training as percentage of maximum, incomplete rest between sets. However its originality lies in the fifth set, one performed to failure. Applied to GS it makes a happy marriage between volume and intensity. Several shortish sets first followed by all out max. You could even introduce a few modifications.
For one, you could play with the weight of the bells. Logically it would make sense, for instance, to perform 4 sets of jerks with 28 kg bells and max set with 24 kg. Or stay with the same pair. Another parameter you could tweak is the rate of lifting. Combinations are virtually endless.
What I particularly like about this program is that it is aimed at what counts: reps. There is no prescription for the tempo or the duration of the sets, just do the fucking pushups. I guess there is nothing wrong with tempo, and applied to GS if the goal is 100 in 10 minutes then lifting at 10 reps per minute makes most sense.
This method is another illustration on how the same goal can be achieved by totally different means or their combinations and is sort of an answer to the recent question on IGx regarding the best method of training for GS. Another fact to add to confusion.

17 April 2010

2 x 20 kg jerk:
10 reps/min, 42 reps

32 kg OAJ/push press:
30 sec on/30 sec off


Barbell squat:
60 kg 2 x 5 reps

3 x 5 reps

14 April 2010

16 kg snatch:
4 min/arm @ 15 reps/min
8 min/120 reps total

32 kg OAJ:
4 sets of 5L/5R

12 April 2010

2 x 20 kg jerk:
1 min x 10 sets, rest 1 min
@ 10 reps/min

Total - 100 jerks/4000 kg

24 kg OA push press:

Hanging leg raises:
9, 9 (failure)

30 kg Good Mornings:
1 set of 15 reps

8 April 2010

For the sake of doing something:

24 kg ladder presses ETK style:
1-2-3 x 3 sets

Hanging leg raises:
2 sets of 7

2 sets of 5

7 April 2010

2 x 16 kg jerk:
5 min @ 12 reps/min - 60 reps
another 10 reps slower, so total set time +/- 6.5 minutes

16 kg snatch:
2 min/arm @ 20 reps/min
80 reps total

2 x 16 kg front squat (full):
10 x 2 sets

5 April 2010 - rehab day

It's been a while: I was sick like a dog for the last 10 days. My biggest professional hazard is working in air conditioned theatres, and the surgeons like the temperature close to fucking zero. This must be how I got sick this time. For some reason I don't get sick often, but when I do it's bad. Never mind, today is the first workout after a break and I am taking it easy.

2 x 16 kg jerk:
50 reps at 12 reps/min

16 kg snatch:
20 left/20 right, about 15 reps/minute

That's it for the reconvalescence session.

25 March 2010

16 kg snatch:
58 left/60 right
6 minutes

Lousy, I expected it to be better.

22 March 2010

3 km run outdoors

Haven't done it for a while, feels hard. I also downloaded the coolest free application for iPhone, RunKeeper. It gives you the distance and the average speed of running of your workout. It also displays the map of the area where you are running, so that you can find your way back in a place you don't know well. Cool toy.

20 March 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
10 x 1 minute sets, rest 1 minute:
10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 5, 6, 7, 10
88 reps total

If I couldn't complete 10 reps I rested the remaining of the set minute plus the assigned rest interval. The goal today was to complete all 10 sets with as many reps as possible. Heart rate after the las set was through the roof.

I understand now why it looks like Rudnev and Lopatin seem to be jerking the head backwards during jerks. In actual fact the torso is deflected backwards, and in this position upper pecs are fired when the bells move up. Pecs are bigger than delts and are getting fatigued a bit later. That's my impression anyway.

I don't know how some people manage to do assistance exercises after main sets. I am smoked and can't think of doing anything else. Pussy, I know. But I am ok with that.

17 March 2010

24 kg OAJ:
switch every minute
10 reps/min
14 min, 140 reps

In January this year one of my employment contracts expired, and the hospital chose not to renew it, along with six other anaesthetists. That place provided me with the biggest share of my income. I understand their point of view - they wanted to save money, and it's fine with me. The side-effect though is that I have grabbed every possible session that was offered to me and, as the result of the anxiety, took more than I should. The work itself is no big deal, the problem is lack of free time. Hence reduced training frequency and intensity. I haven't managed to overbook myself for April, so hopefully I will have more time wor working out in couple of weeks.

14 March 2010

15 kg snatch:
93 left/108 right

Slowly progressing. Timed sets have their charm. 15 kg is nothing to talk about, but after snatching it for 5 minutes the forearm is burning. After I finished my right forearm was hurting real bad. On the other hand you get used to this kind of torture. I guess it is sort of similar with ultra runners: it doesn't get easier, you just accept it.

11 March 2010

Time is in very short supply today.

2 x 16 kg jerk:
80 reps/ 7 minutes
at 12 reps/minute

24 kg OAJ:
switch every minute
10 reps/min
6 min - 60 reps

7 March 2010

My younger daughter has turned 13 today. I have a little bit of time between the morning movie (Alice in Wonderland, it is amazing how badly you can fuck up a good book) and the restaurant later on. Hence short but intense session.

15 kg snatch:
Max set, one switch:
82 left/86 right
about 8 minutes

Gonna stay on this weight until able to do 200 snatches in 10 minutes. Got a bloody callus on the right palm, didn't rip it though.

5 March 2010

2 x 16 kg jerks:
10 reps/min
71 reps - 7 minutes

Short session: going to do virtual comp on Sunday.

3 March 2010

13.8 kg snatch:
100 left/101 right

In case you are wondering, 13.8 kg is a traditional Russian measure of weight used before 12th Century. It is derived from... Joking. I have a wrong style 12 kg KB, and after tying a 1.25 kg barbell plate to it with the medical plaster it weighed 13.8 kg. Progression a la McRobert, using childrens' weights. So far seems ok, just another 10 kg and I'll be proud of myself!

24 kg OAJ
switching hands every minute at 10 reps/min
10 minutes/100 reps. Not easy. Should do it more often.

I am nursing my left calf therefore not getting onto my toes during jerks. It makes it a little harder.

27 February 2010

2 x 24 kg jerks:
5 x 1 min sets @10 reps/min
rest 1 min

Expected to do more than last time (6 sets) but couldn't.

12 kg snatch:
98 left/101 right

Just for the sake of doing something I am going to try grow snatch numbers from here, by increasing the weight. So next session it will be snatching 13 kg (or whatever the smallest barbell plate I have).

I have e new problem, a spasm/pain in my left calf muscle. I am beginning to doubt if I am cut for GS at all.

Magic combo?

The topic of how to best train for GS has been beaten to death, and there is still no conclusion. There is no answer, of course, no secret and no one correct way. Particular method used also depends on the athlete and his goals. It also depends on the availability of time, both for training and recovery. In any case, various training modalities are useful, and a lot can be extrapolated from other cyclical sports.

On Rostov GS site Rudnev has a page where you can ask a question, and I found one of the recent comments interesting.

Hello -----! In order to get the elbows to reach iliac bones it is necessary to work on the flexibility in thoracic spine and hip joints. I recommend to alternate interval work with continuous sets with the competition bells. For example: finish two week microcycle with 10 minute jerk set at 3 reps/min, next microcycle – 10 sets one minute each, with rest 1 minute at 10 jerks/minute. Let’s say that you managed to last 4 min 20 seconds at 3 reps/min, and managed 6 intervals. Repeat until 100% success. Next step will be to complete 10 minute set at 4 rep/min and to do 8 intervals 1 min 15 seconds each at the same tempo, with 1 min rest. In continuous sets we increase the tempo of lifting, while in interval training the duration of intervals increases while their number decreases. You can also do dosed standing (from 1 to 10 minutes) with the bells on the chest [static rack holds – Smet] with the bells 28 kg and heavier. During that you may walk around and do trunk twists.

Interesting, isn’t it? Interval training as described here is nothing other than Russian EDT. Long sets don’t need an explanation. It seems that the combination of the two can be beneficial in GS (just like in other cyclical sports where it has been used for decades). At least this is the opinion of Maestro Rudnev.

21 February 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
10 reps x 5 sets
10 reps/min
rest 1 minute

20 kg OAJ:
switch every minute
6 minutes

20 February 2010

24kg snatch:
switch every 10 reps
80 reps total

2 x 16 kg jerk:
6 reps/min, 7 minutes

16 kg snatch in gloves:
25 left/26 right - and smoked

Of all methods for snatch training continuous sets with multiple switches worked best for me. Not that I ever made a serious effort to improve my snatch numbers, but dabbling with the method I got improvement without trying much, and this is described in lats years posts. I want to make more serious effort now and am planning to use this method and see how far it will take me. I also like the pain of snatching in gloves.

More on snatch again

Sergey's comment on the previous post. It offers new ways of self-flagellation and deserves to be published as a separate entry.

Another snatch assistance drill from Rudnev/Morozov cookbook: Snatch every 7.5 seconds. Business as usual, but you pause at the top and bottom position for 7.5 sec. 15 seconds per rep, 4 reps per minute. I tend to swing the bell a little while waiting for 7.5 sec at the low position. Timer/beeper helps maintain the pace. Same idea, smooth grip-saving pull to the top, better lockout and control at the top. I like those drills, they bring some fun and variety to otherwise boring and grinding long sets.

On gloves - wearing Wal-Mart edition ($1.49 two pairs) cotton/acrylic knit gloves I can only squeeze 25-30% of my best snatch numbers. And after 2 minutes when your wrist and forearm burn like hell you naturally begin to pull very gently. Anyone who is into this masochistic self-inflicted torture called GS should enjoy it a great deal. Good luck!

And a little more on snatch

Here is one of the comments by Sergey to the previous post. Sergey has his blog where he logs his training.

Maestro Rudnev recommends snatching in gloves not for hands protection. Gloves must be slick (cotton knit) to help practitioner to learn how to pull steady and gently. This should help to develop grip saving technique. Same principle applies to snatch/swing sets. I asked Igor Morozov this question: why gloves, why snatch/swings? The answer was: [translated from Russian] -Usual cotton gloves, should be slippery, strengthens the grip and teaches you to pull the bell smoothly. Snatch with alternating swing: do one swing to chest level, and the next swing snatch the bell to overhead. This exercise strengthens the grip and teaches to pull the bell from the bottom smoothly, without jerking and unnecessary overload of the hand.

I tried snatching with gloves today, and the first impression is that it does both. The grip got taxed very quickly, and I had to pay attention to the smoothness of the snatch. It also seems that the hands are protected to some degree. Too late to make conclusions, but snatching in gloves is interesting.

Today's workout:

2 x 24 kg jerk:
1 minute @ 10 reps.min, 5 sets
Rest - 1 minute first 2 breaks, then 2 minutes.

After resting - another 2 sets of the same.
70 reps total

16 kg snatch:
in gloves

2 min/32 reps left/right, no rest
1 minute/14 reps left/right

total - 92 reps, forearms are seriously smoked.

More on snatch - Macho Libre

Few hours later after I wrote the last post I have been thinking more about it. Actually, protecting your hands while snatching is not such a bad idea. It is scoffed at by hardcore gireviks, and recent RKC seminar where they wore socks over their hands during VO2 Max workouts sparked a few comments on IGx. However, protecting hands can go a long way.

For training snatch I like the method mentioned by Vasily Ginko when he was in Sydney, continuous snatching. It was discussed in earlier posts. In essence it is a variation of volume training. The main problem with it is that when you get over 200 snatches per set you invariably fuck up your hands. Most of the time it's blisters, but occasionally you tear a callus or two and it takes a while to heal. The same happened when I was training with Denis: one workout I did close to 300 snatches in total, and my hands were out of action for a week.

One way to avoid this, of course, is to perfect the technique and toughen up the hands. It will take a while though. On the other hand, working large volume actually helps develop the technique. Interesting, this methodology was also recently recommended by coach Morozon the Ukranian GS site. While he advocated this method as part of training, he also warned that it results in destroying the hands.

Sensitivity of the hands is also the factor that limits the number of snatch sets in a workout. It would be beneficial to do several sets, switching hands at failure. Again, the hands are going to suffer.

Protecting hands by wearing a sock or a textile glove makes these kinds of workouts possible. The next question would be what kind of glove is the best and when to wear them, and I predict discussions on IGx - and especially on Dragondoor - in the relatively near future.

What I find interesting is how conservative we are. GS as the sport only started twenty years ago, yet there already is some macho component to it. Maaaachoooooo..... I know, I know, it's all about the technique and shit. But since I started tearing my hands my wife doesn't always like me stroking her because my hands are too rough. Fuck it, I get splashed with blood at work, cuts on my hands make me nervous.

Anyway, I am not going to argue with those who are proud of torn hands, everyone has his own thing. For those of us who want to keep the hands decent and intact gloves or socks might be a good option. If maestro Rudnev says it's good - it's good.