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.

More on snatch

As you remember there are two components that are required in order to make snatch successful. First, overall endurance, the ability to move the weight for 10 minutes, determined mainly by the strength and endurance of the back and legs. Second, and grip endurance. Both of these benefit from doing lots of snatches, continuous or in multiple sets, but the main problem is the vulnerability of the hand. Any time I do between 200 and 300 snatches in a session I get blisters or rip calluses, and then it takes ages until the injuries heal and I can snatch again.

There are a few ways to overcome this problem. AKC method (I assume it is AKC method as it was posted by Catherine Imes) – suggests that every session you do one max set followed by set or sets of one arm swings. Swings tax your grip without creating friction, and this way you can train every day. Recently I came across two interesting recommendations on snatch training by Sergey Rudnev on Rostov GS Federation site.

First – some of training sessions in the program Rudnev recently published include snatch sets with extra swing. I understand it means that you alternate the snatch and the swing. This is sort of hybrid between the traditional way (more snatches) and AKC method. The duration of the set is increased, the grip is taxed, general endurance systems get stimulated – and the skin of the palms is saved.

Second, at the end of main training sets Rudnev recommends snatching lighter bell for 10 minutes or max reps while wearing a glove. The purists may cringe, but I don't think there is anything wrong in keeping the hands soft.

11 February 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
30 reps - personal best, about 4.5 minutes

Set the Gymboss at 10 seconds interval, but sprinted the last 5 reps.

Tried to do 30 sec alternating static holds - couldn't, the triceps is smoked.

24 kg OAJ:
10 left/10 right

Information fever

Before I came to Australia I lived in South Africa for thirteen years. I still miss it, in spite of horrific crime rate and AIDS. Anyway, while living in Johannesburg I got involved in financial derivatives trading. Friend of mine is a professional futures trader, and together we ran a small hedge fund. I was also trading my own account, with reasonable success.

Futures trading is a strange activity. It doesn’t require particular knowledge (except the basic understanding) but is in my opinion on of the toughest ways to make a living. As the result you tend to continuously looking for information how to trade better. Vendors and various service providers feed on this tendency of traders, and there are scores of sites and newsletters that – for a fee – offer to help your trading activity. It can be a trading system, or actually telling when to buy or sell, or a course or seminar. Whatever, this market never dries out, and there are always enough clients for these businesses to thrive. However, the secrets of trading are simple: have a plan, cut your losses and let your profits run. In other words - discipline rules.

Relevance? Yesterday I caught myself doing the same thing in training, asking more and more questions about lifting when all I need is to train. Rather, Frogster pointed it out to me. He is right, all the info about training is here, be it Russian ways or AKC. The recipe is simple: choose the method and follow it. The same with the technique: jerks, snatches and long cycles have been analyzed and re-analyzed many times, mistakes dissected and corrective exercises recommended. All I need to do is to work on this shit!

True, consulting with a coach is very useful, and educated eye can point at errors quickly and save time. But ultimately I know what to do. I have to develop more power in the jerk and become faster in the snatch, work on efficiency, flexibility and specific endurance. I also need to try be as relaxed as possible during static phases of the lifts, in rack and overhead.

So, this is my plan for the next three months. More sport specific work, meaning more long sets. Some faster, some slower for improving the technique. Also speed work, lifting at higher cadence. I am going to alternate harder and easier sessions – working with 16 or 24 kg bells, as well as rotating the snatch and the jerk in a session. I mean on some sessions I am going to do snatch first, and on some starting with jerks. Assistance exercises – when I am not lazy – bumps, swings and one arm jerks with heavy bells.

During my previous training I have built reasonable strength and overall confidence with the lifts. True, they are not perfect, but so what, I am training alone and trying to do my best. Now I am going to focus on actual numbers and see where it takes me.

9 February 2010

On the 31st of January this year my contract with the hospital where I did most of my work has expired, and the administration wizards decided not to extend it. Not that they said it like this, but the proposed contract was so ridiculously unfair and inappropriate that most anaesthetists simply walked out.

Why am I telling this here? It will take time to fill the days with more work, and presently I have quite a bit of free time. Some of which - of course - I can spend training!

Today - easy session.

2 x 16 kg jerk:
20 reps at 10 reps/minute
50 reps at 10 reps/minute

16 kg snatch:
50 left/50 right
in about 6 minutes

It's funny, I snatch more or less at the same cadence with bells of all weights, about 15 reps per minute.

Some progress is definitely there: two years ago I struggled with 16 kg jerks for 40 reps, and today's set was relatively easy. I should do long sets more often.

6 February 2010

24 kg snatch:
30 right/30 left
4 min 15 sec

32 kg AOJ
10 left/10 right

2 x 24 kg jerk:
10 reps at 10 reps/minute

6 February 2010

2 x 24 kg jerk:
25 reps at 6 reps/min
10 reps at 10 reps/min

3 February 2010

20 kg snatch:
40 left/40 right
about 5 minutes

Feeling tired today. Days like these are quite demotivating...

Here is the video for comments and criticism:

2 x 20 kg jerk:
20 reps x 2 + 7 reps

the plan was 5 sets of 20 reps resting 2 minutes in between. But for some reason I am too tired. Maybe it's too hot. (Too lazy more likely).

The video of the second set, feel free to take it apart.

To finish off:

12 kg snatch:
10 minute set
100 left/106 right

Yeah! I would really shine in under 12 division!