Tweak recovery time

After the workout on the 7th of June, where I did snatches with 26 kg bell, I felt some pain on the left side to the thoracic spine. Felt sort of as someone stuck a small knife in there. The pain was worse on deep inhalation and during some movements of the torso. A tablet of Feldene, and the next day I didn't remember about this. 

On the 10th I started another session, and within 10 minutes the pain returned. I tried to make it an easy workout and limit it to long sets with 12 kg snatches. Six minutes with the left hand was ok, but one minute with the right made me very sore. I stopped, and this time it took more than one NSAID pill to get better. 

Now, two weeks after the event the matters are not better. Moderate pain is there most of the time, it gets worse when I move in a certain way or when I sneeze. 

Day before yesterday I did some simple lifting - a few sets of light front squats, pull-ups and some KB pullovers, and I am sore. One activity which doesn't aggravate the pain is cycling, and I have been using the bicycle fair bit. 

I am planning a complete lay off from kettlebells for the next three weeks. Incidentally, this Thursday I am leaving for holidays. Re-evaluation on return. 

Transition template

Transition is the key to any endurance sport. For example, if you want to prepare for a 10 km run you start with building the volume to a reasonable level, say 5 km, and then increase the speed for that distance. The logic being that running fast for 5 km prepares you for slower run for 10 km. Alternatively, you can train to jog 10 km and then increase the speed while running this distance every training session. 

The downside of the latter is clear: you quickly run into the dangerously high combination of volume and intensity and run the risk of injury. On the other hand you get used to 10 km runs, and during competition just have to make an effort to run it fast. 

The former method is probably safer, but it does not expose you to the competitive distance, and on the big day it may turn out to be too much. 

The trick is to combine several methods, and one of the popular templates, Run Less Run Faster includes interval sessions, lactate threshold runs - distances shorter than competition but long enough, at the speed higher than competition run, and long slow distance runs, slower and longer than competition distance. Eventually though one of these modalities will be dominant in terms of determining progress, and some runners will tell you that for them, for instance, intervals were most useful for increasing competition speed. 

The OTW debates are pretty much over. Girevoy sport has grown a lot among Western amateurs, and it is now possible to make a few conclusions regarding most productive training. That's what I think. 

Ten minute sets with competition weight every session for double bell lifts - jerk and long cycle - are not productive and may lead to injury. As discussed earlier in this blog, intensity in girevoy sport, besides the weight of the bells, is also determined by the duration of the set. Twenty jerks done in five minutes are more difficult than the some number of reps in two minutes, simply because of the increase of time under load. That's why training templates usually involve a progression over the microcycle, both in terms of weight and the duration of the set, ending with one ten minute set. 

Snatch is physically a more merciful lift, obviously, because you're lifting one bell instead of two, though the number of reps for snatches is higher than for double lifts. At the same time snatch is most technically demanding. So it makes sense to do long sets with light bell every session: ten minutes or even longer. 

I've been training with Rudnev since November and so far am happy with the progress. The session typically consists of a shorter set with heavier bell, followed by ten minute set with light kettlebell in gloves. Gloves serve double purpose: they protect the skin of the palms from high volume to prevent tearing calluses and they force you to watch the technique, because your grip is weakened by slippery gloves and fatigues rapidly if you're sloppy or forcing the reps. 

Every session includes some sort of circuit and aerobic training. According to Sergey, one kilometer run equals 100 bodyweight squats (so I have this excuse to avoid running). 

From what I can tell about my progress I feel these long sets with light bell are most productive for me. In November I could hardly last 10 minutes in gloves with 12 kg. Today I did 10 minutes with 17 kg, 59 and 69 reps with the left and right hands, respectively. Over a few months I can feel my technique improving. My back used to nag me after snatching even 12 kg for time, now it feels good. In December my grip was close to failing with 12 kg, and my forearms were seriously painful for a few minutes. Now the grip is holding well, and I am not close to failure. These long sets taught me how watch my technique every rep. Mistakes tend to accumulate over couple of minutes, and every one of them should be technically good if you want to last. With long sets you learn to notice the effort of the grip and adjust the technique if it is not up to scratch. 

At the same time these sets are not overly taxing, because the bell is light. If I did max duration with 24 kg bell every time I trained I would burn out long ago. 

What I am trying to say is that for me the transition seems to be happening as the result of long sets with light bell. 

At the same time I don't think I would progress without short sets with heavier bells. These sets prepare you for the competition load (or heavier: today I snatched 26 kg bell) and make you stronger overall. So do circuits; as shatching alone can create imbalance extra exercises - squats, pullups etc. - ensure overall athleticism. 

Recently I also discovered cycling and got hooked on it as well. The circle is complete: heavy snatches, light snatches, barbell and bodyweight exercises and aerobic training. This should help me stay fit in my fifties.