Monday, June 30, 2008

TGUs and ROP Grind Ladders

Monday, June 30, 2008:

An average nights sleep, weight: 177 lbs, BF%: 15.2. Today was an easy day in terms of volume but I did work up a good sweat as I did this workout outside with my two co-workers. Raidu did 300 two-hand swings while Gordon and I alternated rungs on the TGU ladder.

24kg x 1 x 5/5 Halo
24kg x 2 x 5/5 Figure 8 to a hold
16kg x 1 x 10/10 Figure 8 to a hold

24kg x 1 x (1,2,3,4,5) TGU ladder where for each rung all left then all right
Total: 15 each side

BW x 1 x 60yds PowerWheel Crawl
BW x 1 x 1 PowerWheel on knees, roll-out, hold 18secs, roll-back

Before bed:
Z-Health: R-Phase

I think I know what I want to do when I retire and it will keep me busy till they fit me for a wooden suit. Namely, travel around the country and world to visit and train with RKCs and their disciples.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A good nights. Weight: 177 lbs, BF% 15.5. I had a huge mocha-almond ice-cream cone yesterday which probably accounts for the increase. Eating ice-cream here in New England is an art form with a huge selection of really great local farms to choose from. Also the cone sizes are scaled up considerably so that my "small" would equal five or six Baskin-Robbins sized cones.

Early morning:
BW x 1 x 10 PowerWheel On the kness Roll-out, 5 sec hold, roll-back
BW x 1 x 20 Push ups: Focusing on rowing to the ground for controlled negatives
BW x 1 x 10 Clapping Push ups

Mid afternoon:
BW x 1 x 70yds PowerWheel crawl (PR)
16kg x 1 x 1 BU TGU
Dbl 16kg x 1 x 1 No-hands double get-up
Dbl 24kg x 1 x 2 C&P

24kg x 3 x (1,2,3,4,5) ROP C&P ladders. Weaker left-side used C&PushP after 3 reps of C&P
Time: 24mins

BW x 1 x 15 PowerWheel On the kness Roll-out, 5 sec hold, roll-back

While creating all the tension for my C&P ladders, I accidentally clenched my jaw and now the right side of my mouth side aches. I think I could easily have done at least one more ladder with my right, however my left still lags in strength even when substituting with the push presses.

On the PowerWheel roll-outs, I outlasted my co-worker, Raidu, who did 13 while we alternated turns in a friendly competition.

Before bed:
Z-Health: R-Phase

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gabi's summer swing ladder

Well rested from a good nights sleep and weighing in at 175.75lb, 15% BF, I was ready to resume KB training as I had completed a "rest" training day yesterday.

Inspired by Gabi's "My Program Minimum" I decided to first take a crack at the swing portion. Not having a 20kg and needing an excuse if I did horribly, instead of three sets of switching from a 16kg to a 20kg and then a 24kg for a total of nine sets, I decided to do 10 sets all with my 24kg. The pattern used by Gabi makes a very clever use of hand transfers to keep the arms from getting too fatigued and thus extending the set. Being slightly ( hah!) of an OCD nature, here are the details of the ladder for the 1st two rungs:

  1. One Left hand swing
  2. When the bell is chest high, grab on with the right hand joining the left
  3. One Two-hand swing
  4. When the bell is chest high, let go of the left hand
  5. One Right hand swing
  6. When the bell is chest high, grab on with the left hand joining the right
  7. One Two-hand swing
  8. When the bell is chest high, let go of the right hand
  9. Two Left hand swings
  10. When the bell is chest high, grab on with the right hand joining the left
  11. Two Two-hand swings
  12. When the bell is chest high, let go of the left hand
  13. Two Right hand swing
  14. When the bell is chest high, grab on with the left hand joining the right
  15. Two Two-hand swing
  16. When the bell is chest high, let go of the right hand
... then 3 left, 3 two-hand, 3 right, 3 two-hand; then the pattern repeats with 4 swings each and finally 5 swings each for a total of 60 swings broken down as 15 Left, 30 Two-hand and 15 Right. This is just one set and it takes almost exactly 1.5 mins (1:30) to complete. She then rests for one minute and starts again with a new bell. Before starting, I practiced the pattern without a bell to slightly grease the groove:

24kg x 10 x (Gabi's "Left, Two-Hand, Right, Two-hand" 5-rung swing ladder)
Total: 600 swings in 36 mins
Total volume: 31,800 lbs

Using my Gymboss timer set for dual mode with a 1:30 and 1:00 count down timers, I started strong for the first 4 sets completing the 60 swings in just a little over the 1:30. The minute timer on the 4th set rest period was not enough so I took an additional 1:30 and banged out my 5th, rested only the alloted minute and then fell apart on my 6th set needing additional rest between the 4th and 5th rung. At this point I just decided to wait extra time between each of the remaining four sets to guarantee I could complete them without stopping. I achieved that modest goal requiring a total of 11 extra minutes over the 10 sets .. in theory it should have taken just 25 mins to complete. I only worked for 15 of the 36 minutes but it left me completely spent.

Because of the unique structure of this ladder, my grip did not fatigue as it would have if I had tried to perform large sets with only two-hand or one-hand swings. Instead my forearms and (for the first time) my shoulders really felt it.

In all a great new workout and now a nice new challenge to work towards completing this in 25mins. Hey Gabi, thanks for the pain and pleasure!

I got a nice response from Steve Meidinger, RKC concerning how he transitioned to the 16kg :36/:36 15 reps/set VO2 Max snatch protocol. It turns out that he just started with it and is already up to 16 sets. He went on to say that Kenneth Jay explains that the 16kg :36/:36 is "only" 80-90% of ones VO2 Max. Steve plans to transition next week to the :15/:15 using the 24kg which gets one to 100-120% of VO2 Max. That's some serious snatching! I'll be sure to follow his progress.

This evening I completed one time through the "Secrets of the Shoulder". I finished up with a little miscellaneous grind work:

BW x 1 x 20 Push ups
BW x 1 x 5 Push up with a clap
BW x 1 x 10 PowerWheel on the knees roll-out, 5 sec hold, roll-back

12kg x 2 x 1/1 RKC Arm bar
24kg x 1 x 4l/8r MP

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Alternative Minimum Tax Circuit

With the jet lag over, I got ten hours of good sleep last night. Weight: 176lb, BF%: 15.2 .. nice that I didn't gain anything during my west coast trip.

Z-Health: R-Phase + NWU 2

I squeezed in a simple workout I borrowed from one of the RKC Cert team leaders on the 1st day of the my RKC Cert. It is based on the ETK Program Minimum consisting of swings and TGUs which I affectionately named:

The Alternative Minimum Tax Circuit:

24kg 1 x 20 Two-hand swings
24kg 1 x 1 TGU Left
24kg 1 x 20 Two-hand swings
24kg 1 x 1 TGU Right

Repeated 5 times for a total of 200 swings and 10 TGUs in 13:30 min

Here "Tax" is as in "taxing on the body". The TGU between swings served as the "active rest" and is hardly resting.

I started an afternoon session with Raidu, my cricket playing co-worker. Just completing his 2nd month of training today he performed two BUPs with 16kg .. pretty amazing as he couldn't do a single MP with the thing when he started.

BW x 3 x 60 yards Crawl

We alternated turns doing this outside on the hot pavement .. we used work gloves to protect our hands from the blistering asphalt. His crawl technique is a little bit waddle like in that he uses his hands as seal flippers .. they are pointed out at a 45deg angle instead of straight like mine. This is probably easier on the wrist however due to of the length of the crawls , heat and more dragging flipper like motion, he wound up with two quarter sized blisters on the base of his palms in spite of wearing gloves. Raidu, if you are reading this, hang tough!

Following that GordonJLee (as he recently started posting on DD, and as my star pupil and brilliant co-worker, he has only been training for less than a month and has committed to obtaining an RKC Cert .. a extremely worthy goal as I can attest to. A 10k sub 6:00min/mile guy, 5% BF, and wiry strong, Gordon's work capacity with the 16kg is already freakish; we will work slowly but methodically in building his strength) joined me in short TGU and remedial snatch workout. Gordon is a clone of Steve Meidinger, RKC, at least body wise. Not a bad role model for Gordon as Steve is a VERY strong hombre .. check out the second video from the top as Steve effortlessly performs a 32kg BUTGU (pronounced "butt-goo" .. its just a bottoms up Turkish Get Up) here.

24 kg x 1 x (1,2,3,4) TGU ladder performed on each side (1/1, 2/2, 3/3, 4/4)

We alternated after each rung. Gordon used the 16kg and had no problem.

24kg x 1 x 5/5 High pull
24kg x 1 x 5/5 snatch
24kg x1 x (1,2,3,4) snatch ladder performed on each side

I worked with Gordon on his 16kg snatch form with high pulls and he quickly stopped banging his sore wrists. Being so darn tall and long we had to tweak his high pull to be just over his head instead of his ear level like myself. We finished off alternating each rung of the snatch ladders where he demonstrated a nice smooth form.

A great training day for both myself and co-workers .. looking forward to more of these as the weather holds out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

a stream of unconsciousness + RTFM

I had an great time in Portland, Oregon, not the least of which having the strange but nice feeling of being the only RKC (at least temporarily) in this large city .. the closest one according to the DD RKC Instructor page is in Eugene .. a good 2 hours away.

The daily physical demands of the RKC cert left me with little evening energy other than to browse through the large instructor manual provided for each attendee prior to falling off into a deep sleep. What a gold mine! I was fortunate to have some long quiet time on my flight to Portland from Boston and I spent the majority of it reading this wonderful manual and taking notes. There are whole articles by almost all of the senior RKCs covering a variety of subjects only briefly touched on at the Cert. Most of these are new and are not posted on the DD Kettlebell articles. Kudos to Pavel and his gang of top notch Senior RKCs.

My good friend Karla of Gaston, Or (about 40 minutes west of Portland), was "ordered" by her personal trainer to attend monthly yoga classes to "loosen" her up a bit. I trudged along and happen to have a wonderful experience so much so that I may pursue classes back here in the Boston area.

Karla, and two other of my Classical guitar buddies expressed an interest KB training prior to arriving. Rather than schlep bells across the two coasts, we all chipped in for a 12kg and a 16kg bell at Fitness Northwest in Beaverton for some surprisingly nice CAP brand, China made, kettlebells retailing @ $2/lb. I tested the 16kg bell with a VO2 Max workout one evening out on Karla's horse farm where I was staying and it passed with flying colors. At the Fitness store I demonstrated a variety lifts with the 16kg, 24kg and 32kg bells. The manager, Paul Westphall, was impressed and remarked I was the first person to ever demonstrate any of the lifts correctly. He was well aware of the RKC system but was as of yet unsuccessful in convincing the store owner to fund his Cert. I told him he would be wise to fork it out himself as I was sure he could easily start training folks and make back the cert fee very quickly.

Over the five days I trained sparingly:

Friday June 20:

Saturuday June 21:
BW x 4 x 10 Ab wheel on the knees roll-outs, 5 sec holds and roll backs

Sunday June 22:
VO2 Max 16kg Snatch Protocol @ 15 sec work, 15 sec rest, 7reps/set
Total: 62 sets for 434 snatches in 31 mins

I did it without any taping or chalk and beat my previous PR by 2 sets. Afterwards, my hands were just a little sore with only one small blister on my left hand .. as I said above, the CAP brand bells are very well balanced with a nice smooth handle.

Monday June 23:
63 pull-ups of various sized sets and grips

Tuesday June 24:
An hour of demonstrating various KB lifts including various sets of swings, front squats, TGUs, C&MP, BUCs and BUPs. I finished off with a Gymboss demo by performing ten VO2 Max sets.

Wed June 24:

Thu June 25:

A nice taper week concluded to proceed my next training cycle. My right knee is still going to need at least a few more weeks to get back to where I can resume LCCJ training, however I can still do swings and snatches so there should be no problem staying in shape.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pull up Power Sets per Simon Forsyth,RKC

My internal alarm fired very early due to the preparation necessary for my Portland, Oregon visit early tomorrow. I will be training two of my closest friends, both very talented classical guitarists, while auditing the last two days of the annual week long Classical Guitar Immersion at Lewis and Clark College. In particular, I will be really looking forward to the open to the public, master class student concert on Saturday (I participated last year .. it was a wonderful, intense experience and I performed satisfactorily .. this time it will be sit back, relax and enjoy the show).

Z-Health: Mixture of R-Phase and NWU 2

Power Wheel:
BW x 1 x 10 Roll-out, 5 sec hold and back

Neutral Grip Fighter Pull ups:
BW 9, 7
BW 9 x (1,2,3) Power ladders
Total reps: 70

After re-testing my 9 RM, and then following up with another 7, rested and then trained Simon Forsyth, RKC style with 9 sets of his recommended 1,2,3 power ladders, i.e., one minute rest between rungs, one minute rest between sets and no rest between reps of rung. The focus in on perfect form and explosiveness. For me, this translates to getting way over the bar. Simon actually recommends not to exceed 50 reps so when restricted to just the power ladders, I did 54 .. close enough. Pull ups are a great challenge for me and I'm slowly zeroing on my short term goal of a 10 RM.

At around 2pm this afternoon, four co-workers and myself had a great swing workout. We formed a large circle and split into two groups. The 1st group did 15 swings, then the second group did their 15 swings and repeated until we were all spent:

24kg 24 x 15 Two-hand swings equal one-to-one work to rest
Total: 360 reps

My co-workers each used a 16kg and are improving quite nicely. Today Raidu, our cricket player, and my second client from work, did multiple sets of 24kg push presses on his right, five per set. Considering that 7 weeks ago he could not push press the 16kg at all, he is very happy about his new found strength. He is also down about 18 lbs as well. He now tells me his wife wants to start swinging .. that is RKC swinging. Per my advice he ordered an 8kg for her to start with.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

C&P Ladders

Wed June 18, 2008

A great nights sleep. Weight: 176 1/4, BF%: 15.2. Wanting to take it easy on my right knee, I decided to focus on grinds, specifically C&P (Clean and Military Press) ladders. I very rarely work on pressing however the RKC Cert was very illuminating in this area and I wanted to reinforce what I had learned there.

Z-Health: Mixture of R-Phase and NWU 2

24 kg x 3 x (1,2,3,4,5) Ascending ROP C&P ladders

I chose to do a clean each rep as again to reinforce all the extra work done on these at the Cert as well. Because my left arm lags my right considerably, I would do the 1st two reps of each rung as a pure C&P and then drop back to C&PP (Clean and Push Press). My right arm had no problems with all C&P.

All negatives on both sides were done Right of Passage (ROP) RKC style by actively pulling the bell down using the lat. This takes considerably more energy but well worth the effort for the carry over to other exercises. Today I was particularly aware of keeping my feet in the same position for the press following the clean .. as was pointed out at the Cert I reshuffled my feet after the clean losing most of presses pre-loading.

Neutral Grip Fighter Pull ups:
BW 9, 9, 6, 7

The two sets of 9 are a new PR an increase of 1 rep. Not bad considerably I haven't done pull up training since a week before the Cert.

Power Wheel:
BW x 1 x 5 Roll-out, 5 sec hold and back

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

One extra rep too much

An average nights sleep with no change in weight or BF%, 175.5 lbs, 15.1 resp.

Z-Health: Mixture of R-Phase and NWU 2

Power Wheel:
BW x 1 x 12 On the knees rollout, hold 5 secs and roll-back

24kg 1-arm LCCJ:
5 x 6/, 1 x 6/7 @ 1 set/min no putting bell down; Total: 73 reps in 6 mins
3 mins rest
2 x 6/6
4 mins rest
1 x 6/6, 1 x 6l/8r

To kickoff the new LCCJ friendly competition with Colin of UK, I was to get in 10 minutes of LCCJ work at the new higher 12 RPM shooting for 120 reps in 10 minutes without putting the bell down. The difference in 2 RPM is enormous and not surprisingly I had to stop at 6 mins. I then rested and did a two 2 min sets, rested again and finished with another 2 min set.

With time remaining on the last minute of the last set, I tried to squeeze in two extra reps with my right arm. The first extra rep was no problem. Then I saw I only had 5 seconds and I raced with poor form for the 2nd extra rep and tweaked my right knee .. I locked it out just before locking out my right elbow instead of after. This jammed the 53 lbs of Kettlebell iron straight down into it and I knew immediately it would cost me at least 3 to 5 days of forced rest (I heard a pop and a crunch).

I iced it all day and even took some Ibuprofen to be conservative. This is the same knee that gave me problems at the Cert as I had to wear a knee support throughout the entire training. I can get around fine but going down stairs is painful and I have to do it gingerly. But on the bright side I can still demonstrate 16kg swings and TGUs ( tomorrow I have new client I'm training). I just can't put all my weight on it unless it is locked.

Now that I'll be supplementing my income with after work and weekend KB training consultations, I realize, especially after today, that I must place a higher priority on staying healthy and injury free than ever before. Its okay to limp for me around at my software engineering job but not in front clients. I'm very lucky that I didn't do something really nasty.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A light day

Still feeling great and sleeping well. Weight: 175 1/2 lb, BF%: 15.0.

Today was just a very light day:

24kg x 1 x 5r/3l MP
24kg x 1 x 3r/2l MP

32kg x 3 x 2/2 TGU

I spent considerable time this evening with the 1st DVD of Brett Jones and Gary Cooks "Secrets of the Shoulder" 2 DVD set. This is very advanced for me and will take several viewings to assimilate. At the Cert I bought all three of their "Secrets of the " series as well as Brett's "KB Basics for Coaches and Personal Trainers". My goal is to work through all three Secret series to get better acquainted with the concepts that will be used in the CK-FMS Cert I will be attending to in August.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Still basking in the RKC Cert After-Glow

I know I will probably come back down (maybe I already did since I got unbelievable 11 hours of sleep last night) however its been just over a week and I am still riding a physical and emotional high since my RKC Cert. I just can't stop thinking about my fellow participants and the incredible RKC instructor staff. When I went back to our group photo, I counted 24 instructors to 57 candidates. That's an absolutely amazing ratio .. no surprise as while there I could always feel being under the watchful eyes of one or more of these instructors at all times. Weight: 175 1/2, BF%: 14.8.

Below is quick summary of the last three days of training.

Z-Health Mix of R-Phase plus Neural Warmup Level 2

24kg x 1 x (9 x 4/4, 1 x 6l/8r) 1-arm LCCJ without putting bell down @ 1set/min
Total: :86 reps in 10 min

An improvement of 4 reps since the day before. The difference here is that I had paced myself much better this time and was able to crank out the extra reps the last minute. That's all as this was plenty for a light day.

Z-Health Mix of R-Phase plus Neural Warmup Level 2
Qigong; Bear and Tiger Frolic

24kg x 1 x (9 x 5/5, 1 x 5l/6r) 1-arm LCCJ without putting bell down @ 1set/min
Total: :101 reps in 10 min

This the PR I've been chasing since a few months prior to the RKC Cert. This completes the 1st major stage as outlined in Scott Sonnon's article here. The next step is to drop down to 6 mins and crank the RPM to 12 and then work back up to the full 120 reps in 10 minutes. Colin of the UK, who suggested we might have a friendly inter-continental competition and who already had reached the 100 in 10 minutes about a month ago, has agreed to renew the race with this next step. Colin is the odds on favorite again and I would still be honored to repeat with the silver .. the benefit of completing this goal has excellent carry over to many other lifts and is an excellent conditioner.

Power Wheel:
BW x 2 x 10 On the knees roll-outs, hold for 5 secs, and roll-back
BW x 1 x 25 yards Crawl up and down my driveway.

Z-Health Mix of R-Phase plus Neural Warmup Level 2

Convenential Dead-lift standing on two 1" 35lb plates. Lift just up to the knees:
200lbs x 1 x (5,4,3,2,1)

Dbl 24kg x 5 x 10 double swings

BW x 2 x 4 Glute-ham raises

When I started dead-lifting about two months ago, I switched from conventional to sumo style as the former was too much for my lower back. With the RKC Cert completed and feeling sufficiently rested, I can continue with Rif's plan in earnest. Today I chose to do the assistance exercise day and switched to conventional as recommended. Although they did feel awkward, I managed these without too much difficulty. The 24kg double swings were done explosively with little rest between sets as called for (I had also done a good share of these at the Cert). As I don't have a Glute-Ham Bench, I followed the lead of Kurt Veit, RKC here and settled for putting on 35lb plates and smaller on my olympic bar and using a pillow under my ankles. Note, these are very challenging. My range of motion through the movement was very small and I am going to to have to proceed very slowly with these.

Friday, June 13, 2008

My first post RKC Cert training session

Yesterday morning after a good nights sleep and three required consecutive days of rest training to re-cover from the RKC Cert, I undertook a twenty minute training session. I felt remarkably rested and ready to resume training. I do keep finding myself going back to the DD Cert photos to re-capture the feeling of what transpired. It helps remind of all the incredible students and instructors I don't ever want to forget, the majority of which I did not have an opportunity to talk at length with.

For the session I paid special attention to implement many of the form corrections I received through out the Cert. This will take time as re-programming happens slowly to re-work a year of less than optimal form. As a result, I will be focusing on shorter but tighter, mindful sessions.

24kg x 1 x (9 x 4/4, 1 x 5/5) one arm LCCJ no putting the bell down
Total: 82 reps in 10 minutes

This increased my reps by two but took more time .. I slowed down the cadence from 5/5 to 4/4 to increase the TUB (time under bell) in order to hold on for the full the 10 minutes .. previously I only lasted to 9 minutes at the faster pace.

24kg combo (based on my RKC grad workout):
  • Snatch Left
  • Lower to rack
  • Front squat
  • Military Press
  • hand to hand swing transfer
  • Snatch Right
  • Lower to rack
  • Front squat
  • Military Press
  • 10 Two-hand swings
Total: Ten sets @ 1set/min

This worked out to about :40 work :20 rest. The two 10 minute sessions were very demanding and more than enough to re-start my hard-style training.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Franklin B Herman, RKC

Having endured and survived three full days of the most difficult struggle both physically and mentally, on Sunday I achieved my goal (that only a short while ago seemed only possible far in the future) of obtaining my Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor Certification. To this end I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart that took the time to visit here and provide support, encouragement and advice with your comments .. I honestly don't think I would have made it without all your help and inspiration.

In reality I obtained so much more than being able to proudly add the RKC suffix to my name. I was an organic part of one of the most complex, exciting and evolving experiments in human fitness and leadership development ever devised. I have emerged a different person, a stronger person, a more confident person and most importantly a more humble and appreciative person. Also, my heart goes out to my fellow candidates who fell short of obtaining their Certificates .. it was certainly not due to lack of effort as everyone worked their absolute hardest during those three grueling days.

To give a little feel for what transpired, the Certification consisted of being split into teams consisting of seven to nine candidates, an RKC team leader and two RKC assistants while under the guidance of Pavel Tsatsouline, Creator of the RKC System and Master of Sport, Brett Jones, Master RKC and other Senior RKCs towards accomplishing the following activities:
  • passing a snatch test
  • working through the detailed mechanics of the RKC hard-style swing, double swing Turkish get up, clean, double clean, press, double press, goblet squat, single and double front squat and lastly snatch
  • diagnosing problems and applying corrective drills to each of the these
  • completing three or more daily strenuous 20 minute workouts with a focus on a few of these lifts
  • being individually evaluated on our technique in performing each of the lifts
  • being evaluated on our abilities to provide a 45 minute teaching session followed by a 15 minute workout on a randomly assigned outside volunteer.
  • complete a lengthy grueling graduation workout over the length of a football field
As Brett Jones, Master RKC, described in his Hard-Style magazine article, the passing of the snatch test just sets a minimum acceptable level of fitness, shoulder stability and flexibility; the candidate must do far more preparation than just focusing on their snatch test. This couldn't have been truer in my case.

Although I did put considerable emphasis on working my snatch test specifics, all the other long heavy swing sessions, VO2 max and other circuit training sessions were critical in getting me through those three days with only minor aches. A special thanks to Gabi,RKC for posting her post-Cert hand photos on her blog. Following her lead, after passing the snatch test (only chalk allowed) I taped and re-taped my hands per Rif ever day resulting in only one small blister .. most of other candidate men on my team ripped up their hands on the first day.

The outline of activity above is only an indication of what really happened. Its impossible to accurately describe the feelings of overall mutual respect, bonding and strong camaraderie that quickly develops among not only team members but over the entire group over such a short time.

In my case, I was doing very well over the three days up until the graduation workout .. I had spent far too much energy with my volunteer client to provide him with a solid training and workout. Although apparently I succeeded as he thanked me for session and went on to purchase a 16kg bell, I forgot about the demands of the grueling graduate workout that shortly followed.

I had made the 80kg weight class for my snatch test and therefore qualified for the 20kg bell for the grad workout as was specified in our instructor manual. However, Jeff Connor, Senior RKC and a monster of strength (a double beast presser) insisted that everyone use their snatch test bell which pushed me up to the 24kg. The workout consisted of starting with our left hand performing in sequence a snatch, lower the bell to the rack, front squat, and press, then perform a one hand swing transfer to the right hand for a snatch, lower to rack, front squat and press. This then followed by ten two hand swings taking two steps forward at the top of each swing. We were then given a 15 seconds rest and the entire sequence was to be repeated until everyone crossed the field.

Having 1) never practiced the walking swing before , 2) being far from a natural lifter and 3) being quite tired, I couldn't get the walking swing groove and was only making very little forward progress. Then to my surprise on my left I could see and hear Fawn Friday, RKC (aka the "Yoganator") her husband Aaron and Sean Schneiderjan wildly cheering me on. There was no way I was going to disappoint my fellow bloggers who had provided me with such valued support and advice over the last four months. Although I was one of the final stragglers and completely exhausted, I somehow managed to cross the end line and complete the workout.

When it was over I was so incredibly delighted to meet Fawn, Aaron and Sean in the flesh. Its extraordinary how strong friendships can develop in cyberspace as I felt I had known them all for years. I also had the great pleasure of meeting Mike T Nelson, RKC, his girlfriend Jodi and Joe Pavel, RKC who also all attended the grad workout.

After meeting with my team to learn I had been awarded my Certificate of Instructor, Sean and I fooled around a bit with the bulldog and beast. Sean who is extremely strong and is good bet to eventually tame the beast, jerked it easily once he cleaned it few times. I could clean and jerk the bulldog but as for the beast, I could just clean it .. it only moved a few inches off my right shoulder as I failed to jerk it. Fawn gave the new RKCs a demonstration of proper pull up form by knocking off a half dozen perfect dead hang tactical grip pull ups. Pavel was there and congratulated her for fine form.

After some taking some more photos and saying farewell to those who had to leave to get ready to fly out, Fawn and Aaron invited Sean and myself over to their humble abode for a wonderful cookout. It would have been impossible to out do the Friday's warmth and hospitality and I soaked up as much as could. And I absolutely feel in love with their wonderful dog Elsa a beautiful high energy pit-bull mix. Before I knew it, while telling and listening to many stories with Fawn, Aaron and Sean, I had quickly consumed three beers, two monster grass fed beef burgers, several helpings of asparagus and large quantities of Fawns special home made avocado dip with corn chips.

After returning to my hotel and flying out the next morning I had time to start reflecting on one of most extraordinary personal growth experiences I have ever had. The full impact of which will take a long time to absorb and comprehend. Power to the people!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Off to the RKC Cert

This is my final post before flying out to Mn for the RKC Certification early tomorrow morning. Just a few days ago I completed four consecutive months of hard-style training during which time I did have some forced downtime (with the longest being 5 days due to over training and with its concomitant tweaks) but nothing major. The training ending elbow tendinitis that I suffered through from Sep 2007 through Jan this year is almost completely gone. Also during these last 4 months I made significant progress in a number of areas.

Unexpectedly, it will culminate with me obtaining my RKC Certification something I will cherish for a long long time. This longevity training PR calls for an acknowledgment and heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to visit this blog and offered support and advice. This has been amazing last 4 months and I am so excited and ready for a heavy dose of hard-style RKC love.

Weight: 175 1/4 lbs. BF% 14.9. I've got some cushion for the 80kg class and should have no problem with making weight on Friday morning.

Also, my hands are in excellent shape for the snatch qualification so no worries there. Here is a quick summary of training since Sunday:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

24kg snatch:
1 x 19l/27r
2 x 1/1
5 x 10/10
2 x 10/10
2 x 5/5/5/5
2 x 5/5
1 x (1,2,3,2,1,1) asc/desc ladder
1 x 5/5/5/5
Total: 290 reps

Monday, June 2, 2008

BW x 2 x 10 On knees Roll-out, 5 sec hold, and back

Neutral Grip Pull-ups:
BW x 1 x 8
(BW + 12kg) x 5 x (2,1)
BW x 1 x 5
Total: 28

24kg x 2 x (5 x 20) Two-hand swings @ 90 sec/set
Total: 200 reps

16kg x 1 x 14 snatch
16kg x 1 x 4 BUP right arm

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rest training

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

BW 1 x 10 On knees Roll-out, 5 sec hold, and back

32kg x 30 x 10 Two-hand swings @ 1 min/set
Total: 300 reps

These were surprising easy until the last two sets (29 and 30) when my grip started to fade but still made it through without sacrificing any power. Swings are so simple and so incredibly effective .. and I love doing them.