Friday, January 30, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Paralette Handstands...

If you haven't noticed, I have been trying to broaden the horizons
lately. Been working the rings pretty hard, and spending more and more time
with the paralettes... primarily to do every normal exercise I can simply using
them. L Sits, push ups, handstand push ups etc.

With the HSPU, I have been rigging up a harness of rubber bands (Iron Woody) to help support both some of my weight (making the strength component easier) and my handstand (making the skill portion easier).

I have decided I need to wean myself off the rubber. It might be a year in the making, but I am gonna get to a point where I can do some freestanding handstand push ups, with an exaggerated range of motion on the paralettes. Here's my first move:

Paralette Handstand from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Votes are in

There were two votes for weight loss, and two votes for strength, but
the winner really seems to be 'the Circus'.

Here's how I will take this to mean:
The windmill
the side press
the Turkish Get Up
the two hands anyhow

and other freaks of nature type lifts, and how to program for them
to reach loads truly worthy of side show status.

I'll get to work.

Turkish Get Up Fun

I have a pretty easy time with the 32kg bell,
but I don't have anything between 32 and 44kgs...
I tried doing two 20kgs bells, that didn't work, and I
am definitely not ready for the bulldog yet!

Turkish Get Up fun from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kettlebell Workshop at Richmond BJJ

That's right.

Richmond BJJ is going to be hosting a KBs 101 workshop at their facility

January 31st, from 2 until 4pm.

Registration is $25

For a reason why, you can review some earlier posts.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

High Rep Snatch training overview

Below are some articles, in a logical order, to help you understand
the best 'first steps' towards doing high repetition snatching:

While these posts describe a progression that many have used to prepare for GS competition or the RKC workshop snatch test, they are by no means a replacement for a qualified coach. None of this works without developing excellent technique in the KB snatch.

Good Luck!


Once you can hit more than 20 reps on each hand with a legit weight, it's time for the final step!

By this point, you should have your snatch technique pretty down. It's impossible to do workouts like 10 sets of 10 on each hand with poor form. At least not twice.

At this point, you're finally in the realm of snatching for cardio. It's time to adopt Valery Fedorenko's way of training the Girevoy sport events:
Long Cycle
Double Jerks
All of these events are completed with either a 24kg or 32kg bell, for ten minutes, with only one hand switch allowed. You are not allowed to rest the bell in any position except the rack or locked out overhead. You are not allowed to put the bell down or release it in any other way either. Most people who first try to do this don't even come close. Even an RKC can get pass with 60-100 snatches, meaning typically 30-40 reps on each hand completed in approximately 3-4 minutes. That is nowhere near the performance delivered by Fedorenko in 1992, where in the 80kg weight class he completed 188 snatches with a 32kg bell, a record that stood for well over a decade.

A brief foray into mathematical territory can tell us an awful lot about how he got there.
Valery averages about 19 reps a minute. It's about 1 repetition every 3.2 seconds. As you can see in his video, it takes just under a second, perhaps just a little longer to actually complete the snatch itself. The remaining 1.5-2.5 seconds is taken up with a relative rest in the overhead lockout position. This could be true for any pace less than about 45 reps a minute. In reality, I know no one that can maintain a pace above 20 reps a minute for more than a minute or two. That isn't to say that they aren't out there, it's just that those who aren't specifically training for KB snatch based events competitively rarely ever reach this sort of level of performance. So we should more realistically be talking about rates like 10,12 or 16 reps a minute. These correspond to repetitions every 6, 5 and 4 seconds (roughly) each, respectively.

Valery recommends attempting to complete 16 reps a minute for three minutes on each hand straight through, and suggests using a bell light enough to accomplish this. This is 16 RPM for 6 minutes.

I attempted this for the first time with a 16kg bell about 3 years ago, when I could already do about 12-13 reps on my left hand with the 24kg bell. It was exhilirating and excrutiating. I actually completed all 72 repetitions, exceeding my previous longest set by about 40 reps. I did it like this:
Chalked the hell out of my hands and my bell
Set a stop watch
hit the first rep, locking it out overhead
counted in my head: 3, 2, 1 drop
hit the next snatch
repeat Ad Nauseum
I got through about the first 15-20 reps like this pretty good. Then my forearms started to burn. Fuck they really started to burn. I can't tell you how relieved my right hand was to be giving the bell to the left by the time I finally passed it off. But of course my stomach, heart, lungs and legs weren't so excited about the prospect of being only half way done. Hence it truly was a test.

This style of training is not for the faint of heart, those lacking perseverence or those with a short attention span. Iron Kate once said(paraphrasing), "As a computer programmer I excell at mindless repetitive tasks. It was only natural that I be drawn to Girevoy Sport."

The prescription in this school of medecine is first raise the total time. If successfull at one pace for one time, add a minute. Until you reach ten minutes. Then increase the pace a little, starting back at 6 minutes. So next you're going for 18RPM for 6 minutes, then 7 and so on. Finally, once you reach 20 RPM, it's time to increase the weight of the bell and start all over again.

Remember, competition is with a 32kg bell. Few ever snatch this bell much. It's heavy. Enjoy the process beginning with whatever bell you must. You'll be amazed at what happens to your cardio, grip endurance and focus along the way.

This pattern of training is at the heart of Girevoy Sport preparation, and a cycle or two of this work will give you wonderful confidence in your snatching for whatever purpose you may also use it. Athletes who engage in this method of training tend to supplement these pace works with accessory lifts, such as strict press, romanian deadlifts and squats, as well as huge volumes of Swings, and the other GS lifts.

Friday, January 16, 2009

the Circus

If the Circus is truly where you wish to be,

I suggest you seek an apprenticeship under Senior RKC

Brett Jones

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Intermediate training

Once you can handle a few snatches on each,
say about 10 or so, it's time to get a little more sophisticated.

The basic premise of this program is that you have a fixed resistance, ie only one KB or the weight used is dictated by contest or requirements (ie RKC snatch test). Hence you will vary the volume. The goal is to increase the cardiovascular preparation, the technique, the grip endurance but primarily just the 'conditioning' required (particularly in the hands) to do high repetitions of the snatch both in single maximal sets, but also over extended workouts totalling hundreds of reps.

Test your max. Let's say for the sake of example it's 14 reps. The limiting factor is typically the performance on the 'bad hand', typically the left for righties, and it is this performance that you will use to gauge your 'max'. It should be your goal to narrow that gap overtime, until the performance is essentially the same between the two hands.

Once your max is established, a pattern of training three times a week could go something like this:

3 sets at 75% (3x11)
5 sets at 65% (5x9)
8 sets at 50% (8x7)

You can see how the daily volume accumulates while the individual efforts get easier. This is the opposite of most traditional liner periodization, but is logical as our end goal is not intensity but rather duration and volume.

In the second week it might look more like this:
4 sets at 80% (4x12)
6 sets at 70% (6x10)
10 sets at 60% (10x8)

Often this progression is enough to lead to a substantial increase in peformance if you retest your max after a few days rest, particularly with new skills.

Training in this fashion for a continuous 6-10 weeks would surely take a beginner from 14 reps to something approximating 22-30 reps per hand. It would be at this point that they'd likely be ready for training in Girevoy Sport specific methods or to engage in Jay's VO2max protocol and other regemins that rely on a large volume of snatches.

In addition to KB lifts, I have used this pattern in my own training and with clients to increase max reps in any lift where the weight is fixed, such as thrusters with an Rx weight, or pull ups or ring dips etc. It seems to really be best for those things where max reps are somewhere between 8 and 18 to begin with, and is often inappropriate once the PR is over 20 as the sheer volume of the workouts becomes impractical if not impossible. Even if you were forced to work with a fixed weight above 20 reps, I might suggest attempting the next weight up and retesting that lower PR of max reps.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Voting in the Poll

So far it looks like most people want to join the Circus with their KBs.

Don't be afraid to vote!

If the mandate is Circus, that's the mandate. But if all you fat loss people are too fat to say something, all the fat circus freaks are gonna walk all over you.

Marge Simpson: "You don't have to join a traveling circus just because the opportunity came along!"
Homer Simpson: "You know Marge, in a lot of ways... you and I are two very different people."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ko Uchi Makikomi

With some drive

Saturday, January 10, 2009

30 Kipping Pull Ups

A very rare few hours of sun light, no rain and temperatures above 50 degrees

came my way today, so in addition to yard work, I did a little playing around on the bar

Because of the very opposite of the above mentioned factors, I have had really no time on the BAR in many weeks, maybe about 6-8. What I have had are the following:
The Kipping Pull Up performed on Rings
Dead Hang Pull Ups
Weighted Pull ups
False Grip Chin ups
Muscle Ups

I have been working pretty hard on some combination of these for the last 6 weeks, and they clearly carry over nicely, as my last max test for Kipping Pull Ups on a standard bar was at least 3 months ago, and I have had little training other than a random WOD here or there since.

30 Kipping Pull Ups from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Mark Rippetoe on NPR

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Retest of my Max Ring Dips

Don't laugh guys.

A year or so ago, I couldn't really do one ring dip.

Retesting my Max Dips from Full Circle on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Thanks to all my KB Clients

My instructor page on the DD webpage.

Prompted by some recent comments on recent posts.

Hey, if you have ever learned KBs from me or been coached by me and haven't written a review, please do. I'd really appreciate it!

Click Here

just scroll down the to bottom of the page, where there's a space to enter your e-mail address to review the instructor by clicking the link adjacent

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High Rep Snatch - First Steps

If we decide that none of the aforementioned obstacles are going to stop you; ie you've secured a coach, a good kettlebell, practice time and a goal, where should you begin?

No one wants to hear this, but with the swing. Maybe the press.

You need two highly developed skills:
The ability to do A LOT of one handed swings
The ability to press a moderate weight for moderate reps, and to comfortably hold it overhead in the lock out position

The one handed swing is essential for several reasons, not the least of which is that the grip is specific to later work with the clean and snatch. Additionally, any swing variation will aid in the development of the anaerobic endurance necessary for your 10 minute set. You get to practice the specific posture and specific source of power (fast extension of the hips) relevant to the clean and snatch.
The goal with the one handed swing should be to mimic or exceed the reps that are currently being developed in the GS snatch, but NOT the time. If you can do 20 reps on each hand in the snatch, you should strive to complete 30 on each hand with the swing. This, like the 40 snatches, would be a max effort. You don't normally do max efforts in regular training. You do 3 sets at 75% or something like that. So a sensible training plan for our example might be 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps(on each hand) of the snatch, and the 2-3 sets of 22(each hand) of the one hand swing.

For the press, you should begin working with the snatch weight as early as possible. For men, that means 24kgs and 32kgs. You need to be able to complete 4-8 reps with these weights in order to comfortably lock them out for 20+ reps on each arm.

Work on these two elements first as you refine your technique. As your snatch gets better, and you get stronger on these two lifts, your snatch reps will go up very fast. You will not need to do anything special beyond this to get to the 'intermediate' level, where you are completing 12+ reps on each hand with a serious weight (16kg for women, 24kg for men). These numbers will vary some by bodyweight and overall size and strength.

When I began training for the RKC certification a few years ago, I realized I had to complete 24 reps on each hand without stopping. A straight set of 48 reps. With the 24kgs bell. This was the rep total assigned to someone that weighed 160lbs or less. Not having trained high rep snatches before this point (2006) I was sure that it was impossible. I found it easy enough to achieve about 10 reps, especially on my good arm. After that I was stuck. It was at that point that an RKC from Australia came to my aid. He forwarded to me an excel program that trained the snatch 3 times a week, always with the 24kg bell, simply periodizing the volumes. It took me from 10 reps to about 27 reps in about 6 weeks.
My second big break through was reading the AKC materials for the first time. Valery was obviously well versed in how to do long sets of snatches, cleans and jerks, and so I gave it a try. While I credit Valery (his systems) it was actually Catherine Imes who exposed me to the programs. With this info, I started doing sets of 40-50 reps on each hand with the 16-20 Kg bell 3-5 times a week. 1-3 sets of 80-120 reps, 2-3 times a week. At least 500 snatches a week. In order to do so, you'll need a quality bell. If price is no object, the RKC bell is a good general product. The AKC bells are competition bells, and the MuscleDriverUSA bells are cheap versions of the RKC.

We'll look at both of these basic concepts in the coming days.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Kettlebell Snatch - Programming Obstacles

There are a lot of ways to Snatch.

When I say KB Snatch, I am probably talking about this:

When you find someone that does this better, ring me up. Until then, I am going to place a lot of weight in what Valery Fedorenko says.

I think that one of the most beneficial things about KB lifting, that most American practitioners probably never discover, is the incredible cardio benefits of doing 5 to 20 minute sets of swings, cleans, jerks and especially snatches.

One reason I suspect that no one gets to a level where they start to appreciate this are the many barriers to high repetition KB training. I see these as some of the worst:
1. Ignorance
2. Technique
3. Grip Endurance
4. Discipline
5. Quality Kettlebells
Given that most Americans excel at ignorance and fail in discipline, it's not a huge surprise. But then again, some of the best gireviks in the world (Iron Kate and Kelly Moore) are Americans. And Crossfitters. So we can't be that bone-headed, right?

Let's look at some of the pitfalls and see if we can't overcome them.

Ignorance: Most casual KB lifters never realize that the traditional way of using them was for max reps in extended time periods. They just are never told that for the last 50+ years, the measure of a man was how many straight snatches he could do with one hand switch in a ten minute period. And how could you win without going the whole ten minutes? That's right, the ticket price is lasting 10+ minutes folks. Until you can, you are not a serious KB athlete.

Technique: If you want to do more than about 15 or 20 reps, without giving yourself a contusion or ripping your hands to shreds, you're gonna have to have pretty good technique. That means a coach and regular practice.

Grip Endurance: Comes with time. Do 100+ snatches a day? Then you're grip is sure to improve. As anyone who has tried to close a Captains of Crush, tear a phone book or hold the Rolling Thunder knows, grip performance is highly specific. If you are not doing lots of swings, cleans and snatches, do not expect to be able to hold on to the handle for lots of swings, cleans and snatches.

Discipline: Is easy when you want it. Do you want to do 150 snatches in 10 minutes? All you got do is 15 snatches a minute for 10 minutes. It can be done. You just have to train smart and hard. Now will you? I can't really offer too many secrets there, except to say it's always easier to stay on course when you can tell you're headed in the right direction or when you're held accountable for getting there... that means coaching.

5. Quality Kettlebells: These don't have to cost a fortune, but if you've got a kettlestack, or some home-made contraption or a PowerMax from back in the day go ahead and just forget about 20+ snatches. You've seen my recommendations before. MuscleDriver is good value, AKC and RKC bells are top of the line.

Kettlebell Seminar Jan 31st

At Eric Burdo's
Richmond BJJ

it's from 2-4pm on Saturday, January 31st.

It should put to rest all questions on the swing, press and jerk and squat/deadlift variations

it's only $25 there are very few spots left

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Thank you for voting

It looks like Kettlebells and programming are in the foreground,
so in the near future I will be posting more materials on those topics.

I know some of my friends, correspondents and clients are struggling with a few things on the Turkish Get Up, so we may start there.



PS: Don't forget to check out the new poll