Sunday, May 31, 2009

Workin' on the Snatch

They say that the kettlebell snatch is one of the single best movements for developing explosive strength and improving conditioning. I've been doing k-bell snatches on and off in my workouts for a while now but have never really "tested" myself on the lift - today was as good a day as any...

At a time of somewhere in the neighborhood of 8-9 minutes I hit my 147th rep and subsequently tore a callous from my left hand - nothing serious, not enough to stop my workout, just enough to put an end to my snatch test. I was pretty happy with this number, as I've not done snatches for this duration before. I think if I clean up my form just a little more that 200+ reps in ten minutes will be very doable before the end of June.

I spent the rest of my workout time juggling my new 30lb kettlebell: mostly hand to hand flips and towers. I also spent a few good minutes working on my BUP toss transfer, which I hit a few times - I think I'll be ready for a clean video of this probably within the next week.

All in all it was a good day - might hit up some Yoga tonight after dinner if I can settle the kids down.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lots of Reading

I've worked my way through Scott Sonnon's Prasara Yoga book and honestly found it very interesting. Sonnon knows how to take scientific verbiage and make it easy to understand in the settings in which you'll need to use it.

I expected a simple layout with instructions on posing and breathing, but what I got was a detailed history and working game plan backed by scientific evidence and Sonnon's expertise in both Yoga and physicality as a whole to get me back on my path to being fully mobile and pain free again.

I even began with some poses and transitions focusing on breathing and flow after putting the book down. I could tell immediately that the stresses I've been putting my body under over the course of the last few years have really taken a toll on some even simple movements.

With Scott Sonnon's guidance through his very well written book, I hope to have full mobility back in the near future (though it will no doubt take plenty of practice and focus) and at that point I believe I'll be an even more explosive and focused athlete.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Yesterday's Workout and New Yoga Book

Yesterday's workout was all about the kettlebell again...

Circuits of:
Snatches X 10 each arm
Cleans X 10 each arm
Jerks X 10 each arm
Anchor Pulls X 40
Front Squats X 30

I performed the above circuit three times with no rest in between exercises and minimal rest in between circuits.

I followed up with about 10-15 minutes of "juggling", mostly focusing on the basics (same hand flips, hand to hand flips etc.) and I'm working on hand to hand BUP transfers - I'll get a video of that as soon as I think it's clean enough.

My book on Prasara Yoga also showed up at my doorstep yesterday, so after my workout I read the first 50 or so pages. Haven't gotten into the movements yet, but the background info seems pretty good - there's a lot of info in their that I was unaware of being pretty uneducated on Yoga. Here's a link to one of Scott Sonnon's websites, where you can check out Prasara and some of the other fine things this revolutionary coach offers - good stuff!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


The last two nights I've spent doing loads of volume on the new grippers I received from my sponsor BMF Sports via Alan at APT, for those of you who've never visited APT (famous for wrist wraps) I highly suggest a visit. Alan has amassed a huge inventory of powerlifting, bodybuilding and strongman training equipment and his customer service is second to none.

This was done each night:

Hg100 X 100 each hand
HG200 X 50 each hand
Singles with Vulcan up to level 7

(the large quantities weren't all performed in one set, but broken down over a few - ie, I didn't do 100 reps in a row or 50 reps in a row)

I also did some stretching and some super slow rep push ups and pull ups - nothing to write home about, but enough to get a good burn.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Kettlebell on the Way!!!

I've been doing much of my kettlebell work with the one bell that I currently own, it's a 16k and is very good for some things, a little light for others and maybe just a touch heavy for some of my juggling endeavors.

I supposedly have some heavier bells on the way to take care of my needs as far as pressing and squats are concerned, so I grabbed a 30lb bell from one of the fine gents on the Gripboard. This bell is a bit unusual, as it it isn't the traditional shape, but it will serve my purposes just fine (and I suspect allow me to get in some marathon sessions of juggling as well)

Above you can see the pic of the bell that's on it's way to me, I know it's only about 5 pounds lighter than the bell I'm currently using for my juggling, but I estimate that that will allow me to conceivably continue one "set" of juggling for quite a bit more time, which should really help to improve my conditioning and my reflexes.

Can't wait for it to get here!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Desperately Seeking... Mobility - and wearing crazy shoes

I'm a pretty strong guy, I have good reactions and reasonable speed but one thing that's always been neglected in my training has been mobility. My hips and shoulders both get stiff after certain workouts and now I feel that this neglect is holding me up in certain areas of my training.

A ways back I received quite the deal on a pair of Vibram Five Finger shoes, at that point this unusual form of footwear only had one style and two colors to choose from. I jumped on the chance to grab a pair because I had heard excellent things through the grapevine in regards to them helping to realign the lower body and do wonders for the joints from the ankles up.

Long story short, I wore them maybe two or three times and tossed them in the closet, much like I've done with every other attempt to focus on my joint mobility. Well in an effort to truly become a "complete" and fully functional athlete, I've broken out the "Five Fingers" again. If you've never seen this unique form of footwear, that's a pic at the beginning of the post - and you can find out more info by clicking here

I wore my "Five Fingers" all weekend, which included quite a bit of walking and though I don't necessarily feel like an entirely new person, my lower body does feel a bit looser and free-er than I expect it would have if I'd worn my regular shoes.

I also ordered a book by Scott Sonnen on Prasara Yoga (aka body flow), I hope that by implementing Prasara workouts and frequently foregoing my regular shoes in favor of a more barefoot alternative that all of my mobility problems will soon be a thing of the past - after all, what good is strength if you can't fully implement it in situations where it may be necessary?

Oh - I also had a nice workout yesterday consisting of about 90% kettlebell work (cleans, jerks, snatches, BUPs, Anchor Pulls and juggling) and about 10% bodyweight stuff (push ups, divebombers, squats and chins) It was performed circuit style and I worked up a mighty sweat to go along with all of the huffing and puffing.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

TSB & New Grippers

My piece this week for TSB questions the necessity of a positive attitude to achieve results in the gym. In all honesty it wasn't a topic I had thought a whole lot about until I received Mike Mahler's Aggresive Strength Magazine last week. Mike did an article on how having a positive attitude can actually be a detriment to reaching your goals - here are my thoughts on the topic...

TSB Article

I also recieved my three new grippers courtesy of my Sponsor - BMF Sports yesterday (Thanks Bud). I've heard people question the quality of HG hand grippers in the past, but prior to yesterday I had only ever handled two (both of which seemed fine to me), so I honestly wasn't sure exactly what I was going to get. I opened all three grippers and inspected them pretty closely - all mounts are even and all seem of very good construction.

I even took the lightest strength of the three (HG150) and cranked out a few reps on my injured right hand to see how it felt. To my surprise I didn't feel a whole lot of pain, so I proceeded to CCS the 150 for a pretty good number of slow singles with short holds at the end - this was yesterday and my hand actually feels pretty good today, hopefully this is a good sign that I'm nearing full recovery.

Yesterday was pretty hectic (daughter's gymnastics, a fair and a barbecue) so I didn't do a full gripper workout, but like any fitness freak I couldn't resist at least giving all of the new equipment a few minutes of my attention. On my left side I warmed up with the HG150 then did just a few work sets with the HG200 and HG250 - all three grippers seem of very good quality after the brief test run I put them through.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of their long holiday weekend - it's not often the we get an extra day away from work - so relax, have fun, get in an extra workout and be safe!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Vulcan - and Good News

I did grab a hold of the Vulcan last night for some playing on the left hand. No PR's, but I did work up to 100 reps on level 3 broken down into a couple sets, then I did some negative work at level 9.

Even though I've really been increasing the volume on my left hand of late, I feel as though I'm recovering very quickly. I feel as though I could probably even get in a few solid closes right now if I had a gripper.

Just got word that my good friend, sponsor, and personal/business adviser Shawn "Bud" Lyte of BMF Sports (link to right) has some grippers on the way for me!!! Within the next few days, three brand new, beautiful HG grippers of varying strengths will arrive on my doorstep.

I'll also be getting some samples or Protyme - the new BMF protein supplement, so you can expect full reviews of both the grippers and the protein in the coming days.

Thanks Bud!!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today's Workout

For some strange reason, most kettlebell movements don't hurt my right hand as most of the other things that I normally do as a part of my workout, so I decided to put together a k-bell circuit for today. Here's how it went...

BUPs X 5 each hand
Jerks X 10 each hand
Front Squats X 25
Anchor Pulls X 40

No rest between exercises, about 75 seconds rest between circuits. I did the complete circuit four times and got all the way up to the thirtieth anchor pull on the fifth circuit.

I finished up by walking with the k-bell in full lockout press position for three minutes, switching hands every 45 seconds.

It was a good, sweaty workout - might hit some grippers on the left tonight if time permits.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Week on TSB

My latest article is up on TSB magazine, it goes into the reasons of why new trainees get so sore after working and what steps can be taken to eliminate that muscle pain. If you haven't been working out for too long and you still suffer from the residual aches and pains associated with a particularly hard session in the gym, you might want to check it out


Hope you enjoy, and thanks for stopping in!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Man of Fifty Snatches

Well my hand is in much worse shape today than it was yesterday, hurts like a you know what from the middle all the way to the edge of the pinkie side...

In the spirit of improving my left side to catch it up with my much stronger right I did a set of fifty kettlebell snatches on my left side, then went on to some left handed gripper work with the Vulcan.

I went back and watched Paul Knight's instructional on setting a gripper and I felt like I picked up a little more knowledge and bettered my technique a bit, then I proceeded to crank out sets of max parallel reps starting on level three and working my way up to a final of 4 on level 6. While not my biggest single close on the left side, it was much more volume than I've been doing on my left.

I also hit the dungeon for just a tiny bit of squat research.

It was a good night overall!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Son of a ...

Well, it was probably less than forty-eight hours that my hand felt one hundred percent before I hurt it again - and this time it's worse.

I hadn't bent anything in the last few days and everything felt like it was aligned so I decided to go for a 1/4 X 5 grade 5 from FBBC. I wasn't sure whether I could do it in under five minutes, but I was confident that I could do some serious damage to it.

I honestly don't know what happened, I didn't hear any kind of pop or crunch, but after hitting it hard for a few minutes I knew something wasn't right. Now I have a spot right off of the center of my palm in my right hand that's swollen and bruised - it almost feels like something got pushed out of place.

The worst part about it was that it was at the beginning of my workout, which pretty much crapped up the rest of my performance. I did manage some reps and holds on my hub and some decent kettlebell work, but V-bar, deads and two hand pinch were a bit painful.

They say that God doesn't close a door without opening a window, so I'll assume that this is the perfect time to get my left hand caught up to my right on grippers and to really work the research on my "squat theory".

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tetting Hub has Arrived!

The Warren Tetting Hub that I ordered from a Gripboard member arrived on my doorstep yesterday and this thing is beautiful. I immediately popped it onto my loading pin for a test drive and found out quickly that I've got plenty of work to do on my technique.

Here's a pic and progress updates will follow...

I also hit the dungeon for a few minutes this morning to work on my squat research, hopefully within six to eight weeks I'll have some very interesting results to report.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good Workout Last Night

I wasn't feeling one hundred percent upon entering the dungeon, I had planned on getting outside into the backyard but a sudden thunderstorm ruined that plan. I though the disappointment was going to make it harder to get into a groove, but I managed to get into it with some good intensity almost right out of the gate.

I ended up doing lots of one and two hand pinch - I worked my blobs, blockweights and hex dumbbells by the face and spent some quality time doing holds for time on my newly created two hand pinch apparatus.

No major weights were lifted, but there was a good bit of volume. After the "pinch fest" I did some figure eights and basic kettlebell swings.

I finished up with a bit of "research" for my new squat theory and still had a bit of energy left for a little play on the Vulcan.

Lvl 3 X 5 each hand
Lvl 5 X 2 each hand
Lvl 6 X 1 each hand
Lvl 3 X 5 each hand

I purchased a tetting hub from one of the fine gents on the gripboard and am hoping that it will be here within the next few days - I've got some big plans for that hub!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

This week on TSB

I'm a writer for TSB magazine, have been for a few months now. For those of you who don't know of TSB it's a pretty gnarly online men's magazine with advice on dating, success, social life, technology, fitness (where I come in) and a whole lot of other interesting stuff.

It can be funny, clever and downright crazy depending upon what you check out when you drop by - I honestly don't know why I haven't been linking to my articles over there.

Here's a link to this last week's piece on spring fitness

You can peruse the "Alpha Living" section if you'd like to find previous articles from me and moving forward I'll link to each new article for those of you who'd like to check them out. My focus thus far has been getting people (mainly beginners) motivated to get off their tails and get healthy and as the weeks go by I'll probably begin to touch on some more advanced topics.

If you do decide to head over there - thanks and I hope you enjoy!

The First Test

I had laid off of the gripper's for a few days in hopes that the cut in the webbing of my hand would heal and it's actually been feeling good so I decided to give the grippers a shot. Before the cut I had been working the #3 with some regularity since it arrived and felt light I was starting to make some progress, hopefully this will only be a very minor set back.

When I first put the #3 in my hand for a negative rep, I could tell that the heavy knurling combined with the excessive force needed to close this beast was going to be too much for my hand (hopefully I'll be fully recovered by Friday) - thankfully David Horne's Vulcan Gripper has no knurling!


Level 3 X 5 each hand
Level 4 X 3 each hand
Level 5 X 2 each hand
Level 6 X 1 each hand
Level 7 X 1 each hand
Level 9 X 3 sets of 3 negatives

I'm also working on an interesting theory for improvements on the squat - at this point the theory in only in it's infancy, but I'll report more as my research unfolds - all in all it was a pretty good night!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Interesting Weekend

I started out the weekend with the best intentions, I was making a two hand pinch set up to begin working on. I don't exactly know what happened, but during the course of the building process my hand slipped and I punched a nice hole in the webbing between the thumb and index finger of my right hand - it isn't as bad as I first thought, in fact it's healing pretty nicely already, but it did screw up my Sunday workout plan...


Bear Hug

142 X 5
172 X 3
192 X 1
212 X 1
222 X 1
232 X Fail
172 X 3


90 X 5 X 5
135 X 5 X 5
170 X 2 X 2
195 X 1 X Fail
205 X Fail (stupid hole in hand)
170 X 1 X 1

Kettlebell Figure eights

1 X 5 minutes

No Grippers because of my hand - it's not like I can't do anything, the cut is just a bit of an inconvenience that will force me to alter my plans for probably just a few days. I think if I lay off of Grippers until Wednesday or so I'll be fine.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yesterday's bend

Here's the vid of the cut nail that I bent yesterday, as you can catch at the end of the video, my son Derek doesn't like me tossing my wraps on the floor when I'm finished, that's a trait that would be very helpful if it also applied to his and his sister's toys : ^ )

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Today's Workout

Took the day off of work today - my daughter's first field trip at school and my wife went along as a chaperone so I stayed home to look after my son - not a bad job, in fact I wish I was at home to do it every day

Started out with some bending - cut six inch nails down to five inches and bent in reverse style, I did half a dozen or so before moving down into the dungeon to move a bit of iron. Got a decent video, I'll post it tomorrow.

Today I was in the mood to work the V-bar...

45 X 5 each hand
90 X 5 each hand
135 X 3 each hand
170 X 1 each hand
190 X 1 right, bomb left
205 X 1 right
215 X 0
170 X 1 each hand
135 X 10 singles each hand

Kettlebell hand to hand tosses

1 X 50
1 X 40
1 X 30
1 X 25

Still have about a dozen nails left and some CRS, if my hands and arms feel up to it I might hit a little more bending tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Today's Workout - Kettlebells and Grippers

I started out todays session with some light finger lifting and a little bit of fooling around on my "rolling thunder" for warm ups. Nothing too heavy, just some reps and holds before I moved onto to some kettlebell and gripper work.

Today's workout was very basic I alternated sets of kettlebell swing tosses hand to hand with sets of negatives on my CoC # 3

Swing tosses X 50
Negatives X 3 each hand
Swing tosses X 50
Negatives X each hand
Tosses X 40
Negatives X 3 each hand
Tosses X 30
Negatives X 3 each hand
Tosses X 23
Negatives X 3 each hand
Tosses X 20
Negatives X 3 each hand

Done - in and out of the dungeon in about thirty minutes including the few sets of finger lifts and RT reps.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Yesterday's Workout

I took a break from the daily grind at my 9-5 yesterday in order to spend some quality time reading up on the fine information over at Marunde Muscle - the forum originally established by the late professional American strongman Jesse Marunde and his wife.

Whenever I roam around on that site I end up in the "Squat more" thread - Jesse was a big believer in the "king of the exercises" and a big advocate of getting under the bar and whenever I read this thread I wonder exactly why I'm not squatting more...

I don't have a power rack at the homestead, so yesterday's plan of squatting was also going to involve some overhead pressing, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing if I plan on hitting an NAS strongman event sometime in the fall because overhead pressing is another area of my training that often gets ignored.

Understand that I went into this workout without the perfect plan, so it may seem like a pretty unstructured workout but I'm most certainly feeling it today so it couldn't have been all bad.

I took my Oly barbell with a couple 35's a couple 25's and a handfull of 10's and 5's out into the backyard and here's what happened...

95 snatch into a set of 8 OHP, then barbell to my back for one set of ten squats
115 snatch into a set of 5 OHP, barbell to back for one set of 20 squats
115 snatch into 5 OHP, 20 squats
125 snatch X 3 OHP, 15 squats
125 snatch X 3 OHP, 10 squats
115 snatch X 3 OHP, 10 squats
95 snatch X 10 OHP, 25 squats

Plate Curls
25 X 3 X 8 each hand

Suitcase Deads
135 X 2 X 10 singles each side

It was probably much more of a conditioning workout than what you would consider a "strongman" style session, but I'll need to up my conditioning to if I'm planning on competition in the not too distant future. As I get back into some kind of a groove, the numbers will go up and I'll feel more comfortable with the lifts.