This week, I finished a 16 week double program drawn out by Mike Mahler. It consisted of exercise programs for four weeks apiece. I used two 70 lb kettlebells throughout.
The first session was a 5×5 program. You do 5 sets of 5 reps for a certain exercise. For example, I would do a set of military press, (I could only do 3 w/ the 70′s) rest a minute do a set of 5 double rows, rest a minute. Repeat until 5 sets were completed. After that was done I would do double squats alternated with one arm 70 lb snatch. The workout was 3 days a week as well as using some different exercises like floor press (benching from the floor) pullups, double swings and seated one arm military press where you sit on the floor with you legs spread and put the bell in the rack position. It completely takes the legs out of the equation. This program was a good warmup for EDT.
What is EDT? Glad you asked, Escalation Density Training, it was invented by Charles Staley. Take 2 exercises and do them alternatively for reps of 2-5 for as many sets as you can for 20 minutes. Rest 5 and then take two other exercises and alternate for 15 minutes. The goal is the next time you do those movements, you have to do 1 more rep than the last time and you’re fighting the clock. I did a 4 day split. It was tough, especially on leg day. Doing double 70 squats followed by one arm 70 snatch for 12 + sets will get a good sweat going. I did substitute an exercise out. I was doing renegade rows and hating them. They hurt my shoulder my chest and I wasn’t feeling them in my lats at all. I switched to a one arm row with the other bell in the top position instead. Thank you Mike Mahler. I was able to raise my reps in the double miliary to 30 in 20 minutes, and I did 65 double squats.
From there it was time to ratchet up the intensity and do HIT. HIT stands for High Intensity Training. I took Mike’s suggestion and did 2 sets of 5 and then did one all out set. He said to stop at 7, but on some exercises I went for it all. Now the double military instead of doing an all out set of repping out, I did drop sets with dumbbells that were at the gym. For double rows, I maxed out at 13, Double Squats, I maxed out at 13 (I couldn’t keep the bells in the rack.) The real success story was the double swing. My last round was 25 reps up to chest level. I really enjoyed HIT. The Wednesday workout was double 70 lunges and single arm snatch. 2 hours later, my legs still had the shakes. WOW! On Fridays I was doing a double sots press with 35′s. Hard exercise in that you have to balance yourself in the bottom of the squat and then do presses. It took me a couple of weeks to find the groove with it.
I had an epiphany 8 weeks into this program. During the “variety” days, I was doing other kettlebell movements, and found myself getting sore. So I decided to drop my workouts to 3 days a week. What a difference! My body wasn’t sore getting out of the car. I didn’t have pain in the top of my right knee. My right forearm stopped squwaking. I realized, I was addicted to the stimulus of working out. I wasn’t happy personally with my job. In fact I hated it, the only happy time of the day was when I was working out until I got home. Not a way to live. Luckily, I knew the end was near and I had an offer to work somewhere else. Once that happened, I was able to rest 4 days a week, and as matter of fact, really enjoyed it!
The last four weeks I did a cluster training routine. Basically it’s a rest/pause routine, but you do five rounds of it called clusters. So for double squats, I started w/ 5 sets of 3 with 30 seconds rest. Once I finished the 15 reps. I would rest 3 minutes and repeat 4 more times. The second exercise was double snatch w/ 35′s. Because I was usually cooked from the squats, I would do 5 sets of 15 double snatches w/ two minutes rest in between sets. For upper body it was Double Military Press and Double Rows. With the double military, I would do 2 sets of 2 w/ a minute between and the 3 sets of 1 with 1 rep. I would rest a minute, do a set of double rows x 10 reps and then rest 3 minutes. Repeat the cluster four times. For Double Squats by the end I was able to do the 75 reps w/ just 15 seconds in between each sets. For the Double Military, I would try to add one more set of 2 to each cluster. At the end I was able to do 42 reps. I also did this Monday, Wednesday and Friday w/ the other four days off.
The 16 week was terrific in that you didn’t get burned out doing the same program too long and stayed fresh. I also lost about 8-10 lbs during this time and was able to increase strength with my weight loss. I wasn’t overweight, just needed to watch my diet and get into fighting shape for a vacation in Florida. There were other options to the program, such as Mike’s version of EDT, which takes the clock out of the equation. German Volume Training, which I’ve done and been bored to tears, and the Russian Bear program, which I’m curious about, but I would have to drop down to double 55′s and would take an hour. I like the four programs I’m working with now, the exercises are simple to learn yet challenging and there is enough variety to keep you in the game. Mike suggests taking 3 weeks off and start it up again, I’m going to take 8 off through the summer.
I found a 6 week program that is focused on passing the snatch test. 200 snatches in 10 minutes! One day you do 25 minutes of sprinting, another day you jump rope for 20 minutes. This should be real interesting, especially because I’m not the most coordinated human in the world. The program is free on mbodystrength.com. It looks extremely challenging, but I’m up for it. There are some things I’m going to have to substitute working out in my basement, rows for pullups, chair raises vs hanging leg raises, rep numbers for double cleans. But I’m looking forward to it.
Today I took my baseline test for snatches. I set the timer for 10 minutes. I’ve done 100 in 5 minutes. The goal was to do a certain number of reps each minute and rest to the top of each. I knew going balls to the wall wasn’t the answer. During the Rite of Passage last summer, after the presses, I rolled a 10 and did 140 snatches in 10 minutes doing 7,7 each minute. I was fresh so I set a goal of 150 and using my 55, decided to start a 8 reps each and then see how I feel. I did the first 6 minutes, 8,8 and I was able to rest 20 seconds. For the 7th minute, I did 5,5,2,2 so I was at 110 with 3 minutes left and starting to really fatigue. For the 8th minute I did, 5,5 , for the ninth, I did, 4,4,4,4 and rested for 35 seconds so I was at 9:15 with 136 reps. I gutted out 7,7 and put the bell down with 12 seconds left for a total of 150.
My hamstrings were screaming and my left grip was tired, but I felt like I could have done 160 maybe a little more if I put the pedal to the metal at the end. I also was using a 55 vs. the traditional 52.8 or 24 kg. That calculates out to 156 reps w/ the 24. Anyway 150 is a good baseline to start and we’ll see what happens in 6 weeks.