I finished Dan John’s 40 day program last Sunday with great success. Dedicated my last workout to Whtiney Houston. Allow me to indulge with my Grammy rant. Is it too early for the “Houston we have a problem.’ on the 911 call and “Fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be” jokes? I couldn’t believe the hypocrisy this past weekend. All these people acting contrite and discussing what a tragedy that the Queen of Pop had died. Where were you all the last 15 years when she was holed up and on drugs. What about her “enablers/entourage” who let her get bombed Thursday night? She has a serious drug problem and was on pills, should she have been drinking? And the Clive Davis party went on, at the hotel, while her dead body was still in there. “Nothing to see people, move on to the Arista ballroom.” It was the same with Michael Jackson. Does anyone remember he was a molester? Also, how does Adele win six Grammys? Let me be in the minority here. I can’t stand her voice. She sounds like Dusty Springfield. You know Adele will do a cover of Son of a Preacherman. Though I doubt she’ll collaborate with the Pet Shop Boys. I haven’t felt this much venom toward a singer since Alanis Morrissette put out her angry female album back in 1995. Unfortunately, the Grammys proved my main man Paul McCartney can’t sing anymore. His voice warbled through the Golden Slumbers Medley. It was going last year when he did the concert in New York City. I saw him in 2009 at Fenway Park and it was still great, but alas all things must pass to quote George Harrison.
Oh yeah back to kettlebelling, I was able to set a number of personal records. What I really liked about the workout was its simplicity and that it was short and sweet. If I wanted to push it, whether it be with reps or weight, I did. On other days I did the bare minimum. It did get a little tedious around day 35 when the end was near, but I persevered. Here are the PR’s set.
Double Military Press, 70 lb kettlebells. In November I was able to press the 140 lbs combined for one set of 5 on a test day. I did it for 3 sets of 5 sometime in the 20′s. Now there were days where I didn’t push it to 5. I would do 3 sets of 3, or 2 rest pause sets of 5 with 10 seconds rest. The bell always went up well for 3 reps.
Double Squat. I used the squat as a warmup. I did 2 sets of 10 with 140 in the rack multiple times. I used to start losing one of the bells in the rack around rep 8, but I found interlacing the fingers like you would in a double jerk to be helpful
One Arm Snatch. Back in November in the same test day as the presses, I did 10 left, 10 right with a 70. I was able to do 12 on each side pretty easily. I also was able to do 10 sets of 5 right, 5 left with a minute rest in between the 10 sets as a finisher. I couldn’t believe how easily the 55 went up when I snatched it.
Double Swings with the 70. I prefer the outside the knee method. Yes, you have to be careful about whacking your knees, but I found I was able to pop them up higher . Also, once in a while, my wrist would get numb from hitting the inside of my leg. I was able to perform 30 reps nonstop, and 10 sets of 10 starting at the top of each minute.
Bulldog Press. I finally was able to push press the 88 for reps with each arm. I plan on working with the 88 twice a week, to tame it and finally hit one of my goals of pressing it this year.
Double Snatch with 55′s. Although this is a work in progress, I was finally able to punch through at the top without taking my head off.
It’s a great foundation of strength program. I even received comments and emails from Dan himself!
Now I’m onto doing some metabolic conditioning work with the kettlebells, except I’m going to do a slightly different approach. When I first started working with the kettlebells, what I loved the best about it was combining strength and cardiovascular efforts at the same time. I remembered trying to jog after doing a kettlebell workout and I was done. Kettlebells are perfect for MetCon because you can easily transition from one exercise to another. The beauty of it, is how time efficient it is. You can be cooked in 30 minutes, 3 times a week. Think of intense circuit training, but you don’t put the bell down until you are finished.
I had originally did met/con with kettlebells about 2 years ago. Dave Whitley’s 101 Kettlebell Workouts has a program where you stack exercises. For example, two hand swings for :30 seconds, rest :30,
Two hand swings :30, Goblet Squats :30 rest :30
Two hand swings :30 Goblet Squats :30 Clean and Press L, R :30 rest :30
Again, but add rows rest :30
Again with rows but add slingshots. Rest 2:00 and repeat sequence 3-5 times.
Toward the end of the sequence, you are doing 2-3 minutes of work without setting the bell down. It was pretty tough. I had success using a heavier bell and doing it for low reps vs. time.
Last year, Pat Flynn of Chronicles of Strength put out his first metabolic e-book. It was full of one bell and two bell complexes and chains. A complex is a combination of exercises where you do a certain amount of reps, i.e. 10 before moving onto the next exercise like a circuit except you don’t put the bell down. A chain is when you do one rep of one exercise than one of another and add exercises. For example, the Flynn Manmaker, his invention not mine, starts, 1 Clean, then 1 Clean, 1 Press, 1 Clean, 1 Press, 1 Squat,, etc. He now has a second book out which I bought today.
I did all the complexes and chains in his book, using my 35 lb bell for the singles complexes, and I borrowed one for the doubles complexes. They are BRUTAL, you have to pick your lung up off the floor when you’re done. My personal favorite comment he has for one of his inventions is, “This complex sucks.” He was right, I was calling down to Florida for my mother when I was finished.
With these programs, there are a lot of repetitions, of 10-15 in the complex. I’m not a high rep guy for the most part. The only two doubles sets I have are 55′s and 70′s. Like everyone I want to burn fat, but also stay strong. What would happen if I did the complexes and chains but for lower reps, and use much heavier weight? So my focus for at least the next four weeks will be to do complexes and chains from his book with double 55′s I’m going to leave the rep sequence to around 3-5 depending on the exercise and shorten the rests between complexes. I’ll do this 3 days a week, and have a couple of alternate days where I’ll do some work with the 88.
I’m through two of the met/con workouts and my heart is shooting through the roof when I finish. Even then, I’m slinging 110 pounds around for over a minute. The nice thing about the heavy bells is that when the fatigue sets in I really have to dig deep. Because the double snatch is a work in progress, I’ve been substituting high pulls and swings.
If you want to burn fat without long tedious cardio, gain muscle and strength and look good naked, try complexes and chains. Thirty five pound bell for the men, 15-18 lbs for the ladies is a good place to start. If not, have fun toiling away on the Elliptical/Sally machine and treadmill. I’ll wave to you if I can lift my arms up when I’m done.