I can’t believe we are already into the middle of April. Auditors and Tax Accountants from public accounting who have done 14 consecutive 65 hour work weeks would disagree with me, but I’d tell them, now is the time to leave your CPA firm. Better quality of life, more money, fewer hours. Or continue being the glutton for punishment you are and work too hard for your money. Anyway, sometimes it’s hard to get away from my day job as an executive recruiter. What I wanted to blog about was fitness goals. How are yours coming along? Some of mine are good, some have been put on the back burner for the time being. And I know about burners, I just spent eight grand on a new furnace.
I finished the 40 day program with great success hitting several PR’s along the way. From there I transitioned into four weeks of double kettlebell complexes. I used two 55 lb. kettlebells because they were the lightest pair I own. I dropped the reps from 10 down to 5. I did these workouts three days a week. They helped me significantly in a number of different areas. First, the complexes included a lot of cleans, and jerks. One of my goals this year was to become efficient in both these exercises. The continuous repetition of doing cleans helped me develop a much crisper clean without banging my wrists. Second., the complexes really improved my fitness level from a cardiovascular standpoint. When I played soccer and basketball, I was not tiring out as quickly. I’m a pretty slow runner, but I found toward the end of games I was beating people to the ball not because of my speed, but because of endurance. Third, I put on some muscle going heavy from one compound movement to another with limited rest, helped put some size on while burning fat. What I really love about complexes are that you get the best of both worlds. You muscles are challenged as well as your cardiovascular system.
One of the goals I’ve been trying to reach is to accomplish the snatch test of 200 in 10 minutes. Because of the complexes, I have seen an improvement. Twice a week, I do 10 sets of 10 snatches with each hand. I started with resting for 1 minute between each set. Once I pass, I decrease the rest 5 seconds. Currently I have it down to 45 seconds of rest. I came up short last week because my grip went on the 10th set. I got 9 on the right, and 8 on the left. The form is good however. I’m not banging my wrists at all and dropping the bell from the palm of my hand to the fingers. It’s a work in progress, but I feel it’s achievable by the end of the year.
After I got back from Florida, I decided to mix and match a workout, that I kind of put together for myself. My ideas came from both Pavel as well as Pat Flynn. Pavel likes using a ladder scheme. Heavy Day, Medium Day and Light Day. Originally I was going to do a pressing ladders scheme with double kettlebells, but not re-clean after each rep. Add pullups, just like in the Rite of Passage. But then I decided, why not make it a complex and add squats. So the workout started looking like this
Easy Day Double 70 lb. kettlebells
5 ladders One Clean and Press, Double Squat, Double Row (1,2,3) I don’t have a pullup bar so on easy day I substitute rows. 30 reps per exercise
Medium Day 55 lb. kettlebells
5 ladders One Clean and Press, Double Squat, Pullups (1,2,3,4) 50 reps per exercise
Heavy Day 55′s
5 ladders of One Clean and Press, Double Squat, Pullups (1,2,3,4,5) 75 reps
I did this for the first week and it worked out well, I was able to get all the reps. The second week, I decided to up the reps on Medium Day and Heavy Day to (2,3,5,7) for the presses and squats and do 4 ladders on medium day and 5 ladders on heavy day. The 7 rung has proven to be a challenge.
During the second week I saw a blog of someone who had completed the New Rite of Passage from the Return of the Kettlebell book by Pavel. I realized by coincidence, how similar the program was to what I was doing, other than the double snatch before pressing which, I still haven’t mastered. However, he recommends switching between 2 weeks of pressing and 2 weeks of long cycle clean and jerks. Since one of my goals is becoming good at the clean and jerk, why not sort of follow the program and put my own spin on it.
The last two weeks I did the heavy, medium, light ladders of the long cycle clean and jerk. Long cycle means re-cleaning after each rep. This is one of the best total body exercises you can do. It hits everything. Cardio, legs, as well as your upper back and shoulders.
For me easy day looks like this
5 ladders (2,4,6) :30 seconds rest between rungs, 2 minutes between ladders
Medium Day is
5 ladders (2,4,6,8) :30 seconds between rungs, one minute between 3rd and 4th rung, 2 minutes between ladders
Heavy Day is
5 ladders of (2,4,6,8,10) 150 reps. I try to stay within the time constraints until the last 2 ladders. This is a real gut check. Fatigue starts to set in the 4th ladder and I start stiffening up. The last rung is brutal. My hands start getting sore, I have to watch your form to avoid banging your wrist. I used to get psyched out on heavy day doing ETK with a 70, but that was only 75 reps each arm. This is 150 doubles! The first week, I failed on the last rep. Cleaned the bells to the rack, went to bump it up driving onto my toes and pushing my elbows off my hips, and it wouldn’t go. A week later I got all 150 reps. It took 55:00. A little too long, but I was happy. On alternate days, I’m doing just the 200 snatches. Right now it’s a 16 minute workout. I’m doing this program for 13 weeks or 90 days. I’m four weeks in so far.
I’ve had to shelve pressing the 88 for the time being. First I ran out of chalk. The handle is so thick, if I don’t chalk it, it’s going to go flying. Secondly, I felt it was too much shoulder work with the pressing and the jerks. Right now, I can clean and push press it 3 times with each arm. Progress was made, but we’ll get back to it.
Right now is a great time to evaluate how those resolutions and goals are coming along. Are you sticking to them? If not, write them down again and get back on track!