Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another milestone

As I learned from Fireman Tom, applying the "Corkscrew" from NW to the legs I posted about some 3 weeks ago is an existing technique Pavel called Spiraling, often used with squats. I was of course encouraged by that and started practicing it, especially with loaded cleans (I don't try and press heavy until after the Cert, but I can work on building a solid foundation for it in the meantime). Well, it works: now I can clean the 32kg :) A few days ago R only, today L, too. Okay, I can't say I was very far from it before, but I wasn't there, and now I am, and that's cool ;)

And what's even more cool: I have a young lady, three weeks ago she was quite shocked to find out even BW squats were difficult for her - by adding this technique to the other HT ones she brought herself to suitcase deadlifting double 16s last Saturday, for several singles!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My new favorite

Is combining farmer's walk and OH carry. The idea is originally from Andrea Du Cane's Special Populations DVD, but it wouldn't be me if I hadn't put it into some combo :)

Snatch a 16kg. Do a windmill, pick up a 24kg from the floor. (Adjust the weights relative to your own BW, of course, the two together are approx. 70% of mine.) Set your shoulder back and down, keep your elbow locked out. Walk around a bit. Put the 24kg back down windmill-wise. Straighten up, then drop the 16kg, too. Switch hands and do the other side. Repeat until a better man :)

The variation I also have many of my beginners do (with lighter weights of course) is to clean or cheat-curl the lighter bell, suitcase deadlift the heavier one and set it up for the farmer's walk, press up the lighter one and start walking. Then lower the top one under control (pull down to rack), put the other one down (suitcase style), switch hands.

I can't say they enjoy it, but they badly need stability work. At least as badly as me :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I haven't blogged for more than a week again! 24 hours a day seem to be far less than enough for all the things I'd like to do. And this is just partly due to the fact that I now teach KB around 20 hours per week in addition to some other work I still do, it is time management I should be more disciplined about. Use those seemingly "too-short-to-do-anything"-breaks, too, otherwise they add up to several hours of wasted time a day.

Good news shoulder-wise: no pain or discomfort these days, although I started adding OH presses back in. I'm practicing the move by doing just one strict military press ladder a session (1 to 5, no reclean) with a light weight, otherwise I do arm bar presses, side presses, kneeling/half-kneeling presses. I'm working the getups and do some windmills, too. I've tried some 12kg snatches, 5*30/30, and as those were fine, the next time I went for sets of 10/10 @16kg. Last Thursday I even snatched the 24kg a couple of times just to see if I still could (I couldn't resist, lol, but at least I somehow managed not to overdo it) and they were stronger than ever. The Cert is next weekend, I'll try and finally clean up those presses of mine and then I hope to be able to get serious about ROPping them up a bit :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pregnancy exercise

Andrea is a tough gal. After some initial nausea and low energy at the beginning, she's now into the second trimester, abusing her poor 12kg with regained strength. As her doc says, she is "so sturdy she can do whatever she wants" - like swing...

Or wrestle with this:

150 lb - it won't take her long to close it :)

Her husband is still rehabbing an injured shoulder, but he's doing fine with side presses and DL PttP-wise. We added some FMS-corrections into the mix now, too. I know the Brettzel's going to be his favorite ;)

Busy weekend

Was off to Budapest on Friday, met friends and had a fun training session in the afternoon (see next post). On Saturday there was a workshop for RKCs only with Peter going through the basics of L2 material with us, then on Sunday we had some introduction to working with ropes and clubs. I thought my shoulder would be okay for all this but it didn't really like the bent press... I even strained the opposite hip a bit, but a good night's rest fixed it. My, those ropes are no joke! I think I've never done anything that intense (although I had a couple of crazy KB workouts in my training history, lol). As for the clubs, except for some kind of bent-press-like variation there was nothing new (we applied the RKC priciples, e.g. we left off the "soft catch", the rebending of the knee when cleaning to order, but that's how I'd worked with them before, too), it's a pity we didn't come to the sideward moves like inward-outward pendulum or mills that I would have been interested in more. But I'm sure it was still plenty for those who never tried the clubs before and it's never useless to go through the basics again. All in all, we had a great time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Workshop pics

From June, what a shame it took me so long to post them... I was invited by Ten-Shin Karate Club to hold an ETK seminar.

As for training, I've been doing a lot of juggling these days. Nothing fancy, I just found it is a fun way to fill the breaks between clients, and not bad for conditioning, either, if you do 3 to 5 10-15min sessions throughout the day. Yesterday I also fit in some VO2Max: 30 sets of 8 @12kg (15:15, 15min), today 10 sets of 40 swings 1min on, 30sec off (15min). This won't work when I start with ROP though.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


The best in teaching is, you learn so much.
We are a hunchback nation. At least 80% of all people I screened scrored low on Shoulder Mobility. Which is, as we now know, not at all necessarily a "shoulder issue". I found the corkscrew principle from the Naked Warrior is a good cue for packing the shoulder and helps a lot with poor posture in many cases.
Then, over the weekend, I did Brett's RKC prep workouts. All three days I did 2 rounds with sets of 20 swings, 10/10 snatches and 5/5 of all other exercises. Between rounds I did the RKC snatch test (30/30 @12kg). I knew I would do okay with the swings and squats, I dreaded the press day however, I was concerned about my shoulder.
The first set went accordingly. Then I suddenly remembered my own preaching and took the time to really make sure to reset that shoulder at every clean. Then I was thinking about the clean, the loaded clean ("Your press is only as good as your clean.") and remebered the advice I got on the forum to narrow my stance a bit. (The stance... The connection to the ground, where the power comes from...) I tried it but it felt very "unhealthy". That corkscrew principle was still on my mind so I decided to try and apply it with the legs, too. Suck them into the hip joints. Push down with the heels and pretend to turn the feet outwards, without really moving them. And suddenly everything was stable, everything was tight like never before, no leakage.
Sometimes it takes just ages to really know what you already know actually, lol.
After the cert, ROP-time :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Active recovery... sort of

After quite a time of next to no overhead work, my shoulder took the beating (snatching) better than I expected (although I was careless enough to snatch a 20kg R later yesterday, to demonstrate the forward lean), the considerable lack of skin continuance however is a nuisance. Coincidentally, today was one of the rare days I didn't need to take bells with me so I could dust off my bike... I love to whizz by between the queues of cars in rush hour :) I think I did quite a mileage during the day as I had a lot of errands to run but it was definitely much more fun than work :) I rounded it up with some yoga practice and mobility stuff including the Brettzel.
I also realized (thanks Brett and Jason!) there are only 4 weeks to go until the October cert... Well, if the Man himself does it, does an assistant need to look any further? Tomorrow's Friday, perfect to start with it rested.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Long time no snatching

I had a half an hour break between two private sessions this morning... I didn't plan it, but it seemed ideal to ease into VO2Max again. I was a bit concerned about my shoulder so I was so busy making sure it tracked well I didn't notice the big blister coming up on my left palm (as it was an ad-hoc idea, I didn't have the sock sleeves with me, either). I stopped at 30 sets of 8 (15:15) and did some juggling in the remaining 15min @8kg, (just fingertips). Well, not snatching for a while is no excuse for also neglecting hand care :)

I just love this FMS stuff!

Every time I do the screen I'm amazed how easily hidden things suddenly become visible, how the scores fit together and point into one or the other specific direction. And how some minor corrections can bring about major - and often instant - changes in one's movement or posture.
I've got the following comment yesterday from a pretty high level competitive karateka after a few minutes of T-spine corrective drills resulting in 2-->3 on the Shoulder Mobility test: "When I came to you I already knew I wanted to learn KB... But this is a bonus I'm especially glad about. I was born with a shoulder like that and had to struggle with it all my life, nobody in those thirty-something years had a freakin' idea what to do about it, this is the first time I really feel what it is like when everything is where they're supposed to be." You should have seen his swings after this... 
The best however is, there's no magic in that. All I did was follow the protocol Brett and Gray outlined. It's all in the system, I'm an interchangeable factor.

As for yesterday's training, I was sore from the kneeling and half kneeling presses with that 8 kg(!!) in my whole upper body (speaking of what had been firing before instead of what), so I postponed the getup and stayed with swings: 15 sets of 20 @16kg (two hand, one hand, DARC), plus demo swings in classes (I'll have to get used to counting them as training, they do add up, lol).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Back on the wagon

September 1st, school year has started... Gosh, I even dream about triangle pencils, white soled sports shoes and self adhesive book covers... :D Believe me, three kids don't simply need three times as much as one, lol. Well, I still have a couple of things to buy, but the worst is over :)

I've also started a kettlebell class (beginners) today, I'm just back from the first session. I feel so lucky! This is going to be a great group. They have minimal restrictions of movement and they really do listen and care about the details and after just 30min they were swinging like there's no tomorrow, and that in best Hard Style! :)

I was on the go from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but I finally managed to bring in a short session before class so I did:

Joint Mobility + T-spine mobility drills
Rolling with tubing
tall kneeling press 5/5 @8kg
half kneeling press 5/5 both sides @8kg
partial SLDLs with stick 3*5/5
getup-situp with arm bar @12kg 5/5
10*20 two hand swings @16kg (top of the minute)

I'm still cautious with overhead moves but the kneeling presses didn't bother my shoulder, so I hope I can progress to the full getup tomorrow. I might even try some light snatches.