The last snatch off of 2010

I’ve not picked up a kettlebell for well over a week with Christmas in the middle. I was aiming to knock out 200 snatches in 10 minutes by the end of this year though and today was (literally) my last chance. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be and a ripped callous put me out at seven minutes. I probably could have carried on for a bit longer but would rather finish it cleanly than mangle my hands in the process. It’s still a 40% increase in volume from my previous best effort which is good going. It’ll come soon in 2011.

Joint mobility

16kg snatch – 7mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 70R/70L (2,240kg)

DB overhead lever, 7kg – 3 x 7R/7L
DB side lever, 3.5kg – 4 x 4R/4L


Post Chrimbles strength day

The Christmas festivities are drawing to a close so I grabbed an opportunity to get back on the workout saddle.

I kept up a bit of activity over the break by knocking out sets of partial pistol squats and arm assisted one arm push ups here and there. I carried on both exercises into this workout and will continue to do so in the new year. I really want a full range pistol and one arm push up by the end of 2011.

To perform an arm assisted one arm push up you set up for a one armer with the other arm back and out by about 45 degrees. The second arm is mostly for balance and some assistance, the idea is to use it less and less over time until the one arm push up is yours.

Joint mobility warm up

HS practice – 5mins

Partial pistols (4kg counter weight) – 3 x 5R/5L

Arm assisted one arm push ups – 4 x 2R/2L

Pull up ladders – 2 x 1,2,3,4
Chin up ladder – 1,2,3,4

8kg plate curl – 2 x 5R/5L, 5R/4L

Assisted GHR – 3,4,3
In rests: powergrip 200 – 2 x 3R/3L, PG250 – 10secR/10secL

Back bridge – 3 x 20sec

Last blast before the holidays

I had my last opportunity for a proper workout last night before travelling away for the Christmas break.

Both Erwan le Corre (MovNat) and a new clubbell product have been popping up in my Google Reader a lot this week so I put together a circuit inspired by both. It was a really nice combination of some interesting movements. I had planned to use my clubs more frequently on the new year and this circuit could be the way forward.

Joint mobility warm up

HS practice – 8mins

Bodyweight & powerclub circuit – four rounds:

15m bear crawl – 2
Pull up – 5
Jump – 6
Powerclub double shoulder park squat, 2x8kg – 5
Rings, fast 360 pull – 5
Powerclub double lunge clean, 2x8kg – 3/3
Powerclub swipe to iron cross, 8kg – 3/3

Kettlebells and grippage

I’m giving climbing a miss tomorrow night so had a quick kettlebell and grip workout this afternoon. 100 snatches in five minutes is a pretty big milestone but 200 in ten is still a way off. I could have gone for longer today so it’s definitely doable while we’re still in 2010.

Joint mobility

16kg snatch – 5mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 50R/50L (1,600kg)

Swing drop set:
24kg x 20, 20kg x 30, 16kg x 40 = 45R/45L (1,720kg)

Grip work:
DB overhead lever, 7kg – 3 x 6R/6L
DB side lever, 3.5kg – 4 x 4R/4L
Pony clamp pinch – 2 x 5R/5L

The Christmas party season

The Christmas party season is upon us. Mine began on Monday with my work party and has continued all week with various lunches and evening meet ups (for the record, Monday is the worst possible day for a Christmas party!). All the merriment makes it more difficult to keep up with normal routines, especially exercise. It is important to keep doing something though. Don’t miss out on all the fun to stick rigidly to an exercise regime, but keep doing something. If it is outside of the programme you’re on it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you move and sweat a bit and you won’t lose strength and will generally feel better about all of the booze and sweets.

So, I missed climbing and my usual workout this week but fitted in regular joint mobility and a few sets of this and that. At this time of year that will do just fine.

Onto tonight’s workout. Not as much volume as swing drop sets but more variety in the timed sets. Kettlebell exercises were continuos, 30 seconds each hand, powerclub double swipes were 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off and the shield casts were fixed reps for time. All good.

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 40R/40L (1,280kg)
1mins rest
16kg snatch – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 20R/20L (640kg)
2mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 32R/32L/12R/12L (1,760kg)
1min rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16R/16L/6R/6L (880kg)
1min rest
8/8kg double swipe – 3mins, 30s on/30s off, 11/12/10rpm = 33 (528kg)
1min rest
8kg shield cast – 3 x 10R/10L = 2:21 (480kg)

Time = 23:21mins (5,568kg)

Cool down:
Prasara yoga – wind flow x 3, ocean flow x 1

Kettlebells vs Dumbbells

Nowhere is the marketing revving at more of a fever pitch than with kettlebells. Disclaimer: kettlebells are my favorite exercise tool, which is why they are best for me. That???s it. Other than the simple fact that I enjoy using a kettlebell more than a dumbbell, I see no reason why they are better. Yes, the center of gravity is a little offset, so there is probably some grip strength carryover there, and there is no doubt that bottoms up pressing a heavy bell is something that you can???t really do with a dumbbell.

kettlebell vs dumbbellKettlebells vs dumbbells: as if it is even an important question. The marketing of fitness products is so shrill that we should all be laughing our heads off every time some new ad copy comes out. Instead, many of us (my hand is raised, or was raised in the past) buy and buy and never stop to realize that people have actually been getting stronger for a long time, even before the rise of the Smith machine, or that adductor machine that Gold???s Gyms have a minimum of 100 of.

Also, juggling dumbbells isn???t going to be as easy as using a kb.

But other than that, a kb is just a weight with a handle on it. It satisfied the requirements as a strength training tool in that it is subject to the laws of gravity and provides resistance if you pick it up and move it through the air.

Dumbbells can be snatched, pressed, swung, cleaned, and jerked. They can be used for the bent press and the Turkish getup. This is just common sense. You can get strong with a rock, a barbell, or your own bodyweight. People have been doing it for a long, long time.

There is one instance where kettlebells deserve all of the hype they get: when they are your favorite tool to use. I believe that training longevity is the best goal we can set for ourselves. For my part, longevity means workouts that I can enjoy and look forward to. That means using tools that I enjoy. There is no best, only the best for me. And you. I cannot determine what you should enjoy the most, and you can???t do it for me.

So in the case of kettlebells versus dumbbells, it is very simple: use the one that you enjoy using more. That will give you better results because you will enjoy your workouts more and look forward to them more.


Kettlebell snatches and drop sets

It feels like the snatches are coming along nicely. 200 in ten minutes is still a way off but I’m getting there. I plan to cap the snatch sets at 5 minutes push on with the swing volume. I’ll then have a go at the ten minute test at some point before Christmas.

Joint mobility

16kg snatch – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 40R/40L (1,280kg)

OA jerk drop sets:
24kg x 10, 20kg x 10 R/L (880kg)
24kg x 5, 20kg x 8 R/L (560kg)

Swing drop sets:
24kg x 30, 20kg x 40, 16kg x 50 (2,320kg)
24kg x 20, 20kg x 20, 16kg x 20 (1,200kg)
24kg x 20, 20kg x 20 (880kg)

Total – 7,120kg

Wall walk (with 10sec bridge at bottom) x 5