Lessons from my training journal

I’ve looked through my training journal during the Christmas break. As well as sets/reps etc I also make notes about what’s working, what isn’t, energy levels etc. Here’s what I saw:

  • I change my workouts very (too) frequently
  • My best progress has come from sticking with something longer term
  • I do quite well on basic bodyweight exercises
  • Occasional runs into more intense gymnastic ring work is good for 4-6 weeks, but I start to get very tight after that. (I think that is because of sitting all day for work.)
  • Extended sets of kettlebell ballistics also treat me pretty well. It has been over two years since I have done them regularly but the endurance/conditioning from them was very nice. You end up shifting a massive amount of weight per session.

So, I may as well learn from this for 2013. The lessons are:

  • I need to stop reading fitness forums. A big reason I change stuff so often is because I am tryong to find my own way by reading stuff on the net and there is too much information to process. The forums are the worst of it – too many recommended exercises and contradicting pieces of advice. They are good for looking into a specific topic but way too distracting for regular reading.
  • Do basic bodyweight exercises for strength. I love the Gymnasticbodies stuff but find the routines take too long. I’ve tried trimming them down to fit the time I have but it doesn’t seem to work. I end up with too much stuff squeezed into too little time. I think I need to keep it simple, and will follow Convict Conditioning progressions for push ups, pull ups and squats as my basic strength work.
  • Every now and then raise the intensity with some work on the gymnastic rings.
  • Bring back extended sets of kettlebell ballistics – swing, clean, snatch, jerk, push press. Not necessarily timed and to a strict rpm, but just long.
  • Allow time for play and variety – MovNat, Capoiera Conditioning, handstands, rope climbing, grip stuff.

    Judo Adult Beginners Course

    I’ve now finished my judo course – overall the whole experience was great.

    The course is specifically set up for adult beginners so the whole class are new starters with no experience, and all of a similar(ish) ages. This made for a great learning environment as we were all on the same level.

    The aim of the course content is to teach you the syllabus for red belt which contains a few breakfalls, three throws and three hold downs.

    Rather than try a wide range of techniques we focused on the red belt syllabus for the whole 10 weeks.

    This might not be as exciting as trying lots of different techniques but I think it was a great way to start out. Now everyone has moved into the main classes we have a few throws that we are comfortable trying in sparring. We rarely get them (judo is hard!), but we can try.

    All in all I would recommend the course to anyone interested in trying judo.

    I’ve now switched clubs from the Budokwai to Westcroft Judo as it’s 5mins from my house and have been training there on Friday nights.

    It’s a great club. Good people and great teaching.

    http://westcroftjudo.co.uk/ http://www.britishjudo.org.uk/beginners

    running and aerobic stuff, and other stuff too

    This is a great post from Clifton Harski. The aerobic exercise good/bad topic has been getting fair bit of web time recently and Clifton makes a very good point. 

    There’s some great recommendations in his post too.

    “I wonder if all these negatives from aerobic/cardio/running articles is all because of running, and not at all because of the aerobic/cardio aspect? ….

    Here???s why: most people just suck badly at running. Look at people running down the block???they look like baby giraffes learning to walk, like forest gump running while still in his leg braces, like a bird trying to take off with clipped wings???you get the picture. It???s ugly, and if it looks ugly, it probably is ugly to their body, to their brain, and whole system, which takes it as an insult or maybe better said, as an assault.  So no matter the distance, running is probably a problem for most people. Even if it happens at a slow pace”

    Current training – December 2012

    The main changes this month is to drop dips to once a week and introduce one arm push up work on the second day and stop doing KB cleans in favour of pull ups.

    I have been really enjoying working dips but they are stating to make me tight in the wrong places. Push ups work very similar muscles, but at different angles, and seem to be clearing things up. I’ve added pull ups as a lack of upper body pulling exercises is probably another reason my shoulders/upper back are a bit sore.

    I still have my eye on my muscle up progressions but will carry on focusing on dips for a bit longer before switching in the new year.

    Squats are going nicely. I’ve settled into a pattern of one heavy day (for my legs!) and one a bit lighter, but with more KB swings.

    I’ve also dropped handstand work from my main workouts to give some more time to focus on the other exercises but am still playing with them throughout the week.

    Warm up

    • A1: Becoming Bulletproof drills
    • B1: Hip flexor stretch – 20, 20, 20
    • B2: KB swing – 20kg x 10, 24kg x 10, 28kg x 10
    • B3: Rock – 10, 10, 10
    • B4: KB goblet squat – 20kg x 5, 24kg x 5, 28kg x 5

    Monday – rest

    Tuesday – judo

    Wednesday – rest


    • After warm up
    • A1: L-sit – 2 x 20sec
    • A2: Tuck BL – 2 x 20sec
    • B1: Ring dip – 3 x 6-8
    • B2: Close grip chin ups – 3 x 6-10
    • C1: Rope climb – 5 x 1
    • C2: 24kg KB swing – 5 x 10-15

    Friday – easy run

    Saturday – rest


    • After warm up
    • A1: 20/20kg KB front squat – 4 x 3-5
    • B1: L-sit – 1 x 30sec
    • C1: Assisted one arm push up – 4 x 3-5
    • C2: Weighted close grip chin ups – 4 x 3-5
    • D1: 28kg KB swing – 3 x 10