Great photo of some old school training

I visited a local museum recently and they had this great photo of a gymnastics club from the 1920s.


I find pictures like this fascinating. If you take a closer at the front of the photo you can see some of the equipment they used other than the gymnastic apparatus. It looks like a few clubs, some boxing kit and fencing gear.


It looks like a good place to train.


First post on WordPress

I’ve just moved this blog over from Posterous. I had been posting there for a few years but the service will shut down in a couple months.

The transfer was really easy.

I’l try and have something more interesting to say in the next post.

Great workout timer for kettlebell lifting

I’ve recently swiched from having an iPhone to an Android phone and have found a workout timer that is excellent for kettlebell lifting. I’m not sure if it s available for iPhone.

The app is called Impetus. It’s really simple to use and gives you loads of control over the intervals which is great for setting up timed sets.

Setting up intervals

This is the screen you use to set up your intervals.


You can build each element of the interval yourself, which I like as you can get the timer to vibrate every time you need to do a rep.

Here I’ve set it for a 10 second interval grouped into a 42 round set (i.e. 6prm for 7 mins), 2 minutes rest and then 10 second intervals in a 18 round set (i.e. 6prm for 3 mins).

Here I was using a higher weight for the second set but, as you control each section, you could set up additional sets at different paces. It’s great as you can set up the whole workout before you start and not have to touch it again.

The interval screen

This is the screen you see when the interval is running.


This screen is quite basic but doesn’t need to be anymore complicated. It tells you what you need to be doing, how many intervals are left to go and the total time left.

If you lift kettlebells for time I highly recommend this app, it’s ace.

Using EDT for kettlebell training

As mentioned in my previous post, here are some example Escalating Density Training (EDT) templates that can be used for kettlebell lifting.

I picked up the idea for this from the excellent blog – Girevoy Sport After 40 – which is a goldmine of information on this style of training. Those posts can be found here and here.

The idea is very simple – the reps stay roughly similar but the time taken to do them goes down.

By time

I like using time for jerks as it can be used to force extra time in the rack position, something that takes a bit of getting used to, but also make sure you’re not slacking off and are keeping the reps coming.

Each step is used for one workout. The rpm and weight should be kept constant throughout. When you get to the end increase the weight or rep speed and start again.

  1. 10 sets of 1 minute sets
  2. 5 sets of 2 minute
  3. 4 sets of 3 minute
  4. 3 sets of 4 minute
  5. 2 sets of 5 minute
  6. 1 set of 6 minutes
  7. 7 minutes
  8. 8 minutes
  9. 9 minutes
  10. 10 minutes

I’m using this for one arm jerks and have been switching hands every minute in the early stages and then taking longer between switches once I get to the single longer sets.

By number of repetitions

I prefer this for snatches as I can control the pace a bit more, and keep a better check on technique, without feeling pushed into the next rep before I’m ready.

There are a lot of options. One could be to work towards 100 reps with one hand switch:

  1. 5/5 reps x 10 sets
  2. 6/6 x 8
  3. 8/8 x 6
  4. 10/10 x 5
  5. 12/12 x 4
  6. 15/15 x 3
  7. 20/20 x 2
  8. 25/25 x 2
  9. 50/50

Another (which is what I’m doing) is to switch hands more often but have a greater number of total reps:

  1. 5/5/5/5 x 8 (160)
  2. 6/6/6/6 x 6 (144)
  3. 7/7/7/7 x 6 (168)
  4. 8/8/8/8 x 5 (160)
  5. 9/9/9/9 x 4 (144)
  6. 10/10/10/10 x 4 (160)



Current training – February 2013

It’s taken a little while to work out how best to fit the things I learnt from my training diary into a week, without just changing everything constantly.

I’ve ended up trimming some of the stuff out to keep the time they take down. This is especially important on Sunday/Monday where I’m doing back to back days.

I feel like I’m getting into a rhythm with kettlebell lifting. Snatches in particular are feeling pretty good. I think I might have finally figured out how to drop the kettlebell comfortably with my left.

The escalating density training (EDT) is working well for both snatches and jerks. I like the way you still get a decent amount of voume in the early stages without hammering longer timed sets. It gives time to get used to a new weight or rep speed before increasing the length of the set. (That reminds me that I said I’d post these routines up here.)

I’m having a go at some gymnastic rings training so have dropped all of the convict conditioning stuff apart from squats – I think they are where I’m getting most benefit anyway. I’m finding  the early steps are great for improving mobility.

On top of this I’m playing with handstands randomly through the week. I think I could probably kck up into one now but need to get past the fear of doing it (and maybe falling!) on my wood floor.

Saturday – rest


  • A1: L-seat
  • B1: 16kg OAJ jerk edt
  • C1: Muscle up/ring routine


  • A1: Straddle L
  • B1: 16kg Snatch edt
  • C1: CC squat progression
  • D1: Play time – handstands, MovNat

Tueday – rest


  • A1: L-seat
  • B1: 16kg Snatch – 8/8/8/8 or 10/10/10/10 x 2
  • C1: 16kg Jerk – 5/6 min set @ 6rpm
  • D1: 20kg OA jerk – 3/4 min set @ 6rpm
  • E1: 24kg Swing – 20-30 each hand

Thursday – run (maybe)

Friday – judo