Current training – April 2013

My sleep is getting better but still far from ideal. I think that’s just part of the parenting gig though.

The Isaac Hayes template I posted about a couple of weeks ago is still working well. My current set up looks like this:

Sunday (heavy)

  • A1: 20kg Turkish get up
  • B1: 20kg one arm jerk 6-8 mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: One arm push up –  hands elevated
  • C2: Partial pistol
  • C3: Tuck back lever
  • D1: 20kg swing 3 mins

Monday (medium)

  • L- seat
  • Bridging
  • Movnat – jumping/climbing/balancing/carrying
  • Prasara yoga

Tuesday (easy) – run (maybe) or light stretching (more likely)

Wednesday (heavy)

  • A1: 20kg Turkish get up
  • B1: 20kg one arm jerk 6-8 mins @ 6rpm
  • C1: One arm push up –  hands elevated
  • C2: Partial pistol
  • C3: Tuck back lever
  • D1: 20kg swing 3 mins

Thursday (medium)

  • L- seat
  • Bridging
  • Movnat – jumping/climbing/balancing/carrying
  • Prasara yoga

Friday (easy) – run

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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.

Screenshot_2013-02-02-20-06-33

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.

Screenshot_2013-02-02-20-06-23

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)

 

 

Different ways to measure lifting progress

There are three main ways to measure lifting progress: intensity, volume and density.

  • Intensity – weight per individual repetition i.e. heavier kettlebell = higher intensity
  • Volume – total amount of reps lifted i.e. more reps = higher volume
  • Density – amount lifted in a given time period i.e. same weight in less time or more weight in the same time = higher density

There are more ways forward than simply lifting a heavier weight and shifting focus between measures can give some nice variety. You may also find you respond to one better than others.

Recently I have been focusing on increasing volume with my kettlebell workouts but am getting close to the maximum I can get out of my current template. I could continue to add volume with additional sets and time but would prefer to keep these workouts shorter than 25 minutes. With that in mind, tonight I worked to increase density by tinkering with rest breaks and press RPM. To give an idea of what that looks like, here’s a comparison of my last two kettlebell workouts. As the weights used do not vary much between workouts I like to measure volume by total weight lifted.

Last week
Intensity = 16/20kg – far from record breaking but not what I am currently aiming for
Volume = 6,000kg – six tonnes, I love that!
Density = all work completed in 22 minutes, so 6000kg/22 = 273kg per minute

This week
Intensity = 16/20kg – same
Volume = 6,000kg – still six tonnes, I still love that!
Density = all work completed in 20.5 minutes, so 6000kg/20.5 = 293kg per minute

So, density goes up by 20kg per minute. Same work done in less time = progress.

I reckon I can squeeze in a couple of RPM more on the jerks and an extra set of presses so next week will be back to a volume focus. I will probably have to increase rest times so will spend the few weeks after that working on getting those reps done in less time (density).

The workout:

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 32L/32R/12L/12R (1,760kg)
1min rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 32L/32R/12L/12R (1,760kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 4mins, 30sL/30sR, 10RPM = 20L/20R (640kg)

Time = 20.5mins (6,000kg)

Core flow – one round

Back bridge – 2 x 30sec 

Kettlebell timed sets – lots of swinging & jerking

My snatch technique has felt horrible for the last couple of weeks so I’ve reduced the volume. I’ve switched the emphasis over to the swing/jerk combo and will do more regular snatch practice as part of my warm up.

I will stick with this as my template for a while. Progression from here will be to increase RPM for jerks and presses and also reduce rest breaks.

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 5mins, 30sL/30sR, 8RPM = 20L/20R (640kg)

Time = 22mins (6,000kg)

Monday night kettlebelling

No climbing for me tonight as I went on Saturday instead.

I still wanted to do a little something though so swung some kettlebells around for a while.

Joint mobility

20kg push press – 2mins, 30sL/30sR, 12RPM = 12L/12R (480kg)
30sec rest
20kg push press – 2mins, 30sL/30sR, 12RPM = 12L/12R (480kg)

Swing drop sets:
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 30 (1,360kg)
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 30 (1,360kg)
28kg x 10, 24kg x 20, 20kg x 20 (1,160kg)

Total = 4,840kg

Back bridge – 3 x 20sec

KB timed sets – switching the lead hand = more volume

Tonight I decided to lead with my left (weaker) hand in the timed sets. The result was I was able to do higher volume but with less effort. I noticed the biggest difference on swings.

If I lead with my right I’m already fatigued before switching hands, plus my left hand is a little sweaty. Those things combined make the work much harder, it all felt easier doing it the other way round.

The workout:

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
16kg snatch – 3mins, 30sL/30sR, 20RPM = 30L/30R (960kg)
1mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 4mins, 30sL/30sR, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/32R/12L/12R (1,760kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16L/16R/6L/6R (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 4mins, 30sL/30sR, 8RPM = 16L/16R (512kg)

Time = 22mins (5,952kg)

Squatting calf raise – 3 x 10