Current training – September 2013

I’m still cycling through lift days, move days and run/swim days, generally two of each a week. This pattern has been working really nicely for a while now and I see no reason to change it.

It’s a nice balance of structure and randomness.

I’m currently doing ring dips and deadlifts for my lifting. I have been following a volume-based approach which is working nicely. I set a timer of twenty minutes and cycle back and forth between the two exercises, staying away from failure, and taking as much rest as I need – you can get a lot done in not much time if you put your mind to it.

Those sessions look like this:

  •  A1: Warm up
  • B1: Turkish get up plus overhead walk – 2 x 1L/1R
  • C1: Deadlift/Ring dip – 20mins = 20-50 reps of each
  • D2: Farmers walk –varied weights & distance
  • E1: Rope climb – as many as possible in 5 minutes

The move days are some combination of bridging, crawls and hand balancing.

The run/swim days are pretty self-explanatory!

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

Kettlebell timed sets – some shorter intervals

I used shorter sets for the swing/jerk combo tonight with reduced rest between sets. It should enable me to build up greater volume than just one long set.

I’ve also added in the press. No real reason why, I just felt like pressing a kettlebell.

The workout:

Joint mobility warm up

16kg snatch – 5mins, 30sR/30sL, 20RPM = 50R/50L (1,600kg)
2mins rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16R/16L/6R/6L (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16R/16L/6R/6L (880kg)
30sec rest
20kg swing/jerk – 2mins, 30sR/30sL, 32RPM/12RPM = 16R/16L/6R/6L (880kg)
1min rest
16kg press – 4mins, 30sR/30sL, 8RPM = 16R/16L (512kg)

Time = 19mins (4,752kg)

Pull ups – 3 x 1,2,3,4 = 30

Prasara yoga – wind flow x 2, ocean flow x 2

Back bridge – 2 x 20sec