Monday, March 23, 2015

The Swing, Workout #11, just the workout for now, but more about the level of difficultly coming.....

Ta da! Congratulations for getting this far in The Swing, The Workouts!  If you are meeting me here then you've put in some serious practice time and that's a good thing because, in my opinion, this workout, #11, is one of the most difficult!  Difficult because it includes hundreds of transfer swings which I will explain more about why they are so difficult when I have more time to write later today, so come back after you give it a go if you are training it today!

I wanted to get this workout up and posted a.s.a.p. as requested by a few of you so here it is. If you follow along you will find some changes I had to make while adjusting the one written in The Swing Book so keep a pen or pencil ready to make notes.  Enjoy :)


Friday, March 13, 2015

Thursday On The Minute Workout, a progression to the Strength Matters Swing Test

Every Thursday I video tape a short OTM 6-10 min workout and post it on my Youtube channel (you can also find them on my FB page as well as here on my blog).  Yesterday morning I decided to add to last week's theme of building strength for one hand swings, whether it's strength to do them with your two hand swing weight, or with an even heavier bell.  This was all inspired by the Strength Matters Swing Test requirement for Instructor Certification.  You can find the official rules here;

The goal of OTM training is to progressively work towards "equal work to equal rest", completing 20 swing reps in 30 seconds, allowing a 30 sec rest period before the next set of 20 swings.  Once you successfully build the strength and cardio endurance then continuing on with an "equal work to rest" workload ability you can either lengthen or shorten the rep count.  For instance, if you complete 40 continuous reps you will earn a minute rest break, or if you complete 10 reps you will only allow yourself 15 seconds to rest before your next set.  All variations of training has benefits and you could/should train all of them depending on the effect (s) and result (s) you want to achieve through your swing training.

In this week's OTM workout I start to shorten those minute training intervals into 30 second intervals for both work and rest.  There is a big difference between training for 1 minute completing one continuous set of 20 reps (30 sec/30 sec) and two sets of 10, working and resting every 15 seconds (15/15 x 2).  The more minutes you break up those sets of 20 into two sets of 10 also require you to put the bell down and pick it back up twice as many times.  200 reps done 10 sets of 20 is much different than 20 sets of 10....which is much different than 5 sets of 40, which is much different than 4 sets of 50...2 sets of 100, etc.  "Different" doesn't always mean harder, just different!  Same with one hand swings versus two hand swings.  100 continuous two hand swings has a much different training effect than say one hand swings switching every 10 reps, which is different than switching every 5 reps, and is crazy different if you chose to switch every single rep!  Trust me :)

Okay, enough talking, let's do!  This workout starts to shorten the OTM sets while simultaneously, and progressively increasing the one hand swings reps.  There are many, many, if not hundreds of ways to train for this "test" or challenge, this was just how I chose to continue on from last week's practice, and in the next few week's I'll post more progressions.

But at the end of the day it's all just practice and training.  No need to have grand plans, just living life a little bit stronger, healthier and more fit.

5 2 hd sw + 5 R (OTM, 15/45)
5 2 hd sw + 5 L (OTM, 15/45)
5 2 hd sw + 5 R (OT 30 sec 15/15 sec)
5 2 hd sw + 5 L (OTM 15/45)
5 2 hd sw + 5 R (OT 30 sec, 15/15sec)
5 2 hd sw + 5 L (OTM 15/45)
10 R (OTM)
10 L (OTM)
10 R (OT 30 sec, 15/15)
10 L (OTM 15/45)
10 R (OT 30 15/15)
10 L (OTM 15/45)

120 swings 8 min

oh, I totally forgot until I reviewed the video that I did it with the 20kg, which is my SMC test weight, you might want to do the same :)

And speaking of swing practice and training.....I'm going to be in San Diego next Friday/ Saturday, March 20-21 and have the opportunity to use my friend Franz Snideman's studio, Revolution Fitness to lead a Friday night One Hour Swing class from 6:30-7:30pm!  If you live in the area or are going to be down for the Strength Matters Summit and want to swing with me you will find the Paypal registration button here on my blog (top left).  The cost is $40 and I need to cut off registration by this Tuesday March 17th for an accurate head count so don't wait, sign up now!  

Monday, March 9, 2015

Transfer Swing Practice + Workout #10! And Spring Asparagus Salad

Before some of us get to workout #10 we need to practice our transfer swings (tr).  Transferring from one hand to the other straight away without touching the handle for practice first.  Here is a short 5 minute practice using combinations we already know how to do that progressively lead you straight to transfer swings.

10 2 hd sw
5 R/ 5 L
1 sw, 1 tr x 10
1 sw, 1 tr x 6 + 6 transfer swings (18 reps total)
1 sw, 1 tr x 4 + 8 tr (16 reps)
1 sw, 1 tr x 2 + 10 tr (14 reps)

88 swing reps in about 5 minutes.  Practice it as many times as you need to get comfortable with transferring the kettlebell back and forth from R to L, use it as a workout in itself, or use it as a quick warm up to any of the workouts in The Swing!  Enjoy :)

Well, well, we are at workout #10!

And it's got a little tricky bit about 3/4 of the way through....  This is the first workout were you practice a set of 10 swings, get only 15 sec break before the next set of 40 reps, which means you have to swing for an entire minute before getting more rest!  This is also the first workout that uses straight "transfer swings", so if you need a little practice here's a short video:

You will find the complete written #10 workout on page 141 of The Swing book.

Morning time is my cooking and food prep time starting, pretty much, as soon as I get up around 4:00am.  Today it's super early because we lost an hour over the weekend, but I managed to fall out of bed close to my regular time and organize the kitchen before continuing on.  Not a whole lot to do actually.  I steamed some broccoli for a souffle later tonight, pressure cooked some black beans to add to some sweet potatoes for lunch, brought some carrots back to life that I never got around to using last week, and made a quick raw asparagus salad.

There are a handful on "non" ingredients that all home cooks have on hand 99% of the time, which is why I call them "non" ingredients.  Fats/dairy; cream (1/2 & 1/2 or milk) butter and Olive oil (and other cooking and salad oils) eggs, acids; lemon and vinegars, seasoning; salt/pepper, garlic, and base veggies; onions, celery, carrot, sweetners, natural and otherwise; sugar, honey, maple syrup.  There are a handful of others depending on background and culture of course, but for the most part if you cook on a regular basis you almost always have these non ingredients on hand.

That being said I only really needed two "real" ingredients for this salad; asparagus and parmesan cheese (which is also a non ingredient in my fridge). No cooking or steaming of spring fresh thin stalked asparagus so this salad goes together quickly.

1 bunch asparagus sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/4-1/2 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 c. red wine vinegar or lemon, or a combination of both
2-4 tbl olive oil
salt and pepper

Use the absolute best ingredients you can afford for the freshest and truest flavors.  This is a salad I spend a little extra on true Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and my highest quality olive oil and vinegar that I would never use to cook with!

I did save off about 30% of the asparagus bunch for some risotto maybe tomorrow since I have a salmon fillet in the freezer.  Is asparagus showing up in your markets yet?  And what's a "non" ingredient in your kitchen?

You can find Anne Burrell's original recipe here:

Friday, March 6, 2015

OTM "Swing Sandwich", and details on the next "Flash" 1 Hour Swing Class in La Jolla CA!

I really really like today's OTM workout!  It's 8 minutes in length so feel free to double it for an awesome workout in about 15 minutes!  Here's the progression, but you'll have to watch and listen to the video for the reasons why I choose them :) :

10 2 hd swings
15 2 hd swings
5 2 hd + 5 R + 5 2 hd (15 reps)
5 2 hd + 5 L + 5 2 hd (15 reps)
5 2 hd + 5 R + 10 2 hd (20 reps)
5 2 hd + 5 L + 10 2 hd (20 reps)
5 2 hd + 10 R + 5 2 hd (20 reps)
5 2 hd + 10 L + 5 2 hd (20 reps)

This is a perfect progression for not only learning and practicing the skill of one hand swings, but if you want to start increasing the weight of your one hand swings then give this a go with a bell you normally would use with only two hands.  You will find more of these types of "two hand swing/ one hand swing" combinations as I train myself and my students and clients to pass the new Strength Matters Swing Test, 200 one hand swings in 10 minutes.  For the complete guidelines you can find them here; 

So, now that you've been practicing on a regular basis who in the San Diego area wants to come swing with me for an entire hour?  

At the last minute I decided to contact my friend Franz Snideman at Revolution Fitness in La Jolla and organize a "Flash" One Hour Swing Class, Friday March 20 6:30pm! ( Mark and I will be down in San Diego that weekend for the Strength Matters Summit where Mark will be lecturing on Saturday.  Of course you are invited for the entire weekend (, and if you are already coming to the SMS and you want to come swing, or if you live in or around the area please come and get one of the best swing workouts ever, I promise!

The cost is $40 per person and you will find the registration and Paypal link on the top of the left hand column here on my blog.  Space and bells are always limited so reserve your spot now! It's been two years since I've been down to Southern CA and I have no idea when I'll make it back, so let's not waste this opportunity to swing together!

Monday, February 16, 2015

400 swings, 15 min

Yesterday's 400 swing reps in 15 min (or less), all done 10 R/10 L;
40 reps x 1 set
20 reps x 8 sets, all 15 sec rest between sets ( I was able to complete 200 one hand swings in 7 minutes)
100 reps x 1 set
20 x 5 sets
14 minutes in total
I'm not a fan of the word "challenge", I prefer "invitation". Here are the rules to this "invitation" if you so choose to accept:
* 3 bells of moderately heavy to heavy required
* 15 min time limit
* 100 swing reps per bell size required
* Two hand OR one hand swings allowed
* Any length of rep set allowed, any length of rest allowed as long as all 400 swing reps are completed within time limit

The Swing, workout #9, and video demo of "Swing / Transfers"

I posted this last week on Youtube and haven't made the time to post it here until this morning, and then I realized that I never posted the short demo video on "Swing/Transfers"! So here it is in case you haven't tried them yet, or if you just want a short practice, or do it a couple times for a workout in itself!

5/5 x 2 sets
6 sw/tr x 1 set
8 sw/tr x 1 set
10 sw tr x 1 set

54 swing reps

Now, onto Workout #9.  The first 10 minutes is the same as #8, and then as the swing combinations are combined into one set we find ourselves swinging for an entire minute, 40 rep sets!  The good news is that we get to rest for an entire minute after each of these sets!  There are less and less two hand swings as the workouts progress from this point on, and I'll comment more about that as I post the next few workouts.  In the mean time, if you haven't already, enjoy the fact that you've practiced well and now are capable of longer and longer work sets....because it's going to start getting fun now!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Swing Workout #8, and 400 swings in 15 min?

This week I'll be taping last four workouts from The Swing book so practicing and working my way up to more and more workloads is key to being able to increase my strength and endurance.  Still working in sets of 10 and 20 reps at a time that will soon change after workout #9.  To be able to go the distance without the forearm fatigue of too many two hand swings, and practice the skill of transferring the bell from one hand to the other is the focus of the next two swing workouts.....enjoy :)

You will find workout #8 on page 140.

Sunday morning is the longest kettlebell workout of my week.  We start at 7:15 with presses and squats, many times using double bells.  We switch up to our GS (Sport practice) sets, jerks and snatches with one hand switch for the next 45 minutes until 8:45, finishing often with 15-20 of Max Vo2 based Hardstyle snatches and a solid 20-30 minutes of swings.

Each week I've been testing out some kind of short kettlebell workout / challenges that potentially could be used during future Instructor Certification courses, not only using the swing, but all of the other true kettlebell movements in combinations.  Yesterday it was just the swing for a "finisher".  The idea was to complete 400 swing reps in 15 minutes, using 3 different sizes of kettlebells, starting with a moderately heavy bell (16kg), moderately heavier bell (20kg), and then a fairly heavy bell (24kg).  The only other "rule" was that each kettlebell must be used for a minimum of 100 swing reps (300 total), leaving the remaining 100 swings for the athlete to decide how to execute.

* 3 bells of moderately heavy to heavy required
* 15 min time limit
* 100 swing reps per bell size required
* Two hand OR one hand swings allowed
* Any length of rep set allowed, any length of rest allowed as long as all 400 swing reps are completed within time limit.

This template, like all of my workouts, has many options that you can use to challenge yourself and not just as a "finisher".  You easily could change the weight of the three bells, OR using the same weights change the number of reps you do with each bell size.  For instance I choose to do my first 200 reps in sets of 40 w/24kg, I then switched to sets of 20 with the 20kg, and ended with one set each, 10, 20, 30, 40 with the 16kg.

I could have started with the lighter bell, ended heavy.  I could have alternated all bell sizes throughout the 15 minutes, say 20-25 reps at a time either laddering up or laddering down the weights.  I could have done longer sets, shorter sets, one hand, two hand, or a combination of both, OR I could have tried to complete them in the fastest time possible (10 min), which I deliberately chose not to do.

My strategy for this workout was to start heavy and get my heart rate up as soon as possible.  I decided to test my "progressive rest ladder" workout I first introduced in August of 2011 w/24kg and to knock out the first 200 reps.  I have used it plenty of times with the 16kg, but never with any bell heavier!  Here is the link to my past blog post about that method;  The last rest period, between 160-200 swings is an entire minute, which in all honesty was hard for me to take (I forced myself!), but it was more important to me to test out my own method using progressive rest with the 24kg than it was to hurry through a workout I know I will get the chance to do many more times :)  My heart rate was already elevated with short rest intervals in the first couple sets, so no rush to kill myself.  That and the fact that I wanted a 15 min workout, not a 10 or 12 minute workout!

Next I knew I was going to ladder down to the 20kg....gosh, how much more difficult would have been to go down to the 16kg, and then back up to the 20kg?  Well, good thing I'll do it again (many times), that's the fun of testing!  I had no idea how I was going to break it up, but I knew I had taken a total of 2.5 minutes rest, and using half of my allotted 15 minutes.  I decided to do sets of 20 reps/30 sec work with only 15 sec rest for the next 5 sets to equal my 100 required reps w/20kg.  This totaled 2.5 min work, 1.25 min rest, totaling 3.75 min. leaving me with the remaining 3.75 min to complete the last 100 reps.....but in actuality it took 4.25 min because I forgot about the 15 seconds between the last set w/24kg and the first set w/20kg, AND for some crazy reason I decided to take almost 30 seconds after my last set w/20kg before I realized I might not have left myself enough I had to pick up that bel quick!

First set of 10 (15/15), second set of 20 (30/15), third set of 30 (45/15), barely being able to make up but completing my last set of 40 reps (1 min) when the time buzzer goes off!

Using the "heaviest" bell I can swing was not the challenge....this time!  I always like to start with a baseline.  Baseline tests are done with moderate to heavy because for me the fun of testing data is as much fun as in the actual training.  There are many more variations I'll try, and each will have their own challenges and difficulties.  Will you give it a go?  Please share you data with me :)  What was your experience and how will you change it for next time....and the next?

400 swings in 15 min, using three different size bells and completing at least 100 reps per bell are the only requirements.  (you can use a double bells option too!  ouch!)

PS if you do a blog search for "Progressive Rest" you will find many other workouts I did in the past using this template :)  Enjoy!