Thursday, August 6, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me! "52" workouts, the first of a month long theme :)

Yesterday was my 52nd birthday!  Can you believe it?  Gosh, it really didn't hit me until this morning, a second before I started my first rep of my special B-day workout.  I had a fabulous day that started out with macaron experiments for 3 hours, starting at 5:00am!  After I journaled my results I went out and ran some errands that I wanted to do, like going to my favorite store, Grocery Outlet, Bargain Market! I love that store!  I found some really killer snack bars that are actually made for kids!  (Clif Kid Z Bar, honey graham flavor, $1.99 box of 6)  Next I went for a nice long walk and listened to a book on tape, "Soul of a Chef" by Michael Ruhlman.  Came home, took a nice long nap with Mark, got up and went back in the kitchen to cook! (with a glass of wine of course!)  Kissed and hugged on Mark and had a great night's sleep.  What a great day!

The only thing that could have made it better, other than spending time with my kids and granddaughter would have been to have done a killer workout! But I don't kettlebell on Wednesdays, it's a recovery day, so the killer workout had to wait until this morning!  Maribel walked into the Lioness's den at 5:30 and joined me in the first part of my "52" themed workout.

Lucky me the 24kg weighs about 52 lbs, so it stands to reason that double 12kg's is the same weight. Thursday is usually double kb day, so double 12 kg's it was.  This year was like no other, in the fact that it wasn't just swings (today, but that's coming, don't worry!).  I wanted to do all of the kb skills (minus Get ups, but that's coming too!).  52 double 12kg reps each, swings, presses, squats, snatches, clean, and....pull ups! (assisted)  I had absolutely no idea how long this would take or how I was going to break it up, but I decided on the order I just listed, done in 4 rounds of 13 reps per.  This video demonstrates my first two rounds, minus the pull ups because the rack is on the other side of the gym and I wanted to video at least two rounds.  After I stopped this video I did my first set of 13 assisted pull ups, and then I dispersed sets of 5 and 6 throughout the rest of the workout.

I was able to do the first round in continuous sets of 13...but that was it!  Swings, snatches and cleans, no problem, all 4 sets of 13 were done continuous, but I had to break down the presses, squats and pull ups.  I'm not sure what Maribel's strategy was, but she finished in about the same time.  Gosh, it was fun!  Now I'll have something to measure next year when I have 1 more rep of each skill to complete, fingers crossed within the same amount of time :)

So, we started the workout at 5:30am. did a 15-20 min warm up, finished in 30 min, had 10 minutes left in the hour.  I started the next part of my workout, which was 52 sets of 10 double 12kg swings (520 reps, 26 min), and Maribel finished with a 10 x 10 w/24kg. I think it's been a while since she swung the 24kg, but it's my birthday and that's what was required :)

After my 52 sets of 10 double 12kg swings I did three last snatch sets.  The first w/12kg, the second w/14kg and the last w/16kg, all 52 R/ 52 L with a comp bell, done GS style.  Here was my entire workout:

52 dbl swings
52 dbl presses
52 dbl squats
52 dbl snatches
52 dbl cleans
52 assisted pull ups
30 min

52 sets of 10 dbl swings
520 reps, 26 min

12kg snatch 52/52 on hand switch, 5 min
14kg snatch 52/52, 26 x 4, 5 min
16kg snatch 52/52, 13 x 8, 5 min
312 snatches, 25 min, I took 5 minutes between sets. workout isn't over!  My good friend Emily has the same exact birthday as me! And she was 36 yesterday! (gosh, I hope I don't get in trouble!)  Soooo, I've got 36 sets of 10 w/36lb bell in order around 10:00am this morning....  And then last, but not least an hour long ruck walk with Mark at 1:00pm, my favorite part of Thursdays now.

Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Training is the Source" - Mark Reifkind, and Sunday's Finisher (explained)

(round 1)

Training is the Source.  What does this mean?  Mark has so many great phrases that Pavel and many others have, for years, encouraged him to write a book titling each chapter with these phrases, his inspired words of wisdom....and this is one of my favorites.

Mark and I talk about training every single day.  Every single day we share a discovery or something learned from our own training or that of a client / student.  It was during one of these conversations that I was telling him about an experience I had during my own training, something I hadn't known about myself before and was exciting to recognize, that he first said to me, "Well, training is the source!"  And I knew right then and there exactly what he meant.

For me, my personality, my knowingness, my beliefs about myself come to the forefront through how I feel before, during and/or after my training.  My training brings out the best parts of me, and it rewards me with self confidence, self knowingness.  Things don't always have to go my way in my workouts, but often they do, more so than in other parts of my life because I'm able to experience a balance between body, mind AND heart!  And heart?

I have this physical body and training puts me, smack dab, right in the middle of it.  I love being in my body, especially since there was a large portion of my life that I cut myself off from it. The power of being able to manipulate this physical apparatus is exciting to me! Manipulate how it moves and even how it looks.  I love my body.

My mind is the one that tends to overthink, the one that sometimes judges, the one that gets competitive (good and not so good), but also the one that can calculate reps, loads, and time.  It can think ahead and visualize possibilities.  It remembers success and lessons learned.  My mind is what tells my body what to do, to push it just far enough to gain / maintain strength and the feeling of being fit.

My heart however is what keeps my mind in check!  It's the one that brings my thoughts back around to reason, to compassion, to ease.  Reason to not compete with anybody else, and to focus on keeping and maintaining my own physical goals and desires based on my life.  Compassion to back away from my own judgements that I can sometimes get caught up in to do more, to be more, in order to get approval from others.  Ease.  To be easy with myself doesn't mean to sleep in and skip workouts!  It means to not be in a hurry.  There is no finish line, there is no one keeping score.

What does this have to do with my last Sunday workout? lol  This past year I've incorporated a different style of ending my Sunday workouts, and it was my friend Fawn that reminded me of what's called a "finisher" when I was in St Paul this past January.  A finisher is usually a short burst of all out effort at the very end of a workout that pretty much puts the nail in the coffin!  I always learn something about myself when I push myself in this way.  And what I learned this week (again) was how I never get tired of training kettlebells!   I so believe in it, as it gives me evidence of my own power to decide how I choose to live a large part of my life.  It reminds me to appreciate the fact that I'm a really good teacher and coach and how much I love what I do.  I used to call it luck, and sometimes I still call it a miracle, but the truth is that it's just me, it's who I am.


Finishers are never exactly pre planned, but instead, most times, I decide how to end a workout based on a number of things;

Who's training with me that day and what are their skills and level of conditioning? It must be scalable.  What I like best about this way of finishing a workout is that it lets each person decide on what's exactly right for them on any particular day.

How does it fit in with what was done in the first part of the workout?  For instance it would not include presses or squats if presses/squats were already done earlier.

It always varies in time, in load, and in skill.  Because the intent is intensity it usually lasts between 10 and 20 minutes, but this Sunday is a rare example of up to 30 minutes.  It's never the same length of time every week, and although 3 out of 4 times it's just swings, I'll add in snatches or squats every once in a while (mostly because everybody can do swings :) )  Intensity is achieved three ways; increasing weight, increasing reps/time, and/or increasing speed/decreasing rest.

This Sunday's Finisher was a long one! The longer the "set", the lighter the loading, often times I'll ladder down the weights, starting with the most difficult, in this case the 32kg.  Laddering up in weight has it's place as it makes the set (s) more difficult, appropriate for sets lasting less than 15 min (in my opinion).  Looking at the clock (remainder of the workout), 36 min., and having Meg as my Sunday partner I knew we could handle a long one and heavy one.

Originally each round was going to be a 10 x 10 with a full minute of rest after each (x 6), allowing recovery of the choice of a really heavy bell.  A 10 x 10 takes 5 minutes to complete, one set every 30 seconds, allowing 15 seconds to work (swing) and 15 seconds of rest (15/15).  I changed my mind about intervals, instead favoring no prescribed work / rest.  The guideline was to finish 100 reps (same as a 10 x 10) within each 5 minute round. The rest you would get would be determined by how fast you completed your 100 reps!


I decided to use the 32kg for the first two rounds, the 24kg for the next two, and the 16kg for the last two.  Going "old school" and skipping the intermediate weights (28kg and 20kg).

(round 2)

The first set would be 10 reps at a time, taking only enough rest to start my next set of 10 again (first video).  This took me approx 4.5 min, with an average rest period between 11-13 seconds  I hadn't swung the 32kg in a workout in a long long time, and it became obvious to me in order to maintain appropriate power I would have to keep the rep count under 15.  For the second set I decided to do sets of 12, (x 7) the last set = 16. This took 4 min approx. (second video)

The next two sets w/24 (rounds 3 and 4) I did 5 sets of 20, 30 seconds work, with only 15 seconds rest, taking me just over 3.5 minutes to complete.  The second set, I did 12 x 4 and 13 x 4.  Surprisingly this took me longer! It took almost 4 min to complete, but it was broken down into 8 sets versus 5, three more starts and stops....interesting! See you can always learn something new :)

(round 3)

(round 4)

The last two sets (whew!) were going to be easy!  I did the first one 50 x 2 (1.25 min work/45 sec rest), completing in 3.25 min (no video), and because it had felt like forever since I had done a 2 hand, 100 continuous rep set w/16kg ( 2.5 min) I had to "finish" off with that!  (last video)

(round 6)

I've been working on double front squats during the first part of our Sunday workout (7:15-8:00am), and double jerk and 16kg snatch for GS practice (8:00-8:45am), so there was time and energy for a long end to the workout.  We were done at 9:15, 15 minutes earlier than usual.  Meg is going to compete in a couple of weeks at the California Open Kettlebell Sport Championships with 20kg LC and after that we will not be practicing GS on Sunday's anymore.  I will continue on with my own personal KB sport goals on my own time however, but no plans to compete in the future.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

So Cal Cruz Ranch Family Reunion Weekend Workout

I'm in Southern California (I live in No. Cal), for a huge family reunion in Moorpark CA (near Ventura).  We, my oldest son Rick, my daughter in law Cristina, and my granddaughter Sophia, drove down here (6 hours) yesterday and plan on staying three days in total.  I packed some good foods for the trip, and of course I threw a bell in the back of the car knowing I'd like to train at least one time while I'm bell, but which one?

I thought I'd bring a 16kg, since Sunday's are usually a heavy day, but at the last minute I decided to grab a 14kg thinking I may do two workouts while I'm here and it's just a little more versatile.  I completely forgot that most hotels do have a small workout room, but I was 100% prepared to swing away in my room, no problem!  But without having to disturb my family I snuck away to the gym, with my bell and did a fun, and what seemed fast but wasn't, workout! My favorite way to design a workout is around the theme of "10".  Easy and hard (boring!) at the same time!

10 x 10 2 hd sw (5 min; 100 sw)

1 swing/1 goblet squat x 10 (1 min long set/30 sec rest = 15 min; 100 sw/100 sq)

swing sandwich ladder w/ "work into rest method"
5 two hd sw + 5 R/5L + 5 2 hd sw
5 + 6/6 + 5
5 + 7/7 + 5
5 + 8/8 + 5
5 + 9/9 + 5 (5 sets total = 5 min; 85 swings)
10 R/ 10 L x 5 sets (30/30 = 5 min; 100 swing)
("10" sets of swings in total)

5 clean/press R alternate L (45/45 = 15 min; 50 R/50 L, 100 total) (video 1)

1 sw, 1 snatch x 5 R + 1 sw, 1 sn 5 L x 10 sets (45/45 sec = 15 min; 100 sw/100 snatch) (video 2)
5 R + 5 L x 2 "squat snatch" x 10 sets (30/30 sec = 10 min; 100 snatches)

The "squat snatch" is similar to a "dead snatch" only it doesn't touch the floor at the beginning and end of each rep.  It's right in between a dead snatch and a regular swing snatch, using more legs than glutes.  In this video I demonstrate the difference between the two, first with 5/5 squat snatches, then 5/5 swing snatches.  If you want to try these the part you need to use caution with is the down stroke. You can't cast the weight too far out in front of you, and you have to get timing right or you risk the bell pulling you over and out of position putting your lower back as risk. This is not a skill I would teach to beginners, use your own discretion.

Done!  Just in time to catch breakfast with my granddaughter :)

485 swings
100 goblet squats
100 clean/presses
200 snatches
1 hour, 10 min

My mother was is one of 7 children, and one of four born on a 87 acre ranch here in Southern California.  The eldest son, my uncle Leonard has maintained 40 of those acres and many of my cousins grew up here, and now our family is at least 5 generations strong. But this was our official 1st Cruz Ranch Family Reunion and it pretty much got rained out yesterday!  It was a crazy thunder and lightening storm here in Southern California in the middle of JULY!  This is practically unheard of, and even though the forecast predicted it I just refused to believe it and didn't really pack appropriately!  Nobody did actually, and my son had to leave early with my granddaughter and take her to Target for some warm and dry clothes!  Shoes were wrecked, full of mud, but the spirit wasn't dampened :)

Most everybody held tight, even putting up the pinata in the rain, but as it got worse it was clear the pony rides were going to have to be postponed. Were going back this afternoon and I hope to Sophia gets a chance to ride, maybe for her first time :)

Tonight I'll take a short train ride to Santa Barbara where I'll finish my short weekend vacation with my good friends, the Mishkins, Jen and Greg, and then we'll all drive home on Monday :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

1000 swing Tuesday; workout "m" plus Sunday Finisher (Tracy's ballistic wildcard!)

Youtube would not let me post workout "m" in it's entirety so I divided it into two parts.  If you repeat part 1 it will give you a 30 min swing workout.  I did this workout for my friend "m" and the intention for her to use a 10kg for part 1, then repeat it with a 12kg and finish the entire workout, part 1 and 2 with the heavier bell.  This may be a good opportunity for you to use this workout to increase your strength for one hand swings (10/10) too :)

(part 1)
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets (15/15)
20 2 hd sw x 1 set
10 tr x 2 sets
20 transfer swings x 1 set
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets
5/5 + 5/5 x 1 set
10 R x 1 set
10 L x 1 set
10 R/ 10 L x 1 set (part 1 video ends here, repeat these first 12 sets one more time through before moving on for a 30 minute workout)

(part 2)
10 R/ 10 L + 10 R/ 10 L = 40 reps ( 1 min work/1 min rest)
10 R/ 10 L + 5 R/ 5 L + 5 R/5 L
10 R/ 10 L + 20 tr
10 R/ 10 L
10 R
10 L
5 R/ 5 L + 5 R/ 5 L x 1 set
5 R/5 L x 2 sets 
20 transfer swings
10 tr x 2 sets
20 2 hd swings
10 2 hd swings x 2 sets

whew!  440 swings, 22 min (or 600, 30 min if you repeat the part 1)

first 600

same as the start of workout "m"
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets (15/15)
20 2 hd sw x 1 set
10 tr x 2 sets
20 transfer swings x 1 set
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets 
5/5 + 5/5 x 1 set
10 R x 1 set
10 L x 1 set
10 R/ 10 L x 1 set (160 reps)
now sets of 30 reps
10 R/ 10 L + 5 R/ 5 L
10 R/ 10 L + 10 tr
10 R/ 10 L + 10 2 hd sw (30 x 3 sets = 90 reps)
now sets of 40
10 R/ 10 L + 10 R/ 10 L = 40 reps ( 1 min work/1 min rest)
10 R/ 10 L + 5 R/ 5 L + 5 R/5 L
10 R/ 10 L + 20 tr
10 R/ 10 L + 20 2 hd swings (40 x 4 sets = 160 reps)
back to sets of 30
10 R/ 10 L + 10 2 hd sw
10 R/ 10 L + 10 tr
10 R/ 10 L + 5 R/ 5 L (30 x 3 sets = 90 reps
back to 1 set of 20, two sets of 10 (downhill progressive swing ladder)
10 R/ 10 L x 1 set
10 R x 1 set
10 L x 1 set
5/5 + 5/5 x 1 set
5 R/ 5 L x 2 sets
20 transfer swings x 1 set
10 tr x 1 sets
20 2 hd sw
10 2 hd sw x 1 sets (160 reps)

total 640 swing reps, 32 min

honest mistake....I forgot when we went slightly over 30 min. I made some cuts and only completed one set each of 10 tr and 10 2 hd sw.

Most mornings, as I drive to teach class I start thinking only about the "theme" of our training that day.  This last Tuesday in June the theme was 40 rep sets, so the goal was to work up to one minute long swing sets.  How I get my class there depends on who I know will be in attendance and base the workloads so everybody can scale and successfully complete most, if not all of the work sets.

Tuesday is becoming what I call "1000 swing Tuesday".  So we started out the morning with a 600 + swing rep version of "m"'s workout knowing I would repeat it, or some of it to video tape and post for my friend.  In this workout we worked our way up to sets of 40 but had many sets of 10 (short work to short rest), as well as many sets of of 20 rep (the first workout even had sets of 30 reps), which increase in difficultly on a more progressive level.

I've never done this exact workout, and that's what I so LOVE about my job!  After almost 10 years of teaching and leading classes, with the average of 5-6 groups a week, I can still, and will forever be able to, create brand new and fun workouts using only the kettlebell swing, it's variations and intervals.  Gosh, I'm set for life!

Sunday's workout was a whole different ball game!  7:15 starts out with heavy presses, and some complexes, moves on at 8:00 for GS practice....and these days it's minimal :( ...then ends with my "ballistic wildcard"!  It's a simple and hard way of doing 40-45 minutes of ballistics in half the time!  This past weekend the BW was as follows:

10 - 1 snatch ladder (110 snatches)
10-1 two hand swing/squat ladder (55 swings, 10 squats)
10-1 one hand swing ladder (110 1 hd swings)
x 2 = 220 snatches, 330 swings, 20 squats

I knew I did not want to do two rounds with the 16kg.  I had already pressed earlier in the morning and did a set of 100 snatches with the 16kg comp bell, but the 14kg would have been a little too easy, especially for swings and squats....but not after completing one full round with the 16kg!  So that's what I did. I did the first round with the 16kg, the second with the 14kg and only screwed up the counting a couple of times!  I actually did about 10 more swings in the first round w/16kg....but who's counting?

It took me approx under 5 min to complete the snatch ladders, a little over 2 min for the sw/sqt ladders and the same for the one swing ladders.  Meg used a variety of weights for each set, which is also an option.  You may choose to snatch light, swing and squat heavy, or visa versa...will you try it?  And what's your planned strategy?


This should take about 10 minutes per round if done continuous, but there are no rules about putting the bell down at any point and as many times as you might need to complete the round.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thursday 6/11

Currently on Sunday mornings I've been training a heavy single bell press. This past weekend I completed 5 sets of 3 rep , R/L w/18kg.  My goal is 5 x 5 w/18kg, which should not be a problem at the end of this particular cycle which ends for me in 2 weeks.

This morning was my double press maintenance program, 5 sets of 3 16kg double presses, and in between sets I practice my pull ups.  Since this part of the program is not timed using intervals, we take turns completing our presses and help each other with hangs and pull ups for the first 30 minutes.  This time might also include heavy double cleans before moving onto the second 30 minutes of our hour of training.

swings.  heavy.  doubles.

10 2 hd sw x 4 sets 16kg single
10 x 4 sets 16kg double
5 2 hd + 5 R
5 2 hd + 5 L
repeat x 2 = 10 x 4 16kg
10 x 4 dbl 16kg's
5/5 x 4 16kg
10 x 4 dbl 16kg's
10 R
10 L
repeat x 2 = 10 x 4 16kg
10 x 4 dbl 16kg's
repeat the next 8 sets x 3
10 R
10 L
repeat x 2 = 10 x 4 16kg
10 x 4 dbl 14kg's

28 minutes
560 swings
280 single 16kg
120 dbl 16kg's
80 dbl 14kg's

GS practice
TALC, 10kg's
2 sets, 3 min each
14kg snatch
4 min (2/2) and it just about killed me :)

Off to CFPA for 20kg goblet squats, 400m run, 15 burpees x 4 rounds.  6 ring dips (assisted) 12 32kg swings OTM x 6

1:00-2:00 Ruck Walk w/Mark, 15lb pack.

Monday, June 8, 2015

"100 Snatch Transfers" Sunday Finisher

Sunday Workout

My strict press training is moving along, as programmed, and I'm quite happy actually.  In the past I had never had any real goals with my strict press, mostly snatch goals, reps / weight / time, because I tend to enjoy the ballistics, which I'm fairly good at, as opposed to the grinds, which I'm not naturally good at!  (I don't have any video mostly because I train with a couple of other people and it can be awkward and time consuming to set up the camera in the middle of workouts)

Currently I'm alternating my strict press training cycles between a single bell press, and double bell press.  I completed my 5x5 double 16kg program (double presses on Thursday mornings), and so I only train "maintenance" double 16kg reps, 3 x 5 every week, and I increase the loading of my single bell press on Sunday.  Yesterday I completed 3x5 w/18kg, easily on my R, and not so bad on my L.  I'm confident I'll get my 5x5, as scheduled in two weeks time.  Once that goal is completed I'll maintain my 18kg single press (3x3) while increasing my double 18kg press.

I'll program the next double bell press cycle starting with 3 sets, 1 - 3 reps each, and base it on how many I can complete, if any, at about 80-90% effort.  It is never my intention to press /push as hard as possible in any workout, except the last one, the one with the end goal :)

5 min swing warm up
10 minute press warm up
heavy single press, 18kg 3 reps x 5 sets, every 2 minutes = 10 min
heavy double cleans, 20kg's, 5 x 5 OTM = 5 min
goblet squat, front squat/press complex "I go, you go" 10 min (40 squats/30 press total)
swings, 6 sets of 10

My training partner Matt finished his double press cycle w/18kg's yesterday so he'll be moving on to either double 20kg's, or a single bell, his choice.  He's also working toward the Strength Matters Swing Test, so that's the reason we ended the workout with some sets of 10 swings (Matt used the 20kg).  We would have done more, but we simply ran out of time.  I could have cut the squats short, or not done them at all, but I was being selfish! I knew I still had a ton of swings to do during the last part of the morning and this would be my only chance to practice some squat reps. :)

8:00-8:45am GS
double jerk 10kg's 2 min
double jerk 12kg's 2 min
swing snatch 14kg 6 min

I'm playing around with double jerks these days, but I'll write more about that another time.  I haven't been practicing GS regularly for a number of reasons, mostly because I'm lacking in inspiration, therefore I'm not really motivated.  Having that horrible flu for over 3 weeks, then breaking my toe, and  then having one of my training partners gone for almost 3 weeks all didn't help either.  It's no wonder the 6 min14kg swing snatch set felt as difficult as ever, but awesome at the same time because I was still able to do it after weeks and weeks of no practice.

740 16kg swings 33 min
16kg snatch transfers, 6 min, 100 snatches, 100 swings (video above)

I started "Skypercising" with my friend Emily on Wednesday mornings, but she missed her workout last week so I tried connecting with her to swing during the last part of our workout.  Unfortunately we lost the connection 1/2 through the swing workout, but she later messaged me to tell me she continued to finish on her own!  The connection in the garage gym is sketchy but I'm happy we were able to get some work done at all :)

I swung really heavy last Sunday so anything above the 16kg was off limits, besides the 16kg for over 700 swings in about 1/2 hour is plenty challenging enough!  All of the swing sets were done in sets of 10 or 20 reps, with equal or less rest than work.

Now the Finisher..... 100 snatches, 100 swings ("snatch transfers")

We had about 12 minutes left on the clock so it had to take less than that, and besides, last Sunday the Finisher took me over 20 minutes, so again, no need to go that long this week.  I needed to snatch "heavy" (snatch test weight), but two hours of training already completed is not the time for hundreds of snatch reps. I knew 100 would be plenty....but how to make them just a wee bit harder?  Do them one at a time!  No more than one rep at a time means that you have to transfer R/L each rep with a swing! 100 snatches, 100 swings, for time!

I finished in 6 minutes exactly.  If I calculate correctly, based on 40 swings per 60 seconds (2.5 min.), that leaves 3.5 min it took me to do 100 snatches.  I'm pretty pleased with that result....could I have gone faster?  Maybe just a little, but I haven't trained specifically to improve that particular goal.  If I were to want to I would guess being able to shave 30 seconds off would be top speed (with that weight).

"snatch transfers" have always been part of my snatch progressions, similar in the same way "swing transfers" are part of my swing progressions.  I've calculated that one can complete 16 snatch transfers (8 R/ 9 L) in 1 min, on average.  Taking that experience into account it would have taken 6 min, 15 seconds at a "normal pace", so I did actually shave off 15 seconds, which ain't bad!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Sunday Finisher 20 x 30 in 20!

I love my Sunday morning workouts!  Sunday is pretty much just for me because I do everything I want to, as long as I want to, and if I'm really lucky a few of my students join me!  The workout is broken up into three 45 minute sessions starting at 7:15am.

The first is focused on heavy presses after a quick warm up, and usually finishes with a much faster paced "I go, you go" swing / clean / squat / press complexes that may or may not be done with double bells.  This workout has the deliberate goal of increasing press strength which is why it's done first.

The second is GS practice.  If there is a competition date on the horizon the sets are programed accordingly, which hasn't been the case of late, so the practice focuses more on maintaining base levels of grip strength and cardio endurance.

The third is a ballistic wild card, and the last chance for me to put the nail in the swing coffin!  Which is why I've started to use the concept of a workout "finisher".  Just swings, or Max Vo2 snatches, a variation of high volume snatch / swing combinations.  If I include squats, it's not for strength so they're mostly done with lighter weights and higher reps, with the focus more about increasing and maintaining hip/glute flexibility.

But to be honest, if and when I have to do this last workout by myself, which is rare but more often lately, it could be a good thing and a not so good thing!  My long time student/training partner Meg is a tough cookie!  She's capable of crazy amounts of work, hard work, and game for anything I could come up with.  A lot of times if I want to "test" how difficult something is, like the Strength Matters Swing Test, I'll have her join me in trying it out because if she thinks it's challenging then I trust it is!  In fact, she did the very first trail run of the SMST with me, 200 24kg one hand swings (10 x 20) in 10 minutes!  And neither one of us would be required to use the 24kg based on body weight, so that goes to show you how powerful regular and consistent high volume swing practice can be!

Recently I've been "testing" more variations of heavy swings, for reps and time.  Yesterday, on my own, when it came down to my last 30 minutes of the morning's training I knew 600 swings was going to be the minimum amount of work left to complete.  I had done plenty of squats earlier in the week, and I want to snatch on Tuesday...that left only swings (lol, "only"!)  Well, being alone, and without the energy of at least one other person, and already almost 2 hours of training completed, I could barely get excited about another 30 full minutes of swings!  So I decided to stay with the 600 reps, but get them done as quickly as possible.

I knew I wanted to do some 24kg one hand swings, but not kill myself, because it had been a while since I last did them.  I knew I didn't want to do all 600 swings with the 24kg because Thursday mornings are my heavy double swing training and there's just no need to do that much heavy training in the same week.  100 wasn't enough, 600 way too many, so I settled on 200 reps, 1/3 of the total.  It made sense to break up the total into thirds, heavy, moderately heavy and moderate weights since the goal was to complete them in less time, much less time, than "equal work to rest", which would have taken 30 minutes.

I wanted to do one hand swings for half of my 24kg 200 reps, and two hand swings for the other 100 reps and so I decided to do that with all three weights.  I also know that most times, for me,  the longer the set is in continuous reps the "easier" it feels (the more times I put the bell down = the more I haev to pick it up again!), so I would limit the number of reps in each set to only 20, and the rest period would not be timed, instead, random.  In my head I was hoping to finish around 20 took me 22 min 40 seconds.  But this turned out to be a good thing because now I know I could have done it, if I would have paid attention, and this first result was me not pushing myself too hard.  So you know what that means, don't you?  Yep, I gotta do it again in 20 minutes or less (probably not less!).  So I'll wait a few weeks and repeat it with this new goal in mind.  And then....I'll try it in reverse!  Starting with the lightest bell, the 16kg, and ending with the heaviest, the 24kg!  I love testing out how simply changing an up hill ladder to a downhill ladder and visa versa can drastically change the effect of ease or difficulty of a target challenge.

Guidelines of this week's Sunday Finisher; goal of 600 swing reps under 30 minutes

3 bells, heavy, moderately heavy, moderate.
one hand swings for half of the swing reps
max of 20 reps per set, no minimum (you can do sets of 10 if you choose)
rest only as long as you need to between each set. 

I chose to alternate my one hand swings sets using 5 R/ 5 L x 2 and 10 R/10 L because this made it easier to keep track of the 5 sets of 20, and I simply didn't feel ready to do my first set w/24kg 10 reps at a time, I wanted to ease into it.....see, I told you I was a weenie when I trained on my own!  lol

Looking at the video I know I could have shaved off a lot of the rest time I took between sets, in fact afterward I was able to calculate in order to get it done in 20 minutes I can only allow 10 seconds, or less to rest between sets.  But it's all good and fine because now I have a goal based on how difficult this trial test was, and I have more to look forward to in the next couple of months :)  Hmm...I should give this one a name since I'm going to do it again....20 x 30 in 20 :)