Friday, June 13, 2014

International Training Food and Thought. First the Training.

Let's start with the training!  Mark and I left home Tuesday morning and arrived in Vincenza (40 min west of Venice) on Wednesday afternoon.  I had swung a quick 30 minute Sinister Swing workout before I left and wasn't scheduled to train again until Thursday.  I had decided beforehand not to get too obsessed with working out w/kb's while I was away, besides I knew I'd be walking a ton.  Fabio offered to take me to the gym, but I had to catch up on some work so Mark went with him to see the Cert venue and talk business.  I caught up with them later for lunch, meeting James Breese and his girlfriend Emily Wakefield, from the UK, so no workout, which was totally fine!  Dinner with other Team Leaders and assistants later in the evening where I met Alexey and his girlfriend Samantha Olieric from Paris, and then before I knew it it was Friday!  The first day of SFG Italy!

Friday morning jet lag hit pretty hard!  I was exhausted and felt really sorry for Mark, who had to start his day at 7:00am and teach until 6:00 that evening.  So I forced myself to get up at the same time....I should have slept in.  Mark left at 7:00 and I stayed behind at the hotel planning on walking the 1-1 1/2 mile to the Cert site, which I did.  I dressed in workout clothes planning on doing some sort of training later in the morning.  Certs always start with teaching the swing, and of course it's my favorite part so I rarely miss watching it!  Needless to say I did not get around to working out before lunch, and in fact around 11:00am I started to 'hit a wall' pretty good!  I knew I had to get back to the hotel for some lunch and to rest.  No swings for me, but I decided to walk back while carrying a 12kg the entire way.  It was brutal!  Or I should say it felt brutal!  My only goal was to not put it down at anytime.  I could rack it, I could suitcase carry it, I even had to resort to a sloppy two hand carry, if you can imagine that!  I made it!  Ate some lunch and passed out later.  No dinner out that night!  Mark was exhausted and I had a nice lunch (leftovers from dinner) so I wasn't even hungry.

Saturday morning, again, Mark left early for the Cert and I followed afterwards, about an hour, walking to the venue.  I felt much better and knew at some point I would get some solid swings in for the day.  When I arrived the first thing I did was to approach Samantha with the idea of getting her to translate a 10 x 10 in French!  She agreed, so roping Emily into the video as well the three of us snuck outside and taped a quick 100 swing workout!  (above)  It's a ton of fun including other people in my videos, I love it!  (so watch out if we ever meet, lol)  Here is the 10 x 10 written in my shorthand:

10 2 hd sw x 2 sets
10 R
10 L
5/5 one hd sw x 2 sets
10 tr sw x 2 sets
10 2 hd sw x 2 sets

100 swing reps, 5 min.

I wrote it out for you because it is the exact start of a more advanced workout that is coming next.....!

On Friday, the day before, I had the pleasure of meeting two SFG's from Czechoslovakia (yes I had to look up the spelling!), Pavel Macek and his lovely wife Justyna Mackova.  Both have very successful training businesses, Pavel working exclusively with men and Justyna with a female clientele.

Here is a link to what her strong Czech ladies are doing, check it out!  They both were familiar with my story and my training and asked to interview me later during the weekend for their website, so I asked them if they would join me for a video workout....why not, right!  What fun!  I knew I'd have a swing workout translated into French and now I'd have the opportunity to get one translated into Czech!

After I taped the 10 x 10 I met up with Pavel and Justyna for a lunchtime swing workout.  Pavel was totally game, and Justyna a bit shy, but here we are:

The workout start out with the same 10 x 10 above and continues on with 5 sets of 20 reps, and ends with one long set that connects all of my swing combinations together.  It was supposed only be 50 reps!  But by accident (I was a bit distracted) it ended up being 60 reps...ouch for Pavel who was swinging a 24kg!

20 2 hd sw x 1 set
10/10 one hd sw x 1 set
5/5 x 2 x 1 set
20 tr sw x 1 set
20 2 hd sw x 1 set

video demos

10 2 hd sw + 10/10 + 5/5 + 10 tr + 10 2 hd sw (It should have started with 10/10, leaving off the first 10 2 hd swing...but  oh well!)

260 swing reps. 15 min approx.

I went on to complete the rest of my workout to total 1000 swing reps.  100 swings with Samantha and Emily (12kg), 260 swing reps with Pavel and Justyna, and another 640, using many of the same combinations listed about (14kg).  Wow!  Did I feel a ton better!  I only had the hour during the lunch break so I decided to just swing.  Swings would be the best use of my short time, and besides I could save other kettlebell exercises for the next day (Sunday).

After my "awesome" workout (inside joke, you'll have to watch the video) I took a quick shower back at the hotel and met up with my new friend Emily to go get some gelato and do a bit of sight seeing.  We got back for the end of the second day and listen to Mark's "What is the SFG?" speech and then prepare for the group dinner.  (more about that in the next post!)

Sunday morning.  Although I never did use the 12kg I carried back to my hotel room for a workout I had to get it back to the Cert, so I carried it back that morning.  I don't know it it was because the walk is at a slight downhill decline (therefore on Fri. it was a slight incline), but it felt like a breeze walking back with it!  Seriously!  On Friday I was dying, but on Sunday I could have walked another mile with it!

As soon as I arrived Pavel and Justyna asked to do the interview we had talked about, and we sat down a for coffee and a talk.  During our talk one of the questions they had for me was what, in my opinion, was another kettlebell exercise I thought was of second importance to the swing.  I took this to mean what in my training, was of second importance.  Just having finished a heavy snatch training cycle that ended with my second successful 20 kg 5 minute snatch set, it reminded me how important Max Vo2 snatch training has been for me over the last 5 + years, and how not including it in my last 6 weeks of training for the 20kg snatch test was a big mistake!

My usual weekend training is a double bell practice, which I managed to get done first thing that morning, before the interview, but afterwards I was inspired to video tape a snatch workout that is also my exact progressions that build up to a Max Vo2 cycle for beginners.  When I say "beginners", what I mean is a beginner to Max Vo2 training so you must already know how to snatch because this training will focus on speed.  Speed adds an intensity to the workout that is not for beginners just learning the movement.  But even if you are a beginner you can use my Max Snatch progressions to gauge exactly where you are and build from there.

In the first video I demonstrate only one set of each progression, but explain how, in a regular workout, you would repeat each set two times.  If you were using these progressions as a workout in themselves, which is perfectly fine, in fact, it's more than fine because it's a great workout as is, then either repeat each set twice and then repeat them again twice, OR repeat each set four times before moving on to the next progression.  I've posted these progression many times before, but here they are written in my shorthand:

1 sw, 1 tr sw x 10 (20 reps total)
1 sw, 1 sn, 1 tr sw x 6 (12 swings. 6 snatches total)
1 sn, 1 tr sw (8 swings 8 snatches total)
5 R sn/ 5 L sn, paced into a 30 second interval (10 snatches total)
6 R sn/ 6 L sn, paced into a 30 second interval (12 snatches total)
7 R sn (15 sec work/rest)
7 L sn (15 sec work/rest)
8 R sn (15 sec work/rest)
8 L sn (15 sec work/rest)

As I said before, this is a great workout in itself!  One set of each progression equals 40 swings, 66 snatches and takes 7 minutes to complete!  So repeated twice = 80 sw, 132 sn, 14 min, three times = 120 sw, 198 sn, 21 min, and four times = 160 sw, 264 sn, almost 30 minutes!

This next video explains and demonstrates more about how to find your exact scalable starting point taking the reps back to 5 at a time, but moving those 5 snatch reps with speed.  In my own personal experience as a Instructor I find most students start with 5 reps, but done as quickly and powerfully as possible.  These videos and the reasons why I am posting them will require much more explanation another time.  If you are interested in incorporating this kind of training into your regular kettlebell workouts then please start here and I'll be back to explain and demonstrate more in another post soon. Please, if you have any specific questions leave them for me in the comments section and I'll be sure to address them and include them in a follow up blog post.  Enjoy, and let me know how your practice goes!


Susan Grossman said...

Yeah Tracy! Just what I was looking for! Can't wait to try the snatch progressions :) Thank you for such a great post!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Ah yes! These are perfect for you! And much more swing and snatch fun headed your way!

Valerie said...

Hi Tracy,
What is max v02 training?

I own all your swing dvds (LOVE them!)- any chance you might come out with a swing/snatch dvd?

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'm going to be writing more about it soon!

I would love to do a snatch video, and I've been asked many times to do one (or more). Mark and I were offered a film crew but we just haven't had the time. We know there's a need for one and with fingers crossed we can get it done soon.

Thank you for your support! Truly these swing snatch progressions would be the foundation of a swing snatch video, and you just got them for free! Maybe I should do a quick workout video...hmmnn...