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 :)