Friday, February 17, 2012


I am sure some of you are not thinking the same thing I am when I say "swinging", but that's just fine, think what you like!

Sunday was back day and I decided to sleep in, I have been enjoying my Sundays lately. So...I woke up at 5:55 a.m. oh well. I had my meal replacement drink and headed off to the gym.

I felt good, rested for a change and was ready to attack the day. I started with my favorite, chin ups and pull ups, superset with dips. Not sure how many sets, I think 7 sets of 6 to 8 chin ups, and 4 sets of dips (10 reps).

Lat pull down, I didn't increase weight but I did increase reps. I also cut my rest time down. Low Cable Row, again no increase in weight but more reps and less rest in between. I did 5 sets of each.

Single Arm bent Over Row, 5 sets.

E-Z Bar Curl, 5 sets.

Then, what would I do for conditioning? I decided to use the kettlebells. I haven't used bells in quite a while, I have done a bit of swinging and that was it.  Although I love training with Roy, kettlebells are what brought me to SC, that's all we did for almost a year. I love the down and dirty of kettlebells, there is nothing sweet and pretty about them. SC taught me everything anyone needs to know, and I am darn good too.

I get dirty, blistered, bloody, sore sweaty. I love them.

I started with Turkish Get Ups. This is a slow, steady move that targets the whole body, but particularly the core. You start laying on the ground and one hand has a KB, held straight up in the air. You sit up then stand, and go back down again, all under a great deal of control. It sounds easy and it's not. I did three sets of 4 on each side. I hadn't done them in over a year, I will need to start doing more and work up to 10 on each side.

Then snatches, I loves snatches. A couple years ago I spent the summer doing Kenneth Jay's Viking Warrior Conditioning. SC helped me come up with the correct tempo and weight. You start with a small bell and a fairly slow tempo, everything is timed including the rest periods. You work up to 45 minutes of continuous snatches. That's why the bell needs to be so light.

I wear cut up tube socks on my hands, I have permanent blisters but this stops them from tearing and bleeding. Once you start bleeding you pretty much need to stop. I have several sets in my bag, they get dirty and I toss them out. Below you can see a short demo of snatches in my backyard. February in California- nice huh?

(Email subscribers will need to navigate directly to the blog to view the video below).

At the gym I did 5 sets of 10 on each side, I walk in between to bring my heart rate down.

After the snatches I moved to swings. This is the classic kettlebell move and the one that most people don't perform correctly. I typically see people perform it in the "crossfit" method, which although may be useful for what crossfitters want it for, it is not what the move or exercise was intended for at all. This is not meant to offend anyone who loves Crossfit- I say do what you like. I am only trying to explain to those who do not know kettlebells, that if they see the 'crossfit" method they should not confuse this with the kettlebell swing. They are two completely different animals.

In crossfit it becomes more of an arm exercise, they swing it up with arm strength way up over the head; they may say that this is the "American Style".The swing is everything but that. It is designed as a  posterior exercise. It should hit the glutes, the hips, the hams, the quads, and the abs, and some of the back/shoulders too. Some crossfitters call this the "Russian Style".

The power should come from the hips, and the glutes. The arms are only an extension of the bell, they are attached and flowing with it, there is no effort coming from the arms.

(Again, if you want to do it crossfit style, that's fine, but I cannot offer advise, I am not into crossfit although I have plenty of friends who are.)

I did 10 sets of 10 with a 24 kilo kettlebell (that's 53 pounds). Again, I walk in between each set to bring my heart rate down. I knew I was doing them right, my breathing becomes very rhythmic and I could feel my glutes swelling after 5 sets! ha ha

I have my own bells, so can do these any evening in the backyard. I think I need to start this again.