Single Kettlebell Complex: the Sequel

I bought a 16-kilo kettlebell. When I saw that they were making them in red, I couldn’t resist.

Tonight after driving home from our weekend trip to the mountains, I felt lethargic from sitting in the car–and from overdoing it with a breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, sausage, and a couple of brownies! (We were staying in a cabin with friends who are good cooks.)
I did the single-kettlebell workout from January 20 for the second time. Single-arm swing, clean, front squat for ten reps, then ten squat-jumps: do all that for ten rounds.
Last time: 21:15.
Tonight: 17:02.
Update after several uses: The red kettlebell is gorgeous, but its finish is so smooth that the handle gets hard to hold when wet. I’ve also found in using it for the snatch, when it shifts to rest on the back of the wrist, the peculiar smooth friction on the palm feels like it will produce a blister more quickly than the slightly rough black kettlebells would.

Team Survivor Fitness Class

This was week three of the winter eight-week session. We’re hoping to have most of the women be able to do at least one unassisted pull-up and “toes” push-up by week 8. Tonight as part of the progression to pull-ups, we used rope pulls. I think when a person can stand on the ground and reach face-height or higher and pull on a rope, it’s a particularly good way to feel clearly when the lats and shoulders are engaged and solid. It’s harder to describe and internalize in the push-up position, and with assisted pull-ups on a bar, I think people get so excited or nervous about being on a pull-up bar that it’s harder to tune into the shoulder engagement. Another good thing about rope pulls is that the hands are so close together that it is almost like the arms (actually lats) pull “as one,” and you can really feel the pull coming from the lats.
People in tonight’s class were jumping up with high hands and then controlling their descent, or putting their hands at face height, picking their feet up slightly, and again controlling their descent with assistance from their feet if needed. When people reached the bottom position where their arms were straight, we asked them to pull as if they had just finished a pull-up and were about to start another one. If they’re really ever going to do a pull-up, which a lot of them will, they are already learning to pull right from the bottom, the hardest part. In fact, most fit guys who do pull-ups routinely don’t go all the way down to straight arms and don’t realize it. It’s natural to take a shortcut when what you’re doing is still going to be hard. You don’t usually get away with that in a CrossFit class though.
Dave told me something really useful today after the class, which was: to make a really good class that’s informative and makes people feel like they got a good value, do the same thing as when writing or giving a talk– tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them. In this setting, that means each class has a purpose, one or two things we’re trying to communicate and have them take away with them, besides just a good sweaty workout. I will definitely remember that. Tonight I kept returning to the theme of engaging the shoulders to keep them solid, in different directions, such as the push-up, pull-up (rope pull), and dips. (We did some bench dips tonight.) And I would point out that this was a recurring theme. But next time I’ll think more in advance about what is the takeaway for the night and what we are trying to accomplish, and communicate that in a more complete way.
I find it both fun and nerve-wracking to learn “on the job.” It is really the best way. Plus all the reading and studying I’ve been doing (these two books so far).


Row 500 meters
21 box jumps
12 bodyweight deadlifts (60 kilos)
Three rounds
Time: 13:02 — much slower than previous attempts a year and more ago — what went wrong? I felt like I was working hard.
At the gym on a piece of paper, I have a note of doing “Christine” in I believe 11:57 in June 2006. I can’t find that here so I guess I didn’t blog that one.