Concept2 and kettlebell “power” workout

I’m in the middle of a 12-session class at noon Mondays and Wednesdays at Mind and Body Studio in the Central District. It’s my first class in the neighborhood and I’m grateful to Dana Belkholm, the owner, for approaching me with this class idea. Two people signed up. One was out of town today and the other had a babysitting gap, so today since I was there I worked out on my own.

Row 500 on the Concept2 at 23 strokes per minute (Time: 2:01)
30 kettlebell swings (24 kg)
Row 500 at 24 spm (2:02)
35 KB swings (24 kg)
Row 500 at 24 spm (2:02)
40 swings (16 kg – getting exhausted but really wanted the volume)
Row 500 at 25 SPM (2:00)
40 swings (16 kg)

It is very worthwhile to experiment with keeping the stroke rate down and seeing how much power you can put into each stroke. For me, with my small size and short legs, these rates are very low. (For a typically tall man on a rowing team, these rates would be closer to what they’d use for a sprint.) But since I’m a fast-twitch person who’s a good jumper, it seems to make sense to JUMP! and recover, for the duration, rather than stroke fast and endure.

Twice in one day? And a new pull-up PR

I’ve been trying to eat nothing but whole foods for about two weeks now. Meat, eggs, vegetables, nuts and fruit, and nothing else. (Such as bread, crackers or any other manufactured crunchy things, ice cream, cheese, pizza.) I kind of want some ice cream and I kind of find it inconvenient to plan a bigger variety of whole-food meals than I used to plan. But honestly on the whole it’s not that hard; I was already going to the store a lot and doing some simple cooking almost every day, so I’m better prepared for this kind of diet change than I would have been a couple of years ago.

This is the end of the second week and my energy seems to be higher. I didn’t sleep well last night, but I went to the 7 AM workout class as I’d planned and it went really well. Max pull-ups and a barbell snatch-based complex done with a partner for 20 minutes. I had not done snatches in months because of elbow tendonitis, which is now much much better. So the snatches were super fun. I just used the 15 kg bar. My max pull-ups I was afraid were going to be around 13 but I did 17 and was happy with that. (I became relatively deconditioned in 2008 as my priorities changed from PR’s to learning to teach and everything that comes with that.)

I went home and napped and ended up with that jet-lagged feeling — can it really still be the same day as when I was in the gym last? — and went back at 4 to teach my CrossFit class. The instruction on the snatch complex went well as did their workout. (Yesterday we did a workout involving jerks from the rack and that went really well too. Gratifying to be able to somewhat manage a group and teach/refresh them on something technical.)

Five PM came, my group left and the evening crowd wandered in… and I found myself wanting to do the workout again. I thought, well, if my energy is this good in spite of the “jet lag” from not sleeping, I better take advantage of it. So, I worked out with Erica as my partner and used 20 kg until the final 5 minutes of the 20-minute workout. Three snatch-grip deadlifts, 3 highpulls, 3 snatches, 3 overhead squats, 3 bent-over rows (go figure) alternating with the partner for 20 minutes. I had almost but not quite forgotten how fun it is to snatch when it’s not too heavy. One of my life goals is to be still snatching an empty barbell (if not more) when I’m 75.

Before we started the snatch workout, we did max pull-ups as we had done in the morning. I had more determination this time and made 26, which I’m pretty sure I’d never done before. I think I am going to sleep well.

Fight Gone Badly and more

I worked out four times this week. Elizabeth in the basement; Fight Gone Bad on Thursday; Back squats and calisthenics on Friday; and heavy kettlebell swings and jumprope on Saturday morning.

My Fight Gone Bad scores are down from last time:
Wallball, 12 lbs: 30, 24, 21
Sumo deadlift highpull, 2 x 12 kg kettlebells: 23, 17, 15 (down a little)
Box jumps on our higher box: 17, 13, 13 (this one was WAY down)
Pushpress, 25 kg barbell: 15, 13, 11 (also way down)
Row for calories: 12, 10, 10

On Saturday morning we had two attempts to do as many heavy kettlebell swings as we could without stopping. I did 52 and 26 swings with a 24-kg weight. One of our very fit women clients did 121 swings with the same weight – so impressive! I have to work on my conditioning, clearly, considering those FGB scores and KB swings. Oh… and I need to work on ring dips for a better Elizabeth time next time. I suppose any day I don’t work out in the gym I should do max kettlebell swings and several max sets of ring dips in the basement. There is always so much to work on!

“Elizabeth” in the basement

They did Elizabeth in the gym on Monday but I wasn’t able to work out that day, so I did it the next day in our basement. I knew my ring dips would be bad but made up my mind to do them even though I’d have to do one or two or three at a time.

21-15-9 reps of:
Cleans (40 kg)
Ring dips, no jump
My time: 20:49

This is really slow but what the heck, I got through it as prescribed. I took video of the final (9-rep) round in order to see how my cleans are looking when they’re heavyish and I’m tired. Am I able to keep my arms straight until the last instant? Am I shrugging and extending with a bit of layback rather than going forward? I’m going to put together some video today to compare to the one from about a month ago, “Clean Up Your Cleans.”

Basement deadlifts and jumps

Having tried 20 heavy squats, I thought I’d try 20 heavy deadlifts. Eighty kg? That’s what Tom suggested and I confidently agreed as I headed downstairs to the Dungeon of Dread. After warming up I realized my GRIP would be getting a going-over. So I decided to stick with bodyweight (60 kg) for the 20 reps. This was uncomfortable but hardly an epic struggle.

I followed up with:
5 bodyweight deadlifts followed instantly with no rest by
5 “jump as high as you can” jumps (unweighted)
5 rounds
This part took 3 minutes. My low back had a slight ache on the left occasionally for the next 24 hours but no biggie. My forearms inside and out were tight from all the gripping. I now have a great shoulder stretch to relieve the discomfort when the tennis elbow on the left acts up a bit.

20 back squats slightly better benchmark

Today’s planned workout at the gym was our first instance of having everybody try the “take your 10-rep max back squat and do 20 reps with it.” I was one of few who had tried this even once before. In my two most recent entries I described doing 20 squats at a guesstimated 10-RM of 70 kg. Today I went for 80 kg and succeeded. It was significantly more difficult, but the experience makes me more willing to push even harder in a couple of weeks for 20 reps at 85.

Other gym clients who haven’t been squatting very long used today’s 20 heavy reps to try something tougher than normal, to use their resolve, and to begin to narrow down what is TRULY HEAVY for them. A lot of people seemed to have learned something and to have found it gratifying.

Also for me today, it was fun to do a muscle-up on the pull-up bar with the aid of a green rubberband. I was inspired to this by seeing Leigh Anne do it. It was a nice stunt!