Alot has happened since my last blog, I don't even know where to start!
At the English Long Cycle Championships in March I came away with Gold and Bronze Medals, putting up a fairly reasonable total of 81 reps with two 20kg kettlebells. Initially there was a bit of a mix up with the scores but it all got sorted out eventually, so I came away with the Gold Medal in co-efficient and the Bronze Medal in absolute. Was more than happy with that, my first medals in the sport.
Hopefully more will follow...
Shortly after the English Long Cycle Championships I finally formed my Club; Manchester Girevoy Sport Club.Were the only team in the North West of England, whose sole purpose is training for Kettlebell Sport (GS). My new friends at Train Manchester allow us to use there great facility for our practices every Friday 6pm to 8pm. So far the club is going great, got some strong hard-working athletes on my hands, every one of them is doing a great job so far!
Looking to the future, it's looking like our first competition as a team will be the Irish Kettlebell Sport Championships to be held on 25th August. Really looking forward to my team putting up a great show in the club colours, for many it will be there first competition and certainly not there last. No pressure on the team currently consisting of Rich, Mykie, Russ, Becca, Rach, Davy and Tabs, hopefully a few more will be brave and make the step up. Of course I have to try and set the example for all to follow, only I will be lifting the day after them so it won't quite work out that way!
I made the bold prediction a few months ago that I would try to go for my CMS Rank in Long Cycle. This means cleaning and jerking two 28kg kettlebells for about 63 reps at my current bodyweight, easier said than done. For those who follow me on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter you may be tracking my progress, its not pleasant but it shows what you have to put yourself through to compete as a champion at this amateur level. Now my team are making there first steps to be champions.
What a journey its going to be....
The last weekend in January I travelled to Birmingham to attend the RGSF Instructor Certification Level 2. For those that don't know about the RGSF, they are the Russian Girevoy Sport Federation. quite possibly the best group of coaches around at this moment in time. The great Igor Morozov was our mentor for the weekend. The man is a living legend within Girevoy Sport, a very humble human being, a great coach and possibly the most inspirational person I have ever had the pleasure to meet. His knowledge and passion for Girevoy Sport is second to none. Being a 12 time World Champion, 6-time champion of Europe, and 3-time champion of Russia, it would be impossible not to learn from someone with his vast knowledge and expertise.
I think I speak for everyone who attended that we learnt so much from him. From the varying techniques of all the lifts, depending on your build, through to the science behind effective programming. It was quite simply the best seminar/certification I have ever attended within the fitness industry. If you are interested in Girevoy Sport or already compete you have to get to one of the RGSF seminars and simply learn from the best lifters in the world. You will not be disappointed!
I have been on god knows how many courses/seminars over the years, and alot of the time the trainers/coaches taking the courses use it as a means just to beast you. There knowledge sometimes seems less than your own! Herein lies the problem as I see within the fitness industry currently. It is so easy to become a Personal Trainer now, that no sooner have people qualified as a PT they are then running there own workshops and courses, with very little to no experience. Lets take Girevoy Sport as an example, would you pay X-amount of £'s to attend a workshop run by a company or persons where they have not competed or have no real experience? If you would then quite simply you are probably preparing to fail. But on the flip side, how much would you pay to learn and practice with one of the best lifters in the world? I know what my answer is.
As a Personal Trainer and Coach, I only attend seminars or courses where I know I will learn something that will help me improve my own coaching skills, my own technique and provide me with more knowledge to then pass on to my athletes to help them improve. I have never, and will never line the pockets of the so called experts that actually in reality know diddly squat!
So thank-you again Igor Morozov.
You are an inspiration!
P.S Thanks to all my Girevoy Sport friends and my Coach who also attended. I can't wait to see you all again. With the improvements we made over the weekend, we will all be putting some big numbers up on the platform in the near future.
On friday night I headed down to Cardiff in preperation for saturday's Biathlon Competition taking place at The Boat Shed Fitness Centre. Cracking little venue that provided a atmosphere on par with bigger venues. To say it was a long journey down wouldn't quite cover it, horrendous is more like it! caught in traffic all the way down. Anyway when we arrived, who was right there at recpetion when we walked in? Jane Ray of all people! Myself, Rach and Jane went for dinner and then caught some zzzz's ready for the start the following day.
The great thing was we could have a lie in, the comp wasn't due to start till 12!....Result
First up we started with 2 flights of the ladies Jerks, I have to say a big well done to all the new girls that entered there first competition and put up an outstanding effort first time out. Especially as they only really got shown the correct technique about 10 mins before the start. There support cast was a small crowd cheering support all the way through, creating a great atmosphere. Welcome to a close knit family girls! :-)
Next up were the lads and there Jerk sets, some great numbers were getting posted. Aaron Quinn leading the way with 126 reps with the 20's. Most of the guys were on 20's. Apart from Mark Stroud competing for first time with the 28's and putting a very respectable effort of 55 reps, and Tim Joseph competing with the 32's putting up a new PB of 57 reps. Monsters, the pair of them. When I see the pain on these athletes faces it makes me wonder if i'll ever work my way up to those weights! I managed to hit a new PB of 102 reps on the 20's, very very pleased with that result. I was looking for at least 100 reps, so to get a few more was ace (though there were a few dodgy reps towards the end, as you can expect!)
After about an hours recovery the girls were back on with there snatches. Probably could of worded that better! haha Again, a great effort by all of the girls, especially Catherine Wide putting up an incredible 237 reps, time to step up to the 12's I think Catherine.
The lads all carried on where they left off with the Jerks, some great results.
All except one person.
Somehow I managed to drop the kettlebell changing hands. Fuming to say the least. I'll apologise now for the loud expletive that followed the bang of the kettlebell hitting the floor. I felt pretty good, my technique felt strong, I felt in control. Maybe I did one rep to many, either way it was a mistake that won't happen again. It was a shame really though as I was looking good for a super result, especially moving onto my stronger left side. But hey ho, as someone said 'shit happens', so many people have been there, from amateurs like myself, to World Champions.
With Kettlebell Sport there is a very fine line between putting together the perfect result and getting it horrbily wrong. Go out to fast on the Jerks and you pay for it later, lose concentration or do one rep to many on the Snatch, you drop it and your out. It's the name of the game, it's brutal, and seems unfair, but we all know the rules, we all love it. It certainly won't put me off competing and i'll be back for more next time out.
So, I move onto the next competition, not sure where yet I need to have a think. I know one thing though it's likely that I'll be moving up weight to the 24's. Should be interesting and somewhat painful but I'd have it no other way. If my coach Mark Stapleton has anything to do with it it's certainly not going to be a easy ride! haha
All in all is was a great day in Cardiff. I met up with some old friends, met some new friends, welcomed many to the sport. A big thanks go out to all the guys at The Boat Shed for organising the event. Hi-fives to Dan Forbes, Peter Rankin and Micheal Johnson. Thanks guys, I'll definately be back next year.
An even bigger shout out and hi-fives to the eventual winners Silvia Elia and Adrian Quinn. Great effort, was a pleasure to witness your sets guys. See you at the next comp! :-)
For full results click here
So this is it now, the trainings been done, it's time to step up to the platform and give it hell.
Saturday is competition time in Cardiff, Wales. It's going to be my last time competing with the 20's, the plan is to next compete with 24's.....should be interesting.
What do I expect?
Well training has gone well, I've hit more reps on my Jerks practice, lasted longer in time and hit more reps on my Snatch practice so it's got to be looking good. I'm hoping to hit the magic 100 rep mark on Jerks (managed 91 reps in Ireland), Snatch wise I'm hoping to hit between 140-150 reps but then that always depends on how well the Jerks go. I always seem to be disappointed with my Snatch performance! Maybe this time it will all come together nicely. God knows I've worked hard enough.
It's now down to me. Mentally and physically I'm prepared, there's no nerves, just pent up frustation that will be unleashed on the platform.
Watch this space.....
This week it was decided that I was to take a week off training. I say a week what I really mean is to back right off. I'm only training 3 times this week; two down and one to go!
Since March this year, I've trained right the way through, competition after competition, increasing the volume and intensity all the way through. It's been pretty tough. Don't get me wrong I've loved every minute of it, but there comes a time when it catches up with the best of us. A combination of being busy at work, training hard, being a tad slack with diet, has resulted in me not recovering well enough after each session. At the end of the day if I get injured or have a series of poor practices the chances are I'm not going to do very well when I step onto the platform again, as the goal is to always better my previous performance. If I fall into overtraining I simply cannot perform, it's that straight forward.
For those unsure of whether you are overtraining let me try to summarize it for you. Overtraining is simply a state when you can longer fully recover your training. The most common symptoms include:
- loss of motivation
- loss of appetite
- weight loss
- elevated resting heart rate
- increased amount of minor injuries such as sprains and strains
- increase in upper respiratory infections
The chances are though if I had not taken a week to relax and wind down I may well of started to feel a few more symptons then I would be in a bit of trouble. Much better to rest now, re-group and go again, than to keep going and get injured leading up to the next comp.
I'm lucky that I have a great coach who listens; as every great coach should with his athletes. Under his guidance I'll do as I'm told and follow my schedule which will hopefully lead me to greater successes. I would hope that I do the same for my athletes and clients, I'm sure they would tell me otherwise!
If your not that fortunate to train with a Personal Trainer or coach for your sport it might be a smart idea to have your diet and training program critiqued by someone else, or rather someone who is qualified, because you will never be as harsh on yourself as an unbiased professional can be.
I've began training again this week for my next competition, which will be in Wales in October. I've now got 10 more weeks to make some further advances in technique, endurance, strength, stamina, and anything else you can think of to help with Kettlebell Sport.
It's been interesting to say the least, I only took a week off a felt rusty when I started back on Monday, but by the end of the week it started to come together. I must continue to thank my Coach Mark Stapleton, he's been a huge help in improving my numbers. Which so far is only paying off in my Jerk, by October though I hope to have the other half of the Biathlon sorted, my nemesis the Snatch. Coach Mark has, in the first week got me practising some assistance exercises that he believes will now push my numbers up, hopefully high enough to get me a top 3 finish in Wales. I don't want to divulge to much though!
After I commented on facebook and twitter that I was about to practice the Snatch in cotton gloves, I had a couple of kettlebell friends question; Why? What are the benefits?
Well to be honest I'm not entirely sure, I just have total faith in my Coach and his ability to get the most out of me and to provide me with the tools to excel. I've seen lots on YouTube and read a few articles about Russian lifters finishing their practice with gloved sets. None of them really mentioned why though. Hopefully over the next few paragraphs I can some up my beliefs and thoughts on why it is practised and the benefits.
Firstly, if you do try this you need to make sure the kettlebell handle is smooth, so remove all chalk and any rust that may be on it. If your kettlebells are anything like mine it's a job in itself!
I currently compete with the 20's, and try to go at around 20rpm which feels fairly comfortable. Now, going at this pace my grip, or rather forearm strength, tends to be gone at between 60-70 reps on each side. To stand a chance of achieving a top 3 finish I need to be looking at around +80 reps each side. Now that works out at 20 reps or more on each side. So one of two things needs to happen:
1. I speed up and try to get more reps before my forearms are shot.
2. Improve forearm strength endurance to allow me to complete nearer to the 10 minutes available.
I believe I need to improve the endurance to allow me to go for a longer period of time. It's never been my conditioning or fitness that lets me down. I'm never blowing out of my backside, where my lungs won't let me continue. I fail due to forearm/grip endurance.
Now when I started to practice the Gloved Snatch I was using a 12kg. which in general is really light, I've performed 20 min sets with them before. So this would be a piece of cake right? My coach only wanted me to do a 7 min set on each side. Er no! I immediately found myself slowing down and operating at around 16rpm. I didn't do this purposely it was because straight away the whole dynamics of everything I've ever practiced were thrown out of the window. The handle was so slippy, I really had to focus and concentrate on every single rep to make sure I had the bell under control. I really didn't want to smash any mirrors or windows.....or launch a steel kettlebell across the gym. It was a very un-nerving feeling, I knew it was a light kettlebell but it felt so much heavier. At around 2 minutes the 12kg felt as heavy as the 20kg, but as I was fully aware that at any minute I could drop it I found myself able to keep going. The last minute felt awful on both sides. I added the 2nd dip into the technique to allow me to hit the 7 minute target. But my forearms, christ, my forearms were burning like crazy, I could barely bend my fingers to catch the kettlebell. But I survived it. So there's the benefit...
...The lighter gloved set with the 12kg feels like a regular set with the 20kg but I was able to keep going for the 7 minutes. So maybe the benefit is that it kind of kids your body into thinking you're using a heavier kettlebell, and makes you focus on so much that you treat it like a heavier kettlebell. Therefore when you go to the heavier kettlebell, in my case the 20kg, it should possibly feel slightly easier, and the endurance in the forearms has been trained as such to allow for greater volume?
I'm certainly not an expert, I'm no Master of Sport and I certainly don't claim to be the best lifter around, but I'm a very keen amateur, and I want to be the best lifter I can be. If this means trying a few unconventional methods, such as gloved sets, to help me improve then so be it. Besides if the Russian Lifters do it, and Champions like Rudnev proclaim it to work then who am I to argue. The Russians are the best in the world, and if us westerners want to try and catch them up or compete with them a a more level basis, the we must learn from them.
Whether it works or not is to soon to say. The proof in the training will be when I step onto the platform in Wales in October. Roll on 10 weeks...
What a time we had in Ireland for the Irish Kettlebell Sports Championships. Kilkenny is such a nice place, great people and the weather was gorgeous all weekend.
Firstly I must thank Mark, Eddie and Martina from Kilkenny Kettlebell Club for organising such a great event, brilliantly organised and ran like clockwork. Great effort folks, I can't wait to come back!
There were some truly great athletes competing; 107 reps with the 32's by Ales Muhovec was a stand out performance on the Jerks. He made it look so easy, I'm sure I saw him laughing and smiling when he hit 100!
I reckon next year he may well be taking a few world records if he keeps up with these performances. You have to congratulate Gregor Sobocan on his coaching techniques. All of his athletes were superb and it was an absolute pleasure for me to Judge his sister Tajda on both her Jerk and Snatch sets.....incredible!
I must also congratulate my athlete,a certain Mr Davy Coyle, who in his first competition achieved the Rank we set out for. Davy put up a superb performance of 86 reps and 207 reps on his Jerk and Snatch sets respectively. Next time he will be stepping up and joining me on the 20's. He went out a little bit to quick on the jerks but managed to hold it together to get the number required, and as for the snatches, well, he just nailed it. One strong mofo I have here!! When will Tabs join you?? haha
As for myself, well I wasn't overly happy with my performance. I managed 91 reps on the Jerk with the 20's, which I was very happy with. It was 19 reps more than my first comp only a few months ago, which is a significant improvement. It put me in line to get a place that I went for. However, my Snatch set wasn't up to scratch, I was aiming for 150 reps and only managed a measly 123 reps. Considering the improvement in my Jerk, I think that took a greater toll on me than I had anticipated, which then showed in my Snatch set. I can't be too disappointed though, I'm making improvements and I shall keep making improvements!
Girevoy sport in my opinion is one of the toughest sports there is, it hits everything from the physical to mental. You never really know what is going to happen until you step on to the platform. But I love it, I love the camaraderie between athletes and I'll be back to tackle a placing in Wales in October. As for Davy, you can count on him making another appearance aswell.
It's nearly here now, 5 days and counting and I'll be stepping onto the platform to compete in the Irish Biathlon Championships in Kilkenny. The past 8 weeks training are now coming to an end, I'm going to train till Wednesday then it's all about rest and relaxtion until Saturday.
I'm looking forward to it now, I've only been to Kilkenny once so looking forward to going back and seeing a few friends. Was gorgeous last time I was there, the weather was great. But looking at the weather currently in Manchester, lets hope it doesn't follow me across the pond!
At the competition I have a simple goal to achieve some high numbers; 80-90 Jerks and 150 Snatches. If I do manage to hit these numbers there may be a chance of me medalling in my weight category with the 20kg's. Let's see what happens...
My training has gone fairly well. Certainly working more with the 24's has definately helped build my strength endurance for using the 20's, so fingers crossed the numbers should be there. I've worked hard enough for it, all that is left now is for me to leave it all on the platform. I'm going to work at a higher pace in the Jerks, aiming for 8-9rpm compared to 7rpm when I last competed. I know it may not sound like much, but trust me when you get to 7/8 minutes that extra rep a minute really starts to show. I'm competitive though, so if the lifters next to me are still going there's not a hope in hell that I'm going to stop. As for the Snatches, well for them, it's simply a case of holding it together, and just doing what I do.
Again, I will be videoing my effort, well the girlfriend will be. It's the first time she would of seen me compete so hopefully she'll have a steady hand. You will also get to see my client Davy Coyle competing, as I will be filming his attempt at making Rank. He's made some great improvements over the past few weeks, and put in some monster efforts in training, so now it just comes down to how he conducts himself, how he controls his nerves, how he handles the rush of andrenalin. One thing I do know though, is that there is nothing more he could of done and i'm excited to see how he competes.
Now it's off to train, and to see what the day brings.
It's been just shy of a month since I wrote my last blog, so firstly I apologise for disappearing, secondly for those that get sick of my reading my rants...I'm back :-)
Over the past 3-4 weeks there has been so much going on it's been crazy, stressful, and at times unforgetable. Myself and the better half have moved apartments across the city, and my god moving has to be the most stressful thing mankind can put ourselves through. I truly hate it with a passion! I've been ill, which frustratingly set my training back a week, first a cold and then the dreaded hayfever reared its ugly head.
Anyway back to what you're here for.....kettlebells!
As you may or may not be aware after the Biathlon Competition at Trojans last May where I achieved WKC Ranking Level 2, from talking with my Irish Coach; Mark Stapleton, we decided I should attempt EGSA Ranking Level 1 on July 23rd in Kilkenny, at the Irish Championships. Now, at the time in the back of my mind I was thinking my god this is possibly going to be the toughest challenge I've ever attempted. 67 Jerks and 62 Snatch average with 24kgs. Mentally and strength wise it's a huge challenge!
As the trainings gone on, and gradually got tougher, the flaws in my technique, particulary on the Snatch, are holding me back. It's not the 24's which are causing me to tear my hands it's the following sets with the lighter weights when may grip is shot to bits. So frustrating because they take a few days to heal it then affects my next practice.
'Those god damn green balls of pain, you are my nemesis but one day, and one day soon I'll master you'
I don't take being defeated very well. Bit of a sore loser I guess. But I don't see it as a defeat, merely a little set back. My practice has now reverted to focusing on the 20's and in Ireland in a few weeks I'll compete for only the 2nd time with my old friends. The plan now is to go for higher numbers. I think around 90 Jerks and 150 Snatch total should be a realistic goal, but let's see what happens. Few more intense weeks of practice left yet and I'll be ready. I'll be sure to keep you all updated with my progress. At the same competition one of my clients will be competing for the 1st time. Mr Davy Coyle will be stepping up onto the platform to attempt to nail the EGSA Ranking Level 3 with the 16's. In recent weeks, we've seen a huge improvement in form from Davy, followed by a bit of a set back on Test Day. He'll be ready though, he'll just have to hold it together infront of his home support! Videos will no doubt follow :-)
Keep your eyes peeled for some new videos from my classes for the coming month, got some great workouts lined up. Also as the Manchester weather appears to be taking a turn for the better I can finally start to film my recommended workouts from my website, I'll be updating this ASAP.
Finally KettlebellCompany.com is fully up and running. In the coming week I will have all the links in place on this site. There are some great deals on a full range of varying kettlebell sizes so make sure you check it out. KettlebellCompany.com have some of the best prices for quality kettlebells you'll find on the internet all in one place. So if you're into your kettlebells and need some advice on what to purchase feel free to contact us @ firstname.lastname@example.org
If you Google kettlebells for sale, youíll be blasted full of information from various companies and individuals proclaiming their kettlebells are the best. I have my preferred Kettlebells as most other trainers will as well. The thing with kettlebells is that a kettlebell is a kettlebell; you just work with what you have. If youíre looking for general fitness benefits that are readily available through their use, such as increase in functional strength, improved proprioception, increase in fat loss, improved cardiovascular fitness etc, then pretty much any kettlebell will do that job for you. There is a vast range of kettlebells to choose from out there. But what should you be looking for?
When it comes to purchasing your own you want to make sure that;
- Itís of a professional standard e.g. to the IUKL (International Union of Kettlebell Lifters) or AKC (American kettlebell Club) standards. Any reputable site will say so. There are many other standards, these are just two examples.
- Itís not one of these plastic cheap versions that are full of water or concrete. For balance they should be a smooth finish Cast Iron or ProGrade Steel.
The main kettlebells that you will probably encounter are the ones based on the traditional Russian design and the ProGrade Competition kettlebells. So which is better? Which should you buy?
Well again it would depend upon what you are training for. Are you training to participate in Girevoy Sport? Thatís the sport of kettlebell lifting. Or are you training to simply improve fitness, with a simple goal of losing weight and boosting strength and endurance? Let me discuss the two types and the differences between each.
Firstly, ProGrade Competition kettlebells are used in all International Girevoy Sport Competitions. They are made to fixed specifications. So regardless of the weight, whether it is 8kg or 48kg, the dimensions of the kettlebell are exactly the same. This helps to ensure that as your learning, your technique remains consistent as you increase the weight. You donít have to adapt your technique, you get used to holding the kettlebell in the same rack position. Cast Iron kettlebells are totally different in this regard. With Cast Iron kettlebells as the weight increases so does the size of the kettlebell. Meaning each different size kettlebell will rest in a slightly different place in the rack position. You may think this isnít really an issue, but let me explain further.
The ProGrade Competition Kettlebells have a much larger mass in the ball of the bell, which means in the rack position they generally tend to sit in a more comfortable position on the wrist, forearm, upper-arm and chest. They cover more of the arm. If you compare this to a Cast Iron Kettlebell, the ball of the kettlebell, due to the generally smaller size, will put added pressure on the wrist and forearm in one point. Not particularly comfortable, especially if you have scrawny little wrists like me.
A fairly obvious difference is what each is Kettlebell is made of; ProGrade Steel and Cast Iron. As you would expect the ProGrade Steel Kettlebells are more durable. Donít get me wrong the Cast Iron Kettlebells wonít fall apart on you, but steel is virtually indestructible. What you will tend to find with the Cast Iron kettlebells is that because they are painted they have a tendency to chip quite easily. Not a major problem but if your attempting high rep snatches and cleans, the chipped paint can start to rub on the arms and grip causing a few unneeded blisters, again they may cause grip fatigue. If your grip goes when training with kettlebells it is pretty much game over, especially if you were trying long sets. As were now talking about grip fatigue lets discuss the difference in the handles.
The handle on a ProGrade Competition Kettlebell is much thinner. They are designed to help prevent lateral slipping and rubbing on the hands, which can diminish the grip and cause fatigue. The handles on a Cast Iron kettlebell are usually thick, which is fine for the not-so ballistic exercises such as Rows and Presses. However, the design of the handle on the ProGrade Competition Kettlebells results in less grip fatigue when performing high rep sets of snatches, cleans and swings. Also the thinner handles on the ProGrade Competition Kettlebells are generally bare, theyíre not painted, which means they wonít chip as the Cast Iron Kettlebells potentially will.
So, whatís the conclusion? Which Kettlebell design is better?
I wouldnít say one is better than the enough, they both have great merits and both will give you a killer workout if you use them correctly. Personally I prefer the ProGrade Competition Kettlebells. Why? Well I train for Girevoy Sport and these are the standard. Even if I didnít train for the sport I would still spend slightly more money and buy the ProGrade Competition Kettlebells. They feel more balanced, and make some exercises feel easier. I would recommend that for anyone interested in purchasing a few kettlebells, should purchase at least one ProGrade Competition Kettlebell. You will appreciate the differences and benefits.
If youíre interested in purchasing Kettlebells check out KettlebellCompany.com . They supply and distribute both the traditional Russian Cast Iron Kettlebells and the ProGrade Competition Kettlebells at market leading prices.
Firstly I'd just like to thank everyone from Trojans Lifting Club, BJ, Mayyah, all the judges, you all did a great job organising the Biathlon event. For my first ever kettlebell competition it was perfect. Not to many participants to heighten the nervousness, but busy enough to bring out the competitive spirit.
The whole event gave me great hope as to what I may be able to do in future events. For this event I aimed for the Ranking Level II with the 20kg's which I'm pleased to report I managed. I hit the 63 Jerks and 60 Snatches within the time limit, my exact numbers were 72 Jerks (a full 10 minute set) and 129 Snatches (67/62). I was really pleased with my Jerk set, I've never done that many before and never lasted the full 10 minutes, so the training that my coach Mark put me through worked a treat. The snatches were a different beast entirely, I set off at my pace of 20rpm knowing that grip would be an issue toward the end of the set, I had no intention of trying to hit 5 mins on each side, it was more a case of get the numbers for rank and leave it as that, my aim was to try for 70 reps. The left side again, was a bit of a let down, luckily when I dropped it, due to forearm fatigue I had just passed the 60 reps required! There was a moment when the bell slipped out of my hand, that I thought 'ah crap I'm short, I've not managed it!' Thankfully I had....just. You can watch the videos of both sets below.
All in all it was a great day and I really enjoyed the whole experience. Met some old friends and made some new ones, who I very much look forward to seeing on the platform again in the near future.
I would just like to mention before I go, Becca Heron. One of my students/clients, she also competed and made her ranking numbers to achieve Level I with the 12kg, well not so much made the numbers but smashed them. She also ended up becoming the winner of the Womens Absolute Co-Efficient. A super effort for her first competition.
Becca has lots to work on technique wise for the next competition she will enter, mainly getting used to lifting the lovely yellow coloured 16's, and the differences that this weight kettlebell will show up in her technique. But we'll work on it and I have total faith that she will make CMS Ranking at the next showing!
My training starts again next week. I have 8 weeks to prepare for the Irish Championships in July, where I'm going for Ranking Level I with the 24's. This time I'm taking another student/client with me, a certain Mr Davy Coyle. So no pressure kidda, Becca has made her mark and now it's over to you! :-)
Well, it's nearly here. My first Kettlebell Competition.
This Saturday, 28th May 2011, I will be stepping onto the competitive platform for the first time. I can guarantee one thing - if Carlsberg made Kettlebell Competitions...it probably won't be my last!
Many folk at the gym, including clients, keep asking me am I nervous? Am I looking forward to it? To be honest I'm not really that nervous, if at all! I've trained and prepared well for this, I've worked damn hard, and put all the practice in I could. I really could not of done much more. So it will come down to how I react in the heat of battle as to whether I will acheive my goal of Ranking Level 2. I was more nervous at the start of my journey, not sure whether I could Jerk 2 x 20kg let alone attempt Snatches with one. But as my training and practice progressively became harder my body began to adapt to the strains of competitive kettlebell lifting, now I have nothing but confidence that I have a damn good chance of reaching my goal. I don't expect anything else, I certainly don't expect to win my weight category. I'm going there with one focus in mind, anything on top of that is a victory. I've come a long way in a relatively short amount of time, but there is still so much to learn. I'm going there to compete and i'm going there to study; watch some great lifters put high numbers in. It can only further inspire me to be the best lifter I can.
I'm excited more than anything. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and making many more. It will interesting to see and watch all these other great lifters prepare and perform for their sets, it's definately going to be a big learning curve for me. Lets see how my technique holds up, how long my strength endurance lasts, it's going to be a tough day but what a day it's going to be.
I will be recording my performance so keep your eyes peeled to watch me leave it all on the platform. MWhen I explain to most people what I'm attempting to do, I tend to get this strange look of 'bemusement' and 'your crazy'! I'm hoping that clients and regular gym goers will view my video and then realise how hard you can actually push yourself when mentally you prepare for something which to many is superhuman.
Bring it on!
So, its been a while since I wrote a blog. So much has been going on, been a bit crazy recently. Where do I start?
Lets start with the Biathlon Competition that i've been training for. If you read my blogs regulary (when I actually come round to writing them) you will know that i've been training for a Kettlebell Competition. Well its only a week away now, 28th May. Its come round so quick! This is my final tough week of training, it was jerk practice today. In the beginning, when I first started to train for this, I thought I would struggle on these, but to be honest I think I will be fine with the Jerks, it's the Snatches i'm more concerned with. As long as I get my numbers for ranking i'm not to bothered. I'm on target, just got to hold it together in the heat of battle!
I was videoing all my practices in the beginning but I soon realised that I was relying on the mirror way to much. Now I train in the main part of the gym instead of the studio, I have to get more of a feeling for the movements and concentrate mentally so much more, as there is constantly people wandering around and chatting, christ occassionally they even walk straight in front of me! Nutters.
Don't dispair though, for those of you that like the boredom of watching me practice, and curse my way through my training, I will be videoing the competition, so you can watch me in all my glory whether I fail or succeed in my goal to achieve ranking. Wish me luck!
A quick note to finish on. www.KettlebellCompany.com, the new sideline set up with my business partner is finally launched. We're pretty much near completion and the site will be ready to sell you some of the best kettlebells and training posters around. A few last minute checks and hopefully, fingers crossed, were ready to trade. If in the meantime anyone wants to purchase any kettlebells or training posters please contact me directly or through email@example.com and I will sort everything out with you. All the prices on the site are correct, we have a limited supply of everything so its first come first served! DO NOT miss out :-)
How good has the weather been recently? Loving it.
Even managed to do some training sessions outside, which is a novelty in the Manchester climate. Not sure what it is about training outdoors, but it's so much more rewarding, especially with the sun gleaming down. Maybe it's because it feels like your not training, your having more fun, thoguh you do get the odd smart arse comment from passers by......but you alos get that in most gyms to be fair!
Recently I wrote a blog about Girevoy Sport, and there is now a section on my website purely dedicated to it. As you may or may not know I'm in training for a Biathlon (jerks and snatches), the practice recently has been bloody tough going but I like that. I like the fact that each practice leaves me feeling exhausted but I know after each practice improvements have been made and that's what I want. I want to improve!
This leads me to find out where I am at with my practice. Am I on target to hit my goals? Smash the ranking? Only way to find out is to do a test day. So I did. Under strict orders from my coach, today I did 7 mins of Jerks with 2 x 20kg, 45 mins rest, then 8 mins of Snatches with a 20kg. Now you may think 45 mins rest is plenty of time to recover. Don't get me wrong I thought the exact same thing, only to have that idea hit me in the face after about 2 mins of Snatches. The impact on my body was unexpected to say the least, but much better to get it out of the way now than walk into the competition unprepared for what was about to happen. Here is my full stats for the practice:
2 x 20kg Jerks
49 reps in 7 mins
112 reps in 8 mins (58/54)
R1. 17 L1. 14
R2. 16 L2. 13
R3. 14 L3. 14
R4. 11 L4. 13
Recently my confidence has been soaring with the Snatches, this though, was a shock to the system. As the stats show you there is no really consistency in my numbers. To a certain extent this doesn't really matter if you hit your goal total. But with the Snatches, ideally you want to hit the same numbers on each side so that your average remains high. My average for the Snatch works out at 56 which is bang on to hit the EGSA Ranking, but a little shy for the WKC Ranking. With a minute spare though that should be achievable.
The jerks have filled me with alot of confidence. I thought they would be a struggle, but they actually felt pretty good considering I've not done that number of reps before or for that length of time!
All in all, it's looking good for May 28th. Only 4 weeks to go but I'll be ready :-)
So, for those of you that have been reading my blogs recently and been viewing my video updates on youtube and facebook, you will of seen that I'm currently training for a competition at the end of May; A kettlebell competition.
Girevoy Sport or simply put GS basically means 'Kettlebell Sport'. Yes, that's right Kettlebells as a sport!
It is one of the newest, most absolutely brutal sports in the UK. Originating in Cold War-era Russia in 1986, the rules are as brutal as they are simple; you have 10 minutes to perform as many reps as possible without putting the kettlebells down. Yeah, it's hard! You leave it all on the platform.
Unlike the Russian Hardstyle, which is more strength-oriented, to be successful at Girevoy Sport (GS) requires strength, endurance and mental toughness. GS, being a sport, means there are also rankings up for grabs based on your weight, the size of the kettlebell(s) used and the amount of reps completed in one of two events; the Biathlon and the Long Cycle. I'm currently training for the Biathlon. Let me explain the difference between the two.
This event is made up of two lifts, the jerk and the snatch. Athletes are required to perform the jerk first of all followed by the snatch after a minimum rest period of 30 minutes. Both lifts are done for a maximum of 10 minutes with the total of both lifts added together to make up your overall score.
The jerk is done with two kettlebells for men and one kettlebell for women. The kettlebell(s) is pressed over head with two knee dips and arms locked completely straight and fixated/paused at the top whilst waiting for the judge's count before lowering. Women are permitted to change hands only once in 10 minutes. The kettlebell must have proper fixation overhead to be deemed a lift. Improper fixation is termed a "no lift" and is not counted. 3 no lifts in a row result in disqualification.
One kettlebell is swung from between the legs to overhead position in a single movement, as with the jerk proper overhead fixation is essential.
The object of this event is for the athlete to jerk then clean the kettlebell, as many times as possible in 10 minutes. The only rest the athlete may have is in the rack position. This is where you rest the kettlebell on the arms and elbows on hips.
Each event is judged so you don't have to worry about counting yourself, you can concentrate on conserving your energy and making each lift as perfect as possible.
Depending on your goal, some athletes will attempting to make a rank. I'm attempting to smash the Level 2 ranking for my weight which means I need to perform 60+ Jerks and an average of 56+ snatches, that's the average count from both hands, so if I perform 50 on my right and 60 on my left, my average will be 55, one rep out! I'm not planning on that happening, I'm aiming for 150 snatch total (75/75). I managed it in training with a 16kg, lifting at 15rpm, just got to repeat the feat with the 20kg! Easier said than done.
Think your tough? Give GS a try!
If your interested in possibly competing in Kettlebell Sport or want to learn more about the lifts involved, feel free to contact me and we'll arrange some training sessions. For those of you just curious about the training involved you can view/subscribe to my youtube and facebook pages to be kept up-to-date with my goings on!
So when I was in Ireland training the other week with some fellow kettlebellers on the EGSA Biathlon Workshop, I met an Irish Sport Coach called Mark Stapleton who very kindly said he would happily help me in my training for my first Biathlon Competition in May. So not one to turn down help I jumped at the chance!
Within days of emailing Mark what I was currently doing, training wise, Mark quickly got back to me with some new programming. My goal was set to achieve EGSA Ranking Level 2, so I would need 60 Jerks, and an average of 56 Snatches on each side. Mark is confident that I'll acheive that, infact he is so confident that he thinks he can get my numbers upto 70-80 Jerks and 150 (total) Snatches. Which may mean with my weight category I could well be in with a chance of winning. Sounds pretty cool to me!
I've started the training, and so far so good. Really enjoying the shorter training sessions, it really helps having someone to report back to. I feel like I have something to prove now, and not just to myself. There's a little more pressure as I don't want to let myself down or Coach, but I thrive under pressure and being the competive soul I am, I won't be leaving anything on the stand when I step off.....or as the case my be, get carried off!
To give you and idea of my training view the videos below. This is my workout from my first day training the Snatch. One video is the main bulk of my workout, the other is all the assisted exercises that apply with the Snatch. Granted I was so involved in my training I totally forgot to record some of it. But whats there, is me in all my glory, some looks easy, some looks hard.
Feel free to leave any comments, or if you have any questions just fire them over.
On sunday morning I made my first ever visit to Ireland. For what I hear you ask. A long weekend break? Sight-seeing? Smashing the guiness back? (which I truly can't stand!) Nope, none of the above, it was for a kettlebell workshop. No surprise there then hey!
Initially my plan was to take part in the EGSA (European Girevoy Sport Association) Competition or go for the EGSA Trainer Certification, after speaking to a few people they advised me to go to the workshops that were being run. One was covering the Biathlon, the other Long Cycle. In the end I opted for just one workshop; the Biathlon. Why? Well i'm in the process fo training for my first Biathlon competition so figured what better way to help prepare, progress and perform.
Now a few people are probably wondering why the hell would I travel to Ireland for one day? It's simple really, the guy who was delivering the workshop was Gregor Sobocan. Gregor is an extremely well known and highly respected figure within the world of Kettlebell lifting, he is also the EGSA Master Coach, and all round good guy. I should get paid for that one! haha
Anyway, to learn and be coached by athletes such as Gregor can only help my developement as an athlete and kettlebell lifter. Can you really put a price on that? I know I can't, which is why I am happy to travel and spend x amount of money to continue my learning. It can only help me improve my technique and knowledge to pass onto my clients. Especially those, who like myself, are aiming to compete.
It was a great day in Kilkenny, the weather was gorgeous and the guys and girls who I trained with were a great bunch. I must thank Mark and Eddie for all their hospitality. They were both really helpful and offered loads of advice and encouragment.
I guess your wondering what pain and suffering I was put through. Well i'm not going to give you the full details, let's just say I woke up on Tuesday morning as stiff as plank. My shoulders felt stiff, my traps felt tight and knotted, I was just generally achey, and I have a huge bruise/burn on my back from jump squats!. But you know what I actually like that feeling, I know I was lifting pretty much my max and I was being pushed to hit higher reps. Exactly what I needed, as tough as it was i really enjoyed it. I have always trained the hard way, which is on your own, so going to workshops or courses like this gives a perfect opportunity to pitch myself against others.
Would I do it again? Like a shot
The good thing about the world of kettlebells, that I am totally submerged in, is that were like a big family, everyone respects one another, everyone supports one another, and when we get together it's just great fun. No one cares how heavy a weight your lifting or what your six-pack looks like. We just all support one another, big or small, short or fat. Once a lifter always a lifter!
So if you've been reading some of these blogs recently you'll see i'm training for a kettlebell competition.
So far, so good! Wednesdays training session was my first hard day of Jerks. Lets just say I was not looking forward to it, but you know what? Each time I do one of these planned out sessions I feel amazing, probably something to do with the fact that i'm acheiving something each time I perform my sets. Whether it's managing to go that extra minute, blast out a few extra reps, or start to see some improvement in my technique.
Heres what I did for my last session:
6 mins Jerks 2 x 20kg at 6rpm (33 reps out of 36, missing 3 for rest)
6 mins Jerks 2 x 16kg at 6rpm (34 reps out of 36, missing 2 in for rest)
6 mins Jerks 2 x 12kg at 10rpm (60 reps, missing zero!!)
5 mins One Arm Long Cycle 24kg at 6 rpm (30 reps, missing zero)
Followed by some assistance drills
2 x 60 Jerk Squats 2 x 20kg
2 x 30 Jerk Bumps 2 x 20kg
2 x 1 min Rack Holds 2 x 20kg
I'm fairly content with how it's all going at the minute, there was a few issues last week but it all seems to be going to plan. Starting to get used to the 20's now, just need to keep working away, keep perservering, and keep upping them numbers.
This week in my classes it seems to be everyones birthday so were having a bit of fun with some specially planned 'Birthday Girl' workouts; The Big '40' for Tracy and '21 going on 28' for Marketa. It's all a bit of fun!! Enjoy it ladies
I've spoken in previous blogs about my new training regime to prepare me for a Biathlon Competition at the end of May. So far I have been managing to just about get through what I have planned for each session. To give you a rough idea on how i'm preparing for it here's what i'm doing.
I have easy, medium, and hard days training on both disciplines (Jerk and Snatch). With the each Jerk training day I increase the workout by 1 min each week. For example an easy day = 4 mins 2 x 20kg, medium day = 5 mins 2 x 20kg, and a hard day = 6 mins 2 x 20kg, then next time round to the easy day I do 5 mins, medium would be 6 mins and hard day would be 7 mins. I follow this for the duration of the programme until a few weeks before the competition I peak on the hard day at 10 mins. So I am gradually increasing the volume, to hit the allocated time limit of 10 minutes. After each set with the 2 x 20kgs, I follow it with sets with 2 x 16kg and 2 x 12kg, these will generally be at a slightly faster pace with the 2 x 12kg at a faster pace and longer duration.
My Snatch days are slightly different, I still have an easy, medium and hard day, but on the easy day I use a 12kg, the medium day a 16kg and the hard day a 20kg. These training days are set-up so that each time I perform the 10 minute set. To be progressive on volume,on the first run of each day (easy, medium etc) I swap hands every minute for 10 mins, for the second run I will swap hands after 2 mins, then when I have done my 2 mins on each hand I then swap every minute to finish the 10 minutes. The 3rd run I will do 3 mins on each hand, then complete the final 4 minutes by swapping hands every minute. Making sense?
It'll look something like this;
Week 1 - 10 minutes (1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1,1)
Week 2 - 10 minutes (2,2,1,1,1,1,1,1)
Week 3 - 10 minutes (3,3,1,1,1,1)
Week 4 - 10 minutes (4,4,1,1)
Week 5 - 10 minutes (5,5)
In theory it's like a ladder, it should enable me to build the volume and rpm to complete the 10 minute time allocation with the required one hand change.
After each and every training session whether it is a Jerk day or Snatch day, I follow the main sets with assisted exercises or another set at a slightly faster pace with lighter kettlebells to build endurance.
On paper this all makes perfect sense, in reality it's bloody hardwork! On friday I was due to do my Jerk day at a medium effort. Confident that this would all go swimmingly well I was in for a shock. I struggled like never before with the Jerks, why was this? It was only an extra minute from what I did last time out. Surely I shouldn't struggle this much it's only a minute after all. But no, after around 2 mins I had to put the Kettlebells down. Now in a comp that would be it game over. I picked them back up and carried on, again, a minute or so later I had to put them back down. What the hell was going on, I was in shock, I was fuming at myself. When my gymboss went off beeping that my 5 minutes had finished I just sat on the floor, not quite sure what had happened.
Had my technique let me down?
Did the fact I didn't use chalk make that big a difference?
I put it down to both. I tried my sets with 2 x 16kg and 2 x 12kg and managed them without any problem. Granted I did use chalk though, so maybe it was just that. I carried on and finished my session. For the rest of the day and the following morning I had this nagging in the back of my mind. How the hell was I going to manage 10 minutes of this brutalness!
Saturday is a scheduled rest day away from kettlebells, but I just had to get the fact I had failed myself the previous day out of my system by attempting the 2 x 20kg again for 5 mins. It was more for my own mental state than anything else. I chalked up, set the gymboss going, and away I went. My plan is for 6rpm so over the 5 mins it would be 30 reps. This time, on this day, after the previous calamity, went well, so much better. I managed all 5 mins and 28 reps in total. Much happier with myself, my confidence had been restored and all was well in the world.
So you see, we all have bad days and good days, it doesn't matter whether your a World Champion athlete or a complete novice. Everyone has those days, where for whatever reason it just doesn't seem to work. The key to it all is simple; Perserverance!
I have a schedule planned and as brutal and tiring as it is I must persevere, both mentally and physically and keep coming back for more. By the time the competition comes around I know that I will be stronger and in much better shape to attack the numbers that I'm after. But only if I persevere.
So people next time you have a bad training session, just remember that it's a one off. Stay confident, come back the next day prepared to go again, and wipe the bad day from your mind focusing on your end goal.
Itís my own entire fault. I should have known better, as to not walk into a local supermarket wearing my Personal Trainer t-shirt. I was confronted in the queue by a guy proclaiming that no-one really needs a Personal Trainer, and there a waste of money.
Can you imagine my reply?
I pretty much put him in his place in my own unique, straight to the point matter of fact way. I was not going to hold back from a guy who was clearly overweight and not in the best of health. With little beads of sweat dripping down his face, from the no doubt small walk from his office desk, up the 4 small steps to the entrance of the supermarket. His basket was full of all the healthy nutritious ready-made meals that you can think of. From what I took a quick glance at there was a microwave lasagne, some form of sandwich, a chocolate bar, and the staple of all healthy diets; a 2 litre diet coke!
I wonít put on paper exactly what I said, but the look on his face was priceless and well worth the few minutes of ranting I had at him.
So this is what itís come down to. Me, trying to prove the worth of Personal Trainers!
It is a great question. Are Personal Trainers worth it? Is it worth spending extra money on hiring someone to help you train? The answer for me is yes and no. Firstly it depends on the trainer concerned, and can they deliver results?
Unfortunately many trainers canít. The reason I say this is that having worked in the industry for a number of years, I have seen and heard many trainers deliver utter garbage, and spend more time checking themselves out in a mirror, watching what others are doing in the gym and showing little attention to what they are there for; the client. A vast number of Personal Trainers are primarily in it for one reason; money. Potentially we can get paid huge amounts of money for just a few hours work a day. Itís not quite as straight forward as that. It can look a really easy job, but this is where the misconception comes in. I love my job, I have a laugh and a joke with my clients, but they work hard each time theyíre in to see me. Their programme is planned out and they stick to it, hence why they generally achieve results. What people donít see is all the work a Personal Trainer should be doing outside of the gym. The planning of programmes, the nutrition plans etc, all the stuff that without the client may not achieve the results they want.
If you are considering hiring a Personal Trainer do your homework. Watch how they train their existing clients, ear wig and listen to what theyíre saying, are they devoting all their time to the client. Do your homework and take your time, shop around. Most Personal Trainers will offer a free consultation, so it gives you the perfect opportunity to quiz them. But what should you ask?
Ask the trainer about their experience, not only in their training but in how they achieve results. Ask for examples of how they have trained clients who achieved these results, do they have a system? Ask for testimonials. Ask how a typical training session with them is structured. You could even speak one on one with some of their clients. If the trainer is at all hesitant about anything you ask, there is probably a reason why. Leave them and move on. Any Personal Trainer worth their weight should be more than willing to spend a little time discussing their training beliefs, philosophy, and their own background.
All this being said every Personal Trainer is different, we are not all created equal, we shouldnít be, but we should all have one goal in common; that is being committed to helping our clients achieve their health and fitness related goals...that is it. Nothing else, no other agendas, no other worries.
Iím digressing a bit now so back to the original question. Are Personal Trainers worth it?
Iíve written about what to look out for with regards to Personal Trainers, but now Iím going to discuss the part about you. Yep thatís right, you! Are you worth it? Itís all about you!
If health and fitness are important to you a good quality, experienced Personal Trainer is totally worth it. In general people are quite happy to spend crazy amounts of money on cars, clothes, going out and getting drunk every weekend, yet neglect their own bodies. How many people do you know that go out on a Friday or Saturday night, blow £60-£100 on beer and fast food each night, and then moan that they feel like crap and have little or no energy? Is that you?
That amount of money, on average, could potentially get you 2 Personal Training Sessions...if you think that your health and fitness are worth it.
Many trainers, and myself included have clients who canít figure all this out themselves, they need to be told what to do, through a structured progressive programme. Letís face some facts here, fitness, nutrition, toning, strength training, rehab, is not straight forward, regardless to what Menís Health tells you. If it was I wouldnít spend thousands of pounds every year continuing my education. Iím committed to my career I am still learning each and every day.
Before you think about hiring a Personal Trainer you should ask yourself a few questions, and importantly be honest with yourself. Donít try to kid yourself. You need to be honest with yourself and honest with any Personal Trainer you may decide to hire. We will know if you lie! Itís our sixth sense. So the questions you need to ask are...
Can I figure all of this mixed information out on my own and still get the results that I want?
Can I budget enough money to afford a good quality Personal Trainer to help me achieve the results I want?
When I have found a highly qualified, results oriented Personal Trainer do I know the questions to ask to find out if this person is qualified to train me?
If you answered yes to these questions, good luck to you. Iím betting that you said no to more than one of the questions. If you did, it doesnít mean you must now go and track down the most expensive Personal Trainer you can find. They may be expensive, but doesnít make them any better than the next trainer. I generally charge £40 per training session, but then at the same time I know many people just canít budget for it, so I also offer small group training sessions at £10 per person. They will gain all the same benefits and experiences as in a 1-2-1 session but they now get educated, fit and blast fat with others. Itís a pretty cool environment!
Remember, donít rush into hiring a Personal Trainer, take your time, shop around, and ask friends you know who have hired Personal Trainers and how they found the experience. Whoever you choose make sure the person has your best interests in mind.
So back to the question, are Personal Trainers worth the money?
The answer is ultimately up to you, based on your own self worth and your goals.
Good week for training last week. The new Pyramid of Pain 'Hell with a Bell' workout went down pretty well with my classes at GL-14 The Health Club. The premise was similiar to the previous weeks 'Scrabble' workout, each letter of the Pyramid of Pain represented the name of the exercise. This time however, as it's entitled a pyramid, the time allocated for each exercise went up in 30 second increments, the longest time being 3.30 mins. Here's exactly what we did in plain text and a funky video to match.
P = Plyometric Lunges for 30 secs
Y = YoYo Squat and Press for 1 min (0.30/0.30)
R = Round The Body Pass for 1.30 min (0.45/0.45)
A = Advanced Windmill for 2 min (1.00/1.00)
M = Mountain Climbers for 2.30 min (0.30 slow/0.30 fast)
I = Inner Thigh Lunges for 3 min (1.00R/1.00L/1.00A)
D = Double D for 3.30 mins (One leg Deadlifts for 2.30 (1.15R/1.15L) and Double Crunch for 1 min)
O = One Hand Swings for 3 min (1.30R/1.30L)
F = Front Squats for 2.30 min
P = Plyometric Press Ups for 2 min (or normal Press Ups)
A = Advanced Burpee for 1.30 min (on one leg if possible)
I = Inner Thigh Lunges for 1 min
N = No Look Swings for 30 secs (eyes shut)
Great class yet again. It seems that everyone really likes the challenge of trying to get through some of the crazy ass circuits I've been coming up with recently. The really good thing is it seems to keep attracting newbies! Love it.
Now on to some serious stuff!
I'm going to be doing my first Kettlebell Biathlon Competition on May 28th. Worried much? I wouldn't say worried as I strive the pressure. I'm more apprehensive, but I know that if I train hard and train sensibly I'll be ready. For those who don't know a Biathlon is two exercises performed for a maximum of 10 minutes. That's 10 min of Jerks (guys use the K-Bells) and 10 min Snatches, for the Snatches your allowed one hand change.
I've been working primarily with my 16kgs, so having to jump up to the 20kgs for the comp is going to be certainly a challenge. I had a little practice with the Jerks the other day before the serious work starts. I managed 7 mins with 2 x 12kgs at 10rpm, 5 mins with 2 x 16kg at 10rpm, and 3 mins with 2 x 20kg at 6rpm. The 2 x 20kg felt fairly comfortable at that pace, just the strength wasn't there. If I had done the 20kgs first I think I could of done at least another minute or two.
So there's my challenge; my first Biathlon Competition. Thankfully at the end of this month i'm travelling to Kilkenny in Ireland for a Biathlon workshop with Gregor Sobocan. Gregor is Master Coach and I can't wait to learn from him and hopefully pick up some great tips. First Steve Cotter and now Gregor, whose next......
So it was an interesting week last week, was still suffering from a sore throat which affected breathing when attempting long time based workouts. Always the same, I manage to motivate others to train, and get myself through my classes to guide all my attendees but struggle when training on my own! I think I may need a PT haha
On Tuesday at 12.15 I unleashed my workout of the week to my lunchtime class. What a workout that was! I'm amazed each week everyone seems to get better and better, stronger and fitter, and more prepared to push the limits of what they think is possible. Where I keep getting the ideas from for these workouts I have no idea, last weeks workout was entitled 'Scrabble'. Based on the not so popular board game!
The idea was that which ever word I picked, in this case the name of the class 'Kettlebell Conditioning', each letter would represent the name of the exercise, and the little number that you would see under the letter on the scrabble pieces would represent the time the exercise was performed for.
i.e. K = 5 so for my class K = 5 mins of Kettlebell Swings, E = 1 so for my class E = Easy Overhead Press
You get the idea? Here's the video for those who haven't seen it already...
It's such a good idea to film my classes as I get to see exactly whats going on, and can check everyone's technique and give pointers there after. So be warned folks; you're going to get filmed more and more often......I'll make all of you stars on youtube!
I did the same workout for Thursday's class, so they didn't miss out on a thing! There was a few newbies on Thursday so it will be interesting to see if they come back. I hope so because they did an amazing job first time out.
As for my own training, well I'm looking towards a Kettlebell Biathlon Competition at the end of May at the Trojans Lifting Club. Over the next week or so I'll begin posting exactly what my plan of attack is to prepare fully for it. My god 10 minutes of Jerks (2 Bells) and 10 minutes of Snatches (1 Bell and 1 hand change) I must be nuts! Need to build up a little bit of strength as going to give the 20's a crack.
So onto this week. What's in store??
Well tomorrows class is pretty much planned, it's going to be another good one, and yes it's going to be filmed so keep your eyes on here and on my facebook page for the video clip.
Latest news on the new e-business www.kettlebellcompany.com is that the website is nearly ready to launch and the first shipment of kettlebells is due to arrive any time. So excited, I have a good feeling about this!
Has it been this long? 10 days since the last post! Oh where do I start this could be along one.....only kidding.
Not much to report recently. Had a newbie join in my Group Sessions on a saturday and did a great job! First step to a new and healthier, slim line Cat. Cat did a great job for first time out, hopefully she'll keep it up when the going gets tough. I'm attempting to build up these group sessions on a week by week basis, everyone seems to like them and the comaraderie is fab. Although I think they all gang up on me, I'm awaiting the day where I push them a step to far and kettlebells are flung in my direction!! haha
This week also saw the start of my 2 classes at The University of Manchester, fully booked up within weeks of going up! I was a touch nervous on weds for the first one, but was pleasantly surprised at how well everyone did, they all picked the swing up in super quick time, a couple still need to find that groove...but it'll come. Great bunch or guys and girls, a really nice mix! It's going to be a pleasure working with you all. My 2nd class at the University is tomorrow so hopefully that will go just as well, if not better! I'll keep you posted.
So onto my classes at GL-14 Health Club this week. Well this weeks surprise workouts I entitled 'Darts'. Why Darts? Well it was based on the all to familiar dartboard. Each number on the dartboard represented an exercise and the amount of repetitions or time that each exercise would be performed. We then went round the board to complete the circuit finishing on the Bull. Here's what we did...
20 Goblet Squats
1 Minute Two Hand Swings
18 One Hand Presses (9/9)
4 Turkish Get Ups (2/2)
13 Sumo Squats
6 D-Second Plank
10 Figure 8's
15 Press Ups
2 Minute One Hand Swings (1/1)
17 Overhead Presses
3 Minute Swings (1/1/1)
19 Floor Presses
7 Jump Squats
16 Overhead Lunges (8/8)
8 Windmills (4/4)
11 Mountain Climbers
14 Reverse Lunges (7/7)
9 Double Crunches
12 One Leg Squats (6/6)
5 Side Lunges
and for Bully's Special Prize........
I think I may take a dartboard with me next time and have everyone throw a dart and see what we end up doing, if it hits a treble we do three rounds of that exercise, a double two rounds, a single just the one round. I can see it now..........
Till next time people.
Train with purpose, train with intensity, just train!
So on saturday after a few weeks of indesiveness I've finally booked myself onto the EGSA (European Girevoy Sport Association) Biathlon Workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland with Master Coach Gregor Sobocan. I can't wait, really looking forward to learning more from such a respected lifter! Hopefully there's going to be some great guys and girls joining me. I know for sure that after the workshop I'll be a better lifter. Plus I've never been to Ireland so not to sure what to expect, surely it can't be any colder and wetter than Manchester at the minute! :-)
It's been a few days since I last updated this blog so I'm just going to fill you all in on a couple of workouts that I've done recently so you have an idea how I train.
Saturday 5th February
CONDITIONING WORKOUT (Borrowed straight from the EGSA Certification Physical Challenge)
Dynamic Warmup: Mobility and Flexibility (10 minutes)
A4: One Arm Jerks/Side
You perform 40, 30, 20 and 10 reps of each back to back without rest, i.e, 40 Snatches (20 per arm), 40 Squats, 40 Cleans (20 per arm), 40 OAJ (20 per arm). Then you do 30, 20, and so on.
Your not allowed to put the kettlebell down and you have a time limit of 20 mins.
I managed it all with a 16kg in 19.07.
Not to bad next attempt will be with a 20kg. Give it a try and let me know how you get on!
Monday 7th February
Dynamic Warmup: Mobility and Flexibility (10 minutes)
8 mins: 16kg One Arm Jerk
5 reps per minute(4 minutes per arm with one arm change at the halfway point)
6 mins: 20kg One Arm Jerk
5 reps per minute(3 minutes per arm with one arm change at the halfway point)
4 mins: 24kg One Arm Jerk
5 reps per minute (2 minutes per arm with one arm change at the halfway point)
3 mins: 16kg Snatch Sprint
60 reps total (30/30)(1.30 minutes per arm with one arm change at the halfway point)
I finished with a Tabata of sprints on a treadmill. 20 secs on max treadmill speed (18kph) with 10 secs rest. Should be faster but I'm limited to waht the treadmills can max :-(
Oh and after each workout I finish with at least 10-15 mins of stretches, making use of the powerplate occasionally and S.M.R on the foam rollers. Hurts like hell but worth it!
Had a crazy few days recently. On friday I was at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport delivering a workshop for staff on the the benefits of exercise for their Mental Health patients. Was an interesting day, great bunch of people on the workshop and they all listened and passed with great merit. Hopefully they will pass on all I taught them and use there new found knowledge to help their patients....even more than they already do!
My own training appears to be going quite well. Lots of jerk and snatch practice, though what I'm finding is although my jerks are improving I'm now losing the groove on the snatches. Training for kettlebell sport is so frustrating, but you know what? it won't defeat me! Not a hope in hell is the frustration going to better me, I'll work on my weakness and on my strengths and i'll get stronger and perform better each time. Negative thinking! What's that??
I've been working on building the volume up recently;on my OAJ (One arm Jerks). For example the weekends session consisted of a thorough dynamic warm-up including mobility lasting around 15 mins. The main workout was a ladder of sorts all with the 20kg.
Reps were 5,7,9,11,13,15,13,11,9,7,5,3,5,7,9,11,13,15 thats a total of 168 reps by the time I finished. I followed this with 1 minute static overhead holds on each arm. By which time my shoulders were burning just a tad! The session finished with a 4 minute Tabata sprint on the treadmill. 18kph is the limit the treadmills got to which unfortunately isn't really quick enough so i'm going to find an alternative. May throw the sprints in with another exercise like Burpees! Love it!
Now onto todays lunchtime kettlebell class....
5 ROUNDS OF TABATAS (20secs on 10secs off)
Floor Press and Push-Ups
Goblet Squats and Jump Squats
Heavy Swings and Burpees
Double Crunches and Fence Jumpers
How do you think the class got on? They loved it of course! There was a few aches and moans as there always is when you push yourself to your limit as these brave souls did today. Not an ounce of weakness was left in that studio when they left. If any of you are reading this, you all did an amazingly good job! High-fives all round :-)
Bit of a lazy start to the day today. A lie in is a rare thing but loved it this morning!
Yesterdays workout has taken its toll on my glutes, they are in some pain today, but it's all good. You got to love the brutalness of a few decent sets of the Pistols. No matter how often you do them, or how many you do, they will always kick your butt the next day.
'If you can't do them, get practising them, use progressive techniques to get the depth and keep on squating!'
Had a great meeting with my business partner today about our soon to be launched e-commerce site; www.kettlebellcompany.com. It's looking good this year, got a lot of grafting to go, but were getting there. Fingers crossed the first shipment of kettlebells arrives on time. Then it's a full on attack of everywhere and anywhere to get the balls of steel out there. Got to keep working on the training book, for anyone whose written a book of any description you'll know the trials and tribulations that accompany it.....I just keep telling myself it'll be worth it!
So onwards and upwards to tonights clients, first up is Mr Ralph, were looking to get in shape for his first ever trip to Ibiza! Tonight for Nick, it's a legs session...his favourite! (or maybe not) Will I be trying the pistols with him? Maybe, maybe not. But whatever we do he'll come out stronger on the other side.
Next will be Miss Heron. continuing the quest for kettlebell perfection. Jerks and snatches are on the agenda tonight with a few other little goodies thrown in for good measure!
A nice quiet day for me today and a early finish due to a few cancellations. Roll on tomorrows shananigans and fridays workshop at the NHS.
Train hard, train with intensity, train with purpose!
Ok, so here's my first ever blog. Welcome....
I wasn't sure what to write here so I'm going to simply share my workout for todays lunchtime kettlebell class at GL-14 Health Club. Now these guys and girls are a pretty strong, determined bunch, week in week out I strive to push them to their limit and beyond. Today was no exception. I think this workout, when compared to the pure conditioning workouts we've been doing lately, is possibly one of the toughest if not the toughest yet! Every single person put in a monster effort, especially on some of the new exercises I introduced today.
The focus was solely on the legs, everyones favourite muscle group to train....or is that just mine?! Well here's the workout for you all, let me know what you think, its a tough one so if you do try this spend at least 15 mins warming up and mobilising the joints. Not thought of a name for it yet.....letters on a postcard! :-)
My kettlebell training warmup and mobility incl. skips, lunges etc
A1 - Goblet Squats x 15
A2 - Overhead Lunges x 12 (each side)
A3 - Bodyweight Bulgarian Split Squats x 6 (each side)
A4 - Heavy 2 Hand Swings x 30 secs
Rest 30 secs then repeat 3 times in total
B1 - Overhead Squats x 15
B2 - Racked Reverse Lunges x 12 (each side)
B3 - Pistol Squats x 6 (each side)
B4 - Bodyweight Jumping Lunges x 30 secs
Rest 30 secs then repeat 3 times in total
It is a tough one but really effective if you have the right weight kettlebells. You want a few different sizes to make sure each exercise is tough enough but a weight light enough to get through it all. If you hadn't realised, there is no rest between each exercise you rest for 30 secs at the end of the 4th exercise and start again.
Give it a go, be strong, be determined, don't give up and come out the otherside with a stronger, better balanced body!