Thursday, July 30, 2009

5/3/1 Update

The last 4 weeks have been spent testing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 protocol. I’ve followed it to the “t” thus far.

The program sets up a set-and-rep scheme that you follow for 4 weeks at a time. You then readjust the poundages and go for another 4.

The 4th week is a de-load week, so I’ve been going light all week. Still practicing my lifts, but way light.

*Wendler’s program doesn’t call for testing actual 1-Rep Maxes, so he uses a rep-max calculation to figure out if you’re making progress. I’m not sure how accurate it is, but I plan on testing it next week with a mini-mock powerlifting meet with myself.

All my reps were based off of my competition lifts from my last powerlifting meet. I only tested my overhead press at the beginning with a barbell and then used a pair of kettlebells closest to the poundage needed for the sets.

Here’s the recap of the 3 weeks leading up to now.

Week 1 (Last set of the day is a max with 5 or more reps at the prescribed weight)
OH Press – 2-32kg – 10 reps – Predicted 1-Rep Max – 190
Dead Lift – 425 – 11 reps – P1RM – 585
Bench – 230 – 11 reps – P1RM – 315
Squat – 345 – 14 reps – P1RM – 510

Week 2 (3 or more)
OH Press – 2-36kg – 5 reps – P1RM – 190
Dead Lift – 450 – 10 reps – P1RM – 600
Bench – 245 – 10 reps – P1RM – 330
Squat – 365 – 13 reps – P1RM – 525

Week 3 (1 or more)
OH Press – 2-40kg – 3 reps – P1RM – 195
Dead Lift – 475 – 9 reps – P1RM – 620
Bench – 260 – 9 reps – P1RM – 330
Squat – 385 – 11 reps – P1RM – 530

My body weight stayed very consistent around 185 during the entire cycle. I’m real interested to see how this transfers to an actual 1RM, so it’s put-up-or-shut-up time next week.

I used primarily all KB exercises for my accessory work. Some days I didn’t do any accessory work and worked on corrective drills after my work sets. I really just played it by ear.

I threw other KB stuff on my off days with my classes for GPP and joint-mobility.


On another note, my Southern RKC Brother, Dustin Rippetoe, RKC II and CK-FMS, from Guthrie, OK is putting on a really amazing workshop in October. I’m planning on attending Day 2 as I have a meet scheduled in OK City the first day. He’ll have 2 of the TOP Kettlebell Instructors in the WORLD in one place, Jeff O'Connor, SrRKC and David Whitley, SrRKC.

He’s offering a killer deal right now as well. If you sign up and get 2 other people to sign up, your registration is FREE! That means you get to spend 2 days with 2 Senior Instructors plus a bunch of other talented people for NADA! Or, you can get your 2 referrals together and split the 2 registration fees between the 3 of you. Pretty nice discount if you ask me!

Check out the details here: and get on the horn with 2 of your friends to get in on this deal!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don Meyer of Northern State University

I saw this the other night on ESPN and was thrilled when I found the entire clip on YouTube. Coach Don Meyer was the recipient of the esteemed Jimmy V award given annually at the ESPYs. Coach Meyer's story of the last 10 months of his life is unimagineable to say the least. Yet he has perservered and bested all other coaches as the winningest coach in college basketball.

Inspired doesn't come close to describing how I felt after watching this. (I've watched twice since!) ;-)

If only men/women like these were the ones we saw regularly in the media as role-models and examples to follow, rather than the trash that's so common on every TV channel and magazine cover.

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Dead Lift Experiment

After a week of corrections after Level II, I’m feeling pretty good. So I decided to start a base program to prepare me for my upcoming lifting cycle. My next planned PL meet is October 17th which puts me 15 weeks out.

I figure a short 3-4 week building phase will be appropriate.

Yesterday was dead lift day and I was excited to use some tips I got from Level II. Andrea DuCane, MRKC, Kenneth Jay, MRKC and Pavel all gave me some good pointers.

This program calls for a repetition max at a certain percentage of my 1-Rep Max. After the 1st 2 planned sets and reps, my all-out set called for 5 “or more” reps at 425.

I used Pavel’s advice using the goblet squat/front raise focusing on smooth and fluid transition while keeping correct spinal/hip alignment.

I also used the tips from Andrea and Kenneth where I focus my eyes before and during the lift. As I reached down to grab the bar, I kept my head neutral with my eyes looking at a spot down on the horizon about a foot off the floor. As soon as the bar broke from the ground I kept my head neutral, but looked up towards the ceiling.

Another tip picked up through Level II was keeping my face and neck as relaxed as possible.

I had a client watch the set and he said it was the most fluid, effortless looking lifts he’d ever seen me do. The weight looked and felt like a feather.

I ended up pulling 11 consecutive reps with a couple left in the tank. A predicted 1RM of ~580.

The techniques will definitely help as I feel fresh and ready for another day even after such a difficult set.


On another note, I finally got my first pair of Vibram Five Fingers in yesterday! Black KSO’s and they feel awesome! I’m really looking forward to training in them!

Since the recent discovery of my weak feet and ankles, I’m hoping to have a few aspects of my training dramatically improve with these funky-looking foot-gloves.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

RKC Level II…Check!

What a phenomenal weekend! There’s really too much to write about, but I’ll sum it up as best I can.

Day 1 – Thursday – 6/25
I arrived early around 1:30pm (on purpose AND highly recommended!) so that I could get situated and head up to the workshop area to help out in any way I could. Luckily for me, Dennis Armstrong of Dragon Door offered all attendees a BONUS Pre-Cert workout with none other than Dave “The Iron Tamer” Whitley, SrRKC, Jeff “The Redneck Ninja” O’Connor, SrRKC and Kenneth “The Dane of Pane” Jay, MRKC.

After I performed my snatch test and helped unload bells, we headed for the field and within minutes, my brain was hurting. These guys throw so much at you! It’s just so hard to absorb it all. The workout lasted about an hour and a half, was extremely worth it, and wasn’t so bad that it compromised me for the next 3 days.

Meet and greet went great and I was introduced to a lot of new faces with familiar names and reunited with a lot of friends I’ve made over the last 2 years in the RKC family.

Day2 – Friday – 6/26
The morning started off with people taking snatch tests followed by 2 stations of Level II requirements: The Pull Up w/ a 24kg hanging on the foot and The Press w/ a KB closest to half your body weight. I had to press a 40kg which went up with no problem and the pull up seemed pretty easy (probably because of adrenaline). I knew I could perform these prior to signing up last October, so I felt prepared.

Pavel and Jeff covered some really awesome material on the Core Basics which still blows my mind at how much more there is to learn about the Swing and TGU. Jeff’s presentation on the TGU and Foot Work was really awesome and I’ve started using his Hard Style Yoga on myself and clients as soon as I got home.

The rest of the day wasn’t so pleasant. We worked Level I drills and their corrections, which seemed like a very long time. I wasn’t paying much attention to the rest of the group, but I believe there were some who were really struggling with just the Level I skills we were supposed to have nailed down. Shame on us and we got punished for it. I had my first double forearm cramp right at the end of the day due to dehydration which was interesting while trying to snatch. I’m glad it happened at the end, so it didn’t ruin too much for me. Thankfully it happened while we were performing the Vo2MAX cadence test and I had already done that prior to coming, so I knew my cadence number.

I had the great honor and fortune of getting to eat supper at the “Big Boy” table with Pavel, Dave, Jeff and Kenneth. Those guys can consume! I got some great Powerlifting pointers from Pavel and was encouraged further to participate with the Power To The People Deadlift Team this January. We talked about nutrition and other random topics…JUST Friggin’ Awesome!

Day 3 – Saturday – 6/27
A little more sore this morning. Friday was definitely a smoker, as it should’ve been for all that were unprepared, but thanks to John DuCane’s Morning Recharge, I felt great and ready to go.

Jeff, Dave, Pavel, Will Williams, SrRKC and Andrea DuCane, MRKC covered the Bent Press, Windmill, Pistol and Pull Up and I was immediately humbled by the correct ways to perform these exercises. This put a huge spotlight on my dysfunctions, which I will “own” and work on continuously.

We spent some time in lecture with Kenneth teaching the intricacies behind Viking Warrior Conditioning. He really knows his stuff and put on an excellent presentation! He unveiled a new protocol that we got to practice and it was really amazing! I’ll be using that one as well!

Day 4 – Sunday – 6/28
The morning started with a presentation by Dave on Kettlebell Group Training for Fat Loss and how to maximize your business potential. Great stuff and then we got a little tough-love application on the field. I’ve already used his Get Up – Swing progression in a class and it worked awesome!

Then Jeff presented on using Kettlebells as a one-of-a-kind tool in Youth Athletic Development. Phenomenal information with great drills and some really cool swing variations were added for power development.

Then we broke for our Skills Testing. Some had to retake their basic Pull Up or Press tests again as well as being broken up in teams to test the Level II skills. This was pretty nerve-racking. It’s not a strength thing, it’s a skills thing. The idea was, “can you perform ‘X’ number of perfect reps of ‘Y’ exercise after you’ve be thoroughly taught when I ask you to perform it?” Many couldn’t, which doesn’t make them bad instructors or weak at the skills, it was mostly mental lapses. I thankfully passed, but I was definitely sweating it! Most that failed the skills or basic tests will be put on provisional probation for 90 days to film the correct version of the test they had trouble with, send it in, and if accepted after evaluation, they get certified. I believe the attrition rate will be much lower after the 90 day period.

I equate it much like a powerlifting meet. I’ll spend 3 months on training, tweaking my program, hours in the gym, constant self-evaluation on technique, $$$ for gear and equipment, $$$ for organizational dues, $$$ for meet entry fees, $$$ on travel, and $$$ for nutrition to prepare for a meet. However, if on that meet day, I set my opener too high and miss 3 attempts, or I miss the head judge’s commands 3 times, or I have technique issues 3 times, I’m OUT. No bench attempts, no dead lift attempts…OUT. Wait ‘til next time, if there is one and go back to the drawing board and reinvest on all the above-mentioned aspects. Bottom line, it’s life. We mess up, we fall down…most of will just dust ourselves off and get back up to try again.

I’m glad the bar was set high for this cert. I couldn’t have asked for more from The Chief, Masters, Seniors and Team Leaders. The experience was second-to-none and I would do it again in a heart beat. If you’re RKC and you plan on expanding that with Level II, start NOW! THE CURRICULUM WILL NOT GET EASIER! The higher standard creates a badge of pride, honor and integrity, and I’m blessed to have had the opportunity.

Thanks to everyone for making the experience one I’ll never forget and for all the new friendships that I made over the weekend. The RKC Family is such an awesome one and I’m honored to be a part of it!