Sunday, February 20, 2011

That just *feels* better

Practice doesn't make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect. It's not about repeating something over and's about practicing perfect form until it is perfect. That is what I have been trying to do with the kb snatch...make it perfect. When it's not perfect my wrists are bruised,my hands hurt and frequently bleed and my elbows get a touch sore because it becomes a tough arm exercise and not a hip exercise. The snatch is really just an extension of the swing. After the hip snap...let the bell float up and around eye height (or a bit before), 'punch through' and stop at the top. Then reverse. So easy to say...not so easy to do.

But it's coming...

My training on Saturday started off brutal. It was hard. Everything felt heavy. I was just trying to do stuff with the 12kg and you would have though I was dragging around something much more substantial. 12kg is a little on the heavy side for me at the moment with turkish getups because my hipflexors like to take part in the exercise and I can't keep my leg on the ground as well...but I can do it. Just not as well as with an 18pound bell (which I don't have). But on Saturday the TGUs were HEAVY. I was dragging and i couldn't figure it out. I didn't have a heavy week of training...i chalked it up to low amount of calories for the day by that point and moved on.

But by the time I got to kb snatches...everything was right as rain. Did a quick warmup with the 12kg and form felt good. Moved on to 16kg for 5 sets around 3-4 reps per set, mixing in some swings/high pulls for technique and form...but the 16kg felt pretty decent. I wasn't smacking the bell as hard on my wrist. So just for volume sake and to focus on finer details I moved to the 12kg and did a 'half' 5 min test where I would do 5 per side and rest for the remainder of a minute for 5 me a total of 50 snatches. Nothing major, but right now is about perfect practice and perfect form...not volume.

And you know what...they felt great. Hip snap, punch through (almost there 100%), pulling the bell back down into the swing without 'throwing it''s coming together and 12kg feels effortless when the technique is correct. I love that feeling.

I haven't been on my bike this week which is a bit disappointing, but mainly my fault. This next week looks a bit gnarly on the 'life' front...ok...i take that back. The next 2 weeks look that way, but at least I will get to end the gnarly-ness with a with friends wine tasting and a visit to the spa...i need a massage. I think it will be well deserved by that point fo' sure. But the next week and a half will be a bear to get through. One breath at a time one step at a time.

But the next week and half has made me a good 'life reflective' way and made me just smack myself on the head and say: what are you doing silly? Lots to think about.

Monday, February 14, 2011

War Wounds...

RKC training is going pretty well. At the moment it is basically boiling down to I need to work on strength and technique with my snatch, more practice for my turkish getups (but they are coming along nicely), continual swing technique (but most people can use that) and everything else (cleans, presses, squats) are ok technique wise, but continual strength gains will be necessary. The reality is that the snatch is an extension of the swing, so really I'm working on my swing. Although some of my 'issues' are because I stop doing my swing correctly when I move into the snatch movement. Somehow my little brain gets confused and starts doing the wrong thing. Mainly I try to stop my swing before it has the chance to go fully back into the arc position under me. This means I'm not 'loading' my hips in the bottom of the swing movement. This, in turn, makes the snatch incredibly hard and turns it into a very unfun arm strength exercise instead of a hips exercise. Fortunately, I know what my body 'feels' like when it is doing this and I have mentally been correcting it wrong. So I now know how to correct it.

My left arm has a better 'groove' than my right. Probably more out of weakness than anything else. It *has* to rely on my hips because it isn't strong enough to fling the bell around so I actually do things correctly on that side.

My right arm can't figure out how to bring the bell in on the down swing. Ok...i take that back...a few times today it could figure it out, but I'm still working on this. My problem, i'm basically throwing the bell away from me mid-air. Not such a good thing to do to your elbows. Makes them kinda sore.

But my biggest problems are that since I'm casting the bell away from me and doing some other weird things, I tend to GRIP the bell too hard on the down swing. NOT GOOD. At the end of my session today I looked down to see blood:

Left hand has been giving me grief lately anyway, but I thought it was on the mend. Then I discovered half way through the day that my right hand has blisters on it. Oye vey.

And then there is this other little issue called: I'm not punching through at the right time during the snatch. Here is some proof I'm still wacking my arms with the bell:

Um...that's the beginning of a bruise, not a sunburn. Pretty don't cha think? (AND that is with arm protection bands on too. owchie)

I have turned some gloves into possible things that will help me protect my hands when practicing, although during the RKC snatch test I can't use gloves, so this is more to help when my hands are being fussy.

oh...and see my pretty pink new chucks in the background. FUN to use to lift weights in. (preferred type of shoe is one that's flat like Chuck Taylors or wrestling shoes or no shoes...which I prefer, but I was getting owies on my feet from my Turkish getups so I put my shoes back on. :-( )

And in the world of endurance sports...I managed to get on my bike not one time on this weekend but TWO. My only question at the moment is when is that 'point' where endurance exercise and anerobic exercise counter act one another. How long on the bike where it is a 'problem' for things like weight lifting? Trying to figure that one out because those who are in the world of weight lifting would say endurance sports are evil and counter to gaining strength...but there has to be some sort of happy medium? Right? Right? I am really re-bonding with my bike right now and hope I can continue to do so for awhile.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Take no prisoners

16kg of all all her glory...Tatiana will not be my master...I will be hers.

Training on monday I went through some finer details of working on my kettlebell snatch...mainly because I 'punch' through on the bell too late and let the darn thing whack me. Let me tell you...the bruised wrists from last week were not acceptable. So working on technique was welcome. The beautiful thing about this was that I knew once some of these details were worked out various things would happen a)12kg snatch would become effortless and b)snatches with the 16kg wouldn't freak me out (with my left hand) quite so much. As predicted, I knew once we went through some technique stuff when I got to trying my left hand, 16kg was do-able. HEAVY...but do-able. Training today I'm still a little sloppy on the arc on the downward swing with the the bell is still trying to swing me around (and not the other way around), but the right hand is so much better and the 12kg is wicked easy. No bruised wrists and I feel more confident I could whip through 100 in 5 mins with the 12kg if my left hand wasn't torn up right now. Still work on needs to be done on the down swing so i'm not beating up my left hand, but it will get better with time and attention.

Lately I have been doing with kettlebells what I do with many sports...put it in terms of physics. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine tonight at dinner about knowing now what you know...and trying not to say "i wish i had know XYZ...earlier"...because if I knew now what I know...I definitely would have done more with newtonion physics in undergrad. Right now I am fascinated with the angular momentum, torque and the amount of 'work' (in physics terms) of the kettlebell swing and snatch. Nerdy I know...but hey...that's me. Although the downside is I had the WORST physics teacher in undergrad and at the time I think I slept through newtonian physics and while my grad degree I did a whole heap load of physics, totally not related to this type. What I find funny is that when i take up a sport the ways I like to 'understand' them are in terms of physics. The number of articles (including journal articles) I read on aerodynamics, drag, and power with respect to the bike is sort of silly...but that kind of thing is bizarrely interesting to me.

But things are coming along as they will. The strength needed to get through all of the RKC requirements will take some training, but I can tell it will happen with time, and perfect practice.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

trying to find my groove

mmmmmmmm...tasty KALE smoothie. Tastier than it looks.
A bunch of in a FULL bunch you buy at the supermarket
1/2 cup of raspberries (more because I put them in first forgetting I was going make a kale smoothie. They don't have the strongest flavor, so can be omitted)
1 banana...this is necessary as bananas cover the strong bitter flavor of the kale
1/4c of pineapple
dash of lemon with the bitter
dash of agave.
1 scoop of egg protein "jay Robb" brand protein powder
1 tsp flax seed oil

Things I learned in this process: put the kale in first without any other ingredients. And put it in the blender in batches. You might need to add more water.

Kale is a vegetable that is a bit on the bitter side. Lemon juice does help with that but in the end i needed it a little sweeter for my taste and put about 1tsp of agave in with it. I think I would also then add the flax seed oil and egg protein and lemon juice and then the banana. Then I would see if the pinapple was necessary or not. I'm looking forward to trying this with spinach as spinach is a little on the sweeter side compared to kale.

I'm still in that 'futzing' stage with Paleo. My main limiter the past few weeks are I haven't taken the time to do some food prep during the week or prior to the week so that makes paleo a more challenging way to eat. But as eating paleo is pretty extreme in our overly processed society (no grains, no legumes, no dairy) because of my personality I thought it was better to just take things out while giving myself a bit of grace in it. Go for 80% of the time at the moment and then attempt to eventually get to about 90-95% by the end of Feb. So good. Seems I have lost a few pounds without focusing too much on it too and since I am focused on a better than pre-sick/OTS 2010 %body comp by Sept, I am headed in the right direction.

The thing so far with paleo is this...I feel better. I'm not even 100% on the paleo wagon as far as cutting out all sugar, and being SUPER nit picky or even eating it 90-95% of the time, but I just feel better. So...i'm going with that. This week will try to be more prepared.

RKC training...met with my trainer last week. I had a Functional Movement Screening and got a 13/ want to be at least at 14/ I'm decent as far as movement is concerned...some dysfunction, but ok. There is a hilarious test ( was hilarious to me since I can't do it and it SEEMS so easy) in part of it. You have this board that is about 6 inches wide and you have to put your hands on either side of it and grip it with your knees are in a 'tabletop' yoga pose with your hands and knees on the ground. THEN...lift both your right arm AND RIGHT leg out to the side. In Yoga...a lot of times they make you do opposite sides (i can do that fine)...but on my right side with both my right arm and my right leg I promptly topple over. Left side isn't great, but not as severe. Being the scientist that I am...I find it rather curious and wonder what underlying issue is causing that. Probably my stupid psoas who hates me on that side.

My trainer then looked at some of my kb moves...Swing is ok over all. He's nit picking on it, but I'm the personality type that I WANT nit picky, perfect form. Since I have enough time between now and RKC in Sept, I want all my form to be correct before adding the volume. Also when someone nit picks on my form, it helps me learn how to teach something. Granted my TGU (turkish getup), and kb snatch form needs a lot of help. TGU...I can't seem to roll onto my opposite arm correctly so that I am able to keep my opposite leg down. And the KB snatch...the punch through is too late and I'm WACKING my forearms. For awhile I thought I my form was alright, and then I started doing higher Bruising still with wrist bands. Bruised wrists/forearms is not the best look, but at least I can wear sweaters to cover my arms at the moment.

The only thing that really annoys me at the moment about KB hands. I know it is all about training your hands to grip correctly and holding the bell with your fingers like a hook, but like most people I develop callouses on my non-dominate hand more severely. It's about holding the bell looser...and I know its about holding it looser on the down swing (either the snatch or the swing), but trying to convince your head to do that...good luck. And this week in an effort to keep my callouses small...using a scary callous shaver I managed to CUT my hand...right in the spot that is one of my 'hot spots' on my left hand. Nice...just call me Grace...thanks. Fortunately the hand dermal layer regenerates at an amazing speed. Keeping it as bandaged and out of infection's way as best as I can.

Here are my 2011 goals in order of focus #1 and #2 are really my primary:
1)100 x 16kg kb snatches in 5 mins (my RKC requirements) by Sept
2)Pass the RKC in Sept
3)Get to lower than pre-sick/2010 %body fat levels by Sept. I was about 5 pounds away from that goal %body comp pre-spring 2010 sickness.
4)100 push ups...consecutively...and yes...the standard type of pushups.
5)one pullup

This should keep me busy. :-)