Thursday, July 28, 2011


Progress in a strength program comes in fits and spurts. Kettlebells have been an interesting journey over the year I have trained with them. The past 6 months there have been ups and downs. Some weeks I can feel my strength in every part of me, other weeks picking up the 12kg bell seems heavy when it usually feels like a peanut to me.

But today...huge progress. Huge. I retested my 100 kettlebell snatches (you have 5 mins to attain 100) for the RKC snatch test. 16kg is the prescribed weight for a woman my size (>123 pounds). I can only use chalk for the test. I actually didn't know this prior to the test and thought I could use chalk or tape if I wanted to so I was well taped...ooops...but since the test is now at the end...if my hands are dead be it. The snatch test has been moved to used to be on Friday. This means that after 3 days of being beat down I get to do the snatch test. Sounds like fun...not.

But the last time I tested and passed the snatch test was about 5 weeks ago. You have 5 minutes to get 100 kettlebell snatches. 5 weeks ago = 4:54. This morning:


I totally crushed my goal times. 4:15 was a STRETCH goal...a post RKC goal...not a 5 week later goal. I was HOPING that maybe I could go sub 4:30 this round. But holy cow...

The thing is in the past few weeks I have FOCUSED on technique. Not a lot of high reps, just perfect reps. A few weeks ago we saw that I was 'casting' the bell a little bit too far out on the down swing. This in turn was causing pinching and callous issues on my hands. By adjusting my elbow a little bit I can now do the 'cast and catch' technique a little better and it seems I am saving my energy too. This time around just felt easier...yes I'm 5 weeks fitter, but it just seemed easier too. My HR didn't feel like it got into the high 170s/low 180s (that is total redline for me) which I know it did last time. If I were to guess, I'm guessing it was in the mid 160s/low 170s. The thing about when your HR gets high and you are swinging a heavy weight around the brain messes with you. That was the other thing I was more controlled about. My little brain was in the ZONE. I just kept calm and focused, my pace barely waivered and I didn't get nervous. When you get tired near the end the tendency is to get nervous and start using bad form.

The other thing. No resting. No wanting to rest. No putting the bell down. A few times I could start to feel the fatigue set in so I knocked the pace down a bit, but 4:15 is a pretty solid pace and time.

What's amazing is to see how far in 6 months I have come with just consistent work. Consistency is really key. I was laughing with my trainer this morning because he said: lifting weights is easy...just pick them up and put them down a bunch of times. And do it over and over. ;-)

One full week and a bit of heavy focused training and then partial taper for a week (lighter weight and a little lower volume) and full taper for the week after (mini workouts, but nothing crazy). Can't believe it is almost here. I'm excited.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

6 weeks and counting

That's it...6 weeks til my RKC...which really means 4 weeks of training and 2 weeks of taper. Or one week of psudeo taper and the other week of real taper. HOW does one taper for something like an RKC?? Guess I'll follow the same principle as a race...lower volume...keep the intensity.

Just got back from a small stuck back in my hometown due to plane delays but finally got in today. Found a few kettlebells when I was home at various gyms, but found ONE proper kettlebell gym and the owner was MORE than generous with letting me train there. That was nice because all the other kettlebells I found in town sucked. I tore parts of one finger up due to the roughness of one of the bells. Not a happy girl.

But hit a PR that is BIG to me. Going into the RKC one thing I have to pass are 2 x 16kg bell presses for 5 reps. Apparently women can drop down a weight for the press if they need to, but I WANTED to do the right weights. I could get to about 3 reps and then maybe half of a 4th...but that was it. I managed it not one time but two times!! Very exciting. I changed my feet position a bit which helped. I need a little bit more of a narrow stance it seems.

Plan from here out is 3 days on, one day off, 2 days on (predominately swing and snatch practice) one day off. One of my off days will = yoga the other will be OFF. The 3 days on are to mimic what it will be like at the RKC. Three days in a row of swing, clean, press, TGU, snatch, front squat. I will rotate with weights, some days heavier some days lighter...and try to practice outside. Motto being: Nothing new on race day. (The RKC is outside)

Between now and RKC, I do plan to do 2 more tests of 100 snatches under 5 mins. One of those is in a week. Both will be 'legal' with just chalk or tape. That would help boost the confidence going into the weekend.

Getting that nervousness that is like getting ready for an A race...focused, but a few butterflies flying around.