Catching up…

I’m writing this post from bed where I’m laid up with the latest round of regular flu, swine flu or something else. I probably caught it from one of my kids who have been trading it back and forth for the last few weeks.  Or maybe I made myself more susceptible to it by last night’s workout.

Since the HKC, I’ve been practicing some HKC-specific workouts (swings, get-ups and goblet squats), RKC-prep workouts (from the Winter 2008 Hardstyle), and the AOS Strength In Motion workout.  At the same time, I got the Viking Warrior Conditioning book and decided to start adding a couple conditioning workouts in per week.

I posted my results on the Dragondoor forum after my first workout.

First VWC workout on the 15/15. With a 16 kg and a 6 rep (started easy) cadence. I got all 80 sets and only produced one torn blister (on my pinky finger, no less)!

This was a good workout and made me feel like I had just finished a brisk 3-4 mile run. I think I need to bump the cadence up a bit, although I don’t want to completely ruin my hands right out of the gate either.

That produced a few responses that pointed out that I probably didn’t do the cadence test correctly, and that I shouldn’t have been able to get 80 sets the first time around if I was using the correct rep cadence and weight.

So I went back and re-did the cadence test and posted the results.

My first cadence test I ended up with 25 reps on my top set. Not my best, but I’ll admit, I probably didn’t get the numbers right as they went like this:

1st minute: 17

2nd minute: 19

3rd minute: 20

4th minute: 22

5th minute: 25

I did this test before I got the VWC book and didn’t have the benefit of KJ’s handy breakdown (page 32).

So I divided 25 by 4 = 6.25 or 6. KJ recommends that if you got 24 reps or less, than you should use a lighter bell and test again. I was using a 16 kg and got 25, so that seemed o.k.

So for my workout, I set my Gymboss timer on auto for 2-15 second intervals. Then I snatched 6 reps (R) in 15 seconds, rested for 15, snatched 6 (L) for 15, rested for 15, until I finished 80 sets (40-R, 40-L). My pace was such that the timer went off at what would have been the start of my 7th rep.

Per KJ (page 33), once the Girevik completes 80 sets of 9 reps per set, you should go to a heavier kettlebell or graduate to the 36/36.

So at your urging, I re-tested myself today using KJ’s recommended pacing. Today, my test numbers looked like this (with another ripped callus):

1st minute: 13

2nd minute: 16

3rd minute: 19

4th minute: 24

5th minute: 28

So for the 15/15 – 28/4=7.

Next Tuesday, I’ll go again with the 7 rep cadence. Am I correct that each 15-sec. work period = 1 set? If I’m supposed to be doing 80 sets per arm, then I can see how it would smoke you. And yes, my reps were fully locked out.

Well that produced a couple more responses that said that I still wasn’t doing the cadence test correctly and that my exertion level should feel like a sprint while I’m snatching for those 15 seconds.  I followed up with another reply.

My 6 rep cadence felt great for my energy level. I was working hard, but not to my limit. But you need to understand that I also don’t necessarily want to work to my limits, because I’ll probably end up overtraining.

With that said, on today’s test, regardless of the reps on the first four sets, I was flat out on the last (5th) set and even ripped a callus in the process. Could I have gone faster? Yes, but my form would have been crap and I wouldn’t consider that a legit test. Did I match the reps exactly as outlined by KJ? No. But I didn’t get the idea that you were supposed to or else (IMHO) he would have put specific rep amounts down. (Note: Actually, he did.  My mistake.)

What I took from that was a slow, 4-set build-up followed by a flat out set to get your cadence. Everyone’s going to be different based on fitness, body size (long arms vs. short arms), drive, etc. So I felt that as long as I was going all-out on the final set, I would be ok. I hit 28 for my last, and that was getting close to the “sloppiness threshold”. As I read it, one of the points of VWC is to increase your snatch rep max, so therefore, your tests should get better with time. No?

I’m not trying to set a record, I’m trying to maintain the ability to work out over time. As we age, we start to lose that, and what we could do when we were 25 becomes more difficult when we’re 45. Look at Pavel and the injuries he’s dealing with. He’s had to adjust his training accordingly.

I’m using the RKC 3-day prep program and VWC to get ready for an RKC sometime within the next year. My goal isn’t to do the VWC 36/36 with a 24 kg. My goal is to get my body used to snatching a lot of times with the right form. If I can get a 15/15 6 rep cadence with the 24 kg, I’ll be happy. That’s still a whole lot of reps done quickly. That will probably be enough (along with the other workouts) to get me through the entire RKC weekend. To get to there, however, I’ll start easy, avoid burnout, and climb steadily up to my goal.

So this week I did my second VWC workout on Wednesday with the new, 7 rep cadence. But let me back up for a moment and give you a glimpse of my day prior to my second workout.  I woke up at 5:00 a.m., got to work by 7:00 for 8 hours of arrest and control tactics.  At lunch I was starting to feel a bit congested, and by 4:00 p.m. was feeling more so and pretty tired – like I was coming down with something.  I had also been thinking about the VWC workout most of the day and was determined to do it if the rest of the day fell in line.

I made a quick trip to the Dentist at 5, picked up my youngest from basketball practice at 6:15.  Brought him home, had a quick cup of instant coffee (yuck), put bandaids and tape on my worst ripped calluses and took another son to his basketball practice at 7:00.  Got home at ten past, ran out back, did a quick 5-minute warm-up and chalked up my 16 kilo kettlebell.  I set my Gymboss timer up for two 15-second intervals and started the work-out.

7 rep cadence with the 16 kg. I managed to get all 80 sets, but it completely kicked my ass. 3 new blisters (1 of them ripped). 120 bpm pulse within a couple minutes of the last set.

This was what the VWC is about.  Hard work.  Like a sprint?  Hell yes,  80 of them!  As I completed set 20 and 30, I could feel a new blister develop on both pinky fingers.  I tried to adjust my grip so that little sucker wasn’t helping as much, but on rep 37 one of them tore.  I covered it up with chalk and kept going, figuring that I would stop at 40 sets.  However, when I got to 40, the blister wasn’t really bothering me as much as I thought it would, so I decided to go to 50 sets and see how I felt.  In case you’re wondering, I had my tupperware of chalk on my left side and water on my right.  I re-chalked my hands about every 7 or 8 sets, and drank water continuously.

When I hit set 50, my breathing was pretty hard and I was dripping sweat all over the kettlebell and my mat. My nose was running and it was starting to get really chilly with the occasional gust of wind.  I thought I could make it to 60 reps though, so I snatched on.  At 60 I figured if I hit 65 and was still keeping my 7 reps in the 15 second limit, I could do the 15 sets to 80. Once I hit 80, I put the bell down and tried to take my pulse.  Trouble, was I kept getting sweat in my eye and couldn’t concentrate on the clock and my pulse at the same time.  A neighbor who’s a Nurse Practitioner took it for me and told me I was at 120 bpm.

After stretching, my energy level plummeted and I had a feeling I really should have stopped at 40 sets.  I got a pretty bad headache and my sinuses just completely filled up with gunk.

I woke up this morning felling like crud but went into work anyway until noon, when I decided to call it a day.

I really like the VWC.  I’m confused about where to go from here though.  On the one hand, I feel like sticking with 50 or 60 rep sets.  That seems much more manageable over the long haul and perhaps I’ll go up to the 20 kg and try for 30 sets or so and then take my time working up to the 80 set top.  Or maybe not.  Recovery is also important and that just drained me.  I sure as hell can’t afford to keep ripping the skin off my hands every time I do this.

No workout today.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll try a round or two of SIM.

Thanks for reading.


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