Variety Days, Off Days, Kettlebells and Deadlifts

I’ve been working on our outdoor kitchen Thursday and Friday, which happened to coincide with ETK’s variety day and off day. This is my last week on vacation (back to work July 1st) and I’m trying to maximize the time I spend on my house remodeling projects.

My kettlebells and free weights sit in and next to my garage, which also happens to be where the boxes full of my Ikea kitchen cabinets are stacked.

So in order to keep a little variety in my days off, I did a few sets of deadlifts and cleans as I went into the garage to get my tools and supplies throughout the day.

On Thursday, I deadlifted. I use a traditional stance, modified a bit to keep my knees from hurting too much (2 surgeries on the left knee – ACL tear and reconstruction, and impending doom on the right knee). I keep my grip overhand, with my pinky fingers on the knurling and my shins on the bar, outside my arms. It’s kind of a close-stance sumo, sorta, kinda.

Any-who, I pulled a couple triples with 135 to get in the groove. Then I put 225 on the bar (the rust made them stick a little) and grabbed 3 sets of 3 over the course of an hour. It’s not a lot of weight, I know, but it’s variety day and I’m not going to kill myself before our heavy day on Saturday. I just wanted to get back into the groove of deadlifting, as I’m giving serious thought to entering the Tactical Strength Challenge this September, which would give me another goal to meet as well as something else to write about and thereby stay motivated (and honest!). Check it out www.tacticalstrengthchallenge.com.

Oh yeah. When I finished deadlifting, I grabbed the 16 kg bell and did windmills for 5 reps each side, nice and slow.

On Friday, I was putting cabinets together again, and as I went in the garage, saw my pair of Ader 32 kg bells there on the floor. Ordinarily, I use those big bells to keep my feet in position while I do my Janda sit-ups after my ETK workouts. As they looked kind of lonely, I decided to use them for more than paper weights. I started out by grabbing a pair of 24 kg kettlebells and cleaned them for 5 reps. I dropped them, grabbed what I went in there for and left.

About 30 minutes later, I went back in, grabbed those 32s off the floor and did 7 cleans until my right knee started to complain.

  1. Rule number 1: Never contest space with your kettlebells!
  2. Rule number 2: Stop if you feel pain!

So, 1) I didn’t; and 2) I did!

This has happened to me before when I’ve used double kettlebells for drills (like you’ll find on the Aggressive Strength page, above). I get a sudden sharp pain when my knee goes from flexed to straight.

Usually all I have to do is widen my stance a bit and point my feet further out (close to a 45 degree angle)and the pain goes away.

I grabbed my stuff and didn’t go back until about a half hour later. When I went in, I grabbed the bells, adjusted my stance and got 10 cleans. Those felt good.

Back out to the patio for my “real” work and then back into the garage about 20 minutes later for 10 more double cleans.

And that’s it! Friday’s my off day, remember?

Remember that you don’t always have to do a full programmed workout. Sometimes it’s fun to just go out and throw heavy things around for a bit. Just make sure your form is correct and have a good time!


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