Um, ouch

So the other day I accidentally ended up doing workout 1B from the New Rules of Lifting for Women. Today, therefore, I decided to do workout 1A. Yeah, what’s your point?
It’s a simple workout; squats, push-ups, seated rows, step-ups and jackknifes. I don’t have access to any kind of squat rack, so I decided front squats would make a reasonable substitute for back squats, and that I’d start light with 20kg. I haven’t squatted in a long time so I knew it’d be tough, and indeed the first set was challenging. What I didn’t expect was the burning, cramping pain in my quads that developed just as I was about to start set 2. Oh my. Apparently I’ve let myself go even more than I thought…
The second set didn’t feel particularly awful, and the rest of the workout was fine, but an hour later I already had pain in my quads that felt like really bad DOMS.
This should not happen after 2 sets of 15 (light) squats, and it does not bode well for tomorrow…

New rules, revisited

So today I found myself in a gym, with 40 minutes to kill. That never happens! So I had a flip back through my blog to find an early workout from Alwyn Cosgrove & Lou Schuler’s New Rules of Lifting for Women. I wanted to do workout 1A, but there’s no squat rack here (I know, right?!); workout 1B, however, was perfect.
The Olympic bar was in use, so some quick improvisation was in order. My super quick training session looked like this:

  • kettlebell deadlifts, 2×15, 48kg. These were far too light, but the heaviest bells here are the 24kgs. Oh well!
  • dumbbell shoulder press, 2×15, 8kg. First set felt fine, second set was a nice challenge.
  • wide grip lat pulldowns, 2×15. I have no idea what weight I used because, I shit you not, the stacks here are unmarked. All of them. So if you want to do any kind of cable pull you just have to guess how much you want to lift.
  • bodyweight lunges, 2×30. Probably need to add weight to these, but my knees don’t feel too clever at the moment.
  • Swiss ball crunches, 10kg on chest, 2×8. Far, far, far too easy. May substitute for leg raises or similar if I do this again.
  • So that was an unexpected but highly enjoyable workout. I don’t have time to do the programme twice a week as it demands, but I think I’ll dig out the book and write out some workouts I can do at moments like this. It’s far too long since I lifted free weights consistently, and I feel the love affair rekindling ūüôā

    Pentathlon update

    I had my second attempt at kettlebell pentathlon this evening, and it went pretty well! I had a look at the numbers beforehand to figure out what kind of reps I needed to hit to level up and it didn’t seem to be too much of an ask, so I went for it.
    My numbers for the clean, longcycle press, jerk, half snatch and push press were…

    20110912-224943.jpg
    You’ll need to excuse the shoddy handwriting; my forearms were too pumped to hold the pen well!
    I’m really pleased with that score, especially since it represents a move into the ‘high’ category. It’s clear that I need to lift more for the first two exercises since I reached max reps with time to spare – 16kg is going to feel like a big jump though (there wasn’t a pro-16kg available today or I probably would have tried it). The reps will certainly go down, but if I can achieve three quarters of my 12kg reps with the 16kg my score will be the same. I think that’s do-able for cleans and longcycle, though it’ll certainly make the rest of the lifts harder!
    I’m likely to be sore for a couple of days, so I’ll make sure workouts for the rest of the week have a different focus, and maybe try pentathlon again at the weekend. It’s been a while since I enjoyed a workout this much – I think the mix of physical and mental perseverance is just what I needed ūüôā

    Pentathlon rankings

    Note: If you haven’t read yesterday’s post, do that first!

    Just another snippet on kettlebell pentathlon! ¬†My good friend Dave found a note that Valery Fedorenko posted to Facebook, indicating what scores are considered average, good, and so on. ¬†As Fedorenko himself points out these are very subjective, as they’ll be influenced by age, injury, and any number of other things. ¬†But I kind of like having a score to aim for (need nearly 100 more points to level up!), and knowing what Fedorenko considers to be a good score.

    Here are the ranks as outlined on facebook:

    Women’s Standards

    • Less < 360 :¬†Low
    • 361 – 540 :¬†Average
    • 541 – 720 :¬†Good
    • 721 – 900 :¬†High
    • 901 – 1080 :¬†Extreme
    • More > 1081 :¬†Superhuman

    Men’s Standards

    • Less < 720 :¬†Low
    • 721 – 900 :¬†Average
    • 901 – 1080 :¬†Good
    • 1081 – 1260 :¬†High
    • 1261 – 1440 :¬†Extreme
    • More > 1441 :¬†Superhuman
    I’d like to reach “high”, and consider “extreme to be a very long term goal. ¬†Superhuman is probably never going to happen!

    Kettlebell pentathlon

    In case you hadn’t noticed, I quite enjoy kettlebell lifting. ¬†I’m also interested in kettlebell sport, so I have a lot of respect for a man called Valery Fedorenko – he’s a so-called Master of Sport, and has been winning competitions since he was a teenager. ¬†Now in his 40s he is the founder of the World Kettlebell Club and an authority on kettlebell sport, which is the discipline of lifting really heavy things for a really long time (10 minute sets with the bell changing hands only once).

    So imagine my delight when Fedorenko posted a video explaining something called kettlebell pentathlon.  He describes it as a game, and challenges the viewer to see what they can achieve.  Hell yeah!

    The rules are as follows: perform each exercise for 6 minutes, changing hands as many times as you like. ¬†Rest for 5 minutes in between exercises. ¬†Choose whichever bell you like for each exercise, or pick one and use it all the way through – it’s up to you. ¬†These are 1-arm exercises – there are no doubles. ¬†The maximum rep range is indicated below in brackets – if you can exceed this number, you need to lift heavier. ¬†The exercises are:

    • Clean (x120)
    • Longcycle press (x60) – this is a military press; no knee involvement.
    • Jerk (x120)
    • Half snatch (x108)
    • Push press (x120) – heels must not¬†leave the floor during this exercise.
    Make sure to either count your reps (or have someone with you to count them), because this isn’t just about doing the movements, it’s about keeping score too. ¬†At the end the running total of all the exercises is added up to give you your total, and then multiplied by a number that depends on the kettlebell you used:
    • 8kg – multiply by 1.0
    • 12kg – x1.5
    • 16kg – x2.0
    • 20kg – x2.5
    • 24kg – x3.0
    • 28kg – x3.5
    • 32kg – x4.0
    And so on. ¬†Fedorenko kindly says that you may use up to a 72kg kettlebell, although the very thought makes me feel…woozy.
    I attempted all of this for the first time this evening, and to be honest I’m just kind of glad to have made it to the end without having to stop or ripping my hand open! ¬†My reps were as follows:
    • Clean – 110 (very happy with this)
    • Longcycle press – 60 (and this)
    • Jerk – 84 (reasonably happy with this, but could do better)
    • Half snatch – 82 (fatigue really kicking in now)
    • Push press – 88 (just happy to get these done without falling over or swearing)
    So that’s a total of 424 reps, with a 12kg bell throughout for a multiplier of 1.5 = 636 points. ¬†I’m rather happy with that for a first time, but will definitely be aiming to improve it.
    And soon, too ūüôā
    Note: Click here for more about kettlebell pentathlon!

    While I’m on a roll…

    Why not post today’s workout? ¬†After a quick dynamic warmup…¬†3 rounds of:

    • Round-the-worlds, 24kg kettlebell, 10 each way
    • Halos, 12kg kettlebell, 10 each way
    Followed by 3 rounds of:
    • Single-leg deadlift, 24kg KB, 5 each leg
    • Bottoms-up goblet squat, 24kg, 5 reps
    • 2-hand swing, 24kg KB, 10 reps
    Swiftly followed by a military press pyramid set, starting with 1 rep each arm, up to 5, then back down to 1; 16kg KB.  The finisher was 2 sets of 40 1-hand swings, 20L/20R with 24kg.
    I’m pleasantly tired after that, but my post-workout meal was a cup of Blue Lady tea and a home made chocolate brownie. ¬†Anabolic, no? ūüėČ

    Barbell complexes. Ouch.

    Today was my day off, so after a lovely lie in OH and I went up to the gym.  I make that sound easy.  What really happened is that we spend 10 minutes scraping about 6 inches of snow off the car, and then we tried to move it.  Oh dear.  It took another 10 minutes of revving, rocking back and forward in the same 2 feet, and finally OH pushing for all he was worth.  He fell over when the car finally found grip and shot forward but it was totally worth it, if only for comedy value.

    We had a good session at the gym, when we finally got there and defrosted.

    • Timed kettlbell snatches.¬† OH is training for kettlebell sport, so he did 3 minutes each side without stopping.¬† I used 12kg and swapped arms every minute; I’m not hardcore enough for KB sport yet!¬† We had a gymboss sounding every minute.
    • Barbell complex; deadlift/clean/front squat/push press.¬† I did 5 rounds with 30kg, 2 rounds with 20kg and 1 at 25kg for a total of 8 sets of 3 reps.¬† Exhausting, but satisfying.
    • Russian twists.¬† 5kg on the end of an olympic bar, 4 sets of 10 total twists (5 each side).

    We weren’t strict with rests, worrying more about using challenging weight and good form.¬† I haven’t done much powerlifting so getting the movements correct and tidy was a struggle, especially when I started to fatigue – hence the drop in weight towards the end.

    Tomorrow’s workout will mostly be centred around getting to work.¬† An hour’s walk in foot deep snow sounds like a reasonable challenge!

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