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A Twist Added

Two more little PTs from this weekend to document. Both were late in the evening (1930 or later).

Saturday

Similar to last Sunday’s, this was a simple kettlebell protocol using the 24 kg bell. After warming up with several minutes of loose striking on the heavy bag and floor movements, I did two sets of five minutes of relaxed kettlebell goodness.

First was a diagonal clean and twisted press combo, alternating sides every few reps for five minutes. Then on to swings, alternating hands for the single hand swings, and finishing off with two handed swings. Last minute or so was cool-down with salsa dance moves.

After that was an active meditation aikido style. This is helping stretch out my ankles nicely, as I sit in seiza as long as possible, then bowing (rei) to relieve the pressure for a tic before coming back to sit up.

Music: Pandora mix of Brazilian and samba, finishing with the Calm Meditation station.
Diet: Fasted since breakfast.

Sunday

Started with qi gong breathing and movements. Then went into the TACFIT Kettlebell “No Effort” day yoga and stretching/recovery. Finished with more of the meditation similar to yesterday’s.

Music: Pandora Calm Meditation station.
Diet: Fasted since breakfast.

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I took a week or two off from heavy physical training, and today, I’ve broken that fast. I was getting worn down by a lot of time at work, odd times at home, tension of various sorts, etc. And was just feeling like I needed to take a PT break, so I did.

Today, I’m back to it. I was really thinking about a super heart-thumping, gorge-rising in your throat, can’t breath-so-I’m-laying-on-the floor workout, but something told me to hold off a bit on that. So instead, in the vein of continuing to de-stress and remember to let go of excess tension, the whole workout was dedicated to projecting as much power, while remaining as relaxed as possible.

I’ve been re-cultivating my Daoist ways and making sure to remember to hold myself as loose as possible, to maintain good form and posture, breathe, all that sort of stuff. I have felt that I’m a bit separated from that, and it’s time to come home, as it were.

Having said that, it should be noted that I’ve been very good about holding true to that in my work life and political life (such as *that* is). As the site lead for my company at the facility where I work, I’ve been blessed with a really good team, and my role as often as not, is *not* to manage them, but rather to stay out of the way as much as possible and let their strengths shine through (as much as the team sometimes would like me to just lay down the law… but they are really good, smart people, so I’m not going to let them have it so easy 😉 ).

As for PT today, I started off with gentle movement, vaguely martial, progressing to weaponless striking of the heavy bags, with as much force as I can whilst remaining as relaxed as possible. Over the years I’ve become fairly decent at striking that way, and it just feels good. A friend was over the other day, and she mentioned something about hitting “like a bear,” or something like that. I don’t remember exactly the expression, but I know what she meant, because I was showing her elliptical, relaxed open hand strikes, which often don’t resemble boxing jabs and such at all.

I did some good relaxed floor work, changing levels and rolling and such. Then a short bout of kettlebells: five minutes of LCCJ, and then five minutes of single hand swings. Both exercises with the 24 kg bell.

Again, the emphasis was relaxed power; for the LCCJ, I went at an extremely slow stroke rate, making sure not to muscle it up or anything, but to sort of “let the bones” do the work. The motion simply came from movement, and I made sure to stop it at the top, and work my bones and posture into a good solid position, held it, then let the ball fall, starting the next movement. As much tension as possible gone from the movement.

Same with the swings. I swung the bell for ten reps, then switched sides, back and forth, holding it as loosely as possible, letting my body movement control the bell through the whole swing.

I followed up with some stretching, and some bodyweight squat/calf raises, then finished off sitting in seiza for quite a bit, allowing my shins and feet to slowly stretch out and rest my bodyweight further into the ground.

Feel pretty good right now, energized rather than exhausted, loose rather than tight (forearms a little tight, though). Good stuff. I’ve been fasting since breakfast this morning. Might get a little something in a bit, or just not worry about it. Don’t know, yet.

Music: Pandora yoga mix (Arabian/Indian electronica/trance).
Diet: fasted since brekkies.

Taking It Easy

So–

Wednesday

Wednesday was a good SEAL Ultimate Aerobic Workout (see to the left), finishing up with a few diagonal clean + yaw (twisted) kettlebell presses each side (instead of going back upstairs and hitting the pull up bar again).

Shoulder was hurting a good bit, but surprise–using the 24 kg bell actually felt good after I got into the groove on the right side. Actually felt much better after working it. So–improvement! Yay! 🙂

Saturday

Today, I also wanted to go relatively light, so I stayed with the 24 kilo bell. Pretty simple “man lifts rock” workout again, though with multiplanar twisting again (I think I like “twisted press” better than “yaw press,” so that’s mostly what I’ll refer to it from now on).

Core
– 5 minutes, TGU (Turkish Get Ups), alternating sides (24 kg)
– 5 minutes, diagonal clean + twisted press, both sides (24 kg)
– 5 minutes, LCCJ (long cycle clean and jerk), both sides (24 kg)

Stretch/Cooldown
– TACFIT Kettlebell Cooldown “yoga”

“Alternating sides” means that I would do one full cycle of the TGU (all the way up, then all the way back to the floor) then switch to do the other side.

By “both sides,” I mean that I would do several on one side, the switch and do the other side for the same amount of times, then switch back, etc.

For the TACFIT “yoga,” don’t be thinking some nice peaceful relaxing yoga studio stuff with cute girls in spandex. This is a fairly hard isometric workout that while it includes stretching, also includes pain, concentration, and a lot of sweat. It’s a workout in itself, and when I’m done with that, I’m laying on the deck in a big sweat soaked patch of carpet, just glad to be alive.

BUT–it’s good for you. I have a lot of hip mobility, but my shoulders, esp my right, are really pretty tight (darn you, “Double Handcuff!”). Then there’s static exercises like “Flying Boat,” which have you bow up, supported only on your pelvis–arms and shoulders back, legs up (for 60 seconds… whew!).

“King Pigeon” I really like, and I think it’s one of the things responsible for allowing me for the first time to sit in seiza tonight longer than 5 seconds. Really. First time in a least a couple years I wasn’t in extreme pain trying to sit Japanese-style–which is something I used to be able to do for hours at a time before. Before killing both of my knees and practically breaking my ankle.

I’ve been using my HIIT IT Pro Workout Timer Android app on my phone. Really handy, I tell you. Recommended. I think there’s probably one for iPhone, too.

Music: Pandora Yoga mix (Indian/Arabian ambient/electronica mix).
Diet: Higher carb day.

Tonight’s PT was Stone Age simple: man lifts rock. Just a simple 10 minutes of Turkish Get Up with the 32 kg kettlebell.

Still hurts my right shoulder a bit. I’m just stimulating it to heal… 🙂

Last coupla workouts were simplicity defined:

Saturday
Sticking with the 32 kg kettlebell, a quick five minute Turkish Get Up session (with the last few seconds on the floor doing ab pullovers with the bell).

Sunday
Back to basics with the “Ultimate Aerobic Workout,” as demonstrated on its page to the right. Hadn’t done that in a while, and my shoulder was taking it hard. The various push ups were not feeling too well, even with a warm-up consisting of posting and sit-outs. I still haven’t been fencing with the fencing folks in a while; my shoulder is just not up to that kind of stress. I can do a lot of different exercises, but when I fence O-style, it really seems to tear my shoulder up, alas, so I don’t do it when it’s not near 100%.

Ah well.

Music: Pandora “Yoga” mix (Arabic/Indian electronica/ambient).

Recent Events

The weeks before this last, I was going through Scott Sonnon’s TACFIT Kettlebell. I had done the pre-recruit level with the 16 kg bell, and had a good time of it. A couple of weeks ago, I started training on the “Recruit”-level moves, and I really like them! I also upped the bell to the 24 kg for more intensity (for some of the sets).

But this last week, I’ve kinda gone back to basics for a little while (but sneakily adding in a couple of my fave TACFIT moves).

So, back to two-handed swings, using the 32 kg bell. Add the TACFIT “yaw press,” which is the standard military press while turning from one side to the other, and the “diagonal clean,” where you pull the clean from the foot opposite the hand you are using.

Monday:

3 x 25 two handed kb swings (32 kg)
1 x 2 (each side) yaw press (32 kg)
Stretching and cooldown

Thursday:

Stick and empty hand heavy bag
3 x 30 two handed kb swings (32 kg)
1 x 10 two handed kb swings (32 kg)
2 x 2 (each side) yaw press (32 kg)
3 x 2 (each side) diagonal cleans + yaw press (32 kg)
Stretching and cooldown

Of note: for the last three sets, you’ll notice that I added diagonal cleans; I immediately followed each with a yaw press. DO NOT do this with any kind of weight unless you have a bombproof back and torso. In fact, neither the yaw press nor the diagonal clean should be attempted with heavies until you’ve built your torso up, let alone adding them together. I mean it.

In addition to just the normal forces involved in the military press and regular clean, you are adding rotation to the mix. That can be dangerous and cause injury unless you’ve trained up. Use no, or light weights unless you’re trained using your back and torso with rotation and weight. You’ve been warned.

I thought it felt great, but I’ve constantly trained my back and torso, and added the rotational weight lifting from both martial arts and kettlebell.

I’ve gotten back to cycling my carbs, so that I’m focused on eating a lot of protein, fat, and veggies for the majority of the week, with a carb spike day on Saturdays. Taking the cue from Tim Ferriss’ “Slow Carb Diet” from his 4-Hour Body book. Very similar to the ol’ “Anabolic Diet” from Dr. Mauro DiPasquale (recommended from the Big Beyond Belief book).

Music: Filter mix.

Today’s epoch of goodness was brought to you by Mssrs. Tsatsouline, York, and Tabata.

After being banged around by my new kite a coupla Saturdays ago (a workout in itself!) I took it easy for a few days to let my whiplash and wrenched shoulder heal up. After a few days, I did a workout or two, going easy on the shoulder, first, then almost back to normal.

Today, I went for a pretty good extended session. After some loosening up moves, I cranked up the tabata sets (20 sec on/10 sec rest) to 20, for a more extended sustained strength workout consisting of kettlebell snatches (switch hands every set) with the baby bell (16 kg). Which makes it a 10 minute interval set, altogether.

Then went for barbell bar, after five reps left and right hand kettlebell side press (32 kg bell), to do five reps deadlifts (265 lbs/120.2 kg). Rested/demonstrated to roommate some lifts like the two-hands anyhow then back to the side press. First set seemed to hurt the right shoulder a bit, this second set felt better. Felt pretty good, so added 22 lbs to the bar, for five more deads at 287 lbs/131.2 kg.

Why so light, you ask? Still building back up, and taking it slow. Plus, I’m doing it in a context that includes fatiguing exercises first, so I don’t want to damage myself by being *too* eager. I know I can do more, but I’m working on making sure I’m structurally sound (i.e. tendons & ligaments & joints & such) first.

Cooldown and stretching followed.

Overall, felt really good. Right now, several hours later, I can feel a bit of soreness in my shoulders, but otherwise okay.

Today was a fasting day, up until dinner.

Music: Afro-Celt Sound System, POD