Monday, April 30, 2007

'Affirmations of Weakness'

Attached is some great info from David Whiltey, RKC from Nashville, TN. I agree with most of these and thought they would be great for my blog. I have included a link to David's site.

"I have a list of things that make me cringe every time I hear them. I call them 'Affirmations of Weakness'. Most of them are things that I have said to myself through much of my life before I became aware of the fact that the only thing I (we) have complete control over is our own thoughts. This isn't to say we (I) always exercise this control, but it is there if the thinker chooses to use it.

Here is a partial list and what they really mean:

1. 'I can't help it, that's just the way I am.'
This is usually a justification for some stupid or weak behavior that is really just a lack of accountabilty or self respect. What it really means: 'I know that I shouldn't be/act/feel the way I do, but I don't want to change because changing is too hard or too scary for me to even consider.'*This does not apply if it frames a positive statement like 'I train hard, eat right and save my money. I don't cheat on my wife. I can't help it, that's just the way I am.'

2. 'I wish I was that lucky'
Usually a response to the achievement of something great through hard work, dedication and intelligent planning by another person, or a simple gift from God. Luck = preparation + opportunity. If you are lacking in luck, look to your preparation.What it really means: 'I regret the fact that I don't have the faith or discipline to achieve the things that other people do.'

3. 'I'm doing the best I can'
Not to be confused with 'I gave it everthing I have', this is one of the greatest lines of self-perjury in existence. If you tell yourself you are doing the best you can, maybe you'll believe it and won't feel such a sting later when you regret the fact that you didn't.What it really means: 'I am willing to go outside my comfort zone and I am making a conscious decision to remain weak, fat, broke and miserable.'

There are lots more. In fact, if you hear or think of one, send it to me. On a related note: I ran across this new article by Gym Jones mastermind Mark Twight and believe it is required reading for anyone who seeks self-improvement.Read it here:

Dave's site address is:

Bodyweight Legs & Abs

The pain in my back and arm has gotten worse...not better. I need to go back to the Dr. and get an MRI and XRAY to make sure it is a pinched nerve. Obviously I injured myself ALOT more than I originally thought and have been dealing with major pain.

Yesterday I trained for the first time in 5 days. I am not going to do anything with my upper body until this issue is cleared up.

I did a circuit of the following with no rest in between exercises. I went thought it 3 times:

Prisoner Squats - 1 set of 20
Dragon Walks - 1 set of 10
Bench Jumps - 1 set of 10
Calf Raises - 1 set of 10

Then I did a circuit of ab exercises. I went though that circuit 3 times:

Decline Sit Ups - 1 set of 20
Swiss Ball Crunches - 1 set of 15
Hanging Leg Raises - 1 set of 10

Last week I tried to ease back into upper body training. I think that was a mistake. I know intend to try to let my body completely heal before I attempt to train upper body again.

PS - I am still planning on a review of the American Kettlebell Certification but have not been in the best mood to write and post. It will get done in the near future.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Few Days Rest...

I am in Dallas for business for a few days and have decided to take a few days off from training. I need to completely rest in order to let my injury fully heal. I hope to resume training Saturday. It has been 6 weeks since this injury occurred and I do not want it to linger any longer than it already has.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Legs - Harley Ride & No RKC

My arm is feeling ALOT better today after doing some light upper body work yesterday and I am encouraged that I am heading in the right direction. I have to go to Dallas tonight till Friday night for a business meeting so I wanted to get a good workout in before I leave.

I did some leg training this morning.

Leg Presses - 3 sets of 8 reps - heavy: 540,630,630 - 24 total reps

after about a minute rest I dropped the weight and pounded out 3 quick sets with only 5 seconds rest between each set for a good burn in my legs.

Leg Presses - 3 sets of 8 reps - light: 270,270,270 - 24 total reps

Then I supersetted bench jumps and dragon walks with no rest:

Bench Jumps - 3 sets of 10 reps - 30 total reps
Dragon Walks - 3 sets of 10 reps - 30 total reps

As a finisher I supersetted prisoner squats and hanging leg raises:

Prisoner Squats - 3 sets of 20 reps - 60 total reps
Hanging Leg Raises - 3 sets of 10 reps - 30 total reps

It is 70 degrees today and I got the chance to take out my motorcycle for the first time this year! I have a 2003 HD Soft Tail Duse and do not get to ride as often as I would like.The combination of NO PAIN in my arm/back and a quick ride on the bike sure puts the wind in your sail.

Finally, because of a number of factors I have decided not to attend the RKC in June of this year. It is a big time and monetary commitment and although I would like to attend I have to do what is best for my family at this time. I coach my 8 year old's baseball team and would miss his final two games of the year. I realize that you can not replace lost times like that and feel that I have plenty of time to doing things for myself going forward. I was looking forward to meeting alot of like minded people at the RKC and being able to share ideas but this blog and others like it will have to suffice for now.

Monday, April 23, 2007

PT & Circuit Training

Today was my first training since the American Kettlebell Certification class on Saturday. I plan on writing a detailed description in a few days but I enjoyed it very much.

I had a PT session this morning and then went to the gym to train. I am progressing from my pinched nerve and have begun to do some light upper body exercises. I trained circuit style today.

I went through the following circuit 3 times:

Neutral Pullups - 1 set of 5
Horizontal Pullups - 1 set of 5
Cleans - 16kg bell - 1 set of 5 each arm
Pushups - 1 set of 5
One Arm Swings - 20kg bell - 1 set of 5 each arm
Triple Crush - 16kg bell - 1 set of 5
Sumo Squat - 32kg bell - 1 set of 5
Hack Squat - 16kg bell - 1 set of 5
Chest Press Machine - 135lbs - 1 set of 8
Hanging Leg Raises - 1 set of 8

I have to remember to take it slow. I am really aching to get back to heavier swings, snatches, presses and to start doing jerks.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Physical Therapy & Manual Labor

I had my second PT session this morning and was feeling better after it. My trap is a knot of muscles and the therapist tried to manually get the knot worked out. After about 10 minutes of his elbow in my back I did some exercises on a foam roller and then had 10 minutes of EMS to stimulate the muscles. I planned on training legs and some cardio today but had another issue to deal with...

I had about 6 inches of water in my basement Monday after the Nor' Easter that hit Massachusetts. We have a french drain and a sump pump but the pump malfunctioned and I did not discover the problem till it was too late.

We fixed the pump and began drying out the basement (finished) while hoping we could salvage the rug.

This morning my wife and I decided that the rug was too far gone and beginning to smell up the whole basement. So I had to cut the rig into 3 big & heavy sections and carry/pull them up the stairs of my bulkhead and then pick them up and throw them in the dumpster I had dropped in my driveway.

The gym was out after this event as I felt like my heart rate was over the max. So...I guess I got the cardio/leg workout I was aiming for just in a different way than I anticipated. I can't imaging trying to move the rug if I was not in shape.

The only problem is I think I overused my right arm.....hopefully it does not regress from the improvement I have seen this week.

I am planning one last training session tomorrow before I head to Ohio for the American Kettlebell Certification Class on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Upper Body - Light

I feel pretty good after my PT session yesterday. I pulled my trap pretty bad and that is causing all the arm pain. I plan on doing PT for a few weeks to loosen the muscles and rehab myself back to 100%.

Today I decided to do a VERY LIGHT upper body workout to get the blood flowing in my chest, arms, back and shoulders.

First I warmed up on the bike for 5 minutes and then did some upper body stretches to loosen up before I got going.

My workout looked like this:

Cleans - 16kg bell - 3 sets of 5 each arm - 30 total reps
C & P - 16kg bell - 3 sets of 5 each arm - 30 total reps
Smith Machine Horizontal Row - Bodyweight - 3 sets of 5 - 15 total reps
Machine Chest Press - 1 set of 8 @ 75lbs, 1 sets of 8 @ 105lbs, 1 set of 8 @ 135lbs - 24 total reps
Machine Chest Fly - Same as above - 24 total reps
Machine Incline Press - Same as above - 24 total reps
Bottoms Up Clean - 16kg bell - 3 sets of 5 each arm - 30 total reps
Triple Crush - 12kg bell - 3 sets of 5 - 15 total reps

I finished with a Slingshot with the 12kg bell - 30 seconds in each direction.

We shall see how my trap feels tomorrow morning. I have another PT session at 8 am.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

HIIT Cardo & Abs/Core

I did another HIIT cardio session today in the treadmill. I alternated walking at 4.5 mph and running at 8 mph for 15 minutes. I ended up burning 241 calories and got my heart rate up to 173 bpm. Not bad considering my maximum is supposed to be 182. I was panting during the walking phase....walking at 4.5 mph on a 15% incline is not really an active rest but it beats running at 8mph.

Then i did a circuit of ab exercises. I I went through the following circuit 4 times:

Russian Twists - 12lb shot - set of 10 - 40 total reps
Russian twists w/ Hot Potato - 12lb shot - set of 10 - 40 total reps
Sit up w/ Pullover - 12lb shot - set of 10 - 40 total reps
Reverse Crunch - set of 10 - 40 total reps
Hanging Knee Raises - set of 10 40 total reps

I finished with a set of 50 reps of:

Alternating High Steps with the 12lb shot - 50 reps each leg - 100 total reps

Grand Total: 300 reps

This injury has forced me to try to find things that I can do while not making the injury worse. I have my first PT session in about an hour and am feeling about 70% of my normal self right now. Rest was the thing I needed.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Xvest Training - Legs

I trained legs today with the 40 lbs Xvest. My workout looked like this:

Prisoner Squats - 3 sets of 10 reps - 30 reps total
Bench Pistols - 3 sets of 5 reps - 15 reps per leg - 30 total reps
Dragon Walks - 3 sets of 10 steps - 30 steps per leg - 60 total steps
Single Leg Calf Raises - 3 sets of 10 reps - 30 reps per leg - 60 total reps

I finished with 50 reps of Prisoner Squats at my bodyweight.

That is a grand total of 230 reps of leg training. 180 of them was while wearing a 40 lb vest.

I rested for about 5 minutes after I was done and was still short of breath. I decided to check my heart rate on the treadmill and it read 124 bpm.

The combination of the 40 lb Xvest and leg training are a great strength and conditioning duo. Especially if done with almost no rest between sets.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Incline HIIT & Abs/Core

Today I did High Intensity Interval Training on the treadmill at an incline of 15%. I alturnated between walking at 4 MPH for 1 minute and running at 8mph for 30 seconds. I did this for 20 minutes and was wiped out when I was finished. According to the treadmill I burned 337 calories and reached a maximum heart rate of 176 beats per minute.

Then I did some ab and core exercises:

Reverse Crunches: 1 set of 20
Bicycles: 1 set of 20
Plank: 30 seconds
Roman Chair Extensions: 1 set of 20
Ab Wheel: 1 set of 20

I finished with 3 sets of 5 reps of Windmills with a 5 lb dumbell. I need to keep the weight light because of the pinched nerve. I want to work back to heavy poundage very slowly.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Incline Walk/Jog & Bodyweight Legs

Today I walked & jogged for 20 minutes at a 15% incline. I burned (according to the treadmill) 304 calories and my maximum heart rate was 167.

After that I did some leg training Naked Warrior style. I alternated pistols and dragon walks for about 15 minutes. My leg training looked like this:

Bench Pistols - Bodyweight - 5 sets of 5 each leg - 25 reps each leg
Dragon Walks - Bodyweight - 5 sets of 15 steps each leg - 75 steps each leg

Believe it or not both of these exercises are very hard even with no added resistance. I am glad I started doing them and hope to be able to do a rock bottom pistol in the near future. The I plan on adding weight using kettlebells or the Xvest to increase the resistance.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Com. Mark Reifkind, Senior RKC has been in the strength game for over thirty years. As a national caliber gymnast, then as a bodybuilder, a powerlifter and coach for the Powerlifting Team USA, and finally a girevik, he has learned great lessons. Listen and spare yourself from years of frustration and no progress:

1) It's all easy till it's heavy.
2) If you're bored, it's not heavy enough.
3) If you seek your limits you will find them.
4) The next step off a peak is always down.
5) One should step down rather than fall off.
6) What you see depends on where you stand.
7) The higher you climb, the farther you see.
8) Simple doesn't mean easy.
9) Avoid random acts of variety.
10) Start at your goal and work backwards.
11) The more injured people are, the better they listen.
12) It's a meal, not a party.
13) You train for sport, you don’t do sport to train.
14) If you don't have a goal and a deadline you are just exercising, not training.

This advice is great and a nice reminder for people who are intense training addicts ( I know a few)! I have to admit that point numbers 4, 5 & 11 have become readily apparent to me in the last three weeks. Good info to try to keep things in perspective and have a plan of attack when training.

Thanks for the insight Mark! Much least by me.

Kettlebells - Legs

Today I did more of a traditional kettlebell leg workout. It felt good to use the bells a bit again. I still took it easy because I am still dealing with the pinched nerve.

My training consisted of:

KB Sumo Squats - 24kg bell - 5 sets of 8 - 40 reps
KB Hack Squats - 24kg bell - 5 sets of 8 - 40 reps
Behind the Neck KB Squats - 24kg bell - 3 sets of 8 - 24 reps
One Arm KB Swings - 16kg bell - 3 sets of 8 - 24 reps each arm

Very basic training but I feel I am progressing health wise. I might try acupuncture again next week and am scheduled for PT next Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bodyweight Leg Training & Abs

Last night was the best nights sleep I have had in two weeks. My arm seems to be inching toward total health I just need to try to keep my training to the bare minimum in order to not push things to fast.

With that in mind I did a bare bones leg training this morning with some ab/core work as a finisher. My training looked like this:

Prisoner Squats: 3 sets of 30 - 60 total reps
Dragon Walks - 3 sets of 10 steps - 30 total steps each leg
Hanging Leg Raises - 3 sets of 10 - 30 total reps

I did the above in a circuit with almost no rest and felt great at the end. So good that I knew I needed to stop. Funny how an injury puts things into perspective.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Incline Walking & Abs

Today I walked at an incline of 15% for 15 minutes at a pace of 4 mph. I got my heart rate up to 135 bpm and stayed there for most of the time. After my walk a did a very light ab workout:

Reverse Crunches - 3 sets of 15
Single Leg Ups - 3 sets of 15

My arm felt better for a while after the acupuncture yesterday but the pain woke me up 2 hours after I fell asleep. I saw the Dr. again this morning and he gave me a referral to do some PT. I hope to start that today or tomorrow. The Dr. commented how tight my back muscles are and suggested semi-regular massages to help loosen up. I am planning to incorporate a massage at least once every 3 months and may try yoga/pilates to help stretch my muscles. I guess it is a day to day process of trying to go one step forward without taking a step back.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Taking It Easy....

I took Easter Sunday and today OFF from any semblance of training. My wife and I decided to take the kids to Easter Mass yesterday morning and that was a workout enough. I wish I had a picture of the faces of some of the people in the church when we walked in with our 4 children! Jared is 8 years old and the triplets (Jack, Justin & Jaiden) are 3. It was a bit stressful and we only lasted 25 minutes but we did our best.

Today I got my first acupuncture treatment ever. A few people have highly recommended it to me and I decided to take the plunge. I will give you my feedback in my blog on the results of the treatments although I feel better already - even if it is just in my head. This pinched nerve is really starting to bother me and affect my daily activities.

I have not been able to resume training and want to be 100% for next weekends certification class with The American Kettlebell Club. I may restrict my training to walking on an incline on the treadmill, walking the dog and the StairMaster so I can make sure that my injury completely heals.

I miss training but understand the more time I give my body to heal the better off long term I will be in terms of total health.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Legs & "Shot" Training

I am continuing my focus on legs.

Today I started with:

Leg Press - 3 sets of 8 - 450lbs, 540lbs & 630lbs

Then I did the following with the 12lb shot:

Deck Squats - 3 sets of 10 - 30 reps
Hack Squats - 3 sets of 10 - 30 reps
Bench Pistols - 3 sets of 5 each leg - 15 total reps each leg
Box Jumps into Full Squat - 3 sets of 10 - 30 reps
Dragon Walks - 3 sets of 12 steps each leg - 36 steps total steps each leg

I finished with a superset of:

Get Up Sit Ups - 12kg bell - 3 sets of 5 - 15 total reps each arm
Slingshot - 12kg bell - 3 sets of 10 each direction - 30 total reps each arm

I have never done pistols so it was a nice change of pace. Doing them with a bench under me let me focus on a perfect rep each time. I will try to work into a rock bottom pistol. Adding a full squat to the bench jumps really added some intensity to the exercise. I feel like my hams got a great stretch!

Friday, April 6, 2007

"Freestyle" EDT

I decided to mix things up today and do some cardio, leg and core training EDT style.

First I did the StairMaster for 20 minutes. My goal was 100 flights of stairs in 20 minutes. I ended up completing 99 in 20 minutes and felt pretty good about the results since I have not done the StairMaster in over 2 years. I burned 244 calories and worked up a good sweat. Also my legs were shaking after the leg training I have been doing so it was nice to get the blood flowing. I am going to try to increase the number of floors I do in 20 minutes in the coming training sessions with an eventual goal of 125 flights.

After the stairs I cooled down for 3 minutes and did 10 minutes alternating between Dragon Walks and Hanging Leg Raises. For those who have asked I am trying to get a good description of Dragon Walks for you. I got the exercise from page 292 of Beyond Bodybuilding; the article describes - "How to develop cut and muscular legs with the Dragon Walk".

The second PR lasted 10 minutes and consisted of:
Dragon Walks - 5 sets of 10 steps each leg - 50 total steps
Hanging Leg Raises - 5 sets of 8 reps - 40 total reps

This training session was great in that I trained my legs and core while getting a great cardio workout and breaking a good sweat. I have always favored upper body training but because I am working around my back/arm injury I think I will be better of in the long run. It has allowed me to focus on legs and exercises and training I might not otherwise work into my routine.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

EDT - Legs - Bodyweight Drills

I did and EDT leg training session today with the goal of strength endurance. I wanted to kick my metabolism into overdrive because of the lack of intense training lately. My back is feeling better each day but my finger is still numb. I plan on avoiding any upperbody training until I am completely healed.

My training looked like this:

First PR (15 minutes):
Prisoner Squats - 6 sets of 20 - 120 total reps
Dragon Walks - 6 sets of 10 - 60 steps each leg

After I rested 3 minutes:

Second PR:
Bench Jumps - 6 sets of 10 - 60 total reps
Bodyweight Single Leg Calf Raise - 6 sets of 10 - 60 reps each leg

I felt great after training. The best I have felt in weeks! It was nice to get my heart rate up also. I hope I continue to make progress toward a total recovery.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Taking it easy....

I went to the gym at 5:30 am today and walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes on an incline. I varied the incline from between 10% and 15%. I wanted to do some HIIT sprints with a minute jog at a pace of 10 minutes a mile and a minute all out spring at 4:30 a mile. I have done this in the past for 20 minutes total but as I started the sprint I could feel tightness in my upper back & tri. Not worth making my injury worse.

I am going to heed the warning of many of you who regularly correspond with me on my blog. I need to get better and not worse. Thus the walk...I felt like an old man walking being that my bells were 100 feet away on the other side of the gym saying..."Pick us up! Throw us around"! Kinda scary how much I miss it but I need to listen to my body.

After my walk I did some light ab/core work:

3 sets of 20 regular incline board sit ups
3 sets of ten roman chair back extensions

I have the American Kettlebell Certification in 2 1/2 weeks and want to be in solid shape for that.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


I trained legs today. Using traditional gym equipment and kettlebells. My training looked like this:

Leg Press: 3 sets of 8 - 270lbs, 360lbs, 450lbs
Hack Squat (machine): 3 sets of 8 - 180lbs, 230lbs, 280lbs
Seated Calf Raise: 4 sets of 8 - 90lbs, 135lbs, 180lbs, 90lbs
Kettlebell Hack Squats: 4 sets of 8 - 20kg bell for 3 sets - 16kg bell finisher
Sumo Squats: 3 sets of 8 - 24kg bell

I finished with 3 sets of 10 Dragon Walks - 10 steps each leg.

It will be interesting to see how my legs feel tomorrow.

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Week Ahead...

Well, I went to the Dr. and confirmed that I injured my Trap/Lat and that the injury is causing the arm pain, the pinched nerve, and the numbness in the index finger on my right hand. I was given some anti inflammatory medicine and muscle relaxers and told not to do ANY upper body exercises for a week. (She pushed for 10 days but was able to talk her down).

So I plan on alternating leg training without kettlebells and H.I.I.T training on the treadmill. It will be a nice change of pace for a week. Hopefully I will be able to resume my kettlebell training next Monday. I also plan on trying to build in time for more rest and scale back my intensity so that this does not happen again!

I am heading to Cincinnati on April 20th for the American Kettlebell Certification class and want to be in good health for it. I am hoping to work on my form on the clean & jerks at the certification class so I can compete in both events (C & J and snatch) at the next GS Event.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Swings - "Shot Training" - Core Work

I felt much better this morning after getting a restful( relatively pain free) sleep. I felt good enough to go back to the gym for some light training.

I started with some light(16kg swings) -
5 sets of 10 - 16kg - two handed swings
5 sets of 5 - 16kg - one handed swing - left arm
5 sets of 5 - 16kg - one handed swing - right arm

The I threw around the 12lb "Shot" for a bit. I did 3 sets of ten of the following:

Slingshots (both direction)
Deck Squats
Hot Potato
Low Toss
High Toss

The is did some very light (12kg) hand to hand swings: 5 sets of 3 each arm

I finished with some core work:

Hanging Leg Raises - 5 sets of 5
Pikes - 5 sets of 5

We shall see how I fell tomorrow. I plan to ease back into training and wait for a bit before I resume heavy snatches and presses.