Archive for 'Exercise'

How to Choose a Pull Up Bar

How to Choose a Pull Up Bar

Posted on 03. May, 2010 by .

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After writing a post about a home gym for under $100, I thought about editing the post and adding the pull up bar to the list. But, I wanted to create a separate post for it because I own two different kinds of pull up bars and I want to give you a better idea on which model will fit your needs. Also, thanks to Dave for giving me the idea to write about it.

There are two pull up bars that I’m going to compare in this post. For the first kind, you can either mount it on your door frame and for the second one, you can take on/off the door way whenever you like. The other kind of bars that are out there are the free standing ones which are usually more expensive and takes up more space.

The Perfect Pullup

The first one we’re going to talk about is the Perfect Pull Up which is the one you can attach to your door. This wall mounted pull up bar is great because you can do a lot more things with it. For instance, you can change the position of the bar so that it’s upside down. You can perform body rows at different angles from this position. This brand also comes with a pair of Ab Straps that you can hang on the bar and rest your elbow on while doing hanging knee raises and other ab exercises. It also comes with rotating handles for different hand positions.

Because the bar is moveable, you can also do chest presses, tricep extensions, etc. It’s definitely a versatile pull up bar that you can use for many other different exercises. If you go to this Amazon page for the Perfect Pullup, you will see a video of a guy who’s using this bar for the exercises I mentioned above. The price of this bar has gone down significantly since I first bought it. You can get it for as low as $22 which is a very good deal.

Here is a Youtube video showing more ideas on how to use the Perfect Pullup. It’s an infomercial but you get the idea:

If you haven’t done chin ups or pull ups before, here is a great video by Craig Ballantyne of Turbulence Training and CB Athletics demonstrating how you can practice your way to your first one:

Iron Gym

The Iron Gym is probably the simplest pull up bar out there. It is removeable so this is great for people who are renting because you don’t have to put holes on your door frame. It comes with a small metal hook that you place on top of the door frame. This hook helps keep the Iron Gym in place while you’re performing pull ups or chin ups. Make sure the you install this hook. Otherwise, you might fall. The one thing I like about this brand is the cushion on the handles. This cushion helps a lot especially if you have callouses. I also like the fact that I didn’t have to install it and the assembly is easy. It can also double as a push up stand when you put it face down on the floor. Using it this way is helpful especially if your wrists hurt while doing regular push ups.

iron-gym-pull-up-bar-
The disadvantages to this bar is that it’s not very versatile. You can only do chin ups, pull ups, push ups on it, nothing else. If you have other gym equipment, this is not a big deal. Unlike the Perfect Pull Up, the Iron Gym is not as versatile. They did come out with an extreme version that allows for different hand positions on the bar but you still can’t do other exercises with it besides the three I just mentioned. You can get this bar from Amazon for $27 to $30.

Please leave any thoughts, ideas, comments below. Thanks for reading!

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A Home Workout Equipment for under $100

A Home Workout Equipment for under $100

Posted on 27. Apr, 2010 by .

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Nowadays, people are looking for convenient solutions to their problems. A home workout equipment is a great way to remedy the problem of not having enough time to go to the gym and/or not having the money to pay for a gym membership. Having your fitness equipment at home is also helpful because you can workout whenever you want on your workout days and don’t have to worry about getting child care if you have kids. Not to mention that you’ll save yourself the trouble of fighting to get your hands on gym equipments if you go to the gym during peak hours.

Lately, I’ve been working out at home and I enjoy all the benefits that I just mentioned above. If you’ve never worked out at home before, you might think that you’d have to spend a lot of money on expensive home fitness exercise equipment like the Bowflex. To be honest, I’ve never tried one of those and I probably never will. Most home gyms cost somewhere between $300 and up and I don’t even have the space to have one at my place. So, I’ve found a great alternative to my dilemma. Today, I get a very effective, full-body workout with kettlebells.

beach_workout [You can even workout outdoors or do a beach workout with just body weight exercises if you don’t have any exercise equipments at home. Photo by Gettyimages.com]

Women usually start with an 18 lb or 8 kg kettlebell while men will do well with an 35 lb or 16 kg kettlebell. An 8 kg kettlebell costs about $63 plus shipping while an 16 kg one costs about $79.95 plus shipping at Dragondoor.com. Either way, both options are still under $100. You might think that you can’t really do much with one kettlebell. I used to think so too until I got a full workout from just one kettlebell while I was training for my instructor certification. Granted that my husband has a 35 lb one but I didn’t use it until I was a little bit more advanced which took me about 8 months of focused training.

Here are some exercises that you can do with one kettlebell:

  • Swings
  • Turkish Get-ups
  • Snatches
  • Cleans
  • Presses/Military Presses
  • Lunges
  • Squats/Goblet Squats
  • Rows
  • Halos
  • Around the world/Slingshot
  • Figure 8
  • 1-leg Squats
  • Clean and Jerks
  • Windmills
  • Bent presses and many more

I mainly use kettlebells for our weights in the bootcamp along with some jump ropes, resistance bands, and body weight exercises. This just goes to say that you can have an effective, full body, home gym workout with minimal equipment without the cost of expensive ready-made home gyms out there. If you think about it, you never have to buy another kettlebell for awhile because these things are so durable that they would probably last for your whole lifetime. Just don’t leave them outside otherwise they’ll get rusty. And, just like with anything in life, in order to really use these equipments to their full potential, you’re going to have to do some learning on your own to perform the exercises well or get a good workout program that is designed to be done with minimal equipment.

One of the programs I highly recommend if you want to do full kettlebell workouts is Kettlebell Burn by Master RKC, Geoff Neupert. I mentioned to Geoff that we named our programs the same and he said that “great minds must think alike.” So, if you know about my kettlebell e-book, just be sure that you don’t confuse mine for Geoff’s new program. His program lasts 16 weeks and it comes with a training log and a nutrition guide. After buying Kettlebell Burn and reading through it, I immediately decided that I’m going to follow it for the next 16 weeks. Geoff has designed it so that I make progress in every workout. It is a solid program.

Last note, kettlebell exercises can be technical so make sure that you take some classes with a certified instructor. The cost of paying for classes versus paying for a gym membership will be a lot cheaper in the long run because you don’t need to be paying for instruction or classes forever. Compared to a gym membership that you have to pay month after month, getting a home gym is the way to go in terms of cost and time as long as you know what you’re doing.

If you’re doing a kettlebell workout, please do let me know how it’s going in the comments section. Everything else on your mind or questions, please leave a comment as well.

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How to Run Properly

How to Run Properly

Posted on 04. Apr, 2010 by .

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A lot of people tend to think that they know how to run. After all, it’s simple right? If you can walk, you can run. I used to think this way until I read about the Tarahumara (pronounced Tara-oo-mara, see their picture above). They are an Indian tribe in North Mexico who are known for their traditional running competitions that lasts for 2 days. A lot of books have been written about them because of their ability to run long distances with little rest and one such book was written by Christopher McDougall and is entitled, “Born to Run”. After much research of the Tarahumaran way of life, I found that they have a very distinct way of running. I found this research to be truly valuable in changing the way that I run so I’d like to share it with you.

I love watching sprinters especially Usain Bolt

I love watching sprinters especially Usain Bolt

I used to get shin splints after running. I tried other types of shoes and different running surfaces but I still kept getting them. I also felt that I was pounding the ground too much like I’m too heavy to run. Back then, I was practicing the “old school” way of running where I’m supposed to roll my foot on the ground starting from the ball of my foot all the way to the heel. It turns out that this way of running was causing my shin splints. I know this because the very first time I applied the Tarahumaran “running mechanics,” I felt light as air and did not get shin splints the next day. Most of all, I was able to perform more high intensity intervals at higher speeds. I felt so good that I just wanted to keep running.

So, what makes this new way of running different? Here are a few things that I’ve learned:

  • My arms should always be at 90 degrees and never pass my head when they swing back and forth.
  • Keep my shoulders and hips right on top of my feet. In other words, I shouldn’t be leaning forward or backward but standing straight.
  • Do not wear running shoes. I stopped wearing running shoes a long time ago for any workouts that I do. I started doing this for my kettlebell work but decided that I needed to stop running in them too. The results are tremendous because the higher heels in running shoes can offset your balance so that you’re leaning forward instead of standing straight.
  • When I get ready for my sprint and during the actual sprints, my heels never touch the ground. In other words, I’m on the ball of my feet the whole time. You’ll know you’re doing this right when you’re calves get a little sore the next day.

Some of these tips also came from a friend of mine who used to run track in college. She gave me all sorts of different “stages” when we sprint but I couldn’t remember them all if my life depended on it…haha. You can also read up on Christopher McDougall’s summary of his experience which he talked about in an article for Men’s Health called, “The Men Who Live Forever”. I got some of the tips from him too. When I run this way, I feel like I can run for a long time and I felt a thrill rush through my veins! Best of all, no more shin splints and more calories burned.

If you have any questions about running, please post them in the comments section and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.

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How to Measure Body Fat

How to Measure Body Fat

Posted on 14. Feb, 2010 by .

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As I got ready to enter the Turbulence Training transformation and took my starting measurements, I realized that I haven’t written a post about how to measure body fat. A lot of people tend to base their progress on the bathroom scale, the tape measure. or the body mass index but body fat is probably the most detailed measurement of progress that we can take. When we measure our body fat percentage, we can tell how much of our weight is from body fat and from lean mass or muscle. This becomes important as we take our second set of measurements at about 2-4 weeks apart, we can then tell if we are gaining muscle, losing fat, maintaining muscle, etc.

Note: the picture above the post does not have anything to do with it but I thought it was so cool and calming.

While hydrostatic body fat testing is the “gold” standard in measuring body fat, Dr. John Berardi at Precision Nutrition came up with something that’s pretty close. Most body fat measurement manuals only use 4 sites but Dr. Berardi’s system tests 7 sites for more accuracy.

The 7 testing sites are as follows:

  • Abdominal Skinfold
  • Triceps
  • Chest
  • Midaxillary
  • Subscapular
  • Suprailliac
  • Thigh

Before you panic and tell yourself that you don’t know half of these sites, let alone pronounce it, I actually have a document with pictures and instructions for you. You can download the Body Fat and Girth Measurement Guide by Precision Nutrition here. This guide includes step by step procedure for measuring body fat and girth (circumference) measurements. In order to use this guide successfully, you would need:

The Accu-Measure Fitness 3000 Personal Body Fat Tester and

accu-measure

The MyoTape Body Tape Measure

myotape1

You can use other brands but I have found Accufitness products to be easier to use. The other ones I’ve used before were bulky and awkward to use. You would also need another person to measure your body fat sites. The girth measurements are easier to do with the Myotape but there’s no way you can measure your body fat on your own (if you find a way to do that, let me know…lol).

Inside the guide you will find that the formulas are way too difficult to calculate and very confusing. So, I created an Excel file for both men and women so that all you need to do is enter your information. After that is done, the worksheet calculates everything automatically for you. You can track up to 12 weeks worth of measurements (spaced 4 weeks apart) in this worksheet.

Download the Men’s Results Tracker here.

Download the Women’s Results Tracker here.

Before you enter your information in the Excel file, make sure that you save a blank version first so that you can use it again for the next set of 12 weeks, and so on. These are the tools that I use when I want to get myself measured and when I measure my clients. I hope you find these tools as useful as I have.

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Doing Stick Ups and Ab Prone Cobra to Relieve Back Pain

Doing Stick Ups and Ab Prone Cobra to Relieve Back Pain

Posted on 07. Feb, 2010 by .

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Eversince I was in college (which seems like ages ago), I’ve had this pain on my mid-back. It usually flares up during mid-terms and finals when I would be studying a lot and pulling off all-nighters so I can get some last minute studying in before the exam. After awhile, this pain went away until about a few months ago. This time though, it was not letting up.

Before, a trip to the gym and doing some cable back rows will usually alleviate the pain. Since I go to the gym fairly consistently, I would do my usual remedy and hoping that it will do the trick. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t. Because of this, I decided to go to a chiropractor. After my visit, the pain would go away for a few days only to come back again. So, after my third visit, my chiropractor suggested that I perform some specific exercises in between visits to help with the pain. I assured him that I perform some on my own but he gave me a different one anyway.

Before I continue with the solution, I want to emphasize that my pain probably comes from having bad posture while sitting in front of the computer (or, in the past, studying) for long periods of time. After awhile of being in this position (since college), it got harder to correct it by trial and error because I really didn’t know what was causing it. Now that I think about this issue even further, I also believe that the pain worsens when I do a lot exercises with my shoulder such as kettlebell snatches and not perform any mobility exercises for them. But, I also want to emphasize the fact that some people feel pain on their lower back which can be caused by many factors such as weight concentrated in the mid-section and poor core strength, just to name a few. So, the exercises that I’m about to discuss would mostly deal with bad posture.

The one exercise that helped me a lot: Stick Ups

I’ve done stick ups before for warm-up as Craig Ballantyne will use it every now and then when he creates his Turbulence Training Workouts. However, I never really thought that it would help my back pain.

Here is a great video of Craig demonstrating the stick up. It’s the first exercise that he discusses in this video:

So, as soon as my back pain flares up, I head on over to an empty wall and start doing stick ups. I was completely surprised when the pain went away! Talk about, immediate results. Now, I just love to include this exercise in my warm-ups and workouts that I design for my clients because it is a simple yet very effective exercise.

Another exercise that I like to do is the Ab Prone Cobra. This exercise tends to help strengthen your Rhomboids (the muscles in between your shoulder blades) which get weak over time because of poor posture. Here is a good video on how to perform the Ab Prone Cobra:

As you can see from both exercises, they tend to put your upper body in the opposite position that you would be if you were hunched over. So, doing these exercises on a regular basis will improve your posture and decrease mid-back pain (if you have it). It’s crazy how a simple adjustment at the chiropractor (which feels good by the way) coupled with these exercises has helped me with my back pain. I’m glad that I didn’t have to resort to pain relievers which only relieve my pain temporarily.

I wrote this post for 3 reasons: 1) to tell people that pain relievers are not the only answer to reducing pain, 2) to promote the chiropractic profession because they do more than just “adjust” people, and 3) to help people be proactive about their posture. As I get older, I tend to value good posture a lot which I took for granted in my younger days and I hope that the people who read this blog/post may do the same.

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Shape Ups or Easy Tone: An Alternative to Working Out?

Shape Ups or Easy Tone: An Alternative to Working Out?

Posted on 19. Jan, 2010 by .

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As I watched t.v. on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I saw a bunch of ridiculous weight loss commercials. But, the 2 ads that stood out the most for me were those for Skechers’ Shape Ups and Reebok’s Easy Tone. Both companies claim that wearing their shoes will help you burn calories and give you more toned legs and a rounder butt. The price? These shoes cost as much as $110! Aside from the ridiculous claims, they also come with a ridiculous price. These claims stir up some anger in me – just imagine me looking angry with smoke coming out of my ears.

If you haven’t heard of these shoes, here is an ad for Shape Ups that I found on Youtube:

If you go to Skechers’ web site, you will find that they have testimonials and “research” that back up their claims. It says that wearing Shape Ups is like walking on sand – takes more effort which therefore burns more calories compared to walking on pavement. I’m not saying that you won’t burn more calories with these shoes. But, the calories burned just won’t be enough to make you see the results that they’re suggesting you would get. You want a cheaper alternative? Just go to the beach and walk/run there. No, seriously, here is a better alternative…

A Strategy for a Rounder Butt: Kettlebell Swings

You probably know by now that I am a big fan of kettlebells. The reason for this is it’s cheaper than a lot of fitness equipments out there but it is also very effective in giving you a great total body workout at home (or anywhere you wish). They’re definitely cheaper than these shoes that will not deliver on their claim and longer lasting as most kettlebells are probably indestructible.

Want tighter glutes and sexier legs? Do swings instead and eat less.

Here is a video that I created that demonstrates what good kettlebell (KB) swings should look like:

After putting my class through their very first workout of just swings, they report being sore for days at a time. This is not unusual as most people since a lot of us forget how or don’t know how to really squeeze or activate our glute muscles. Of course, this soreness goes to a more normal cycle of about a day or 2 once you’re used to doing swings.

From my experience, I saw that my glutes got much tighter and looked a lot better in my skinny jeans ever since I did KB swings as an alternative to my high intensity intervals. But, I didn’t see this right away. It took a good 3-5 months before I even saw a difference. I used to think that a person is born with a nice butt but I think that most people can achieve a nice, rounder looking behind if they just consistently worked on targeting them on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that target training is effective either. This kind of result can only be achieved with overall fat reduction. Reduce the fat on top of your butt muscle and exercise that muscle for that “toned” look. This is the only way results happen.

By now, I am immune to infomercials for ab equipments but I see these commercials for Shape Ups and Easy Tone as another generation for exploiting the public’s need for immediate gratification. I wish having a beach body was way easier. Believe me, I would be the first person to tell you about it but it just isn’t. I know that eating less and moving more doesn’t sound very sexy compared to just walking your way to a leaner body but doing these two things will definitely save you time, money, and heartache in the long run.

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What We can Learn from Jessica Biel

What We can Learn from Jessica Biel

Posted on 13. Oct, 2009 by .

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While I was browsing the internet the other day, I came across a quote from Jessica Biel. But, before I get to the quote let me just say that I know a lot of women who would do anything to look just like Jessical Biel and I am definitely one of them. Unfortunately, there are also a lot more women who would rather look like Jessica Alba. Don’t get me wrong, Jessica Alba is hot, relative to other people’s standards, but I really would appreciate seeing more muscles on her and other women celebrities in Hollywood.

jessica_biel_alba

Getting back to Jessica Biel…My very first exposure to Jessica was from her stint as Mary Camden on “Seventh Heaven.” Then, I saw her a little later on in movies like “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” and “Summer Catch.” But, my favorite bad ass role for her is on “Blade Trinity.” I felt that this “vampire slayer” role really fit her personality and physique. To me, she is the vision of a perfect fitness role model and so I got excited when I read this quote from her:

“There is so much pressure to look a certain way in this town (Hollywood – obviously). But it`s nice to have a little meat on you, and I hope I inspire women to appreciate their muscular calves.”

Jessica was really right on point on this quote. I’ve embraced my nice, muscular calves a long time ago. Even more so, I’ve come to appreciate the sexiness of muscles on my arms, abs, thighs, etc. I only wish that other women out there would follow suit and think the same way.

While many authors or bloggers have written about muscles on women (or lack thereof), I feel that it is also my job as a fitness blogger to join in on the conversation regarding this topic because there are a lot of benefits that can be obtained from gaining muscle. Here are a few:

  • Reduced risk to Osteoporosis and injuries due to increased bone mass – bigger muscles mean thicker bones. Your bones need to increase their size relative to the size of your muscles in order for them to support your frame.
  • Muscles burn more calories – this benefit has been drilled into our heads over and over again yet it is worth mentioning again. While your muscles may burn only about a third more calories when compared to fat, this increased calorie expenditure accumulates over time. Gaining more muscle will help us increase our metabolism and reverse the slower metabolism that we get as a result of aging.
  • Muscles take up less space – let’s face it, muscle is just less dense compared to fat. For instance, back in high school, I used to wear size 7 clothes when I was at 120 lbs. But, when I lost weight after college and dropped down to 119 pounds, I was (and still am) wearing size 5 clothes! This means that I have more lean mass today compared to my high school weight even though I am at about the same weight. To give you a better idea of this, below is a picture of 1 pound of fat vs. 1 pound of muscle.
  • 1 lb fat muscle

  • Muscles are sexy! – enough said.

Ok, so now you know the many benefits of muscle and strength training. Should you be working out like Jessica Biel then? I wish I can give you a sample of Jessica Biels’s workout but knowing what I know about physical training, it probably won’t be any different than what I would give you as a personal trainer.

Keep in mind that just because there are celebrity personal trainers out there, it doesn’t mean that they have a special formula as well. If anything, the celebrities might have an advantage for having the money to pay for their training and nutrition programs. But, with the recent popularity of bootcamps and online programs, it has become easier than ever to find a good workout program that suits your personality and your budget.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start pumping iron now!

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How to  Immediately Get Stronger

How to Immediately Get Stronger

Posted on 15. Sep, 2009 by .

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I didn’t intend to make the title sound too “infomercially” so that you’ll read the rest of the blog post. The truth is, I really have found a way to instantly make my lifts stronger at the gym and this is all thanks to (you can probably guess it by now) – the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) and Pavel Tsatsouline’s teachings.

What I’m about to tell you are very important concepts that has helped me lift heavier and get a more efficient workout. These concepts can benefit anyone who strength trains especially those who have a difficult time lifting progressively heavier weights during a workout. Let’s go through these concepts now shall we?

Irradiation

The concept of irradiation was taught to us by, Doug Nepodal, Senior RKC and my team leader, when he was teaching us about “the Press.” The press that most people know about is the military press. Doug demonstrated irradiation by doing a one-hand military press with a kettlebell and squeezing something like a towel, a hand gripper, (pretty much anything you can squeeeze) etc. with your free hand. Pavel also discussed this in his DVD program, “Power to the People,” (PTTP) while doing a one arm curl and making a fist with his free hand. Irradiation is simply the act of actively contracting the other muscles in your body besides the one that you are using in order to immediately increase your strength during lifting.

Pavel basically explained irradiation as your muscles triggering signals from the brain to send more “juice” or power to the main contracting muscle. Think of it as your other muscles cheering your biceps, in the case of the one arm curl, to lift the weight.

Taking this concept further…

A major breakthrough that I’ve learned during the RKC weekend is the skill of contracting every major muscle in your body while lifting weights. For instance, if I were performing barbell curls, I would be contracting my leg muscles (glutes, quadriceps, calves) and my upper body muscles (trapezius, pectorals, abs) in order to harness more power for those curls. I used to think that the curl is an isolation exercise but doing it this way not only makes your lifts stronger, it also helps you burn a lot more calories than your regular curls because it becomes a total body exercise. Both of these factors combined make the curl a more efficient exercise.

I practiced using all the tension in my muscles during the first day of RKC when we were learning the kettebell swings. If I wanted to powerfully propel the kettlebell with my hips, I had to really connect myself to the ground with my bare feet, pull my knee caps up, and tense all my major muscles. The result is one powerful KB swing.

The Art of Breathing

During exercise, I used to take my breathing for granted because I’m usually more focused on lifting the weight and exercise form. But, this is a huge mistake because just the act of inhaling and exhaling air at the right moments during your lifts makes a big difference on your strength. I realized the importance of this while practicing my clean and press. The kettlebell clean basically starts from what I call a semi-swing but the KB lands on the back of your forearm (near your wrist) and rests in between the “triangle” of your bent arm (see picture). You can then perform a military press from this position.

Photo by Mike Mahler

Photo by Mike Mahler

During the clean and press, the breathing starts from when you pick up the KB from the ground. As you reach the KB, inhale deeply and don’t let go of any air, hike pass the KB behind (like a one-hand swing) and go straight to a clean while still holding your breath. As you begin your military press, exhale the air in small increments as if your letting air out of a tire from a very small hole. The important point to remember in this is to really hold your breath until you’re ready for the press. Doing it this way helps you keep tension in your whole body which in turn will give you more power for your press. When applied to a more familiar exercise such as the squat, you would inhale while your legs are bent, hold your breath as you straighten your legs, and exhale at the top.

Irradiation and breathing really has made a big difference in my lifts. I know that it can be difficult to describe concepts like these in words so, if you have any questions regarding these concepts, please feel free to leave your comment below. Pavel actually discussed a lot more concepts in PTTP so if you are interested in knowing more about those techniques, I highly recommend watching the DVD and reading the book. But, if you were able to understand these concepts from this post and start practicing them at the gym, I would love to hear about your experience. More power to your lifts!

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How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

Posted on 10. Sep, 2009 by .

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This post was inspired by a book that I’m currently reading (and doing) entitled, “Viking Warrior Conditioning,” by Kenneth Jay, Master RKC. I stumbled upon this book during the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) when we did one of the workouts from the book during day 2.

First, here is a little background:

While training for the RKC for several months, I haven’t really touched the treadmill, dumbbells, and barbells. During the week before the RKC, I decided to back off from my kettlebell training but I still wanted to do something to maintain my conditioning. So, the obvious choice for me was to do some HIITs on the treadmill.

I was prepared to only do my intervals for 30 seconds at 7.5 miles per hour (mph) because I’ve always had a hard time running very fast after not having done HIITs for awhile. In other words, I lose some of the conditioning that I gained from continously performing intervals after I stop doing them – which is to be expected. So, I went off to the gym, started my warm ups on the treadmill in preparation for the sprints to come. To my surprise, I was able to perform 6 intervals of 60 seconds at 8.5 mph! The other more surprising thing is, I wasn’t even exhausted at the end of the six intervals. I consider this occurence to be out of the ordinary since the fastest I’ve ever gone on a treadmill is 9.2 mph after performing HIITs continously for four weeks.

During ordinary circumstances, I would look like a fish out of water after 30 seconds of sprints and if I were on a continued diet of barbells, dumbbells, and sprints on the treadmill, I don’t think that I would’ve achieved this type of conditioning. At first, I didn’t really know what have caused this phenomena until Pavel talked about the “Kettlebell What the Hell Effect” during the second day of the RKC.

In preparation for the RKC, I had to be able to perform 100 repetitions of the snatch with a 12 kg kettlebell (KB). Of course, I didn’t start out performing 100 reps right off the bat. I had to start with snatching an 8 kg KB and move on to the 12 kg while working on increasing my repetitions. While I was practicing my snatches, something else was happening to my conditioning – I was developing the conditioning of an athelete.

Taking Your Conditioning to the Next Level

What? Me? An athlete?

I was never the sporty kind of person my whole life so I never considered myself to be an athlete – ever. But, what kettlebell has done was bring out the inner athlete in me by helping me in terms of conditioning. According to Kenneth, there are 3 basic factors that determine conditioning and these are: oxygen uptake, metabolite production ability, and metabolite tolerance ability. Oxygen uptake simply pertains to how efficient your body is at transporting and using oxygen. Metabolite production refers to how well your body’s lactic acid system can convert carbohydrates into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) while metabolite tolerance has to do with how long your body is able to endure high levels of lactic acid which is the by-product of this system. In short, the more conditioned you are, the faster you are able to convert carbohydrates for energy and the longer you will be able to perform your workouts without much fatigue.

Inside the Viking Warrior Conditioning book, Kenneth has outlined the cadence* maximum VO2* (cMVO2) test which is basically the number of snatches that triggers the maximum amount of oxygen uptake on a whole body level. Then, he outlines 5 protocols that you can use to start with and progress towards.

The 15:15 MVO2 Protocol

Currently, I am doing the 15:15 MVO2 Protocol wherein I am doing 7 snatch repetitions (one set) with one hand for 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, switch hands then, perform 7 more snatches with the other hand. I will repeat this cycle until I have completed 20 sets which is my starting point until I am able to do 80 sets. I plan to add 2 sets each time until I do the protocol until I reach the final number.

It is still to early to tell you about my results but I have no doubt in mind that doing this protocol as I planned will help take my conditioning to new heights due to my previous experience of simply practicing for the snatch test.

If you are interested in reading more about Kenneth’s protocols and his theories behind them, you can purchase the Viking Conditioning book at Dragondoor.com

Definitions:
*Cadence – number of snatches
* VO2 – amount of oxygen uptake on a whole-body level

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Thanks for stopping by!

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Smoke’s KB 556 Challenge Results

Smoke’s KB 556 Challenge Results

Posted on 12. Jul, 2009 by .

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When I woke up this morning, I instantly knew that this is not going to be one of my usual lazy Sundays. After all, I have agreed to do Smoke’s KB 556 Challenge. At first glance, this challenge did not look bad at all. In fact, I thought I was going to smoke it (no pun intended). But, after I did my first round, I started writing this on my workout journal: “what did I get myself into?” I guess I agreed to this challenge because I wanted a little push today. This is also a great way to keep up your motivation when you don’t feel like working out.

So, here is how my challenge went down:

KB555v2.0 (fasted i.e. before eating breakfast)

*100 One hand KB Swings with 12 kg Kettlebell
*50 Prisoner Squats
*25 Stability Ball Rollouts
*50 Bodyweight squats
*35 Pushups (it’s not a typo, 35 pushups was my max this time)

….faints and falls on the living room floor

Total time: 8 minutes, 47 seconds

I was so “smoked” that I was not able to do a second round of this.

Run 2 miles non-stop on the treadmill –> total time: 22:08

I’ve got to be honest that I’ve been so focused on my Kettlebell training for the RKC that I haven’t been doing much body weight exercises unless I have to teach it to my boot campers.

The same thing goes for running. Since KB swings and snatches can be considered “cardio,” I decided that I didn’t want to potentially overtrain so I had to forgo running altogether. But, I realized that it won’t be too bad if I did intervals twice a week for conditioning. I was just glad that I foam rolled my calves and TFL before I ran because I probably would’ve experienced some cramping while running if I didn’t.

Lessons Learned

Having realized that I’ve neglected to perform some of the most basic exercises, my plan is to put them back into my routine even if I have to do them on my off days. Basically, I would perform push ups whenever I have some down time or want to take a break from anything that I’m doing.

Another thing that I started doing yesterday is putting up my Iron Gym at the top of the bathroom door. In this way, every time I pass by it, I would perform a chin up or two. I want to continue doing this until I can bust out several chin ups in succession.

My Reward

Since I did this challenge in the fasted state, I was so looking forward to my breakfast (or brunch at this point)

  • One Eggland’s Best Omega-3 Egg
  • One Protein Pancake
  • 3 slices Hormel Natural Choice Ham

Overall, it was a great start to a day. Now, I’m off to the dog beach in Berkeley to spoil my dog for a few hours.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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