Saturday, August 30, 2008

Training Updates

Training of late has been very much strength-endurance focused. With the exception of grip work, I've cut out almost all heavy low-rep lifting for the time being. I'm even deadlifting in the double digit rep range and cutting rest periods drastically.

The majority of my lifts have been with kettlebells though. I've set several PR's over the last couple weeks which included swinging the 24kg for 200 reps with one hand switch, snatching the same for 150 reps and I also hit 75 reps in the LCCJ with a pair of 16's. Though I believe I'm just scratching the surface of my kettlebell potental, my endurance has never been better.

Case in point...

It's been at least year since I've done any jogging. I've got a neighborhood route that I used to run semi-regularly that is about 1.5 miles with a pretty good hill about midway through. I decided last Saturday that I would head out and pound the pavement again for a change of pace in my workouts. Though I didn't time it, I was pleasantly surprised that I ran my route stronger than EVER!

Usually after a long hiatus in any kind of training you don't expect to set personal records your first time back but I can say with all certainty that I've never tackled that mid-point hill with such authority. I even had enough steam to sprint the final straitaway, which I usually try to do anyway but I distinctly remember feeling heavy and slow during my last attempt at that sprint.

Being a couple pounds lighter may have contributed some (I'm down 10lbs in about 4 weeks) but still, it's been over a year since I've done any running! I have to contribute my new found endurance to all the GS (kettlebell sport) training I've been doing lately. Relaxed, time focused sets has profound carry over to long distance running (and yes, 1.5 miles IS long distance to me!).

In any case, I'm enjoying my new training focus, I'm making great improvements, I feel good and I'm leaner than I've been in a long, long time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Diesel Bending eBook

Jedd released his Bending eBook right when I was getting into serious grip training again, so ofcourse, I had to check it out. I don't think anyone has ever written about short steel bending in such depth. He covers not only the different styles & grips used but also different types of steel, nails, bolts, etc. He really gives you everything you need to know to get you started bending steel.

I'm not completely wet behind the ear when it comes to bending. Short bar bending was contested at 3 grip contests I've competed in. Not one of my stronger events but I have worked my way up to bending a respectable 6" grade 5 bolt (rated at 345lbs) and I have spent plenty of time on the Gripboard reading about bending. So even though I already knew some of the stuff presented in Jedd's book, it was nice to have it all in one simple, easy to read package without having to sort through pages of bending vs folding arguments.

Of course, Jedd is a far more accomplished grip athlete than myself. He's miles ahead of me when it comes to hand strength but what I didn't realize is how much more advanced his understanding of grip, bending in particular, is than mine. I definitely picked up some useful tips from the Diesel Bending book. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, beginning or advanced, who has an interest in bending short steel.

Combat Core

Smitty from the Diesel Crew has put together the most comprehensive innovative book on core training I've ever seen. We all know the Diesel Crew for their creativity in training. They were releasing videos on functional training before the term "functional training" was cool.

Call it what you will, there are certain aspects of not only sport but daily movement that are not duplicated in conventional training programs. Some of these movements perhaps should not be duplicated as it could either interfere with motor learning patterns related to your sport or because of the simple fact that it is too dangerous. There is no exercise that I would recommend to train for the awkward movement of putting a toddler into a car seat, but what I would suggest is strengthening your core (which includes your back) so you lessen the injury potential of such a movement that you might do 10-12 times a day.

That is what Combat Core is about. It has nothing to do with fighting or warfare, or any of the feelings you might associate with the word "combat" (although combat athletes; fighters, football players, etc. could benefit greatly from it). It has everything to do with strengthening the core to withstand the daily rigors of sport and everyday life. As you well know, you cannot predict the demands that may be imposed on your body, so it is the creativity and diversity of the exercises presented in Combat Core that make this book worth your time. I guarantee you have never seen these exercises before.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Functional Movement Screening

I’m writing this from Chicago’s O’Hare international airport. I just left Minnesota from the first ever Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Screening (CK-FMS) workshop. FMS is the brainchild of Gray Cook – physical therapist, strength & conditioning specialist and kettlebell instructor.

Gray has been in the trenches working his system into the highest levels of sport for the last 10 years and has now teamed up with Brett Jones (Master RKC, ATC and CSCS) of Dragon Door to integrate kettlebells into the corrective movement strategies of the screening.

The Functional Movement Screen can be summarized like this: a series of 7 exercises that tests for dysfunctional movement patterns that may be a result of muscular imbalances (mobility, stability or asymmetry) within the body. If you cannot do any of the 7 movements without pain, it is recommended that you see a doctor, chiro, physical therapist or other health care professional as medical attention may be required. Otherwise, individuals are graded on a scale of 1-3 and depending on their scores, corrective movement exercises are prescribed to help restore proper mechanics within the body. The test was created to assist in communication between coaches, personal trainers, athletic trainers and physical therapists

Hold that thought, my plane is boarding…

I’m back at home now. Before I finish about the CK-FMS cert let me tell you about the Russian cab driver that picked me up from the airport. Guess what we talked about? That’s right, kettlebells. I always ask people if they know about kettlebells but especially Russians. This guy was great! He barely spoke English. He was a former wrestler who migrated from Russia 20 years ago (he’s 62 now) and hadn’t seen a kettlebell since then. So naturally, I invited in my house and showed him my gym at 1 o’clock in the morning. :)

I offered to trade him a small kettlebell for some of the cab fare but he wanted two 12kg bells. I gave him a Hard Style catalog and explained that the price for the two kettlebells was about $150 plus shipping. He chuckled and said “F-ing Americans” in the thickest Russian accent I’ve ever heard and told me he used to be able to buy “girya” (which I learned I had been pronouncing way wrong) for 2 rubles when he was younger.

I bet 20 minute cab rides didn’t cost $65 back then either.

Anyway, Ivan was a cool way to top off my weekend. Back to FMS...

At the strength clinic last month, no fewer than four of the presenters mentioned the work Gray has been doing involving human movement. At least 2 people described him as a “genius” and I can only echo their sentiment. The guy picked up on a shoulder mobility issue I’ve been trying to stretch out for the last couple months and fixed it in about 2 minutes. It was just a matter of activating my trapezius muscle which I was doing on the left but not on the right (hello asymmetrical shoulders). He “fixed” people all weekend with simple little exercises like this. As much as I know about human movement and exercise, it pales in comparison to Mr. Cook. His understanding of anatomy is truly profound.

I’m excited about everything I learned this weekend and I’m anxious to start administering the Functional Movement Screen to my clients. I’m still practicing but I’m already looking at body mechanics and movement patterns differently. This weekend was quite the educational experience for me and I’d recommend FMS training to any trainer, therapist or doctor that deals with musculoskeletal issues.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Central PA Strongman Contest

Promoted by Joe Snavely and Todd Marcoullier. When these guys told me they were putting on a strongman show I said I would be there, either to compete or to help out, one way or another.

This was the first time for me being involved in a strongman contest and not competing. (It was a little weird.) Joe and Todd did a hell of a job organizing this show, and this was a first time for them too! Everything went smooth and there was plenty of help. Little for me to do really, so I took pictures... lots and lots of pictures.

Here's 248 of them. Enjoy.

Central PA Strongman

Although I'm not planning to compete in strongman anymore, I still plan to be involved in the local scene. I've made some good friends and met some amazing people; that's what you can expect in strongman and I'd like to help keep that tradition going in anyway possible.

If anyone is looking for a training crew, drop me an email and I'll see if I can put you in touch with someone.

Equipment? I've got some of that too.

Let me know.

-Dan Cenidoza