The Second Competition and Self-Assessment of 2016

This is a combination of a competition post and the usual self assessment. Six weeks ago I started messing with my diet so we’ll see how it worked and if 12 weeks of the same template was to much.

My training template:

  • Monday: Get-Ups (groundwork)
  • Tuesday: Swings (hinge pattern)
  • Wednesday: Clean & Press (push pattern)
  • Thursday: Goblet and Front Squats (squat pattern)
  • Friday: Overhead/Rack/Farmer’s Carry (loaded carry)

With this program I maintained the 71.2lb Get Up and the strength of my press increased. The conditioning fell however. These were my competition results last week. The goal was pressing the 53lb kettlebell as many times as possible and 100 snatches in 5 minutes.

Military Press

Left: 6 reps (41% of my bodyweight) +2 from last time in Sept 2015

Right: 4 reps (38.5% of my bodyweight) -1 from Sept 2015

Snatch Test

20 reps in 5 minutes (-26 reps)

As far as the left side goes I’m back to an old personal record. The conditioning was surprising at first, then I thought about it. The ballistics only being for one day is good to train the hinge and core strength but wasn’t done enough for an anaerobic conditioning hit.

Diet: Tried LeanGains with a neurotic look at my waist line and not seeing an improvement over the course of weeks. Plus I was tired of being hungry, so I just cut out junk like desserts, breads, and milk per a T-Nation article. That’s been two weeks so I’m not expecting an immediate change/

Let’s see what that’s done for body composition.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14                    13.75                 -.25

Shoulders                      43.25                  43.50              +.25

Chest                              38                 37.25                    -.75

Waist                             33.5               33.5                    0

Biceps                           12.62             12.50                -.12

Forearms                      10.82            10.68               -.14

Thighs                         22                 21.5            -0.5

Calves                          13.5                13.75            +.25

Weight                       157.6lbs          154        -3.6lbs

Body Fat %                18.1%                18.5%         +0.4%

Lean Body Mass    129.2lbs            125.5        -3.7lbs

As a strength program, the template worked to increase my strength. File this under success. The eating though, well I lost weight, unfortunately it’s all muscle. The next cycle will be interesting, I’m tackling the 10,000 Swing Challenge by Dan John. 10,000 swings in 5 weeks should rip off the body fat. Click on the link to see what the program is about.


One Move A Day; My Training Sweet Spot?

It’s been six weeks of this as my training template:

  • Monday: Get-Ups (groundwork)
  • Tuesday: Swings (hinge pattern)
  • Wednesday: Clean & Press (push pattern)
  • Thursday: Goblet and Front Squats (squat pattern)
  • Friday: Overhead/Rack/Farmer’s Carry (loaded carry)


And I’ve loved it. Even hitting a half-get up with the 71lb kettlebell. As I progressed from two-hand swings as a warm up  and one-hand for the work to now double swings, I’m gaining respect for double kettlebells. The time has been expanding with the overhead carries. I plan on continuing this for another six weeks.

Depending on body comp we’ll see about diet. I have a plan in my pocket.

Let’s see what that’s done for body composition.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.12                14.                 -.12

Shoulders                      43.50                  43.25              -.25

Chest                              38                 38                     0

Waist                             33.5               33.5                    0

Biceps                           12.62             12.62                  0

Forearms                      10.82            10.82               0

Thighs                         21.5                 22            +0.5

Calves                          13.5                13.75            +.25

Weight                       154.4lbs          157.6        +3.2lbs

Body Fat %                17.8%                18.1%         +0.3%

Lean Body Mass    126.9lbs            129.2        +2.3lbs

The body comp seems to be waving up and down. The plan was to increase strength and stimulate hypertrophy. The training template is working. The diet needs a change though, I’ll play with intermittent fasting again, maybe lean gains.

First Competition of 2016; Did I Have What It Takes?

It was the first day of 2016, a good day to see where I stood as far as absolute strength and conditioning. I set a personal record a few weeks earlier with this same kettlebell I was facing.

I stared at the 71 pound chunk of iron on the floor. Three weeks earlier I had lain on the ground, rolled towards it and pistol gripped it. Rolling back over I felt the weight settle and tightened up my entire body. First time I had ever attempted to stand up under it.

I pressed it up, rolled onto the opposite elbow, and sat up with the 71 pound Rogue kettlebell locked out overhead.

Yeah, I have a shot at military pressing it.

I visualized how it feels to hike it back, explode and have it settle into the rack. Then slowly and surely it would go overhead.

Let’s go.

Just like in my mind, boom (the hike). Boom (the explosion). Tightened up to take the hit it settled into the rack on my right side…and wouldn’t move.


Pffft, that’s not my good arm. My left side can do it.

I get set up again. Grab the kettlebell with authority, hiking it back, exploding and settling it into the rack…

…it moved up…an inch.

Fail. Progress, but failed the lift. Next time. On June 1st I’m coming for it.IMG_8178

Desk Jobs Are Rough; Six-Week Fitness Assessment

I keep hitting a wall with my training. Don’t you hate when that happens? At a certain level of reps (4+ for multiple sets with 85-90% of my max) and length of time (more than 30 minutes) I don’t want to train. I was also feeling beat up and old and losing my drive to train.kettlebell-broken

Riding a desk instead of slinging rubber at work is even more painful than I imagined. So I began experimenting with programs based on the fundamental human movements so I can move better again. The first program was two ladders of 1-2-3 reps with half-get ups, clean and presses, bent over rows, and goblet squats. I rolled a pair of dice, multiplied by 10 to get my reps for swings, and a lap just carrying a kettlebell in different positions.

Five days a week, two weeks in, and I wasn’t looking forward to it anymore. Keeping the movements, I took a page from traditional bodybuilding with a twist and Dan John’s One Exercise a Day template. Instead of having a “leg day” I have a squat pattern day. My days are as follows:

  • Monday: Get-Ups (groundwork)
  • Tuesday: Swings (hinge pattern)
  • Wednesday: Clean & Press (push pattern)
  • Thursday: Goblet and Front Squats (squat pattern)
  • Friday: Overhead/Rack/Farmer’s Carry (loaded carry)

Throughout the week I do pull-ups off of a door at work for my pulling movement pattern. This has kept my training short, and I can hit it harder now since I have a lot of recovery programmed in before I hit that pattern hard again.

Diet wise there has been some changes. The intermittent fasting is done for now. I did a 24 hour religious fast, and didn’t reintroduce solids until 38 hours later. I hurt for weeks, developing or triggering heartburn. My appetite hasn’t quite returned yet so I have been eating smaller meals and more fiber.

Let’s see what that’s done for body composition.

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.12                14.12                 0

Shoulders                      43.50                  43.50              0

Chest                              37.75                 38              +0.25

Waist                             33.5               33.5                    0

Biceps                           12.5              12.62               +0.12

Forearms                      11                 10.92               -0.08

Thighs                         21.25                 21.5            +0.25

Calves                          13.68                13.5             -0.18

Weight                  157.4lbs          154.4        -3.0lbs

Body Fat %                17.8%                17.8%         0%

Lean Body Mass    129.3lbs            126.9        -2.4lbs

Not much as far as changes go. This next 6 weeks I’ll be chasing higher reps with lighter weights. Two warm up sets, the third set will be AMRAP minus one, the fourth and fifth sets will be with lighter kettlebells but higher reps. The plan is to increase strength and stimulate hypertrophy. We’ll see.

Rebuilding the Foundation With The Rite of Passage; Six Week Assessment

That six weeks blew by fast. I started it on week one with the Heavy day: 1-2-3 reps of clean and press with the 53lb kettlebell. Light day was a single rep and the moderate day was 1-2 reps. From there I added a ladder every week.

On the light day I practiced my kettlebell snatches. With the 44lb kettlebell I can perform it pretty good. With the 53 it’s not so pretty. This cycle I’ll just do high pulls with the 53, work on the explosiveness needed to launch it over head.

The next cycle simply adds a rep. Rather than 1-2-3 it will be 2-3-4 reps, starting with a single ladder and working up to six. Volume wise that will take me back to week three of this last cycle, just denser with more work in less time.

What did the slow build up do?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               13.75                14.12              +0.37

Shoulders                      43.50                  43.50              0

Chest                              38                   37.75              -0.25

Waist                             33.25               33.5              +0.25

Biceps                           12.37              12.5               +0.13

Forearms                      10.62                11               +0.38

Thighs                         21.75                 21.25            -0.50

Calves                          13.25                13.68             +0.43

Weight                  155.6lbs          157.4        +1.8lbs

Body Fat %                18.1%                17.8%         -0.3%

Lean Body Mass    127.5lbs            129.3        +1.8lbs

Some gains, denser muscle and a slight decrease in fat. I should probably eat some more salads…and I really don’t like salads instead of grains or pastas when we eat out.

Back to Enter the Kettlebell; Six Week Self-Assessment

If you read the last post here I had started slipping with my training. To combat that I trained five days a week with a basic program. I did swings, push-ups, and squats, usually finishing in 15-20 minutes. Now I’m ready to address my strength issues.

I’m returning to the Rite of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell. It’s a diet of cleans, presses, swings, and snatches three days a week. I tweaked the ladders a little since I burn out quick. So I plan on building the foundation slowly.

Six weeks will end with six ladders of 1-2-3 reps. I used to train heavy on Fridays. Now I’ll do it on Mondays when I’m fresh from the weekend. Twelve weeks will end with six ladders of 2-3-4 or 54 reps total. The plan is to finish with six ladders of 2-3-5.

Using kaizen to progressively improve my press. The swings will be with my lighter bell for more of a conditioning hit. Especially with my new position at work that involves a lot less manual labor. I don’t want to get soft.

What did taking it easy with the training do?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.0                13.75              -0.25

Shoulders                      43.75                  43.50              -0.25

Chest                              37.5                   38                      +0.5

Waist                             32.5                     33.25         +0.75

Biceps                           12.5              12.37               +0.125

Forearms                      10.82            10.62                 -0.20

Thighs                         21.0                 21.75                    +0.75

Calves                          13.62                   13.25               -0.37

Weight                  155.2lbs          155.6        +0.4lbs

Body Fat %                16.1%                18.1%         +2.0%

Lean Body Mass    130.2lbs            127.5        -2.7lbs

I had some hypertrophy in my legs, arms and chest. Also some gains in the waist area, particularly the area on my back that I hate. More fat and less muscle so that’s the end of sweets for me. Time to see what happens the next six weeks. Shoulders will grow for sure, presses are good for that.

September 2015 Competition;  Been Better, Been Worse

Every three months I test my strength and conditioning. I use two benchmarks: the kettlebell military press and hardstyle kettlebell snatches. I like to measure the effectivenss of my training programs with it. Plus see how close I am to a 1/2 bodyweight press. After some thought  I decided to change how I do the presses.

The January and June competitions will be the done with the 71.6lb kettlebell. Whether it moves or not will be the test. The March and September competitions will test just how many reps I can get with the 53lb kettlebell. My personal record for that is 6 reps.


  • Right: 1 rep w/58.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • Left: 1 rep w/58.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • 37 reps with the 53.2lb kettlebell in five minutes.


  • Right: 5 reps w/53.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • Left: 4 reps w/53.2lb (36.5%BW)
  • 46 reps with the 53.2 Kettlebell in 5 minutes 

My conditioning has improved. It’s also been better. The surprise is that my left arm is now the weakest. Especially being left handed. My relative strength has remained largely unchanged. 

So some markers have improved. Some have stayed the same. At least I’m not falling far back. 

Come the New Year we’ll see if I can move the 70lb at all. Time to hit the drawing board to see about improving. 


    Regaining Discipline, One Small Step At A Time; Six-Week Assessment

    This one slipped up and caught me by surprise. For close to two weeks I hadn’t picked up akettlebell. I had skipped a workout, then another, and another, until I realized I was lacking my old self-discipline in training.

    I remembered a progressive way to start a habit that I had read about. Want to take up jogging?

    • Make an easily accomplishable goal like getting dressed to jog.
    • Later jog down the street.
    • Then the block.
    • Now you are lapping the block and a jogger.

    So I went back to the basics in my case. 100 two-handed kettlebell swings a day on every weekday. 10 Push ups for my upper body. 10 Goblet Squats for my lower body. Fifteen minutes and I am done. I’m even throwing in handstands for time as an option.

    It looks like I have to be rigorously disciplined in my training or I go off the track. I made progress in the circuit training, starting at two rounds and going up to four. I guess their was just too much time between training days. Let’s see how this effected body composition.

    Body Composition (inches)

    Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

    Neck                               14.20                14.0              -.20

    Shoulders                      43.2                  43.75              +.55

    Chest                              37.5                   37.5                      0

    Waist                             32.5                     32.5         0

    Biceps                           12.5              12.62               +0.12

    Forearms                      11.1            10.82                 +0.28

    Thighs                         21.1                 21.0                    -0.10

    Calves                          13.5                   13.62               +.12

    Weight                  152lbs          155.2        +3.2lbs

    Body Fat %                15.6%                16.1%         +0.5%

    Lean Body Mass    128.3lbs            130.2        +1.9lbs

    Nothing earth shattering. Some hypertrophy and lean muscle mass surprisingly. Let’s see how discipline works.