there is no substitute for experience

Update of physical condition

I have not completed a full, 5-day week of training since 21 March. I was traveling the week of 24 March and 7 April, but the big reason is that my right shoulder began hurting enough that I decided to back down on what I was doing. My massage therapist warned me that I needed to reduce the weight I was swinging because she thought my shoulders were coming too far forward. She advised working with lighter weight until my “stabilizer” muscles developed enough to manage the heavier weights. After several weeks of using the 16 kg kettlebell for everything – goblet squats, swings, and get ups, my shoulder hurts less, but remains touchy. I am going to stay with the lighter weight on swings for another few weeks.

I have gotten a massage every week for the past several years. When people hear that, many think of it as an indulgence, but it my case, the massage is always the most painful hour of my week. After having had such regular treatment, you might think my muscles would be more “relaxed,” but some days you can hardly tell the difference between my flesh and bones or cartilage. A former therapist talked me into scheduling some 90-minute sessions, assuming that my muscles would release their tension with a longer work session. It didn’t. I suffered for 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes on those days.


Simple and Sinister: Week Fifteen

Week fifteen went smoothly. I completed 200 one-handed swings on the days I trained inside my house and 100 two-handed swings when I trained outside. Though I can’t remember ever dropping the 32 kg bell, I don’t want to risk it inside my house, so I save it for outside work.

I was feeling good enough on Wednesday of this week to experiment with doing a few military presses and pull-ups along with the Simple and Sinister program. Doing a few one-arm presses with the 16 kg bell was easy. Doing five pull-ups was easy. I was amazed that I don’t seem to have lost any pull-up strength after taking a vacation from them for the past 15 weeks. However, I suffered sharp pain in my right shoulder while doing pull-ups and the shoulder has remained aggravated ever since. Curiously, I am not suffering any loss of strength, but my range of motion has fallen and I experience pain in some positions. I am suspending pull-ups again.

My current S&S program (5 days per week)

Prying goblet squats
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Goblet squat curls
16 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Halos: 16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

Two-handed swings M-W-F
32 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 = 100 reps, 7000 pounds

One-handed swings T-Th
16 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 L/R = 200 reps, 7000 pounds

Get-ups
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Total weight: 9450 pounds
Weekly total: 47,250 pounds


Simple and Sinister: Week Fourteen

I got back to training outside and found it easier to work harder. The 32 kg bell felt heavy when I did two-handed swings with it on Monday, so I decided to downshift to one-handed swings with the 24 kg bell on Tuesday and Thursday. Logically, one-handed swings with the 24 should feel harder, but it didn’t. I may or may not take it easy with the 24 kg bell during swings this coming week.

My current S&S program (5 days per week)

Prying goblet squats
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Goblet squat curls
16 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Halos: 16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

Two-handed swings M-W-F
32 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 = 100 reps, 7000 pounds

One-handed swings T-Th
24 kg kettlebell – 10 x 5 L/R = 100 reps, 5300 pounds

Get-ups
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Total weight: 9450 pounds or 7750 pounds
Weekly total: 43,850 pounds

I am beginning to miss pull-ups, presses, and even renegade rows. I may begin to vary my program from the basic Simple and Sinister format on Tuesdays and Thursdays after another week or two.


Simple and Sinister: Week Thirteen

It was raining early in the week, so I trained inside. To make life simple, I did everything with the 16 kg bell, but doubled the number of swings from 100 to 200. When the weather got better, I stayed lazy and kept training inside. I really did not want to workout at all, so this was my compromise. I have not felt like training hard for several weeks now, but at least I am working regularly.

My current S&S program

Prying goblet squats
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Goblet squat curls
16 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Halos: 16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

One-handed swings
16 kg kettlebell – 10 x 10 L/R = 200 reps, 7000 pounds

Get-ups
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Total weight: 9450 pounds
Weekly total: 47,250 pounds


Simple and Sinister: Week Twelve

I began week twelve on 17 February and was just about to start my third workout of the week on Wednesday, 19 February when my sister Mary called to tell me my parents home had burned and they were both in the hospital being treated for smoke inhalation, along with the Good Samaritan who pulled them from their burning house. I never got to my workout that day or Thursday or Friday. Things have turned out well. The Good Samaritan is fine. My father was discharged from the hospital quickly and now lives with my sister Jenny. My mother was on a ventilator for several days, but was finally able to breathe on her own and is doing much better. She has agreed to move in with my sister Jenny when she is discharged from the hospital, which could happen any day now.

My parents are a big influence on my exercise program because I want to be in better shape at their age than they are. My father is 92 and my mother is 87, so I have an excellent chance of living many more than my current 56 years. Exercise and diet can’t solve every problem, but it can stop many problems from ever developing.

I could have stayed on my training program and completed sessions on 19, 20, and 21 February, but did not feel like it. I felt too stressed emotionally to add unnecessary physical stress to the mix. I resumed my basic program on 24 February and got through the week just fine. I did not push myself to use my heaviest bell for swings and did not try to sweat every possible benefit out of my squats and get-ups, but I did complete my routine. I am beginning to appreciate that over the long term, staying with the routine of completing the Simple and Sinister program five days per week is the best way for me to maximize strength, endurance, and flexibility. I can’t train if I get so overwhelmed that I quit. I can’t train if I provoke overuse injuries as I have so many times before in my life.

At the end of week twelve, I am grateful to be alive and to complete this work routinely.

My current S&S program (5 days per week)

Prying goblet squats
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Goblet squat curls
16 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Halos: 16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

One-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 10 x 5 L/R = 100 reps, 5300 pounds

Get-ups
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Total weight: 7750 pounds
Weekly total: 38,750 pounds


Simple and Sinister: Week Eleven

Snow and ice kept me training in the living room all week. I took a step down from two-handed swings with the 32-kg bell and did one-handed swings with the 24-kg bell. I was amazed how light the 24-kg bell felt after swinging the 32-kg bell for two weeks. It got a bit warm training in the house, but it was a pretty good week. I will be glad, however, when I can get back outside.

My current S&S program (5 days per week)

Prying goblet squats
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Goblet squat curls
16 kg kettlebell –3 x 5 = 15 reps, 525 pounds

Halos: 16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

One-handed swings
24 kg kettlebell – 10 x 5 L/R = 100 reps, 5300 pounds

Get-ups
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Total weight: 7750 pounds


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