there is no substitute for experience

Steady training with a little variety

I have been in the groove training every week day for months now. My right shoulder is the best that it has been in more than a year – no pain, good range of motion. I attribute the improvement in my shoulder to giving up doing swings with the 32 and 24 kg kettlebells and staying with the 16 kg bell for several months. Lately I have begun to use the 20 kg bell for swings as much as three days per week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I feel enough strain from the heavier bell that I will continue to “rest” with the 16 kg bell on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now.

My basic program is closely modeled on the Simple and Sinister book by Pavel Tsatsouline. I train in my driveway on a horse stall pad. I don’t like lying down on the pad when it gets hot in the summer, so I substitute 40 snatches and 6 25-yard waiter carries for 10 get-ups. The snatches and waiter carries do not produce the same training effect as get-ups, but do seem to be good for my shoulders. Some weeks I don’t do any get-ups, but this week, for example, I completed get-ups every day except Monday. My technique and ability to do get-ups has remained good despite not training them every day, but I do notice a feeling of strain in my left arm that I did not notice 4 months ago when I was doing get-ups steadily.

I started adding hill sprints to my program to add some leg work on days I did not do get-ups. I like the sprints so much, however, that I have begun doing them every day whether I have done get-ups or snatches and waiter carries.

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: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 10 L/R = 100 reps, 3500 pounds OR
20 kg kettlebell – 5 x 10 L/R = 100 reps, 4400 pounds

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

Snatches
16 kg kettlebell – 4 x 5 L/R = 40 reps, 1400 pounds AND

Waiter Carry
12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 25 yards L/R = 150 yards, 156 pounds

Hill Sprints – 3 x 70 yards = 210 yards

Total weight: 5680 pounds OR 7786
Typical weekly total: 34,718


Adding hill sprints to my kettlebell routine

I added hill sprints to my workouts. I am continuing to refine my kettlebell technique so did not want to increase weight or volume to make it more challenging. Since I am doing presses and snatches, but not get ups most days, the sprints give me more leg work. If I need more challenge, I will probably add a fourth hill sprint.

My current 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: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 10 L/R = 100 reps, 3500 pounds

Clean and presses
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Snatches
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 L/R = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

Hill Sprints – 3 x 70 yards = 210 yards

Total weight: 6730 pounds
Weekly total: 33,650


Too hot to get up

I love get ups, but I love training in my driveway even more. When the weather is cold or at least mild, I can perform get ups on the horse stall pad in my driveway, but it is too stinking hot lately. So either I go in the house to complete my get ups or I change my workout. This week, I have changed my workout to omit get ups and replace them with a few clean and presses and a few rounds of snatches. I am losing some whole body stabilization work, but getting a reasonably challenging shoulder workout. So far, the only problem has been the challenge to the calluses on my palms from the snatches.

My current 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: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 10 L/R = 100 reps, 3500 pounds

Clean and presses
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 1 L/R = 10 reps, 350 pounds

Snatches
16 kg kettlebell – 3 x 5 L/R = 30 reps, 1050 pounds

Total weight: 6730 pounds
Weekly total: 33,650


Working less, hurting less

So I have been getting my groove back the past few days. After several weeks of taking days off and completing only partial workouts, I’ve been getting my basic Simple and Sinister program together lately.

The good news is that the daily pain I was experiencing in March is gone. My right shoulder still crackles more than I would like, but it doesn’t hurt. The bad news is that I lost some conditioning. I feel as strong as I did a month ago, but I am getting winded doing 10 get ups in a row. Before I got a little tired on the last 4 get ups, but now I am tired and breathing hard. Consistency should solve the problem.

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: 12 kg kettlebell – 3 x 10 = 30 reps, 780 pounds

One-handed swings
16 kg kettlebell – 5 x 10 L/R = 100 reps, 3500 pounds

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

Total weight: 5680 pounds
Weekly total: 28,400


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


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