KB Pentathlon number 2

The last time I did the WKC’s Kettlebell Pentathlon, I had no idea what I was getting into. There was no strategy to how I would go about it, nor did I have any idea as to how I would perform. At least this time I knew what I was getting into, but strategy was still lacking in my approach past the first two exercises.

The first attempt
The first attempt at the Pentathlon was on 22 February, following a PT competition at work. I chose to use the 24kg bell for all of the exercises except the Half Snatches, which I used the 20kg bell in an effort to keep the calluses from tearing on the palms of my hands. The results for the first attempt are below-

  • Cleans 106= 318
  • Long Cycle Clean and Press 56=168
  • Jerks 86=258
  • Half Snatches 82=205 (20kg)
  • PUSH Press 65=195
  • Total- 318+168+258+205+195 = 1144

Results from yesterday

This time around, I planned my reps per minute out for the first two exercises, and had a general idea of how to tackle the remaining exercises, but nothing solid. For the cleans, I used the 28kg bell, and planned to use the same weights I did the first time for the remaining exercises.

  • Cleans 120= 420
  • Long Cycle Clean and Press 60=180
  • Jerks 75= 225
  • Half Snatches 74= 185(20kg)
  • PUSH Press 66= 198
  • 420+180+225+185+198= 1208

I was able to time the the first two events perfectly, and hit the max number of reps allowed right at the buzzer. After the clean and presses though, all bets were off, and i definitely was sucking ass after that. By the time I started the half snatches, my calluses were tearing in several spots, and every rep was a gamble as to whether or not I would be able to hold onto the handle during the catch out of the rack position.

I was really happy with the results. I was able to max out reps on two exercises, and increase the load on one of them. My next attempt will be more thought out, and hopefully my hands will have toughened up enough to be able to handle the 24kg in the half snatches.

Till next time, take care and good lifting,



Joe Weider

You grow up hoping to live a full life, to improve the lives of those around you, and leave a mark on the world to be remembered by future generations.

Joe Weider definitely did all those things. Rest in peace, and our prayers go out to the Weider family.


A smudge on the mirror

Almost every gym you walk into these days is surrounded with mirrors. It seems they have strtegically placed the mirrors so you can watch every angle of your body grow as you pump away, posture and pose.

The problem I run into while squatting is the mirror is a distraction. When I hit the bottom of the squat, I’ll catch myself looking at my depth, instead of looking forward. When I do this, I have issue out of the hole with falling forwards. The movement in the background, and that guy lingering to the side waiting to ask how many more sets you have in the rack can also upset your focus.

To keep focused, I use the following trick, and it may work for you as well. Chalk your hands up, stand between the Bar and the mirror looking straight forward. Make a big thick chalky thumb smudge on the mirror right between your eyes.

When you unrack the weight, focus your eyes on the spot, and continue to do so during the descent, all the way to completion. This will keep your eyes up, and the head. This will in turn keep you from falling forward in the hole, and risking injury or missing the rep. When you are done with the squat rack, just wipe the mirror off and your done.

If your gym doesn’t have chalk, use atheltic tape.

I know they tell you to focus on something in the distance, and this works well in a large gym, but in tight quarters, with mirrors and lots of movement, this seems to work best.

Give it a try. You will be suprised at how much focusing on a properly placed chalk smudge on the mirror can clean up your technique, and filter out all the distractions in the gym.

Take care, and good lifting


My kettlebell routine

When I started my current workout schedule, I wanted to try something with the kettlebells and see how far I could take it. So far consistency has been a non issue, and the progression in difficulty also has gone quite nicely.

Reading all the old books gave me the basic template for how I was going to do this.

  • Take a weight, perform x number of reps. Add one rep each week until you hit x number of reps, then add weight and start over.

Pretty simple. Here was what I started with:

  • 24kg kettlebell
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand swings
  • 10 x 3 two hand swings
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand cleans
  • 3+3 x 3 snatches
  • 3+3 x 3 one hand press

(#+# x # reads as L hand+R Hand x 3 sets)
I could choose to do this 1-3 times a week, but the reps stayed the same, as did the weight. How many times I did this was based off my other workouts, and how the body was recovering. Going through this one time at least was mandatory per week. (there was no set day of the week to do this, just whenever I could fit it into the 14-16 hour work days)

Every week I added a rep per hand, and 2 reps for the two handed swings. The sets stayed the same. This week’s totals are:

  • 24kg kettlebell
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand swings
  • 22 x 3 two hand swings
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand cleans
  • 9+9 x 3 snatches
  • 9+9 x 3 one hand press

Tomorrow I will add my final rep of the cycle. Later this week, I will start over with the same template I started with, but will be using the 28kg bell instead, until I hit 10reps each hand, and then on to the 32kg.

It is my hope that by years end I am using the 36kg+ bell and getting strict presses for reps. Time will tell.

Harry Paschall, George Jowett, Earle Lieberman, etc all have a basic progression of performing 6-8 reps with a weight, adding reps each workout until you reach 10-12 reps. Then add 5lbs to upper body exercises, and 10lbs to lower body exercises. These were not change your body over night, or 10 minutes to a miracle programs like to see on tv and in the magazines. These were smart, long term strength routines where lifelong progress was the goal. Once you built your base, then you could start trying “limit” lifts, and feats of strength.

Consistency in a program was the other key. Jim Wendler’s ‘5/3/1’ book hits on this as well. He lists the principles of his system, and they are just about as old time as you can get. He emphasizes:

  • Big multi-joint exercises
  • Starting light and building up
  • Slow progress
  • And beating your personal bests to stay motivated and seeing the progress made

These are the same things the old timers focused on as well.

If you are looking for an easy program to follow, for a long time, ‘5/3/1’ by Jim Wendler’s, will fit the bill nicely. Basic Lifts, slow progression, long term scheduling (plan out the year, not just weeks).

Till next time, take care and good lifting.



Here is an interesting article from WWW.T-NATION.COM.

I concur with his article, and glad someone feels the same about dealing with injuries.


Here were, and still are my thoughts on the matter from 5 February 2012.


Take care and good lifting,


A good heavy day, and random thoughts.


Today was a pretty good day at the gym. I went in going for my squat numbers for the week, and ended up knocking out both the 3rep and 20 rep numbers I was going for.

  • Squats- 135 x5/ 165 x3/ 195 x3/ 225 x3/ 305×3
  • Squats- 240×20
  • Farmers walk- Rogue Fitness farmers handles. (total weight by meters walked)
  • 229x 25m x 2
  • 329x 25m x 2
  • 429x 25m x 1
  • 229 x 25m x 1


My son is down to visit this week while on spring break from college. He needed the break, and is enjoying being lazy. He runs a pretty full schedule, and is taking several tough courses. .

We have had two good workouts in the garage gym this week. He has a good base to start from, and likes working out which is the most important thing. With him he lping out coaching the local high school tennis team, he takes fitness pretty seriously. I really like having him around and wish he could visit more, and stay longer.

Still rolling along with the plan, and continuing to rebuild both my technique and strength base in both squats and dead lifts. The toughest part is keeping to the numbers, and week after week plodding away.

Some of my friends have been hitting some pretty impressive numbers on the big lifts. Working out with them and talking with them has made it pretty tough to keep to the plan. They expect me to have higher numbers on my lifts, and having to explain the plan I am on, with the smaller numbers than they expect me to be shooting for has been an ego killer. Right now, I have less pain, and better gains than I have had in a long time. My technique is starting to be more natural, a nd refined enabling me to make weekly poundage and rep increases. I am finally over the 300lb mark for triples, so it lessens the blow a little from here on out.

The only saving grace has been the kettlebell work, and one handed lifts and presses/jerks with the dumbells and barbell. I am really digging the kettlebells now, and the reps are getting up there, as are the weights.

One thing I noticed recently, is how long a set of 20 rep squats takes. When your doing them, it feels like a long time, but when you watch someone do them, it really hits you. It took a friend of mine almost three minutes to complete his set. Another friend, an beast of squatting and deadlifting, took just over two minutes. I never realized how long you were under tension.

The picture is just one of twenty reps from the gym today.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had any workout partners. That has changed a little, and I have been meeting up with friends at the gym, and enjoying the comraderie. Everyone works out differently, there is no single schedule we all follow, but the goals are all the same- getting strong, and proving it. Each of us has different strengths and we exchange ideas, and motivate each other. It feels good to have a community of experienced lifters with strong opinions on strength and fitness to have fun with.

Till next time, take care and good lifting,


Reading the old books

I have always liked history, and always will. Whether it’s U.S., world, military, it doesn’t matter, I enjoy learning about it and where we have come from.

There is a history to everything and everyone. Surprisingly, many strength enthusiasts believe that the history of the iron game begins with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that’s as far as they go. It’s really a shame, because there is so much more they could learn about sensible drug free lifting from the old time greats.

Please, my comments below are not meant to demean bodybuilding as a sport, but the current train of thought of lifting for looks that a lot of the fitness community pushes now a days.

Back before modern body building, and huge muscles which now represent what strength is supposed to look like, there were men and women who looked like a regular joe. Yes they were more muscular than the average person, but they were not the bodybuilder type seen in the magazines, and being ripped and swole was not the goal, being strong was. How you looked was a by product of the strength. This is quite different from today’s primary goal of lifting for looks that brings many to the gym.

Many of the greats that you read about were show men. They put on shows of strength in front of crowds. They challenged people to duplicate their feats, and offered prize money to anyone in the crowd to do what they could do. There were those that had fake shows, and were just that, frauds, but they were not usually written about or remembered past their time. True strongmen were written about in articles, and books, and followed by people who verified their feats, keeping very accurate accounts of what they did.

The greats also competed in contests, and challenged each other to individual competitions to see who was stronger. They would try to beat the others personal bests on “pet” lifts. The title of Strongest Man was much saught after, and was a title that needed to be defended, not with words but with deeds.

Below are a few pictures I was able to find on the web of some powerful men from the turn of the century. Arthur Saxon, and Herman Goerner.

Saxon was the master of the bent press, and his record in the bent press, and two hands any how with barbell and kettlebell still stands today. Ask yourself this:
Have you ever seen anyone put 370lbs over head?
If you have, then have you seen anyone do it with one hand?

Arthur Saxon used his prowess in the bent press to power up 370 plus pounds over his head, and on another occasion used the bent press to put a barbell of 336lbs up, and then picking up a 112lb kettlebell pressed it over head for a 448 two hands anyhow. You just don’t see that kind of power anymore.& nbsp;

Saxon was 5′ 10″, weighed 200lb, and his arm measured 17 1/8″.

Goerner, was a beast as well. His one hand deadlift of with a barbell of 663 1/2 lbs says it all. This was done in 1920. He also performed a two hand deadlift of 595 3/4 lbs, using the index and middle fingers of each hand to hold the bar.

There are plenty of other amazing feats of strength, and reading about them makes you realize what is possible if you apply yourself. Much of the training advice and programs are still valid today, and provide a lot of good ideas for drug free lifters.

Here is a link to an awesome site that has a great selection of old books to read through. I highly suggest it.


Till next time, take care and good lifting,


A good article, on a great guy.

The article doesn’t quite do justice to the amount of work he has done to get himself back in shape. I really respect this guy, and I am better for knowing him.