Goerner’s “the chain” pt II

After reading about Goerner’s workouts again monday night, I decided to do a whole workout loosely following one his.

First up, “the chain” using dumbbells. Started at the 20 pounders, and worked my way up 5lbs at a time to 90lbs left handed, and 95 right handed.

Next were DB snatches. Started at 25 pounds and worked up by 10lb jumps to 95 left handed and 105 right hand.

Next I did some barbell work-
1 hand barbell clean and jerk singles. Started at 95lb and added 5lbs up to 105 left handed, and 115 right hand.

Now I switched to 2 hand clean and jerks.
I did 4 sets, of 3 hang cleans and then a jerk at 115. This was something I had never done before following all the 1 hand work, and I have to say it took all 4 sets before my technique came back.

Once I felt comfortable with the clean and jerk, I moved to power clean and jerk singles. Started at 135, and added 10lb each set until I hit a new PR of 200lbs overhead.

I will admit to not being very good at 2 hand barbell overhead lifts. I always seem to do better with one handed lifts, and most of my overhead work is done with high rep kettle bells, but to finally get 200 locked over head, I can’t wait to see how long it takes to get the 225 up. Now I have a new goal.

After the workout, I did some mobility work and stretching. It was a great workout, and all of it based off an iron history icons work.

Take care and good lifting,


Goerner’s “the chain”

One of my interests has always been history. We seem to forget sometimes that we as weightlifters have our own unique history, and that sometimes going back into the record books and biographies, we can find many effective exercises and routines no longer seen in the gyms today.

Herman Goerner is one that has always interested me. Reading about him, his training, and his many records have motivated me time and time again.

From his biography “Goerner the Mighty” by Edgar Mueller comes “die kette”, or “the chain”.

In the gym Goerner attended, they had a row of 19 Kettle weights, with weights starting at 13kg, and ending with 52.5kgs. They were all set in pairs, with 5-10 pound increase per pair. There was only 1 52.5kg kettle bell though.

What Goerner would do, going from lightest to heaviest, was with one hand do a swing to over head, then lower it to the shoulder; then press the weight overhead, next he would lower the weight to the shoulder and then to the hang position, from there he would curl the weight to the shoulder and then press it over head, from there its lowered and set on the ground. He would then move to the next KB, and do the same with the other hand.

To clarify, that is a swing, shoulder press, curl and shoulder press with the right arm, then again with the left hand, before moving up in weight.

He was able to do this with all the weights including the 50kg bells. He did not curl the 52.5kg bell, which he would only swing and press. This would take about 40 minutes.

Finding a gym with a large selection of kettle bells might be difficult, but doing this dumbbells is just as effective.

I have done this with dumbbells off and on for the last several years, and it is awesome. Simple, effective, and is a warm up, or the whole workout. I usually start at the 20 pound db, and if I am warming up, go up 5 pound increments to about 75 pounds before form is shot on the curl. If this is the whole workout, then I continue on, the presses become push presses, and the curl becomes a cheat curl/ hang clean up to 115R, and 105L.

(The swing is another old school lift, and is a little different then what is done normally. To do the swing set the DB on end between your legs, behind the heels. Grasp the handle, squat down, and much like a DB snatch, but keeping the arm straight through out, swing it up in an arc to overhead. Ensure you have a good grip, or else the mirrors and fellow gym members might not appreciate your efforts.)

Put this one in your kit bag and give it a try. It is a great full body workout, really hits the shoulders, arms, and the breathing.

Take care and good lifting,