Friday, July 24, 2009

Punch Kettlebell Gym - St. Petersburg, Pt. II

Today I took a trip to the Punch Kettlebell Gym in St. Petersburg, Florida for the second time. I had a blast yet again and was very pleased with the training I received from gym owner Justin Keen.

I've been working hard on the Enter the Kettlebell program, and today was considered a variety day, so when I arrived I asked that we avoid any pullups or doing tons of pressing. I was looking for a metabolic conditioning workout and also to work on some technique as an introduction to the Girevoy Sport. I will post more info on the Girevoy Sport (GS) in a future posting, but for now a quick and dirty definition is that its a competitive kettlebell lifting competition centered around the kettlebell snatch, double kettlebell jerk, and the double kettlebell clean and jerk (long cycle). The accepted format is performing as many reps as possible within 10 minutes, and the bell cannot leave your hand for the duration. I was under the impression that the clean and jerk, and the jerk were performed with 24KG bells, and the Snatch is done with one 32KG bell, but Justin says he believes all three lifts are done with 32 kilo bells, which is scary indeed.

Before getting into the GS training, Justin worked with me on my swing form, put me through a couple sets of figure-eights to hold with an integrated clean and press, and a couple sets of Art of Strength's Ropes Gone Wild. These really take it out of you, but its the good kind of pain, haha. For the Girevoy Sport intro, Justin had me work with a pair of Pro-style 16kg bells and working on timed sets of cleans to get used to the sensation of being under weight for that much time. We were using sets of 1 minute, and it was a lot harder than I thought it would be to maintain a steady rhythm and not succumb to panic breathing.

We moved from double cleans to working on straight Jerks with the 20kg Pro-style bell. We only used one bell at first, and I was able to improve to where I was doing an actual Jerk as opposed to a Push Press. With a few of the modifications that Justin helped me with the movement was 10x easier, and the bell simply flew up as if weightless. We did the same exercise with Jerks for time with the two 16kg, and the difficulty was extreme. Part of it is the panic breathing in my head, and part of it is the conditioning necessary to handle the weight for a full 10 minutes. We were still doing sets of 1 minute, but it was extremely tough. I have a long way to go before I'm ready to tackle the 24kg bells but I'm excited for the journey.

To close out the session I wanted to do two sets of heavy deadlifts, Power to the People style, and I wanted to press the 70 lbs/32kg kettlebell a couple times, since one of the goals of ETK is pressing the bell closest to half your bodyweight, and the 70 lbs bell is 52% of my bodyweight, I just wanted to get that one on the books and behind me. I completed the clean and press (strict press, not jerk) with relative ease, and did it for a few singles. In a bit, I'd like to attempt cleaning and pressing the Bulldog. Thats a nice 88 lbs ;). Here's some photographic proof of the lift...the photos are posted in order moving from left to right, top to bottom.

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