It’s been humid… REALLY annoyingly hot and humid for this time of year. Unfortunately I keep forgetting that. Last week a friend and I decided to go and do a favorite kettlebell challenge, the SSST (Secret Service Snatch Test) and it was so humid that it even tore up her hands which I previously thought were made of some kind of teflon material.
As for myself, I could feel my hands start to suffer so I just took down the pace. Stayed within the 10 minutes, but did not even nearly approach my goal of getting past 200 total snatches which I have previously done and exceeded many times. This drove me NUTS… Fortunately the SSST was just the first 1/3 of what we were doing that day so there was plenty of time to redeem myself to myself, but it still was nagging me…
THEN I saw Phil Ross’s cool post which included a neat workout structure that worked out to 200 kettlebell snatches.
While all the hand switches would require extra time, it was another way to do 200 total snatches total. It was one of many “pyramids” on the page and worked out to 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 9, 9, 8, 8, 7, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 1, 1. This was especially interesting because I usually only like to do either the 5 minute or 10 minute test outdoors… I’ve never dropped or thrown a kettlebell by accident but I certainly DON’T want to have that risk indoors at home. The smaller sets in Phil’s pyramid seemed very safely manageable for indoors without the threat of “spontaneous home renovations”. Normally if I do either test the first set will be 15, 20, or 25 and I go all out in some regards. With Phil’s set and rep ranges it was really interesting to observe the new point where things got “interesting” and how the regular “cruise control” pace I use normally wouldn’t really apply.
I should also add that this same set/rep scheme could be applied to one arm swings if you’re not up for snatching yet. Shorter pyramids are great for presses, etc. as well. It’s a neat challenge.
The other “short on time” workout I’ve been doing here and there has been a warm up with mobility, then set a timer for 25 minutes and “see what happens”. At that point I am looking at my list of long and short term goals and using that time to either see where I am or how much work I can do towards those goals. The most recent example was last night, where I decided to use some of the time to get in 200 swings with a 24kg kettlebell (in sets of 20) AFTER I had done a few sets of single presses and pistols with it. I was also practicing weighted pull ups with a 12kg kettlebell hanging from a dip belt… while this is quite regressed from where I need to be doing pull ups, I am working to rebuild the base of my weighted pull ups so that I can really nail that irksome part of the challenge. I’ve had 2 out of 3 of the Iron Maiden Challenge in the bag for years now… and frankly it’s just time to finally knock it out. Part of the reason I ordered a 26kg kettlebell during the Dragon Door sale is that I want to make 26kg the “new normal” for the lifts that I’ve been able to do for years, and to make the 24kg feel “light” on the day of… Also… seriously that weighted pull up has got to be nothing short of spectacular. I don’t want to just barely make this.
Other ways I’ve used the 25 minutes of “what happens” or “just because I can” is to run through any drills that I am usually called upon to demonstrate and teach. The easier ones I do for reps, the max drills I do for singles. Many times I will work through them almost like a drop set, starting with the most difficult and intense drills then move down. An example would be how I like to train for human flag – after warming up I’ll practice singles of the chamber press, and lowering slowly and under control with one leg straight and the other bent. On the last BEST single rep of each I’ll just work on chamber holds, then move down to the same hold, but pulling my toes up from the ground in a (limited by gravity at this point) shorter range of motion. Then I’ll move down to clutch flags for time (I usually just count), and any lead up drills that I may need to demo for others.
Speaking of the RKC blog, there’s another great post this week – even if you are already very experienced with kettlebells, this is a really good, really detailed breakdown of the kettlebell goblet squat from Senior RKC Mike Krivka. And you know what, the pyramid set/rep pattern can get very interesting with these too!!