September 2015 Competition;  Been Better, Been Worse

Every three months I test my strength and conditioning. I use two benchmarks: the kettlebell military press and hardstyle kettlebell snatches. I like to measure the effectivenss of my training programs with it. Plus see how close I am to a 1/2 bodyweight press. After some thought  I decided to change how I do the presses.

The January and June competitions will be the done with the 71.6lb kettlebell. Whether it moves or not will be the test. The March and September competitions will test just how many reps I can get with the 53lb kettlebell. My personal record for that is 6 reps.


  • Right: 1 rep w/58.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • Left: 1 rep w/58.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • 37 reps with the 53.2lb kettlebell in five minutes.


  • Right: 5 reps w/53.2lb (37.5%BW)
  • Left: 4 reps w/53.2lb (36.5%BW)
  • 46 reps with the 53.2 Kettlebell in 5 minutes 

My conditioning has improved. It’s also been better. The surprise is that my left arm is now the weakest. Especially being left handed. My relative strength has remained largely unchanged. 

So some markers have improved. Some have stayed the same. At least I’m not falling far back. 

Come the New Year we’ll see if I can move the 70lb at all. Time to hit the drawing board to see about improving. 


    Regaining Discipline, One Small Step At A Time; Six-Week Assessment

    This one slipped up and caught me by surprise. For close to two weeks I hadn’t picked up akettlebell. I had skipped a workout, then another, and another, until I realized I was lacking my old self-discipline in training.

    I remembered a progressive way to start a habit that I had read about. Want to take up jogging?

    • Make an easily accomplishable goal like getting dressed to jog.
    • Later jog down the street.
    • Then the block.
    • Now you are lapping the block and a jogger.

    So I went back to the basics in my case. 100 two-handed kettlebell swings a day on every weekday. 10 Push ups for my upper body. 10 Goblet Squats for my lower body. Fifteen minutes and I am done. I’m even throwing in handstands for time as an option.

    It looks like I have to be rigorously disciplined in my training or I go off the track. I made progress in the circuit training, starting at two rounds and going up to four. I guess their was just too much time between training days. Let’s see how this effected body composition.

    Body Composition (inches)

    Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

    Neck                               14.20                14.0              -.20

    Shoulders                      43.2                  43.75              +.55

    Chest                              37.5                   37.5                      0

    Waist                             32.5                     32.5         0

    Biceps                           12.5              12.62               +0.12

    Forearms                      11.1            10.82                 +0.28

    Thighs                         21.1                 21.0                    -0.10

    Calves                          13.5                   13.62               +.12

    Weight                  152lbs          155.2        +3.2lbs

    Body Fat %                15.6%                16.1%         +0.5%

    Lean Body Mass    128.3lbs            130.2        +1.9lbs

    Nothing earth shattering. Some hypertrophy and lean muscle mass surprisingly. Let’s see how discipline works.

    Hitting the Redline: Six Week Fitness Self-Assessment

    PressAfter the last competition’s poor showing I decided I needed to train smarter and more comprehensively. Problem is I don’t seem to be responding to high volume or heavy weight (90+% of max) as well as I used to. At least as often as I was training. My focus on overhead pressing left everything else weaker, and that was just getting in the way.

    I read a StrongFirst article on training the seven basic movements, [SEVEN] BASIC HUMAN MOVEMENTS. Dan John’s five fundamentals I knew of, however the rotational and counter-rotational patterns I didn’t. I researched what would fit the template of Push, Pull, Hinge, Squats, Loaded Carry, and the two rotationals. I found I could just add a Figure 8 to Hold and Farmer Walks to the program I was on. I also changed the Rear Lunges to Tactical Lunges from the ETK Special Report #2.

    So I now have six exercises to program: Get-Up, Bent-Over Row, One-Hand Swings (counter-rotational and hinge pattern), Tactical Lunges, Figure 8 to Hold, and Farmers Walks. Last week I tried to superset them: push/pull, hinge/squat, rotation/carry. I got tired a little quicker than I thought, so I tried it as a circuit. That way I’ll hit everything at least once. When I can’t do a Get-Up with good form I’ll be done with that day’s training. My goal is 5 rounds, then I’ll shave time off my rest periods until I’m at :30 seconds. Then I’ll weight and increase my rest back to where it was and start over.

    I had been dropping to only training a full session twice a week and partially one other day. So I will listen to my body, cut my training to twice a week, Monday and Friday with plenty of recovery in between. Plus I’ll continue building up to a handstand push up and if I’m particularly froggy, sprint.

    Let’s see what body composition I’m starting with:

    Body Composition (inches)

    Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

    Neck                               14.25                14.20              -.05

    Shoulders                      43.5                  43.2              -.30

    Chest                              37.5                   37.5                      +0.5

    Waist                             32.75                     32.5         -0.25

    Biceps                           12.5              12.5               0

    Forearms                      11.            11.1                        +0.1

    Thighs                         21.25                 21.1                    -0.15

    Calves                          13.5                   13.5                      0

    Weight                  153.6lbs          152        -1.6lbs

    Body Fat %                16.1%                15.6%         -0.5%

    Lean Body Mass    128.9lbs            128.3         -0.6lbs

    June 2015 Competition Day

    Competition Day on the half year mark. This is the test of my program except with one caveat, I got sick two weeks ago. I lost five pounds and spent most of the first day sleeping in various positions. After making a call to let my body work on bringing me back to previous levels of health without breaking it down with training I do feel weaker. So I don’t know what today would bring.

    All right, weighed in at  154.6lbs.

    Military Press test with a 58lb kettlebell. First attempt I pressed it once each side. Could not believe that was all I had so I waited 15 minutes to try again. Even worse, once on my right and nothing on my left.


    • Right: 3 reps w/58.2lb (62lbs/39%BW)
    • Left: 4 reps w/58.2lb (63lbs/40%BW)

    My singles with 58lbs at 154.6lbs is 37.5% of my bodyweight.

    Five Minute Snatch Test with the 53.6lb kettlebell. It was 50 reps three months ago. Today was 37 reps. A 13 rep decrease so that program is most definitely a failure.

    Now to set my sights on September 1st…

    I’m Shrinking! Six Week Assessment

    We’re two weeks away from the competition day on June 1 and I’ll predict that I have added a rep to my military press record. The snatches I’m not so sure of.  The six-week assessment creeped up so I had to evaluate what the diet’s been doing. I know I’m getting stronger with the ease my 53lb kettlebell press during training as compared to before. I did have to adjust with the program though.

    The four-day a week training I dropped to three days, and added practicing the progressions to a handstand push up from Convict Conditioning. I think if I can do that, my military press will get stronger. I kept my Clean&Press rep scheme the same, though I added rest according to the 1:4-6 work/rest ratio after reading a StrongFirst article, which helped me complete the sessions. I changed the swings from the one-arm variant with the 53lb kettlebell for 10 sets of 10 to 2 sets of 25 with the 71.4lb kettlebell. I’m curious how the Snatch test will go now.

    The diet has been slowly chopping fat off without sacrificing too much muscle. I lost 2.2lbs of fat with 1.6lbs of muscle lost, not too worried. After this next cycle is over I’ll start a hypertrophy program, with a slight dietary adjustment, mostly extending my eating window from 9 hours to 12. It’s been a easy diet to stick with.

    Body Composition (inches)

    Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

    Neck                               14.5                14.25              -.25

    Shoulders                      45                  43.5               -1.5

    Chest                              37.5                   37                      -0.5

    Waist                             33.5                     32.75         -0.25

    Biceps                           12.8              12.5                        -0.30

    Forearms                      11.1            11.0                        -0.1

    Thighs                         22                 21.25                    -0.75

    Calves                          13.5                   13.5                      0

    Weight                  156.4lbs          153.6        -2.9lbs

    Body Fat %                17.1%                16.1%         -1.0%

    Lean Body Mass    129.7lbs            128.9         -0.8lbs

    I may have shrunk a bit as the fat went away, that’s my guess at least. After the program I’ll do a program of Max Shank’s I saw on the DragonDoor page until the cycle is done. I’ll continue eating in the 9 hour window, going off what Dan John said about going from a caloric deficit to surplus triggers growth since the body isn’t used to the amount of food.