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Rebuilding the Foundation With The Rite of Passage; Six Week Assessment

That six weeks blew by fast. I started it on week one with the Heavy day: 1-2-3 reps of clean and press with the 53lb kettlebell. Light day was a single rep and the moderate day was 1-2 reps. From there I added a ladder every week.

On the light day I practiced my kettlebell snatches. With the 44lb kettlebell I can perform it pretty good. With the 53 it’s not so pretty. This cycle I’ll just do high pulls with the 53, work on the explosiveness needed to launch it over head.

The next cycle simply adds a rep. Rather than 1-2-3 it will be 2-3-4 reps, starting with a single ladder and working up to six. Volume wise that will take me back to week three of this last cycle, just denser with more work in less time.

What did the slow build up do?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               13.75                14.12              +0.37

Shoulders                      43.50                  43.50              0

Chest                              38                   37.75              -0.25

Waist                             33.25               33.5              +0.25

Biceps                           12.37              12.5               +0.13

Forearms                      10.62                11               +0.38

Thighs                         21.75                 21.25            -0.50

Calves                          13.25                13.68             +0.43

Weight                  155.6lbs          157.4        +1.8lbs

Body Fat %                18.1%                17.8%         -0.3%

Lean Body Mass    127.5lbs            129.3        +1.8lbs

Some gains, denser muscle and a slight decrease in fat. I should probably eat some more salads…and I really don’t like salads instead of grains or pastas when we eat out.

Enter the kettlebell

Back to Enter the Kettlebell; Six Week Self-Assessment

If you read the last post here I had started slipping with my training. To combat that I trained five days a week with a basic program. I did swings, push-ups, and squats, usually finishing in 15-20 minutes. Now I’m ready to address my strength issues.

I’m returning to the Rite of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell. It’s a diet of cleans, presses, swings, and snatches three days a week. I tweaked the ladders a little since I burn out quick. So I plan on building the foundation slowly.

Six weeks will end with six ladders of 1-2-3 reps. I used to train heavy on Fridays. Now I’ll do it on Mondays when I’m fresh from the weekend. Twelve weeks will end with six ladders of 2-3-4 or 54 reps total. The plan is to finish with six ladders of 2-3-5.

Using kaizen to progressively improve my press. The swings will be with my lighter bell for more of a conditioning hit. Especially with my new position at work that involves a lot less manual labor. I don’t want to get soft.

What did taking it easy with the training do?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.0                13.75              -0.25

Shoulders                      43.75                  43.50              -0.25

Chest                              37.5                   38                      +0.5

Waist                             32.5                     33.25         +0.75

Biceps                           12.5              12.37               +0.125

Forearms                      10.82            10.62                 -0.20

Thighs                         21.0                 21.75                    +0.75

Calves                          13.62                   13.25               -0.37

Weight                  155.2lbs          155.6        +0.4lbs

Body Fat %                16.1%                18.1%         +2.0%

Lean Body Mass    130.2lbs            127.5        -2.7lbs

I had some hypertrophy in my legs, arms and chest. Also some gains in the waist area, particularly the area on my back that I hate. More fat and less muscle so that’s the end of sweets for me. Time to see what happens the next six weeks. Shoulders will grow for sure, presses are good for that.

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