Saturday, January 31, 2009

Suspended burpees

So you know I had to give these a try, right?
Here's how I worked them in:
superset: sumo deads, 5x115, 5x120, 5x125, 5x130, 5x135; TRX assisted pistols, 5x5 per leg
superset: KB sumo deads, 2x8x14 kg, 3x8x22 kg; jump squats, 5x8x40 lbs
tri-set: h-string curls, 4x8x50; leg extensions, 4x8x70; suspended burpees, 4x12 (6 per leg)
The suspended burpees were actually really interesting. They felt more like a core exercise than a leg exercise, although adding the jump at the end definitely increased the workload on the legs. And they definitely got the heart rate up! I think they'd be a fun addition to a "get metabolic" workout :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

RKC Rite of Passage Friday

This workout is meant to be a preparation for the RKC Rite of Passage, whatever that entails. Here's what I did:

Circuit 3x:

1 clean & press per arm, 14 kg kb
1 pullup
2 c&p per arm, 14 kg kb
2 pullups
3c&p per arm
3 pullups
rest 1-2 min

25 swings, rest 10 sec., repeat until 6 minutes is up

That took a little less than 20 minutes, so I decided to do rounds 2-6 of AOS Providence, 2x:

2 min cleans, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ladder 2x using a 12 kg kb the first time through and a 10 kg bell the second time through
2 min chest press, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ladder 2x using a 12 kg kb the first time through and a 10 kg bell the second time through
2 min. squats/sumo deads, 12 kg the first time through and 10 kg the second time through
2 min 1 leg deadlifts, 12 kg
2 min windmill into overhead squat, 8 kg

I think tomorrow I'm going to take a break from the kettlebells and do a functional/fitness chick type of a workout. I've also got a new Shiva Rea yoga DVD that I should try out.

Snatchtastic Thursday

As you can see, I've been deviating from my workout plan quite a bit this week. Partly this is because I've had a lot of schedule disruptions, and partly it's because I'm realizing I really don't enjoy slower-paced workouts, split routines, etc.

Yesterday, for instance, I only had about a half an hour window in which to get in a workout. So, I did the AOX 1200 routine, the one with all the snatches. Because I was short on time I only went through the routine once, but I felt as though I could've done more, which made me happy. And today my shoulders feel fine, which makes me VERY happy.

Anyway, I'm realizing that in order to be consistent with my workouts I really need routines I can complete in well under an hour, even if that means working out twice a day in order to achieve my goals. Finding a half hour here and a half hour there is generally no problem; it's finding a block of 60-90 minutes that's difficult most days. And the Thibaudeau workouts really can't be completed in less time than that.

I'm sort of thinking out loud here. If you can call it thinking.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2 pullups 10 pushups 20 swings

How many rounds can you do in 20 minutes?

Edited to add: I got 13 rounds in 20 minutes. I'm not actually weird about the number 13 or anything, but I had it in my head that I wanted to do 15 rounds, (30 pullups, 150 pushups, 300 swings total), so I went a couple minutes longer. The pullups got pretty hard toward the end, but I should've picked a harder pushup variation.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kettlebell fun

Round 1:

3o sec. sumo deads
30 sec 1 arm swings (right arm)
30 sec 1 arm swings (left arm)
30 sec. hot potato
30 sec rest

Repeat a total of 3x

Round 2:

30 sec. Russian twists
30 sec. getup situps (right arm)
30 sec. getup situps (left arm)
30 sec. super planks
30 sec rest

Repeat a total of 3x

Round 3:
30 sec. squat to press, right arm
30 sec. squat to press, left arm
30 sec. figure 8 to hold
30 sec hand to hand sumo deads
30 sec. rest.

Repeat a total of 3x

Round 4:
30 sec. Russian twist (unweighted)
1 min Sicilian crunches
30 sec. rest

Repeat a total of 3x

I used 12 kg for rounds 1 and 3 and 8 kg for rounds 2 and 4. The whole workout took about half an hour, and I felt it was a nice complement to the other workouts I've been doing since it was very core focused.

I'm feeling a bit ill today, though it's entirely my own fault. Dinner last night consisted of 3 glasses of champagne and a couple of crackers dabbed with creme fraiche and caviar.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Upper body

I did a little playing around with the timing and sequencing of exercises, hopefully without doing too much violence to Thibaudeau's basic concept of including heavy weights, high acceleration, and lactate-threshhold work all in one training session. Here's what it looked like:

Alternating sets: pullups, 6x4xBW, rest 30 sec.; BB flat bench press, 1x6x75, 1x6x80, 1x5x85, 1x5x90, 1x5x95, rest 60 sec.

superset: KB clean and press 1, 2, 3 ladder (so, a total of 6 reps per side per set), 5x14 kg; KB swings, 5x20x14 kg

circuit: 1-arm DB row, 3x10x30, no rest, high speed alt-arm pulling with tubing, 3x45 sec., rest 30 sec.; high decline pushups, 3x10xBW, no rest, high speed alt-arm punching with tubing, 3x45 sec., rest 60 sec.

In a perfect world I'd have followed up with 30 minutes of low intensity cardio, but my niece needed to come over to do laundry so that ended up not happening.

I'm really happy with how my shoulders and back are looking. I know conventional wisdom is that it's high volume that adds size, but for me I really feel like low reps with heavy weight are key.

Thing is, I really question how well this rotation--or any upper lower split with longish rests between sets and no HIIT--will work for fat loss. What I'm really expecting to see are gains in mass and strength, and no real change in my body fat. Which, actually, I am okay with right now, because I don't have any plans to perform in the near future and no plans for a beach vacation either until late March at the earliest. My weight's a little higher than I would like--maybe 115 or 116--but nothing I can't get rid of pretty fast when the time comes.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lower body workout

It'll be interesting to see how long I stick with this rotation. The workouts are a little impractical in some ways, since realistically on days when I have to work out at the gym, I can't count on being able to keep my rest periods exact, or even to be able to do the exercises I'd intended. Today, for instance, I got lucky in that the squat rack was available when I needed it, and so were the leg extension and (mostly) the leg curl machines. But I won't always be so lucky.

Anyway, here's what it was:

superset: front squat, 6x4x95; RDL, 6x4x110, rest 90 sec.

superset: KB swings, 5x10x30, jump lunges, 5x6 per leg x 12 lb dbs, rest 60 sec.

triset: leg extensions, 3x10x70, 1x10x80; SB leg curls, 1x10 per leg, seated leg curls, 3x10x60; speed squats, 45 sec., rest 60 sec.

35 min low-intensity cardio. (10 min on treadmill, 12.5 min on elliptical, 12.5 min. on treadmill)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Upper body workout--ugh!!


BB hang clean, 6x8x50
BB bentover row, 6x8x70
fast band pulls, 40-45 sec.
rest 90 sec

12 min elliptical, low intensity


offset explosive pushups, 6x8
DB chest press, 6x8x35
fast band punches, 40-45 sec.
rest 90 sec.

12 min elliptical, low intensity

My poundages look wimpy but I truly couldn't have gone heavier, partly because I had a crazy day with all kinds of disruptions to my schedule, and partly because of the way the exercises were sequenced.

I also did about 45 min. of vinyasa flow, then taught a "ballet" class that ended up being about 50% foam rolling and athletic stretching. (Long story: I wasn't scheduled to teach, but the instructor woke up with stomach flu, and I found out I'd be teaching literally 15 minutes before class was supposed to begin. I didn't have the right music with me, and I had no time to run home and get some. So ... I improvised.)

It was actually a fairly awful day. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better. At least it should be shorter.

Also, I hate working out at the gym. I'm so tired of people interrupting me in the middle of my set to complain about things over which I have no jurisdiction.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lower body workout


KB swings, 6x8x14 kg
sumo deads, 6x8x100
wide stance jumps, 6x40 sec.
rest, 90 sec.

12 min. cardio


jump squats, 6x8x15 lb dbs
front squats, 6x8x60 (wimpy weight but I tried to keep good form and go really low)
close stance speed squats, 45 sec
rest 90 sec.

12 min. cardio.

I'm not sure how I feel about this workout. On the one hand, it was a sweat fest. On the other hand doing low intensity cardio in mid workout seems a little pointless to me, because as I understand it, even if I've got all kinds of free fatty acids bopping around after triset #1, my body's not going to be burning them during the cardio if I've got glycogen to draw on. And I damn well better have glycogen to draw on, or triset #2 won't be happening.

But whatever. I liked it while I was doing it, and that's the main thing. For my cardio I did portions of P90X Cardio X, not the yoga in the beginning but the kenpo, plyo and core moves, and it was just right in terms of intensity.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Upper body workout

alternating sets with 90 sec. rest between sets:

one arm DB row, 4x8x35
DB incline press, 4x8x30

alternating sets with 60 sec. rest between sets:

KB clean, 4x6x14kg
KB press, 4x6x14kg


band assisted pullups, 3x8
high speed pulling with rubber tubing, 3x50 sec.
rest 60 sec.


1 arm DB shoulder press, 3x10x20
high speed shoulder punching with rubber tubing, 3x40 sec.
rest 60 seconds.

30 minutes of Cathe's Kick Punch & Crunch. I didn't wear my heart rate monitor, but I think I was about where I needed to be intensity-wise.

What got me interested in Thibaudeau is...

he's one of the few fitness experts around who acknowledges that women need to adjust their training depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle. This tells me he has a clue.

Thing is, I had really crappy workouts all this past week, and it never occurred to me that it was because I was in the last week of my cycle. I shouldn't have been, but my body had other ideas. Anyway, one of the things that happens to women when they're premenstrual is that their balance gets worse, and another is that their joints become more lax. This adds up to increased risk of injury. It doesn't mean "don't work out," it just means, "be careful and be smart about it."

In other words, don't do what I did last Tuesday. I felt like doing a kettlebell workout, but the routine I selected happened to involve lots of presses and snatches, both of which require a lot of shoulder stability. It was an unseasonably warm day, I'd already taught a pretty challenging cycling class ... and of course I was premenstrual although I didn't realize it. I started to fatigue much earlier than usual, and instead of being smart and listening to my body I tried to work through it. You know what's coming next: I tweaked my left shoulder during a long set of high pulls and snatches.

The shoulder's pretty much okay now, but it really prompted me to rethink my workouts. My initial assumption was that I'd gone overboard with the kettlebell training, doing too much too soon with poor technique. Then when Auntie Flo arrived a week early, I realized there was more to it than that. So I went looking for Thibaudeau's chart online, and then I read a few of his articles on female training, and since I was in the market for a new program anyway ....

Ehhh ... my decision making methodology works about as well as eeny meeny miny mo, but at least it takes longer.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

And the winner is ...

hypermetabolic (sorry, Wendy!) training a la Christian Thibaudeau, assuming I don't have a better idea any time soon.

The basic premise is to boost BMR while also increasing energy expenditure from the workout itself. To that end, four types of activities are included:

1. heavy strength training (in the 4-8 rep range)
2. lighter strength training performed with maximum acceleration
3. high speed metabolic work in the anaerobic lactic zone
4. low intensity "fat burning" cardio

(If you're curious, here's a link to Thibaudeau's article on Figure Athlete where he explains why each type of activity is important:

What interests me about the program isn't so much the "science" of it, because, well, whatever. Not that I'm cynical or anything, but the bottom line is that if you're consistently working hard, watching your calories, getting enough protein, and (mostly) avoiding sugar and starch, you will lose fat no matter whose program you're on, although Wendy's is the best of course :)

Nope, what interests me is simply that it's kinda different from what I've been doing, and incorporates some endurance training, I'm still not sold on the effectiveness of same for fat loss, but there's no question but that endurance is important for many sports and leisure activities and also for everyday life.

Anyway, the program is an upper lower split, with two upper body and two lower body workouts each week, each incorporating heavy weight training, high acceleration training, high speed metabolic training, and low intensity cardio. Today, for instance. I did the following:

superset with full 90 sec. rest: RDL, 8x90, 8x100, 6x100, 8x100; Bulgarian ss with dumbbells, 8x20, 8x25, 2x6x25 (this is the heavy lifting, in case you couldn't tell :))

superset with full 60 sec. rest: KB swing, 4x8x14 kg; jump lunge with dumbells, 4x8x10 (this is the maximum-acceleration lifting)

tri-set: lying leg curl, 3x10x50; leg extension, 1x10x70, 2x10x80; bodyweight speed squat, 60 sec., no rest between exercises, 60 sec. rest following the speed squats.

Supposedly the speed squats are meant to bring me to my lactate threshhold, thereby triggering the release of free fatty acids as well as growth hormone. Therefore, I optimally would've done 30-35 minutes of low intensity cardio following the tri-set. But ... I didn't. I did about 10 minutes of various bodyweight exercises: jumping jacks, squats, pushups, stepups, mountain climbers, 1-leg glute bridges, running in place, etc. Then I got bored, thought for two seconds about doing an exercise video, realized I would have to clear a space in my workout area, and gave up on the idea. If I'd been at the gym I'd have hopped on the elliptical. (Taste it, CB!)

As I said, I'm pretty skeptical about the efficacy of low intensity cardio for fat loss. I certainly don't think it hurts, but I don't think it helps all that much either and I certainly don't think it matters when you do it. I mean, maybe it matters if you're competing and need to lose as much body fat as you possibly can, but if all you're looking to do is get "real world" lean ... not so much.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Okay, so I took another look at RC's program ...

and decided, nope, not for me. Rachel C0sgrove may've gotten great results with it, but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't do much for me. Alternating two workouts for four weeks, without changing exercises, volume, or rest periods in that time ... nope. I'm actually sort of surprised it worked for Rachel, to be honest, although maybe it had been so long since she'd done any real resistance training that her body would've responded to just about anything involving actual weights.

Anyhoo, I went rummaging around my computer and came up with a nifty little dumbbell complex workout that I downloaded a while ago. It's a 6 week program, with three different workouts meant to be done on nonconsecutive days, and what I like about it is that it incorporates undulating periodization, meaning that Day 1 is always a low volume heavy weight long rest day, Day 2 is always a medium volume medium weight medium rest day, and Day 3 is always a high volume light weight short rest day. Each week the set/rest/rep scheme varies, so that for instance on Day 1 this week I did 5 sets, 4 reps, with 90 seconds rest between sets, while next week I will do 6 sets, 3 reps.

Each complex is meant to be followed up with 10 minutes of HIIT, but the work to rest ratio varies each workout so that some days are more intense than others. Today, for instance, I was supposed to perform 15 seconds of very high intensity exercise followed by 45 seconds of recovery. Next time the ratio is 25 seconds of moderately high intensity exercise followed by 35 seconds of recovery, and the time after that, 20 seconds of high intensity followed by 40 seconds of low intensity. This is the thing I may play with. For instance, today I did ten minutes of a fitness girl workout (2 rockets, 2 star jumps 2 tuck jumps, rest 15 sec, repeat 3x; 15 squat jumps/20 mountain climbers; 10 split jumps each side/20 mountain climbers; 10 straddle jumps with 5 seconds to reset between each jump; go back to the beginning and repeat until 10 minutes are up) It was sort of fun. I did it in my stocking feet and really tried to point my toes on the jumps for the prettiest possible line.

Thing is, with complexes even on "heavy day" you really can't go all that heavy because, face it, even when the complex consists of only 4 exercises and you're only doing 4 reps, that's still a 16 rep set. So I'm thinking I could do this program and then on alternate days do Resolution, which is all about going heavyheavyheavy.

Well, maybe. We'll see.

I'm so funny ... a couple weeks ago I was all "I wanna get strong and who cares what I look like," and now I'm more "Hmmm, this is looking a bit soft, maybe I need to tighten up my diet and add a couple more HIIT sessions."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm realizing I need to pick a program and do it ...

because my current approach of "whatever, whenever" is not serving me well.

I really like the AOS workouts, but the AOS programs as written don't seem to work well for me. Take Resolution, for instance. There are three different workouts, but many of the same moves are repeated from workout to workout, and it's recommended to work out on a schedule of 4 days on, 2 days active rest. That means on Day 1 I'd be doing Resolution 1 (BB clean & press, KB swings), on Day 2 I'd be doing Resolution 2 (KB clean & press, pullups, bb deadlifts), on Day 3 I'd be doing Resolution 3 (BB deadlifts, BB clean & press, farmers walks, KB swings), and on Day 4 I'd be repeating Day 1. Then I'd get two days to do something else, and then I'd pick up again with Resolution 2. I like the concept, but I'm not sure my 46-year-old body can take that kind of abuse. I mean, it could if I went lighter with my weights, but I'm not sure how much I would get out of it if I did that.

Besides, what about my snatch (Deb, get your mind out of the gutter!) and my TGU???

What the bright minds at AOS would say is, alternate 4 days of Resolution with 4 days of another program that includes those exercises. AOX Upper Cross would be ideal for where I am right now, then maybe progressing to something like the AOX 1200 workout (don't even ask, I'm not kidding).

Hmmm ... I guess I can give it a try and see what happens.

Edited to add: I gave it some more thought, and, um, no. I'm not ready for that. Or I'm too old, or something. I might have another look at Rachel Cosgrove's "getting her abs back" program, the one she posted a while ago on Figure Athlete. That might be a better bet for now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday workout

Warm up circuit 2x:

15 prisoner squats
8 offset pushups each side
15 SB leg curls
10 prone stickups

Superset: DB static lunges, 4x8 per leg x 35; SB rollouts, 4x8

Superset: DB RDL, 3x10x35; cross-body mountain climber, 3x10 per side

Superset: KB swings, 3x30x14 kg; SB prone tucks, 3x15

Then I jogged to the beach and did intervals on the stairs: 45 sec effort, 90 sec recovery 6x

I heart my Kettlebell Buddy. He's 2 kg, and screws into the bottom of any kettlebell, so now I have an 8 kg bell, a 10 kg bell, a 12 kg bell and a 14 kg bell. I can already tell that it won't be too terribly long before I need a 16 kg bell for some exercises at least :)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thank Goddess It's Friday Workout

Did I post my Wednesday workout? Can I remember my Wednesday workout?

Oh, yes: Resolution III, plus ballet

5 rounds:

BB deadlift from floor, 5x135, then adding 5 lbs and decreasing the number of reps each round thereafter until by the last round I was doing 1 rep with 155 lbs

BB clean & press, 5x65

Farmers walk, 40 yards x 35's

Swings: 30x12 kg

Thursday was sort of a rest day. I took ballet but other than that, nothing.

Today I did Resolution II:

6 rounds:

KB clean & press ladder, 1, 2, 3, 4 with 12 kg, same each round
pullups, starting with 5 and doing 1 less each round, then going back to 5 on round 6
deadlifts from floor, 5x115, then doing 1 less each round but adding five pounds until by round 5 I was down to 1 deadlift at 135 lbs, which I repeated on round 6

Later I took my 12 kg bell to the beach and did the following:

20 swings, followed by 1 minute of jogging on sand, lather rinse repeat for 12 minutes. It was sort of brutal, but honestly the worst part was the walk to and from the beach carrying the damn kettlebell. I only live about half a mile from the beach, but it seems like a lot more when you're carrying a 26-pound lump of iron.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

... and on Sunday I rested.

I was probably due for a rest day since I couldn't remember when I'd last taken one. I wasn't too horribly sore, but it still seemed like it would be a smart thing to do.

Monday's workout was an Art of Strength thingy designed to correct Upper Cross Syndrome. In case you're not familiar with the term, it's trainerspeak for round-shoulderedness, and it's one of the first things I try to fix in my clients who present with that particular problem. Not only is it esthetically unappealing, but if you've got it it means you've got imbalances in the muscles that control your shoulder joint, and you probably can't stabilize your shoulders properly during pulling, pushing and pressing motions. So, gotta fix it before we start doing all those fun upper body exercises that produce such great results.

Anyway, I never inflict anything on a client until I've tried it out myself, so I did 4 rounds at level 1 and 3 rounds at level 2, just to see what it felt like and whether it seemed effective or not.

Level 1 consisted of the following:

Farmer's walk, 10 yards with 35 lb dumbbells
KB release swings, 20 x 12 kg (was supposed to be 10, but evidently I can't read)
Turkish get-up sit-ups, 5 per side x 12 kg (was supposed to be 3 per side but see above)
Renegade rows, 5 per side x 20 lb dbs
KB back squat, 10 x 12 kg
KB Russian twist, 20 x 8 kg.

Level 2 consisted of 20 yards of the farmer's walk, 20 swings again, 5 get-up situps again, 5 "super planks" (you go from forearm supported to the top of a pushup position and back again), 5 dead cleans per side, and 5 high pulls per side.

It didn't feel all that hard while I was doing it, but I was super sore later in the area of my rear rotator cuff and lower traps. Since those are exactly the areas I was trying to target, I'm pleased. I really like the farmer's walks--it's a phenomenally functional movement for anyone who carries two bags of groceries at once, or two suitcases, or whatever.

Today's workout was a dumbbell/kettlebell thing:

superset: db chest press & db row, 3x8x35 on both exercises
superset: chinups, first set unassisted, second sets assisted, 3x6; KB 1-arm press. 3x8x12 kg
superset: TRX body rows, 3x15; decline close grip pushups, 3x12
Intervals: 1-arm KB swings, 30 sec. per arm, running in place for 30 sec., rest 30-60 sec., 6x

Oh, and I taught cycling also, and it turned out to be a pretty challenging class. My heart rate got up to 175 at one point, which for me is definitely anaerobic threshhold territory.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 in 2009

Um, yeah.

Don't go giving me too much credit though. Here's how I broke it up:

50 high knees
30 swings, mixed
20 pushups
30 walking lunges
2 pullups
25 box squats
30 mountain climbers
25 wall squat stick-em-ups
15 prone tucks
60 jacks

That's all one circuit. If you count up the number of reps in the circuit it comes out to 287, which is 1/7 of 2009. Extrapolate :)

Oh, and I also did my 10 minutes of facing the wall squats,halos and pumps, followed by 5 minutes of Turkish getups as per the RKC program minimum. I'm having some shoulder stabilization issues that are making it hard for me to go heavy on my getups, so this is an area I really need to work on.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Second workout of 2009

I was supposed to do Resolution III today, but wasn't really in the mood for heavy deads or barbell clean & press, so I began with the RKC Minimum program from Enter the Kettlebell. Workout 1 calls for 10 minutes of mobility drills--the suggested exercises are deep facing-the-wall squats, kettlebell "halos" (you hold a kettlebell by the horns and take it around your head, making a great effort not to bonk yourself at any point), and "pumps" (which are sort of like upward facing dog/downward facing dog with some hip-swiveling action when you're in up dog)--followed by 12 minutes of 20 swings/1 minute of active active recovery (suggested activities are jumping jacks, squat thrusts, mountain climbers, jogging, basically anything that keeps you moving but won't interfere with your performance of the swings). I got in 4 rounds of the mobility drills and 10 sets of swings/other stuff, although I think I ended up working a little longer than the prescribed 12 minutes when I was doing that portion of the workout.

I had some energy left so I followed with a Turbulence Training 10x10 dumbbell circuit. Ten exercises, 10 reps of each exercise, done complex-style, using about 30 percent of your usual dumbbell press weight. I used 12-pounders, but honestly I think I could've gone heavier because I have a lot of endurance for this kind of workout.

The 10 exercises were:

bulgarian split squats
shoulder presses
chest presses
elbows-out rows
shrugs (I subbed lateral raises the first time through the circuit, RDL the second two times)
incline presses

First Workout of 2009

Here's what I did yesterday:

round 1: cossack stretch/squat thrust to snatch.
round 2: squat to press.
round 3: 2 handed swing/ hot potato.
round 4: punch matrix/plank.
round 5: side snatch/overhead lunge.
round 6: squat to kick/sots press/ standing side crunch
round 7: hand to hand clean/ dragon lunge.
round 8: kettlebell traveling push-up/ dive bomber pushup.
extra round: snatch to turkish getup to windmill.
bonus round: 5 minute snatch test.

The routine is from AOS Newport. Most of the rounds are 3 or 4 minutes long--you do the first exercise for 30 seconds, then the second exercise for 30 seconds, then you go back to the first (or if it's a unilateral exercise you switch sides), and so forth. Rests between rounds are only a minute long, so it's a very cardiovascular routine. I used my 8 kg bell, which is what is recommended for women, and truly I could not have gone heavier. In fact, even with the lighter bell I was struggling on the sots press, which if you're not familiar with it is a horrible variation on the squat press. You start with the kettlebell in rack position, go into a rock bottom squat, press the weight overhead, then straighten the legs while keeping the weight overhead.

On a more positive note, I made it through the 5 minute snatch test just fine. I broke it up by doing it countdown style, starting with 8 snatches on the right, then 8 left, then working my way down to 1 on each side, at which point I began working my way up the ladder again. I got in about 80 snatches total, which isn't bad although it would be more impressive if I'd been using my 12 kg bell.

By this time next year I aspire to be able to perform 200 snatches in 10 minutes, with my 12 kg bell. This is what Pavel Tsatsouline recommends as a goal for women in his book, Enter The Kettlebell! Which, by the way, I highly, highly recommend to anyone who is seriously interested in kettlebells, though if you're more of a casual user I wouldn't bother with it because it's probably way more information than you really want. I mean, if you're someone who thinks that working on her snatch means doing Kegels or maybe getting a Brazilian--which, don't get me wrong, is an entirely valid interpretation--you're better off spending your money on something that you're more likely to actually use.

TendSkin, maybe.