Saturday, July 4, 2009

ETK practice: Week 8 "hard" day

Per Enter The Kettlebell, "easy," "medium" and "hard" days differ only in terms of the volume of work performed during the strength portion of the workout (the clean & press/pull-up ladders) and the intensity of the work performed during the conditioning portions (snatches or swings for time).

Actually, that's a bit misleading because it's only in week 8 that the volume of work during the strength portion becomes variable. From week 8 on you do 5 3-rung ladders on "easy" day (same as week 7), while on "medium" day you do (or attempt) 5 4-rung ladders and on "hard" day you do (or attempt) 5 5-rung ladders. Before that, volume builds from week to week but stays the same during the week.

Anyhoo, since I'm just finishing Week 8 today was my first "hard" day of 5 5-rung ladders. It went okay. As in, I completed all reps and had enough energy at the end to attempt a test of my pressing strength using my 12 kg kettlebell. Instead of doing clean & presses I did strict military presses to failure, and got 7 reps on the right side and 8 on the left. Strict militaries are harder than clean & presses because if you've done the clean properly your body has stored energy that it can use to drive the weight overhead without doing anything funky like a push press.

(Don't get me wrong: I love push presses and have been doing them for years. They're a big part of why I am as strong as I am. But today's workout was not about my push press.)

With the conditioning part of the workout, the idea is just to work for a set period of time at a predetermined level of effort: about 60% on "easy" day, 80% on "medium" day, and 100% on "hard" day. You roll the dice to determine the length of the work period. Or, you buy the ETK workbook from Art of Strength and you let Anthony DiLuglio roll the dice for you. I have the workbook, so that's what I have been doing. Thankfully today called for only a 3 minute effort so instead of doing sets of 25 with a 5 second rest between sets I opted simply to work continuously for the entire 3 minutes. Had I felt it necessary to rest I would have, but I didn't, so I didn't :) I got 117 reps in the 3 minutes--about 39 per minute, which seems to be my cadence for swings.