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395 lb Deadlift!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here's my 395 lb last lift of the day at the 25 Jun Powerlifting Competition where I totalled 1005 lbs.

Not bad for a 54 year old adult onset weightlifter!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Tres bien!

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/30/2014 5:20PM

    Nice job, dude!! That was great! You had great form and I love the crowd's reaction:)

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SPARKMCKENZIE 6/30/2014 2:47PM

    Wow, that's great! Congrats, you make it look so easy, but I know it takes alot of work. Thank you for sharing your video. You are a star ! emoticon

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GREGINPROGRESS 6/27/2014 11:36AM

    You made that look easy! Amazing strength and control!

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DOUGDC 6/27/2014 10:54AM

    Can't say how impressed I am. I cannot imagine handling such weights. Huge effort and Huge Success. Congrats.

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BILL60 6/26/2014 9:25PM

    You're an animal. Super well done!!

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KA_JUN 6/26/2014 9:19PM, beast! *high 5*

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JUNEAU2010 6/26/2014 9:08PM


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SAFARIBABE 6/26/2014 4:44PM

    emoticon I agree with Woubie...Staszi guy would be very proud!

Ever used VersoGrips? or are you not allowed to use them in competition? Just curious.

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    WOWSER... love it!

Thanks for sharing... and your smile kinda says it all, don't you think? Just a hint of proud and smug, ha!



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WOUBBIE 6/26/2014 1:10PM


Stasi man would be so proud! Not that he would ever say so, of course...

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SETTIMIA 6/26/2014 12:36PM

    Well done, you can do it!

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1005 lbs of VICTORY!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How do you communicate the sweet taste of victory in a blog?

Well, there's always a good meme out there;

Maybe a kitschy ad sporting a storm trooper;

Or you could just show a glass of beer;

Then again, you could write about it, describing the adventure, the drama, the struggle of man vs.......

OK, let me just get on with it

Today I lifted a combined 1005 lbs between squats, bench press, and deadlifts....a personal record, beating my previous score of 955 lbs set last February!!

Hmmm, where to begin....

Well I got there early to cheer on the women. They started an hour before the guys. There weren't too many familiar faces, most of the women I have competed with these past few times had stopped lifting for the summer, shredding down for bikini season. Knowing that, the sponsors of this event opened it up to many folks from the greater DC area. Some were first timers, others were experienced (One beast of a gal finished with a total score of 855! But the high drama was from a first-timer who eked out 525 total....she was focused, dedicated, and gave it her all!)

At first there were only 3 of us guys, then, right before starting time, 4 young Marines showed up.....strapping young lads in their 20s, they looked straight off of a superhero movie we had a show!!

I had planned all my lifts, starting off with a weight that was challenging but that I knew I could get. For squats I started at 315. It was a piece of cake, so for my second squat I put 345 lbs on the bar. It was a good lift, not pretty, but I straightened back up.

I struck up a conversation with the lead Marine (He was warming up with the 315 I did for my first lift!) He was made of rock-solid granite, but as is usual with serious lifters, real easy to talk to and ask for advice and pointers. I noticed he and his buddies were wrapping their knees before squatting.

"So what's up with the wraps?"

"Oh these are real good for stability, they keep your knees tight. I can add 40-50 lbs to my squat with knee wraps"

"Really!?!? So, can you guys wrap me up for my next lift?"

"Sure, but we should only do it a minute or 2 before you lift, these things really block off your blood flow"

With that, I told them to add 10 more lbs to the bar for a 355 lb total.....and nailed it!! The judges said it was the best of my 3 squats today and that I could have done another 20 lbs easy!

Overall this was amazing, because I had been most concerned with my squats. I'd been working hard on them, but struggling with the depth....well smooth sailing from now on, so on to bench press!

Same deal, I started with a weight that was hard but that I knew I could get.....255 lbs. So I added 20 and went for 275 on my 2nd attempt....

....2d attempt failed! I got the bar 4-5 inches off my chest, then no mas. So by the rules of the competition, I had to do the same weight for my 3d attempt.

I chalked up, psyched up, got under that bar, and pushed.....and pushed.....and pushed, but I couldn't straighten my arms out! Arrghh

So overall I was at 610 lbs total (355 squat, 255 bench). Deadlifts were next, and I felt most confident with them, but I had to shake off the disappointing bench press episode.

Again, I started with a tough but achievable weight, which for me was 345 lbs. It was almost easy, so for my 2nd attempt, I added 20 again, for a 365 deadlift.

Almost easy, but not bad at all.

Now I had to do some math in public.

So far I had a total of 975 lbs (355 squat, 255 bench, 365 deads), 20 lbs better than my previous 955 in February (see blog ). I was thinking I could safely add 10 lbs to the bar, then thought, "Nahhh, push the limits and add 20 lbs".....that would give me a new PR of 995 lbs....

....but seriously 995 lbs?!?!?!

Could I really get that close to 1000 and not go for it? I'd have to deadlift 395, that's a lot of weight.....that's 40 more lbs than I have ever lifted before....but.....but...

"But WHAT!" I told myself!! I had already set a PR, the worse that could happen was that I lift the bar a few inches off the ground and drop it. Last February I was real concerned about my deadlifts, but these past few months I have been really focused on my form and proper lifting technique.


I high-fived each of the Marines, had them each give me a big Hoo-Rah!, went over to the bar.....and pulled that bad boy straight off the ground letting out a victory cry as the bar passed over my knees!!!

10005 lbs of victory!!!!

Man, was I a happy camper!!

So here it is, 8 months after I set my goal to lift a combined 1000 lbs, I made my goal (see blog ). I wasn't expecting it.....I really figured it would take me till October to reach it.

Now what?!!?

I had already decided to ease off the lifting through the rest of June and July, focusing on kettlebell work. I've got some goals for the kettlebells. I'm taking my 35 lber on vacation with us this summer (we're going to Boston then over to Niagara Falls for about 2 weeks) After that life's a wide open book....I'm sure I'll figure out what to do next while blogging with all my Spark buds!

For the rest of tonight....all I want to do is eat, watch TV, and go to bed!

Have a great night Spark friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Damn! You the man!

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BEATLETOT 6/27/2014 2:48PM

    That's SO AWESOME!!! WOW!!

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GREGINPROGRESS 6/27/2014 11:31AM

    That's awesome! Congrats!

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DOUGDC 6/26/2014 10:36AM

    Great story and description. Props to you for your effort, and to the Marines for their generosity. Great day, and congratulations on the PR. emoticon

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STRONG_SARAH 6/26/2014 5:04AM

    Awesome! I LOVE this! You have worked so hard and deserve all your success. I'm really happy for you.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/26/2014 4:44AM

    So cool! I love the sportsmanship:) Congrats and I can't wait to read about what's next:)
Enjoy your kettlebellling!

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BERGBA7 6/26/2014 3:06AM

    emoticon emoticon
A victory earned through dedication, training and focus! Great! You deserve to celebrate it well! I love the fact that you did not get impressed by the bunch of dreadful marines, but that you "used" them to push you to do better! You learned from them, and I guess you used the positive feeling of competition with those alpha-males to go to your limit. Fabulous!

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I love this... and I'm so dang jealous at the same time with my lifting restrictions still in place... but I digress....

WELL DONE! emoticon


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MAVERICKDR 6/25/2014 9:11PM

    Very, very good achievement for you. Celebrating with you, too (but skipping the beer).

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JUNEAU2010 6/25/2014 9:02PM


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PMRUNNER 6/25/2014 9:00PM

    Hoo-rah! Way to go! That is some great progress, well done!

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SAFARIBABE 6/25/2014 8:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

WOW! The amount of weight is staggering! Way to Go!! All those sessions with Staszi Guy really paid off! Get some rest. You definitely earned a night off!'s the martial arts going?

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JAMBABY0 6/25/2014 8:03PM


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WOOOHOOOO!!! I knew you could do it! Was just a matter of when.

emoticon emoticon

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AJB121299 6/25/2014 7:32PM


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New Trainer, New Mission!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Many of my long-time Spark buds will know about my love-hate relationship with Stasi Guy, the sadistic trainer I worked out with for over 3 years when we lived in Florida (see one of my many previous blogs on the him at; )

Stasi guy knew his stuff. He pushed me hard, helped me make incredible improvements, and to this day, I credit him with giving me the strength and confidence to lift heavy weights correctly and for teaching me the tools I needed to help design my own strength training program that helped me lift 955 lbs in my last Powerlifting meet (see blog )

We parted ways last summer when I moved the family up to DC. I still lift heavy weights 3x/week and have now incorporated Kettlebells into my daily routine ( ). Lifting heavy weights help me get stronger (what a great SparkPeople name, huh!) and kettlebells are a great overall conditioning tool. But something has been missing.

Flexibility.....stability.....range of motion.

Now I've never been a flexible fellow. Even though I know should stretch more, I hate doing it.

Well a few weeks ago, adversity met opportunity.

On Sundays, I go to a gym a few miles down the road from our house. It's pretty decent and they've got good equipment; 2 squat racks, 3 Concept2 Rowers, and a HUGE Kettlebell collection....all the way up to 100 lbs!

They've also got a bunch of trainers hanging out near the aerobic equipment.

For the last 8 months, I've watched them train their clients. Most of them have their people do all sorts of weirdo exercises and I'd just sigh under my breath as I remembered how hardcore Stasi Guy approached my training....he was pretty much like Burgess Meredith training Rocky Balboa

So a few weeks ago I approached one of the trainers who seemed to look like he knew what he was doing and asked him if he knew anything about kettlebells. He said yes, watched my technique on some Turkish Get-ups and Swings, then gave me a few pointers for free. I asked him about his rates and said I was interested in cleaning up my form with the Kettlebells and we agreed on an introductory couple of lessons.

I got a little busy and wasn't able to start with him right away, and in the meantime had taken an 8-hour Kettlebell clinic with some serious Russian style dudes and have felt real good about my kettlebell training since then, but I figured I'd train with this new guy for a few weeks anyway.

Well, before we start training, he gives me a head to toe fitness assessment. He took a 3-point body fat measure with calipers (18%, thank-you very much!), strength assessment (I crushed it!), aerobic capacity (Top 10% percentile), and.....flexibility.....

....I bottomed out! I'm probably in the top 10 percent of least flexible people in the world.

So then he launches into his spiel about the importance of flexibility and stability and how it's the core of any good fitness plan, blah-blah-blah.....I had to struggle to keep from rolling my eyes and felt exactly like my teenagers must have when I lectured them for the umpteenth-time about the importance of punctuality, cleanliness, not drinking and driving etc, etc. etc.

Once the droning stopped, I realized that he was telling me we had to start off with range of motion and functional movement training before we could start on anything else.

Wait a minute, who's hiring who here?!?! I thought I was in charge! I want to clean and snatch kettlbells, not sit on my ass all day bending and twisting into all sorts of uncomfortable positions. At least that's what I was reality, I just nodded and said, "OK sure, let's do it!"

Somehow my deep unconscious has always helped me make good decisions even when my inner monologue wants to do nothing more than yell and scream when I don't get my way.

So on our first session, trainer guy (I don't have a nickname for him yet....granola-eater comes to mind, as does hipster-doofus, but that's just because....well just because he's both of those things), introduces me to Mr Lacrosse Ball and Mr Foam Roller

The goal for Mr Lacrosse Ball is to hit trigger points....those tight little knots of muscle wedged deep into your shoulders, back, hamstrings, quads, calves, etc. You roll the ball on to one of those tight knots....then push and pulse against it while trying to relax and breathe. The goal for Mr Foam Roller is for Myofascial release...separating those groups of muscles that are bundled together with that muscular sausage casing known as fascia. Same deal, except you start at the top of a joint and slowly roll down to the next joint (imagine starting at the top of your thigh and rolling down to the knee)

Well it seems like every point of my body that touches either of these evil little devices is chock full of painfully tight muscle. I'm balancing on my arms and legs, calibrating the pressure I put on that lacrosse ball, knowing that the slightest little slip and it'll slam into a tight spot and I'll start crying like a baby.

After an hour of this, I'm sweating like a race horse. Granola-eater then gives me some homework, telling me to do this every other day until our next session. I'm already hating him....he's making Stasi Guy come off like the Pope.

But today we finished up our third session. I went out to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought myself a few Lacrosse Balls and have been using them religiously every night, alternating between upper and lower body every other day.

I do this before going to bed for 30-45 minutes and have got to tell you....I have been sleeping the sleep of the dead every single night! I really had no idea how chronically tight and sore I was till I started doing this. After 3 weeks, I am just now starting to see how my range of motion is improving and how less sore I feel during the day. I've got a long way to go, but I'm pretty well sold so far.

Somehow, I've always hated stretching, mostly because I suck at it. The trigger point & foam rolling thing is more like a massage than stretching. Yeah, it can be painful, but I've found that I can adjust the pain by adjusting the pressure. And unlike going for a massage, I can hit the EXACT spore spot with Mr Lacrosse Ball, and let me tell you, that is how I now spell relief!

More to follow in the coming weeks. Ive got 5 more sessions paid up for with granola-eater, so we'll see how far this goes.

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I was introduced to the foam roller through running, and it is amazing. I also used it when I hurt my calves in my bout, and cried while using it. I don't use it enough when I am not feeling tight though. As for the you lay on it? What muscles do you use it on? I'm a little like you in the 'yeah right, like I'll be spending 10 minutes of my precious time rolling my muscles over a ball and a roller everyday? Give me a weight. Stat!' So a little more eyeballing your posts and accolades for the use of these items regularly may be in my future.

Did I mention? (I know I haven't) I did my first set of deadlifts ever this past week. With my trainer. Crazy stuff!

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JULIAMOONCHILD 6/18/2014 12:55AM

    This is really interesting stuff. Like some of the others here, I have never used a foam roller or lacrosse balls, but when you mentioned better sleep, as in sleeping the sleep of the dead, I was nearly ready to run out right now (after midnight) to try to find some of those sleep inducers for myself.

When I was working out with a trainer in the past, I used to see a few people using the foam roller at the gym. And all of the people who were using them consistently were people who ran in marathons. Hmm. So, starting to see a connection here. Flexibility - a critical element to physical exercise and, I'm sure, to physical health, yet too often over-looked. And now I want to seriously look in to it.
So do keep us posted. Having you reporting these workouts is like having our own personal trainer for FREE. Of course, you will need to give us more detailed instructions as things go along. OK?

BTW, I love the nick name you chose for Granola-eater. It's just all warm and fuzzy sounding - Until he wises up and starts talking to ya like Burgess Meredith, that is. emoticon

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NANCYANNE55 6/9/2014 3:10PM

    GREAT blog!

I know this is different than anything you've done before, but one suggestion: Don't jack with your program! Don't do stuff he doesn't say to do at the end of his workout, or on off days. Just let him progress you. I'd bet money he has a plan, and you not sticking to what he is saying can seriously jack that plan up!

Not that you are planning to add extra, but I thought I'd just give you a word of warning. It would make me nutso when a client would come in and say "I lifted for chest and bi's yesterday", and the workout I'd planned for that very day required chest and bi's to be fresh and ready to go.

Comment edited on: 6/9/2014 3:12:13 PM

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WOUBBIE 6/9/2014 12:20PM

    Why am I suddenly picturing a movie:? GranolaEater Vs. StasiMan; the latest Marvel Comics adaptation!

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DOUGDC 6/9/2014 11:41AM

    Glad you've found another guide you can trust. I've got a physical therapy consultation lined up for next month to address some chronic problems in the area of the Iliotibial Band that foam rolling has not really helped. I'm interested in hearing how your rolling and stretching pans out.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/9/2014 11:40AM

    Very interesting connection between the use of the foam roller and your sleep:) I may have to bring mine out more often. I usually use it after long runs, not enough:)
Can't wait to read about your progress!

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    My first encounter with foam rolling came from P90X2, which uses it heavily, and my first reaction was "what the heck is this thing for?" That's also the reaction of anyone who comes over to my house and sees that thing (I have a rumble roller like the smiling lady in your blog). Now I love it. I use a very firm medicine ball on my glutes, though, because I have trouble hitting the right spots with the roller, and I use a rolling pin when the bottom of my feet get sore.

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BILL60 6/9/2014 8:08AM

    I'm waiting to hear how the next sessions go. Thanks for sharing.

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SAFARIBABE 6/9/2014 5:32AM

    I've been using a GRID foam roller for months, Has really improved my flexibility, Never heard of Lacross Balls but will ask Stazi Jr about them today. As much as the roller hurts it is nothing compared to when he lets me lie down on the nice sot massage table and then HE rolls me. That's when the blood curdling screams, whimpering and begging start! Using all of his very impressive strength he leans into every sore point. with the little "points" on the GRID. The only advise I can offer is keep breathing....breath thru the pain. Good Luck!!

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BERGBA7 6/9/2014 4:17AM

    Very interesting - it is true that we usually do not think of stretching or foam rolling as exercise, but you make it sound like it! Or maybe I should say it is sports hygiene, maybe. I will take it as example and do more stretching to stay flexible!
Thanks for the blog!

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PROT358 6/8/2014 11:22PM

    An interesting perspective. I have some chronic stiffness too, and know next to nothing about how to use a foam roller. I've been trying to work through the kinks by soaking in the hot tub. Hey, you could pitch that idea and see how it goes? ;) I might have to look into this foam roller business further. I miss hearing about Stasi, but it sounds like you're in good hands!

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CHEEKYGEEK 6/8/2014 10:30PM

    Wow! You almost have me sold on the foam roller. Like you, my range of flexibility is seriously limited these days (gone are the times I could curve my leg, tip my head back, and touch my toes to my head).

Thanks for the update!

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JUNEAU2010 6/8/2014 9:46PM

    Very cool! Here I am on the couch thinking I should be doing something else!

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    Yep - it's a love/hate thing... every one of my 14 trainers have pushed the ball and foam roller.

Good luck with your granola guy!


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Friday, May 16, 2014

As a precocious 8th-grader, I remember spring semester art class when our teacher introduced us to clay. While my buddies were busy molding ashtrays and bookends, I sat down to sculpt a 1/10 scale model of Spiderman in an action pose as he swung from building to building

"This is cool!" I proclaimed, "I LOVE CLAY!!"

My art teacher peered disapprovingly over her rimless glasses (this was the mid 70s and she was a bit of a hippie chick...moccasin boots, maxi skirt, tie-dyed shirt, no bra, and a flower in her frazzled hair), "you cannot love an inanimate object!"

"Really? Why not?" I said, peering approvingly on Spidey's outstretched arms.

She started droning on about consciousness, expressive meaning, stimulus and response....and I focused back in on getting Spidey's legs just right as he shot some webbing out his wrist to the bridge span below him.

But for years that phrase, "you cannot love an inanimate object", has resonated with me. And I still ask, "Really? Why not?"

And today, 40+ years later, I can proudly proclaim, "I LOVE KETTLEBELLS!!"

Many of Spark buds have read about my fascination with these cast-iron beasts (see blogs and ). I've got to tell you....I'm hooked!!

"The Kettlebell is an ancient Russian weapon against weakness" - Pavel Tsatsouline

For about 2 months, I've been doing sets of kettlebell swings and Turkish get-ups after each of my strength training sessions. I've even got SWMBO doing Turkish Get-ups with me (albeit, with no weight, but still...)

So last weekend, I took an 8-hour Kettlebell clinic with some certified SFG instructors (SFG stands for Strongfirst....a pretty amazing outfit that focuses on strength training with kettlebells, free weights, and body weight... ). It was great! We went over swings, goblet squats, Turkish Get-ups, and overhead presses. The instructors watched & corrected our forms, then went on to give us pointers, techniques, and cues to think about during each phase of each exercise, as well as programming information on how to create a kettlebell training plan or to incorporate them into your existing plan

It has helped immensely!

Did I mention that I LOVE Kettlebells!

I think Kettlebell Swings and Turkish Get-ups are incredible. Swings seems deceptively simple, but when done right and done often, they work out every part of your body, especially your whole posterior chain (butt, hamstrings, lower back) as well as your core and cardio capacity. I really, really recommend a book called "Simple & Sinister" by Pavel Tsatsouline. It tells you everything you need to know about how to do them and how to develop a training plan to get fitter doing them.

I've noticed some incredible changes these past 2 months. My aerobic capacity has improved dramatically. And many basic and simple movements are now amazingly smooth and graceful. Just twisting to get out of the car, up out of a chair, even standing and walking seem totally different. I feel like every movement is getting initiated out of my core and that my sense of balance and posture is finally right after being wrong for years.

I do one-handed swings and Turkish Get-ups with a 35-lb KB, 2-handed swings with a 53-lb KB, and have just started doing 2-handed swings with a 70-lb KB on weekends at my Sunday gym.

I still have a goal of lifting a combined 1,000 lbs between squats, bench press, and deadlifts this next Powerlifting meet is 26 June....I probably won't be ready to do it at that one, but by Oct, I should be able to nail it.

But I'm already thinking about afterwards. The more I read about kettlebells, the more convinced I am that they're all you need to stay very any age. You can vary the weight you lift, or the speed with which you move it, or the rest time between really is amazingly versatile. We'll see....more to follow!

What inanimate objects do you LOVE??

Have a great night Spark friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALMISSE 5/30/2014 5:32PM

    Cool Spidey sculpture!

Just came to check this out after I read your comment on my blog about kettlebells. I'm currently looking up the book you recommended in another tab too. Turkish get-ups are pretty difficult for me at the moment since my current strength level is preeeetty poor. I should have taken strength more seriously from the start, but hey, we all make mistakes.

I'm sure my form isn't always perfect on certain exercises, but looking at pictures only helps so much. I'll have to find some videos to really see the moves in action, but at least I haven't hurt myself yet so I can't be too far off, lol. I'd take a class, but with social anxiety, it's not a great option for me.

Hopefully between the book, and some videos I'll be even better at it, and be stronger than ever too. Hopefully it can help my "skinny fat" problem.
emoticon emoticon

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 5/18/2014 6:42AM

    WOOHOO! Comgrats on finding a new passion:) By the way, the Spider-Man clay figure is amazing!

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to check it out this summer. I do love kettlebells also. They give you a fantastic whole body workout in a short amount of time:)
So cool that you got your wife on board also!

Hope you have a great Sunday!

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    I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say you love kettlebells??
emoticon emoticon

I'm not quite sure where I'd have time at the moment, but I want to get further into kettlebells. Thanks for sharing!

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BERGBA7 5/17/2014 2:18PM

    Wow! Is this a picture of your clay Spiderman? If so, it is just great! You should do more of them!
I have never tried kettlebells so I don't have any feeling for this thing, but I can say that I love the inanimate object "voice" - high ones, low ones, soft ones, or strong ones... they are fabulous and versatile and can touch your heart!
- I Love Voices! -
Have a great week with your animate and inanimate loved ones.
emoticon emoticon

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BILL60 5/17/2014 9:03AM

    You rare a sick "puppy". Love kettle bells? Are you for real? Perhaps appreciate what they do for your body, but love them? No way. I can't love anything that gives me pain. Respect it, yes.
BTW: I surpassed my 173lbs for several weeks.

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SETTIMIA 5/17/2014 7:05AM

    I still am building up the strength in my injured shoulder but once I feel stronger I am looking to get into kettlebells too

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IRISHBEANERGAL 5/16/2014 11:34PM

    When I was learning to do TGUs I was not given any weight at all. I was given a Dixie cup (2 oz size) half filled with cold water. If you do the TGU correctly, you won't spill the water LOL.

Try it, it's an interesting way to check your form!


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JUNEAU2010 5/16/2014 10:50PM

    I can't do TGUs, but I love Swings! Thanks for the head's up about Pavel's book - I have not read or even heard of that one.

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Strength and Power!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Honestly, I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like I knew it all.

This became extremely difficult when raising teenagers, because all of a sudden there were too many people in our household that knew it all....and the only thing we agreed on was that the others knew absolutely nothing at all.

I have since gained a certain amount of humility, enjoying the process and wonder of learning new things.

So these past few years, I've gained a lot of hard earned knowledge on health, fitness, and diet. I've spent a lot of time in the gym, doing hard cardio to burn calories and lifting heavy weights to get stronger.

But I never really knew about.....POWER!

When I started lifting weights 3 years ago, I wanted to do a full body workout to get stronger and build muscle. A great side benefit has been a total re-shaping of my body, losing inches in the waist and gaining inches in chest, shoulders, legs and back. And so I embarked on a journey to continuously improve my lifts and recently became very interested in competing in Powerlifting meets a couple of times a year. (See blog )

In Powerlifting you do 3 main lifts (squats, deadlift, and bench press) to see how much weight you can do on each. I've been diligent in my training and have made great strides. But all this time I was focused on getting stronger (hence the SP name), not more powerful.

To be honest, I thought strength and power were synonymous and didn't really pay any attention to the nuanced difference.

But there's a big difference! Stay with me.....

A few weeks ago, I became interested in kettlebells.

I'd always thought they were a geeky fad...something that nutty crossfitters did when they ran out of ideas on how to hurt themselves

In any case, I decided to start using them to help aid me in some recovery that would take a couple of weeks.....and I am now hooked!

I watched a couple of youtube videos, read a bunch of on-line articles, grabbed a 35 lb kettlebell at my gym....and started swinging. I'm thinking, "35 lbs, should be pretty easy, let me start with that, then I'll grab those 54 lbers"

WOW, was I wrong.

The difference was between strength.....and power.

I'm pretty strong. I can deadlift and squat almost twice my bodyweight. What the hell can be so hard about swinging a 35 lb cannonball?

But swinging a weight requires's about using your body (mostly hips, back and hamstrings....the Posterior Chain) to generate force to get that 35 lb kettlebell moving....and to keep it moving.

It's about moving heavy weights FAST....and that's a whole different level of conditioning.

I've been amazed that this never occurred to me before (remember when I said there have been times in my life when I felt like I knew it all). I always thought the choice was between strength training and one or the other.

But kettlebells combine the have to have strength to generate the power to swing that ball....and your whole body is working incredibly hard to keep it moving for a set period of time.

So far I've been doing a variety of swing intervals....swing for 30 seconds & take a 60 sec break. My heart rate gets up to the 80% range during the swings and down to the 60% range on the break. I started doing alternating hand swings and have to admit....they're pretty darn cool. It adds a focused thinking element to the out for a second and that cannonball is smashing into the wall, the floor, or your foot!

I asked around our gym to see if there was anybody that had any training on kettlebells and the manager told me that he had a couple of guys on staff that would show me how to safely do a workout and would correct my form....SCORE!

So we'll see how this goes. I've been wanting to find something new anyway. This has been a great adjunct to my weight lifting. I do 20-30 minutes of kettlebell work after lifting and have found that it really loosens me up and it has really helped my posture, endurance, and flexibility.

Thanks for reading Spark friends...have a great night!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/22/2014 6:39PM

    I love, love kettle bells!


It's always fun to find something new.

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SETTIMIA 4/22/2014 6:33AM

    hope you are well, and yes we all had a brilliant time

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SETTIMIA 4/16/2014 3:52AM


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SETTIMIA 4/13/2014 3:52PM

    Wow great blog, I am still trying to master how to use them, do you think it is better that I remain using light dumbbells for now?

Anyway it is hard for you to answer, I think I will wait a little longer until I build up my strength since I lack in this area

have a great week

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    I don't think I'm allowed to use kettle balls, being somewhat clutzy at times. Mine would definitely do some damage to someone, something, myself or any combination of these. I think I will just stick to my sais. They are not as likely to break a foot or any other part of me /someone else when I make contact. Plus they are just cooler emoticon

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    Awesome!!! I love trying new things and kettlebells are really fun:) You can do a lot with them and they are a hard workout in little time. We did both swings and get ups this week as part of our workout. Last week we did cleans and I got a compliment on my form. That rarely happens:) I am usually the one who the trainer has to work with repeatedly til I get it:)
Happy swinging:)

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LJCANNON 3/29/2014 10:07PM

    emoticon The Kettlebells are deceptively addictive, but that is OK because they are also very Effective!

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    Love it! I really never thought about strength vs power either until your blog. Learn something new everyday! I had used kettlebells before in the one bootcamp I used to attend. I called it 'the hardest bootcamp I've ever been to'. Kettlebells definitely had something to do with that ;) Way to go on finding a new way to challenge yourself. Keep it up!

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JUNEAU2010 3/28/2014 9:28PM

    I'd LOVE to have someone show me how to use them the right way! emoticon

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PAULOBRY 3/28/2014 8:14PM

    I'll admit that I think the same way (a geeky fad). But your explanation has added some allure to the workout. Might just have to try it.

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FITWITHIN 3/28/2014 7:17PM

    Here is two Kettlebell Workouts by Paul Katami

Ultimate Kettlebell Workout for Beginners

Kettlebell Kombos

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BERGBA7 3/28/2014 12:46PM

    Fantastic, that you keep trying new things! If you go on that way, soon you will really know it all! ;-)
emoticon emoticon

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NEPTUNE1939 3/28/2014 12:25PM

    You have me interested. I'll have to look into it. emoticon

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STRONG_SARAH 3/28/2014 11:27AM

    Ha! I have a know-it-all preteen too. You're a good writer, I always like your blogs. I've been wanting to try kettlebells too. Maybe I'll ask at the gym tonight if they can help me figure them out.

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WOUBBIE 3/28/2014 10:49AM

    Great insights!

I think that in terms of overall physical fitness dancers and martial artists have the rest beat. Strength, endurance, flexibility, power, balance, and grace, all in one discipline.

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MJEFFERSON23 3/28/2014 9:53AM

  I'm always up for a two for one! emoticon

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MNCYCLIST 3/28/2014 8:46AM

    Very interesting, thanks so much for sharing this info!

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    So awesome! I have two Bob Harper DVD workouts that use Kettlebells and I love them! :) Good for you!

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    I am so glad you wrote this blog! I never thought of combining strength training and cardio or that I could do both with kettle bells. I am actually excited about this and about getting back into the gym again. And you mention posture, which is a major item that I need to work on. On a conscious level, I am trying to correct my bad habit of slouching - kinda went with the role of care-giver, but correcting it on a physical level has to be a critical element to lasting good posture.

Pointing out the difference between power and strength - again something I, too, wudda never thought of - has now qualified you in my book as someone who knows it all. OK, retraction. You know more than your teenagers ever THOUGHT they knew.

Awesome blog!

Comment edited on: 3/28/2014 12:14:13 PM

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