Physical Culture

So You Want To Be a Soviet Super Soldier? Part II

Two more weeks have passed and I have closed out week 7 in the AOS ETK workbook. I feel great, my strength has been improving steadily and surprisingly enough, I’ve continued to be able to pull myself up with the additional 30 lbs attached.

Clean and Press

Its amazing to me that I blow past 3 ladders of 3 rungs with no problem en route to finishing 5 ladders. When I first started the program just 3 weeks ago I was struggling on the third ladder, and now it seems extremely easy. Cleaning the bell on my right side continues to be more problematic due to my reduced range of motion in that wrist, but I’m managing. I’m looking forward to Week 8, in which I will begin to add rungs to the ladders, adding an entirely new facet to the pain.

Pullups

I’ve continued to do these with a 30 lbs kettlebell attached to a dip belt. I had assumed that at a certain volume I would need to drop the bell and use bodyweight only, but that has proven not to be the case. The final rung of 3 reps is fairly tough each ladder, so it will be interesting to see how I fair on a fourth rung. This portion of the training might be my favorite…there’s something very pleasing and downright primal about hauling yourself up with the added weight from the weightbelt. It makes me want to beat my chest like a gorilla…and in the interest of full disclosure, I have from time to time.

Snatches

These are tough for me, and not so much because of the weight. I’m using a 20kg kettlebell for Snatches and for Swings, and I feel the weight is challenging, but the calluses on my palms just plain hurt after doing Clean and Press. The pain alone forces me to do 5 reps each side twice through before resting, instead of the 10 reps left, 10 reps right as prescribed. I believe this week in lieu of the Heavy Day I will give the SSST a try with the 20kg bell without Cleaning and Pressing beforehand. For those that don’t know, the Secret Service Snatch Test is 200 Snatches in 10 minutes with a 24kg (53 lbs) kettlebell. I’m a little smaller than your average girevik at 5’5 and 135 lbs, so I will complete it with the 20kg, and then I WILL complete it with the 24kg afterwards…no excuses. My route there may just be a little longer than others.

Swings

What an amazing movement. This program has given me an all new appreciation for the efficiency of this one movement and its immense value. These swing sessions have my heart pounding, my breathing heavy, and my entire posterior chain smoked! Even my grip gets pushed to the limit, and my trapezius muscles feel like they are worked, possibly as stabilizers during the upper portion of the kettlebells arc.

I like to give these sessions my absolute max effort so that I feel like collapsing at the end of the workouts. I can definitely attest to a sharp increase in my ability to handle these long kettlebell swing intervals. They are still tough, but much easier than they once were.

Other notes

Day 10 on my strict no cheat meals Primal Challenge is in the books and it hasn’t been as difficult as I imagined. I feel great, and it may be my imagination but I feel as though I’m already leaner than I had been. I will reserve judgement until Day 30 though.

Stay tuned…

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