Thursday, 12.17.09

Thursday’s training was, well, interesting to say the least.

I had big plans for myself – thought I was going to push the volume on the Half-Kneeling Presses (HKPs) and bang out 50 reps per side with the 24kg, but once I got into the training, everything changed.

Just as an aside, I am approaching training from an intuitive perspective during these 30 days. Each day is basically what I think I need to do based on what I have done. For example, the Get Up Sit Ups are coming along nicely. So on this day, I left them out because I didn’t feel like I needed them. I keep the Lunges in the program because I really need them – they are an opponent I feel the need to conquer. And as such, they are really coming along – much more stabile than they have been since I can remember. I am gaining much more control over them in each and every rep as well.

Here’s how the day’s training broke down.

(As an aside, I have really been focused lately on the “Random Practice” concept – where I am practicing several skills in each session. Each skill I use builds on the previous skill/drill. Not a new or novel concept, but very valuable for learning “whole” exercises/skills like the Get Up. Hence, all the lunges…)

A. Walkouts x10

B1. HKPs: 24kg/15

B2. Lunges: Bodyweight/15-20 each leg

B3. Half Kneeling Windmill with Cervical Rotation: 16kg/5,5

Perform circuit twice. Rest as needed – approximately 60 seconds between drills.

C. Get Up 16kg/1,1


  1. HKPs: These felt better than they ever have. I was really able to “lock in” on the kneeling leg. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t get any popping from my subclavius on my left side while pressing with the left arm. Lat fired more than normal. Right hamstring worked harder than normal.
  2. Lunges: The first set, I elevated the front leg on a phone book and hit 15 reps. Those extra 2 inches in hip flexion on the front leg made for some new proprioceptive input. I decided to get rid of the phone book for the 2nd set and just focused on the movement. I was finally able to push from the back foot into the front foot while standing. It’s amazing the lack of coordination I had in this movement. Hamstrings, gluts, and Vastus medialis all fired the way they should have.
  3. Half Kneeling Windmills: This is the area I had been actually been a little hesitant to get into because of the lack of hip mobility and the lumbar hyperextension I had been experiencing previously. I decided to perform some cervical rotations, a la Kalos Sthenos, during every rep and it really made a difference in the alignment of my pelvis.

On the left side, with left arm in the Windmill position, I literally had no idea where my hips were. Nor how to use them. I’m not sure which rep it was, but it was on the first set, I heard 3 sequential and loud cracks come from my right hip while my right knee was down. It didn’t hurt a bit, but something happened. On the next set, in the same position, my right leg started shaking uncontrollably. It wasn’t at all unnerving, but it was very interesting to watch.

I also was unpleasantly surprised between the noticeably major differences in how the left and right sides felt. The right side felt normal – natural. The right side felt, well, almost like a first date – awkward, uncomfortable, etc. By the end of the second set, I was feeling better about the left side. I had more control, more coordination, and more muscular activation.

By the time I got to the Get Ups, I was spent. Neurologically, the combination of the previous 3 exercises must’ve fried me.  I only hit one rep on each side with the 16kg. I felt much, much more put together, but boy was I shaky and tired! Pretty freaky!

Overall, it was a fantastic training session. I was surprised that what I had written above took a full 50 minutes to get through.

Friday, 12.18.09


Single hand and single kettlebell training really show you your asymmetries and highlight your dysfunctions. Since I chewed up the sides of my pinky fingers doing 2 Hand Swings on Tuesday, I figured it was as good a time as any to re-introduce the 1 H Swing. I had an aversion to these since my pelvis comes unglued from the rest of my body. This day didn’t disappoint. Same was true. As I swing with one hand the hips/pelvis rotate toward the opposite side of the body. For example, swing left hand, right hip leads the backswing and vice versa. Admittedly, it is much worse with the left hand.

So, I modified them to the best of my ability. After trying to correct on the fly, I performed dead-stop 1 H Swings. Essentially, you line up your hips, hike the kettlebell, and then recheck your hip alignment. The repeat. It works to a point. I only used 24kg kettlebell, but it was more than adequate to do the job.

25 minutes later, I was done. Sweating. Lower and upper body pumped. Breathing heavy.


What is truly amazing me is how time truly flies doing these workouts/training sessions. I literally get lost in the process. And it’s all without trying. I recall Jeff O’Connor telling me he could spend about 2 hours just messing around with various components of the Get Up. When he did, I thought to myself, “how boring!” But now, I can see why.

The more I play and massage the Program Minimum concept/design, the more and more value I place on just these two simple exercises. The reality is, there is nothing simple at all about either of them. In today’s fitness landscape where we move toward “in-the-moment” entertainment-style workouts and forget about long-term results, there is so much good to be had physically and psychologically in these two movements.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks hold in store for me.


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  1. Geoff,
    in the early 80’s i was stationed in japan and saw senior karate instructors from one of the largest and most popular martial arts. their training was “boring” to look at. it was as basic and simple as one could imagine. strange thing was nobody followed suit. we all knew better. yet, these guys were able to do things as senior citizens that literally left one breathless.

    Pavel always made references to two of them. M. Nakayama and H. Nishiyama. both have passed on and i had many opportunities to train under Nishiyama.

    i approach the PM now as my chance to refine and do something special with just these two moves. lesson learned late but atleast learned. thanks for helping me out.



  2. forgot to ask, do your progressions come from Kalos Stenos or did Brett help you directly? (lunge, half kneeling press, windmills)

    i am ordering KS next week.

    thanks again,


  3. I have a similar experience with my left hip when doing one hand swings. I find that focusing on stomping my left heel into the ground helps to engage the left side and eliminating the hip deviation but find it hard to do consistently. I look forward to trying the dead stop 1HS this aft.

  4. Kalos Sthenos – in the library !
    Going to “Put the Hurt” in my own get up one position at a time.

    High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way

    Beyond Bodybuilding – tried the Russian squat routine just as a reward for the swings yesterday….brutal as advertised.
    Shifting gears to stretch to the end of the month finish line.

    Let the final days of bombing commence.

  5. TGU 24 kg 6 reps l/r
    TGU 24 kg 5 reps “Roll to press, Press to elbow” l/r
    TGU 32 kg 1 rep “Roll to press, Press to Elbow,Elbow to Post, Post to High Pelvis”

    Did the various neck rotations, arm bar w 24 kg, shoulder rotations.

    Next goal is drop back to 16kg and do 50 reps in each of 7 positions.
    1 position at a time until I “own it”. I own nothing now except sweating LOL.

  6. TGU Practice 16 kg 10 reps (roll to press,press to elbow, elbow to post)
    each side

    TGU Practice 16 kg 5 reps (roll to press,press to elbow, elbow to post, post to high pelvis, high pelvis to bend, knee to half kneeling) each side

  7. This is a very detailed and awesome web site.
    I work at home building my online marketing business for the last year full time.
    I spent 7 years head down ..bum up learning all I needed part time at night to so I could acheive my goal of owning my life.
    Now I do as of last year .
    At 54 I have reinvented myself and the whole time my kettlebells have been right beside me with some of my other work out equipment.Folks always comment how fit I look …that’s on purpose I tell them.
    How do you find the time to go to the gym Nicholas?
    I don’t belong to a gym but I am dicsiplined while I work at home.
    I fell in love with the quick results I get using this crazy thing. I went to maybe 40 classes by a certified person here in Toronto Canada 8 years ago. I thought I knew quite a bit about the KB’s but coming here I feel like I know not much.
    Being an athelete all my life…hockey 1st ,basketball,baseball,ball hockey ( I’m Canadian ehh ,anything with a hockey stick worked for us),tennis, cycling,running, weight lifting, football for 7 years…so I did lots of sports. Hockey and BB at high levels ..but man I wished I saw the KB when I was a teenager.
    At 6 ft. 6 inches, 250 lbs and as I said 54 years young I am 8 lbs from my college weight now. I was 265 for many years thinking I was fit but my point is we can all improve seems like no matter what our ages I think.
    I’m proving it to my lazy family and freinds who call me lucky ..which pisses me off.
    So I’ll be better when I’m 60 I tell them and they laugh.
    I guess I’ll continue to be lucky.
    Thanks for the great info and now this may help me get to the next level of fitness.

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