Matt604's log

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Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
43 years old, 185 lb, office worker, two little kids at home. I'm starting Phase 1 of Strong! from Geoff Neupert's Kettlebell Strong. I plan to do the workouts in my office MWF.

I'm doing C+P+S as a complex, so a day that calls for 5 sets of 2 will be 5 rounds of: C,C,P,P,S,S, park the bells. So I am not doing C&P per se, but I will be getting the same number of reps of cleans and of presses, and with squats thrown in for good measure.

I'm using double 28k bells. A bit heavy for me, and my clean technique isn't perfect with them, but I think I can do the program without hurting myself and I know my technique will improve as I work through Phase 1. I can press them for 4 or 5 tough reps, so I think they are a suitable weight for the program.

First workout today: 10 rounds of 1C+1P+1S. I did not time rests but I would guess I was taking at least a couple minutes between rounds. The first couple rounds felt hard, but they improved after that. A mild left elbow pain, but that gets better with rubber band finger extensor reps between rounds.

3 sets of 3 pull-ups after, because it feels good. I'm not planning to progress pull-ups.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
5 rounds of 2C+2P+2S (double 28kg)
5-3-2 pull-ups (BW)

[In case it's not obvious:
C = double KB clean
P = double KB press
S = double KB front squat]

Cleans felt better than I expected today. My self-diagnosed technique problem is that I subconsciously lack confidence with this weight. I scoop a bit, and can feel the temptation to arm-pull, which comes from not being sure that my hips will move the bells high enough. I think this program is just the thing to convince my subconscious otherwise.

Presses felt HARD. Second reps for each set were slow grinds, feeling more like a 3RM or even a 2RM on a couple of the rounds than the 4-5RM that this supposedly is. Maybe the 2 clean reps before the first press is making the presses feel harder.

Squats are no problem at this weight, but they definitely add to the overall stress of each round.

No elbow pain today.
 

Swann 1

Level 6 Valued Member
Welcome aboard. These are easily the best forums on the net. Don't hesitate to ask questions; the community is amazing.
 

Mike Harrison

Level 3 Valued Member
@Matt604 The cleans felt heavy for me at the beginning of KB Strong, too. I ended up adding a variety day each week where I practice start-stop cleans, as he describes in the book, after posting a form critique video. (One of the recurring comments was "clean up your clean.") I wish I would have done this sooner.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
And thanks for the welcome, @Swann1. I agree about these forums -- and it's good not to feel any urge to check others out there. This is my one-stop shop for strength knowledge.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Variety day. Some light work with grippers. Played with my kids.

Upon reflection, I am not going to do dead stop cleans on my variety/off days. Two reasons: (1) I am concerned that I could overdo it on cleans, since I am already doing up to 10 sets of multiple cleans each main session; and (2) I don't want to have to worry about having access to the bells 5-6 days a week. I will keep all KB work in the main sessions, and variety days will be for stretching, walking, and maybe grippers.

What I will do instead is switch to doing dead stop cleans in my main sessions. So my next heavy session will be 6 rounds of 2DC+2P+2S. Assuming that feels OK I will stick with dead stop cleans through Phase 1, in the hopes that my technique will be good enough at the end of 8 weeks to switch back to repetition cleans for Phase 2.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
10 rounds of (1C+1P+1S) /2x28kg
3 sets of 3 pull-ups

Light day doesn't exactly feel light yet. I'm far from failure on any of the reps, and am able to lock out a pretty far-out-of-groove press, so I think I'm strong enough to be using this weight, but this session still gets my attention.
 

Swann 1

Level 6 Valued Member
KB Strong always gets the attention. And the addition of the Squat is a rather big one, just because of the energy expenditure for that big movement. But if your form is good and you're far from failure, then carry on strong!
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Thanks @Swann1, I am actually considering moving the squats out of the C+P part of the program. I initially included them because, well, it seems a shame to go to the trouble to clean the bells and then not do a squat or two. But now I'm rethinking that: Phase 1 is really about neural strength/technique improvement, which calls for low fatigue, so adding the fatigue of all those squats is maybe not what the doctor ordered. And I don't really need squat practice -- the movement comes easily to me and I have no doubt that I could ignore squats for months and still be able to squat any pair of bells that I can clean.

So, I may switch to doing a single set of squats after the C+P part of each session, or I may drop the squats altogether for Phase 1 and bring them back for Phase 2. Another option would be a single variety day where I do 3 sets of squats and pull-ups.

Any thoughts welcome.
 

Swann 1

Level 6 Valued Member
@Matt604, I can't claim any special expertise, but when I did KB Strong, I hit my KB Strong sets, then did 2x5 Front Squats on M and F and 2x20 KB Dead Lifts on Wednesday. I pretty much lifted this idea as a modification of the FS/DL portion of ROTK.
It seemed to work at keeping me in form while not draining or detracting from the C&P of the Strong program.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Interesting -- did you feel you needed the extra hinges of the KBDL? I feel that might over-stress my back after all those cleans. Just the same, I would love to review your KB Strong log -- is it somewhere online?

Anyway, adding a couple sets of squats after the C+P sets is where I'm leaning. Either that or just leaving them out entirely and focusing 100% on C+P for the 8 weeks -- that' probably what I *should* do. You know, when all else fails consider following the directions.....

Today was variety day. Practiced some single cleans and did a couple sets of 5 squats, all low volume and spread throughout the day. Having the bells next to my desk at work is a blessing and a curse -- it's hard to leave them alone.
 

Swann 1

Level 6 Valued Member
I didn't feel the I needed the extra hinges of the KBDL; it was just some extra work. It actually taxed my grip more than anything else!
I wasn't keeping a log when I did KB Strong, so I don't have anything online. I pretty much ran it straight from the book with double 32's, but only Phase 1 before life intervened.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Thanks for the input @Mike Harrison and @Swann1!

Today I did my six sets of cleans and presses, but experimenting with different combinations to see what felt best:

1: C, P, DC, P, S, S
2. C, DC, P, P, S, S
3: C, P, C, P
4: C, C, P, P
5: C, C, P, P
6: C, C, P, P

So, I dropped the squats and gravitated towards repetition cleans rather than dead-stop cleans ("DC"), and doing all cleans first and then all presses rather than C&P. This version just feels the best to me -- I like focusing on one move and then the next, rather than alternating. Still considering what to do about squats.

The presses felt hard again, as in I don't know if I could have done a third rep on most of those sets. Maybe I started too heavy?

Later:
S 2x5 /2x28kg
pull-ups x 5,3,2
 
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Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
I just reviewed my older offline log and realized why the presses have been so hard for me -- I have never pressed double 28 kg for more than 2 reps! I had mis-remembered -- I have pressed a single 28 kg for 5+ reps, and double 24 kg for 5+ reps, but never double 28 kg for more than 2. So I was trying to do this program with probably a 2-3 RM instead of a 5 RM. Oops.

So, after much time wasted today thinking about what to do, I have decided to swallow my pride and continue the program with double 24 kg. My goal right now is to stick to the program and cure my exercise ADD more than to achieve any particular result, so I think this is the right way to go.

Having this public log here, called "Matt's KB Strong! log," has already helped -- I was considering switching to all sorts of different programs today, and the thought of either abandoning this log or changing its title helped push me in the right direction. (Knowing there are a couple people actually checking in from time to time helps too -- thanks guys!)
 

Mike Harrison

Level 3 Valued Member
I have decided to swallow my pride and continue the program with double 24 kg. My goal right now is to stick to the program and cure my exercise ADD more than to achieve any particular result, so I think this is the right way to go
I think that's a wise choice, @Matt604 ! I was worried you had started too heavy.
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Today - light day with double 24 kg. Presses felt like they should, and form on cleans is much better than with the 28 kg bells. Yup, I started too heavy. Classic mistake. Glad I caught it early, before burning out or injuring myself.

I am dropping squats until Phase 2; at that point I will consider alternating C+P and S days. Also, I did the last two reps as a double C+P, just to see how it felt -- much better than with the 28 kg bells. Next session I will do 7 rounds of (C+P,C+P) rather than (C,C,P,P). So I guess I am now doing the program as written!

A: 10 sets of 1 C+P/2x24k (last two reps as a single set)

B: pull-ups 3,2,1
 

Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Bit of a hiatus for work-related reasons this past week, but back in the saddle today for heavy day.

A: 7 sets of 2 C+P/2x24 kg

B: pull-ups 5,3,2

Feels good.

EDIT: Also did a hill walk today. I will start tracking these here as well. (It's a 20-30 min walk that starts right outside my office. It's probably 20 stories up over the first 3-4 blocks, and then a few more blocks of undulating hills before returning to the office.) I am going to try to do this most work days. I am not tracking time or trying to progress time or distance, just getting a little fresh air and exercise.
 
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Matt604

Level 5 Valued Member
Increased low back pain after last workout day. Not sure if it's the double C+P, the hill walk (which I hadn't done in a while), or totally unrelated, but it was an unacceptable level of pain for two days.

I suspect it may be the double cleans. Imperfect doubles technique and/or not ready for that weight. As much as I hate to do this, I am abandoning doubles for the time being.

I will continue using the Strong! set and rep scheme but with single C+P with the 24 kg bell. I know from my time on ROP that single C+P improves my abdominal recruitment for everyday activities, and I know that is something that helps eliminate my back pain. I will super-set tactical pull-ups ("TPU"), which also helps me with ab recruitment. TPU will be body-weight only for now.

Why use the Strong! scheme rather than ROP? Because I prefer the linear progression to the H,L,M schedule. Also, I'm not in a hurry to increase weight and I think going through Phase 1 and 2 (slow and steady) will allow me to get all I can out of this bell without worrying about testing or moving up in weight for a long time. At this time I'm using the C+P to improve my movement and life, not to meet a strength standard.

So, today:

A1: 10 x 1 C+P/24 kg
A2: 10 x 1 TPU

I will ease back into the hill walks slowly, to see whether I can do them while really focusing on posture and not feel any pain the following day. I really hope the hill walking is not causing the problem. I would give up lifting forever if that's what I had to do in order to keep being able to walk hills. (Luckily I think this is not the case.)

My log title is now inaccurate -- I am not using doubles, so most definitely not "doing the program."
 
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