Tuesday, December 1, 2009


I weighed in at 177.5 right after coming back from Thanksgiving in Philly. I had no formal workouts for 6 days and average eating about 5000 calories a day, so I am thankful I did not gain any weight. I did play with my nephew and did some DDR.

Really looking to dial it in for the rest of the year.

Here is a question for you, if you are 10-12% bodyfat, but cannot do 10 pushups - can you really say that you are LEAN? I have seen this in the gym. When I was 9, every kid in my gym class could bang out 20 no problem.

I did some MaxVO2 snatches the other day. Max VO2 snatches is a snatch protocol where you snatch a kettlebell for 15 seconds, rest for 15 seconds, snatch with the other hand for 15 second, rest for 15 seconds (for a 1 minute total) and repeat for 25-40 minutes. I did this with a 16kg and got 9 reps on every set. Someone on one of the forums noted correctly that a lot of people that get 9 reps in 15 second (or pace of 36 snatches/minute) are not using good form. I personal believe that everyone should be able to get nine reps. Here are some things that will help you snatch faster during MaxVO2 snatches:

1) The slowest parts of the snatch are the two endpoints, at the bottom and at the top of the snatch. Just like in a chemical reaction, if you want to speed up your snatch you need to increase the speed at the slowest points.

The key to speeding up the bell is at the bottom of the snatch is the "butt punch". What you are going to do is punch your butt backwards when the bell is at about head level. This does two things to make the bell go faster. a) It actively pulls the bell backwards to the bottom position and b) it uses the stretch reflex in your glutes to get a better pop out of the bottom.

At the top, you want to push your chest out at the top of the snatch, right before the punch through. This will move the bell backwards faster (conservation of momentum) and it will create a stretch reflex at the top your snatch with the pec major, pec minor, subscapularis, lats/teres minor. You lockout will be complete, but shorter. You chest does not have move that much, maybe an inch, to create that stretch reflex.

If you cast the bell at the top of your snatch, you are going to lose speed. The different between 8 snatch and 9 snatches is 11%. It does not take a big cast to create that differential in snatch speed. You also get this inefficiency is you pull back to late on the way up.

If you are arming your snatches, you are not going to be fast with your snatches. Snatching depends on a strong pop with the hips, changing the direction with the pull, and punching the hand around the bell. If you arm your snatches:
* the bell moves slower in the pull phase
* you are more likely to tear your hands.

Note for MaxVO2 snatches. To be in the target HR zone for cardiovascular conditioning, you need you HR to average to about 80-85% of your MaxVO2. Ideally you will have a heart monitor to measure this.

Lets say you do 80 sets, and you are below the target HR, then you can either do 1 of two things:
* Increase the cadence (i.e., go from 6 to 7 or 7 to 8)
* Increase the weight

For Max VO2 training, I prefer to increase reps up to 9 before increasing weight.

Since HR is correlated to the work done, a simple work calculation will help see if it will be the right combination.

Lets say you have a 16kg and a 24kg, or a 8kg vs. a 12kg for the ladies, in both cases the heavier bell weighs 3/2 as much as the lighter one. In order to make the work rate the same, you will have to do 2/3 as many snatches. So 9 snatches with the lighter bell is equivalent to 6 snatches with the heavier bell. Because the focus on is on "overspeed" eccentrics, when in doubt lean towards using the lighter bell for 9 reps rather then the heavier for for 6.

If you have a 20kg bell, you want to be intelligent on how you progress through the bells. Here is a sensical progression based on the work being done:
weight reps work/m
16 6 96
16 7 112
16 8 128
20 7 140

16 9 144
24 6 144 (you see these are equivalent workwise)

20 8 160
24 7 168
20 9 180
24 8 192 (I have done this for about 10 minutes, but I can't maintain it)

As you progress with Max VO2 this should help in picking the cadence and bell.


Jennifer said...

I have found VO2 max to be one of the best ways to check my form. If my form's not right, no way can I get my reps in.

Faizal S. Enu said...

gotta get that "butt punch" to make your numbers.