Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kettlebell Recap

Since my declaration a while ago to use this blog to talk about fitness as well as horses, I haven't done the greatest job keeping up. But 2011 was pretty big year for me as far as strength goes.

After my stint doing 100 swings for 30 days, I tried to up that to 200 a day. But it was too much for my temperamental right side. I started experiencing the tightness and pain in the knee that seems to occur when I either a) work out too hard or b) don't work out enough.

I had a period of being rather inconsistent with the kettlebell, and started seeing what I'd gained from the swinging evaporate. So with the help of my husband, I made a plan. I chose six exercises and assigned them each a number. Every day I rolled a die and exercised accordingly. My numbers were:
1. swing
2. press
3. goblet squat
4. dead lift
5. chin-up
6. get-up
This is a good set of exercises because rotating between all of them works the whole body in a balanced way. My rules were if I rolled the same number two days in a row, I could either pick my own exercise or take the day off. I kept track of what I did each day and my only goal for any given workout was to do a bit more than I did the time before.

I have to say, this was really fun and I kept it up for a number of months. The randomness caused by the die kept me from getting bored, and I began to see results fast. Before long I was pressing the 26lb bell, swinging the 53lb, managing to actually do a real chin-up instead of jumping up to the bar and lowering myself down, and dead-lifting over 100lbs with Brian's barbell. Goblet squats were a new move for me, but I was pleased at how they toned my arms and my legs. It did take me a long time to get the motion down without irritating any joints though, so I've been sticking with the 26lb or 35lb bell for that one.

Eventually, the one exercise a day thing started to feel limiting. I started adding swings before and after everything else I did, and for some reason the get-up started bothering my hip so I struck that from the list. The last few weeks I've abandoned the die and have been picking my workouts at random. I've been doing a combo swing/goblet squat workout that is really tiring but good for a little cardio. But I've decided I need to come up with another, more focused strategy pretty soon if I'm going to keep making progress.

All in all though, I'm pretty pleased with where I am at right now. I've certainly never been this strong in my life, and it is simply a benefit in more areas of my life than I ever thought it would be. I don't look buff, but I've been in a number of situations lately that have clearly illustrated I'm stronger than a lot of guys. That's kinda cool. My weight hasn't gone up or down in a few months, but my clothes are still getting looser. So, that's awesome and I'm curious to see where 2012 takes me.

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