Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday's Workout: The Big Boy

"Kettlebells," I thought to myself this morning as I changed out of my pajamas. "We haven't done anything with kettlebells in a while."

When I first began CrossFitting, we played with kettlebells all the time; I still fondly(?) remember swinging kettlebells with XFitMama, the Marine and the Terminator out on the sidewalk in front of the old flower shop in the morning darkness. I quickly got hooked. After reading Pavel Tsatsouline's "Enter the Kettlebell," I bought a 35-pound (16 kg) kettlebell from Dragon Door and practiced heaving the thing around in my garage. I later moved up to a 53-pound (24 kg) kettlebell, and recently, I've been using the 62-pound (28 kg) in metcons at the gym.

But in the past couple of months, kettlebells have largely been absent from our M/W/F programming at CrossFit Palo Alto -- so I was certain they would make a return appearance soon.

(This is called foreshadowing, kids.)

Strength Skill:
  • Handstand Push-Ups (5 sets of 5)
As usual, I had fun practicing HSPUs -- and this time, I have the burst blood vessels to prove it.

But let's get to the good stuff.

  • In 4 minutes: Run 400 meters, and then do as many burpees as possible in the remaining time.
  • Rest 10 seconds.
  • In 4 minutes: Run 400 meters, and then do as many overhead kettlebell swings (70 pounds) as possible in the remaining time.
  • Rest 10 seconds.
  • In 4 minutes: Run 400 meters, and then do as many 20-pound wallball shots as possible in the remaining time.
The final score is calculated by totaling the number of burpees, swings and wallball shots.

"Pick a kettlebell that's heavier than the one you'd normally use," Tim instructed. Holy hell. The one I've been using is the 62-pounder, and the next size up is the men's RX'ed 70 pound (32 kg) kettlebell. Sure, I'm all about going RXed whenever possible --  but I paused before picking up the big boy. I mean, the thing is fully half my bodyweight.

A few practice swings later, this is what I learned: 
  • It takes me three swings before I can get a 70-pound kettlebell up over my head in a fully extended swing.
  • When I try to set the kettlebell down on the ground, the momentum carries me backwards and almost lifts me off my feet.
  • But surprisingly, I can do this. That's right, ladies & gents: I can arc a 70-pound kettlebell over my head without killing myself.
When it was time for the kettlebell portion of the workout, I was already winded from the running and burpees, but I managed ten or twelve consecutive swings before having to set the weight down. Getting the kettlebell up off the floor again was tough, but in the end, I was able to squeeze out a few more legitimate reps before time ran out. I was so happy about getting through the swings that I didn't even mind the wallballs.

  • Round 1 - 27 burpees
  • Round 2 - 20 kettlebell swings
  • Round 3 - 26 wallball shots
Total: 73 reps as RXed.