Red... Like Blood

The hell puppy is guarding my new kettlebell - a 32 kilogram Russian Red. It's 70.5 pounds of iron; the biggest kettlebell in my collection. Moving it requires care; you don't just bend over and jerk this thing off the floor. I carefully squat and lift it with both hands, using my legs, and it's still a bit of a bitch. So far I only use it for swings, cleans, and floor presses. I have pressed it overhead once... just once, with my right arm.

The overhead press (also known as the military press) is a pretty standard measure of strength. A man can call himself "strong" when he can press, with strict form, half of his body weight with one arm. At my proper body weight, my goal would be to press a 48kg kettlebell - 106 pounds, known around the kettlebell community as "the beast."

I am currently using a 24kg bell - this morning I did a "medium" workout with it, consisting of "ladders" of cleans and presses. A ladder looks like this:

Right - 1, Left - 1
Right - 2, Left - 2
Right - 3, Left - 3
Right - 4, Left - 4
Right - 5, Left - 5

And then you repeat it 4 more times for a total of 150 reps, 75 per arm... or at least you try to do that. Actually, when you can complete all 150 reps with strict form (that is, no leaning, no bending your knees to "jerk" the weight up, etc.) you are ready to use a larger kettlebell.

Last Wednesday, I completed all 150 reps with a 20kg kettlebell, so I jumped up to the 24kg. I've used the 24kg before, but today was the first time I'd tried the ladder with it. I was able to complete 76 reps of the ladder, so I'm about half-way to the next weight. I bought the 32kg just to taunt myself. It's sitting here now, heckling me...

"Betcha' can't press me. Betcha' can't. Pussy."

The hand resting on it is not mine, but that of my tiniest workout buddy. She can deadlift it with both hands, but only just. In all fairness, it IS over half her body weight!

I have been doing floor presses with it - sort of like a one-arm bench press, but tougher due to the kettlebell's fat handle and off-center weight distribution. Ten per arm is a major bitch - like, I just lay there and pant for a while when it's over. Cleans (jerking it from the ground up to your chest in one smooth motion) are less painful, but still quite tough. A set of swings is just fucking awful - after 40 reps my arms were burning and shaking, my legs were wobbly, and I felt like my lungs might explode. All around, it's the most horrible toy I have purchased for myself in quite a while. Naturally, I love it.

I also got this nifty thingy. As if battling gravity isn't enough, we also like to throw down with time around here too. The only thing better than trying to press a cannonball overhead 150 times is trying to do it in a set time limit!

This little thingy is not, however, your old gym coach's stopwatch. It allows you to set it for two different intervals - one for work and one for rest - and then you can tell it how many times to repeat them. It flashes and beeps when each interval begins, so you automatically know if you should be lifting or dry heaving at any given moment. It allows you to pace your workout to get maximum cardio benefit and fat burning. I look forward to using it for the first time on Monday - my workout buddies won't know what hit them.

That's all for now, but soon the rest of my new Russian Reds will be arriving. Look for a family portrait in the near future!


Coriander said...

Yeah... I almost saw blood when I did almost 3 swings with it and practically fell on my face on the third swing. :S

I am glad you got them though they are pretty spiffy.

His Sinfulness said...

Thanks, Coriander!

You'll be able to swing it soon, I'm sure. :)

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