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My Training for the Master Of Sports

March 20, 2007 05:01 PM

Over Memorial Day Weekend in 2006, I achieved the rank of Master of Sports (MS) in Girevoy Sport and the NAKF Nationals. Although I'm very happy with that accomplishment, I was even more pleased with my consistent training regimen that brought me to that feat. In this article, I will outline how I trained before the GS specific training began, my competition specific training, and what I'm doing now and how I'm adjusting my training for the international competition based on my results.

Anyone who has trained for GS knows that it is a daunting task. If you are serious about it, everything else will take a back seat in your training. You also know that once a major competition is over that you look towards your off-season training. I've learned to look at this off-season training as pre-season GS training.

Last fall and winter, I spent time regaining my pressing strength and working on my anaerobic conditioning?basically toughening myself. I had kind of slacked off on my workouts and knew that I had to get stronger and better conditioned in order to surpass my GS numbers from 2005. I worked the RKC Clean and Press ladders with 2/24kg bells to add overall strength. This enabled me to press the 32kg bell consistently. I did an occasional Crossfit WOD or I would do Crossfit type circuits for conditioning such as the following:

From January?.4 Rounds for time of the following Circuit:

500M Row
10 Jerks @ 2/24kg
10L/10R Swings @ 32kg

I also began really working on conditioning and grip endurance with swings with the following workouts:

Swing/drop set workout

1st Round
DARC Swings
5L/5R w/ 32kg
10L/10R w/ 24kg
20L/20R w/ 16kg
30L/30R w/ 12kg
Rest 2 minutes(a little rest between weights)

2nd Round
One Handed Swings
10L/10R w/ 32kg
20L/20R w/ 24kg
30L/30R w/ 16kg
40L/40R w/ 12kg
Rest 3 Minutes (30 sec rest between weights)

3rd Round
Two Handed Swings
20 w/ 32kg
30 w/ 24kg
40 w/16kg
50 w/ 12kg
Rest 2 minutes

4th Round
More two Handed swings (Doubled the reps between weights)
10 w/ 32kg
20 w/ 24kg
40 w/ 16kg
80 w/ 12kg

Once February hit, I started integrating GS work into my training while continuing my strength and conditioning work. My GS training is influenced largely by Valery Federenko's advice. He made it very clear to me that you work for time. The first goal is to go 10 minutes. So, in following with his proposed protocol, I started with 6-minute sets (3 min left/ 3 min right). I started off at a fairly slow-to moderate pace of 16 rpm.

I did snatches 3-4 times a week often in a garage that was barely 20 degrees. I also threw in high rep sets of swings (15-25 reps per arm) with the 24kg and the 32kg bell on my off days or after my snatch set. This worked the grip while sparing my hands from the brutal snatches. After a couple of weeks, I would add a minute to my sets. At the end of February, I was already doing 8 minute sets and 150 total reps (75l/75r). I was increasing my time while slowly increasing my pace.

No reason to back off. In March, I continued increasing my pace and my time. I kept with snatching 3-4 times per week. I still did strength training and conditioning circuits on off days or in a 2nd workout. My 2nd workouts were always kept short. By the end of March, I was going a full 10 minutes and doing 165+ reps. I also increased the reps on my heavy swings by doing 45L/45R with the 24kg, and 25L/25R with the 32kg. My conditioning and grip endurance were improving.

April was a great month, and I really viewed it as crunch time. By April, I was consistently working 10 minutes on every set. It was in April that I first hit 200 total. I had many sets over 180. My swings were getting very strong and I was working multiple sets of 50 swings per arm with the 24kg, and 30 per arm with the 32kg. I also integrated John Brookfield's battling ropes into my workouts which helped my conditioning.

May was a big month, but I started to get nervous. 3 weeks out from the competition I broke 200 in the same week and several times in May. One workout I did 208 reps, and a few days later I did 212. I pretty much stopped most of my other conditioning work except for swings and a few low rep presses. Five days out from the competition, I took a break and did nothing but Joint Mobility.

Competition Day: I entered the competition with 200 in mind. Now as you've read, hitting 200 or breaking it was something I had done several times in practice, but doing it in competition is where it counts. It seemed like a safe number and achievable. Sure enough, my pace was right on 20 rpm. Someone even joked that Steve Cotter was using my reps to keep time. In the final minute, I did increase my pace to ensure I would hit 200. I ended up resting in the top position for 15 seconds to make the full 10 minutes.

What did I learn? Hard, consistent training pays great dividends. I also learned that I need to adjust the length of my training cycle. I did peak a little early, but now I've got the data to adjust. I also will do more pacing work. There isn't a whole lot I would change at this point. I'm sure I could use a few technique pointers from Valery, but I'm fairly confident in my overall training approach.

What am I doing now? Brutal conditioning work with Kettlebells, Sandbags, Rowing, some Crossfit WOD, heavy swings and snatches, and strength maintenance. Right now, I'm in much better condition than I was earlier this year before my GS training began.

Here are few of my recent circuits or workouts:

4 Rounds of the following Circuit (for time):

10 Dbl Swings w/ 2/32kg
10 Jerks w/ 2/24kg
8 Dbl High Pulls w/ 2/28kg
10 Thrusters w/ 2/16kg

Do the following circuit for 30 minutes

Put on a 20lb Xvest.
Shoulder a 85lb Sandbag/Carry a 32kg KB- Walk 100 Feet
40 Swings (20L/20R or 40 2 Handed Swings)
Walk 100 Ft (Switching Sandbag to other shoulder/bell to other hand)
10 Sandbag Thrusters @ 50lb (Switched shoulders every rep)

500 One Armed Swings with the 24kg for time (completed in 18:37)

One goal for my next competition besides increasing my reps, is to come in significantly lighter than I have in previous competitions. I'm down 15+ pounds since the May competition and 30lbs for the year. So, my dietary adjustments and conditioning drills are working. I feel that being lighter will help my snatch numbers.

Catherine Imes is a full time IT Professional in St. Louis, Missouri. The first American born Master of Sports in kettlebell lifting, she won the bronze medal at the 2006 GS Worlds. She is a RKC Instructor who is available for Private Lessons and Workshops. She keeps her training log at the forum under the "stlcate" user name. Feel free to contact her at