Sunday, February 10, 2008

Test Days

If you've been doing KB Lifting for a while and sticking to a prescribed protocol of Jerks and Snatches with the same weight, every once in a while you get a hankering to do something different. I call these test days. How I conduct my test days will change depending on the circumstance and how I feel. The last AKC Training day in December was a test day. I did a 20 min LCC&J set w/24kg switching hands on the minute and then followed it up with a 20 minute 12kg Snatch Set (one hand switch).

My test days may be something like 1000 reps with the 12kg. Every once in a while, I will test my capacity for other things and do thrusters, rowing, bodyweight stuff but not KB Specific stuff.

Some of you may have read about the triathlon challenge (created by David Zink), that is 10 minutes of LCC&J, 10 Minutes Snatches, and 10 min Jerks. These are performed all back to back with no rest. If you are a guy who is well versed with 24kg Jerks and snatches, you would try this first with the 16s. I've done it with the 12s and the 16s. Actually, last time I was in Madison, Kelly and I did this together. My pace was nothing like Mr. Zink, but like most people who do a triathlon, I was just happy to finish.

Yesterday, I started out with a couple of sets of 32kg Jerks. That's nothing out of the ordinary. But, I've been curious as to whether or not I could still do Jerks with a pair of 24s. I rarely train with a pair of 24s and don't do that much double work right now at all. Most of my training right now is single 24kg Jerks and 16kg snatches. Much to my delight and surprise, I could still knock out 20 reps. I've done 20 one other time, but I actually paced myself this time and went just over 4 minutes. All the reps were strong, and I focused on getting under the bells quickly and getting a very solid lockout. I had a few reps left, but wisely ended it at 20. Someday, I'll go for a PR and break 20, but I won't do as many 32kg Jerks beforehand.

After that, I wanted to snatch. However, I knew that the 16kg may be a little challenging from an overhead stabilization standpoint and I was "feeling" the need to go light and really break a good sweat to contrast the heavy work and loosen up a bit. So, I thought well I'll try a 20 min Snatch set with a 12kg and I'll try to maintain a 20rpm pace. I didn't know whether I could maintain the pace but I knew I could do the 20 minutes. I made it...200L/200R = 400 reps with one hand switch. It was tough especially in the last 2 minutes. But, I felt good after I was done.

So, if you've been training a while on a healthy diet of Jerks, Snatches or Long Cycle, give yourself a test day. I think it is a good way to display how training a couple of lifts consistently will carryover to other challenges. For some, a test day may be going out for a long run or row and finding that you've got the conditioning to complete it. I recently did a 10K row. I've only done that one other time and this time I did it in less time and without puking. It may be grabbing a bell and doing a non-stop set for 30 min or an hour. If all else fails, give one of the things I stated above a try. Of course, this assumes you have a good grasp of the basics and that you've done an adequate pace and duration with the traditional lifts.

In addition to being a good "test", Test Days are a great way to give yourself mental break from the rigor of the usual timed sets that one may perform especially when training for a competition.



Wildcard said...


Great post, and I agree fully. Regardless of what one is doing, in terms of training, sometimes you gotta let it all hang out. There are those who NEVER do this and don't have a clue about what it takes to make it through a solid gut check and there are those that push too hard too often and end up injured a lot. I am usually reserved in my training, not putting the pedal fully to the floor, but sometimes you absolutely have to do it. I think you have to be able to deal with the pain, blood, sweat, tears, snot and potential barf just to remind yourself that you can always go harder than you think, if you have to for some reason (like survival). Good shizzy!

Catherine Imes said...

Right on Tom.

I think as we get older, we get smarter about pushing ourselves. I like the lifts I mentioned because you can push yourself in an intensity sense, but the weights are light enough and the movements are low tech that you aren't going to hurt yourself (back/shoulders) by going all out. Rowing and Running are definitely good ways to do this. I've never made myself so sick as I did the day I did a 500M row in around 1:45. I was absolutely useless the rest of the evening. But,I didn't pull or strain anything :)

I always give myself a good bit of recovery (beer) after such efforts :)