Regenerational work

Well, I've been taking it easy for the first half of the week. I could really feel the run in my legs, especially my calves. Also my feet hurt pretty bad and my hip flexors were smoked for a couple of days. So I decided to step back a bit, take it easy and do some regenerational work.
On Monday I did light Overhead Squats for max reps with my 1.5 pood (the pood is a russian unit of mass, check out the link if you want to know more about it) Kettlebell. Anyways, 1.5 pood equals 24 kg.
The numbers look like this:
Overhead Squat 1.5 pood Kettlebell
1x 15 per side
1x 12 per side
1x 13 per side

I wanted to engage the legs just a little in order to get create an active rest situation. 24 kg is not a lot of weight compared to what my legs normally have to lift and the high number of reps helped to get back felxibility and got the blood flowing. My legs could've gone on for hours but my shoulders started to give in. Stabilization of the core is number one target here. If you're wobbly in your midsection you won't be able to hold the weight still over your head and that'll transist in a lot more work for your shoulders.
Here's a picture of René doing OHS with a 10 kg plate.

It was the first time he did this exercise and I believe it smoked his shoulders pretty bad.

On Tuesday my legs were still aching like hell, but fortunately the programm called for upper body work.
I did the following:
Press 10x 3 @ 65% of 1 RM = 50 kg (45 secs rest between sets)
Weighted Pull Ups 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 @ 30 kg

My hip flexors were still aching pretty bad so I decided against doing the DWOD which would've been row one minute, rest one minute for 20 minutes. Get a minimum of 3000m. I would've had to sub this by doing Sumo Deadlift High Pulls. In this movement you generate a lot of force through violently extending you're hips and mine definitely didn't feel ready at all for that.
So instead I decided to do the same workout I had asigned for the group. It was a modification of a workout I pulled of the crossfit mainsite.

20 Pull Ups
30 Push Ups
40 Pull Ups
50 Burpees

I had the group team up in pairs of two. One should work while the other one rested. The goal was to finish as fast as possible. I worked out with the group but did the WOD on my own instead of in a group. It turned out the numbers were too low for two persons, but I'd rather prefer it like this than the other way round. Also I've learned that you should team up equally strong trainees. I teamed up the weakest with the strongest. In the end the strong trainee did the mayor part of the work while the weaker one rested much more. So either put equally strong persons in one team or make sure each one has to do a certain number of reps minimum.
Also I should've watched the group. As soon as you're not watching them form tends to get sloppy.
But I'm still learning....

I finished in 8:30... pretty slow! The Burpees and funnily the unanchored Sit Ups cost me a lot of time.

Great effort by the teams! Although I give out a rant occasionally that doesn't mean they are not doing great! Our times were all pretty close (actually I got in second). So really very, very good everyone!!!

Today I'll do some nice workouts in the garden. Maybe I'll take a video. There won't be any group workout though, for it is Dave's birthday. Happy Birthday Dave!!!! We'll have a barbeque instead! Hooray!! I bet I'll get some nice food pics.
Talking of food, here a some shots of my recent meals:

Roasted chicken with salad and ground beef bolognese on salad topped with feta cheese. Hungry? Well get some!

Stay fit and see you soon!

A quicky on Eating

Just found a short, but very good article on

The topic is how compulsive consume of modern foods is similar to addictive drug abuse. The claims are backed up by studies. The conclusion:

[, 26.04.2010, 11:00 GTM]

I highly recommend reading this. If you want to dive deeper into the topic of nutrition, watch Why we get Fat: Adiposity 101 and the Alternative Hypothesis of Obesity. It is an incredibly valuable lecture by Garry Taubes! He has also written the book "Good Calories Bad Calories" which is a very good book on the topic!

56 minutes

I'm happy to tell you that I survived. I finished my first 10 km without any preparation in 56 minutes. That's by far not a very fast time, but I have to say I'm very happy with it!
So let me tell you how it all went down.
I met with two friends, who both run more or less frequently, at the center to enlist us for the run, which started at 13 o'clock. We placed ourselfes in the midfield and decided to take things easy. The start was cool, although some people seemed to be in quite a hurry to get to the top places. So there was the usual, well I guess it's usual, overtaking and using gaps and all that. But it was fun to watch how people worked their way further upfront. We did as planned and took it easy trying to float with the crowd. The first three kilometers went by pretty quick while we were jogging through beautifull spring Hildesheim along the Innerste. At around kilometer four I started to notice my calves and my feet, but nothing really bad.
We went on running, occasionally overtaking some other runners. At around kilometer six the guys I was running with were speeding up, but I kept my pace. I didn't want to overdoe it, as I had never run such a distance before.
The sun was definitely an issue. From kilometer five on my heart rate had been between 170 and 180 beats per minute. This is quite high for such a long time activity. But my breathing and stamina were perfectly ok, so I guess it was the hot sunny weather which kept my heart rate so high. From kilometer eight on it was between 180 and 190 beats per minute. But still I didn't feel exhausted stamina wise. The only thing that bothered me were my feet, my calves and in the end my quads aswell. I believe that after the calves were blocked I generated most of the force out of my quads which over the time made them tired aswell.
For the last kilometer I was running in the windshade of an older man. When we entered the last 200 meters I closed up to him and could easily have overtaken him, but I decided against it after realising that he didn't have the power left for a sprint. Instead I suggested that we should finish together, which we than did. I didn't run this race for a good placing and I didn't want to make him feel bad on the last 200 meters. Also it was much more fun like this. I finished at 56:35 minutes, a time I'm absolutely happy with.

Well.... what's left to say.... I still don't like running. But I realized that I'll have to do it occasionally. Normally the better you get at things the more you like them. And of course the plan is to be a well rounded athlete.

But I won't run the Hannover half marathon. At least not this year. After ten kilometers I was just at the edge. I don't think I would've survived much longer. My legs still ache and I bet they'll be killing me tomorrow.

Oh, if any one wants to know. I ran in flat shoes, imitating a barefoot run. They looked like this afterwards.

Pretty dusty!

Stay fit and kick ass!

Sunny Saturday Workout

Yeah!!! The fair is over and I'm back to business! I've had a lot of fun working last week, but it's always a week which kicks you out of your normal rythm and makes it very hard to do anything but work and sleep.
Anyways, now I'm back and just like it should be the weather is wonderfull. Just the way I like it. So yesterday I was taking advantage of the great weather and did a workout in the garden.

I did Backsquats 5x 5 @ 130 kg. Ultimately I've been struggeling a little doing squats and I'm still not back to my 5x 5 145 kg, which I was able to do before. But the movement felt good today and I'm pretty optimistic that I'll get back to my previous best in no time.
Afterwards I was playing around a little with Bench Presses of the ground but they didn't work out the way I had imagined. I really need to get a bench. I'm allready planning on having one manufactured out of  wood by a friend, but this might take some time.

Later I did the following:

Three rounds for time of 

8 Muscle Snatches @ 50 kg
5 Ring Dips
12 Toes to Bar

I finished in 8:53 minutes.

It was the first time I did Muscle Snatches but they felt quite good and I got pretty fluent after the first set. Ring Dips still cost me a lot. I scaled them down from ten to five. The hardest part were the Toes to Bars. I was doing them hanging from a branch of a tree which made grip strength an issue immediately. They got really taxing after the first set.
After reviewing the video footage I believe I could have gone harder.... as always. That is the worst. It's ok not to be strong enough or to lack in technique, but if you realize that you've not been giving it all you have. That's sad....
Apart from that I really enjoyed today. I love working out in the nature, enjoying the sun and the overall good weather. I hope that I'll be able to go on doing this all summer.
This is the video of todays WOD:

Sunny Saturday WOD from Nico Bartke on Vimeo.

Later today I'm going to run a 10k race through Hildesheim. Hopefully this is not going to be as horrible as I imagine. We'll see how the "no-running-policy" worked out in the end. Also this will be a nice indicator for next sunday's half-marathon. I'm a little scared to say the least...My biggest concerns are my feet and my joints. I don't believe that conditioning is going to be an issue, though.
I'll post tonight after the race how it went.

Now we are getting a little off topic. Today's my dad's birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Dad!! Enjoy the day! I bet you are up to something great!

That's it for the moment. I'll get back to you later today. I'm gonna give it my best on the run today!

See you soon and stay fit!

Catching Up

I'm working at the Hannover fair at the moment, which is why I'm not able to update the blog on a regular basis. I'm very sorry about this and I don't like the situation, but after working such a long time each day I barely fell like working out in the evening and after having done that all I want is go to bed. So I hope you'll understand. I promise to make it up to you as soon as the fair has finished and I can get back to a normal life.

Yesterday's workout has been Squats, Presses and a short but intensive WOD. I did 5x 1 on the Squats, starting at 140 kg working my way up to 155kg. Afterwards I did 5x 5 Presses with 65 kg. I'm stuck with this weight, need to figure something out to get to 70 kg and higher. The Squats didn't feel to good in the beginning but improved over the sets. All the sitting I do at work is really making me stiff and inflexible. Well all moaning won't help, after this week I'll get back to the normal regime and all issues will be dealt with in no time.

Afterwards I did a WOD:
As many rounds as possible in 10 minutes...
5 Kettlebell Thruster @ 16 kg left
5 Kettlebell Thruster @ 16 kg right
10 Burpees

I finished my sixth and was into my seventh round when the clock stopped.
Today I'll rest. I really don't feel like working out today. I'm dead tired.

For all of you who visited my Blog expecting a little more. I'll be back soon. Till than check out the pictures of the lamb I had mentioned in one of my previous posts.

I also bough half a chicken and threw it in the pot together with some spinach, carrots, broccoli, tomatos and the lamb. One of the best dishes I've ever made!

Well, I'm afraid that's it for the moment.
Stay fit!

Front Squats and a School Yard Workout

As my latest posts have been quite extensive, today is going to be a quickie.
René came over to work out in the afternoon and we started with the SWOD.

Front Squats 3, 3, 3, 1, 1
Presses         10x 3 @ 55% of 1 RM, 45 seconds rest in between sets, the focus was lying on being fast and aggressive from the bottom position

I hadn't done Front Squats in a while and was eager to see how I'd perform. My previous best was 115 kg for 2 reps. So after warming up I started with 100 kg. Movement, strength and form felt good and solid. I sometimes need a few extra sets to get a movement right after not having done it for a longer time, but today's Front Squats felt just fine. So I started to put on more weight for eacht set, ending up with 120 kg for my last set. Pretty decent.
It was Renés first time doing this excercise, so in the beginning he was a little shy to it. But he did remarkebly well and finished with a 60 kg best on the last set. Very, very good!

Afterwards we proceded to the Presses. There's not a lot to tell about that. I used 45 kg and the weight felt pretty light, so it wasn't really too demanding, although I could definitely feel my speed and power suffer over time. I'd love to see how a few more of these might affect my Push Press and Push Jerk, which are far more explosive movements. I bet they'll improve.

So all together the SWOD looked like this:
Front Squats   3x 100, 3x 105, 3 x 110, 1x 115, 1x 120
Press               3x 10x 45 kg

When we were finished with the strength work, we went up to the school yard to do the DWOD. The WOD was:
5 rounds for time of:

10   Ring Dips
10   Pull Ups
1/2  Gasser (you sprint for 50m, turn and sprint back, so all in all 100m)

I brought my rings happy to get another chance to use them. But after we spent like half an hour to get them hanging from a climbing tower, I quickly found out that I wasn't able to do more than 5 consecutive Ring Dips. So we both subbed them for normal Dips. I'll need to implement Ring Dips in my strength work in order to get the numbers up. It's amazing ho difficult they are. But I'm sure the coming summer will give me lots of opportunities got work with them.
While we were preparing for the workout and after finishing it (which we both did in under 10 minutes (René 9:53 minutes, me 9:59 minutes), we had to answer a lot of questions to the little kids playing at the playground. They were very interested in what we were doing and why we were doing it. I found this very cool, though I'm afraid I didn't really do a good job in explaining things while I was still gasping for air. But I like to think that we set a good example and maybe next time we get there, we'll see loads of little ones working out. I'd love that.
The group workout which was set for today was postponed because no one really seemed to have time. We'll do it tomorrow though and I hope the weather will be as good as today.

That's it for now. Stay fit and see you soon!

Tuesday: Group and late night WOD

Tuesday was cool!

I did my SWOD in between two classes. Since we've moved I only live like 3 minutes away from where I have most of my classes, so if I've got a break I can go home and eat, blog, work out, sleep or whatever else I want to do. I've always lived quite close to the University but never this close. It's perfect.

As my SWOD I did 5 RM Deadlifts.
After a general Warm Up I did the following:

10 x   20 kg
  5 x   70 kg
  5 x 120 kg
  5 x 150 kg

The last set felt pretty darn heavy and I felt my form slightly breaking down during the last repititions. You'll be able to see that on the video I took. I haven't edited it yet and I am uploading the video for the Monday post at the moment, so I'll post this one somewhat later today or tomorrow. But still I was happy. I had tried to lift the 170 kg and the 160 kg before, but they didn't want to come of the ground. So this was my best 5 RM for that day, which is ok. Allthough I really need my numbers to go up on the deads....
I had to get back to class afterwards so I decided to do the DWOD in the evening.

As you all know, Tuesdays I'm having the group to work out. This was the first time we had girls working out with us, so I chose a relatively easy workout in order not to scare them away. Also I didn't take part in the WOD but decided to watch their form and try to motivate them.

The workout was:
3 x 10 Push Ups for the girls
3 x  max number of Push Ups with one minute rest in between sets for the boys

Afterwards I had them all do Tabata Squats with an active rest position. This means they had to rest in the bottom position. Tabata Intervalls are 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest. So they had to do as many Air Squats as they could in 20 seconds, than rest in the bottom position for ten seconds, do 20 seconds of squatting, rest and so on. I had them do 8 intervalls.
The lowest number was their total score. Using this approach you get the athlete to think about either going all out in the beginning and sacrificing repetitions in the end or pacing themselves in the beginning in order to get a relatively high rep count through all intervalls. But I think they didn't really think much about it after the second or third rest period, which is normally when the pain sets in and the legs stop doing what you want them to do.
Here are some pics of them working out.

 They were all pretty smoked after the Tabata Squats and I'm sure their legs ache a lot today. But I believe they had fun!

In the evening René came around. I got him to follow the CFFB programming aswell and he did his Deadlifts breaking his PR by 10 kg! Well done!!!
Afterwards we went down into the garden to do the DWOD.
Complete as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes:
10 Supine Ring Pull Ups
10 Push Ups
10 Ball Slams 40 lbs

We subbed the Ball Slams by Kettlebell Swings as I was sure that my houselady wouldn't have wanted us to destroy the grass by making huge holes into it. I used my 16 kg Kettlebell which might have been a little to light. But I didn't want to overdo things after the max effort Deadlifts.
We hung the rings from a tree and started to work out.
It was definetly a killer one. 15 minutes is quite a long time. When the clock stopped I was in my 7th round with six Kettlebell Swings to go. The limiting factor definitely were the Pull Ups which seemed to take me ages. René got seven rounds, but had to scale on the Pull Ups as he is still lacking upper body strength.
The workout was a lot of fun. It was already dark and the motion sensor kept going on and of, so that we had to do parts of the WOD in the dark. Also our neighbour was watching us from behind the curtain. I guess she was wondering what the heck we were doing...
I'm looking forward to have a companion doing the workouts with me. It's much more fun and as I stated before, it brings itensitiy to a whole new level.

Well that's it for today. I've got to get back to class.
Stay fit and see you soon!

Monday follow up and a bear

Hello again!

I'm very sorry for not posting the last few days, but I've been awfully busy. For me the new turn started with a one week delay (I've been to Istanbul, remember?), which means that I've got some stuff to take care of before things will start normalizing themselves again. Also I 've got a huge workload in general and I want to get things done properly. So it might happen that I'll not be able to always update the Blog on time, even though I would like to. But the longer the wait the bigger the fun, right?

Well, as you all know I've used my vaccation as a prolonged rest time. I felt fresh and eager before I started working out on Monday, just the way it should be.

The SWOD was 5x 5 Back Squats and 5x 1 Presses. My previous best on 5x 5 for the Squats had been 140 kg for alle five sets. I thought that after all this rest, this should not be a problem at all. But while I was warming up I could already feel that this week of rest had made me stiff and inflexible (I hadn't done any stretching during the time, so really no big surprise. Stupid me...). I hoped this would go away while I was warming up, but unfortunately it didn't. I was working out with my flatmate Yeray, reintroducing him to the Squat. Yeray has been into intensive cycling when he was younger. For strength work they had him squat, so his form was allready pretty neat. I simply had to point out some points where his form lagged a little and that was all.
After warming up I put on the 140 kg for my first set. Allready the first repition felt way too heavy. I was able to squeeze out three reps before I racked the bar and stripped it down to 120 kg. I than did all five sets with the 120 kg.
The main reason for the breakdown was definitely that I couldn't get myself into position. Also my nutrition hadn't been to good (I didn't eat enough and loads of crappy but very yummie stuff in Istanbul) while I was abroad. So much for that.
I knew that the reasons for the deacrease in my wheights had been the holidays, so it didn't really bother me. The next squatting session will show if I'm right.
Afterwards I did the 5x 1 Presses. I used 75 kg for all five sets, which was ok. I think I could have gone heavier but after the Squats I wanted to take it easy.

So my SWOD looked like this:
Squat 5x 5 @ 120 kg
Press 5x 1 @   75 kg

The DWOD was similar to a workout I had done a while ago. It's a style which is reffered to as "bear-workouts". I guess the reason for this is that it gets you strong like a bear.

Complete 10 rounds of:

One rounds consists of the following:

One Arm DB Power Clean Right
One Arm DB Front Squat Right
One Arm DB Push Press Right
One Arm DB Front Squat Right
One Arm DB Push Press Right
then switch hands....
One Arm DB Power Clean Left
One Arm DB Front Squat Left
One Arm DB Push Press Left
One Arm DB Front Squat Left
One Arm DB Push Press Left

*This time around go as heavy as possible.
*Do Not Drop The Weight. Do Not Set It Down.

*If weight is dropped, count number of drops and perform an equal amount of burpees as a penalty.

 I used my 24 kg Kettlebell which turned out to be slightly too light. But it is the heaviest one I got, so next time I might do a few rounds more in order to compensate.
I finished in 5:29 minutes and didn't drop the wheight once. Very cool!
Here is a video of me doing the DWOD (sorry for the lights blinding, I didn't realize that when I installed the camera):

Bear WOD 12.04.10 from Nico Bartke on Vimeo.

After reviewing the video I think I could've gone much faster. So maybe instead of increasing the amount of rounds I'll concentrate on that. Or I'll do both...

This was the end of Monday. I've already prepared the Tuesday post but decided to put them apart. I didn't want to create a monster that was impossible to read.

How women should work out!

So, I'm back by popular demand!

Today is a rest day.In fact I made the whole week a rest week. Istanbul was great and I just wanted to let the soul hang a little while and relax. Also I've been training hard before and believe I deserved a little rest.

As today's a rest day, I will do my first "rest-day-post". I've been playing with different topics to write about in my head and finally decided to write about women working out.

The reason why I wanted to write about this for quite a while now, is that this is, as I believe, one of the most misunderstand topics out there. Also I've been asked to write a "program for girls" several times and by different girls, now.
I finally made the decision to write this article yesterday, because of one very special person who's name I'm not going to state, but she'll know.

I'll make it very easy: If you want to get fit and look like it, you've got to really work out!

High intensity functional movements, large loads, long distances as fast as possible.

What do I mean by that. Well movements which are referred to as functional, normally are mutli-joint-movements which involve as many muscles as possible. These are for example and just to name a few: Squats, Deadlifts, Presses and the Olympic Lifts. They work your body in the way it was designed to move. Instead of isolating muscles like you'd, for example, do in the Biceps Curl, they imitate the natural movements. Doing these natural occuring movements under load strengthens you're body like nothing else.

Many girls who think they are fit, are in fact simply "slim" or "skinny-fat". This might sound mean but it is a fact.

Being fit means being strong, powerfull and fast, having endurance, stamina and agility.
Don't be afraid to work hard! If you want to look like this,

you've got work out like this:

CBO- WOD #2 Milford Sectionals 2010 from Hybrid Athletics on Vimeo.

Organized Chaos- Aug 22nd 2009 from Hybrid Athletics on Vimeo.

Recent Tabata Day.... from Hybrid Athletics on Vimeo.

CBO- Stone Burpee Demo for WLW from Hybrid Athletics on Vimeo.

There is no easy way around this. Did you ever wonder why the majority of the women you see working out in gyms doesn't seem to get any results at all? Why they stay on treadmills for hours and hours and still don't look the way they want to? Why they keep doing "fat-burning-excercises" but seem to get fatter instead of fitter, until they quit their gym membership out of frustration?
Well, it is because only hard work and intensive training will give get you really fit.
It might be hard, to work out hard, but isn't it much harder and much more frustrating to waste time without seeing results?

You might say that you are not strong enough to do these things and you might be right. Yo may not be strong enough, yet. But there are ways to get there! Do you think these women were born like this?
If you are learning something new, you don't expect to excel at the first day, do you?

Women are often made believe, that if they work out hard, they'll get bulky and "over-muscular".
This is nonsense!

It's easy to understand that you strive for the "ideal" look which is suggested by the public and that you want to be or "stay", what is considered to be feminine. But believe me, women don't grow muscle easily and never in the amount men do.
The reason for this is that you got far lower testosterone-levels than men do. To grow huge amounts of muscle you'll need a high amount of testosterone. If you haven't got that, you'll never grow huge muscles.It's that simple.
Did you ever wonder why really muscular women have deep voices and faces like men? It's because they had to inject testorerone and other hormones in order to get that muscular. They surely wouldn't have done this if, there was another way for them.

The lower testosterone is by the way also the reason why women are in general not as strong as men. But nobody expects you to be as strong as a man (also there certainly are some girls out there who are way stronger than most men). All you need to do, is push yourself to your limits. Don't feel intimidated by guys who can lift more than you. Numbers are not important.
What counts is that you reach your limits and do your best! Form will follow function! I can promise you that!

WOD 01.04.10

This is my workout from last Thursday. Enjoy!

WOD 01.04.10 from Nico Bartke on Vimeo.

This will also be my last post for a weeks time. As I said before, I'll be in Istanbul for a week with my mom and my brother Christian. I've never been there, but people told me it is an amazing place, lots of history  mixed with the vibes of many, many young people and the influences of western and oriental world. Can't wait to get there. Hopefully I'll find the time to have nice WOD in some special place.

Well you guys have fun, too. Stay fit and hit live hard!

Lifts Compilation II

Happy Easter to all of you!
Eat as many eggs (preferably non-chocolat ones, but today you can makes exceptions!)
Here's the first of the promised videos.

Lifts Compilation II from Nico Bartke on Vimeo.

The second will follow today, when I'm done editing and uploading.

Catch up...

Soooooo…. this is going to be huge!
First of all, sorry for the delay! Three days since the last post. A lot of things have happened during this time. I’ll try to start in some sort of chronicle order.

Wednesday was the day we moved out of the student’s residence into our new own flat. Needless to say it was a lot of trouble. The janitor, Mr. Hagemann or as we call him Mr. H-Man, simply is a man you cannot, not get into trouble with. Regardless of what you do or say. But I’m not going to bore you with all this stuff.
Just let me say this. Although Wednesday was a rest day, I sure got one hell of a workout. Thanks again to our helpers! Don’t know how it would’ve ended up without you guys!

This brings me to Thursday. As you all know Thursdays we have our little group workouts. But as everyone was still smoked from Wednesday, was ill, or had some other sort of excuse we decided to delay the group workout to Friday.
Of course I didn’t rest, but went straight for it. Couldn’t wait to workout in my new room!
I was supposed to do 5x 5 Bench Press.
I still haven’t got a bench and it might take a while till I get one (I’m actually thinking about constructing one myself. Checking out the prices at the moment.), so I did 5x 5 Presses.
I started out with 70 kg, slightly worried about the height of the ceiling (I got that on tape…), but it turned out to be high enough. The weight whatsoever turned out to be a little too heavy and I went down to 65 kg after the first set.

In the end I did:         1x        5x 70 kg
                                   4x        5x 65 kg

I think I might have been able to go for 67,5 kg for all five sets. We’ll see next time.
So much for the strength WOD. The DWOD was:
8 rounds for time of:
3 Front Squats @ 90 kg (I scaled down to 70 kg because I had to clean the weight from the floor)
8 Dips

I finished in …. and was pretty smoked.

The rest of Thursday was dedicated to unpacking and to making myself a home in our new flat.

Friday’s SWOD:
Clean & Jerk   2, 2, 2, 2, 2
Deadlift          1, 1, 1, 1, 1
Supine Ring Rows 3x 15