Saturday, May 31, 2014

RAW Updates: Subsonics & Bike Rides

Greetings RAW Warriors,

I'm still doing the Subsonic workouts lately, getting at least 2 in each week, with another slightly 'tamer' speed session.  In between, I've been getting in some longer bike rides for recovery from these workouts.

I like how my legs aren't quite so dead after a steady bike ride, and they feel fresh the next day for another session on the track. I've been doing this a lot the past couple of years, alternating long bike rides with hard track sessions during the spring, It all depends on how much time I have each day for the rides, and even the track sessions.  As an average, I usually have a good 30-45 minutes, sometimes an hour now, for a decent workout session.  Bike rides usually are for 30-45 minutes, track sessions mostly 20-25 minutes on those days.

After seriously looking at how much gluten is in my diet since January, I've finally hit my target weight for what I wanted. I've tended to race very well around 180 pounds throughout the years, sometimes 175 when I was in my 20's. I feel much better now and I know the diet changes have made a huge difference in not just my weight loss, but in how my body performs.  I'm doing pretty much the same workouts and the diet really helped things move in the direction I've been waiting to move forward in. Just doing the Subsonic workouts with brief rests between sets has made me more aware of what I'm capable of now.  Hard intervals are still hard, but its starting to feel a lot easier than in the past.

For now, I won't be posting weekly workouts, maybe just brief updates on my own stuff, or something new that I come across.  I am getting into 5K race mode with the races I'm directing and helping to manage with timing, awards, etc.  Won't have a lot of free time soon to keep up on the blog more frequently, so for now, if you're looking for programs, check out the free ones I have in the tabs, such as the BSD plan and the 5,000 Swings program. Of course, my Kindle guides are still available and most of the tabs cover those as well.  I not only sell my own stuff, but also sell Craig Ballantyne's HWR program and Mike Whitfield's Workout Finishers program, and the well-thought-out CT-50 plan that's better than CF, in my opinion.

Kindle guides are here:

Lift. Dominate. Repeat.
Rats Alley Barbell Club
Coach Rick Karboviak

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

RABC Update: The "Subsonic" Experiment


It's been a long time since my last post.  Mainly, track season got in the way in a hurry and whatever free time I had, it was eaten up with other things. Its done now, but I'm also gearing up for area 5K's that I'm directing.

Workout postings have been sparse. Still not sure which direction to take it in the future. I'm kind of a hybrid and out-of-the-ordinary person when it comes to workouts.  I enjoy traditional stuff like RABC bench, squats, and deadlift stuff.  I am also an advocate of kettlebells and all they offer. Bodyweight exercise circuits are also a part of my 'thing' when it comes to training, and let's not forget running workouts. Big fan of the Track and what a good old track workout can offer you.

Here's a simple to do Track workout that I've been experimenting with this month.

I call it "Subsonic" because you are going at faster than race pace, like a 5K pace, with very minimal rests.

This workout is best if you can do a 400 in 1:30 or less, and also 200m in 45 seconds or less. 

For me, I can cover 400's in 80-85 seconds in repeat mode, and 200's in 38-40 seconds in repeat mode.

I got the idea for the workout after doing 20/10 Tabata's so much with the HWR workouts and also with KB workouts.  Everything cycles around 4 minutes of total time it seems. It also follows a 2:1 work/rest ratio.  So, I decided to try the following and see what kind of times I could produce on the track in this work/rest ratio format.

Since my 200's were basically in 40 seconds on average, I'd figure I'd rest 20 seconds and keep it simple by doing a 200 every minute.

4 rounds of this takes only 4 minutes, and you get in an 800 in distance volume, plus its done in about a 2:40 time of total time in intervals.

I started out with doing this for the first 4 minutes, then taking 2 minutes rest, and doing it again (on a running clock, I simply rested 2:20 after 3:40 of interval times, following that 40/20 work/rest pattern). This means when 6:00 came on my watch, I started it again with another 4x200 effort.

This mean little workout gives you a 5:20 mile, once intervals and times are added up, in about 10 minutes of time.

I also tested this out with doing 400's every 2 minutes.  I'd get 1:20-1:25 of time to run my 400 in, then rest until every 2 minute mark came about.  4 of these can be done in 8 minutes, and you have your mile done.

The workout I did with the track kids for a speed workout took about 16 minutes to do.

We mimicked a 'very fast moving' track meet this day.  Typically, a distance kid will do one leg of a 4x800m race, so we did 800m worth of a 200 every minute.  We then rested for 4 minutes, and then did 1600m worth of 400's, doing one every 2 minutes.  The 1600m race is typically next in line for the distance runner at a track meet.

Most of the kids were doing the 400's in the mid 70's to early 90's for time. 

A big benefit of this workout is you are learning to control and manage your speed while you are pretty zapped from the repeat, high speed efforts. 

It is not for the first-time runner on the track. A runner definitely needs to be used to speed workouts in order to try this really intense workout.

All in all, we did see some personal bests happen about 2 weeks after this workout.  I can't link it totally to this ONE workout, but it certainly helped some athletes in how they managed their speeds and got used to running a bit uncomfortably at race paces. Some kids told me it was the hardest speed session of the season.

I'm looking at making a more specific Kindle guide for this workout system, as its pretty unique and could be helpful for those looking to shave off some time on a 5K or even for tracksters on their 800, 1600 or 3200 times.

As for now, I'm still experimenting with this workout routine and developing a strategy on doing it as part of a main running plan for race improvement.

Today's workout?  Here you go:

200 every minute x 4, rest 1 more minute, do it again at the 5:00 mark.
200 every minute x 4, rest 1 minute.
200 every minute x 8 (1600 worth), rested for 4 minutes. (This hit the 22:00 mark in total time for me before I went again.)
Finisher:  400 in 82, rested until 3:00, then did another 400 in 77 seconds. 

All in all, this was 2.5 miles of some very fast speed intervals of 200's in the 38-42 range. One section I was able to glide with the wind to my back, getting 37's sometimes. Then the next one I had to go into the wind and barely get a 41-42 time.

Its a great mental edge builder because there isn't much time to whine, you just push yourself through it.


Lift. Dominate. Repeat.
Rats Alley Barbell Club
Coach Rick Karboviak

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekly RAW: The RAKC Plan - Kettlebell-Only Routines!

Greetings RAW Warriors,

Starting up something fresh this week for a 4 week plan: the Rats Alley Kettlebell Club Routine.

Day 1:
KB Swings
KB Turkish Get Ups

Day 2:
KB Military Presses
KB All-Star Sit-Ups (1/2 TGU's)

Day 3:
KB Cleans

It is a typical M-W-F routine to handle. Just 2 exercises per day.
On off days, I'd recommend a 20/10 workout from the HWR workouts, or doing a KB Swings workout, such as one from Just Swing It! or a workout from the Just Clean It! guide as a KB Cleans workout.

Week 1, Day 1:
KB Swings: 40s work, 20s rest x 10 sets (10 minutes total)
KB TGU's: 3 sets of 5 per side

Week 1, Day 2:
KB Military Presses:  3 x 5 per side, or do 3 x 5 doubles at once.
KB All-Star Sit Ups: 3 sets of 5 per side

Week 1, Day 3:
KB Cleans: 20s work, 10s rest per side, do 10 minutes of this for 10 sets per side total.
KB TGU's:  3 sets of 5 per side

It's pretty simple and pretty short, roughly 10-20 minutes per workout in all. 

Try to use KB's that are appropriate to complete each set but not be too heavy where final sets are too much of a struggle.  Keep a rep or two 'in the tank' as they say.

Lift. Dominate. Repeat.
Coach Rick Karboviak

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Revisiting the Roots of "Indy"

A while back I was reviewing "Just The Workouts" on my Kindle app, re-reading one of my first Kindle guides that I put out.  Even though "Just Swing It!" has been my top seller, JTW was the top seller from day one when I started making Kindle guides. It is still a solid #2 overall in my sales of all my guides.

I am seeing a mini-movement in the fitness field where its gone full circle. We started with 'traditional' lifting, such as bench, squat, deadlifts, to machine based stuff. Then, machines were horrible and terrible and seemed to cause everything but cancer, and bodyweight and 'functional' exercises on stability balls and balance tools were all the rage.  Kettlebells hit the mix soon, and then people went full bore into that.  I was one of them for a bit, but I saw them more as another tool, rather than a stand-alone-only tool.  Then it seemed that Crossfit was the new, cool thing to do and anything else was horsecrap according to some CF people out there.

All in all, the basic program I first started with in high school and always saw a chart of, tucked in the corner of the weight room, is still around.

"Just The Workouts" is based on this program, because when I'd go to Mayville State for my first two years, the same program was there. Go to Southwest State for another 2 years, the program was there. I came back to Mayville and the strength coach I worked under as a student coach said to me, "I don't know who made this program, but it works every time."  That's why I've dubbed it, "The Program That Never Left The Weight Room."

That always stuck with me and years later, I'd train a guy who went on to play at Mayville State for football. They sent him the program, and low and behold, it shows up again. 

I called this program the "Indestructible!" program in my JTW guide. 

I also took phases of "Indy" and tweaked it to the 4 week phase program of the RABC Manual, so the roots of the RABC plans are based off of Indy.

I wanted to share this story because I'm not sure how many have heard it through the blog.

My main message is that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and programs like Indy have stood the test of time and prove to be a winning plan.

Grab a copy of JTW for only 99 cents on your Kindle readers at or at Don't forget about the handy "Just The Chart" guide too, as all you have to do is tap on your maximum weight as a chapter, and all your weights come up for each week/phase on every set and rep scheme. Grab all 3 (RABC, JTC, and JTW) for less than the cost of a Starbucks coffee.

Lift. Dominate. Repeat.
Rats Alley Barbell Club
Coach Rick Karboviak