Monday, June 30, 2014

Swing Into Summer

Greetings RAW Warriors,

Looking for a simple challenge to try over July?  Take on the Just Swing It! KB Swing Challenge!

10,000 Swings in 31 days. Just try to average around 1000 every 3 days. 

Ways to split this up?

400, 400, then 200.

300, 400, then 300.

300, 300, then 400.

300, 200, then 500.

Of course, there are multiple ways to split up 1000 swings over 3 days.

100 swings can usually be done under 5 minutes of time, I prefer to go every 4 to 5 minutes with another 100 every time interval.

The smoothest way I've done 100 or more in straight sets is to do 10 swings per arm and keep switching until you hit your goal of 100 or more in a set.

Check out more on how I did 10K swings and some more in the next month in my Kindle guide, "Just Swing It!", at

The straight-up site for the guide is here:


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

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The RAKC "Indy" Plan

Greetings RAW Warriors,

Its time to get back to basics and add something new in the process. I'm going with a kettlebell focus with the "Indy" plan, or "Indestructible" plan that I covered in Just The Workouts. 

Its a blend of the basic barbell lifts (Bench, Squats, Deadlifts) with kettlebell exercises to finish things out.

The basic structure for each workout is:

Barbell Lift: (Bench, Squats, Deadlifts)
Kettlebell Exercises:
(will vary amongst these 5 actions throughout the week)

3 Minute Warning: 20/10 x 6, with a kettlebell power exercise

Here is Week 1, Day 1 for you:

Deadlifts: 3 x 5
KB Push Presses, 1-arm: 3 x 5 per side
KB Tactical Lunges: 3 x 5 per side
KB Windmills: 3 x 5 per side

3 Minute Warning: 20/10 x 6
KB Cleans: switch sides every 20/10 for 3 sets per side total

If you have an assortment of KB's to choose from at your gym or home, find the right weight for each KB exercise as is appropriate to complete your reps and not totally tax you by the end of each set. Leave a rep or two "in the tank" as they say.

Use the 3-Minute Warning as your finisher to the workout.


If you are looking for brief, effective workouts to do in-between these workouts, I highly suggest the Home Workout Revolution series from Craig Ballantyne. These workouts are still a good selling item from the blog here, as people are finding it to be a high quality, affordable product in comparison to other home workout programs out there. 

I've touted the benefits of the HWR 20/10 workout series many times on the blog here. If you want 10-15 minute workouts that are bodyweight only (and could be easily subbed with bands/dumbbells if needed), HWR is your solution. is the place to go. Compared to P90X, (1, 2 or 3), Insanity, and other highly overpriced programs out there, HWR is your best, most affordable option, hands-down. Over 50 videos alone to download/view and even burn your own compilations of (like I've done many times) make this program a breeze.  In comparison, if you'd buy a P90X plan, there are about a dozen DVD's you'd have to fish through and always load into your players.  HWR has videos you can play from your laptop, tablet, phone, as well as the ability to download the videos you need onto just 1 DVD to load up and watch.  A lot of programs cost more and don't even have that option for you!

Check it out now if you need a solid training solution that you can add to just about any goal you have.


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

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Fat Bike Experience


Its been a long while since my last post, as I've been busy with preparing for races to direct and also time.  After taking on the Finley 5K and doing the Finley Tag Team Relay Race last year, this summer has really grown on the race directing side of things. I have taken on 2 more 5K's, timing for a 5K/10K event, and also added another Tag Team Relay Race to the calendar.  I'm learning more as I go and trying to develop a good system for all events to run as smooth as it can.

With all this preparation time, its cut into some workout time for sure.  About two weeks ago, I bought a new 'fat bike', a special all-terrain bike that has 4" wide wheels on it. It really looks odd compared to other regular bikes.  When the tires are twice as wide, they almost look like a motorcycle tire. The one I bought was from a local discount store, one you'd consider an 'entry level' bike to the fat-biking craze.  It was the Mongoose Brutus, a single speed fat bike.

My first ride was for 10 miles and it was a very fun ride to go on. With my GPS on, I was getting 10-12 miles/hour on the bike, even with a single speed only to go on. Hills were tough, but temporary. Downhills were a brief rest.  Overall after my first ride, I was thinking it was a fun purchase for some enjoyable riding.

Not quite the case: on my next ride, just a quick 4 mile loop I did outside of town, I started hearing pops and squeaks in the frame.  Some online questioning on facebook groups and reading reviews on it, the bike itself was either the world's most awesome bargain for a fat bike, or a bothersome bike where you'll spend more time fixing than riding. The latter was the case for me: I tried adding grease to the bearings, and although the wheels rolled smoother, I really heard some squeaks/pops just taking it throughout the streets by my house. Online posters about my questions on the bike's issues said "Take it back" in unison.

So, I took it back, the store looked at it, and I thought I heard a slight squeak again.  I decided to take it back home and give it a longer ride than just the parking lot. After going around the block, and after numerous tweaks with the wrench, the pops/squeaks got a lot worse.

And my fat biking experience ended the next day. I swapped it out with a regular mountain bike, a 29" Schwinn High Timber bike. 

Will I go back to a fat bike? It will depend on the price of what I can find and afford.  I feel the bike I got was one of those that was rushed, put together just to fill a niche, and sold at a discount rate to make it a mass appeal bike . It may be good for beach cruising, but for grinding up the gravel roads around my neck of the woods, it certainly couldn't handle much.  In comparison, I have had a Schwinn OR2 hybrid bike, a bike made for gravel & pavement conditions (almost mountain bike-like tire but with a smoother, slightly thinner look to go fast on pavement when needed) for two years plus... and haven't heard one squeak out of a few hundred miles on it. That's why I decided to stick with another Schwinn for my riding needs.

Upon further reviews, if I decide to get another fat bike in the future, there are others in the $500 to $1000 range that I could save up for and would have a better quality build to them. The high end ones are $2-3K and is a bit out of my range for my need. 

I have seen some fat bike pages on Facebook where people will take the $199 Mongoose Beast (found at Walmart) and basically use it as a 'hot rod' bike to build up. Some people will modify the rear wheel's cog to make it easier to pedal. Others will even drill holes in the bike's rims to cut weight on the bike itself. I guess if you have the time & money, plus patience, its a bike where you could spend $200 at first and another $2-300 or more to soup it up. I just don't have that time or the handyman skills to soup up a bike.

So, for now, I will stick with gravel grinding away on my OR2 or try some roads out with my new High Timber. 

As for running, I took about a 6 day layoff from running, and when I returned to the track, the Subsonics were hit again in 400m segments every 2 minutes.  I told myself to hold back a bit, and aimed for 90 second times.  90 second intervals with 30 seconds rest felt easier than I thought. I think that's a good sign that the Subsonic interval routines are working well.

Keep rocking on, everyone.

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