Monday, May 31, 2010

Kettlebell Burpee Variations

Anyone who has been involved in bodyweight training is usually familiar with a burpee. If not, refer to this animation of a traditional burpee.  In an effort to blend creativity with high level conditioning, I have successfully used 2 kettlebells to safely raise the intensity of the movement.  In fact, the video will explain how you can choose from a variety of burpee variations to fit them to your level of experience.  To summarize, the following variations are shown in the video:

Beginner Burpee Variation:  Combine a deadlift and a straight arm prone plank.  Move quickly between each position.

Intermediate Burpee Variation: Combine a deadlift and a pushup. Move quickly between each position.

Advanced Burpee Variation: Combine an explosive jump and an explosive pushup.  Move quickly between each position.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Monday, 5/31/10, 6pm CLASS CANCELLATION

I am canceling this monday's (5/31/10; 6 pm) kettlebell class.  Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Classes will resume as usual Wed, 6/2/10, at 6pm.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Vortex Training

 Time for some shameless self promotion!  In addition to the general message of broadening your training methods, incorporating some rotational power training will benefit any athlete.  We have a great piece of equipment called "The Vortex,"  which allows you to stand inside of the device and training at a variety of angles, using dynamic resistance, without moving outside of the machine.  This video shows some of the various exercises I use to improve my core strength and rotational power/ stability.  Notice, all of them are from my feet, because most athletic movements are initiated from a standing position.  Come try it out!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Don't Limit Your Training

 Just like I hate with people treat an RKC  as the "God of Kettlebells," I don't approve of people limiting their training methods to only kettlebells.  I obviously think they are wonderful and practical tools for fitness, or else I would not teach their use or operate a blog surrounding them.  However, there are plenty of other tools at your disposal, and all have their strengths and weaknesses.  One of my favorite training methods is the use of the major powerlifts to build some SERIOUS strength.  Nothing builds a strong body better than a heavy deadlift.  And nothing builds carryover strength to your daily lives than a heavy deadlift.  Period. 

All you people out there with back pain, learn to deadlift.  Even a partial deadlift in a power rack will be a great start.  In fact, many years ago, the partial deadlift was called the "health lift," because it was believed to be the single best option for improving the overall health and function of a person's neuromuscular system.  But don't kid yourself either.  When you look around the gym, rarely do you see people deadlifting.  And those who do, often do it wrong.  Some people will tell you they don't deadlift because it can be dangerous, but the reality is, most people don't deadlift because it sucks.  Most people take the easy way out, because deadlifts are hard.  Of course, I don't think you want to be like most people though....weak and out of you?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Posture Does Perfect

 Posture is everything.  Your body has to obey the laws of physics, and as such, the forces acting on your body position can alter and permanently deform your posture if left unchecked.  Look around and you see it everywhere.  Heads slumped forward, shoulders rounded and internally rotated, lumbar spines flexed forward, and hips tucked beneath us in a retroversion.  Then, these same people make committment to improving their health and fitness by starting a strength training program, and hurt themselves.  And even if they happen to escape injury immediately, their training performance and progress is thwarted by the inability to create a stable foundation underneath their exercises.  So ultimately, your posture will determine you risk of injury, training progress, and exercise performance.

So if you are one of the many people around you who have poor standing and seated posture, here is some corrective exercises you can starting incorporating in your training.  This video focuses on head, shoulder, and thoracic mobility.  You need to bring the head up and back, drop the shoulders down and back, and extend the rib cage upward, while stretching the front of your shoulders and chest, and strengthening your upper back.  A big part of this whole equation is preventing forward internal rotation of the shoulder in its socket.  Enjoy the video and get started with corrective exercises.

Monday, May 3, 2010

My First Rant!!

So a few posts ago, I asked for suggestions from readers as to how I can make this blog more interactive, useful, and entertaining.  An anonymous poster has given me the great idea of using it for expressing my personal views, beliefs, and rants!  This person, actually 2 people, commented on my video of my 40kg turkish getup. (If you would like to familiarize yourself with the comments regarding this video, click here.)  Both of these people have 2 things to say. First, because I did not lower the bell slowly after each rep, I was in danger, and therefore, my performance of the repetition was "dangerous."  Second, because I did not follow the dogma of the RKC, I am not equipped to teach kettlebell training.  So, now that you got the background on my video and these 2 anonymous poster's comments, here goes my rant!

On more thing beforehand though. It needs to be said that anyone wishing to pick apart my technique, training, and teaching methods should provide some background as to who they are!  It seems to me that any wackjob could have posted that, and I'm willing to bet that neither one of them have anywhere near the experience and training I have in strength and conditioning training.  That being said, lets look at the 2 premises they provided.

First, if you have ever tried to floor press or TGU a heavy bell (over 24kg), you are familiar with the large amount of torque placed on the shoulder and elbow if you try to slowly externally rotate the bell away from you when you are finished the rep.  It seems to me that a very safe and obvious way to avoid that damage is to fluidly allow the bell to drop to your side as you move out of the way.  Since the bell is dropped a merely 2-3 inches, and I am moving away from it as it falls, I am in no danger whatsoever.  In fact, when you have as much martial arts training as I, doing this becomes second nature.  Furthermore, both these jokers are quite arrogant to assume that I teach others to lower the bell in the same manner during a turkish getup.  Of course, the THOUSANDS of people that I have trained over the last 13 years would surely confirm that I always encourage perfect technique and control, especially when you're a novice lifter.

Secondly, I HATE the dogma that surround the letters "RKC."  I have a bunch of pretty letters as credentials around my name too, but I certainly don't claim to arrogantly be the standard for all kettlebell exercises and techniques.  I have both met and trained with Brett Jones, and while he is a nice guy, I certainly do not cling to his every word or movement as if it were gold.  Let's be honest, RKC is just a kettlebell certification marketed by a BUSINESS, and like any business that explodes in an untapped market, it has the luxury of proclaiming it to be the most genuine and perfect expert.  Why?  Because they don't have much competition!  In the last 2 years, a few more certifications from rival businesses have popped up, each claiming they are the primary expert on the subject of kettlebell training.  The truth is, none of them are perfect, nor do any of them have omnipotence over training and techniques.  All of them have something to offer everyone, as we all are on a continual quest to learn and improve our own training.  What I do works for me.  And so far, how I teach others has also worked for me, AND them.  I will continue to learn all I can about kettlebell training, and pass along what I can to my students, all while encouraging them to use what works for them, and discarding the rest.  Bruce Lee had it right when he said we must all search for our own truth in training.  And while dropping a 88lb kettlebell 2 inches may not be supported by a dragondoor RKC, it worked for me! The results speak for themselves, as I do not know of another trainer personally who can perform such a feat, all while making it smooth, safe, and near effortless. 

Gotta love the controversy!