Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do NOT Forget to Warmup!

After having a few discussing with people who have been training with kettlebells for a while, it has come to my attention that people often skip a warmup.  The excuses given usually have something to do with time, and the belief is often that spend those 10 minutes doing more kettlebell work will get them in shape faster.  Sadly, the only thing it is likely to do is get you injured. 

A proper warmup loosens the joints and prepares the muscles and nervous system for activity.  A good warmup will improve your performance and drastically lower your risk for injury.  In many cases, spending those 10 minutes warming up will often improve your performance in whatever routine you were planning on doing.  That means that even though you spent 10 minutes less on training, you got more out of it!

So here are some ideas for warming up: 

Monday, April 25, 2011



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tabata Intervals for Kettlebell Training

The days of endlessly grinding away at long duration, low intensity aerobic exercise to burn fat are gone.  Isn't that what you were told to do back in the 80's and 90's?  Long duration aerobic exercise burns fat, while weight training makes you bulky and tight.  Well, both are crap, and we have come a long way in exercise science to better understand how the body utilizes fat for fuel.  The fact is, your body composition will become much leaner if you regularly engage in high intensity interval training.

Never heard of the Tabata Protocol? Created by Izumi Tabata, the Tabata Protocol is simply the best supra-aerobic cardio workout every discovered. As Dr. Tabata states, "the rate of increase in V02max is one of the highest ever reported. Fat burn is greater when exercise intensity is high. With only 8 minutes (give or take) every 3 days, you can turn your body into a fat-burning super-engine." And while that may be a bit dramatic, the science is solid.  Short duration, high intensity intervals will lead to serious decreases in bodyfat over time, and the Tabata Protocol is just one of many such version of interval training.

Putting it into practice is simple.  Pick a few exercises that involve a lot of muscle, like swings, squats, snatches, pushups, and pullups.  Perform 20 seconds of an exercise, rest 10 seconds, and repeat for at least 8 intervals.  Every 20 second work period can be the same exercise, or you can make them different exercises, as in a circuit training routine.  The bottom line is, try to find a way to use it in your training, as it is a powerful tool, and works great when you only have 10 minutes to train!
Here is a sample video of using the Tabata Protocol with kettlebells:

Monday, April 18, 2011

This Weeks Routine - Tabata Intervals

Today you will use the Tabata Protocol with your kettlebell training.  You will only have to perform 1 exercise...the 1 armed snatch.  Keep your rhythm and breathing consistent, and use a kettlebell that you can flow with crisp movement.


1) Perform snatches for 20 seconds on 1 arm.
2) Rest for 10 seconds.
3) Perform snatches for 20 seconds on the 2nd arm.
4) Rest for 10 seconds.
5) Repeat for 8-12 intervals, depending on your fitness level.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Don't Forget Lateral Movement

 Most of our training in the gym comes in the form of forward/ backward movement.  But if you think about it, a significant portion of your life is spent moving in many different directions, and that is especially true if you are involved in athletics.  Almost every field sport, and even activities like sailing, gymnastics, and martial arts, require changing direction.  Being sure to incorporate kettlebell exercises that vary the planes of movement and include changes in directions will decrease the likelihood of being injured in your other athletic endeavors.

 The lateral lunge or "cossack" is a great exercise in improve your lateral stability and strength during side to side movement.  It teaches you how to properly engage your abdominal brace while driving forcefully through the ground to change directions.  Additionally, the exercise is a great active stretch for the adductors and hamstrings, which are often tight muscle groups in athletes.  Try including this exercise in one of your weekly training sessions early in the routine, keeping the tension high for reps of 3-5 each direction.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Last Chance to Sign Up For MCRD Kettlebell Classes

Its that time again!  The spring season for my kettlebell classes begin in April for the Montgomery County Recreation Department.  This time, I have 4 class options on 3 different days.  My hope is that more choices will provide more people with opportunities to experience the amazing benefits of kettlebell training.  For those of you wishing to get into summer shape, kettlebells will quickly help you lose bodyfat and sculpt your muscles faster than any other fitness tool available.  The results can be insane!

Below are the classes that are available to chose from.  All of them are 8 weeks long, and the fee is $120.  I will supply the kettlebells, although you will need to buy your own so that you can practice at home.  Click on this link to register, and then search for the course numbers you are interested: . Above all, spread the word!  By the time classes begin, I need a minimum of 8 people enrolled in a class for the county to allow me to still teach it.  That means that if I only get 7 people or less in a class by the first day it starts, it will be canceled for the spring season.

Kettlebells for +50

Course # 300923   
Meets at East County Community Center, Saturdays, from 12:30pm – 1:30pm

Kettlebells for Everyone

Course # 300928
Meets at Marilyn J. Praisner Community Center, Tuesdays, from 11am -12noon

Course # 300927
Meets at East County Community Center, Thursdays, from 11am -12noon

Course # 300926
Meets at East County Community Center, Saturdays, from 11:30am – 12:30pm

Sunday, April 3, 2011

This Week's Routine - High Tension and High Velocity Drills

So we tried this in class for the first time last week, and it worked out quite well.  We were able to maintain the tension of the bottom up drills, and at the same time, get our heart rate elevated adequately.  This seems to be another great way to improve strength and drop the bodyfat all at the same.  Kettlebells never cease to amaze me in their versatility!  So here ya go, join the club:

Flow Drill:

1 Bottom Up Getup into 10 One arm snatches:   Complete on 1 side, then move to the other side.  Repeat back and forth 3-5 times.

Ladder Drill:

5 Bottom Up Cleans and Press, decending down to 1....
      Pair that up with,

10 One arm swings:  Just like the flow drill above, complete on 1 side, then move to the other side.  Repeat back 1-2 times.