Monday, December 21, 2009

Moving to a new blog address!

Now that a new chapter in our lives is about to begin, Nikki and I have decided to make a small change and have new blog addresses.

You can always check out our blogs from our homepage of or

My new blog (titled Mr. SG Human Performance) is located at

Nikki's blog is located at:

Have a wonderful year everyone and see you on the other side!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What is a Pattern? By Dr. Mark Cheng

Terrific post by one of my mentors, Dr. Mark Cheng. Really helps to explain what the FMS and RKC systems are applying to help improve individuals imbalances, asymmetries and pain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can Chocolate be Healthy? By Dr. John Berardi

Eat and Run is an internet program Precision Nutrition has created in partnership with the endurance-oriented folks at (Thus the name; Eat and Run.)

Over the next few months Precision Nutrition is bringing you dozens of new high-quality nutrition videos. Every single one supports the important ideas presented in the Precision Nutrition System.
So, make sure you’ve got your copy of PN. And then be prepared for a host of “a-ha” moments as we roll out successive episodes of Eat and Run.
Also, keep one thing in mind. The tips you’ll learn in the Eat and Run program aren’t exclusive to an endurance-oriented audience. Indeed, good nutrition is univerally important whether your primary activity is lifting weights or whether it’s lifting your bike pedals.

For more information about Chocolate:
Check out our Precision Nutrition System

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie from

Healthier Pumpkin Pie
A classic holiday favorite made healthy!
Here is a visual comparison of EatingWell’s Thanksgiving recipes versus more traditional versions of the same foods that are bound to be gracing your holiday table. We included calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium in our comparison, and we think you’ll agree the statistics are telling. Best of all, the tricks and techniques used to make these recipes lighter also make them delicious! There is no sacrificing taste in any of these great recipes. Share these healthy dishes with your family and friends this year—and save up some of those calories for the next big holiday.

EatingWell Frozen Pumpkin Mousse
We go with a crust made from gingersnap cookies, raisins and a bit of healthy canola oil rather than a traditional pastry crust. This cuts out the butter and shortening (along with the saturated fat) normally in a pastry crust.
Look for healthier brands of store-bought gingersnaps for the crust that don’t have any partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list.
Many pumpkin pies use cream and whole milk in the pumpkin filling. We combine pureed pumpkin with low fat frozen yogurt in this untraditional frozen version. We get a creamy rich result with less total fat, saturated fat and calories.
Pumpkins are already sweet so we limit the amount of sugar we add to the filling to decrease the calories even more.
EatingWell Frozen Pumpkin Mousse

230 Calories

5 g Fat

1 g Saturated Fat

2g Fiber

179 mg Sodium

Regular Pumpkin Pie
484 Calories
33 g Fat
20 g Saturated Fat
3 g Fiber
191 mg Sodium

10 servings
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes (including freezing time)

30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons raisins
1 tablespoon canola oil

1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened (see Tip)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Tips & Notes
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and freeze the pie for up to 3 days. Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie pan
Tip: To soften ice cream quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.

Per serving: 230 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 g fiber; 179 mg sodium; 165 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (80% daily value)
3 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 3 other carbohydrate, 1 fat

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Get Your Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification

1. You will understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing is fundamental to high-level Hard Style practice
  • like you didn't already know that!
  • the universe revolves around the kb swing/deadlift

2. You will develop deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
  • discover the benefits that I have found and no where else
  • you will find a deep appreciation for the SYSTEM and the kettlebell is a tool to help enhance teaching the system!

3. How to train hip extension for back and knee health and athletic performance
  • train and teach others how to live pain free by waking up the glutes!

4. How to employ bracing and neutral spine—for injury prevention, enhanced performance and optimal transmission of force
  • understanding tension and how to optimally use your core musculature! No more crunches!

5. How to recruit the lat as a "core muscle" to improve the spine safety and glute strength
  • Train the lats, glutes and trunk stabilizers to work the way they were suppossed to, together!

6. How to increase power with the biomechanical breathing match
  • proper breathing is one of the most common mistakes seen with people who suffer from poor strength, muscular imbalances and pain

7. Learn how to perform the kettlebell swing, turkish get up, goblet squat

  • Not only the technique but the HKC provides you the exercise benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills to help improve your technique as well as the people you train

8. Ten program design tools for an unlimited variety of effective kettlebell workouts are provided in your HKC manual:

  • Rep Ladders
  • Weight Ladders
  • Time Ladders
  • Breathing Ladders
  • Reverse Ladders
  • Drop Sets
  • Super Sets
  • Timed Sets
  • Series
  • Active Recovery Exercises

9. Your registration fee counts towards an upcoming Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification

10. Join the brother/sisterhood! You will be joining a team of over 1000 HKC& RKC’s!
  • Discounts on kettlebells and items
  • Forum membership to speak with other HKC’s/RKC’s about training, starting a business and other items

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sara Cheatham on finding time to stay in shape

Excellent article by Sara on how military moms can find the time to train to get the results that they need. I also believe that this article can apply to everyone!

If you are interested in learning more about kettlebells or getting one check here!



Ladder Training

Been getting back into the swing of things this week. Beginning my valley to work into peaking on my pressing.

Had a little set back a few weeks ago when my neck acted up on me. Just my body was telling me to back off and do things right. I normally press a 24kg for sets, my personal best is pressing a 36kg each side x1.

This week I am pressing a 20kg. Today did 4 ladders of 5 reps. Goes a little something like this for people who are not familar with ladders.

20kg clean and press

1 rep each side, rest

2 reps each side, rest

3 reps each side, rest

4 reps each side, rest

5 reps each side, rest

rest and repeat for 4 rounds

The beautiful thing about ladders is that you can add much more load than you would with higher reps. This means many things. Better strength gains, less chance of bulking up (if you are a lady), more appropriate muscle action (in my experience, you go over 8 reps and you tend to lose your concentration and can cheat more, setting you up for injury).

I hardly ever go over 5 reps with my training or training my clients unless we are doing explosive lifts like swings and snatches.

Look at it this way: 4 ladders of 5 allows me to lift a heavier weight. it equals to lifting 2,640 pounds each arm If i did the regular 3x10 deal, I would have used a 16kg and the total lift would be only 1,050 pounds per arm.

More efficient, better technique, better results. Try using ladders with your combination lifts that require you use your whole body such as squats, push ups, and deadlifts. For more information on ladders check out the book. Enter the Kettlebell

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification is coming to OMAHA, NE!!!!

I am very excited to announce that the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification is coming to our homestate! Please see below for some of the details.

Dr. Mark Cheng is wicked smart! I consider him to be one of my mentors, please sign up! You will so thank me for it!

Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

Taken from

  • A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
  • A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
  • A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
  • A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
  • The ability to competently perform the three foundational kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
  • The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
  • The unique HKC template for designing an unlimited number of effective kettlebell workouts.

And discover all this and more in the course of your HKC training:

  • Understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing is fundamental to high-level HardStyle practice
  • How to develop power through compensatory acceleration and overspeed eccentrics
  • How to train hip extension for back and knee health and athletic performance
  • How to employ bracing and neutral spine—for injury prevention, enhanced performance and optimal transmission of force
  • How to recruit the lat as a "core muscle" to improve the spine safety and glute strength
  • How to increase power with the biomechanical breathing match
  • A safe, effective modality for developing different types of endurance
  • Explosive training techniques for more effective fat-loss
  • The deadlift: the most "functional" exercise of all
  • The two-arm swing and corrective exercises
  • The concept of rooting and two key drills for developing it
  • The one-arm swing
  • The hand-to-hand swing
  • Russian relaxation exercises to enhance the acquisition of skilful movement, increase power and endurance

  • The two hundred year history of the get-up
  • The get-up as an assessment tool
  • The strength and health benefits of the get-up
  • How to correctly perform the get-up and teach corrective drills
  • How to move from mobility to stability, then from stability to strength—and why this progression is crucial for truly effective kettlebell work
  • The get-up, shoulder mobility and stability exercises. The role of the lat in shoulder stability and strength—and advanced lat facilitation techniques
  • How to employ and teach steering strength
  • The concepts of leakage and linkage—and their importance for effective kettlebell lifting

  • How to perform the goblet squat and corrective drills
  • "Strength stretching" for the hips
  • How to overcome gluteal amnesia
  • How to most effectively stretch the hip flexors to dramatically improve athletic performance, back health, and posture

  • How to modify the squat stance for a client with back problems

  • An alternative squat exercise for overweight clients

  • Why "sport specific training" is inappropriate for 99% of the coaches and athletes—and a powerful alternative

Take home an information packed HKC instructor manual:

  • What makes kettlebell training unique?
  • What Russian research says about the benefits of kettlebell training?
  • What is "Hardstyle"?
  • Kettlebell safety 101: ten key items
  • The Swing: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
  • The Get-Up: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills
  • The Goblet Squat: its benefits, technique, teaching progression, and remedial drills

  • HKC program design
  • The three key principles of effective training identified by Russian sports scientists: continuity of the training process, waving the loads, and specialized variety,
  • Ten program design tools for an unlimited variety of effective kettlebell workouts:
    • Rep Ladders
    • Weight Ladders
    • Time Ladders
    • Breathing Ladders
    • Reverse Ladders
    • Drop Sets
    • Super Sets
    • Timed Sets
    • Series
    • Active Recovery Exercises

As with the RKC, the HKC will be earned through diligent testing of each candidate. Besides having to pass the requisite pullup/flexed-arm hang test at the outset of the workshop, each HKC candidate will be evaluated for technical proficiency and teaching skills at the end of the workshop and will then be granted either a pass or fail.

Monday, October 5, 2009

2009 Komen Greater Nashville Race for the Cure - More about Komen

Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever.

In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement.

Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, we have invested nearly $1 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. Our name and logo symbolize who we are and what we stand for.

“Susan G. Komen” reminds us of Nancy G. Brinker’s promise to her sister Susan to do everything in her power to spare other women and men the agony of breast cancer. “For the Cure’ reaffirms our vision of a world without the disease. The name conveys the original promise quickly and simply…

Susan G. Komen = the Cure.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is the nation’s largest funding source for research dedicated solely to breast cancer. Local affiliates run races, raising money, for the purpose of advancing research, education, treatment and screening. Since its formation in 1991, the Greater Nashville Affiliate has funded breast cancer education screening and treatment programs for the medically underserved in its local community and has given additional money to the Komen Foundation and Research Grant Program to help fund breast research programs in the Greater Nashville service region.

I am volunteering and taking donations in the name of my Aunt, Shelia McGuire, who passed away from breast cancer when I was 13. Please help us in the fight to make sure that other families do not have to go through what our family did with this type of tragedy.

I would like to ask that you donate $5 for every person you know who has been affected by Breast Cancer.

Thank you for supporting Susan G. Komen for the Cure - Greater Nashville. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RKC Instructor Certification now open for April 2010

Make the investment......
Make a plan.......
Get screened............
Meet with a RKC...........

Take the first step now! Make the investment towards a better future! It will change your life!

Click the title above to save $1,000 of the registration price! You can also pay in 4 monthly installments!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Understanding Your Muscles - Men's Health

Understanding Your Muscles - Men's Health

Shared via AddThis

This article helps to reinforce the idea behind the RKC and FMS.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Biggest Loser....The Viewers by Robert dos Remedios

Terrific post by Coach Dos. Please check it out. A little bit of language in the article, but it gets the point across.

About "Coach Dos"Robert dos Remedios is the 2006 NSCA Collegiate Strength Coach of the Year. He is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach @ College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, CA and a sought after speaker and presenter on conditioning. His best selling book Men's Health Power Training was released September 18th 2007 from Rodale Books. His new book Men's Health Cardio Strength Training is scheduled to be released in January 2010!

One aspect that Coach Dos did not cover is the risk of injury. I would love to be behind the scenes and see what types of injuries that occur during the training aspect. Coach Dos says it correctly when he states that there are participants on the show that are training and doing certain exercises that they are not prepared for, but it is cool and good tv so they put the "cool" on the show. This puts the individual at risk for a nasty injury that they may never recover from. There goes there chance to be able to exercise and thus they spin even more out of control with their weight management.

A terrific example is on the season opener when they took everyone off the bus and had them run a mile. I already knew what the result was going to be and I was right, they had to emergency helicopter a woman who passed out during a 1 mile run. She was not prepared for the exercise. You must train to run, not run to train. I fear that someone is going to have to die before the show is cancelled or they change their ways.

Don't even get me started on the kettlebell training that they were "trying" to perform. If you want to burn fat and make a change in your life, use a kettlebell and a RKC. You don't need to perform sprints on the treadmill or plyometrics. Kettlebells (if performed correctly) are much Safer than running and burns more fat. Win win situation. I call it like doing sprints, only you have a weight and you are standing still.

Here is a great example. These ladies are in my program because they wanted to get into shape and get strong, but have a history of injuries. They cannot necessarily do sprints, but you bet your sweet bippy they can do swings!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Metabolic Circuits by Alwyn Cosgrove

Great post by Fitness Professional Wizard Alwyn Cosgrove. Good for all of you individuals out there that believe you need to run to burn fat.

As most readers of my articles will know I’m a huge believer in using metabolic circuits and routines for fat loss and conditioning.

If you consider the normal statistic that jogging a mile burns approximately 100 calories, takes around 1500 reps to perform, and involves plyometric forces of 2-4 x bodyweight you can see where there can be some potential joint issues with using jogging as your primary metabolic training.

Let’s say our 150lbs client runs a mile in fifteen minutes. That’s at least 300lbs of force going through the knees, hips and ankles, 1500 times in order to burn 100 calories. . That’s a lot of volume, potential joint stress for really, not a lot of return. We’d need to do that 35 times in order to burn enough calories to lose a pound of fat

Contrast that with a full body metabolic circuit we can get the same metabolic conditioning effect (or probably more) with less total reps, less total volume, less joint stress and spread it out over the entire body (as opposed to just the lower body). Nick’s circuit will burn way more than 100 calories, and takes about the same time as the jogging described above.

You could even do a circuit of squat, push ups, lunges in place and inverted rows or band rows for 10 reps each and repeat that for 4-5 rounds – giving you 50 total reps per circuit, at less than bodyweight loads, spread over the entire body – while still burning more calories than the same amount of running.

So unless you are training for a sport-specific running event (such as a 5K etc), consider some type of metabolic circuit as a solid change-up or addition to your routine.

–ACPS – For more ideas for this type of training – check out the Metabolic Acceleration Training DVD.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Iron Tamer Clan - The Instructors Who Got Us Where We Are Now

Hello again everyone! It has been a terrific September as an offical RKC instructor. I have to say I have been able to apply all that I have learned at the RKC Instructor Certification Course everyday with my clients as well as my physical therapy patients.
As I promised, I am writing a 2nd installment to the Iron Tamer Clan Post from last week. This week I am giving props to the instructors and others who helped us to prepare for our success at the RKC.

David Whitley, Senior RKC
It all began when I returned from a Functional Movement Screen Seminar where one of the presenters (Gray Cook, PT, RKC) introduced me to some kettlebell exercises. I was very interested and ended up finding out that David (aka the IRONTAMER) held classes in Nashville and is also FMS certified (CK-FMS). For the next month I was blown away by how much he knew about movements and how the kettlebell itself can be used as a tool to work on mobility and stability at the same time. On my first day of Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp I performed turkish get ups and could not believe how much I was working on mobility of my joints as well as stability of my joints with one exercise! I decided to give 4 weeks of my bootcamp workouts and retest my FMS score. Note I did not do any other corrective exercises other than bootcamp. My FMS score went from a 15 to an 18! My wife went from a 14 to an 18 in the same time and can now do a very good push up.

After 3 months of bootcamp and about 20 pounds of fat loss later I was hooked. Nikki and I proceeded to let the Irontamer know that Iwe were interested in training for the RKC Instructor Certification Course. He told me that he would be happy to train Nikki and I and that we should continue to come to bootcamp to prepare. And boy did we prepare! David was tough on us but in a very good way. He knew what the RKC cert was like and was preparing us for the grueling days that would be the RKC. He did not sugar coat things. We heard things like "quit your whining and swing!" and "if your clean is like that at the end of RKC you WILL fail the course". It was exactly what we needed to hear. He motivated us very well.
I owe David everything. He introduced me to kettlebell training and what the RKC is about. He reiterated that the RKC is not just about the kettlebell, the kettlebell is only a tool. Its the movements and the concept behind the RKC that makes it so successful. Thanks to his knowledge and teaching, I am a much better Certified Athletic Trainer and FMS specialist at correcting movement imbalances. Thanks David! I will always introduce myself as being a decendent of the Iron Tamer Clan and you as my mentor.

Matt McBryde
Matt just received his RKC instructor certification last year (2008). We met Matt as he was one of David's instructors that covers his class when David is out of town. Matt is a terrific instructor from the very first day we met him. He put his own spin on class but the RKC techniques were always the foundation. Matt was gracious enough to come to our RKC prep days at 6am to help us with technique and also gave us some killer workouts, including the VO2 Max protocol from the Viking Warrior Conditioning. The VO2 practice we had with him very much helped us at RKC to improve on our snatch technique but also to prepare us for the grueling workouts. Matt now currently owns and runs Tennessee Kettlebell Bootcamp along with his cool wife, Kristen (the Hardstyle Diva part of the Irontamer Clan!) in Franklin, TN. Thank you for all your wisdom, Matt. Not only did I learn so much from you but I also gained 2 friends. I know that Kristen and yourself did not have to drive 20 minutes every Saturday to come train with us, but you did for the sake of helping us become as prepared as we could be. I will never forget your generosity.

Dennis Breckey
Dennis is the first RKC that we met in Nashville after working with the IronTamer and he also subbed for David from time to time. He teaches a very structured class and gave a different point of view with corrections and cues on our technique. Dennis was also showed up to almost every Saturday morning RKC prep class. He had nothing to gain from coming. He did not have anyone close to him prepping like Matt did. He just came to help us out. I was truly blown away that he would come so early in the am to come help us out. Dennis is currently working on his Z Health certification and when Nikki spoke to him about her tricep issues, he made the time to research and ask other Z health professionals about what drills would work best to alleviate her problems. Dennis is just a whole lot of awesome in my book.
I would also like to give a quick shout out to some other important people who played a role in our RKC certification. Mandy (with a Y not an I) Whitley is a wonderful friend of ours who let us borrow her husband on many accounts to have him work with us. She was the first person I saw when I passed my snatch test and she was jumping up and down in excitement. She put up with our Vibram Stank in the hotel room for 3 days. And was there to give me updates on who all passed since I was the last one. She made the whole process fun and well worth it.
I would like to thank Gray Cook for steering me in the correct direction of the RKC. Also to Brett Jones for all of his articles and information who has helped me out. Brett and Gray have a terrific DVD series "the secrets" and "Kalos Sthenos" which provides important corrective exercises to help improve on asymmetries in your body. I would like to say that thanks to them I am a better informed and prepared RKC and athletic trainer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Iron Tamer Clan & The RKC Experience

I cannot begin to explain all the emotions that went through the last weekend. There were times of doubt, nervousness, excitement, exhaustion, fulfillment, pain, anger, and many others. At the end I finally understood what RKC is all about. It is hard to describe what transition I went through, but I truly believe that I am a stronger and more honorable man now that I have been through it and passed. My bond with Nikki (my wife!) is even stronger than before. I also have a very strong, almost unbreakable bond with my team, my fellow RKC's and especially the IronTamer Clan.

I would like to take this time to talk a bit about the IronTamer Clan. A long time ago, Nikki and myself began Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp and were blown away on the results that we were getting in class. We decided that we would like to train for the RKC and began our quest. Along the way we made a bond with other members of the bootcamp and for some unknown reason, all 5 of us decided to all sign up for RKC San Diego in August and thus began our quest to become RKC certified. I would like to take the time to brag about each and every one of them.

Nikki (or as most of you know I just introduce as "my wife, Nikki") has always been an outstanding athlete and it showed from day 1 of bootcamp when we met with David. On the very first day with only very limited experience with kettlebell training she was already swinging a 24kg with good form. Dave Whitley stated "the force is strong in this one". Nikki has hit some impressive numbers since beginning training back in October of 2008. She has hit over 200 snatches with a 16kg in 10 minutes, can strict press a 24kg, do a full get up with a 28kg and a 1/2 get up with a 32kg. More importantly she was a very motivating factor in my training. She was very patient with my moods, got me out of bed every morning at 5:15am when it was time to train. And gave me countless important cues on improving my technique. She is quite a remarkable woman and I am proud to say that "she is all mine!"


When we first met Kristen it was through her husband, Matt who is an RKC. He was subbing for a class of ours when Dave Whitley was out of town. We walked in and saw Kristen snatching with a 16kg. (Nikki thought to herself, "how in the hell is she doing that?"). Kristen told us she was planning/training for RKC certification probably around October 2009. But Kristen was next in line to sign up for RKC and join the clan after the Irontamer called and notified her and her husband that Nikki & I just signed up and that the Irontamer himself was going to be instructing. Kristen is just a little thing, but I would definitely would not mess with her since she is very strong and strong willed to boot. "We are here for physical training!" as she would let people know in the elevator in La Jolla when they asked her if she was here on vacation. Kristen was the first person I saw after we finished the 5 minute snatch test and she was jumping up and down excited that all of us performed it so well. I also think that Kristen really helped Nikki out by having another female in the group to work with and ask questions to. There was a time that Nikki thought there was no way she would be able to snatch a 16kg until she saw Kristen doing it for reps. They developed a very strong bond between the 2 of them. Kristen is also the one that right after RKC stated that we should all go to RKC II together. I think the world of her and the things that she can do. Her and Nikki both belong in the "sexy and strong" group that so many of the RKC women demonstrate.

Jay has been coming to bootcamp for a long time and stated that he has always wanted to perform the RKC instructor certification program. When David called him to tell him that Nikki Kristen, and myself were going, along with himself as an instructor. He immediately joined the team and signed up. Jay is an amazing individual, his terrific sense of humor came out at out of the blue times to make all of us laugh. Whether it is his Rick Flair impersonations while doing push ups and squats or his "cardio step" warm up routine for RKC prep on Saturday Mornings at 6am, to his 80's dance offs with David Whitley. He always kept us entertained. Jay is a diabetic and through his diet and exercise regimen you never would guess he suffers from the disease. The one thing that I love about Jay is the fire that burns inside of him. On Saturday morning of the RKC cert, he looked totally wrecked. He stated that he cramped up all day on Friday and was very tired and sore. But wouldn't you have known it, he pushed through with the heart of a lion. I looked over to him during the grad workout when I was running out of gas and looked into his eyes and saw that "fire" again. He was yelling and grunting his way to the finish line that was truly inspiring. This loving husband and father is truly a man among boys in my eyes.

David E.

David was the last to sign up for RKC. If I remember correctly, he began a long time ago doing some personal sessions with the Irontamer. On the day after everyone else signed up, David E. showed up to say hello to the Irontamer and they spoke about the RKC. The following day he signed up as well. David E. decided to enroll in the RKC certification as a birtday challenge to himself. At 40 years of age (although he looks under 30 and his work ethic and body look like that which most 20 year olds wish they could have) David E's progression and training was the most challenging. The rest of us were in top shape and have been training with kettlebells for some time. David E. pretty much began about 3 months out from scratch. He had to retrain himself into all the required kettlebell exercises that he would be trained on. David E. has a history of back problems and he had times when his back was too sore to train at all. But little by little, David's progression pushed along. His back stopped hurting cause he was using his glutes instead of his back extensors, then he reached 100 snatches in 5 minutes, then he just took off. By the week before we left for RKC, David E. was clean and pressing, snatching, snatching and doing get ups with a 32kg! I would have to admit that I was quite jealous on how strong he had become in such a short period of time.

At the RKC certification he took a leadership role with Team Cheng and flourished in that role. When I was finishing the workout and was running out of gas, I could hear David yell... "Come on SNOW!!! just like we do back home!!!!!!!!!!! Very glad to hear those words. I am very proud of his accomplishments and hope I look as good as he does when I turn 40.

So that is the IronTamer Clan in a nutshell. All are unique in their very own way. I have to say that the bond I have with them is unbreakable. I no longer call them friends, I call them family. I no longer shake their hands or high five, but I hug them each with a feeling of pride. I will never forget you guys and how you have motivated me.

Next blog I will talk about the influential people who helped us to become RKC's.

From Left: Kristen, David E., Myself, Nikki & Jay

Thursday, September 3, 2009

San Diego RKC After Action Report by Jordan Vezina

Nice article that Jordan Vezina, RKC wrote on his Average to Elite Blog. Jordan was a team assistant to Team Jones. The team that I participated on at RKC, San Diego .

If you ever find an article authored by him, please read it. He has a terrific way of painting a picture for you to help you with your kb technique.

Jordan also put up a nice video of the grad workout with me participating in it as well as some nice words. Thanks Jordan. Glad to be a member of such an elite group of wonderful and strong people.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

RKC Day 2

Hello everyone! Hope all is well wherever you may be. Nikki and I have made it through day two of RKC and are still holding up well. Hands a little tore up, pretty sore but all in all we are doing good.

Today we covered the clean, press, squat, & snatch all with wonderful workouts following the technique portions. Many terrific drills learned to help clean up clients technique as well. Had a wonderful RKC dinner tonight where we got to speak with top instructors like Geoff Neupert, Delaine Ross, Heidi Rothenburg, Dr. Mark Cheng and of course David Whitley.

Last day toMorrow where we primarily test out, we demonstrate our ability to instruct & we have the grad workout. Will update everyone on our results tomorrow.

Friday, August 28, 2009

RKC Day 1

Hello everyone! Just want to let you know that day 1 has come and gone. We woke up this am very nervous for the upcoming day ahead and of course the snatch test.

Good news is that Nikki and myself both nailed the snatch test. We were so excited and relieved at the same time!

The rest of the day we worked primarily on the swing and Turkish getup. We learned a ton of terrific drills to help make both movements better for our clients.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Heat Exhaustion and Student Athletes

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Nice piece done on the Today Show about the National Athletic Trainer's Associations policy on heat illness.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

RKC Update - 9 days and counting

Countdown = 9 days till we begin.
Doing pretty well this week. A little on edge due to one of the most important weekends in our lives if you ask me. You have to understand that I am the guy that gets sick to my stomach nervous before recreation softball games, after the first play or swing of the bat then I will be fine.

I feel that I will be on edge ( feel sorry for my wife Nikki) until after the 5 minute snatch test, then I should be in the zone to workout and learn & leave the nerves behind.

Training has gone fairly well. Saturday we did vo2 work with the snatch test for 17 minutes. Then practiced some teaching to some of the newer members of the bootcamp. On Sunday Nikki and I took the day off since we have been going non-stop for a few weeks now and were starting to feel it a bit. My neck and shoulders were pretty sore on Sunday (which means in my mind I was resorting to using my neck muscles instead of my lats and hips to do the work during the VO2 when I got tired). Been doing some trigger point work and shoulder stabilization exercises and that has helped alot.

Monday I did a workout of Turkish Get Up technique work, overhead walks, burpees and swings. Followed that with a good workout with David (another RKC hopeful) where we did double cleans, double presses, & double squat ladders 3x3 rungs. David is coming along so well and is peaking at the right time. Today he played around with my 32kg kettlebell and was able to perform getups, clean and press and snatches with it. I am almost jealous by how much he has improved in the past 3 weeks (ever since he reached 100 reps on his 5 min snatch test). Proud of you buddy!

The rest of the week I plan on doing Turkish Get Up practice with different weights to continue to improve on my technique along with some rolling exercises (I learned from Gray Cook which will greatly help your TGU in the first 2 and last 2 segments) and thoracic mobility. Also plan on doing some double kb work and some single kb work as well. Lastly one more 5 minute snatch this weekend to prep for the upcoming week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Real Women Aren't Magazine Covers or Manequins by The Female Fitness and Nutrition Scientist

Great post by Cassandra Forsythe.

Here is the episode.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

RKC Prep Update

Been a while since I have updated everyone on how Nikki and I are doing for our preparation for out Russian Kettlebell Instructor Certification in San Diego, CA on Aug 28-30th.

2 weeks from today we will be on a plane for the west coast. I have been a little on edge lately. Don't think I have been this nervous for anything in my life. State wrestling was one but I was too young and naive to understand the ramifications of what I was about to accomplish. First day of college football and my first day of working at a Division I football school was nerve racking as well. My wedding I was a giddy nervous, I couldn't wait to get married to the love of my life.

I guess when you are so committed to a system (that being the RKC) you really want to not only pass, but perform very well.

If you are interested in seeing what the instructor certification requirements are, click here.

Our instructor Dave Whitley gave us some very encouraging words, he said basically that he feels that we have prepared well and are ready. Anything we need to improve on or "clean up"with our technique should be cleaned up during the certification. All we need to do now for the next 2 weeks is to maintain what we have and don't do anything to jeopardize our performance (example: tearing up our hands, pulling a hamstring, and so forth)

That is all for right now. I will definitely try and blog once or twice down in San Diego depending what is going on and give you a recap after it is all over and done with. I would love to be able to announce in 3 weeks that you are now speaking with Mark Snow, RKC and Nikki Snow, RKC!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cinnamon Raisin Bars (Precision Nutrition)

Here is my new favorite POST WORKOUT protein bar from Precision Nutrition.

2 cups rolled oats
8 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1 cup raisins (be creative here!, we have used dried cherries and dried cranberries as well!)
1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp Olive oil or flax oil
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splenda or Stevia, to taste (about 1/2 cup or 10-15 packets)
(I also like to add a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the recipe but that is up to you.)

In a clean, dry blender, process 1 cup of rolled oats into flour (blend on medium for about 1 minute). Stir together the following ingredients in a large bowl: oat flour, remaining rolled oats (1 cup), raisins, protein powder, Splenda, cinnamon, salt. Stir the applesauce and vanilla extract together with eh dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use some elbow grease people!

Cut 8-10 squares of aluminum foil depending on how big you want the bars to be. Lightly coat the interior with an olive oil cooking spray. Spoon out an equal portion of the mixture into each foil square, and roll them into a bar shape. Fold them like tamales (takes practice, be patient! it is so worth it!) Fold them like tamales, folding the ends over to prevent spillage. You can flatten them into bar shapes if you want to avoid a tube shaped bar.

Bake the bars in the foil in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 16-20 min (I ALWAYS COOK FOR ONLY 16 MIN, ANY LONGER AND A GOOD CHANCE THEY WILL BE VERY DRY, I WILL TAKE GOOEY OVER DRY ANY DAY!)

If you want any further awesome recipes you can get it from the Gourmet Nutrition cookbook. Click the picture below to order if interested.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Making an Investment in Your Health, Part 2-NUTRITION

I can attest that I could workout 7 days a week, 2 hours a day and still have a belly on me. That is because that exercise is only half the battle. Proper nutrition is the other half to this equation to invest in your health.

Yes. I have stated in the past that "I wish I could eat healthier but I just can't afford it". Nowadays you can actually SAVE money by eating healthier. Bulk food chains like Walmart, CostCo and Sams Club are starting to carry healthier foods like Quinoa and Flax Seed. They also have a nice selection of fruits and vegetables, many which are organic.

I also would like to say that PREPARATION is probably the best thing you can do to help you to make proper choices. Some tips for you from what has worked best for me.

WE WOULD LIKE TO STATE THAT ALL OF THIS SEEMS LIKE IT IS A HUGE COMMITMENT OF TIME. But in all reality, if you get it done in one day or a 1-2 hour block for 2 days then you really don't have to worry about preparing meals each night for dinner/supper and for the following day for breakfast and lunch. The work is practically all done for you. You have more time at night to do other things. Again, remember you are making an investment in your health.

1. TAKE OUT THE TRASH. Get rid of all the crap around the house that will allow you to make a poor choice. If we have chocolate and marshmallows in the cabinet, then that will be one of the first things we grab when we are hungry instead of something healthy.

2. GO ON A SHOPPING SPREE!!! Nikki and I usually hit about 2-3 different grocery stores to get all the things we need. We usually spend 1-2 hours getting it all but it is very beneficial for us. For example: We start out at costo for our veggies, eggs, milk, cottage cheese, nuts, flax seed, quinoa, and turkey burger. (Best price for our buck and healthy as well). Next it is off to walmart or harris teeter to pick up any remaining veggies that we would like to have but not in bulk. Finally we head to whole foods for canned pumpkin and flatbread (actually their "365" generic brand is very good and cheap!), usually we tend to go on a sample Saturday so we can treat ourselves to some treats!

3. PREPARE YOU MEALS AHEAD OF TIME. Before we go shopping we try to think of what our schedules are like and what type of meals we would like to have for the week. Then make a list and stick to it. Then sometime during the weekend we prep all our meals ahead of time and put them in containers so that all we have to do is grab and go when we need to pack our lunches and dinners for the week. In all actuality it is a great opportunity for you to get some "family time" everyone can have an assignment or meal to work on. I enjoy that time I get with Nikki and we both feel very accomplished afterwards.


5. EARN YOUR CARBS. Try to avoid processed carbs as much as possible, the body has the hardest times breaking this stuff down. Now, Nikki and I don't always stick to this rule 100% but if we are planning to have waffles on Sunday morning for fun we earn them. We have a workout before we have a processed carb or heavy carb meal and always throw a veggie/fruit and a protein with it. The body will use those carbs to your advantage after a good workout.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Making an Investment in your Health, Part 1-Fitness

Everyone is concerned now a days (as they should) about money. Actually even more now than usual. We worry about this week, next paycheck and our future. We think of what is the proper way to invest in our futures for our dreams and retirement.

Did anyone ever think about making an investment in your and your families health? I have many patients/clients that I work with now who wish that they did just that. Made the proper investment in their health before it was too late. Before they became overweight from a poor diet and not exercising, before their bodies began to make compensations for this excess weight and poor movement, before their bodies began to break down structurally due to the excess stress on certain joints and not enough stress on the other joints. Now they are recovering from a total joint surgery and have a huge uphill battle to get themselves back to health. If you think about it, those people may have saved more earlier by not investing in their health, but now they have all these health problems and insurance bills to boot. They end up losing money! To make matters much worse they will never totally get back what they have lost. The damage has already been done. Their health may deteriorate due to not taking time and spending some money towards themselves and their health.

In all actuality many studies have shown that many of the cancers today can be PREVENTED by a proper diet and exercise. So I see all these people that have made changes because now they have to so they can try to lead a somewhat normal life.

MAKE A TRUE INVESTMENT that will totally give you the types of rewards you are looking for. This investment won't come back and haunt you if you make the investment wisely. This investment can bring you happiness, energy, strength and self esteem. Start making your investment now, you will thank yourself in the future.

Different types of investments you can make in your health


I highly recommend that you hire someone QUALIFIED to help you get into or keep you physically fit. I would recommend anyone who has a certification in the FMS (functional movement screen) or RKC/HKC (russian kettlebell certification) because not only do they know how to train movement correctly, but they emphasize form and function. Getting ripped while getting injured in the process is not an investment at all. You want to think on the long haul and be able to be in tip top shape when you get older, not end up in surgery or having chronic pain.
Experts can help us get the goals we want not only sooner but safer. I even have a trainer of my very own if that tells you anything. If I ever wanted to run a marathon, I would meet with a running coach. A triathalon? You guessed it. Swim to get in shape? Then you better bet I will meet with a swim coach to get the absolute most out of my body and my performance in whatever aspect I want to exercise.

Joining a gym is good just as long as there is a PLAN that comes with the gym membership. Walking around and picking out a machine here or there does not mean you are on the right track. For a few more bucks you can hire someone to have a PLAN for you.

If this particular investment is not in the cards then just MOVE MORE. Play with your kids for crying out loud. Put the playstation away and play flag football, tag, baseball, basketball, or just make up your own games. Try to incorporate body weight exercises, and running into your games. You will benefit, your kids will benefit and you will help to strengthen your bond with your children. Childhood obesity is crazy high and we are the ones to blame. We are the ones that teach habits to our youth about everything, including our health.

Don't have time to exercise? Really? Don't have 5 minutes? How much TV do you watch? If you spent those little tibits of time doing SOMETHING it could pay off. Here are some examples:

  • while you are waiting for the microwave or stove/oven to finish cooking your meals. Do push ups against the counter. Maybe even some squats or lunges in the kitchen?

  • commercial break during the game or favorite tv show? Perform a plank for time and see how long you can hold it with PERFECT form.

  • stressed out? Go for a walk with someone or by yourself. The exercise will help your stress immensly

Next time I will talk a bit more about investing in your health through your diet....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Terrific Weekend in Nashville

Nikki and I had a most incredible weekend. The weather was absolutely beautiful and I am happy to say that we took full advantage of it.

Saturday started of at 6am with our RKC prep workout with Kristen and Matt. Nikki was in charge of the workout this week and she had a terrific workout planned for us.

  • 5 min snatch test with RKC test weight

  • Clean and Press ladder of 5x3 with 2/2 clean and squats between ladders

  • Finished with alternating double swings (varied weights) and burpees 35 seconds on/20 seconds rest. 4 rounds of swings with 4 rounds of burpees in between

Terrific workout. Then I was off to shower and then to work. Not much going on today in the VOI so I got caught up on some paperwork, cleaned up the facility, spoke to the members and even got to wii bowl with one of the members for fun! (Thanks Deb!)

After work Nikki and I walked around Hillsboro village for a while to check out some things. Then went to Tabouleh for a wonderful Mediterranean lunch. I have never had Mediterranean before but it was wonderful! We finished off the afternoon with a movie (watched the proposal). Very funny and I enjoyed Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds (my favorite actor).

Sunday was supposed to be a moderate day for Rite of Passage with swings and presses but Nikki and I just weren't feeling it. We decided after breakfast that we needed to have some fit fun. So we went to the sand volleyball court and just played for an hour. Played pepper, played serve and receive, even set and spiked a bit. Got a great sweat and were pretty winded by the time we were done. We even challenged each other to 3 shoe getups each side as well as tried some farmers walks, rack walks and overhead walks with a light kettlebell in the sand. Very challenging.

Then off to Costco to pick up the majority of our groceries and then Whole foods for samples and some fruits and vegetables. Decided to get some poolside time in for an hour where Nikki read "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall and I listened to a StrengthCoach Podcast.

We finished the afternoon with cooking. We made oatmeal cherry protein bars (recipe coming soon), pumpkin pie protein bars, quinoa salad, turkey burgers, & quinoa pasta with vegetables and chicken meatballs. I am very much looking forward to enjoying my meals this week!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Self Limiting Exercise by Mark Cheng

Terrific post by Dr. Mark Cheng, RKC Team Leader and all around genius when it comes to improving movement patterns. He speaks his thoughts along with that of Gray Cook on functional development of our children to the vibram five fingers that everyone is so interested about.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Precision Nutrition System

Dr. John Berardi just recently went on a TV show in Canada to talk about different topics in diet and weight loss. Nikki and I both use his Precision Nutrition system and absolutely love his 2 cookbooks! Check out the whole interview by clicking the Title above.

Part 2 - On The Line With Christine Williams
How much protein should we eat, the body mass index, how to gauge progress, and more…

Part 3 - On The Line With Christine Williams
Advanced nutrition, healthy food/supplements, metabolism boosting foods, cravings, and more…

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Dane of Pain Visits Nashville

We are so very fortunate to be working with David Whitley, Senior RKC not only because he knows so much about Hardstyle methods and Kettlebell Training, but also because of all of the people he works with within the RKC community. They are a very tightly knit group.

This past week, David brought Kenneth Jay, Master RKC to our Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp since he was in town for an upcoming workshop in Atlanta. Kenneth showed us some amazing things including Z-health drills for improved mobility of the feet/ankles, knees, and spine. He also re-introduced us to the viking push press and we performed 10 rounds of 36 seconds of reps on each side. What a workout. We learned a lot about the Viking Push Press and how it is actually more of an explosive workout for the legs if done correctly. The trick is to let the bell come down fast and when your forearm makes contact with your body, then and only then do you absorb the force by bending your hips and knees to allow yourself to rebound the KB back to overhead.

The following morning during bootcamp, Kenneth was so gracious as to have Nikki and myself come with him and practice the fundamental RKC movements. The Swing, Get Up, Snatch, Clean, Press, & Squat. He provided us with some wonderful feedback on some things we can do to clean up our movements. It truly is a blessing to have David and his RKC's to work with. If you are interested in kettlebell training, find an RKC. If you are training for the RKC instructor course CONTACT an RKC and have them clean up your technique. It could be the difference between passing and failing.

If you are interested in learning more about Kenneth Jay. You can find him demonstrating exercises in the Return of the Kettlebell book and dvd with Pavel. Kenneth has also written his own book titled Viking Warrior Conditioning. Both are terrific reads!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Know Your Limitations

Everyone has something that they need to address when it comes to imbalances within their body. The important thing to know is that you have to except the fact that you have a limitation and that you address that limitation on a daily basis. Some days might take more time than others to workout those limitations, some days you might only work on cleaning up that limitation and nothing else.

This is fine, actually I believe that Brett Jones, Master RKC and Gray Cook, RKC would agree with me on the fact that if you don't improve on your limitations then you should not be working out. "If you don't have time to perform your prep work, then you don't have time to workout" (Brett Jones)

This means taking 5-15 minutes in the beginning of your workout and addressing this issue that you need to fix. For example, if you ever check out Brett Jones' Applied Strength blog (he posts his workouts on there) he ALWAYS has some type of prep work to address his limitations. Whether it be Z health work, ASLR work, brettzels, you name it he is working on addressing any limitations he may have before he even picks up a heavy kettlebell. This means not only a safer workout, but a more productive workout as well.

As for another example I will use myself. On the FMS my lowest score has been on the shoulder mobility test. Through time and the discovery of the RKC system I have improved on this imbalance. But, I continually must make an effort to address my thoracic and shoulder mobility to make sure that I am in balance before I workout or there is a good chance that I will fall back into my old patterns and return to a lower score on the shoulder mobility.

I have two very strong ladies in my Injury Prevention & Human Performance program who begin every workout that they perform addressing these limitations. One has a knee mobility issue from a previous injury/surgery and the other addresses her shoulder/thoracic mobility on a daily basis. They always make time to address these corrections first and foremost.

Not sure what your limitation is? Find a FMS specialist or a CK-FMS specialist and get screened, then let them work with your on addressing your limitations.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Core Values

Absolutely terrific video by the New York Times and Dr. Stuart McGill. Author of Low Back Disorders: Evidence-Based Prevention and Rehabilitation & Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance. You can check out the article here. Also check out Dr. McGill's website at

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Born to Run, A book by Christopher McDougall

You need to check out this book by Chris McDougall. Heard about it from Gray Cook on Amazing stuff. If you are a runner, you must watch this video and check out the book. It is only 15 dollars on amazon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bootcamp for Thursday June 18th

Nikki was in charge today as David watched. She did a terrific job!

Circuit: 45 on/15 off
Jumping lunges
T-push ups
Alternating rows

Then split into groups and did 5 round of the following. One person went right after the other:
20 swings
5 burpees
80 yard run down and back

Very tough workout!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Announcing: Pavel and Dragon Door's new, one-day, entry-level kettlebell instructor certification workshop

Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification™ (HKC™)

With Pavel Tsatsouline, RCK Chief Instructor, and Master RKCs Andrea Du Cane, Kenneth Jay, Brett Jones, and Mark Reifkind

Saturday, September 26, 2009
St. Paul, Minnesota

Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
The ability to competently perform the three key kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
A "simple and sinister" set of extra exercises that are easy to learn, easy to teach and a great bonus for both you and your clients
The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
The ability to write kettlebell training programs for athletes (GPP) and fitness clients in a private or class setting
And discover all this and more in the course of your HKC training:

Understand why mastery of the kettlebell swing is fundamental to high-level HardStyle practice
How to develop power through compensatory acceleration and overspeed eccentrics
How to train hip extension for back and knee health and athletic performance
How to employ bracing and neutral spine—for injury prevention, enhanced performance and optimal transmission of force
How to recruit the lat as a "core muscle" to improve the spine safety and glute strength
How to employ the plank as an effective assessment tool and a corrective drill
How to increase power with the biomechanical breathing match
A safe, effective modality for developing different types of endurance
Explosive training techniques for more effective fat-loss
The two-arm swing and corrective exercises
The concept of rooting and two key drills for developing it
The manual overspeed eccentric swing
The one-arm swing
The hand-to-hand swing
Russian relaxation exercises to enhance the acquisition of skilful movement

The two hundred year history of the get-up
The get-up as an assessment tool
The strength and health benefits of the get-up
How to correctly perform the get-up and teach corrective drills
How to move from mobility to stability, then from stability to strength—and why this progression is crucial for truly effective kettlebell work
The get-up, shoulder mobility and stability exercises. The role of the lat in shoulder stability and strength—and advanced lat facilitation techniques
How to employ and teach steering strength
The concepts of leakage and linkage—and their importance for effective kettlebell lifting

How to perform the goblet squat and corrective drills
"Strength stretching" for the hips
How to quickly teach professional technique in the barbell squat and deadlift with a special kettlebell exercise
How to overcome gluteal amnesia
How to most effectively stretch the hip flexors to dramatically improve athletic performance

Seven effective and easy-to-learn extra kettlebell exercises—to add variety and depth to your clients' kettlebell workouts

Understand the key components of general physical preparation versus special physical preparation
How to train athletes versus training the general population
Special considerations for training military and law enforcement personnel
Personal training versus class training
The essentials of effective kettlebell program design
As with the RKC, the HKC will be earned through diligent testing of each candidate. Besides having to pass the requisite pullup test at the outset of the workshop, each HKC candidate will be evaluated for technical proficiency at the end of the workshop and will then be granted either a pass or fail.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kids, Kettlebells, and Athletic Development by Jeff O'Connor

When training young athletes there is always a problem of “fitting it all in”. Most of the middle and high school (off season) programs in my area have weight room time and footwork/running/jumping time, usually on separate days. Most of the coaches in charge of these programs are well intentioned, but unfortunately have very little knowledge on teaching basic movement, strength and athletic development skills. Even those that do know what and how to teach still face the problem of limited time.

Something that I have consistently seen is that during high school a kid’s biomechanical indicators and injuries increase together. This tends to coincide
with a decrease in performance. It’s not necessarily something that happens 100%
of the time. But is an alarming trend I’ve observed. There is so much focus on 40
times, vertical leap, bench, etc. that testing has become a sport of its’ own. We spend too much time preparing to pass the test, and not enough learning the subject. It frustrates me to see the amount of concern there is on how much a kid squats rather than whether or not he or she can squat properly. Telling a kid to squat more and squat lower without teaching them how is like telling them to solve an algebra
problem before they’ve learned to add and subtract.

There is too much emphasis on weight and reps and not enough on mechanics. Too much time is spent teaching how to generate force without ever teaching how to absorb it. When do we see most injuries occur, when someone takes off running, or when they stop and change direction? How does a kid get better at their sport? Usually
they get better by playing it, not by sitting on the bench because of a preventable, non contact injury.

Now, I don’t want to give you the impression that the kids I train don’t
perform barbell lifts. They do, and they lift heavy and hard. But not just for the sake of lifting heavy and hard. It’s done as a part of their overall athletic development, not just because it’s a “weight day”.

So, how do we fit it all in? We probably can’t, but we can consistently try to work
on all aspects of athletic development. Strength is an important part, but it is not
everything. Ultimately, it’s coordination that will determine an athlete’s performance. From my own standpoint as a trainer the reason I have kids squat is to reduce injuries and play better. I’m far more concerned with that than actual poundage because in my experience the guy with the highest lifts is seldom the best player.

You may have seen this coming, but my answer to this problem is the kettlebell and the RKC hardstyle training method. Why, because it is quite simply the best teacher of body mechanics and the best tool for filling in the gaps left by most
strength and conditioning programs.

Also, the portability and diversity of the kettlebell make it perfect for
putting strength and athletic skills together in the same training

The question always comes up, “When do you start kids with kettlebells and where
do they fit into a program?” The answer is when the kid is ready and the right teacher is available. It is not when a kettlebell is handy. Keep in mind we’re talking about kids here. Whether it’s a second grader or a high school All-State player they are not elite athletes and cannot be trained as such. We have to keep their ability to focus consistently in mind. Semi-sumo deadlifts with a kettlebell are appropriate for almost any age. Bent press and snatches are not.
At this level we need to focus on the development of skills and preparation for
the next level of play. Obviously different ages, skill levels and what that next level of play may be will determine the direction and intensity of training.

Another answer to the “when” question is, “as soon as possible”. By this statement,
I don’t mean that swings are a good thing to start a 5 year old with. The reason I
want an athlete to train swings is that a properly performed, hardstyle swing will do
more for strength, endurance, and movement efficiency than almost everything
else put together. The Turkish get-up will handle most of the rest. Please take note
that a “properly performed hardstyle swing” is not the same as mindlessly letting
a kettlebell go back and forth between the legs. Don’t teach it if you don’t understand it. If you’re not an RKC or at least trained by one, you probably don’t. I didn’t, and I’d done thousands of what I thought were
swings before attending the RKC.

Athleticism is a combination of multiple skills, of which strength is one very
important component. The goal of this article is to help you integrate movement
(not sport) specific strength training into an athletic skill set sequence. It begins with seemingly different drills in a static setting that are gradually “layered” into a game speed training complex. Depending on the
age, physical and mental development of the athlete this progression could take five
sessions or five years. The sequence would be very much the same for a division 1
athlete as it would be for an eight year old. It just takes longer for the eight year old. The most important thing to remember when training kids is that they’re not just short adults. Developmentally two thirteen year olds can be light years apart. Let them advance at their pace not yours.

If you want to read the rest of this article with skills and movement drills go to:

If you are interested in learning more about using kettlebells in the Nashville, TN area, email David Whitley, Senior RKC at or visit To learn more about Kettlebell training in the Talala, Oklahoma area email Jeff O'Connor at

Reverse Psychology on the Body to Improve Movement by Dr. Mark Cheng

Dr. Cheng is a brillant man who understands movement extremely well. He uses Hardstyle methods along with kettlebells to rehabilitate is patients injuries. Terrific post!

Runners Knee by Eric Beard

Terrific post by Eric that reinforces everything I say about our runners now a days that injure their knees.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sports Specific Movement?

Nikki and I did a "core" talk for a Vanderbilt Athletic Trainers camp. The attendees were all high school kids and I was very much amazed by how much they already know about movement.

We spoke about what is the core, what it entails and the main function of the core. These kids all picked up very quickly. We spoke about the crunch and the plank and the difference between the two. We talked about how important it is to train, not only the front of the core, but the lateral sides as well as the backside.

At the end of the day alot of the questions were asked about, "I am in this sport" what should I do? It is pretty simple actually. The majority of sports all have the same fundamental movement patterns. EVERYONE should train the squat, the deadlift, the lunge, the push up, the pull up, some type of vertical press and some type of horizontal pull.

You should train what you are not good at and maintain the movements that you have already mastered. Simple as that.

Quest for RKC - Week 5 of 16

Hello everyone. This has been a very productive week for both Nikki and myself. We are still moving through the Enter the Kettlebell right of passage with our presses and even added double rack squats this week. We are currently on a plan of alternating single kb presses and double kb squats 1 week along with double kb presses and single kb squats the following week.

We were able to get in our turkish get ups twice this week as well as attend bootcamp 3 times this week.

Dave Whitley wants us to progress in our snatches to the point that when I show up to RKC I can do 200 repetitions in a 10 minute snatch test with a 24kg kettlebell (53 lbs) and to have Nikki to be able to to 230 snatches with a 16kg (35 lbs).

Our progression continued this Saturday to 200/230 snatches in 10 minutes. I performed 5 snatches on the L, then 5 on the R and then began again on the next minute. Nikki performed 6/6 on the minute. We went for 20 minutes total which got me to 200 and Nik to 240. We both felt very good following the workout and our hands felt pretty good.

Next week I will perform 6/6 and Nikki 7/7 on the minute until I get to 200 and Nikki gets to between 230 and 240.

What was absolutely amazing was that RIGHT AFTER THE WORKOUT Nikki decided she wanted to try to snatch a 24kg. And she did with really no trouble. She actually did 2 each side! I am such a proud husband to have such a sexy and strong wife!

Now Nikki and I are off to Vanderbilt to speak to a camp about "the core". We are going to teach the high school kids all about the "hardstyle" methods of the RKC and the plank and moving plank.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Who Trains with Kettlebells

Great video by the RKC about who trains for kettlebells. The next time you say "only athletes train with kettlebells" or "I am too young or too old for kettlebell training" or my favorite "I need to get in shape first before I train with kettlebells" Check this video out.

RKC Website

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Quest for RKC-Week 3 and 4 of 16

This past week has been a tough one to stay on track with the Memorial Holiday and all. Overall we are staying on track but hitting some mild speed bumps along the way.

Nikki is killing the snatch numbers but is still tearing up her hands a bit come the 8 minute mark of a 10 minute snatch test. I am still having trouble snatching cleanly on my left side. We both are continually trying to improve our clean and press. Dave Whitley was so gracious as to help us to work on our clean and press this past Memorial Day. Emphasis for us: keep the elbow tight to the body and remember, IT IS ALL ABOUT THE HIPS!

We made it to 3 bootcamps this past week which we were introduced to the rope mixed in with some kettlebell swings. We were able to work up to 3 ladders of 4 rungs each side with the clean and press as well.

All in all a good week, but we have some cleaning up to do. For me, I am going to concentrate on improving my grip strength and hip and shoulder mobility on the L side to help with my snatches.

All and all a good week 3.

Now here's week 4:

Nikki here. We did the 10 min snatch on Monday. I got to 208 with a 16kg which I was pretty excited about. We had bootcamp on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday we worked on the rope again, did some split squats, pushups, things of that nature. Wednesday nights class was pretty fun. We have a new guy in class and Dave was nice enough to let me try to teach him the TGU to gain some experience. I think I did okay and Dave and Mark helped me out and gave me some good feedback. After the TGU's, we did a 5 min snatch test. I had my hands taped up from Mondays snatch test and I kept the tape on...bad idea. I TORE up the side of my hand because it kept rubbing. You live and learn, right?! Haha...I know that I won't be able to tape for RKC but I think I'll be alright. I got to 129 and Mark got 119, so we are feeling pretty good about our snatch numbers. We are taking the weekend off since we've been going hard for quite some time and to give ourselves a little time to recover (and for my hand to heal up!). We'll get back on track come Monday. We did some FMS screening Saturday on ourselves, another RKC hopeful and her husband, a RKC. Next weekend we are doing a core presentation for some high school athletes, so that will be another good teaching experience for us.

We are experimenting with some new recipes from the Precision Nutrition cookbook and we'll get some of those posted up here pretty soon. Off to go eat some right now....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quest for RKC - Week 2 of 16

Hello everyone out there, hope that the week is treating you well. Nikki and I had a very productive week 2 on our 16 week quest for RKC San Diego. We made it to 3 kettlebell classes this past week. During class we worked on viking push presses, goblet squats, TGU's (Nik did a few rounds with a 20kg and Mark did the majority of his with a 12kg and 24kg at the same time), elevated split squats and some pushups, and of course TONS of swings!

With our at home workouts, we started our Rite of Passage Clean and Press ladders- 3 ladders of 3 rungs with for the heavy day and adjusted for the light and moderate days. Saturday we did a 5min snatch test--both of us hit our numbers. We also did 10 min of double swings (Nik with a 16kg, Mark with a 24kg), 20 sec work, 40 sec rest. We squeezed in a few more similar workouts during the week.

Below is Sunday's workout. We took the Tracy Reifkind , RKC workout and adjusted it some to use 2 kb's to get us prepared for RKC:)

The Double Kettlebell Circuit
(Nik did 2x12kg, Mark did 2x16kg)

Set one:

20 double swings
20 transfers w/1 kettlebell (DARCs)

Set two:

20 double swings
1 transfer 40 times

Set three:

15 double swings
15 transfers

Set Four:

One double swing, 1 double Clean, Press: 10 reps
then 10 transfers
Set Five:

One double swing, 1 double Clean, Press: 10 reps
then transfer10 times

Set Six:

One double swing, one double snatch, 10 reps
then 10 Transfers (DARCs)
Set Seven:

One double swing, one double snatch: 10 reps
Then 10 transfers (DARCs)

Below is Tracy's original workout:

The Kettlebell Circuit
(all done with 26# kb)

Set one:
20 swings left, Transfer 20 swings right
20 transfers (DARCs)

Set two:
10 swings left, Transfer
10 swings right
1 swing, one transfer, 40 times

Set three:

One swing, one transfer 30 times

Set Four:

One swing, Clean, Press: 10 reps per
arm then transfer to opposite arm

Set Five:

One swing, Clean, Press: one rep per
arm then transfer10 times
then 10 Transfers (DARCs)

Set Six:

One swing, one snatch, 10 reps per
arm then transfer to opposite arm
then 10 Transfers (DARCs)

Set Seven:

One swing, one snatch per arm then
transfer ten times
Then 10 transfers (DARCs)

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News