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 http://www.backfitpro.com/

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 www.kettlebellsecrets.com. 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 irontamerdave@hotmail.com or visit www.irontamer.com. To learn more about Kettlebell training in the Talala, Oklahoma area email Jeff O'Connor at jeffoconnor@totelcsi.com

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

Kettlebell Training in the Nashville News