Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kettlebells are amazing.

KBs, like barbells, absorb and retain the lifts that were done with them, I believe. These guys got a whole bunch of new energy yesterday . The new foam roller is hard as a rock and supposedly won't deform with hard use. We'll see :))

Revelations from yesterday
After watching a couple dozen, fairly well trained personal trainers, martial artists and other fitness people go through six hours of very basic kettlebell drills yesterday I am even more convinced of the incredible value this tool, and the RKC system of teaching the kb drills has to offer.
The five basic kettlebell drills; the swing( and its basic variations), the clean, the press, the snatch and the TGU are so inclusive of the entire body in even the simplist applications that the implications are mind boggling to me. The energy systems that can be so easily trained also create a "swiss army knife" of a training tool that is so beautiful in its minimalism and Zen simplicty that it still gets me pumped.

And after hearing a seriously well built SWAT officer trying to get his air back after a short practice set of TGU's with a 16 kg say" it doesnt look like it should be that hard". Exactly. That is the magic of the KB and the RKC methods of using it.

And the methods matter because there are many, many inefficient ways of using a kb;from a biomechanical standpoint as well as an energy standpoint.Knowing the appropriate corrections to fix a form fault as well as the most efficient progressions to increase strength, intensity and volume also matter. Especially for the average person who is most interesting in finding the fastest, safest and most efficient method of getting leaner( first on almost everybody's list),stronger, able to move more and have more energy for life and life's daily challenges. Which are considerable. Especially when you consider just how many people are literally not strong enough to stand up straight and oppose the force of gravity!

And that is just what poor posture is; the inability of a person to push back hard enough against the pull of gravity to find a neutral posture! Amazing. And people are worried about how big their arms are. Nothing I find creates this necessary extension strength better than kb ballistics, the swing clean and snatch.Nothing that burns more calories in an equal amount of time. Or builds lean mass ,cardio power and real world endurance all at the same time. It's so simple, but damn,it is NOT easy, as a whole bunch of people found out yesterday.

As they also found out that a swing is not just a swing. There are many, many,many parts and facets to a perfectly swung swing.And many nooks and crannies to explore without getting bored. As Steve Cotter just wrote about the other day "working in, not out".
This is also the RKC Deep Skill and " Practice not train" focus and ones that pay numerous dividends.
And for the athlete who is using kbs just as a means of improving their sport skill they soon realize just how much a little bit of KB work can go!

Another thing is the scalability of the KB swings.One is able to go as hard or as easy as they require for their specific goal. Since the basis of all training adaptations is overload the ability of one to apply force through a huge range of full body motion is very important. Once the biomechanical postitions are correct( hinging not squatting,etc) being able to accomodate leverage and apply force through the entire swing brings far more overload than just working the minimax point. Just like Louies Box squats with chains or bands ; one pushes with way more force than is necessary to get the job done.

" Push with 100% effort when you have 70% on the bar," Louie told me" and when there IS 100% load on the bar you will still push explosively. If you train too heavy all the time you get slow."
I have remembered these words as they are just as applicable to kb training. Maybe more so as kb swings dont crush the spine like heavy box squats and deads do.

Kettlebells rock.


Geoff Neupert said...

OUtstanding post, Rif.

This needs to be an article in and of itself.

Tom Furman said...

Keen observation about posture and applying Louie's work to KB concepts.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks Geoff I'm sure Pavel will get around to assigning it! LOL.

Tom,I have always seen the similarities between WSB and the RKC methods in regards to force production,i.e Hardstyle.

Getting my Sr. RKC KB tattoo designed as we speak and CAN'T WAIT to get it put on. It will be a beaut!

Franz Snideman said...

Nice post Rif!

Ditto to everything you said.

KB works done properly really changes the "internal software" as opposed to just the external hard drive (although it can seriously alter that too as your wife found out).

Brett said...

Here is a question for you. I am an average strength person who is pretty athletic, and have been lifting weights for a long time. What size kettlebells should I start out purchasing. Any other recommendations on equipment or books I would need to get started? Thanks!

Mark Reifkind said...

Brett I would start out with a 16 kg kb and Pavels Enter the Kettlbell dvd and book. Watch, read, practice repeat. many many times.

Pete Diaz, RKC said...

Very good read, Rif. Thanks once again for post.

Court Wing said...

Hi Rif-
Excellent observation about the KBs and BBs "retaining the lifts". My Sensei in Aikido often talked about training swords becoming infused with the "ki" of its owner. I would wonder about the "favorite" KB of someone like Pavel or Valery Fedorenko and what they "retain".

Mark Reifkind said...


I have always felt that way about my training equipment; I'm sure because of my study of the Samurai and their attachment to their swords.In Buddhism, everything is alive with it's own spirit and the bar, or the kb or the sword is no exception.

not sure how pavel or federenko would feel about this. russians may have a different mind set,lol.