Wednesday, February 28, 2007


53 lb kb x 3 foot swing=159 foot pounds
159 ft/lbs/2 seconds rep=79.5 ft/lbs per second

72lb kb x 3 foot swing=216 foot pounds
216 ft/lbs/3 seconds rep= 72 ft/lbs per second

I'm no physicist but I think those numbers are right. What I discovered when we were looking at trying to measure power and watt output of the kb swing and snatch 18 months ago was that many times the lighter bell gave power numbers that were higher than the heavier bell, because the heavier bell moved slower.
And doing multiple low rep sets, focusing on TRYING to keep the speed up( ala WSB) really activates some serious fast twitch fibers, especially as fatigue sets in.

Even if the number was even the heavier bell exposes one to more injuries.Moving a lighter bell faster can produce more force, and more power, than moving a heavier bell slower. The argument should be about whether the kb is as good of a power tool as it is a strength endurnace tool.
Those that say it is too light to be a power tool just dont understand the force velocity curve.The bell HAS to be light enough to be able to be expressed powerfully.No it is not the ultimate demonstration of power BUT it is a tool and group of special exercises that will allow one to become more powerful through it's use and the adaptation to it.

The swing's the thing.

Recovered nicely from Mondays DARCS and thats a good sign. I tolerated the exercise and the movement well , always nice. Plus I know I can use the two pood quite safely here and that will be fun. Probably even the Bulldog eventually for some low reps.

MY groove has stayed remarkably consistent these last workouts, also another good sign."Bout time.Not fighting against myself at all in the swing and it feels powerful.Solid rooting and downard force production the whole rep.

So many think that Hardstyle reps means pulling harder on the bell. It doesnt. It means continuing to apply as much downward force into the ground as possible as long as possible. Maintaining downward tension to continue projecting energyback up into the bell. If the bell moves too high and to fast get a heavier bell. I'm sure there is one that will slow almost everyone down.

One arm swings

44x10/10/5/5 x 8 sets 240 reps/ 10,560 lbs
44x10/10x3 sets 60 reps/2640 lbs
300 total reps/13,200 lbs

This is a great weight for me to keep moving fast the whole set.Just light enough to really accelerate but not much tension at all needed on the downswing.Really overspeed eccentric and I can pull it down really well also, once I fully warm up.

Snatch holds
26x30 sec x2
36x30 sec x2

these felt really good. havent done them in ages and I need to. Felt good to put my shoulder down into the socket again.

Rack walks with 36 lb
300 feet per arm = one set/600 feet
3 sets = 1800 feet

this is a pr, the furthest I have walked with this without putting the bell down. 300 feet then switch arms and another 300 feet. No problem. The weighted vest walks really helped already I can tell.

BW 161.4
BF 9.1% ( 1st time in nines in weeks)

Monday, February 26, 2007

For Chris; RIFGA post


here is the basic routine I am doing lately, from a Jan post. It is pretty much the same.


After the "unique" experiences with my back and then my neck in the last two weeks, two things have become abundantly clear to me:I have to treat RIFGA flexibility and ROM work as the primary focus of my training and kb training as the secondary.ANd I have to treat pressing the same way I now treat squatting. As a flexibility movement with enhanced ROM as the main goal and NOT as a strength skill to be progressed.

Like it or not I have to think more like a yogi and less like a powerlifter.The swing,however, will save my mind as there is nothing closer to how a good squat or deadlift feels in a light weight exercise than the swing and its variations.

Right after I posted Eds squat and was thinking just how much I missed squatting hard and heavy I read about my friend and APC Calif Chairman Bob Packers training accident and how he had torn BOTH quads squatting. Instant karma baby. I knew I had to keep going down the kb swing road which lets me work out hard but doesnt hurt me.

My squat position and depth have never been better because I do so much long duration sumo squat poses in the bottom position and my knee and ankle are steadily releasing.I think I need the same approach for my also damaged right shoulder.This has been a key factor in reducing the levels of pain as well and believe me, that is key now ;) Performance is another world away.And pain free function is performance.

The snatch is fine( as long as I do it right :)) but the presses make me tighter immediately and overdevelop tension in the pecs,front delt and teres major and the shoulder won't sit right. left side is fine but I dont want to overdevelop my strong side even more.I do need to go back to worn on overhead static holds but I need to swing the weight overhead, not press it.

Flexibility and JM /rehab has got to be the key focus for certain parts in order to maintain the correct length tension relationships. And mine are pretty freakin fragile!

1:30 pm
feel almost fully back to normal, neck has released almost 100% thank God.


63x20 x 4 rounds

240 reps/12,720 lbs!

This went very, very well. Found my form very quickly and the flow was great.Felt all hips and legs,not a bit of bicep or shoulder! Felt very strong with the 28 kg as well and that felt good. havent felt 'strong' in awhile.

Tactical Scapula pullups
8,7,6,5,6,7=39 reps

not a bad start.long pauses in the bottom to fully stretch out the shoulder.just about a half rep, no bicep kicking in at all.actually felt like I was following the same path as the stick press, in reverse. AS long as I dont get the biceps involved at the top this should open my shoulder up, not close it down.

Rack walks with Wt Vest
36 lbs + 25 lb weighted vest x200 ft per arm /200 foot per lap

6 laps 1200 total feet.

wow the vest made it much harder than I expected . excellent!Knee held up fine, just my wind and torso strength was tough.especially at the end of the w/o

BW 162
BF 8.7%
Water 60.5%

I keep thinking of Cheks order or training:

1) Flexibility
2) Stability
3) Strength
4) Endurance
5) Power

and to apply it to each bodypart;especially the injured ones.This is conjugate training at its best: continually working on the current necessary aspect of each quality all within the same cycle,instinctively waving the loads and recovery periods to slowly, but steadily ,move forwards.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

And 959 in THE MEET.

I was backstage at this 2001 meet working with my friend and protege Jeff Stanley in his first Nationals when Ed broke the 2400 barrier at 220. Ed missed his next attempt 972 on balance forward on his third or the total would have been higher. To say it was an amazing performance is to seriously understate the importance of it.

Ed pulled 903 on his second at this meet before pulling 925 to his knees so fast I almost missed it before he ran out of gas! 925!!! At 220!!!Had he gone 9 for 9 he would have totaled 2440.

Ed Coan. 685x5 Raw.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

FinnishCourage Corner.

great short video piece on kb lifting in Finland from Marko Suomi. Way cool.


Man I love to train. Didnt sleep for shit for the last three nights as my little two hand swing foray locked up my traps and neck something fierce, waking me up out of a sound sleep at 12 midnight each night. I wasnt pulling on the bells on the upswing but I was letting my shoulders shrug up on each rep as the force moved higher. So I really didnt think I could do anything this am but it quieted down nicely after 12 hours of almost constant bodywork,lol!

I wasnt worried as I knew it was muscular not vertebral but not sleeping really messes with me. I sleep for crap anyway and this was just insult to injury. This used to happen in bodybuilding or powerlifting when I did shrugs. My body just didnt like them at all and my neck would complain. So when it released and I knew I could train on time it was just like Christmas!


around the body passes 8 kg
around knee passes 8 kg
figure eights 8 kg - three circuits of 20 reps each

one arm swings 12 kg 16 kg 20 kg for sets of 10/10

Snatch /full pyramid ladders.
20 kg

160 reps 7040 lbs.

Very, very happy with the workout and the form considering I couldnt turn my head without turning my whole body yesterday,lol!

Bottoms up press
8kg x5
12 kgx3/3

Yes! this technique worked great,had no problem out of the bottom. I've done the 24 but it was rough, now I know I can get that and more

2 kb press
12 kg x5,6,7,8

Just playing with form. felt fine

One arm swings
24 kg x10/10x 5sets

100 reps/5300 pounds

these were easier than the snatches earlier! takes forever to warm me up.

Face pulls

4x8/8 with 12 kg

Pushdowns with rope
3x15( just for fun)

Friday, February 23, 2007

From 3- 25 snatches per arm

Back in 2002, before I even thought about becoming RKC I loved training the KB snatch and wanted to do 25/25 reps per arm as those were the Level 1 Razryad numbers necessary for 80 kg men with the 24 kg KB. I got those from Pavels Russian Kettlebell Challenge book.

I could do 8-10 snatches per arm pretty easily but didnt know how to increase it to the 25 level I needed.Luckily Coach Ethan Reeve was writing on dragon door about his density training programs and I put together a snatch cycle based on it that looked like this.
First, you doubled the total number of reps you needed to get in the test for the volume for the workout.I needed 50 so I had to do 100 reps per workout. I was to do low reps but high sets and slowly increase the reps and decrease the sets over time until I could do 4 sets of 15/15. That was supposed to equate to 1x25/25

So the cycle looked like this:

week one 16 sets of 3/3 ( 96 reps)

two 13 sets of 4/4 ( 104 reps)

three 10 sets of 5/5 ( 100 reps)

four 8 sets of 6/6 (96 reps)

five 7 sets of 7/7 (98 reps)

six 6 sets of 8/8 ( 96 reps)
seven 6 sets of 9/9( 108 reps)

eight 5 sets of 10/10 ( 100 reps)

nine 5 sets of 11/11( 110 reps)

ten 4 sets of 12/12 ( 96 reps)

eleven 4 sets of 13/13 (104 reps)

twelve 3 sets of 14/14( 84 reps)

thirteen 4 set sof 15/15 ( 120 reps)

fourteen 1 set of 25/25

Slow, boring and tedious but it brought me home right on the money! AS Pavel says, do you want strength or entertainment? Many liked to compress the rest periods but I didnt need to push that much. Just increaesing the volume worked wonders.Nice little natural wave loading built into the equation as well.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

My wife be buffed.

Yeah, kettlebells don't burn fat and build muscle, it's all hype. Tracy's transformation over the last two years has been mind boggling, to say the least. All she ever wanted, she used to say, is to have arms that made her look like she worked out.
Mission accomplished!

How to press the KB by Yoanna Snideman

This is a great little article on the most important factors in doing a strong RKC style KB press.

* Tips for learning how to press heavyTip # 1 - Learn how to deadlift. The secret for me in learning to press heavy was discovering how to press against the earth and generate force and tension from the ground up. If you do not know how to use the earth to your advantage, it is hard to lift or press anything heavy. The beauty of the deadlift is that it teaches you how to intergrate your body into one harmonious machine and it teaches you how to generate maximum tension. And of course those of you out there who have deadlifted heavy know what I mean. The amount of tension and focus you need to "GRIND" a heavy weight and pull it off the floor is amazing. That is why I say learn how to deadlift correctly and your press can do nothing BUT improve. Once I "got it" and figured out how to tension my body, the 24kg KB went up.

Tip # 2 - Make your clean powerful and crisp. The secret to a great press is a powerful and focused clean. If you clean the KB and allow it to land on a loose, soft and lazy structure, forget it partner. You are not going to press anything respectable. You must clean the weight by loading the hips first, then by "POPPING" the hips. From there you aggresively grip and wrap your hand around the bell and almost "PULL" it into your body. The second you complete the clean, IMMEDIATELY start the press. I think it is a big mistake to wait too long after the clean. Clean the KB and start the press. Don't let your body LEAK any power and tension.

Tip # 3 - Be aggressive and know that the weight will go up. You must see the weight going up in your mind's eye prior to lifting it. Press the weight is your mind several times, know you can get it, and own it. Remember that feeling. Half the battle is in your thoughts and mind. If you are lacking belief and confidence, forget it, you have already lost. You must be CONFIDENT, FOCUSED, and ON PURPOSE.

Tip # 4 - Don't give up on the press. Many people the second they feel struggle give up on their press. Don't do this. Any weight that is heavy will challenge you. Know that it will be a challenge. As soon as the KB starts slowing down or you hit a sticking point, that is where all the prior training of deadlifting and tensioning techniques come into play. If you have done your homework on the other tension exercises, your press will automatically improve.

Tip # 5 - Learn how to press from the lat. I highly recommend that all women (and men) who want to press a heavy KB learn how to do weighted pull ups. Much like how the deadlift teaches you how to "COMPRESS" your body, the pull up teaches you to engage the lats. The strongest pressers I have ever seen all have well developed lats and very strong pull ups. If you can learn how to press from the lat your press will get better, PERIOD!

Yoanna Snidemann

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Training for the RKC Snatch test

A great post on Dragon Door by Steve Friedes on the "Party line" for training for the RKC Snatch test.I followed this basic progression when I trained for mine and it worked perfectly. He outlines the progressions very clearly.

From: SteveFreides Subject: FitnessDate/Time 2007-02-21 10:34:04Remote IP:

I followed the Party Line and it worked out well for me. In brief:

Step 1: short sets, full recovery between, work on perfect technique.

Step 2: build up total training volume via lots of short sets w/ full recovery. Try to work up to 10 sets of 5L+5R.

Step 3: shorten the rest periods. 5L+5R every minute is a winner in my book - start with 5 minutes worth and work up to 15-20 minutes. 20:00 of 5+5 on the minute is 100 snatches per arm, 200 total reps, and you'll be in great condition as well.

Step 4: start training longer sets. I can almost guarantee you that if you can do 5+5 on the minute for 20 minutes, you'll be able to do 20-25 reps in a single set the first time you try it, and from there it's just a matter of training a few long sets a few times a week to build up to your required number.

Supplement with overhead holds, one-arm jerks, and swings. Just my opinion - this is what worked for me and I have seen it work for others as well, but your mileage may vary. Remember to back off periodically. -S-


Not a lot of sleep last night so it was a long workday.My LEFT levator,trap,rotator and rhomboids decided to wake me up at 1 am with a very sharp spasm. I knew what it was: my right side setting into 'place' pushed my left side out, LOL! :)) My tongue is only partially in my cheek.

didnt freak me out but it wasnt great sleep and I was almost gonna get up and back knobber it but thought better of it. Got a lot of it out at work.

Two Handed Swings, hollow style.

53x 10 /2120
x4 rounds

120 reps /7480 lbs

these went surpsingly well. Now just have to wait out the lowe back and things will be golden. Used my hollow chest style here and it's probably real ugly but boy does it swing smooth and powerfully. The bell is head high each rep.I am upward shrugging as I hip snap and it transfers the power into the bell very well.
My hips are high as well but thats my swing I guess. I can root well too.

KB curl and press( bottoms up- one curl per press)

this was very interesting as well. Can really feel these upward shrug/downard pull combo decompressiing the shoulders very well and mobilizing the scapulae better than ever. The bottom up position keeps the bell well in from of me for th first half of the press,with the forearms pretty perpendicular to the floor. Just like the stick press and that's how I think of it. Focus is mainly from the middle back on the ascent and descent of each rep!

Thumbs up lateral/shrug
green bands 5x12

more upward shrugging.felt good.

Rack walks with 36 lb
400 foot continuous feet equal 1 lap, 200 feet per arm

2000 feet.

very, very easy and relatively fast

bw 161.6
bf 8.9%
water 60.8%

Now to stretching for 20 minutes or so: hammies, calves, abs glutes.Get on the floor.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


1) It's all easy til it's Heavy.

2) If you're bored , it's not heavy enough.

3) If you seek your limits you will find them.

4) The next step off a peak is always down.

5) One should step down rather than fall off.

6) What you see depends on where you stand.

7) The higher you climb the farther you see.

8) Simple don't mean easy.

9) Avoid random acts of variety.

10) Start at your goal and work backwards.
11) The more injured people are, the better they listen.
12) It's a meal, not a party.

13) You train for sport, you dont do sport to train.

14) If you keep doing what you did you keep getting what you got.

Some stuff I'm always saying I wanted to get down in the same place.

Monday, February 19, 2007


Back and shoulder held fine from saturdays snatch day I am glad to report. the stick press/overhead shrug work fantastically for me. I get ALOT of clavicular adjustments which I knew I needed but didnt know how to elicit.

Clean and press( one kb)
20kg x1,2,3,4,5 x 2 rungs( one clean per press)

Used the same upward shrug on the press, with a strict shoulder retraction on the negative and it worked well. the right side fatigued much earlier than I expected although the shoulder/biceps tendon did not hurt.Was going to do more but I thought the double press would work even better so:

2 kb clean and press( one clean per press)
12kg x5x 2

(2)16kgx3x5 sets
really got my hands in close in the rack and over head.Felt strong with the best overhead ROM I have had yet. I think need to stick with these and NOT clean before each rep. Just press.

Bottoms up cleans
28 kgx3/3!! Yes these were easy too. Heaviest I have been in awhile.

Face pulls
Stick press/scap retractions

KB extensions on floor( one kb)
12kgx8/8x4 sets

these went well. man have my triceps gone to shit,lol!they used to be my strongest upper body muscles.Nice at least to feel them working again without killing my shoulder.

Rack walks
20 kgx 200 feet laps per arm
1600 total feet.

BW 162.2
BF 8.3%
Water 61.4

this is the heaviest I've been in awhile.all this muscle work, lol.


Sunday, February 18, 2007


Found this picture of what is called a Russian"competition girya" on the web. Looks very familiar to users of the DD bells, no? Chalked,well used and slighty rusty; this is how KBs should look imo, lol.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

This couldn't be more appropriate.

Got this Teddy Roosevelt quote from Alywn Cosgroves site.It's perfect considering what has happened of late.


“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt(Paris, April 23rd 1910)

Swinging rings.

Although it was the apparatus and event that ruined my gymnastics career,nothing else I have ever done athletically compares to the feeling of doing straight arm giants and shoots to handstands on the still rings. Talk about a feeling of mastery over the unstable and chaotic!

There is nothing still at all about the still rings unless you make it so. And that ain't even close to easy. And there is virtually nothing one can do on the rings unless you are very, very, very strong. Even the lowly muscleup and support engenders all kinds of respect in the fitness world. And for good reason; almost 99.9% of all people could not do one. Even if they tried. Hard. Really hard.

SO in my last year of gymnastics when I learned and was very consistent with straight arm giants and shoots( not even close to mastery though, that takes a long time in my book) I was ecstatic. And doing snatches today I was very much reminded of how my hands rotates around the bells handle so much like it does around the rings when doing giant swings and shoots.

In fact, the more I just think of the snatch as a swing to handstand the easier it is for me. The same upward shrugging I am doing when going overhead now is also my old gymnastics shoulder position. It definitely is NOT standard issue for most people, but most dont have my background or my injuries :))

I am very mindful of the fact that most of my recent gains in 'squaring off and getting plumb' have come since I realized I had to go back and regain the ability to get into the same positions I could as a gymnast. Especially the ones before I was injured the first time. The more I do that and the more ROM I get and the more I can move into the positions I could when I was in my developmental stages as an athlete the better I feel and the less pain I have.

It was what finally worked to get almost all my knee extension back and with that, my ability to walk again. It looks like it is also working for my shoulder.

9 am solo.
Swing complex warmup
two hand, one arm, darcs

10 minutes swing with 26,36

one arm swings


53x5/5x10 sets
100 reps 5300 #

I LIVE for days like today!! Decided to go by feel today and everything felt great! Found my groove early and just went with the flow. Even though each set, especially the first five, were filled with fear and trepidation as I didn't know which would go first, my back or my shoulder but hey, if I let that stuff get to me I would never train. It definitely helps you focus :))
Started feeling the straight arm shoot feeling early and just the punch through of my hand was more than enough to get the bell to turn perfectly.

Kept the bell in closer overhead and the shoulder up at the top.Good holds too. No problem. I also conciously got the bell turned over as early as possible on the descent and got it into the 'one arm swing' position right away. worked great.

One arm swings

104 reps/4576 #

204 reps /9576 total pounds.

two kb press
2 12 kg x 3,4,5,5,5

this was amazing that I could do it. It felt great.used mirror for alignment of arm and the scapula activated really well, although I did have to fight for it a bit.

36x8/8 x2

Crush press

Just playing with the press but the overhead position now is actually becoming theraeutic!

this bodes VERY well!

datsit, staying loose.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Waiting out the tension.

One of my favorite of Pavels book is Relax into Stretch as I could relate to the principles so much as a gymnast. I spent a lot of time stretching out each day before we started training. Much of that time was spent in passive static stretching as we worked on our splits,pikes, and straddle positions.
Waiting out the tension. The principle Pavel writes about probably being the least effective for Westerners as they can't relax enough to do it successfully. Well gymnasts are a strange breed. I remember watching TV each night with my family just sitting in straddle position on the floor trying to get that much more flexible.
Not so far into the stretch that I couldnt stay there, and not such an easy angle that I didnt feel a stretch.Just on that edge. And, every so often the tension would release and ,dloop,you would be a bit lower as the golgi tendon organ relaxed a bit more.
And it's a bit ironic that I've gone back to my beginnings once again using 'waiting out the tension' techniques to relax the muscles. Only this time it's not to get my splits or a tighter pike position in my flips. Its to keep the overly shortened, tonic muscles from living in spasm and getting shorter each day.
I selectively stretch only what is locked short and I think of it as "lets kill the stretch reflex" and it's been working great. I am more square and plumb than I have been in ages.
I've been on the floor a lot today as yesterdays little variety pack got me quite sore, lol! Its amazing what even the little bells can do to you.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The simple joys.

Thanks to Tom Furman and Fireman Tom Corrigan for finding this clip.

Back pain is unique. When your lower back says no everything else sits down and waits til central command says they can it again.You don't really notice how EVERYTHING is connected to the lower back until it spasms when you move anything.
Monday was alright, I was moving better but it still didnt feel 'right'. I did my light swing workout and it was alright during but locked up pretty tight Monday night. When sitting hurts and laying on your back is relieving you're at one level of forked up. When laying flat on you back hurts you are in trouble, and that's where I was Monday night.
The only position that didnt hurt was kneeling and now that I think about it that's pretty ironic. I was kneeling by my head praying ,although not conciously, that my back would go back into place and the spasms go away. All I wanted was the easy mobility I have been having for the last year or so, and while not taking it for granted at all, I was still not groking the exquisite joy that just not being in pain represents! Just being able to move and sit and bend and walk and lay without wincing your way through every millimeter.It's impossible to remember how pain feels, which, I guess what makes it bearable over the long haul. As soon as it's gone it's gone.

And it's gone. Tracy spent almost an hour working on my deep hip rotators and piriformis and it did the trick. I thought the pain was coming from my back but it was my glutes and external rotators that were locking up my back. ONce they released the back followed! Amazing.

I also "Sarno'ed" it quite a bit and looked deep into what was bothering me on any level and tried to let that go. I honestly think that was as much to do with the back unlocking as any bodywork I did. Lots of drama going on everywhere it seems and although I didnt think it was getting to me, obviously it did.
But Monday was great and I could move normally again; as if the incident never happened! Don't look a gift horse in the mouth,especially when they are taking knife out of your spine.

SO, decided to press swing and snatch a little. Get back on the horse.My overhead positon has changed greatly since the Hartman article and I wanted to try to press again. Enter the Kettlebell is such a great basic kb template that I would really like to be able to do more pressing.I was watching the humerus, elbow and kb postition in the video of the old Girevik and was playing with some ideas I had that I thought migh allow me to press.

Clean and press

these felt great. really concentrated on keeping the HUMERUS vertical in the rack position and letting the forearm come across my chest at an angle, like the catch position of the old girevik.I also shrugged UP as I press and was very suprised how much decompression it gave to my shoulder and let me press pain free! The bell ended up closer to my head than previously. A much better overhead position.
I pulled the shoulder back into the socket, as per Pavel's advice and as I do on the Hartman stick press/overhead shrug, before the negative. The negative was a mirror image of the positive rep; humerus vertical not forearm.
I have such a large carry angle that this makes sense.My elbows hyperextend a alot.

Swing Snatch

these went well too and I was nervous. Back was feeling absolutely normal. How strange.IN fact I am considerably LOOSER than normal. Course that could be cause I havent trained hard in a week :)) Focused on holding the overhead position and pulling the shoulder into the socket before the down swing.

One arm swings

two hand swings

I had a hunch about these too and they worked very well.

Stick press
face pulls

4 supersets

KB Bottoms up press( two hands, one bell)
26x5x3 sets

Kb triceps extension( on floor, one bell)

I have found my new favorite tricep exercise!These didnt hurt the shoulders at all. Reminds me of the rolling db extensions I used to do. The kb is great because there is constant but changing resisitance through the whole ROM

Rack Walks
36#x 400 foot laps( 200 each arm)x3 =1200 feet

these went easy.

bw 161.4
water 60.8%

Man I am SO happy to feel normal and be able to train again and so happy my press feel decent again.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Great instruction on the KB clean by Will WIlliams RKC

great teaching on the 'hard for many beginners to get' kb clean. Will is an excellent instructor and hardcore guy who I can't wait to work with in April at the cert. Always postive and always serious. Love it.

Starting over.

Rehab sucks. My back is much, much better but things are wound weird again and I have to start back over slowly. the combo of the bear crawls and the squat style swings did me in. I should remember to read my log more often, of course the better I feel the more I feel I can do anything, lol.Its a slow process at best.

How to make God Laugh: tell Him your plans.

Got the knee then the shoulder figured out then the back goes. Of course. But at least I know my ugly swing/snatch technique doesnt bother the back.

Swings and LOTS of Rifga
12 kg and 16 kg sets of one arm swings and transfers for 30 minutes. The longer the set went on the better everthing felt.Each set was about 30 plus reps.

Face pulls
Bottoms up kb press
stick presses

bw 161
bf 8.5%
water 61.2%

datsit.gotta get loose.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

KBs and Power production

I am getting so tired of reading that kbs are too light to develop "true power" and that once you can snatch a 32 kg bell you can't derive any more benefit from the kb. What a bunch of crap. What about doing sets and reps with the bell? What about doing multiple sets of 5-10 reps with a heavy bell and keeping the rest periods down and the bell speed up? Someone needs to attach a tendo unit to the bell and see how quickly the bell slows down( and with that, power procuction) once fatigue sets in.
I would be willing to bet real money that none of these people who are saying the bell is too light for Hardstyle force production can do ten plus sets of 5/5 with the bulldog and NOT lose any speed on the bell. Especially not with a short rest period.And if they are that studly that they can there is always the Beast. And if they can do that, then they are in such a small minority that it makes their argument meaningless.
If one uses max force on their swing or snatch( or jerks)with relatively low reps and keeps the rest periods short they will work their explosive strength, speed strength( or strength speed depending on how strong they are)rate of force production, starting strength and overall power endurance.Not a bad little workout.

30 minute walk

new pr,lol. Actually this is a big thing for me as it is the furthest continuous walk I have done in many many years. especially without pain.was no problem and I must be going faster than usual as I had to take some extra laps around the block to get the full 30. back feels much better although there is some lingering tightness in the abs.

dats it gotta stretch.

Biomechanical efficiency and force production

There seems to be some confusion over the difference between efficiency of a movement, biomechanically, and efficiency of effort, from a force production standpoint. Some are confusing using maximum force production in a movement and ‘inefficiency’ of technique. This is wrong. Saying that there is just one optimal way to lift something is almost true; each person will have their own individual, optimal mechanics to lift an object, dependent on their limb lengths, tendon insertions, muscle fiber type,etc. Each person will have their optimal position but that will differ from person to person. Within that ideal, individualized unique form there is also the issue of how much force one uses to complete the lift.

‘Dr Squat’, Fred Hatfield, used the term compensatory acceleration( CAT) to describe applying maximum force throughout the entire range to create more overload. Hatfield determined that by applying max force throughout the entire range of motion he could create more overload in one set of five reps that he normally got from 5 sets of 5!

And let’s not forget, no overload, no adaptation. The S.A.I.D principle implies overload. Of course overload for an endurance contest is NOT the same as overload for a strength contest. Louie Simmons took it a step further by attaching chains and or bands to the bars to deal with the inevitable de acceleration that takes place at the top a barbell movements ROM. With band or chains one can push all the way to the top of the movement and not have to slow the force production down.

Of course this is an advanced technique and one needs to know when and where to apply max force and still remain ‘in control’ as well as use ideal biomechanics. One does not preclude the other. Using compensatory acceleration is NOT the indiscriminate throwing of the weight around or being inefficient That is simply not what the technique is about. And using CAT is NOT being inefficient biomechanically, it is maximizing the biomechanics to learn how to produce the most force throughout the entire range of motion. Hatfield said the loads best suited for CAT training are 70-80% as once the loads go above 80% you will have to push maximally anyway to get the bar to move fast enough to make the lift(s). This was before chains and bands, and Louie uses less bar weight and more bands and chains to accommodate the resistance.

As far as kettlebells go lets look at the swing as an example. Think of the difference between swinging a bell for 100 continuous reps and doing 100 reps in 10 sets of 10. If you do 10 sets of 10 you can use a much heavier bell, swing the bell higher and harder on each rep as well as pulling the weight down to create more kinetic energy on the downswing producing more force one has to reduce and reverse. More work,more acceleration, more velocity and more force per rep equals more overload and a greater training effect. The result will be more strength, speed and power available for your use. Is that the way to train if your goal is 100 continuous reps? Not all the time as you must develop pace, aerobic capacities and be able to go the distance first. But it WILL make you stronger if one uses the HIIT methods at least some of the time.

You can't use the two pood for reps if you can't snatch it once.You must be strong enough so that the weight is submaximal.

If your goal is to squat or deadlift more ,or be stronger or faster in general, than the HIIT method will reap many more dividends than the high rep method. If your goal is strength endurance then doing 100 continuous reps will greatly help that but there is no way one can last for the entire set using the same force production you would do for just ten reps. Just can’t do it.

Attach some bands to the kb and do your swings as high as you can. This will give you a great feel for what max force production requires on the ascent as well as the descent. The good thing about the kb is that you don’t need the bands, just a heavier kb and a continued rooting to create as much force as possible on each rep. Keeping swinging higher each rep and if it is too easier there is always the Beast. If that is too easy do it one hand or attach some heavy bands. My guess is that it wont be too easy for almost anyone. Pavel wrote a great blog on the subject here:

I like using the swing as an example as the snatch is more of a competition skill rather than a training exercise. Increasing your force output and rate of force production in the swing will help your snatch when you go back to your comp form just as using the box squat will help your free squat when you go back to that form. There is also the issue of training exercises and techniques, in which one is trying to create an adaptive response via overload, and competition form, where one is trying to create the most efficient movement possible.

Lets looks at the squat as an example. In training one can use the box squat to increase the overload. The box squat makes the squat HARDER by breaking up the eccentric/concentric chain and allowing one to sit back further than would be possible without the box. Is the box squat less efficient than the stretch reflex competiton squat? Yes, but for a purpose. To overload the involved muscles and create more of an adaptation.When one takes out the box and allows the stretch reflex to occur, the squat is easier.

Same with the deadlift. By pulling off boxes one makes the stroke longer, the pull harder and the overload greater. When one goes back to pulling off the floor it seems the bar is at your waist and the pull very short! Does this mean one should use the same exact technique off the block as you do off the floor? Close but no. Louie advocates those pulling sumo NOT to use that form too regularly in training for overload as it is TOO EFFICIENT with little strength gains in the appropriate muscles. Of course this is just one approach but I have not seen the point argued against cogently. Many may not LIKE it but I have not seen the point negated.

If your goal is to do hundred of reps in a movement one absolutely has to train with the form you will use on the platform, but if your goal is more strength, more power, more explosiveness, more speed then training those qualities is a must. But just as a swimmer will do stroke work to maximize efficiency in the water there also must be sprint and speed work to actually gain strength and power. One should not confuse the one with the other. Another interesting article on compensatory acceleration:

Let’s remember, efficient biomechanics and maximum force production are NOT mutually exclusive.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A real world lesson in length/tension relationships.

Well, that was close.Got the 2 am ' wake up and realize your back is locking up' call this am and a good time was not had by all. Knee or shoulder pain I can deal with, and the pain of DOMS is nothing at all unless it pulls some of my bones out of position, but back pain FREAKS ME THE HELL OUT. Like nothing else. Sheer terror.

Cause once you've experience what having your back really go out feels like you know what you're in for and believe me it ain't even close to fun.You are basically paralyzed. EVERY move you try to makes KILLS and tells you ' naw, you can't do that, try something else.' And very soon you realize there is very little more to try.Cause if your back don't work, you don't work.Nothing does.

What really got me was that I didnt know why.I had done some new stuff on wednesday but it didnt hurt then, nor thursday or friday,which is normally the cut off day.That worried me more than the pain.If I don't know what caused it it could just be something that decided it had had enough and broke. That's a long term deal that I'm not in the mood for anymore.

My abs and obliques were SCREAMING tight and I couldnt extend my back at all. You could pass a mack truck under my hips in downward dog but I knew I had to loosen them up. I just didnt know what tightened them up as I NEVER do things that load my abs anymore as this is what happens.

My length/tension relationship between my erectors and abs is a very tenuous arrangement and I know that. If my abs get too tight they are still so much stronger than my erectors they pull me right into flexion and BAM Instant back pain. Herniations, the gift that keeps on giving.

Then I realized that I had done the bear crawls with an ipsilateral arm/leg movement and that had done it. My hips were in flexion, and the abs( which get worked TONS in bear crawls) although they didnt feel it, had gotten worked too hard.When I mimiced the movement I knew right away it was the cause.I dont know which was worse, the ipsilateral movement or the ab work. Didnt matter, I had a hi pull workout to do.

And I knew if could just mobilize my hips, and get my back to get into extension instead of the too taut flexion it was strained in, that it might normalize.
SO, lots of dowward dogs, back bends over the stability ball, overhead decompression hangs,foam roller work on the lumbars to regain some extension in my spine and hip opening squat drills. AN hour so later I was ready to swing a bit.

Transfers, hi pull, transfers.
16 kg x 20 darcs,5/5 pulls, 10 darcs

8 sets of these=320 reps/11,700 not a bad little workload for being tweaked.

High pulls
20kgx5/5/5/5x 5 sets
100 reps/4400 lbs.

420 reps
16,100 lbs

wow, the workload was very decent.

As usual it took me forever to warmup. My back was tight on the first few reps and kept getting looser as the set went on so I knew I was on the right track.

Face pulls/ Stick presses: 5 x15 /8

pushups/halos; sets of 12-15 pushups going from kneeling to 3 rep prone. halos 8kgx10/10

Since I am preparing to teach about length tension relationships at the June level 2 cert this was an apt lesson for me in how important they really are for joint health and how you can never really forget what is unique about YOUR body and what you need to do to keep it in balance.
Get too far out of balance and the universe smacks you hard. Luckily I am not having to be spanked twice lately. I listen and adjust as soon as possible.So, no more bear crawls for me. at least in the near future. I am learning not to count any exercise out; it's out for now, but as I m seeing everyday of late, things change.
The back feels almost normal right now and I am thankful I could put myself back into balance pretty quickly. The only thing harder than figuring out how to balance yourself is remembing to do it. All the time.

Hardstyle by Shawn Michaels

This is beautiful description of Hardstyle training by Shawn Michaels over at Dragon Door.

To each his own. Hardstyle is the way I want to train because From: Shawn M Subject: FitnessDate/Time 2007-02-09 17:24:53Remote IP:

economizing energy, finding the technique that requires the least effort and staying relaxed is something I like to do when I ride my bicycle, not when I try to dominate some chunks of iron.

I want to throw them through the roof and rip the handles off. When I am done I am ready to face the day as calm citizen. The satisfaction of giving 100% on a snatch with an 88 or 106 and feeling every muscle explode and having to pull the bell down because it is going so fast, that it Kettlebell for me.

Finding the zone and breathing through a long set while trying to "just make it" is not for me. When I tried that training, I did not look forward to training, and found myself turning off the speedmetal and putting on some techno music.

Ugh. Kettlebells are the antidote to the domesticated controlled, calm, conservative person.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Westside for beginners

Louie writes a great article for Dave Tate's site. The basic WSB template for beginning powerlifters. As always with Louie a great read full of incredible information.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Best KB Instructional DVD

Brett Jones's and Michael Castrogiovanni's KB Basics is the best instructional dvd on the market, imo.While Pavels RKC is the classic introduction into the world of the kettlebell challenge, Brett and Mikes tuturial on how to do and teach the basic RKC movements in RKC form is fantastic. I have relearned so many little things I hadn't thought of in many moons and got some great teaching ideas for new ways to break through some clients issues. As well as my own.
Mike's form is spot on and he shows exactly why strong is good.Lots and lots of speed and power in all the different moves ,as well as incredible flexibility and mobility . Brett has these progressions and the requisite corrections down to a science and it was great to listen to all the little tidbits I hadnt heard in so long.
Every angle as well as every possible mistake is demonstrated and for those of us visual learners it is a treat to see how to do something perfectly.Makes study so much easier.As usual the basics are the best way to mastery.Deep skill is the right method and going back to the start is always instructional.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Three days of pain.

Now that I am 'retired' from competition training has been harder for me than when I had a goal and a deadline to meet. I've been training for comps since I was 14 and having one foot on the gas and one on the break is SO much harder than going balls out.

Then I realized that I have FOUR certs to teach at this year and each one is three days of pain. Not only for the 'victims' but for me as I walk, stand, carry, lift,teach and move more in those three days than I usually do in two weeks. As my function has been steadily returning these last two years my ability to do more each week is exciting and today I realized I have to train for these certs as if I'm training for a competition.

Especially since I will be leading more 'smokers'and hopefully the graduation workout which has to be a killer!

My shoulder feels almost NORMAL now and, just like with my knee, it's amazing and scary at the same time. Didnt want to do anything at all with it this weekend except for enjoy the lack of pain.All this work unwinding myself is now really paying off and good things are happening every day.

My studying of Bretts KB basics DVD really paid off today as my form felt better than ever on the transfers and hip snap and bell height was the best it's been in ages.

Transfers( wave loading)

16kgx 20,24,26= 70 reps/2520
20kg x20,24,26=70 reps/3080
24kgx 20,24,26=70 reps/3710

total reps= 210
total pounds=9310

did these in circuit fashion. One set of 20 reps with 16, then the 20 then the 24 . then back to 24 reps with the 16 etc. form felt PERFECT. no shoulder pain at all but my legs and hips got smoked. good jump position.It's so good to feel good. So I can make myself hurt, lol.
Never said I wasn't twisted.

Bottoms up cleans
16 kg x5/5
24 kgx3/3x2 sets

these felt better than they have in ages. havent been able to do them with my shoulder and they were easy.

Bottoms up press( One kb two hands)
12 kgx8
20kgx5x3 sets

YES!!!!! these felt JUST like the stick presses on my shoulder mechanics and the shoulder felt better AFTER each set than it did before( just like with the stick press/shrug)So nice to be able to do a press that doesnt hurt!

Face pulls 5x15
Kneeling Pushups" 5x12-15 !!! no pain either.

Rack walks 20 kg
200 foot per arm
1200 feet total

Bear Crawls
16 kg x 100 feet( got to get these ready) knew these were going to be tough but forgot how much. more about getting the shoulder in the right position than anything.I will be able to do these though, have to put them in the mix.

BW 160.8
BF 8.2 %
Water 61.5%

this is the lowest it has stayed in ages.

Dats it, gotta stretch.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Power Swing

I was extremely happy that Saturdays hi pull workout left me with no negative side effects. Shoulders back and knees were very happy all weekend. More so than they have been in ages. Using the classic RKC swing form worked very, very, well for the hi pull but I was not so sure for the two hand swing.

Last weeks success with the two hand swing using my bend over style worked well and I've havent been able to use the arched back sit back style in the past without my abs getting overloaded and tweaking my back. Too much hamstring as well and that doesnt help my back either. So I was doubtful and ready to accept it if I had to use a different form for my hi pulls than my swings.

BUt it started good and got better. Of course I really won't know until the next 36 hours but the signs are good already. The swings were strong, my shoulder didnt impinge and the rep count was higher than normal with less exertion. Always a good sign.

I think before I was not breaking at my knees enough at the start and that seems to make all the difference.Like in the face the wall squat some push their knees out to get their glutes engaged at the 20 deg mark; I have to push them forwards as they go out no matter what I do.
This is a VERY strong position for me, with both quads AND hips engaged. The combined center of mass of me and the bell is more over my base than any other form and I feel like I can jump. Also always a good sign.

Now if my back behaves.Of course the more I arch the better my back feels Just SO not used to keeping my head up.

With Bretts comments about the 20 deg knee bend in the single leg deadlift as critical, Geoff Neuperts blogging about having to break at the knee first to get his hips into the squat got me to thinking as well. Chek said the same thing and it worked great for me in all squats; actually starting my squat with 20 deg knee bend. Of course the powerlifting judges wont let you do it.
But it gets me set up right, balanced over my base with legs and hips ready to go. Getting to this position from locked knees has always been damn near impossible for me.

Watching Tracy swing with her amazingly consistent perfect swing groove also made me pay attention. I'm making the same mistake with the swing that I did with my power squat: taking my legs OUT of the equation as I try to do it with ALL HIPS and lower back. BALANCE is the answer. Use my freaking legs. Head up, chest out, back arched and sit back.

And it sure felt strong.No problem on the right shoulder which has felt AMAZING the last three days. ALmost completely pain free! It's freaking me out wondering if its going to last but man it feels good. Feels like it is unimpinged. so weird. almost like my left knee which has stayed in place very well,especially if I put enough time in stretching it.

Two hand swing

53x15 60 reps/3180
63x12 48 reps/3024
72x10 40/2880
x 4 rounds

148 reps/9084 lbs

53x20x3 set
60 reps 3180

totals=198 reps
lbs= 12,264

barbell press/tactical pullups
25x5x5 3x5

started to feel the shoulder get weird in the pullups so I cut them short and did

face pulls

the press with the stick felt better than the bar. not sure this is a loading exercise yet. Have to really engage the scapular depressers on the negative rep and shrug up very high on the positive of the press to get the relief I want from it. the face pulls ROCK!

kneeling pushups
regular pushups
2x5 ( shoulder is fatiguing- cant do these every workout)

Rack walks
36lb kb x 300 feet per arm = one lap.600 feet per set
1600 feet total. this was strong and I havent done three laps per arm in a long time. good burn baby!

BW 161.8
BF 8.2 %
Water 61.5 % definitely hydrated.

gotta stretch,datsit.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Vladimir Kalinichencko IPF superheavyweight

Pavel responds.

This is a post that was on Dragon Door this morning.Now what are they going to say?

Pavel's answer to fraud claims
From: John Du Cane


There is a lot of gossip flying around based on a former Senior RKC's claims that Pavel is somehow a fraud. Pavel and I held off answering what amounted to baseless slander and libel, preferring that folk eventually realize for themselves that the libel was based simply on a blatant attempt at character assassination. Unfortunately, there are some types out there who are doing their best to stir up what we can consider at best an irritating non-issue. So for those who need to know here is Pavel's summary of his past history and qualifications that have been called into question.

Pavel's comments: I graduated from high school at 16 and was drafted into the special forces after two years of college in 1988. I served a little less than two years (Gorby's decree discharged the students) and went back to finish school. Bachelor's, not master's. The master is MS in GS. I made it in 1989, the same year I was appointed an NCO instructor. In the armed forces at large GS was classified as a "military applied sport", was contested only with 24kg KBs and the military only had the authority to award levels 1-3. Special units had in-house competitions with 32s, that's where I made my MS numbers in 1989. I gave Smolov full credit for his squat program. As I always do. Regarding the Senior RKCs leaving. If they choose to announce their reasons, it is their business. I have my own reasons and I treat them as RKC internal affairs

Rif comments:

it is also interesting to remember that GS has only been an official sport since 1985, so this " gs is the only thing the kb is designed for" is way off base. The kb was in use long, long before gs ( in it's original incarnation gs had a repetition press contest and allowed the bell to lower to the shoulder in the snatch as well as the jerks) and was making people stronger and more enduring before 'efficiency' techniques came into vogue.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Why Harder is better.

Training is supposed to be hard. Why? Because the only thing that causes an adaptive response in the muscles is an overload. A specific overload. The guiding principle of any program design has to first and foremost be the S.A.I.D principle or Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands.

Basically, you get what you train for. If you train the muscles to be explosive and produce as much force as possible for that is the adaptation you get.. If you train the muscles to be able to produce a force for a set period of time THAT is the result you get.Time( all things being equal) is the ultimate determinant of how much force can be produced as you can produce high levels of force but NOT for long periods. But whatever adaptation you are trying to elicit you have to create overload to advance the bodies past its current ability.

So the training is supposed to be hard to create that effect. Take the squat, for instance. If you do a proper power or Olympic style squat you get out of the bottom position because the stretch reflex from the muscles of the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps contract when they are maximally stretched in the bottom position. This stretch reflex MAKES THE SQUAT EASIER.

If you take away that reflex, say by sitting on a box and releasing the leg tension, then the force required to overcome the static position is much higher than if you had “bounced “ out of the hole. If you increase your strength off the box when you go back and USE the stretch reflex you will find your squat is much easier than before. Of course this is assuming one maintains the ability to do the stretch reflex squat correctly.

Same with the bench. Pausing at the bottom and getting it stronger will make touch and go benches that much easier when that form is re used.

WSB and Louie always say if you are a sumo deadlifter you should train conventional because sumo is so bio mechanically efficient that it limits your ability to get stronger. You’re always in a good position with good leverage. Doing them off the blocks makes the bar seem at your knees when you go back to starting off the floor.
Same with swings. By applying compensatory acceleration techniques and driving down into the ground as hard as possible as long as possible for each rep, more force can be produced which means more mass can be lifted and more overload can occur. This is what will make you stronger and as we all know, endurance is built in the crucible of strength.

Using optimal mechanical positions to recruit maximal muscles to produce maximum force is not being inefficient , it’s using leverage and tension to produce overload. Big difference than inefficient form that cannot produce much force.

And of course the form one uses to run 400 meters is going to be different than the form one uses to run a marathon, although the marathoner will certainly benefit from knowing the best form to run his fastest 400.

Be able to do pushups with 200 pounds on your back and bodyweight reps will seem like a toy. If you’re not able to do a pushup with anything more than bodyweight then don’t count on too high a rep count on test. Getting your pushup or press or swing stronger and your endurance as well as your ability to produce more force will be increased. So whether you are going long or going short, harder is always better because....

Stronger is always better.

High Pull Workout

Great, great, workout today and some very interesting observations and semi epiphanies. As I've explored the various potential techniques for both swings and snatches I've never questioned one thing: I was doing this to seek the best form to progress my snatches.

The snatch had replaced the squat as my holy grail and I would devote myself to getting the movement as strong and powerful and technically perfect as I could. Since I have been limited to doing assymetrical work in my quest to also heal my back, knees and shoulders it seemed the logical choice of movements. Plus is was the "Tsar of Kettelbell lifts" and one I was good at and enjoyed doing.

And yet my right shoulder did not like it, at least not in volume I have been doing. And all this discussion of GS Vs Hardstyle has made me really look at how I structure my training and why.And my technique. My very stiff legged, hinge from the hip style was the best way for me to generate enough momentum to get my long arms over my head with as much force as possible.Just like in my deadlift. Ugly but effective.

But then I asked, effective for what?When I demonstrate the swing,which I do for six hours each day,lol, it is the RKC style sitback chest up, knees out, hips back and hip snap in.And this is a great form for my swing BUT NOT MY SNATCH. And I have been designing my program around the snatch. But this is robbing me of using my best leverage positions( just like in the power squat) and getting the most muscle involvement.

SO, I am officially giving the snatch a rest for awhile as the cornerstone of the program and concentrating on building up strength and power in the two hand swing, one arm high pull and the transfer swings. The swing's the thing.Plus my shoulder is feeling GREAT these days and the more I barbell press the better it is feeling.I can feel the ability to get strong again happening. It is great. I think a major part of this corrective exercise cycle which has gone for seemingly forever, is over and I will be able to do much more of what I used to,and still want to do. But I have to respect the injuries and the limits and not get greedy.

If this pressing thing works the next up is deadlifts. But one thing at a time and replacing the snatch with the barbell press is what is right for me now, I think. As always, we'll see.

Two Hand KB deadlift

KB High Pulls


284 reps
15,052 lbs!!

this felt great! classic upright, hip dominant form( think Tracy) with good leg involvment as well. My shoulder felt PERFECT the whole time and I was really getting my arm against my leg solidly.


these also felt great with the classic form. Just like a classic power squat.That makes me like it even more. I have to forget about the snatch as my high volume day and when I go back to it treat it like a strength movement, done for lower reps and sets.

barbell press

tactical pullups
4 sets of 5

supersetted. MAN these felt solid. havent felt solid and square in my torso for a long time.

Kneeling pushups into full pushups


again, these felt solid and pain free.nice to work my triceps again!

Face pulls
these are a keeper.

12kg x 3 sets of 8/8

Band reverse curls
50 reps

What a great workout today. Very excited about this new direction in my training and at the prospect of pressing some decent weight overhead and swinging the 28 and 32 kg bells soon.

Does it work?

I've been training and coaching people for a long, long time. It's always been a natural thing for me to do,even when I was just a wee lad and just getting into gymnastics. I always wanted to help others and always had a great eye for motion and the mechanics of movement.
One of my first jobs was as a gymnastics coach and I loved it,although teaching 3-4 year olds how to do anything could be the toughest training assignment ever! You really know if you're made to coach if you can teach kids.

I've taught pro bodybuilders, powerlifters and general fitness people virtually every day for the last 30 years. One of my favorite things about owning a gym was that I could tell people the "truth" about what they needed to do to achieve their goals and not pull any punches.
You have to be a little more "diplomatic" when working with personal training clients;well, only if you want to keep them as clients,lol. And what is the "truth" about training? The truth about training is whether or not something works.

Since I've been personal training full time for the last 9 years it's become even more apparent as to what works for the average person and what doesn't. Since I am always interested in gaining new knowledge, and always have been( from whatever source it may come from) I was always on cutting edge of the state of the art. My clients benefitted from my interests in "functional" fitness, strength and compound movements instead of isolation training, pnf stretching and other"relatively new" modalities in the world of training, pre habilitation and rehab.Way before they became "popular".

They weren't necessarily new in the high performance world but they hadnt yet filtered down to the general population of trainees, who perhaps needed them even more than the elite athletes.So many trainers seem to be totally enamored with the performance side of the equation, and training competitive athletes, and while that is certainly more exciting on an everyday level it just doesnt work well on a business side. There are certainly TONS more potential clients who need real world functional fitness than clients who need a way to take a quarter second off their 40 yard dash time.

This became even more important to me when I hurt my back and lost so much of the daily functions and strength I had taken for granted.

Even when I was the hardest core powerlifter on the planet and virtually lived to squat, I never put a barbell on my clients back and had them power squat or deadlift; the risk benefit ratio just didnt make sense to me and I longed for a way to have them do the critical squat/deadlift patterns without the compressive loads on the spine that the barbell produced.

This is why I was so excited when I first read of the kettlebell and immediately got that this was the solution I had been waiting for. A center of mass weight that would work the critical primal patterns with very little compressive forces.Plus ,with the bells going up to 88 pounds there was plenty of room for progressions. Mind you, my clients are regular people from 40 -70 years old and have no designs on being "weightlifters". A little bit of strength and the proper techniques go a LONG way towards making their activities of daily living A LOT easier.

And this was before I knew of the therapeutic and rejuvinating powers of the kb swing! I just liked it as a dead weight with a great handle. Using dbs for these movements was just inefficient and irritating.

Once I learned to swing and saw first hand the incredible healing and strengthening capacity of the basic swings I knew I had found something not just different, not just revolutionary, but something that signalled a paradigm shift in the fitness world. Not just another exercise or combination of sets and reps but a new way of looking at exercise and how to use the body that could work for virtually everybody.

My clients experienced the same thing that I did and as their use of the kb increased so did many other things: strength, endurance, mobility,coordination, ability to focus. And many things decreased: body fat, back pain, resting heartrate, time spent in the gym and confusion over what to do and how to do it. A few simple movements, done in a variety of ways created the most incredible results and bizzarre and amazing carryovers. The 'What the Hell effect' is real and is demonstrated to me virtually everyday!

Teachers who work with clients on a regular basis know that the client, although they DO care that you are certified, don't really care what initials are after your name. What they do care about is your ability to get them results and NOT get them hurt. They really don't care how much you squat or deadlift or how many snatches you can do. They want to know if what you are having them do will get them leaner, stronger and better.And NOT mess them up. And NOT take all day to do it.

NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING I have tried ( and believe me when I say I have tried everything that has come down the fitness pike in the last three decades) has worked as well as the RKC methods of training. As a trainer I know it's not just about being able to do the skills yourself but how you teach them. My clients expect me to be a better athlete than them, that's not up for discussion. The key is can I get THEM to be better, not just show them how it's done with a big weight.

Can I show them the techniques and corrections and progressions that will allow them to get stronger and better without getting hurt? For this one needs a method, not just a philosophy. Louie Simmons speaks about this all the time in regards to his WSB Methods . His is not a philosophy, he says, that is just about ideas. His training is a METHOD which is about results. A system of what to do, how to do it and when to do it that gives the best results possible to the most people.

Louie also says his system is NOT necessarily for the Elite guys; he says that Elites will make progress on anything and he is right. His method is for the average guy or girl that needs to make progress and is stuck with conventional means. Louie, like Pavel, has taken what the best do naturally and reverse engineered it so that it can be applied by the masses. Meaning you and me.

Louie's system was inspired by the Russian Olympic lifting Dynamo Club's approach to training. He modified it and adapted it to the needs of the powerlifter, refining and evolving it as new information( read results) became apparent. The RKC as a method of fitness training is much like that; a scientific approach: a hypothesis, an experiment,a result and an adjustment. Repeat over and over till you get what you want.It doesnt stand still but it's basis is in science: mechanics,physics ,physiology and math.

But for the average client( and myself) what really counts is just this: Does it work? And I can say WITHOUT hesitation that it does. The fact that I am not in constant pain and can do more now than I ever thought I would again doesnt just speak to me IT YELLS AT ME EVERYDAY!
And for my wife its the same thing. ANd for my clients and the literally THOUSANDS of people around the world that have ALREADY benefited from this remarkable system there is no doubt as to its effectiveness and usefullness. They are proving it everyday to themselves,their friends and co-workers that are astounded at their progress.

The proof of the pudding IS in the eating and results speak for themselves. The RKC methods not only work, they work great and for virtually everyone. Hard to beat that.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rif the bodybuilder

Will on Dragon Door asked for some pictures of me as a bodybuilder, here are some from my last contest in 1987, The San Jose Open.