Saturday, February 03, 2007

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.


Geoff Neupert said...


Pete Diaz, RKC said...


You are putting out some excellent reading. I am using some of your posts in my research for my MIDP project. When is your book coming out? I would love to use that in my bibliography. But, if not, I can refer this blog posting as a reference.

To quote Geoff,
"amen", brother.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks guys and Pete I wish I knew then I could tell Pavel!Feel free tto use these posts but for now that is all there is. Oh I have an article in this months Hardstyle on " The RKC as a stand alone method". Hope to see that soon.