Sunday, May 06, 2007

The only thing harder than figuring it out

is remembering to do it. I've been wondering what sets my leg to getting quite so torqued when I overdo it( either with ballistics, walking or even too much standing- too much tension!).First thing that happens when my knee starts to hurt is that I shift over to my right leg and if I dont take the time to reset my base even when the knee lets up I am shifted onto my right leg. After I stretch I have to take the time to center myself by starting the balance on my left leg, then placing the right.

I have been doing some standing "meditation" if you will, of late, just standing as square as I can and trying to get as relaxed as possible in that position. I don't need a bosu,my frame gets me as wobbly as I need to be for balance training,lol.

But I have to base the stance off the center point of my left leg and then things unlock much more easily.And I have to remember to freakin do it,even after I feel square.


Tom Shook, RKC said...

Try being as relaxed as possible during your work sets. Too much tension is just wasted energy sometimes man. Only use what is needed to be stable and complete the effort. Who would use a sledge-hammer to drive in a roofing nail afterall?

Mark Reifkind said...

not sure what you are getting at tom. my left hamstring locks up from doing almost nothing or too much.I have to be as square as possible when I am walking more than anything.

I want as much force and power into the ground during each set that I can do.thats what gets me stronger and its worked great so far. By really pulling up the knee caps and rooting at the top of each rep I am getting more extension in the knee all the time.

Just have to do the correct remedial stuff right too.

I see your analogy differently. Its like I could jump up on a ten inch box and now I am jumping up to a 20 inch box, with a weight in my hand.
I am so used to doing as fast as possible reps in powerlifting that its a hard habit to break; if I wanted to which I dont! Thats where the power is man.

Tom Shook, RKC said...

Except that the box is still only 10 inches.

Mark Reifkind said...

no tom it's not. force is force. one thing I learned in powerlifting, if you apply 400 pounds of force to a 200 pound barbell regularly enough you can lift a 400 pound barbell. same thing with the kettlebell.

Kenneths force plate showed over 4 times the face value of the 24 kg kb when he was doing hs snatches.that is not a 10 inch box.

applying maximal ground force as one swings the bell( and yes squeezes his glutes) with submax weights will produce huge amounts of force through whatever ROM you take yourself through.

the swing or snatch done this way is NOT an end in itself but an exercise done to achieve a training effect,i.e the ability to apply more and greater amounts of force as one goes through full extension.

Tom Shook, RKC said...


It is a law of physiology that the greater the resistance (extrinsic) the greater the number of motor units recruited to meet the challenge and also there is an increase in the rate of firing of said motor units. In order to develop the motor units there must be sufficient resistance or there must be a rapid rate of force development (e.g. as in plyometrics) although the latter does not use all of the force capable of being generated due to the brevity of the action. Artificially tensing antagonistic muscles is no different than driving a car with one foot on the gas and one on the break.
Kenneths force plate experiment, while interesting, doesn't prove the veracity of maximal tension applied to a submaximal quick lift such as a snatch. I am not interested in the Hard style vs. GS debate, it is irrelevant in my book. Both sides will appempt to justify one method over another, although I am more inclined to think that technique is either optimal or not optimal. I certainly wouldn't throw a punch with intentional inefficient technique, unless that is what I was trying to perfect. Instead of attempting to disprove a training methodology by citing pseudoscientific theories, why not try it out for yourself and see if there is any merit?

Mark Reifkind said...


I am not artificially driving antagonisitic muscles, I am firing the agonists, the posterior chain muscles, as I stand up as fast as I can when I swing or snatch.
It's no different than doing a squat and using just enough force to oppose the weight on the bar or using compensatory acceleration to stand up as fast as I can when I squat.
that is how one INCREASES their ability in RFD.That can be increased with training and attempting to move weights faster will definitely help with this quality.
Powerlifters know this is how how get stronger with submaximal weights. I dont know why so many in KB world don't get this. Of course if you're swinging a 16 kg you can't put as much force THROUGH THE GROUND as you would with a 40 kg but you put as much force as feasible, for the weight and rep scheme used, on each rep. That is WSB methods as well as HS methods.

as far as optimal technique, how would you teach someone to bend over to pick something heavy up?

By bending at the waist,letting the lower back round,not shifting the load onto the hips, exhaling on the descent and not incorporating the entire posterior chain? I wouldnt think so.

So yes, I would agree with you that one should use optimal biomechanics when one is picking up or swinging a weight.We just disagree, it seems, as to what those optimal biomechanics are.

As far as trying these techniques I have experimented with them myself on numerous occasions( as far as my orthopedic limitations would allow). I never rely on just research and observations when forming opinions if I can.

Can I train that way? No, BECAUSE of the orthopedic problems this soft style produces in my back and shoulders. Does this mean I think its wrong? No. Just not for me or those who want the safest way to pick things up and swing.

and again,youmiss my point, which I thought was obvious; I am not trying to disprove GS for GS competitors or those interested in GS training.I just don't see it as the optimal baseline kb method for using the kb.

Of course I never said it was the WRONG way to use a kb and that RKC/HS was the ONLY way to do so,as the GS community says about RKC.

Mark Reifkind said...

also tom,

just where are these optimal gs techniques to be found others than VF's $2000. cert? One thing you can say about Pavel is that he gives away TONS of free info about his methods and techniques.
VF and GS doesnt even have a WEBSITE!?!
How complicated are these techniques that they are so hidden? I've seen nothing in print from the various trainling logs and discussions on other forums to think that these 'secret' techniques are that unique, other than the gripping variations.
Advice given is usually just to to timed sets, increased until one can do a full ten minutes and then go up in weight.Oh yeah, and follow the bells path.

Tom Shook, RKC said...


It wasn't my intention to degenerate into a GS vs. RKC comparison. You stated in your original post about using/ having too much tension. My opinion is that regardless of what exercise/ rep scheme/ sport one is employing, it is more important to find the most efficient and economical technique possible. Notice how I don't refer to "tricks" or whatever, just efficiency. This allows one to perform much closer to maximum capacity for a longer period of time, that's all. If we are speaking of the "general public" most people don't need one-repetition maximal strength as much as they need "rugged staying power" as Pavel called it in his original RKC book. If you use the SSST, rep circuits, manmakers, whatever, employing a smoother technique will always allow for better work capacity development can do more work.
When I was at the RKC I saw a lot of really shitty technique from people who eventually passed the course, I saw a lot of hands torn up and I was a bit disappointed actually that the standards weren't higher. I'm not the boss, so it is what it is...
My POINT is that even amongst RKC's there is a big discrepancy in technique, ability, overall knowledge and experience. Having said that, if someone, through trial and error-experience-whatever, develops things that work for him or her then who is to say it is inferior to another's methods? The best athletes all have subtle nuances to their skills, its called style. I have mine and you have yours. It was merely my intention to try and share a few insights with you.
Sadly, each time we discuss these issues you take a decidedly defensive posture and frankly it bewilders me. Everyone is entitled to his/ her respective opinion if you happen to disagree with me, no problem, I'm a big boy and I can handle it. I won't debate the whole Fedorenko issue with you, I never met the guy and I have no frame of reference save for some Youtube vids and a few things I have read. I wouldn't consider myself adept enough to comment on him or his style. Although I will go on record as saying that I did see, with my own eyes, just what the man accomplished-in reality- and it is impressive.
Either way, color me gone...!

Mark Reifkind said...


the tension I have in my left leg is from my knee injury and a calf and hamstring that are too short from a knee that does not full extend or flex. using the rkc methods of pulling up the knee caps and fully extending my leg during the swings/snatches actually is helpig straighten out the knee and reduce the tension.

since you dont want to discuss the details of the systems we will leave it at that except to say I never judge a system by the performance of one star.