Sunday, December 13, 2009

Where do I start?

ON the HKC Community Board someone wanted a discussion about this article which dismisses KB training as a trendy fad that will injure you. I need a good nights sleep and some coffee before taking it on but here goes. This is my answer on the board:

To begin with, if the author hasn't been trained in proper kb usage,i.e. RKC techniques, then he probably has no idea what real kb training is about.
WAAAY to many people think a KB is nothing more than a dumbell with a different handle and use it that way. from that perspective it's not that unique a tool....

He actually makes OUR case for using the kb with the statement "Therefore, we must choose the most "bang for your buck" movements".
Which we agree, it's just that the KB swing, Getup and Snatch are what we say ARE the biggest bang for the buck movements.This is not to say that athletes in competitive sports such as football or track don't need to train with barbells. If the sport requires a high degress of absolute strength then yes, barbell training is imperative.

The kb is STILL the second tool of choice, imo for the biggest bang for the buck.If we are speaking of noncompetitive persons then 99% have no need for barbell training when kbs exist.
Heavy high intensity squats will wreck more people then help them,beleive me, I know. and I LOVE the barbell squat.

And why does everyone think that High Performance is the Holy Grail of exercise and training when it doesn't relate(statistically) to most ANYBODY in the exercise world and to those that it does it matters for literally milliseconds in their training life?KB training is applicable to almost everybody( at least how WE teach it) AND will up High Performance as well.
Power to the People.
Not just the athlete.

The fact that the author compares barbell olympic lifts to kb CLEARLY shows he has NO understanding of proper kb technique.
He also states the KB training is a higher risk for shoulder injuries, another clue that he has no understanding of the state of the Art KB Training, i.e The RKC.
Nothing will jack your average athletes shoulders up faster than doing barbell snatches and jerks.Olympic lifting is a SERIOUS sport and needs very specific training which most athletes don't have the time or need for. Not to mention the incredibly high injury risk and rate.

As far as the"performance gap" between doing a 40 lb kb clean( ????) and a 220 lb barbell clean he shows again he doesnt know anything about kb training.The science of "acceleration forces" used in proper kb training( up to FOUR TIMES the stated weight on the bell for a Hardstyle snatch) negate this argument AND a 220 lb barbell clean is not that common, nor easy to teach.

My wife did 211 snatches in 10 minutes yesterday with a 16 kg bell. On the face value she lifted 7596 lbs in ten minutes, almost 800 lbs a minutes. Even if you only double the forces it gives you almost 1600 lbs lifted per minutes and almost 16,000 lbs in ten.
Triple the foces per rep and the number is crazy,22,788 lbs in ten minutes of work!
And the POWER produced is off the chart too.Can he reproduce that with a barbell?
Ah, no.
Do that with a 24 kg kb and do the math :))

At the RKC we have clearly shown, over and over, that our style of KB training makes you better,much better, at those basic movements he wants to improve ,like running and jumping , without even practicing the movements. Add in intelligent skill training to the mix and the "athlete" or regular person will soar.Let's not forget either, that the author owns a personal training studio with his own philosophy to sell. He's not just a 'scientist' with no subjective bias.

This is why the RKC method of KB training HAS to be more widely well known as way too many think of the junk training they see in magazines as proper KB training. This has to change and people need to know the truth about the power of proper kb training.It changes peoples lives everyday, both athlete and 'regular' person.
This guy needs to come to my studio and learn how to swing and snatch properly. Then he will 'get it'.
There ya go, caffieinated dissection over!


Tracy Reifkind said...

You're brilliant sweetie....that's why I married you! Or maybe that's why you married me. lol!

I wish I could remember a fraction of the training knowledge you've already forgotten.....

Mark Reifkind said...

you so sweet :))
I would rather be able to train like you can than know what I know.what a gift you have and what an athlete you are.

and as far as smart enough to snag you, yes, I plead guilty to that!

Roland said...

Mark, I agree with everything you wrote, but focusing on the power of the kb snatch is a mistake. That same power translation applies to the barbell snatch, as well. Maybe not the EXACT factor, but it's still going to pretty up there.

I think you're right that the bottom line is most people don't need max effort accelerated lifts, and kbs are the best bang for the buck. Strength and endurance in the range of everyday (and weekend!) life.

In a world of tight hips and poor flexibility, it's hard to find someone who can overhead squat properly, much less do a olympic snatch!

With the kb snatch, you learn to move realistic - but beavy - weights many times, vs just that one time with the oly snatch.

Mark Reifkind said...


the big difference is that with the kb snatch you not only produce the force on the ascent, you have to reduce the force on the descent as well as reverse the force on the next rep, of which you can do, as we see, hundreds of them quite a difference than in a barbell snatch.
also, as WSB genius coach Louie Simmons has shown with speed strength training, using sub maximal weights with maximal force efforts has HUGE carryovers to absoulte strength levels.
I didnt say people didnt need max acceleration efforts, just not with a barbell; they're easy for the average person to do with a kb. witness all the successes with Kenneths Viking warrior conditioning training (max vo2).
and while overhead flexibility is hard to come by it's amazing how many in the KB community have rectified that problem. the kb actually helps guide that position.
but I do agree that for most, strength and endurance to improve for activities of daily living rule the roost.
thanks for the comment!

Roland said...

Exactly. My shoulders are getting better, not worse.

I think I wasn't clear. I didn't mean to imply that you didn't think accelerated lifts aren't good, I said MAX EFFORT ones, like an Oly Snatch or Clean. Even a one handed max effort kb snatch is going to be A LOT lighter than Oly work. There are safer ways than Oly lifts for the general population to do accelerated lifts with heavier weights, whether it's with a sandbag, a dumbbell, or a kettlebell.

Again, I agree with the benefits that you are stating, I just don't think it's a good idea to compare them at all, because it give each other side too much ammo that's not really relevant. They are so different, that it's not worth clouding the waters with that discussion.

The other guy started it, but I say don't go there. Your benefits stand alone, and his drawbacks are not correct.

Mark Reifkind said...


yes, max effort attempts are for strength sepcialists like OL lifters and powerlifters.and of course a max effort with a kb is going to be tons lighter than with a bb but you can still hurt yourself,especially because of the higher forces due to accelerative forces :))
Well he did start the comparison but I don't agree that can't or shouldn't be compared; one needs to know the benefits and limits of each power tool and how best to use it for there own goals.

guy said...


That was a highly Intelligent, Lucid, Logical, Insightful response too the opinions of the aforementioned, rather Mal-adroit, author in question? Does anyone know his/her qaulifications?
Thank you ofr shooting holes in another cretinous fitness hack.Quite.
(Sorry, British film-festival on tv all week, ;)

Mark Reifkind said...


it's the excess energy I have because I havent been able to train hard this week,lol. I tried to be restrained but this stuff gets my goat.
He's an MD, don't you know they are all geniuses and are qualified to give advice on everything?

Jordan Vezina said...

Rif, don't you know he has to justify the 100k or so in equipment and space? It would be pretty sad if a couple guys in a studio with a handful of cannonballs with handles on them were getting similar results now wouldn't it?

Mark Reifkind said...



Mark Reifkind said...


"if a couple guys in a studio with a handful of cannonballs with handles on them were getting similar results now wouldn't it?"

Boris T. said...

Some good insight Mark. I would agree with the Article to the point that KB training has been over hyped as the holy grail or EVERYTHING fitness.

It is a fantastic tool for general conditioning and sport but it is only a tool. And the last time I checked a tool is only as useful as the person using it. So knowing your tools and technique is the key and the author lacks it as you've pointed out in the comparison of a BB and KB clean.

To the naked eye a clean is a clean, it completes the same function, moving a object (KB or BB) from the ground to shoulder (rack) position but what is missed is the way in which it is done. The mechanics of it a completely different and their purposes are different. BB Cleans are a Max Effort and KB Cleans are more endurance oriented.

Diana said...

All I can say is that I CAN NOT wait for the RKC!

Mark Reifkind said...


here is where I dont agree. I DON'T think kbs are overhyped as the end all of fitnes because I think, for the general population, they ARE the Holy Grail for what MOST people are looking for.
A quick, simple( but not easy :))
completely efficient, stand alone system for getting in the best muscular, cardiovascular and flexiblity wise ALL at the same time.
Hell, this will happen if one did nothing but SWINGS!!
Most people dont need hi performance systems. what most people need is a easy to do, at home 20 minute workout they can do 2-3 times a week that will
keep them strong, flexible,enduring as lean as possible in the safest way possible.that, to me, is not hype. it is, or should be, a revolution and I'm not ashamed to say it.

Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


Once again, you are spot on with your assessment that the kettlebell done correctly should be a revolution. If you want to be able to move well and easily, have a healthy heart and be lean what else comes close?

Train with purpose,