Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Magic of the Kettlebell

Lots of people like to say the kettlebell is just a tool. A weight with an interesting handle and there's nothing magic about it. I disagree, with a 'bullet'. If one uses it just for grinds this is probably true. But you can swing it, and clean it and do the "Tsar of the Kettlebell lifts" the snatch with it.

And they are different. They are magic. As I say everytime I give a "What is the RKC" talk at a cert, KB ballistics have a unique and transformative effect on one's body. It brought me back from the dead. It transformed my wife from an obese person into an uber athlete at a time in her life most people are going backwards FAST.

And it's doing the same to the guy in the above video, Glenn Fortrin who is about to celebrate his one year of kb training in August. Glenn started off a client of mine and is now a training partner,one of my best friends, student and daily inspiration.

Glenn could barely move a year ago; was in constant pain from innumerable injuries and surgeries from a life of sport, military and law enforcement work( his list makes mine look insignificant) and basically zero options to regain the strength and stamina he had all his life.

We started with foam rolling and myofascial release, stretching, mobility work and, of course, the most basic( and most important) ballistic of them all , the swing.He took to it like a duck to water and hasn't looked back since. His movement ability has so dramatically improved none of his friends can believe it. He is basically out of pain. His work capacity is so much better I can't believe it and his body composition is changing daily. And he's just getting started.

But this week was special as he pr'ed in his Snatch Vo2 training on Tuesday, matching me for 50 sets of snatches with only 15 seconds rest between. Today he snatched the 28 kg strongly for 5 sets of 5/5 and we had to hold him back from doing more. He has pressed the 36 kg for triples and done 5x5/5 with the 32kg.

He loves this as he can feel himself getting better and stronger everyday. He seeks it like man who's hair is on fire seeks water :)) And it's only been really six months because the first six was spend doing mainly rehab work.

One of his goals is the RKC snatch test and I have NO doubt he will do it.
He never misses training and is ALWAYS ready to put all he has that day into the workout. I can honestly say I've never had a better training partner and I have had more than few very serious partners. None has his heart. You rock my man:))

I also had a great day although I was beat up hard this week. This is truly the ass end of the cycle and there is no doubt now. I was strong but seriously tired and not recovering. Perfect timing to back off as I have the Primal Move cert next week and need to get on the ground more next week and prepare for this sure to be demanding weekend of new and unusual movement and loading.

The one day of rest seemed fine and I stretched and mobilized very well yesterday.

After my one arm swing warmup, this:

16 kg x 5/5 
         x 3/3
20 kg x 4/4
24 kg x 5/5
         x 6/6
         x 7/7
         x 8/8
         x 9/9
         x 10/10
90 reps
4770 lb

This went well and I took care to keep my left arm closer to my ear and this helped a lot of things, mainly my shoulder stability. It's so important to video your workouts and analyze them. You never know what you will find/learn and many times we start to do things in technique we are completely unaware of. Especially in these types of repetitive movements.Here's the last set:

Two hand swing
28 kg x10
32 kg x10
36 kg x10
40 kg x 10
32 kg x10
28 kg x10
24 kg x10

Nice workload! and it felt strong and powerful. back ( knock on wood) has been tolerating these no problem.

One arm shield casts
15 lb CB x 10/10 x 3 sets

Definitely need to keep one arm arm and shield casts in this mix. It really brings out the weakpoints in the arms and shoulder complexes. Much better by the last set than the first on the left arm.



Diana said...

Congratulations to Glenn! I've never been so excited, still, after 4 years now about such a great tool for fitness.
Congratulations to you as well Mark! Job well done-makes me wish I lived in the CA area.....

jockeRKC said...

The Kettlebell my be magic but people like you are like Merlin showing us the magic =)

Sisu to you my friend

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks Diana, Glenn has made amazing progress is a relatively short period of time. I don't know if you could take the harsh winters of Nor Cal though :))

Mark Reifkind said...


Nice thing to say my friend.

Sisu to you as well!Hope to see you somewhere in person next year.

Boris Terzic said...

Glenn is indeed a inspiration. I hope all is well.

Mark Reifkind said...

Boris my friend. Good to hear from you!He is indeed an inspiration, and I haven't told Half the story!And it's only the start for him.

enjoy your new board!

Mike C said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike C said...

That is COOL STUFF Glenn and Mark Rif!

There is some magic going on in that garage for sure.

I predict Glenn blows past RKC Snatch Test and hits the SSST!!

I also finally bought a copy of Tracy's book. It's excellent :] and I will post are review on Amazon when I get through it.