Ask rather what can Hardstyle Kettlebell Training do for you.
The kettlebell is simply a noun. No more than a weight with a handle on it. Alone does nothing for you, aside from being an ugly and intrusive house decoration.
Proper kettlebell training for you however, can do a lot. It is not the kettlebell that will make you strong and resilient, but rather the application. Why do I bring this up? Because, as unfortunate as it is, kettlebell training has become somewhat gimmicky. No surprise really, as there is much money to be made with such a versatile implement. The downside being is that there are plenty of morons out there making money off of it who really shouldn't be.
Often, I have had people come into my kettlebell classes telling me that they had worked with kettlebells before, but it hurt their back, their shoulder, and someone even told me that after workign with kettlebells that they experienced pelvic discomfort(huh?) I tell them this...
It was not the kettlebell that hurt your back. And it was not the kettlebell that hurt your shoulder. It was how you used it that hurt you...or in that one person's case, caused them pelvic discomfort(still haven't figured that one out). Or it was how your instructor taught you to use it that hurt you.
I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a highly qualified, preferably RKC instructor when and if you decide to start training with kettlebells seriously. I was blessed enough to be able to train with two RKC's when I started training with bells. The amount of agony this saved me I can't imagine, but am eternally grateful for the opportunity and the position I was in at that time.
Steve Maze RKC and I conducted a kettlebell workshop at Dragon Gym today, which went extremely well. Great group of hard working people came out, and were very eager to learn. Here are some clips!
In the video above, you hear me discuss briefly about how kettlebell training aids in teaching an athlete how to produce force, redirect force, and reduce force. Such a skill is crucial for all athletes to master in order to maximize performance and reduce the risk of injury. I clarify my claims in the video below, with a demo of the double kettlebell snatch, one of my favorite power movements.
Energy levels have been through the roof the past couple of days, and I think I know why.
I've recently been experimenting with a couple of unorthodox methods of recovery and hormonal optimization (natural of course)!
But I will wait to share more details on that soon, once I have reached a more concrete conclusion.
As for training, I am still on somewhat of a back off week. Easy Strength routines for the most part, but still getting a good amount of conditioning from working in with my bell classes and from my martial arts practice.
A little variety in my training today. A vicious snow storm ate my car last night, so I walked over to the campus studio to perform some timed sets of long cycle.
As far as strength endurance and power movements go, you really can't beat the long cycle clean and jerk. It is truly an exhausting movement, but will quickly teach any athlete how to manage fatigue, maintain poise under pressure, and continue to move with power while under large amounts of stress.
Here is a video log. Enjoy!
TANSTAAFL ( tan-staff-uhl)
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Remember that acronym, as it is applicable to all aspects of life.
Training hard takes a toll on your body. And, if you want to get mutantly strong and superiorly conditioned, then you have to work for it, but you also have to accommodate for the cumulative stress and fatigue that comes along with that.
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
Work hard. Rest hard. And eat hearty.
Som and I are tapering off this week, and drastically rolling back our volume, density, and intensity, in order to allow our bodies to recover a bit before our next cycle.
We are again returning to the easy strength program, for the sake of keeping our movements properly greased.
The easy strength routine works deceptively well. I have to admit, I was a little perplexed and quite curious when I got done with my first easy strength workout. I had to do a double take when I gazed at the clock, trying to figure how my workout only took fifteen minutes. I then went to wipe the sweat from my forehead, only to realize there was none.
How on earth could a fifteen minute workout, where I don't even break a sweat, make me stronger?
Well it did...and here's why:
Strength is largely about neurological efficiency in regards to certain movements, not necessarily morphological adaptations. What that means, is that strength is more about practice, and less about putting on muscle mass. Yes, you can get strong without getting big. And you should!
What easy strength allows you to do, is to practice a couple multi-joint, compound movements everyday, without running the risk of overtraining, since the volume is tactically spread out evenly over the week, and the density per day is so low. The intensity fluctuates from day to day as well, often inversely of the density.
Now I would not recommend this as an end all be all program. But for most in season athletes, this is perfect. It is also effective to use for a back off period, as it allows you to effectively recover while still promoting strength gains.
For our easy strength routine, we selected the following movements to practice throughout the week.
Leg Raises/Ab Roller
You may also wish to add in a ballistic movement as well, such as jerks or snatches, but we opted out of that, as we will still be getting most of our conditioning from our martial arts training.
Here is a video log of our easy strength workout from Monday. Enjoy!
Nearing the end of our current cycle. Thanks to all of those that have been following along and taking advantage of these workouts! I am looking forward to the next cycle, which will begin after a week of tapering off. Over the next couple of weeks we will up both the volume and density, and will be conducting some benchmark testing in regards to how our training is truly translating over to our sports specific performance. Since our sport is essentially hitting stuff, what better a way to take a bench mark then to use a force meter. We plan on using a force meter to find out just how hard we are hitting (basic kicks and punches) before our next cycle, and will again perform the same tests after to see how we have progressed. Should be interesting, so stay tuned!
I'm leaving this one up for everyone to discuss. It is simply a matter of preference/body structure, but would love to hear some opinions other than my own.
Which style of set up do you prefer for dead lifting? Low Hips as I demonstrate in the video, or high hips as Som demonstrates? Where do you feel strongest? And why?
In case your not a fan, that's the title of an obscure Radiohead song, that just happened to be the first song that shuffled on today. Ironic, but appropriate, as these past couple months have been more productive indeed.
With so much going on at one time, it is often hard to find a balanced life. As we are all well aware, there are only 24 hours in a day ( 8 - 10) of which I spend sleeping...usually. So that leaves me with about 12 hours everyday to allocate between work, school, play, relationships, etc.
In order to be the most productive that you possibly can, you must develop a balanced lifestyle. Time management and time allocation are critical to success, happiness, and over all well being. Remember: how you invest your time, is how you invest your life. So invest wisely.
In accounting, we learn to develop flexible budgets in order to help allocate and predict costs. Flexible, rather than static, takes into account that things can change, often unexpectedly.
This concept of a flexible budget, can be applied to all aspects of your life, especially time management. Everyday, I have a flexible budget, which loosely outlines where I plan spend my time. This flexible time budget of mine is far from static, as life is constantly throwing me curve balls. So what good is a budget if you don't stick to it? Well, lot's actually.
The first benefit is predictability. While not certain, I can fairly accurately predict what I will be doing and when throughout the day because of this flex budget. While there may be slight deviations, the predictions are more often than not reliable.
The second benefit is comparison. At the end of the day, I can look back and analyze just how closely I stayed on track, or how far I veered off. I can then attempt analyze what went wrong, and decide what I could have done better and/or what could not have been avoided. Everyday is a learning experience, and having a flexible budget of time management, helps you to organize and analyze the your daily unpredictabilities and inefficiencies. The goal is to constantly create a more accurate budget. Your budget will never be perfect, as this is impossible, life is far too uncertain for that. But over time, you will realize that you can get quite proficient at allocating your time and accommodating for unexpected lifestyle fluctuations.
The third benefit is the true benefit of proper time allocation and having a flexible budget. The benefit is freedom.
I realize it sounds a bit paradoxical. How does living a "budgeted" life grant you freedom?
Take the following into consideration...
How much freedom do you feel you have when you feel constantly stressed and anxious?
How much freedom do you feel you have when you are constantly trying to meet a deadline and constantly crunched for time?
Stress and anxiety are a contradiction of freedom. You can not live truly free and truly happy under stress and anxiety.
The flexible budget is not there to dictate your life, only to help organize it and eliminate as much unnecessary stress as possible, so that you can focus more on the things that matter most to you. Freedom from stress. Freedom from anxiety. A good, flexible budget can promote both if done properly. Allocate your time wisely. Wasted time, is wasted life.
Now, a few more updates.
I just finished the bent press section of my next ebook, which I will post a snibbet of soon for all of you to sample.
Training with my good friend Som Sikdar RKC has been going incredibly well. We upped the volume a bit this week, but kept the density low. Strength increases are becoming quite noticeable, and I am very pleased with the progress we have been making.
Here a video of two of our training days
Friday was a relatively heavy day consisting almost exclusively of unilateral movements. A unilateral movement is when one limb works independently of another to move a weight. For example, a barbell bench press is a bilateral movement, because both of your limbs are moving the same weight. However, a double military press with two kettlebells is actually unilateral, because each limb is moving a weight independently of the other, regardelss of the fact that they are both working simultaneously.
Many people neglect the benefits of unilateral training, or perhaps they neglect to realize the inherent risks of only training bilateral movements. With bilateral movements, your dominant side will naturally bear more of the load. Overtime, this can lead to imbalances and weaknesses. Unilateral movements help correct these imbalances and weaknesses. A good program should include both plenty of bilateral and unilateral movements.
Enjoy, and give this one a shot!
The deadlift is hands down one of the, if not the ultimate, strength building and functional movements out there. It always has been, and always will be. Something feels right about being able to heave a heavy load off the floor. If you aren't deadlifting, then you aren't as strong as you could be. Enjoy!
There are a million and one ways to cook the turkish get up. I've shown you the pressing variation already; which is unique for working different pressing angles, many of which are from disadvantageous positions.
The barbell turkish get up is yet another challenging, but worthwhile variation to practice. The awkwardness of supporting the barbell with one hand overhead in this movement forces you to elegantly balance it and maintain proper alignment throughout the movement. If you do not maintain the proper alignment, the barbell will begin to topple or rotate like a helicopter blade. Take your time with the barbell turkish get up; as this variation is for more than just overloading the get up with additional weight.
And here is your workout of the day:
Warm Up:5 minutes of get ups(how bout barbell get ups!) and 5 minutes joint mobility
Double Clean and Press - 10 sets of 5 reps - 60-70% Intensity
Front Squats - 5 x 5 - 60-70 % Intensity
Incline Bench Press - 5 x 5 - 60-70% Intensity
Weighted Pull Ups - 5 x 5 - 60 - 70% Intensity
Deadlifts - 10 x 5 - 40% Intensity
Complex: start with two reps of each movement, and add two reps every cycle, working your way up to 8 reps per movement. If you feel especially sprite, work your way back down as well!
Front Squat To Press (L+R)
Hanging Leg Raises & Ab Roller - 5 x 5 & 5 x 10
Power to You
Single Clean and Press Chain - Line up 5 consecutively heavier bells (60-90% intensity). Perform 3 - 5 presses at each bell(L+R), and run through the chain 3 - 5 times
One Arm Bench Press - This is a fantastic horizontal push variation, especially as a stability exercise for your core. You can perform this either with a kettlebell or dumbbell. 5 sets of 5 @ 60-80% intensity
Single Leg Deadlift - Unilateral movements help correct imbalances and weaknesses, which is why it is important to be sure to perform a good amount of unilateral movements along with your bilateral exercises. This is one of my particular favorite unilateral, lower body, hip dominant movements. See Master Somnath Sikdar perform it in the video below! 5 x 5 again @ 60% intensity
Tactical Pull Up, Ring Chin, and Bodyweight Row Circuit - 3-5 reps of each exercises, with no rest in between.
Finish up with 5 sets of some sort of hanging leg raise variations. Perform as many quality reps as you can, but always leave a rep or two in the tank!