Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Eve and End of Year Reflection...
And a look ahead to 2009

Well - here we are at the end of the year - 2008 is closing out and 2009 is about to ring in and now is the time for a bit of reflection.
I taught a total of 22 workshops and attended two of the Z Health workshops - Included in that are 11 FMS related workshops (including a brand new Certification blending FMS and RKC), and  10 RKC or Kettlebell related workshops, and even a "tension, relaxation and flexibility" workshop.

These workshops took me to Minneapolis many times (6 or so), Amsterdam twice, Hungary, San Diego, San Jose (CA), Chicago, Roanoke (VA), Ohio, Las Angeles, and even Pittsburgh.
The Secrets of... series grew to four products and Gray and I have launched "Kettlebells from the Ground Up 2 DVD set and manual.  2009 will mark the release of Kettlebells for Power Athletes with myself and Jeff O'Connor. 

In short - it was a tremendous year professionally which does include my personal training clients and a very good year there as well.  And I am looking for an even better 2009!

Personally - I shaved my head and grew my hair back ;-)
Attending the Z Health workshops has been an incredible part of my continuing education and has brought wonderful friends into my life.
The RKC community has continued to grow and progress and includes some of my best friends and I am honored to be a part of it.

Look into reading "The Brain that Changes Itself", "On Intelligence", Einstein's Biography, Ben Franklin's biography and the Sigma series by John Rollins, "Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar..." - these are great books and had quite an influence on me this year (even if it was just fun).

I think that will do it.  2008 was amazing and I am charging into 2009 (much of success in life is simply persistence and moving forward regardless....

I wish you all the best life has to offer in 2009!  SHAKE and BAKE Baby.....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Going barefoot is good for you...

Interesting article I found through an RKC, CK-FMS - Thanks mc...

You of course need to "build up" to going barefoot all the time but this article is pretty cool:

I had a request to post my RKC prep article so here it is...

How to Prepare for and PASS the RKC

By: Brett Jones Master RKC, CSCS

Over the past 4+ years I have been involved in the RKC program and have
seen many certification attendees come through the three days that make up the RKC experience. My goal in this article is to provide you—the RKC hopeful—with a template that will have you prepared for the RKC. This is important because it is a physically
demanding weekend where you must still learn large amounts of technique, corrections and principles. If your body is not up to the challenge then you will not learn effectively. And that just will not do!

Unlike most 200 question multiple choice weekend certifications, you will earn your RKC with sweat and hard work. In addition, you will be tested on demonstration of proper technique in the basic RKC drills and the ability to assimilate application of the proper
corrections at the right time—it is an instructor’s course. Read the testimonials if you need proof. Again—you will
earn this certification.

Where I think the preparation process goes awry is in two main areas. These are:
#1—Too much emphasis on the
snatch test
#2—Not preparing for three,
8+ hour days of work.
While the snatch test is important, it is only a starting point. It is a requirement
because we—as instructors—need to see that you have the base level of conditioning and overhead stability to even begin the course, proving to us that you have at least picked up your kettlebell and that you have some experience with the tool. But it is not ‘the test’ of the certification—as I stated it is only a starting point. Because RKC hopefuls get focused on the snatch test they tend to forget that three days of 8+ hours of practice of the basic drills and corrections await them, and this does not include the three (or more) 20-30 minute workouts during each day

Step #1 -

is to find your snatch test requirements and read and understand the rules. Ask questions on the forum if you need to do so.
Now go one weight class up and prepare for those numbers. This will provide a comfortable cushion and allow you to relax going into the snatch test. Steve Freides has written an excellent article on preparing for the snatch test available on There are other excellent articles available as well, so do some reading and be prepared for your snatch test.

Step #2 -

is to get prepared to demonstrate proper form in the basic kettlebell drills. To do this I would recommend a session with your local RKC so you can eliminate mistakes and prevent grooving any bad habits. If this is not possible, then you will have to rely upon DVDs and books. I would recommend:
Enter the Kettlebell! bookand DVD, Kettlebell Basics for Strength Coaches and Personal Trainers DVD set, and the original RKC book. This will provide you a set of resources that will give you ample information to prepare for the certification and arrive prepared.

Step #3 -

is to get physically ready to handle the RKC weekend. Below I will lay out a template of practice that will help in preparing you and I will make suggestions on mimicking the weekend so that you will not be caught by surprise and have to battle the physical demands placed on you. The template lays out three different workouts for three consecutive days where one drill will be emphasized as the other drills are practiced in between. Perform 1-3 circuits of the drills in the order listed. Perform 5-8 reps per set except on swings where you can feel free to increase the reps as long as form stays perfect. You will not need a day to emphasize cleans or snatches as you will
be performing enough of those during the other drills and with your snatch test practice (which is to be performed in addition to these workouts on at least two of the days).

Workout #1
Clean and Press
Clean and Front Squat

Workout #2
Clean and Press
Clean and Press
Clean and Front Squat
Clean and Press
Clean and Press
Clean and Press

Workout #3
Clean and Front Squat
Clean and Front Squat
Clean and Press
Clean and Front Squat
Clean and Front Squat
Clean and Front Squat

This is about practicing the drills and perfecting form while increasing conditioning specific to the weekend. Hence, you will be performing the three consecutive days of
training in addition to the snatch test preparations. I would even suggest that you make Friday, Saturday and Sunday your workout days—then rest on Monday and work additional snatch test workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday and then rest on Thursday before beginning again on Friday. This will get you in the groove for the weekend. You will also need to rotate intensity of volume and weight—16 kg for 3 circuits one day and 24kg for 1 circuit the next— Single Kettlebell drills one day and double
Kettlebell drills the next etc…
I would also recommend Super Joints and/or ZHealth drills to keep your body ‘tuned up’ and prepared for this type of training. (Oh, and you might want to get very familiar with an exercise known as the Burpee!) Be willing to reduce the volume and weight if needed—DO NOT GET INJURED preparing for the RKC. BE SMART!

So there you have it—a training template that will have you physically tuned up and ready for the demands of the RKC weekend. Nothing is more frustrating for us as instructors than people arriving ill prepared for the RKC. So put your time in and remember that you will earn your RKC. You have been warned.

Brett Jones
is a Master Instructor in the RKC program and is the author of
Kettlebell Basics for Strength Coaches and Personal Trainers as well
as co-author of the Secrets of…DVD series with Gray Cook. You can contact Brett by email - and you can keep up with his blog and his website

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Great articles from

Two really good articles on some current research...

Up first an article about possible changes to the dietary recommendations for diabetics...
Turns out the "whole grain" recommendations are not as good as "low glycemic" recommendations (beans etc...)

Although I had a "dietician" tell me over a decade ago that low glycemic "stuff" was worthless...

And the really cool and I mean REALLY cool article...
Seeing without seeing using the Primitive "so-called blindsight, the native ability to sense things using the brain’s primitive, subcortical — and entirely subconscious — visual system."

How freaking cool is that?????!!!!!!
I have been telling clients recently that the body and brain is a strange place to live and seeing without sight would certainly be way up there!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

VO2 Max training today...

Prep work - Z

Get-ups - 24kg x 3+3

VO2 Max 24 kg x 6 reps per 15 sec x 50 sets

Z and stretch

Pretty good workout - the 24 kg felt like the 16 kg - guess all that "light" work might have some benefits. ;-)

My first bit of feedback on S phase - Z is a performance system - not just a joint mobility system.  More later....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Quick training and catching up...

Got in a quick training today:

Prep work - Lots of Z

Get-up x 3+3

VO2max Snatches 20kg x 8 per 15 seconds x 20 sets

Z cool down

Continuing to try to get caught up from my trip to Phoenix for S phase and I will have some more observations etc... up soon

Monday, December 08, 2008

Quick post...

Back from Z Health S Phase 

An amazing week with Dr. Cobb, Kathy and the Z health gang - Z is an amazing system.

More on this later this week

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Training today and on the road again...

Prep work - Z

Get-ups 20 kg x 5 singles R+L - arm bar start 

ASLR and Brettzel

Windmill 20 kg x 5+5, 5+5

Single Leg Deadlift 20 kg x 5+5, 5+5

Snatches 20 kg - (partner ladder - I rest during workout partners work)
20+20, 15+15, 10+10, 5+5

One Arm Swings - (partner ladder)
20+20, 15+15, 10+10, 5+5

Pretty good workout - getting back into the Windmills and SLDL feels good.
The "longer" sets of the continuous snatches are different than the VO2 Max work - good to balance the two.

On the Road again...
Off to Minneapolis in the morning to teach an FMS workshop over the weekend.
Should be fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Training today - 

You take what the day will give you...

Prep work - Z

20 kg Get-ups 3+3 - arm bar start
20 kg SLDL x 5+5, 5+5
20 kg VO2 Max x 8 reps per 15 seconds x 20 sets

Stretch -Hip flexor and Brettzel

Today I just needed an easy day I guess - planned for more but didn't have it so I cut it and had a good day anyway.

Monday, November 17, 2008

DVD Editing, Training and stuff...

I have been running through the 12 DVDs of the CK-FMS workshop from August to prepare the product for release.  First off I am learning a great deal from reviewing the workshop - it is amazing how much information was provided during the weekend. I believe David Whitley described it as "trying to drink from a fire hose" and the DVDs will allow you to adjust the faucet.
Second - sitting and watching HOURS of DVDs is not a health plan!!

Training 11/17...

Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR, various Rolling patterns

32 kg Get-up 1+1 with pause at each step with 3 neck rotations + 3 arm rotations

32 kg Get-ups x 5 singles each side - 
performed as: Arm bar + High bridge + 1/2 kneeling press x 1 

24 kg Get-ups x 3+3, 2+2

Stretch - ASLR and Hip Flex stretch

All get-ups performed with pauses at each step looking for alignment and precision.

The rolling pattern work can be seen on the Secrets of Primitive Patterns with Gray Cook and Lee Burton - awesome information!

I am still learning more and more about myself through the Get-up - such as some "issues" in the position shown above (related to my ASLR).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Therapeutic Training today...

Prep work: Z, ASLR, Brettzel

20kg Get-ups - 1+1 (Pause at each step and perform 3 neck rotations and 3 shoulder rotations)
20kg Get-ups - 5 singles R+L 

10 Supersets of:
6 Goblet Squats
8-10 Hip Flexor Stretches
20 Alternating Swings

Total of:
60 squats (some of them Pistol practice - down on 2 up on one)
Lots of hip flexor stretches
200 swings

Credit to Dan John for this Goblet Squat inspired workout.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rest Day...

Some days you just need to rest, so today will be Z and recuperation only.

When was the last time you had an R&R day?

Cudos and Recognition to Adam Glass...

I remember when Adam started asking for advice on bending and gripping and since then I have been thrilled to watch him eclipse my gripping and bending. Simple, Dedicated persuit of goals - no magic no funny stuff - hard work and dedication. Congrats and I look forward to your coming success!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

VO2 Max Training...

Prep work: Z, Brettzel, ASLR

16kg- 10 Swing+ Get-downs x 1+1 x 5 sets

VO2 Max 20 kg - 8 reps per 15 sec. x 40 sets


Adding in a hundred swings before made the VO2Max work "hit home" sooner than normal but then again I was going at 8 reps with the 20 kg.
Fun stuff.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get-ups = training anyway...

Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR

20 kg Get-ups:
Arm bar start x 4+4
Bottoms-up x 4 singles R+L
1/2 Kneeling press (x2) x 4+4
10 swing Get-downs = 1+1 x 5
High Bridge + OHsq negative x 4 singles R+L

Pistol practice (8kg couterbalance) x 2+2, 2+2
{down on 2 - up on one}

10 swing Get-downs = 10 swings Right (turn the 10th into a snatch) down into a get-up repeat on Left - break - rinse and repeat 5 times.

Total Get-ups = 21 on both sides (hence the blackjack reference)
Swings x 100 (50 each side)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Prep work - Z

32kg Get-ups - Various styles
10 singles L and R

Pistol practice - {down on 2 - up on 1} x 2+2, 2+2


Get-up styles:
Arm bar start
Half Kneeling press x 2
Snatch (x5) get-down - switch hands - Snatch (x5) get-down
Overhead squat negative
Bottoms up x 1 R - 0 Left
2kb one hand (32kg+20kg) 52 Kg Get-up x 1+1

What can I say- I am just grooving on the get-ups.
The 52kg get-up was good - just need to perfect the handle positions.
Bottoms-up get-up was ok on the Right but still not going on the Left so I just did a regular get-up.
Basically I went - arm bar, Half kneeling press, Snatch switch get-down, OHsq negative, and then the bottoms up for one "set" and did the 2kb in one hand get-up the next "set". Then finished with 3+3 and 2+2. Hitting a lot of different areas and movements.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

VO2 Max Training...

Prep work: Z

50 sets of 8 reps per 15 sec. VO2 Max
alternating between the 20 kg and 16kg
26 sets of 8 reps per 15 sec. with the 20kg
and 24 sets of 8 reps per 15 sec. with the 16kg.


20 kg R and Left then the 16kg R and Left and keep going for 50 sets - feels good to alternate the weights etc...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quick training today...

Prep work: Z, Brettzel

24 kg Get-ups x 20 minutes
Various styles alternating L and R.

ASLR stretch

Simple and direct.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

VO2 Max training today...
Prep work: Z drills
20 kg KB x 80 sets of 7 reps per 15 sec.
quick stretch
This felt pretty good - sets of 7 at the 20kg felt easier than 8 reps @ 16kg.

The pic above is a sneak peak at the upcoming Get-up DVD coming from Gray and I - we are also working on a workbook to accompany the DVD.

Nov. 15 KB Workshop in Pittsburgh
email Kerry Swick - for details

Nov. 22-23 FMS workshop Minneapolis MN
go to the website for details...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Lovin' the Get-ups...

Training today:

Prep work:
Z, Brettzel, ASLR

Get-ups 24kg - various styles
Arm bar start Get-up x 3+3
1/2 Kneeling press (x2) Get-up x 3 singles left and right
High Bridge Get-up x 3+3
Overhead Squat (negative) Get-ups x 3+3
Snatch (x3) Get-downs x 3+3

24kg Swings - 20+20 15+15 10+10 5+5

Great training - variety within the same theme

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quick training 10/27/08...

Prep work:
Z, Brettzel, ASLR

Circuit of: (with 32kg)
Get-up x 1+1
Goblet Squat x 5
Hip flexor stretch
Alternating Swing x 10
x 5 circuits

32kg Get-up x 3+3, 2+2

Just needed a quick training today - feeling the seasonal allergy thing creeping up so didn't want to push but wanted to move.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SHAKE AND BAKE...and  PR day of training

A pic from the Hungary RKC - demonstrating the Shake and Bake...or fast and loose drills - you can have fun after all - even during VO2 Max work.

Training today...

16kg Get-ups x 5 singles each arm (various styles)

16kg VO2 Max 8 reps per 15 seconds x 80 sets


A BIG PR - 80 sets of 8 reps per 15 seconds for the VO2 Max - hit a "kick over" point around 65-70 sets where it all got pretty "easy".  

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Andrea DuPain and me at the King's Castle...

Training today...
Prep work - Z, ASLR, Brettzel
Three circuits of:
20kg Get-ups 3+3 > Hip flexor stretch x 10 r+L > 20 one arm swings
Z to finish

Still needed a quick "easy" training today but feeling good!

Off to Anaheim, CA tomorrow to present at the World Golf Fitness Summit on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quick Training today...
Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR
24kg Get-up x 4+4, 4+4, 4+4
That's it - needed a very easy day today after the VO2Max experience yesterday.

Above is the Parliament Building in Hungary.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Training today and big things coming...

Picture of me outside of the King's Castle in Budapest - amazing artwork!

Training today:
Prep work - Z
20 kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 30 sets
5 minute rest
16 kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 30 sets

WOW - a good, tough workout followed by more Z.

BIG things coming - Look for a product announcement very soon and I have my two workshops coming in November...
Nov. 15 Kettlebell Basics Workshop in Pittsburgh
Nov. 22-23 - FMS course in Minneapolis at CES - Corrective Exercise Specialists

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oct. RKC in MSP and training today...

Back from the Oct. RKC and another great RKC experience!
A bit tired from the back to back weeks -
two weeks - two RKCs - two continents - two countries - too many time zones... ;-)

Quick training today:
Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR
Weight Ladder -
16kg Get-up x 4+4 and 16kg x 20 alternating swings
20kg Get-up x 4+4 and 20kg x 20 alternating swings
24kg Get-up x 4+4 and 24kg x 20 alternating swings
28kg Get-up x 4+4 and 28kg x 20 alternating swings
32kg Get-up x 4+4 and 32kg x 20 alternating swings

Teach 1/2 hour stretch class

Feeling good but need a bit of sleep!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Here is a shot from the Buda Castle o r King's Castle in Budapest... more to follow in the coming days.
Back from Hungary...

Travel, Carryover, Training and Reflections....

Got back from Hungary Monday night and spent yesterday in a little bit of hibernation mode to recover a bit before hitting the road again tomorrow to teach again at the Oct. RKC in MSP. Basically dump the suitcase into the washer/dryer and then fold and put it back in the suitcase - or as I like to say "it's like shampoo - just rinse and repeat..."
Quick turn around trips like this mean you take care of what absolutely has to get done and the rest will wait until the "madness" is over. So if I haven't gotten back to you on some subject please be patient.

While at the Hungarian RKC I pressed the Beast 3 or 4 times (singles) with my right arm without having picked up a beast in quite a while and without training my MP at all. To what do I attribute this increase in pressing strength without having pressed = GET-UPs!!
And light ones too - mainly 16 and 24 kg with occasional 32 or 40 kg sessions but just grooving the Get-ups and bringing my "stabilizers" and coordination up with this one move.

I also have to say that the VO2 Max protocol played a role here as well - Even though I am "leaner" (for those of you who know me - you know I have my own version of "lean") my weight is still around 188. These results with light KBs are shocking but very pleasing!

Training Today...
Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR
16kg Get-ups - various styles
Arm bar into a 3/4 get-up x 4+4
High Bridge x 4 + 4
OHS negative x 4 + 4
Low Sweep x 4 + 4
32kg Get-ups x 4 singles R + L

{3/4 get-up is to the Half-kneeling position and down. OHS negative is up with the low sweep and lunge but down with the Overhead Squat.}

RKC Hungary left quite a few impressions upon me - #1 was the pride and dedication of those RKCs that assisted. There was a real focus on providing the same exeperience that the Current RKCs assisting had during their certification to the new attendees. People are proud of their accomplishment and want to ensure that that extends to the "new recruits". Yet another reason I am so proud to be a part of the RKC!
#2 - Teaching through translation was a good thing! It forced Andrea DuCane and I to "hit the target" so to speak. We had to be precise and really get to the heart of what we were trying to communicate. Look for this experince to further progress the teaching evolution of the RKC.
#3 - Shake and Bake...(if you were there you don't need an explaination on this - if you weren't there - it is a new "term" for the Fast and Loose drills...) Shake and Bake baby!!!

Thank You!!!!
Thank you to Peter Lakatos and his family - your hospitality and friendship made the experience.
Thank you to Andrea DuCane - my fellow Master RKC and friend - it was a pleasure to teach with you!

More later and pics when I can get them.

Training continued...
16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 40 sets

Got to sneak in another little workout!

Friday, October 03, 2008

First Day of Hungarian RKC wrap -up...

The first day of the Hungarian RKC is in the books and it was a great day.
I will see if I can post some pics tomorrow but we have a great group of trainees earning their RKC!

Snatch test, Swings, Get-ups and Cleans have been practiced and worked on and the attendees are figuring out what it means to earn your RKC.  

Tomorrow the fun continues and I am looking forward to seeing the transformational process continue.

Had a chance to walk around the King's Palace area of Budapest and I am blown away by the beauty, and history of this ancient city.  Again pics when I can post them.

More later...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Training and Hitting the Road...

Training today:
20kg VO2 Max Snatches
7 reps per 15 seconds x 40 sets

Lots of Z, Brettzel and ASLR through the day and needed to have an easy workout so knocked  a rep off of the VO2 Max snatches - worked out very well.

Hitting the Road....again.....
Off to Budapest, Hungary tomorrow and will blog when I can but should be a fun trip and a great experience.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Training today...9/27/08

Prep work: Z, Brettzel, ASLR
40 kg Get-up x 10 singles R+L
40 kg Alternating Swing - 10 reps x 10 sets

A good heavy day workout - simple but effective.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Variety of Stuff....

Here is a great post by Dr. Mark Cheng of KBLA re: the FMS and Secrets of...series:

A belated Congratulations to all those that received the promotion to Senior RKC status:
Shaun Cairns, Jon Engum, Brad Nelson, Doug Nepodal, and Will Williams
And new Team Leader -
Cortez Hull, Dan John, Peter Lakatos, and Jeremy Layport
I look forward to working with at future RKCs.

Revisiting Lighter KBs...
A question on the forum and my recent training has me using "lighter" KBs and loving it.
I used to be of the mind of heavier and heavier work with the KBs - go heavy with a single bell and then progress on to the double bells and keep going heavier - no wonder Powerlifting appealed to me ;-)
But along came Kenneth Jay's VO2 Max protocol and I was reintroduced to the 16kg KB and learned a lot about what "heavy" means. Actively accelerating the Kettlebell with the Lat and the Hike pass and the very quick "turn around" after the hike is nothing short of magic. My hips are quicker and more powerful than ever and my conditioning is on the way up.
Now I make it a point to have a regular rotation from the 16kg up to the 32kg (sometimes the 40kg).
Now to put this in some perspective - I have completed the Beast Challenge, won the first Tactical Strength Challenge, have belt only competition bests of 518 in the Squat and 573 in the deadlift, and I am on the RED nail roster with various other grip feats "under my belt" and I find the 16kg KB to be a very useful tool. The 24kg is what I would call the "sweet spot" for me and the 32 and 40 work my strength just fine.
Light is relative of course and these numbers will need to be adjusted for the individual but don't be afraid to go "light".

Training today...
Prep work - Z, Brettzel, ASLR
16kg Get-ups x 5+5, 5+5, 5+5, 5+5
16kg Goblet Squat x 10
Hip Flexor stretch

Performed a variety of Get-up variations - high bridge, overhead squat, 3/4 Get-up with a half-kneeling press etc.... Feeling good.

Go one post lower and check out upcoming workshops....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

VO2 Max training and Workshops...

Quick training today with one of my clients
VO2 Max 15 sec on/15 sec off - 8 reps per 15 sec
20 kg x 20 sets 
16 kg x 20 sets
40 sets total - 320 snatches total

The 20 kg was "fun" for the first twenty sets and stepping back to the 16 kg just kept the burn going.  Good workout.


November 15 - 
Kettlebell Basics workshop with Brett Jones Master RKC and Kerry Swick RKC in Pittsburgh, Pa - Location is the - the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center 
from 9 am - 1 pm.  
Email - for registration etc...
Cost - $197 before 11/5 - $250 after that date

November 22-23 - Functional Movement Screen workshop Minneapolis, MN
Jason Green and Corrective Exercise Specialists will be hosting this FMS workshop - details on and Registration at This Link

Travel Schedule...
Sept. 30 - Oct. 6 RKC Hungary
Oct. 9 - Oct. 12 RKC MSP
Oct. 17 - Oct.19 World Golf Fitness Summit 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Squeezing in the training and coming soon...

Squeezed in the training today -hitting some Get-ups between clients and finishing with some swings but the overall effect was very good.

24 kg Get-up x 5+5
28 kg Get-up x 5+5
32 kg Get-up x 5+5
24 kg one arm Swings {20+20-15+15-10+10-5+5}

Just grooving on the Get-ups and Swings.

Coming soon as promised - i will have details about the Nov. 15 Pittsburgh KB Workshop and an updated travel schedule.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

9/17/08 - Training etc...

Prep work - Z, ASLR, Bretzzel
32 kg 3-step Get-up x 1+1
32 kg Get-up x 5 singles R+L

32 kg Snatches 5+5 x 10 sets

An updated Workshop and Travel schedule coming tomorrow -
will include details on the upcoming KB workshop in Pittsburgh!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Prep course and quick training

Quick training today -
24 kg KB Get-up x 5 + 5
24 kg One arm swings x 20 + 20 - 15 + 15 - 10 + 10 - 5 + 5 (continuous)

Back from San Diego and the RKC prep course at Iron Core and it was a great weekend. Congrats to all the attendees and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming RKC!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick training and....

More Travel!!

Prep work - Z drills, ASLR, Brettzel

32 kg KB Get-ups x 10 singles R + L

And away we go - again - Off to San Diego Tomorrow to teach an RKC Prep course at Iron Core in La Jolla.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Training 9/3/08...And off to Jolly Old England...

Quick training today -
16kg VO2Max Protocol -
8 reps per 15 seconds x 40 sets (2o minutes total)

See I told you it was quick ;-)
but effective - I am constantly amazed at how well the VO2Max protocol works.

Off to Jolly Old England in a few hours....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Training 9/2/08...and Updated Travel Schedule...

Prep work - Z drills, Brettzel, ASLR

All with 32kg - (RKC prep workout #2)
MP x 3+3 (1st circuit), x 3+3 (2nd circuit)
Get-up x 3+3 (1st circuit), x 2+2 (2nd circuit)
MP x 3+3 (1st Circuit), x 3+3 (2nd circuit)
Swing (2 arm) x 20 (1st circuit), x 20 (2nd circuit)
MP x 3+3 (1st circuit), x 2+2 (2nd circuit)
Clean and Front Squat x 5+5 (1st circuit), 5+5 (2nd circuit)
MP x 3+3 (1st circuit), x 2+2 (2nd circuit)
Snatch x 10+10 (1st circuit), One arm swing x 10+10 (2nd circuit)
MP x 3+3 (1st circuit), x 2+2 (2nd circuit)
Alternating Swing x 20 (1st circuit), x 20 (2nd circuit)

completed in 35 minutes (or so...)

My left arm pressing has been a weak spot for quite some time and having to drop to 2 reps per MP set shows it - right arm was ready to keep on chugging but had to hold back for the left - but it will catch up.

Questions? Thoughts? Comments?

Updated Travel Schedule:
9/3 - 9/6- Liverpool, England - FMS workshop
9/11- 9/14 - San Diego, CA - RKC prep course
9/30 - Oct. 6 - RKC Hungary - Budapest, Hungary
10/9 - 10/12 - RKC MSP - MSP
10/17 - 10/19 - World Golf Fitness Summit presentation, CA

Those include some travel days etc... but it should be a great round of trips!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Trainng 9/1/08

Pulled a page from my own play book and used my RKC prep workout
All with 24kg KB x 2 circuits:
2 arm Swing x 20
Get-up x 5+5
One arm Swing x 10+10
MP x 6+6
Alternating Swing x 20
Clean and Front Squat x 6+6
2 arm Swing x 20
Snatch x 10+10
Alternating Swing x 20


Enjoy Labor Day!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Training today 8/25/08...

Prep work:
Lots of brettzel, ASLR and mobility work

24kg Get-ups x 6 singles each side, more brettzel..., then 4+4 continous

24kg Alternating swings x 30, 30 (concentrating on overspeed eccentric)

Hip flexor streching etc...

I was in Dayton, OH this weekend teaching the FMS to a group of trainers there - but the driving and teaching left me a bit stiff so lots of mobility work today. On the Get-up singles I was using the overhead squat to begin the negative and then the 4+4 were just high-bridge and lunge style.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quick training for yesterday 8/15/08

Prep work: Z, ASLR, T-spine rotation
40kg Get-up x 5 singles each side
40kg Alternating swings x 5 sets of 10 reps

Snatched the 40 kg and got 5 reps each arm easily but my left thumb is still not up to that type of weight and stress so alternating swings instead.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finally back to training...

Due to the time on the road and various other excuses I have been consistant with my Z drills but missing my KB - so back to it today!

Prep work:
Z drills

24 kg Get-Ups x 12 r+L (groups of 3 styles- High bridge + low sweep + Overhead squat)

24kg Swings x 10 sets of 10 (5 sets r and 5 sets L) in 5 minutes

felt good to be back in the swing of things ;)

In case you missed it or if you know of anyone prepping for the RKC - check out my coming RKC prep workshop in San Diego:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back from CK-FMS....

The first ever CK-FMS certification workshop is in the books. Gray Cook and I were honored to have close to 70 RKC attendees - including Master instructors, Sr. Instructors and the Chief Instructor (Pavel) in attendance. RKCs from England and Hungary and all over the country made their way to MSP to see what the CK-FMS was going to be all about.

I am thrilled with how the workshop went and how it was received. The reviews and information will be up on in the coming weeks.

A few words of reflection and thanks:

Teaching at a workshop vs. Being Responsible for running the workshop - I am emotionally and mentally drained from this weekend. Launching an entirely new certification and workshop is quite different than just showing up to teach!

Thank you to Pavel and Gray Cook - my mentors and friends.

Thank you to Dr. Mark Cheng and Danielle Cook - our assistants over the weekend and our "silent assasins" who made much of the weekend possible.

John DuCane and the staff - it just wouldn't have been possible without you.

To my fellow Master RKCs and Sr. RKCs - your support and friendship honors me.

To all of the attendees - thank you for making the leap of faith to hop into a new program

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Off to CK-FMS...

Leaving in the morning for the CK-FMS workshop in Minneapolis - Gray and I are keyed up and chomping at the bit to get this under way!!

Will blog if I can.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Announcing a special RKC Prep course...

RKC Prep Course with Brett Jones
Learn how to teach kettlebells and prepare for the RKC with Master RKC and CSCS - Brett Jones -
September 12th-14th, 2008
Some of what Brett will cover:
Discover how to teach kettlebells
Correct form and technique
Design programs for groups and individuals
Prepare to take and pass the RKC
Brett Jones is teaching a comprehensive RKC Prep Course at Iron Core that you don't want to miss.
Space is limited to 20 participants - See Details

This will be a unique opportunity to prepare for the RKC - don't miss it!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In LA for the RKC...

I am in LA for the RKC this weekend and then heading home on Monday - only to turn around and fly to MSP on that Thursday for the FMS - quite the exciting time!!

Will blog more if I can but don't get disheartened - I will be back soon!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sorry for the gaps...

Just been very - very busy with travel and work but will get some informative stuff up soon.

Otherwise I have been letting my left thumb heal up and working on my I-phase drills - feeling really good!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Long time no Blog...

Sprained thumb, I-phase, video shooting, and back on the road tonight...

Lots to blog on and little time to do it but here is a recap of the "bright spots -

Sprained my Thumb on Thursday of last week holding a pad for a kick - blamo - sprained thumb but due to some Z health work I am healing quickly and feeling pretty good - just still have to be careful with it. These things happen. ;)

I-phase was great! Lots of information and progression for me and lots of new tools to use on my clients and with great success already! Zachariah Salazar and Dr. Cobb worked with using some T-phase work and I am doing my first successful lumbar circles and feeling really good!
Tremendous weekend with great friends - old and new - Thank you to Courtney and Geoff Neupert for putting up with me - I mean putting me up for the weekend. Thanks to Dr. Cobb, Kathy and the Z-Health gang and Zachariah and Leah for their friendship and help over the weekend.

Video shooting - After I-phase I made the drive up to Chatham, VA and the home of Gray Cook and family and after being up too late and up too early we put in a 10 hour filming day on our next project. I am very excited about this video and will have details as they become available.

Now I am headed back to the airport to fly to Boston to teach tomorrow...(cue music..."on the road again - just can't wait to be on the road again........)

So many things happening right now and very, very busy but will have more to blog this weekend and next week.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Training 7/9/08...

Prep work:
Thoracic rotation

32 kg Get-ups x 10 r+L
various styles - hip lift, leg sweep, OH squat

32 kg One arm Swings 10+10 x 5 sets

Overhead Squat Get-ups revealed yet another asymmetry between left and right - Left side was very difficult where the right was easy and felt great. Something to look at....
One arm swings were with a concentration on hiking the KB and overspeed eccentrics - great stuff.

Off to Durham, NC tonight for I-phase of Z health - really looking forward to it!!
Will blog when I can - hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday, July 07, 2008

VO2 Max Training today...

Prep work:
thoracic rotation
Goblet Squat x 5
one arm swings and a few snatches to find my groove

16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 60 sets

and done - very done.

Had a good 4th - hope everyone else did as well. Not an active 4th but a good one. ;)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Training 7/2/08

Prep work-
Thoracic rotation

40 kg Get-up x 5 singles each arm
40kg Goblet squat x 5, 5
40kg SLDL x 5+5, 5+5
4okg MP x 5 singles each arm

Just needed a heavy day to balance out the VO2 Max work.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

"How would you define mastery of the basics?"

A great question from Sean on my last blog post about the RKC Level 2 and it deserves an answer.

Does a boxer ever stop perfecting his/her Jab?
Does a Martial Artist ever stop perfecting his/her stance or front kick?
Does a Kettlebell athlete or trainer every stop perfecting his/her swing?

I have made the observation before that there is a difference between swinging a kettlebell and knowing how to perform the kettlebell swing.

Everyone can appreciate the level of dedication and pursuit of perfection that Tiger Woods has placed on his golf swing, putting stroke etc... The comment..."He plays at another level" is often applied to Tiger's game. Obviously there is a difference between swinging a golf club and knowing how to swing a golf club.
But do you pursue the same level of perfection and achievement in your goal activity?
Or do you "workout"?

When I refer to mastery of the basics it is this level of pursuit that I am referring to.
I learn a bit more every time I pick up a kettlebell - sometimes it is what not to do - sometimes it is an enhancement that elevates the swing or snatch to a new level for me.

And that is just the personal physical and mental pursuit of my own mastery of the tool.

There is a whole other level of mastery for teaching and training others where the personal mastery of the principles is molded and adapted to the individual. Skill in assessing the person to be trained and trying to remove the negatives before piling on the "good stuff" and then guiding and developing that individuals mastery of the activity.

Too dramatic? Too "over done"?
Perhaps - but not to someone striving for mastery.

I demand this of myself and expect it from fellow RKCs.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Training 6/30/08:

VO2 Max and RKC Level 2 Wrap up...

Prep work:
Thoracic Rotation
Goblet Squat x 5
various swings and a couple of snatches

16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds x 50 sets

16kg Windmill 5+5

I am convinced more than ever that Kenneth Jay's VO2 Max protocol is the way to go and will be working towards 80 sets of 8 reps per 15 seconds! Loads of fun - BTW - Kenneth is simply brilliant when it comes to the science behind the conditioning. Check out his Advanced Strength Strategies DVD is you haven't already.

RKC Level 2 wrap up -
The good - a great group of people there to learn
The Bad - we had to spend a lot of time reviewing Level 1 exercises and materials.
People need to work on perfecting and honing perfect form not get distracted by shiny things.
Overall - it was a great weekend and those that made it through earned their Level 2.
Great job and congrats to the new Level 2 RKCs.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Travel Schedule...

For the interested or just bored - here is my travel schedule for the coming months...

June 26-29 - RKC Level 2
July 10-13 - Durham, NC for Z Health I-phase
July 18 - FMS course outside of Boston
July 26 - Corrective Strategies Workshop - Los Angeles, Ca
July 31 - Aug 3 - LA RKC
Aug 7-10 - CK-FMS in Minneapolis
Aug. 23-24 FMS course in Dayton, OH
Sept 5-6 - FMS course in Liverpool, England
Sept. 26-27 - Kettlebell Basics Course at the Cooper Clinic, Texas
Oct. 3-5 - RKC in Hungary
Oct. 9-12 - RKC in Minneapolis
Oct. 16-19 - World Golf Fitness Summit, Annaheim, CA

Potential workshops -
Early November in San Diego
November 29 in Atlanta

Want me for a workshop? Better start working on it now!

Quick training 6/25/08...
Prep work - Thoracic rotation, ASLR, Full Body Z
Snatch Grip DL 275 x 5, 245 x 5
Side press 85 x 2, 65 x 2

Side press peak is always quicker than DL so I will cycle back and maybe go to ladders.
DL - I might shift to a double overhand Sumo DL when I get back from MSP.

Off to MSP for the RKC 2

Monday, June 23, 2008

"Your Genes aren't your fate..."

Read this - then think - and then rinse and repeat...

Genes become the excuse for everything and as powerful as they are they are only "switches" to a certain extent. (Could get into a very deep rabbit hole here of quantum physics and wave vs. particle type of discussion in relation to gene expression but let's keep it simple shall we...)

We influence which position the "switches" (ie. our genes) are in by the lifestyle we lead.

Very interesting stuff

Training 6/23/2008

Snatch grip DL
255 x 5, 235 x 5
Side Press
80 x 5+5, 70 x 5+5

16kg VO2 Max Snatch - 8 reps per 15 sec. x 40 sets

Easier to hit 40 today than it was to hit 30 the other day - nice progress.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Quick training 6/20/08

Snatch grip DL
245 x 5, 225 x 5
Side press
75 x 5, 65 x 5

Quick PTP workout.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Situational Correctness...
Oh yeah - and some training...

Couple of items from the forum that have caught my attention and felt I would comment on a bit here -


People get very confused and confounded when seemingly contradictory information gets put out there. Situational correctness has been lost on most people.
One of the classics for the forum is the difference between the low rep strength focus of Pavel's Power to the People and the higher rep conditioning focus of Kettlebell training. Different goals mean different techniques and applications. You don't go to a tax lawyer for a murder defense but you still need to have access to both the tax and defense professionals.
People seem to forget this when they are looking for an answer or a philosophy to follow.
They want one answer for everything and it just doesn't exist.

There is no contradiction between the High Tension Techniques and Hardstyle kettlbell training and the Relaxation techniques and drills of Pavel's Fast and Loose. They are both skills to be learned and practiced and applied.
So get busy learning them and applying them!

Situational Correctness...

Since Pavel's Power to the People book and DVD the idea of performing a limited numer of exercises on a consistent basis without changing exercises every 4 weeks to avoid the dreaded "adaptation" people continue to have questions as to whether it will work on not.
Well - it does work but this is another one of those "contradiction" areas where the fervor over having ONE answer leads to confusion.

In Marty Gallagher's new book The Purposeful Primitive he details the training of several Iron Giants and instead of getting mired in the differences between them he draws correlations between the similarities and USES the differences to target certain goals or even a restricted number of training days a week. Imagine that!! Finding similarities and using the differences - revolutionary!!
There are powerlifters who train on the Big 3 lifts exclusively and there are those that train almost everything but the Big 3 and rotate lifts constantly - who is right and who is wrong???

Neither is wrong and both are wrong - or - Both are correct and both are wrong!

It depends on the individual situation - goals, recovery ability, number of available training days per week, training experience, Injury and medical history, nutrition, individual likes and dislikes, etc.... Apply the correct tool/technique to fit the situation! Again - Situational Correctness

For me - simplicity works and I find I can adjust that simplicity to fit most of my clients needs and goals. If you haven't tried it. Try it. Just press and deadlift for the next 6 months or so...

Speaking of Training:
Snatch grip DL 235 x 5, 225 x 5
Suitcase DL 145 x 5 + 5
Side press 70 x 5+5, 65 x 5+5
32kg KB swings (20 reps per set) 6 sets of various swing styles
(20L, 20R, 10L+10R, 20 alternating, 20 sidestepping, 20 2 arm)

Lats, mid back and grip certainly feel yesterdays training - I am focusing on my lats/armpit connection during the DL and swing - big difference. I think that is why I could "sprint" to 8 reps a set yesterday and not have issues. Still progressing and learing everytime I pick up a KB.
How about you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back to Basics...


One rep does make a difference...

Todays training is dual titled (like a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon - yes??) because I am returning to a PTP style barbell workout and adding one rep per 15 seconds on the VO2 Max protocol does make a difference...

Snatch Grip DL 225 x 5, 5
suitcase DL 135 x 5+5
Side Press 65 x 5+5, 5+5

16kg VO2 Max - 8 reps per 15 seconds + 15 seconds off
x 30 sets in 14:45

After a couple of sets I knew the extra rep was going to hurt me - the virtual force of accelerating the KB made its impact! And after the grip work of the snatch grip and suitcase DL my forearms are feeling it as well. Shooting for a 4-5 day a week routine. Maybe step cycling just to ease back in to the DL etc...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

From Aaron's Schwenfeier's blog:

This is how professional interaction should work. Aaron and I don't agree on everything but we continue the discussion and don't get mired in the differences. In the end we agree on FAR more than we disagree. Plus he has some great information - like this:

"The lumber spine has greater flexion/extension range-of-motion (ROM) based on disc height and spinous processes which project almost straight posteriorly, while the thoracic discs are smaller and the spinous processes project more inferiorly, which decreases flexion/extension ROM. The architecture of the thoracic spine lends itself to greater rotational ROM based on the position of facet joints, and the lumbar spine's facet joints decrease rotational ROM when compared to the thoracic vertebrae. (check out a good anatomy/biomechanics text)"

And this:

"When we have good diaphragmatic breathing, the diaphragm (again, refer to a good functional anatomy text) pushes down on the viscera. This "pushing" down creates pressure on the pelvic floor, which creates reflexive activity of the deep abdominal muscles... (something to think about.) From this we potentially improve:
1. Lumbar spine muscle function and control leading to:
2. Improved hip and lower body function
3. Increased thoracic spine ROM leading to:
4. Improve scapula and glenohumeral function and ROM
5. Improved function of all muscles, especially scapular, shoulder, and hip muscles
6. Improved movement efficiency."

Great information!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Training 6/16/08...

Prep work:
Goblet Squat 24kg x 5+
Thoracic Rotation

24kg Get-up x 5+5

24kg Snatch (10+10) + 10 Burpees x 5 sets in 10:40 (approximate)

Snatches kicked this workout up a knotch. Being short on sleep has resulted on some missed workouts but still keeping after it.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thoracic Mobility...

The thoracic spine or rib cage is a central player in shoulder mobility and health but it is also part of the entire spinal "engine" as described by Gracovetsky. One of the best descriptions I have found for thoracic function comes from a September 2007 Newsletter by Robert Burgess, BEd, PT, PhD, Feldenkrais Practitioner. He posed the question - "An immovable cage or a mobile spring?" In reference to the thorax or thoracic spine.

Think about it - with all of those ribs connecting to the spine and up front on the sternum how can there be much movement in the "rib cage"?

Well - let us examine this further...

Burgess in his newsletter cites Buchalter et al 1988 and Willems et al 1996 for data on movement in the thoracic spine. The Thoracic spine provides us with 50 degrees of rotation, 26 degrees of side bending, 25 degrees of extension and 30 degrees of flexion in sitting - " fact with each pair of ribs moving on the next- the thorax behaves like a hooped spring."
"The pelvis and thorax rotate in opposing directions and together with side bending are the prime movers of human locomotion (Gracovetsky 1997)."

Breathing - if we are breathing correctly and using the diaphragm and intercostals for respiration there is a tremendous amount of movement in the thoracic spine. However, most people breath through their traps and upper chest which facilitates the development of kyphosis (rounding of the upper back) and a rigid rib cage.

Anatomy - But what about the ribs and the connections to the spine and sternum? Surely that means the thoracic spine is rigid - doesn't it?
Not if you look at the actual anatomy of the area!
The ribs connect up front on the sternum by way of a large series of cartilage joints - rather than being more solid "bone to bone" joints like the Sternoclavicular joint. These cartilage joints provide a more mobile situation and even the sternum has at least two semi-movable joints in its structure.
Look up Costral Cartilages and Vertebrocostral Joints (New Atlas of Human Anatomy 1999, McCraken) if you would like to appreciate the actual anatomy of the rib cage and the reasons behind it's mobility.
Think about breathing and CPR - you can compress the chest 2"+ during CPR - Where does that movement come from?

So - is the rib cage a cage or a spring?

From Dead anatomy to Living Function -
Dead anatomy is a cadaver laying on a table. Living function is a miraculous interplay of the anatomical structures and the Neurological and Physiological systems of the human body.
Dead anatomy is only a starting point. It cannot and will never match up to the myriad wonders of the whole integrated system.
Mechanoreceptors, Golgi tendon organs, intrafusel muscle fibers, and many, many other neurologically based structures change the dead anatomy freeze frame picture into a flowing movie.
Ten of the ribs have joints connecting them to the spine and have two more joints where the ribs meet the costral cartilages and then where that cartilage joins the sternum. All of these joints are alive with neurological pieces and parts that relay information to the brain. Instead of being a piece of dead rigid cage - the thoracic spine is alive with movement and function.

For the shoulder the thoracic spine is essential to the health and movement of the scapula and thereby the glenohumeral joint. If you lack shoulder movement check the thoracic spine.

What about the rest of the spine?
Yes you need mobility and movement skill at the Lumbar and Cervical areas of the spine but don't forget about the Thoracic spine as an integral part of the "spinal engine".

Want to know more about the interplay of the Thoracic spine and shoulder? Please check out Secrets of the Shoulder by myself and Gray Cook - click the link.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Back from the June RKC...

Here is a pic of me demonstrating the KB Front Squat:

It was a great RKC weekend - a great group of RKC Candidates made their way through a grueling three days and were transformed.

Now - back to work and training...

Speaking of training...6/10/08...

Prep work:

Goblet squat 32kg x 5, Thoracic Rotation, ASLR

32kg Get-up x 3+3 - Shaun C. Snatch switch at the top continuous style

32kg MP ladder 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5

superset with

32kg Front squat ladder 1+1 - 2+2 - 3+3 - 4+4 - 5+5

32kg One Arm Swings 8 reps per 15 seconds with 15 sec. rest - 10 sets

20kg Windmill x 3+3

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Off to the RKC...

I leave tomorrow morning for the RKC in MSP. These are always intense and exciting weekends and I love being a part of them.

Will blog if I can.
Training 6/4/08:

Quick and simple...

Prep Work:
32kg Halo x 3+3
32kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation

32 kg Bottoms Up Get-up x 1 R + 0 L
32kg Get-up x 2+2

32kg Snatches 3+3 in 15 seconds with15 seconds rest
x 10 sets in 4:45

Quick and simple - the hand switch adds some time but it was a good little sprint.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Training 6-2-08:

Prep work:
24kg Halo x 5+5
24kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation

24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 5 singles each arm

{24kg Alternating swings x 20 + Burpees x 10}
10 sets total in 18 minutes (first 5 sets complete in 7:56)

A nice PR and progression on my Alt swing + burpee workout - I think I finished the 10 sets in just under 20 minutes last time so knocking just shy of 2 minutes off of that and getting the first five sets done in less than 8 minutes is another big progression. Fun stuff - I was huffing and puffing - great conditioning work.

Very busy right now personally and professionally - Travel to MSP this thursday thru sunday and fitting in clients and other business progressions is making this a challenging but very rewarding time.

More in the morning...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Training 5/29/08 - That's more like it...

Prep work:
20kg Halo x 5+5
20kg Goblet Squat x 5
Thoracic Rotation
20kg Get-up x 3+3
20kg Bottom up Get-up x 2+2

VO2 Max 20kg x 7 reps per 15 sec. x 50 sets
(actually 52 sets in 25:45 - must have missed writing down two sets but the clock doesn't lie!)

This was more like it - a much stronger Cardio response and workload.

Feeling good!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Movements not Muscles...

Why do the knees "cave in" during the squat?

Is it the adductors (groin) muscles? Is it the glute medius? What and why?

Some will say adductors, some will say Glute medius - I say yes/no and don't worry about it...
Here is my answer to someone with this very question...and my response to the recommendation of adductor strengthening to fix the cave in of the knees...

"...the adductors are also considered the "4th" hamstring and function as a hip extensor as well but to say that an aDductor functions as a hip aBductor is interesting to say the least - and/but muscle "function" is dependent on joint angle so in the grand scheme of things who knows.

What we do know is that your knees are caving in so lets focus on the movement and not the "muscles."

The "Fix"- have your training partner place their hands on the outside of your lower leg (just below the knee) and while performing a squat (bodyweight or goblet squat NOT a PL squat) have them apply pressure inward - you will need to apply pressure outward to keep the knees in alignment on the way down and on the way up.
Important - the pressure applied inward by your partner is enough pressure to cause you to have to press out NOT enough to injure you.
Also hit some outside toe pulls to get the glute medius firing better before the partner drill."

In the FMS we use something called Reactive Neuromuscular Training and this is an example of that and "feeding the mistake" to fix a faulty movement pattern and you will note some Z Health thrown in as well (the outside toe pull - don't know what it is? Click the link on the right and find out).

On a rare Nutrition note - check out this little article on "belly busting beverages"...

Watch those liquid calories!

Training 5/27/08
Prep work
32kg Get-up x 3+3
32kg Halo x 3+3
32kg Goblet Squat x 3
Thoracic rotation

32kg Alternating Swings x 20 + 10 Burpees x 5 sets in 9:30
24kg Alternating Swings x 20 + 10 Burpees x 5 sets
Total time for all 10 sets = 21:50

Tough one - this has become one of my favorite workouts. Simple and brutal.
Fun stuff...

Friday, May 23, 2008

5/23/08 - Light Training and Research from Eric Cressey

1st - The research from Eric Cressey

Eric goes into detail about his findings researching UST - unstable surface training - and most of you will be very surprised by what you see...I've been quoting this for some time as I had spoken with Eric about this some time ago.

"Our research showed that replacing as little as 2 to 3 percent of overall training volume with unstable-surface training (UST) in healthy, trained athletes impaired the development of sprinting speed and vertical jump height — and there was a trend toward significance on the agility front, as well. There are a ton of reasons for the decrease in power output and performance. In a broad sense, all of these explanations can be considered fundamentally related to the fact that UST does not adhere to the principle of specificity of training."

And the training...
Prep work:
16kg Halo x 6+6
16kg Goblet squat x 6
Thoracic Rotation

16kg Bottoms up Get-up x 5+5
16kg {SLDL 5+5 + Goblet Squat x 5} x 2 sets
16kg VO2 Max (15sec./15sec.) x 50 sets of 7 reps each set
16kg Windmill x 5+5

Just needed a light day of training and this was partially inspired by the "think you've outgrown your KB" thread on
Reps of the bottoms-up get-up works the grip and wrist very nicely
The 7+7 VO2 Max with the 16kg is too light and easy but it was a great way to spend 25 minutes and my conditioning has come up quite a bit since my early ventures into this protocol. I will go with the 20kg next time for 6+6 and see how it goes.

Overall - feeling very good and getting ready for a very busy June.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Training 5/21/08:

Prep -
Thoracic Rotation
24kg Halo 3+3
24kg Goblet Squat x 5

Bottoms-up Get-Up 24kg x 5 singles each arm
Get-up 32kg x 4+4

Alternating Swings 32kg x 20 x 5 sets in 5:20

24kg Goblet squat x 3
24kg Windmill x 3+3

A decent recovery workout - my breathing is always effected more than I think from the "canned air" of the airplane.
Training for Life
from the blog of Mark Rifkeind

"Since I started training, at age 14, I have always and only trained for competition. Even when I wasn't competing that often, as when I was doing marathon, ultra and triathlon training I was always training with a goal in mind, even if the deadline wasn't that apparent. Since I started in the prehistoric days before the fitness revolution took over and people realized the health benefits to working out, I never conceived of training without a goal in mind. And that goal always included a trip to a competition or a platform or some other form of testing myself and seeing for real if my training concepts, methods and strategies were actually working or whether I needed to 'go back to the drawing board'.
It wasn't until 2002, when I tore my rotator cuff, and in addition to not being able to train the squat or the deadlift I could no longer even bench( the laziest of all exericses!) that I realized that my lifelong strategies and methods were no longer viable. Of course, at the time I had no idea of what I would ( or could) do next as everything I tried hurt more than the last thing and just getting out of a chair was hard. Walking two blocks would cause unbeleivable pain. I was truly at the end of my rope. Thank God for Mike Castrogiovanni and his vision for me getting involved with the RKC. He was the one that told Pavel about me and brought Brett Jones up to my home that fatefull Thanksgiving. As well as pushing me to become RKC and training me for it as well. That was the new begining of this unbelievable recovery that I have been able to make, thanks to Pavel, the kettlebell and the RKC methods. It truly saved my life and my sanity, not to mention the incredible tranformation it has afforded my wife. I will be forever gratefull.
But I also realized something just the other day; all my life, as a competitive athlete, my goals were to become a better competitive athlete. Everything I had was sacrificed on the alter of improvement. My jobs were all taken so they fit into my training schedule, my life revolved around my training, my recovery and my competition schedule.Pain, soreness,poverty were all things that had to be endured to accomplish my goals.
I was training to become better at training.
And even though I knew I couldn no longer go to the Olympics I was still training to achieve the highest level of accomplishment I could. "First you live like a pro, then you get to be a pro" was my mantra.
Even when, at the end, when I was so sore and jacked up from even the smallest workouts I confused that with the "good" soreness one gets from a tough workout.I hadn't accepted that the recovery from my training took eons longer than any supposed benefit I got from the training. Never quit, never surrender was my mindset and limping around for days after a pissant squat or deadlift workout was just more of the price I thought I had to pay to at least keep some semblance of strength as I got older.
SO, when a few days ago I had TONS of things to do for the day, with the heat in the 100's, lots of walking and assembling and carrying and moving and chores to do I realized that not only could I do this stuff after a full day of working, but that it was EASY; that not only could I keep on going( with no food no less and no weakness or hunger) but that the heat didnt bother me, the effort didnt bother me, I could walk as far as I needed to without limping from pain. That I didnt have to get off my feet at 4 pm and spend the next 2 hours trying to 'unwind' myself as I had done for years just to be able to work the next day did I realize that I was now fit for my LIFE, for the first time in years. Many,many, many years.
When I went to Denmark last week and had to walk miles through airports, stand all day for days on end at the cert; not be able to get my 'normal' training and recovery workouts in and was not only OK but thriving I realized that that is the real goal of my training now. Not to be fit for more training or competition but to be fit for life.
I know that if I have to miss workouts it is not only ok, but what my training is supposed to be preparing me FOR. Real world tasks that have to be done. Not just competitive , made up games and tests, as much fun as they are( and they still are for me too), but the real world tests and challenges.To be tough and resilient enough to make it the next 40+ years with vim and vigor and strength and health. " A back of iron and legs that never quit", those are my new goals.
Speaking to my training partner Nick, who, after a bad back injury last year decided that he would continue to train the squat, but not the deadlift or the bench about it said" I still want to train the squat; not to see how much I can lift but to keep myself strong for everyday life. I don't want my training to mess me up so much that I can't do normal things, no matter how much it will let me lift in competition."
Such a smart man for one so young.
Years of training for competition had skewed my point of view and references so much I had lost track of what was really important. Being injured so severely so young of course had a big impact on this but I took it too far. I was always searching for the "flow" state that I found in competition and hard training. It was the place I felt whole again, where I could overcome my injuries and debilitation and soar once more. Now I realize I was just breaking myself down even more and postponing my recovery.When I was 21 I wrote a novel( never published) called " A question of Balance" about my gymnastics competing and coaching experience and that phrase has always stuck with me. Searching for balance has always been a key metaphor in my life, even when I was decidedly out of balance.Perhaps even more because of that.
Now, at 51, in perhaps the best shape of my life, physically and, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually, I feel like I know what that balance looks like, and feels like. I no longer have to be the biggest, or the strongest or the fastest to feel whole. I am whole.
I am so thankful to be out of pain, and be able to move and experience the joy of using my body physically again, to reclaim what I had in the beginning but never really appreciated. They say you don' really know what you have until you lose it and I can attest to that.And how what's really important is so simple and basic that is overlooked by almost all, all the time. And it's right there for everyone to have.
I won't forget this again."

What are you training for?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back from Amsterdam....

I am back from Amsterdam and sitting in the Newark Airport waiting for my flight home and it has been a great few days!

The two day FMS workshop went very well - 44 attendees and was well received by all.  Once again it was primarily physiotherapists with a smattering of trainers and strength coaches.  A great group and I had a blast teaching.

The KB Basics workshop went very well.  KBs are in their infancy in the Netherlands but I think you will be seeing more of them coming along.  Again a great group and a mix of physios and trainers and people just there for their own education.  My workshops are very much based on learning the proper form and not just getting "smoked".  Another great day!

Once again the Human Motion group took very good care of me and I had a great time.  My teaching and presenting was "On" this weekend.  Really good flow and feel to the teaching - those of you who present for a living will know what I am talking about.  Look for more things coming from the Human Motion group!!

Jet lag and fatigue - I made sure my diet was a bit better this trip and made sure I got a good amount of sleep each night and that made a huge difference.  Still feeling the trip but doing well.

Now I get back to work and get ready for the RKC level 1 and RKC level 2 in June!

Oh, and I apparently made someone's blog who was trying to promote Sandbag training and I am a "groove lift/gym bunny" or something to that effect.  This person does not know me and it unaware of my background etc... and why try to insult someone to market a product??
For the record - 1) I like sanbags, 2) if anyone mistakes me for a "gym bunny" they need very serious help with an eye and mental evaluation, 3) putting a 360 lb atlas stone on a 38" platform is apparently a "grooved" lift - LOL  ;)

Funny stuff!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Travel, Training, and Thoughts....

(had to reach a bit for that last T...)

Travel -
I will be leaving tomorrow for Amsterdam to teach a 2 day FMS workshop and a 1 day KB Basics workshop. The Human Motion group is at it again -
I will blog from Amsterdam.

Training -
Pull-ups BW x 10 , 10
Box pistol x 5+5
Full Pistol + 25# x 5+5
One arm push-up x 3+3
Half hour Spinning Class and the taught a 1/2 hour Stretch class

My "cardio" for spinning was good due to KBs ;)
and my first full pistols since dinging my knee a few weeks ago - progress is good.

My weight is down to 189-190 partly due to my training and partly due to Intermittent Fasting and I am overall very pleased with this and will just continue on this program and maybe try to PL at 181 again.

Training - 5/13/08
32kg Get-ups 1+1
32kg Bottoms-up Get-ups x one attempt each arm, 1 right + 0 Left
28kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1 Right + 1/2 Left
24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1+1
{24kg Alternating swing x 20 + 10 Burpees} x 10 sets in 19:25

Great progress (In my opinion) - took 20:15 the last time I did this workout. I had about 30-35 seconds rest between sets and was able to keep the pace. Kicked by butt!
The bottoms up get-ups are revealing an asymmetry between my left and right arms - very interesting.

Thoughts -
And now a collection of random thoughts collected from amongst my Internet travels....

"Training movements not muscles" is a philosophy that I espouse but which movements?
The movements should be dictated by two things - your Goals and your FMS results.
Your goals will direct everything. Your FMS results will guide you as to your restrictions and asymmetries and corrective strategies to "fix" them.
Remember - You cannot optimize dysfunction! Try to get on the track with a bent frame and you will eventually blow a tire (or worse - see the NY magazine article on Women's injuries).

Thanks to Brad Nelson for posting these elsewhere - the top article is on the money spent on youth athletics and the dream of competing on an elite level and the second article is a frightening look at injuries in women's athletics.

Progress on the DL or any lift - If you work on a certain goal exercise for a period of time and do not hit your goal what do you do? Review your routine and I mean your overall routine and then study what you have done. What part of the lift did you miss on? Were you trying to accomplish too much at once or were you aiming at dissimilar targets? Once you have done a thorough debrief and research - restructure and get back at it.
Remember - The weakest link rules the chain.

I will probably add to this post later once I have a chance to get some training in but for now I'll sign off.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Training 5-08-08:

Pull-up + 24# x 5, 5, 5, 5
Box Pistol x 4, 3, 2, 1
1/arm Push-up x 4, 3, 2, 1
Get-up 32kg x 1+1, Bottom-up Get-up 32kg x 1/2+1/2
Get-up 32kg x 2+2
Bottom-up Get-up 24kg x 1+1
Swings - 32kg then 28kg then 24kg
{Side stepping x 20 + 1/arm x 10+10 + Alternating x 20 + 2 arm x 20}
rollouts x 5, 5

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Training 5-6-08:

Pull-ups + 45# x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Box pistols x 3, 2, 2, 2
1/arm Push-ups x 3, 2, 2, 1
24kg Get-ups x 3+3
24kg Bottoms-up Get-up x 1+1
24kg Snatches 10+10 x 6 sets in 8 minutes

I moved the box pistols down a setting maybe 8" off the ground - this is helping me groove my pistols much better.
Ok - I see what the hype is about on the bottoms-up get-up. If safety is assured - it is a great move.
Got a lot of work to do on the snatches!

Otherwise - feeling good and staying busy.

Friday, May 02, 2008

May 2 - Training...

Pull-ups + 25# x 5, 4, 3, 2, 2
Box Pistols x 3, 2, 2, 1
One-arm Push-up x 3, 2, 2, 1
32kg Get-up x 5 singles each arm
32kg Snatches 5+5 x 5 sets in 4:25

This is really a return to some of the most successful training from my past - when I won the first Tactical Strength Challenge in October of 2002. You can see it at the link below.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Keeping it light and Happy...

Easy training and a plan comes together
I will be hitting a combination of bodyweight and kettlebell work for the next few weeks/months.

Bodyweight Pull-ups x 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
1-arm Push-ups x 3, 2, 1, 1
Box Pistols 3, 2, 1, 1
16 kg Get-up x 5 r+L
16 kg 1 arm swings x 25+25+20+20+15+15+10+10+5+5

Pavel's Fighter pull-up program will be the blueprint for the bodyweight work - after a couple of weeks on the bodyweight pull-ups I will cycle back in reps and begin adding weight on the pull-ups. For the one arm push-ups I will work the reps a bit and then go to the one arm/one leg variety. Pistols will work a bit lower depth and then shoot for full bodyweight pistols.
KBs will cycle in weight with a Get-up and Swing/Snatch emphasis.

I reviewed Gray Cook and Lee Burton's new 2 disc DVD set - Secrets of Primitive Patterns and all I can say is WOW - great information. After taking 4 pages of notes on my first viewing I tried some of the screening and assessment tests and it revealed a lot. So I will also be working on some corrective strategies for that. For now it is only available on but maybe will carry it as well.

A belated Congratulations to Sara Cheatham for achieving the rank of Senior RKC - I look forward to working with her in the future. Great to have another strong representation of the RKC School of Strength.

Thank you to those of you who have taken the time to review either my products or my services as requested in the post below.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Request...

I don't often ask for or request things of those that I work with or those that have used my DVDs or services but I am going make an open request to those that have used my services (Personal Training or Workshops) and DVDs (Kettlebell Basics, Secrets of the Shoulder, Secrets of Core training, Secrets of the Knee and Hip, and Corrective Strategies)...

If you have used my services (personal training or workshop) please follow the link below and review me as an RKC Instructor...
(go to the bottom of the page to review me)

If you have used my DVDs please follow the links below and review the product:
Kettlebell Basics:

Secrets of the Shoulder:

Secrets of the Knee and Hip:

Secrets of Core Training - The Backside:

Corrective Strategies:

I have not made this request in the past but feel it is appropriate to ask for the testimonials and feedback on my services and DVDs. For example: I am frequently approached at the RKC I am told that my Kettlebell Basics DVD has been an invaluable tool for preparation but I have only 12 reviews of the product - there should be quite a few more up there.
Thank you in advance.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"You Walk Wrong..."
Great article

Adam Sternbergh has a very good article here on the effect of shoes on our feet and our bodies - as he says in the article "Shoes hurt your feet. They change how you walk."

Pavel and the RKC has been advocating getting people out of their shoes for quite some time now and of course there are resources like "chi running" and other barefoot walking, hiking and running sites that you can find.


Light training today:
Prep work - Z, Thoracic rotation
Windmill 24kg x 5 r+L
Goblet Squat 24kg x 5
{Clean + Front Squat + Press + Swing} x 5 x 10 sets with double 16kg
16 kg Snatches x {20+20+15+15+10+10+5+5}

A light day of training but still some good work - each set of 5 of the complex above is 20 reps and the snatches are very light but continuous so still some good conditioning there.
My back is a little tweaked on the right side - possibly from the shoes I wore to hike on Thursday (see article above).
The workshop went well and I know I will be returning to the Shenandoah National Forest very soon. We had a beautiful drive and a great hike (5 hours).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BMF training today...

BMF: coined by David Whitley - stands for Brutal Minimal Fitness and that is what it is - it is brutal - it is minimal (two exercises) - and it targets your "fitness".

Prep work - Z
24kg Windmill x 3 r+L
24kg Goblet Squat x 5
24kg 2 arm swing x 10
{24kg Alternating Swings x 20 + Burpees x 10} x 10 sets in 20 minutes and 15 seconds

A little Z and stretch and DONE.
Great training - simple and effective!

Thought for the day based on a response to the question I posed on patterning:
"We do not lose anything - We give it away!"

People worry about or believe that the body "wears out" - NO - NO - NO
Your body GIVES away what you do not ask of it. If you don't want to lose something - don't stop doing it.

Yes - being a "high mileage" individual, injuries, surgeries etc....impact our status - however - if you work with a joint mobility program (Like Z - see the link on the right) you can thrive despite your "mileage".

I will be off the grid for a day or so and then the workshop in Roanoke - should be fun!

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