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Rings of Power by Mike GIllette

Rings of Power by Mike Gillette Cool new book from Mike Gillette about Ring Training for all fitness levels. Being on this shoot with Mike was like working with a real live action hero! (And I got to put a cinderblock on him too!) Mike knows his stuff and shares everything you need to know for his versatile go-anywhere ring training.  Full progressions of every exercise, workout plans, and all the know-how to take the training as far as you wish. Good stuff, and yes, that's me on the left side of the cover  :)

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Ask GiryaGirl: Convict Conditioning for Women, Why not 1,000 swings?

Last week was the NPE Mega Training seminar/workshop/event, and I was around to help out and occasionally answer questions, etc. at the Dragon Door table.  If you were there, please say hello!  I'm currently playing "phone tag" with some new local contacts and reviewing/organizing notes from all the really great presentations.   Of course it's always a lot of fun to hear Dan Kennedy speak (and see what kind of wild outfit he has on - the current theme seems to be stripes, in case you were wondering).  Another neat thing about the Mega Training event was it allowed me to talk to other fitness professionals from different backgrounds and who are working with diverse demographics.   This meant some different questions than I've heard in a while.  There was lots of talk about Convict Conditioning, RKC, HKC, and Primal Move, but hearing from gym owners, instructors, and personal trainers led to an interesting and fresh perspective.

Since I made no secret of the fact that I'm nuts about Convict Conditioning, some of the questions from women were interesting.   This seemingly "men only" treasure trove of information with its rugged manly exterior and graphic design is of course fantastic for nearly any trainee. 

Q: Is Convict Conditioning ok for women?

A: Ok is an understatement.   The Convict Conditioning programs and progressions are fantastic for women.   Nearly everyone (with doctor's approval) can at least get started on the first steps immediately.   I've used the ideas, cues and progressions with incredibly athletic men and women as well as a few grandmothers who are just wanting to enjoy life more.  The first steps of the push up and pull up are actually incredibly great for people who are very overweight as well.   The program meets you where you are - and with diligence (but often short sessions), a freakish amount of progress can be made in a relatively short amount of time.  I've found that women in particular (myself included) really like the idea of working on their way to real and true, time tested displays of strength.   Not to mention the short workout times and the fact that they can be done anywhere is fantastic for women - who tend to have some pretty insane schedules.   A lot of my own Convict Conditioning work is done with household chores as the "active rest".  While at first some of the Master Steps can be seen as nearly impossible, they aren't with time and dedication.  Besides, its inspiring to see... and one day that one arm chin up will be mine.  

As someone who travels a fair amount, I really appreciate the fact that I can get in a Convict Conditioning session just about anywhere - sometimes without even leaving the privacy of my own hotel room.   City parks also present great opportunities with pull up bars, dip bars, etc. Or take it to the beach!  Granted, if you're someone who likes to buy contraptions for the sake of the twisted fitness branch of retail therapy, then this barebones mega-efficient method (much like kettlebell training which just requires a purchase of 1 or 2 kettlebells) may take some mental adjustment.  Save up what you would have wasted on gadgets and go get yourself a massage, day at the spa, or some incredible local food.

Q: I see all this talk on Facebook and Twitter about very high rep 1,000+ kettlebell Swing workouts, why aren't you doing them?

A: As you may have guessed from the answer to the previous question, I am moderately obsessed with efficiency.   One of the things which really attracted me to kettlebell training was the fact that I wouldn't have to spend hours and hours doing this stuff.   I could get a LOT of very meaningful training done quickly and then move on to my other world-domination-related projects.  I'm a "sprinter" not a "marathoner."   One of my more annoying jokes: if it's longer than a 5K, I'll go get the car.    But a LOT of folks are really into marathons, and I think that's great - do what excites you, do what inspires YOU!   For example, Tracy Reifkind is really into mega high rep, lengthy workouts- which I would personally classify as more "marathons."  I really admire her, her programs, and her incredibly inspirational story of transformation.  However, I'm not a marathoner.  At a workshop or special event I might consider doing something super high rep as a kind of challenge or special thing, but you won't catch me doing it on my own time.  

What are my "sprints" like?  Choosing a moderate to heavy kettlebell (which is different for everyone, so I won't post weights here) and in a given amount of time, or with a short rep range, performing strong, fast-hip snap, straight arm, glute-driven, feet destroying the ground with their grip, abs rock-hard, full intensity kettlebell swings.  I rest when I need to, and stop before my grip fails, or before damage is done to my hands.  Similarly, if I feel something odd happening to my form, I stop and either reset or rest and reset if necessary.   But that's me.  That's what I do.  I never was a "runner" or into prolonged endurance training.  

Yesterday at my small group class, we got an incredible amount of strength and fat loss work done in just 30 minutes - enough time to sandwich it all with Primal Move as our warm up and cool down.  I'll post that workout later, it's a fun one.  

As an aside, Geoff Neupert author of the Kettlebell Burn programs (highly recommended) sent out an email yesterday talking about how in some cases, super high volume training can lead to effects which may be counter to your fitness goals.  Especially for women who are wanting to trim down...  so... are you doing "billions and billions" (Carl Sagan moment) of swings because you love endurance training—or are you doing these long high rep workouts because you feel like you're obligated to do them for fat loss?   It's not a requirement... short, intense and form-focused gets the job done too.   It's up to you, so do what you love.

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