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RKC Classic Kettlebells

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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  :)

Monster Monday Kettlebell Workout - with Optional Sandbag

Monday's small group class was really inspired by the fact I brought them some "presents" from my visit to Tallahassee's Laurel Blackburn, RKC Level 2 AND Dragon Door distributor for the Southeast USA. Read about the first day of that visit: Girya Girl visits Tallahassee Kettlebell Day 1 Anyway, true to form I brought a few things back for them - a 28kg, 14kg, and a "women's" smaller handle 16kg (which was admittedly purchased for selfish reasons). The guys were amused at the way the kettlebells were packed - external strapping x4, double boxed, bagged, tagged and further immobilized with styrofoam. Which works great to protect them in shipping and is all fun and games until you have to unpack 6 tons or so of them before a workshop (admittedly, that can also be fun in a weird way).  I brought down a few pocket knives and we unwrapped them together before class, and unloaded my car from the beginner's class I had held earlier in the day off-site.   By the time we were done there were kettlebells of all sizes in a big happy cluster off to one side.  Fantastic weather yesterday probably also inspired the "kicking it up a notch" aspect - the guys were feeling good and ready to burn off the weekend.

We started out with our joint mobility exercises, a few warm up swings, and a quick intro to Power Breathing.   Maybe its my interest in Tai Chi and martial arts, but I've always been intriqued with Power Breathing. At the Chicago RKC, I had the opportunity to ask how to help one of my small group participants who occasionally gets lightheaded (he sometimes forgets to keep the full body tension OUT of his head - and I really watch him on this...) and Power Breathing practice in front of a mirror was the recommendation given by Pavel and John Engum.  I also use the "relax your face" cue to help clients from putting their own heads in a veritable internal vise-grip!  Its VERY important not to hold your breath or to keep tension in your head/neck.  Following up, at Andrea Du Cane's Ageless Body Workshop, we learned more details about Power Breathing and the Power Breathing crunch from the Kettlebell Goddess herself.   After this tutorial and the valuable Q&A from everyone I finally felt comfortable demonstrating and teaching this great practice.   We practiced our Power Breathing and Power Breathing crunches - something you don't need to do a ton of - if you are ABLE to do a ton of them, there's a chance you're not really doing them correctly - they are THAT intense.

The guys were inspired by the new kettlebells, and when I told them to pick something on the heavy side, they were more than happy to oblige.  The spirit of CHALLENGE was in the air, after I told them we'd be doing a version of the Sissy Challenge, they suggested that we throw some sandbags into the mix and make it heavy kettlebell swings and sandbag burpees... thus Monday became MONSTER MONDAY!

Without further ado:

  • Power Breathing and/or Power Breathing Crunch Practice.  FOCUS!
  • 15 heavy (but not so heavy as to keep you from PERFECT form!) 2 hand kettlebell swings
  • 1 Sandbag Burpee
  • 14 Heavy 2 hand Kettlebell swings
  • 2 Sandbag Burpees
  • .............
  • down to 1 heavy 2 Hand Kettlebell Swing
  • 15 Sandbag Burpees

Take breaks when necessary this can get really intense, but always keep moving - "Fast and Loose as Pavel would say!

After a short break, lying leg raises using the super high tech "ab stations" (I am being sarcastic, we grab onto some conveniently placed poles anchored into the ground) and performed very strict leg raises - feet flexed, lower back crammed into the ground - if it pops up, you're done, stop and start over!  

Last but not least, heavy single kettlebell carries - really focusing on keeping the shoulders down and back, thinking of pinching the scapula together to create what Andrea Du Cane amusingly calls "Back Cleavage" - a funny, memorable cue that NEVER seems to fail.

Finally we finished up with joint mobility.

It was a great MONSTER MONDAY!


Additional interesting info about breathing - you have to do it anyway, right?

Really good tutorials about Power Breathing are in Pavel's classic bodyweight exercise program The Naked Warrior and a great live demo of both Power Breathing and the Power Breathing Crunch (the ONLY crunch you will catch me doing EVER... btw) are on the Kettlebell Goddess DVD



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