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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  :)

Orlando HKC Experience - Testing, Making People Nervous (oops), and More! (Part 3)

Finally back to the last installment of the Orlando HKC Recap! We further worked on the Get Up, with a troubleshooting section.  People who felt like they had a problem somewhere with their get up volunteered to demo and have the HKC participants and instructors help them improve their form. It's fun to watch this learning process even as a helper AND it's a great time to pick up or refine coaching cues and tools. Of course, the most important thing is to make sure that everyone stays safe. If someone is going heavier than normal, or isn't feeling quite confident with a new kettlebell, it's important to learn how to spot someone in the get up. If you've never spotted someone in this capacity, practice with a friend and a light kettlebell- you may be surprised at how much moving around YOU need to do!


Sometimes, people treat the "get up" and the "get down" differently - truth be known, if someone were to take a picture at any point in the get up they shouldn't be able to tell if you were going up or down. "Try to make it match" is a favorite cue of mine in many contexts - especially the get up. Frequently, I ask people to tell me why it seemed easier for them on the way up or the way down, or vise/versa as the situation dictates. "Make it match" is a favorite verbal cue which is also useful for other kettlebell drills. But more on that in another post. So, I challenge you to make a video of yourself performing the get up - with or without a kettlebell or other weight and "make it match." Also, I bet you're moving your hand on the ground all over the place. While technically not "incorrect" in terms of the RKC standard for the get up, I've noticed that people who frequently have to make many adjustments to the position of the feet and hands during the exercise tend to "travel" with the movement and end up in uncomfortable, weak positions. Find where you need to be with that hand - the strongest place, and leave it there - rotate the fingers, sure, but plant the palm. Later when/if you decide to go heavy you'll find these 90 degree angles etc you're forming on the half kneeling windmill will come to your total advantage. I could wax poetic on the get up for hours, so I'll spare you here. Fun fact, the get up was originally a source of extreme personal frustration and tooth gnashing. Now it's a favorite - I get on the floor or a particularly nice patch of grass and practice them (and things like pistols etc) without weight. The movement patterns are just that worthwhile. The trick is to find where the get up fits with your body, and where your body fits with the get up, then you'll begin to love it all the more. I joke that the get up is like a super short tai chi form, hence my constant honing of it with and without weight. As in tai chi, hand and foot position is also extremely important, as is intent. Approach the get up slowly and mindfully - breaking up the 7 steps if necessary for variety and further study/exploration.


Next we came to more group troubleshooting of swings, squats, etc. And a very nice discussion of program design. The program design section was one of the many reasons I was super glad to snag an extra manual that had been slightly damaged during one of the demonstrations. Some people think that since the HKC only covers 3 basic exercises, that this would only result in very boring, repetitive workouts, and bored clients. This couldn't be further from the truth. The beauty of the exercises from the HKC, RKC, and RKC2 is that while they are "simple" they can be literally programmed infinite ways. Even with a class of total beginners with questionable proprioception and coordination, the drills leading up to the kettlebell Swing can be used together to create client confidence, coordination, strength and of course, the ever sought after calorie burn. Adding in a few thoughtful bodyweight or "traditional fitness bootcamp" exercises like step ups, push ups, etc. can help to round out a class if people are unable to really perform the Swing just yet. I am currently developing a small info product for "your first class of beginners" so keep watch for that! :)


Sometimes, kettlebell exercises are seen as much different than other exercises to program, so the discussion and examples given in the HKC manual are not only very important, they're well thought out and concise. All you have to do is commit to executing the program and you really will get some astonishing results for individuals and/or groups. The ability to put together effective, compelling workouts with just a few exercises is an important skill to cultivate. Always consider that you're a client as well- how is your personal programming? Do you prefer specific plans or are your workouts intuitive? How would you take a 20 minute time period and make the most of it for either strength, conditioning, or both? Would you work in skills practice? I should hope so! What if you only have access to a few kettlebells at once? How do you program for a mixed level group? I constantly challenge myself with these ideas. Here's a word problem for you (no math, don't panic!): 2 beginners (1 man, 1 woman) and an advanced woman - you have a 30 minute small group session with them and access to a single 8kg, 16kg, and 24kg kettlebells only. What do you do? Do you have alternative drills ready? Will you use timed sets? I go you go? Teams? How do you keep everyone motivated, challenged and not overwhelmed? It's easy with a good handle on program design and the exercises presented at the HKC.


Next, the participants created workouts for each other, and practiced coaching each other. Because soon, it would be time to test. I was extremely honored to be assigned a group to test on technique and teaching abilities, and of course didn't take this honor lightly. For whatever reason, despite my constant smiling, people think I have an incredibly stern and type-a aspect as well. I guess that's true, but it's because I want us all to do our best and to know how to do our best.


I remember being very little and upon encountering a green garter snake out in the yard and jumping no less than 5 feet in the air (pretty good accomplishment for someone who was probably only 42" tall at the time). Dad told me the snake was more scared of me than I was of it. Sorry Dad, but I found that to be incredibly hard to believe and took refuge up in a tree where I could watch at a safer distance. Such was the same when it came around to the last portion of the Orlando HKC. The three people assigned to me for testing looked pretty darned nervous. I was a little nervous as well though, as I wanted to make sure to do the right thing and uphold the standards of the HKC, the RKC and Dragon Door. I also wanted to make sure that these three participants got as much knowledge and help from this HKC Workshop as humanly possible. This of course meant that I was constantly scrawling down detailed notes, watching very closely and unintentionally making everyone even more nervous. Proud to say, my group all passed with flying colors and left with their certifications and pages of hopefully legible cues, hints, and corrections. Sorry if I overwhelmed anyone in the process.


We ended the day by passing out the certificates of completion and actual HKC certifications to those who had passed. Each participant also received verbal recommendations and encouragements. More group photos were taken, business cards and phone numbers exchanged. We loaded up the kettlebells, helped to tidy the gym and considered which restaurant to utterly and completely destroy. Fortunately for me, it wasn't really over yet! After we ate and said our goodbyes it turned out that Franz Snideman wouldn't be flying home until tomorrow, and I would be able to interview him and otherwise pick his brain on a number of fitness subjects. Franz had been my team leader at the Orlando RKC, and also the instructor for an HKC one of my clients attended and passed earlier this year out in California, so I feel a particular kinship with him. Keep your eye on the Dragon Door website for his interview which is coming very soon.



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