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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  :)

RKC Orlando 2010 Recap Part Four: Friday part 3

Following a short (strictly timed) 10 minute break we came back to our places on the unforgiving astroturf and got into 1 of 2 approved "learning positions" (yes, I know how this sounds, but there's a logic to it - neither of these put the body into flexion, and can help stretch in a gentle way, the one most of us chose had us on our bellies in something similar to a "cobra" pose in yoga, or the way you sometimes see children watch tv from the floor).   For some of us, this unusual position was the cause of some discomfort.   I'd been trying to do things like read, watch Top Gear, etc for the previous months while on the floor in this way - especially since there was mention that the Spetsnaz (not the band) were required to read/study in this position and I am a TOTAL NERD about stuff like that.   The only problem that arose was the astroturf, which began to aggressively exfoliate everyone's knees and elbows after a while.   Small price to pay for the nice shade structure, so I'm not going to pretend to complain.


We came back and Pavel continued his talk, transitioning from the Goblet Squat towards the Swing.   Since certain celebrity trainers (ahem) have been getting bad press for bad form lately, the average new client will probably come to us with some strange ideas of how to do a kettlebell Swing - so our job was to basically trick them into doing it correctly - instead of saying OK we are now going to do kettlebell swings - and have them do whatever preconceived notion is in their head (and possibly causing injury and/or bad habits etc).  This is when the super essential hip hinge movement was introduced - which you can read more about here as well as the idea of "tricking" a client into doing their first Swing. The hip hinge is so essential to many of the kettlebell exercises - so it is a very good idea to be extremely comfortable with this movement. So - after teaching us the hike pass to get the kettlebell moving behind us, Pavel had us do this a few times then told us to stand up at a critical moment - congrats that was a Swing. Then by some kind of odd twist of fate/sitting up front they chose me to demonstrate this! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. So there I am... Pavel, The Pavel, with that accent is telling me to do what we just did basically, but three hikes then stand up, 2 hikes then stand up and well everyone is watching intently and I'm trying not to forget what numbers are. Managed to keep my cool though and not mess anything up - btw the mantra for that is "normal...normal...normal...normal". He's really cool btw, later on I'll try and remember some of the "Russian Jokes" he told throughout the program. We were given several corrective drills for common problems or misconceptions that a given person will have when learning the kettlebell Swing.


Brett Jones began his talk on the Get Up, the oft loved, oft hated complex 7 part exercise. There are so many reasons to do the get up regularly - it really has something for everyone: shoulder stability, strength, core activation, balance, upper body, lower body all with a heavy dose of kinesthetic awareness development.  I had been doing about 105 Get Ups per week in training for the RKC so I was ready for this lesson and excited to hear what Brett Jones would have to say about it. However, my relationship with the get up was not always so amicable (this is common).  Its a fight at first - you feel like you've got not only 2 left feet but maybe 3 left feet and one wobbly arm and none of these haphazard limbs are doing what they should be doing - oh and you can't really see what's going on either... All the more reason to make sure you learn this from someone who's RKC or HKC certified. The last thing you want to do is learn/practice bad habits - its hard to unlearn things.


After a class photo and much appreciated catered lunch we came back for the Beast/IronMaiden challenge. The "Beast" kettlebell weighs 106lbs and the challenge is men have to do a weighted pull up with it, a pistol (one legged squat) and strict military press (don't even think about turning it into a side or bent press). Women must do the same thing, but with a 24 kilo kettlebell. It personally irks the heck out of me that I can't yet press a 24 kilo kettlebell, but that's a discussion for another time. Chris Davis of Orlando decided to give it a go. He knocked out the pull up and nearly made it look easy - the pistol gave him some pause, but as the Star Spangled Banner played and wafted over from the ballfield next door, he managed to do it! All that was left was the press... the evil evil press. He was REALLY close, but will need to try again another time - it was an amazing attempt and I'm very proud to say that he's from our town here.


More lecture and troubleshooting various exercises and how to teach them followed - concluding with us getting back into our teams and practicing swings, and practicing coaching swings.


Then they began a lecture about troubleshooting the get up - you know the 7 part exercise we talked about before? That one... and there's all kinds of stuff that can go wrong - not to scare you - you should try it anyway, just don't use a kettlebell until you know what you're doing. We partnered up and practiced troubleshooting each other's technique, finding metaphors that spoke to our given partner. I had been paired up with someone who had an extensive golf background, so the golf Swing came into play with great results... I'm going to remember that. We assembled back as a large group and Pavel asked for someone to volunteer to have us all fix their get up - he specifically asked for someone who was having multiple problems etc.  Pavel then said that everyone should gather around close because one of US would be picked to critique and help this person. We all moved closer, but as we did, he began his get up. I did see most of it, which is a very very good thing because Andrea DuCane, Senior RKC and the Kettlebell Goddess herself closed her eyes and randomly pointed into the crowd... which was to say randomly pointed right at me. AAA!!!!!!!  I was completely nervous, hadn't seen the very beginning of this get up and was immediately handed a microphone. Pavel was looking at me, Andrea DuCane was looking at me, everyone was waiting. OH GAWD. I have a microphone in my hand and it isn't live band karaoke night!! What to do what to do what to do what to do. Thankfully this volunteer's get up had a few problems to choose from so I racked my brain to remember a few - which I did - then asked him to repeat the beginning - where I nearly gasped when I saw how extremely hyperextended his elbows would get - gah! It was hard not to make a face about it - ouch ouch ouch ouch. Really rare to find this with a male, but everyone is different and that's part of the fun/challenge of training. Pavel discussed corrective exercises for this condition, and we continued to work through his get up. Finally, I gratefully handed back the microphone. WHEW!!!


Following that adventure, we broke up into our teams and practiced troubleshooting the get up amongst ourselves - following a break we did our first group workout: A Franz Snideman original circuit repeated into infinity. Following the workout Pavel told us not to go drinking (haha) and we boarded the bus back to the hotel. I was doing pretty well, endurance/physically but my brain was going a million miles an hour - some of that was dedicated to getting into my backpack and eating whatever was inside. After sitting in the hotel room going "buuuhhhhh" for a bit I decided to walk down to Downtown Disney to find a burger or pizza or whatever other item I'd sworn off of in order to help make the weigh in... I ended up at Wolfgang Puck's and sorta stuffed my face - but had leftovers - which would be useful later. While walking around I noticed that my posture seemed to have improved... and when I got back, and fired up my netbook, I felt odd sitting on the bed... I had already been somewhat conditioned to the learning position, and got back to that - which is not so great for typing but whatever. I didn't stay up late though, because I had been warned of the heavy volume that would be taking place the next day... Saturday....


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