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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  :)

Strength Pyramid: A Simple Kettlebell and Calisthenics Combination

Strength Pyramid Workout

Couldn't resist using this neat photo of the pyramid at the Louvre. Having recently become 41, I remember seeing this interesting structure during its construction (I was VERY young, maybe 7 or 8 at the time). The massive excavation was fascinating, and I would only see the completion of it many years later in the late 90s. "Oh, so that's how it turned out!" The sense of scale is lost in photos.

We all know that a pyramid is a very strong and stable structure. The shape can also inspire challenging workouts. Unlike a ladder format, where the reps build each set, the pyramid adds reps, reaches a pinnacle then subtracts reps from each set. I like to use pyramids in my own workouts and programming and also for my clients. Particularly with interesting and reasonably challenging moves like upper body pulls and presses (though usually not at the same time).

Pyramid workouts are not just for strength moves either, Master RKC Phil Ross has a formidable pyramid of kettlebell snatches that is humbling to say the least. You may be tempted to try and add up the total reps for the workout before attempting it, but I'd encourage you to wait until you've completed it first! (While there's a warm-up and particular context for his workout, the basic gist is to start with one kettlebell snatch on the right, then one on the left, two on the right, two on the left.... all the way up to 10 and then back down. While that doesn't necessarily sound too bad to those of us well acquainted with the RKC kettlebell snatch test, I can assure you that 2nd set of 9 reps on the way back down is a meanie.)

I had a little bit of time between tasks recently and felt like not just training pull-ups but also getting in a fair amount of kettlebell get-ups too. It's been SO cold outside (it was down in the teens the other night, which for me is new and interesting) that I haven't been able to train much outside. Thankfully I've kept a big part of the living room open and free of furniture so that there's plenty of space for oodles of kettlebells (they line the walls in a few places to be honest), the Dragon Door pull-up bar, an Assault Air Bike, and other fun things like Neuro-Grips, etc. So, after some joint mobility moves I went right to work with this pyramid built on a submaximal rep range of pull-ups (I can do many more than six. If you're curious about trying the workout for the first time, cut your max pull-up reps in half and aim for that "size" pyramid.). Basically, what you can do--and how much time you have for the session--will determine the "height" of the pyramid. On this day, I only had the time to go to six as you see below. tomorrow I feel like really going for it after training someone in the morning, so that could be interesting.

It's also interesting to note how the pull-ups feel a little different on each side after the get-ups! :)

  • One kettlebell get-up (right side)
  • One dead hang pull-up (or choose your own grip... remember this is a full range movement and no kipping)
  • One get-up (left side)
  • Two pull-ups
  • One get-up (right side)
  • Three pull-ups
  • One get-up (left side)
  • Four pull-ups
  • One get-up (right side)
  • Five pull-ups
  • One get-up (left side)
  • Six pull-ups
  • One get-up (right side)
  • Five pull-ups
  • One get-up (left side)
  • Four pull-ups
  • One get-up (right side)
  • Three pull-ups
  • One get-up (left side)
  • Two pull-ups
  • One get-up (right side)
  • One pull-up
  • One get-up (left side)

I liked this combination so much that I modified it for a client who's current max pull-ups is seven.  So, while this made a kind of short pyramid, she went through it twice, which proved to be challenging in almost a whole new way with the two pyramids both peaking at three pull-up reps.

If you're not quite at 6-7 pull-ups, this same workout structure can be plenty challenging with Aussie pull-ups (aka bodyweight rows) in place of the traditional pull-ups. The angles will be a bit different, so make sure you do a timed hang or two during that same session.

Let me know if you try the workout or come up with your own variation!

Recent interviews at Dragon Door (There's more on the way too, but you need to check these out in the mean time):

Speaking of Dragon Door, their sale items category is still going strong. Lots of great stuff in there including the Pavelizer that I've been enjoying--and that I still owe you a video for!

Also of note: THE PODCAST is coming back! Look for a new episode landing on Tuesday, February 6th. Look for upgraded audio quality and an improved format too. It's a work in progress, as is everything and I welcome your feedback, especially if you've been listening since I started it back in 2014 (not a typo). You can listen here on iTunes, Stitcher, RSS, or right from the podcast's own site.


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