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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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Three Kettlebell Get-Up Game Changers... (and a bonus controversial one) With VIDEO

Hope I’m not giving the impression that the get-up is chock full of pitfalls, peril, and potential catastrophe. But I do know that the get-up can be overwhelming and frustrating not only for kettlebell newbies but also for people trying to teach it. This post is aimed at both the people who may be new to the get up as well as the people who might be TEACHING the get up.

First of all, if you haven’t already checked it out, and if you’re having a hard time with your get-up from the very first few movements, please check out my “Get-Up Pet Peeves” post and video. Speaking of video… even if you have no aspirations to become a YouTube or Instagram star, one of the most effective training tools you have might be in your pocket or gym bag right now—the camera on your phone! The common mistakes mentioned below can all be easily spotted by a training partner, your instructor or coach, or… if neither are available, you can check yourself by taking a short video.

1. Not keeping the elbow locked out. Even the best of us fall victim to this one, especially as we get tired, or on that last get-up of the workout. Beginners and fatigued experts alike can have difficulty feeling when that elbow starts bending a little, but it is SO important to keep that arm locked—and not just because it looks cooler, it’s also keeping you safe. With a locked out arm, there’s no way to drop that kettlebell on your head. Have your instructor, trainer, or workout partner (or trusted bystander) watch your elbow during the whole get-up, but especially as you’re coming back down.

If you are experienced and are still having issues with the elbow bending, it could be as simple as a bad habit, OR you could be using too much weight. I had the very **exciting** (read: hair-raising) experience of spotting someone doing an extremely heavy get-up, and if I hadn’t been watching his elbow right from the very beginning, we could have had a big problem (as in a big dint in the floor) or the real risk of a serious injury.

2. Not keeping the kettlebell-holding wrist straight.
This is usually more of a “rookie mistake” than the other two mistakes on this list, but still warrants a mention. While people who are in the habit of RKC Hardstyle kettlebell training typically keep their wrist straight out of habit, those who are new, or who are experienced exercisers in the habit of having a bent wrist with barbell training will need to give this point some attention. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy fix, though with the first tip, you may need an instructor, workout partner, or video camera to let you know when you’re letting that wrist bend back.

Besides, once you get the hang of this, you’ll see that it not only feels better for heavier weights, it looks cooler, and more powerful. My favorite cue to help folks with this (and to also keep in my own head) are “punch the sky”. Many people also respond well to the idea of over exaggerating bending the wrist forward and the correlating cue of “gooseneck the wrist".  A word of caution: with lighter kettlebells I find that I can actually push my fist forward, which is not the point here, and some people misunderstand “gooseneck” and make the bent-wrist problem worse instead of better. Try “punch the sky” and see what happens.

You can also work on the habit of a straight wrist by doing get-ups while balancing something flat and lightweight on the tops of your knuckles. Common objects used for this purpose at HKC and RKC certifications are a shoe, a yoga block, etc. This is also a great mindfulness challenge. No focus and that object is on the ground in no time.

3. Not giving yourself “enough room” when coming back down.
If you feel like you’re getting all tangled up with yourself when you’re coming back down from the standing position in the get-up, it might be for a very simple reason. You might not be taking a big enough step back on that step-back lunge! For whatever reason I find that men often underestimate how much space they need to get back down. “Give yourself enough room” and “make sure you make room for you” are the two cues I use besides the most obvious “BIG step back, bigger than you think you might need”. This is yet another occasion that an instructor, workout partner, or video camera will come in handy.

A related issue is that some people will have problems with their workout surface – often that towel or yoga mat below you will turn against you… this can be dangerous so make sure to check your materials first and do NOT let the location/position/size of your mat or towel dictate your movement with the get up. You have the brain, the mat does not, so make sure you’re the boss. You may find yourself moving off the mat or needing much more space than the mat provides. This is the case for me, and I’m a petite woman. If you’re a 6’ tall guy, and confining yourself to a standard yoga mat, you’re robbing yourself! Seize your destiny and give yourself enough room—during setup and especially with the step back on your lunge!

These last tip is reaaalllly nitpicky and controversial, so it may or may not apply to you. Personally and professionally, it’s been a game changer for me, but not everyone would agree for their own situations. But if you’re struggling to really find your get-up power, or your clients/students seem especially confused when you work on the get-up with them, then this cue have a whole lot of value for you.

FIND where your non-kettlebell-holding-hand needs to be, then LEAVE IT THERE.
None of this adjusting, picking up and putting down, sliding backwards business. Yes, ROTATE the palm and fingers at the dictated times, but leave the palm on the floor in the same place. On your own time, find where you fit into the movement so that you can leave the hand in one place… it takes some experimenting over a few minutes, but it can be a great investment of your time. I have also observed that beginners learned the get-up faster and with less confusion when it is demonstrated without any extraneous hand movements. All that moving around and adjusting the back hand can really confuse your beginners. While they will probably still move their hand around since they’re finding their way, they’ll do it naturally, and NOT because they think that it’s a required part of an already complex movement. Chances are they’re already overthinking and most likely overwhelmed by the standard, required bits of the get-up at first, so why introduce even more distracting movement!

A long time ago, I was observing a workshop where many of the participants were confused by get-up rules which were simply too loose. They wanted to know “where to put their other hand” and while the explanation from the instructor was not technically incorrect, there was not enough information for them to work with. Just like anything, having ridged guidelines at least at the beginning can accelerate the learning process. When the beginner fully understands the movement from this basic platform, then they can intelligently experiment if they wish—or they may find that they have so much power from this proven position that they continue to use it for years. That’s what I’ve done! ☺

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