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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  :)

Happy 4th of July, What Kind of Kettlebells, Program Design for Groups

First off, Happy 4th to all my American friends! :)

People ask me a LOT of questions daily—somtimes I even know the answers!   Granted, a lot of the questions don't have clear cut answers, but are very individualized.   For instance - someone asked if they should get competition style kettlebells or the cast iron Dragon Door kettlebells (pretty sure you regular readers already know at least part of my answer).    Like anything though, it depends on what you're doing.   If you aspire to compete in GS, then you should absolutely get competition kettlebells.  No question.  

Personally, I don't like all those distracting colors cluttering up the visual space.*   Here's some more reasons why I train with cast iron kettlebells from Dragon Door:

  • This may not apply to you, but those of us who are on the shorter side find that it's better for us to use the cast iron bells for double kettlebell work.  The competition style kettlebells are so large that when I use 2 of them I have to really alter my stance.   Cast iron kettlebells do get larger, but at that point if I am doing double very heavy kettlebells there's a lot going on.   I wouldn't want to have to do that with double 12kg or 16kg for instance.  
  • As they get heavier, the handles of the Dragon Door kettlebells get thicker.  In general, the handles are thicker than the competition kettlebells.   This thicker handle really works your grip and can be a real challenge - especially on those last few reps.  I've found that my finger strength has increased dramatically.  This has carried over into allowing me to do finger tip pull ups and other fun things!!
  • Generally speaking, since I have a lot of light kettlebells in my collection for myself and others, the cast iron ones take up a lot less room in terms of square footage.

These are just my reasons - and they may or may not apply to your situation - whatever you choose, make sure it's the best choice for you.   Click here for more specific-to-Dragon-Door-Kettlebells reasons.

I mean... look at the handle on ol' 48kg (106lbs) Ivan!

The other thing I get asked about A LOT is program design.   Probably because there are over 60 workouts on now - and I intend on continuing to add more and more.  I've even heard that a few of you who are instructors have been using adapted versions of the workouts on this site for your classes—it's an honor to hear this, btw.  Of course the key is to adapt them to your ability and the ability of the people in your class.   Program design for small and medium sized groups became a snap after I'd been put on the spot so many times to have adaptations or substitutions for people who either didn't know a particular drill (and one with a steep learning curve) or who were working around an injury or other limitation. 

As an instructor, I can't overstate the importance of

  1. Being able to demo anything and everything in your planned workout at any time under any circumstances.
  2. Being able to provide multiple exercise substitutions on the fly and nearly instantly (this takes practice, focus and a great memory - start working on this today, no excuses)
  3. Being able to adapt the workout to fit the situation - providing sufficient challenge without taking things too far and compromising safety.  Learn to read faces for exertion.

Other than that - if you are still struggling to come up with workouts for your class ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Are *THEY* bored with the workouts, or is it *YOU* who is bored with their workouts?  If you are leading multiple classes per day, and no one is complaining, then it's probably you who's bored.
  2. Do you have a mentor in program design?  If not - get one!  David Whitley and Geoff Neupert are great people to look to for great ideas.  Whitley's free report 101 Kettlebell Workouts is a great document to look for effective programming, structures etc.
  3. Get out your HKC, RKC, and RKCII Manuals - there's program design hints all over those.   I was particularly impressed with the simple and effective ideas in the HKC manual.   Do it!
  4. Are you only comfortable teaching a few basic kettlebell exercises?  That's ok!  Remember to add in farmer's walks, planks, halos, and pieces/parts of the get up for infinite variations.
  5. Practice writing out workouts for a few weeks at a time - look at them together and make sure you keep it varied, but working towards building strength and skills.

You should also check out this fab article from RKC Team Leader, Lauren Brooks - she get's specific AND has some great examples: A Simple Guide to Designing a Workout for Kettlebell Instructors

ALMOST forgot - Bonus question answered!

Q: Help! My hubby thought he had ordered the Amasai variety pack, but ordered 2 6-packs of the plain and our kids won't drink that as is!!! What do I do?

A: Amasai... not just for drinking anymore!  Because I'm mega picky about any and all sugars, even naturally occuring sugars (honey, fruit, etc. all still count, people!) I choose to only order the plain Amasai - even though the fruit flavors are absolutely delicious.  TOO delicious I might even argue.   People with kids and teens will concur - these nutritious treats will disappear out of your fridge.   But don't despair - your husband's minor mistake is going to end up being a whole new treat.   Plain Amasai is brilliant for other purposes as well-  here are my original recipes for this power house of an ingredient.



*That's kind of an oblique joke for those of you who know me in real life.


Cast iron bells FTW!

I too greatly prefer the cast iron bells for the same reasons. Another reason I prefer them is because of the coating. The GS bell handles are polished metal and are very slippery, especially when your hands are sweaty. I've found myself stopping swings only because I thought the bell would slide out of my hands. The cast iron bells are textured, so grip isn't affected much by sweat. I feel like I can test my limits more with a cast iron bell.


Awesome post! I am

Awesome post! I am completing the HKC in September, and want to start teaching those basics in my community, and I often wonder how I will know how to program classes. Good advice here, thanks!!



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