This week’s episode features a conversation with Stephen Reiners, who recently earned his HKC and SCC certifications at the workshop I led in Durham, NC. Stephen is an avid GORUCK enthusiast, kettlebell and bodyweight exercise and natural leader. He recently traveled to Normandy to be part of the GORUCK D-Day 75th Anniversary Challenges, specifically the Omaha Beach Challenge. Stephen shares his experience at the event and what inspires him to participate in GORUCK. We also talk a little about some of the specific training we do to keep him able to enthusiastically complete multiple challenges a year. This episode of course also includes upcoming events, the question of the week, workout tip of the week, a thing of the week, and of course some extra surprises.
Be sure to sign up for the November 16th and 17th Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification and Strength Calisthenics Certification happening in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Master RKC and good friend of many years Michael Krivka will be teaching the HKC, and I’ll be teaching the SCC the next day. Level up your skills as a fitness professional or exercise enthusiast on one special weekend.
Fresh on the calendar at NCSystema.com: I’m leading an intensive and focused seminar on the kettlebell get-up here in Durham North Carolina on August the 10th! Taught by Adrienne Harvey, RKC Team Leader, Senior PCC Instructor, CK-FMS.
Spend a full afternoon focused on this incredible exercise. Beginners will learn great habits from the start. Intermediate and advanced kettlebell enthusiasts will dial in their form making every rep that much more effective. Nearly every sport and human activity can be improved when we practice properly performed get-ups — with and without weight! This coordination, core, strength, shoulder stability, flexibility, and mobility powerhouse is useful for nearly everyone… but there’s a fairly steep learning curve. If you’ve tried to learn this powerful but oddly complex move from a book, video, or even in a group class and still feel lost, then this workshop is absolutely for you. Even “the experts” on social media are regularly sharing sub-par get-ups… and leaking strength!
I’ll show you how to avoid many common mistakes so that you can get the most out of your get-ups. We’re going to break it down so that you can practice this exercise safely and effectively in your own workouts and in the group sessions you might already be attending. You will also learn how the get-up and its component parts can be programmed as nearly infinite variations within workouts. The last hour will be dedicated to Q&A, practice, and of course individual problem solving.
Bring a water bottle and hand towel. Kettlebells will be provided. I will have new, in box Dragon Door kettlebells in various useful sizes available for purchase at the event (contact me if you would like to purchase one ahead of time and I will reserve it for you. Dragon Door 8kg, 12kg, 16kg, and 20kg kettlebells will be available: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Event Tuition: $50 Visit NCSystema.com click the schedule tab then the seminars and special events section on the drop down. Or visit the show nows from this episode for the direct link: https://www.ncsystema.com/events/2019/8/10/kettlebell-get-up-intensive-seminar
Also visit NCSystema.com for local classes in Strength and conditioning with me, or Systema, self defense, and other specialized topics with Systema HQ certified instructors here in Durham, NC. They’re always adding awesome workshops and events to their calendar so check it out now.
Question of the Week!
Q: I’m a beginner, which kettlebell should I start with? What kettlebell did YOU start with?
A: This is actually one that comes up in conversation out in the real world fairly often. Especially right now since I’ve ordered quite a lot of kettlebells to have for upcoming events and a few special training packages I’ll be offering soon in Durham. Oddly enough, I still think that the old Dragon Door party line from way back still holds true here. I’ll include a little chart I made a few years ago in the show notes for you:
First off – if you have the opportunity to work with an HKC or RKC before even buying a kettlebell I would recommend doing that. Actually I’m going to have that as the top recommendation… that way they can make a recommendation that’s specific to you and you can also try the kettlebells that they have so you can know what to expect when your kettlebell arrives. That being said here’s the old and I think still relevant recommendations from Dragon Door:
An average woman may wish to start with an 8kg which is 18lbs and while that sounds like to me, sometimes this number will sound really heavy if someone is coming to kettlebells from mainstream fitness classes or cardio-based approaches. It’s important to realize that you’ll be using your whole body with this weight – and this is true for all the recommendations I’m about to give.
A strong woman will likely want to start with a 12kg. This is what I started with back in the day and was surprised to see exactly how much this seemingly small little thing really wore me out. While someone who is really dedicated, motivated, and consistent will move past this size quickly for two hand swings and squats, it’s a size that will always remain useful.
An average guy will want to start with a 16kg kettlebell, and while it may take some coaxing to get him to try this size, it’s important to learn to form correctly. At first I think kettlebell training is much less about the kettlebell and much more about learning to move correctly—especially now as the general population becomes more and more sedentary. Something to note is that average height to tall guys who are working on their hip and hamstring mobility may need to raise the kettlebell up a little (a 16kg is relatively short) on a block (we use a foot long chunk of a 4×6 wooden fence post here) so that they don’t have to compromise their form to reach down to the kettlebell.
A stronger guy who has been pretty serious about his strength training or who has been training in other systems with kettlebells, but who wants to learn our Hardstyle Technique is likely good to go with a 20kg kettlebell. Again, everyone is different, and it’s best to err on the side of light when beginning – we don’t want to compromise our movement patterns to compensate for the load. And while 20kg and even 24kg may not sound heavy at all to someone who’s been serious about barbell training in any capacity, they’ll soon discover that this is an entirely different animal.
Very strong and/or large guys who have lifting experience are likely good to go with the 24kg.
Again, it really is helpful to start out with a certified instructor. Until I found a local RKC to work with, I thought I’d been doing things correctly from books, videos, and online articles. This was back in about 2008-2009 and I had somehow lucked into finding great resources that I still stand by today—but even with those guides, by the time I found an instructor to train with I had a LOT to unlearn and relearn. Do yourself a favor and get with an instructor ASAP! Find an RKC or HKC Instructor near you
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Chat with Stephen Reiners, GORUCK and kettlebell enthusiast about his experience at the GORUCK Normandy Omaha Beach event.
Training Tip of the Week:
The goblet squat… the old standby, 1/3 of the HKC workshop… and really one of the best ways to get nearly anyone to start doing great squats. But there’s another way to think about it – and I’ve found that this is surprisingly helpful. Past a certain point, I started feeling the challenge of this lift more in the core/abs than legs. As we pull ourselves down into the squat, it takes quite a lot of abdominal engagement to maintain the straight spine in the bottom position, and this can be new for a lot of people, their impulse is often to let the tailbone tuck under in order to get lower than maybe they need to be. That’s the whole “buttwink” phenomenon – you know when someone’s rear tucks under at the lowest point of the squat only to pop back up as they start back up to standing. If you start to feel strain in the lower back instead of the legs, butt, abs, then there’s a big chance that the buttwink is happening. So…what to do?
First, if you have the proprioception for it (or even better, a trusted workout partner), try to determine how far you are into the squat before you sense the “buttwink” about to happen. Then, for the next few reps – or weeks really, only squat to the depth JUST before the tailbone starts to tuck under. Using your abs, fight to keep the spine long and straight… this will be surprisingly difficult if you’ve got the habit to just let it tuck under. I find that often people who are habitually doing bodyweight squats very low will have this habit – and while there’s nothing wrong safety wise with bodyweight squats and the buttwink, we don’t want to do it with an external load. Over time, fighting to keep the spine long by engaging the abs/trunk/core will allow you to squat very deeply and safely with a kettlebell, sandbag, or whatever you may have at your disposal.
Book of the Week!
Neuro-Mass by Jon Bruney
This is not a new book, but it’s been in heavy rotation here ever since it was published back in 2013. Now, full disclosure, I’m one of the models in this book – but even if I wasn’t I would still really like the approach in this book. In fact, I’ve been using it very recently to add some variety to a distance client’s training. If you get this book, it does require a bit of “assembly” to create the workouts, but I feel like it’s well worth it. So, if you get the book go ahead and buy a set of those little post-it page marker tab things students use in their textbooks – be sure get a pack that has at least 4 colors. You’ll need these to mark the pages and sections so that you can quickly assemble your workouts. My copy has been used so much that I’ve broken the binding accidentally and will likely get it spiral bound because it would be nice to have this lay flat. Like I said, some assembly required. If you do end up purchasing the book and would like more info on how to use it, email email@example.com or leave a message at 321-316-3533 and talk me into doing a series of blog posts about it!
I’ve even adapted some workouts from Neuro-Mass to use with small group training (assuming everyone has a requisite fitness level). Every time I’ve run a class with one, people really like the variety and the creativity that just permeates Jon Bruney’s work in general. If your training has stagnated and you need to mix it up, then check out Neuro-Mass. A little behind the scenes story: this was the first Dragon Door photoshoot I was on and there were so many different and strenuous exercises that it took two full days to capture everything. The team was fantastic and we all had fun on the shoot, even though it was very challenging. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Should also add that Neuro-Mass is on sale right now at Dragon Door (I’ll include a link in the show notes) for 50% off along with a bunch of other really great titles.
Wrapping it up:
Thanks so much for listening to this episode of the GiryaGirl.com official podcast. Be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss the next episode next week. If you like this podcast please leave a review on iTunes, I know it’s a pain but it will really help the show out! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/official-giryagirl-com-podcast/id862731884 You can also support the show by visiting giryagirl.com or kettlebellsofficial.com. Any purchases you might make through the links on those sites help this show with no additional cost to you.
Hope you enjoyed this episode, and I’ll see you next week!