Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Do The Move! Don't Just Make the Shape."

When fellow RKC assistant, friend, and RKCII (now Team Leader!) Andrew Read from Dragon Door Australia said this as he was teaching the group at the RKC in April, a little lightbulb went off in my head. I feel like I've been saying that forever, just not in that way.  I've been using lots of words to say the same thing, like "don't just go through the motions, feel what your muscles are doing" and "don't think of your 'to-do' lists in the gym, focus on your body and what you're doing - you'll get more out of your workout".

What these people were doing, in essence, is "making the shape" of the exercise and not "doing the move".

I'll give you an example of someone "making the shape". This lady is the one in your gym right now reading a magazine on the leg extension or the inner thigh machine.  You know you've all seen her and this is not to pick on women, but it's usually a woman reading a People Magazine about how Jessica Alba got into bikini shape.  I digress...

Now, I'm not going to say I'm a huge fan of machines, but if you actually concentrate on the muscles you're working, control the weight with your muscles instead of letting the weight control your movements, you may actually get some benefit from those machines.  Those people probably saw a trainer from across the gym show a client how to work that machine, saw the shape that person was making, and copied the shape. What they didn't hear was the trainer coaching the client on how to effectively do the move: activating different muscle groups, squeezing the muscles at the top of the movement, and then controlling the weight back onto the stack.

So how does this relate to kettlebells?

Doing the Move is HUGE!

Ok, so I'm not going to name any names.  Partly because there are too many out there- on youtube, trainers in your gyms, trainers on TV....  Most of the people you see are making the shape.  They generally say the right things- that the kettlebell is an extreme handheld gym (I would clarify: "in the right hands"), that it works your whole body (clarification: "if you do it right"), and you burn more calories in a shorter amount of time (again: "if you do it right").  But the problem is, what they demonstrate is not incorporating the things they are saying.

Here's my video on what NOT to do!

Now, you probably won't get hurt doing this with light weight.  It's fine, but you can do it with a dumbbell and you're not getting the maximum benefit from the kettlebell, its unique shape and center of mass, and the total body workout you're looking for.  It's a squat and forward raise- awesome for quads and anterior delts.

When you actually do the move, it looks something like this:

You're activating every muscle in your body. The swing motion (back and forth NOT up and down) is generated by throwing your hips back, throwing the kettlebell behind you, and then allowing your legs to do the work to swing the kettlebell forward.  Your body stops in a standing plank position at the top and your arms are loose- allowing the kettlebell to swing.

This is one of the big reasons I clung to kettlebells like I did.  The way Pavel and the awesome team of instructors at the RKC teach kettlebell techniques fit the way I've always trained.

You can't just go into a gym or pop in a video, put in your time, and think you're going to get results.

So get with a local RKC and start Doing the Move!  The results with be worth it!


If you want to see the whole video with my commentary, here it is:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Snatch Wave Workout

Another quick and effective workout. All kettlebell snatches this time. I used one snatch test size bell (16k), one below (12k), and one above (20k).  I would recommend using something you're comfortable with for the "snatch test size bell" and then one above and below.  This is what I did:

Snatch Wave
12k - 10R, 10L
16k - 10R, 10L
20k - 10R, 10L
16k - 10R, 10L
12k - 10R, 10L
16k - 10R, 10L
20k - 10R, 10L
16k - 10R, 10L
12k - 10R, 10L
16k - 10R, 10L
for 200 total snatches

Then take your lightest bell and perform a 5 minute snatch test with that.  I got 110 in 5 minutes.

Between the different sized snatches in the Snatch Wave section, rest as much as you feel like you need to. I wasn't in a huge rush. The 200 snatches took me about 18min. It was fun to groove with the 12k and 16k and then really focus with the 20k- something I don't often snatch.  

Let me know how it goes for you!

ps- I have been doing my TGU's and they're getting better! I don't LOVE them yet, but I'm building a better appreciation for what they do for my body.  The day after that first TGU workout I posted, my arms felt like noodles. Very strong and capable noodles, but noodles just the same. I like that =)  

How are you doing with your TGUs?

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Watch Steff.  She is about as bad-a$# as you can get.
Busy mother of three beautiful girls, all under the age of 9.
Doesn't necessarily have time for exercise. She makes time. With kettlebells, it's easy.

Steff weighs about 115lbs.
Seen here swinging an 80lb kettlebell. That's 70% of her body weight.
It's the biggest one I had at the time.  She swings it like its a 12k.

She'll tell you, she wasn't a huge fan of working out and used to dread it (used every excuse in the book!). But with kettlebells, she gets to the workout because she knows it's quick and effective.  She's not wasting time with long cardio classes or elliptical sessions.  She gets herself to the gym (sometimes on a unicycle, but that's another blog post), gets her training in, and then she's out in less than an hour to get on with her day! She trains with kettlebells 3 times per week and walks another 2-4 days with her dog (but that's more for Puppy Rose).

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turkish Get-Up Workout

This may sound like blasphemy to my fellow RKCs... but I really don't like Turkish Get-ups.  Meaning I avoid them like the plague.  I know, I know, I probably shouldn't say this much less write it in my blog, but it's the truth and I'm trying to be honest and real with my blog.

The Turkish Get-Up, or TGU goes along with one of the RKC's mottos of "safety as a part of, not the opposite of, performance".  The TGU has been touted for its ability to increase shoulder stability and mobility while that very same exercise is also known to increase military pressing strength. I know how much weight (pardon the pun) my fellow RKC Comrades give it: when deciding which three exercises are most important and should be taught at the new one-day HKC certification, the Get-Up made the list. Anybody who's anybody in "the community" knows the importance of TGUs in a good kettlebell routine.

I just don't like to DO them.

I'm more of a ballistic girl.  I L-O-V-E swings and snatches. They are my go-to exercises and I have no trouble working them into my routine.

Come to think of it, I really like grinds as well- as long as they're HEAVY!  I'm all about maximum bang for my buck. If I do something slow, I want it to be so heavy I couldn't go fast if I tried. You can do heavy TGUs, but you have to put in the work with the light weights to get to that point.

It's easy to do what you love and what you're good at, but that doesn't make you a better person.  I want to be a better Turkish Get-Uper-er...

So, I'm going to do what I encourage my friends, family members, and clients to do all the time. Don't just practice what you love and what you're good at, practice the things you don't like and that need work! Hamilton Holt said, "Nothing worthwhile comes easy.  Work, continuous work, and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last." And that's what I promised my friend and fellow RKC, Josh Hillis I would do.  I'm working TGUs into my weekly routine. Gabby, you would be so proud!

My compromise for this week:
40-min of TGUs with a 12kg Kettlebell; broken up by 20 swings with 20kg Kettlebell every 5-minutes
It looked something like this:
- 5-min R/L Alternating Half Get-Ups; buzzer goes off
- 20 swings with 20kg kettlebell
- 5-min R/L Alternating Full Turkish Getups; buzzer goes off
- 20 swings with 20kg kettlebell
Repeat for 4 total rounds (40 total min)
I had to get my swings in and that was the "compromise" to myself.  Made for quite the workout!

I hope I don't offend anyone, namely Dr. Mark Cheng who came to my studio last year and taught an entire seminar on the Get-Up.  Or my RKC Team Leader Brett Jones who has multiple dvd's on the Get-Up.

My promise is that I will do at least one TGU workout every week.  Now that I'm posting for the world to see, I have to do it! Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Minnesota RKC April 15-17

Last month, I had the privilege of assisting Team Engum at the RKC in St. Paul.  It's not every day you get a chance to be a part of such a talented group of people. From Chief Instructor Pavel Tsatsouline and his amazing group of Team Leaders to each and every candidate, there were 130 people all in one place for one thing- the Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

Andrew Read, Jon Engum, & Val Hedlund

I was going to do a recap of the weekend but when I got home from the RKC, I unpacked my RKC suitcase and packed my vacation bag. Troy & I flew to Maui for my best high school friend's wedding and then we went to Kauai for 8 days for our honeymoon!  In the meantime, a couple friends and fellow RKC assistants posted blogs about their experience and I really could not have said it better myself. So, I'll let them tell you how it went!

Andrew Read from Dragon Door Australia


Josh Hillis from Denver (yep, right down the street from me and I had to go to Minnesota to meet him!)

Both guys write awesome blogs so you all should follow them!

Josh has a piece on my RKC team member, Jenni, who lost 65lbs with kettlebells.  She rocked it that weekend and this is a great interview by Josh.

All in all, it was an awesome weekend.  Met a ton of really great people I will always call my friends and tried to absorb everything I could from all of the great fitness and business minds that were there.

Thanks everyone for an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beautiful Day Workout on the Back Porch

I woke up to snow this morning... 

But two days ago, my husband and I did a workout on the back porch!

I think it worked well for a post-honeymoon workout.  I didn't get a strength workout for 10 days in Kauai- we did hike and run and kayak, but no strength.  I feel like I'm just getting back into it and felt like this workout was a good one.  

Check it out and let me know what you think!

It's a ladder workout - started at 10 reps each exercise and worked our way down to 1.  I think it took about 40 minutes.  I used the 16kg for the snatches and then moved to the 12kg for the lunges.  


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ladder Workout of the Day

I had 20 minutes yesterday and came up with a doozie.  Grab your kettlebells and give it a shot!

Start with an easier weight.  I used 12k for the first round.

1 R snatch, lower kb to shoulder
1 R squat,
1 R press
10 R swings
switch sides
1 L snatch, lower kb to shoulder
1 L squat,
1 L press
10 L swings
switch sides
2 R snatches, lower kb to shoulder
1 R squat,
1 R press
10 R swings
switch sides
2 L snatches, lower kb to shoulder
1 L squat,
1 L press
10 L swings
3 R snatches.....
up to 5 snatches each side

rest 60sec

move to next higher kettlebell (I used a 16k)
start with 5 snatches and work your way down to 1 each side

rest 60 sec

move to starting kettlebell weight
repeat first round as written above

you're done!

Quick & Effective


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pacific Strength in AZ

Susan is in Arizona helping her mom and she brought a little Pacific Strength with her!
Thanks for the pic =)