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September 2012

August 2012

To Deadlift or Not To Deadlift... That is the Question?

DeadliftFor most power athletes it's not a question of if they should Deadlift (DL) it's how much and how often.  For others, female athletes in particular, it can be quite intimidating to think about picking up a heavy bar.  So should all athletes DL?  As far as I'm concerned - ABSOLUTELY!

First, the DL is a basic movement pattern that needs to be reinforced and mastered.  Picking things up off the ground should be easy and should not be surrounded by fear of injury.

Second, the DL is a technique that reinforces loading the posterior chain correctly and reinforces all of the Kettlebell techniques that we perform.

Third, and most importantly, the DL will allow you to easily add some "mass to your a$$" and the rest of the posterior chain.  It will build strength and muscle where you need it most and allow you to translate that new mass into performance gains.

BTW - DL to the front or the back? YES!  They are both great lifts and I am very partial to the DL behind the legs to reinforce alignment and proper "uncoiling" from the DL.


Is Pain Real?

Check out the following video, part of the TEDx conference series, that deals with the reality / non-reality of pain.  What the presenter, Lorimer Moseley, says about pain is controversial and thought provoking. Is pain an illusion?  You tell me...


NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course

Woman-Shooting-GunCrossfit Koncepts is sponsoring an NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course on 09/30/12 from 0830 am to 0500 pm at the Blue Ridge Armory.  The course is $100/person and includes course materials, ammo, targets, range time, targets and lunch.  This class will fill up quickly so register for this course NOW via the following link: 

Short Description : Teaches the basic knowledge, skills, and attitude for owning and operating a pistol safely.

More Details: This course is at least 8-hours long and includes classroom and range time learning to shoot revolvers and semi-automatic pistols. Students learn NRA’s rules for safe gun handling; pistol parts and operation; ammunition; shooting fundamentals; range rules; shooting from the bench rest position, and two handed standing positions; cleaning the pistol; and continued opportunities for skill development. Students will receive the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting handbook, NRA Gun Safety Rules brochure, Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification booklet, take a Basics of Pistol Shooting Student Examination, and course completion certificate. (Lesson Plan 2nd edition, 2009, 02/11)


Labor Day Weekend Schedule

Happy-Labor-DayLabor Day weekend is right around the corner and we have some fun and some schedule changes to make you all aware of!  Make note of the following changes and we look forward to seeing you at the WODs and the Cookout:

  • 09/02/12 - Crossfit Koncepts Labor Day Cookout at Casa de Murray (1200 pm to 0300 pm).  Please RSVP to Mike Krivka by 1200 PM on Thursday (08/30/12) and plan on bringing something to share (side dishes, desserts, etc.).  Also, plan on bringing your bathing suits! :)
  • 09/03/12 - Labor Day WOD (1000 am); no other workout times today


The Evolution of Russian Kettlebells

I've been involved with the RKC for over a decade and this is the video that started me on this path.  It's fascinating to watch it today and see how the techniques have evolved during this period of time.  I know that Pavel and my fellow RKC's have worked very hard to improve the training program and get a better grip on the techniques and progressions that make this system unique.  BTW - it's a long video but it's worth watching if you are interested in seeing the "roots" of the system.


Save Your Grip!

LynxperformancegripsIf you're doing Crossfit you're going to tear up your hands eventually.  If you are going hard every night you're going to tear them up even more often...

I've been taping my hands forever and it does help - especially for pull-ups.  Unfortunately I must be gripping the pull-up bar funny because I tear up my palms and fingers.  I think it either has something to do with heat, humidity, or the phase of the moon!  Taping does help so learn how to do it well or get me to help you before the WOD.

The other option is to wear gloves (never, ever wear gloves!) or use something like Lynx Performance Grips.  These grips are basically curved silicone pads that allow you to do pull-ups all night long without tearing up your hands.  I have had several pair in the gym over the last couple weeks and I've let some people use them and I've got amazing feedback.  So amazing that I bought a bunch of them for you guys to purchase so that you can be tear free!  They are going to be selling for $15.00 a pair - and I would suggest that you mark them with your initials so that you don't lose them.

BTW - you'll thank me for picking these up... and keep your paws off of mine! :) 

The Swing: Russian or American?

There is a lot of discussion on the Internet about the Kettlebell Swing as a viable technique to improve strength, endurance, power, etc.  For the most part the majority of trainers (and their clients) agree that the Swing is a valuable tool in their training toolbox.  Where the disagreement starts is in deciding which Swing to use.  Those who have been exposed to or trained by an RKC (Russian Kettlebell Certified instructor) will recommend the Russian Swing.  Those who have been exposed to Kettlebells via Crossfit will invariably recommend the American Swing.  So who is right?  Well, in my humble opinion, they both are - as long as they are talking about the same technique - and for the most part they aren't.  Let's take a moment to define the two techniques and maybe even through in a picture or two for clarification.

The Russian Swing

The Russian Swing (Kettlebell Swing) is the foundation that the RKC program is built upon.  The Russian Swing (RS) is characterized by an explosive extension of the hips that drives the kettlebell to approximately chest-height (but in some cases lower; depending on the weight of the kettlebell).  Synchronized breathing and management of full-body tension are also characteristics of the RS but those elements are less controversial that the height the kettlebell attains at the completion of the Swing.  Because the Swing only goes to chest-high it is deemed "incomplete" or "inefficient" for training purposes by most trainers in the Crossfit community.


The American Swing

The American Swing, which is credited by most as a product of Crossfit, is a kettlebell "Swing" that goes overhead.  The longer stroke of this Swing gives it a completely different feel than that of the Russian Swing.  Unfortunately, most people view the American Swing (AS) as just that, a Swing - in reality it is anything but a Swing. The trajectory of a RS is an arc that terminates at chest-height then returns to between the legs (don't get me started on the backswing variables!).  The AS trajectory is more of a "J" that comes from between the legs, hugs the torso and then is explosively projected overhead before returning between the legs along the same path.  Many people have commented that is looks like a "two-hand snatch" and that's the term I first encountered when I saw this technique over a decade ago (Russian SAMBO players fresh from deployment with scars to proves it!).



The RS is an excellent starting point for beginner to intermediate Kettlebell users to develop and then fine tune their hip snap and hinging technique.  Because of the relatively low height of the RS, individuals with shoulder injuries or mobility issues can do this technique without fear of doing additional injury.  The AS is a great technique for intermediate to advanced Kettlebell users to fine tune their hip snap and to develop solid transitional techniques from the ballistic pull to press or punch through.  With it's dynamic overhead extension it is only safe for people who have healthy, mobile shoulders and those who can effectively manage the load overhead without compromising the thoracic spine in the process.

They are both excellent techniques and have their place in any Kettlebell or Crossfit workout.  Just be sure to spend some time learning how to do them both - yes they really are very different techniques - and you will benefit from them in a myriad of ways.