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October 2013

September 2013

Is the TGU for Everyone?

The TGU (or Turkish Get Up) is one of the foundational skills of the the RKC (or Russian Kettlebell Certification) and is one of the all around best tools to help you move better, get stronger, and fill in holes in your tension.  Seeing that there are only six fundamental skills in the RKC "arsenal" then the inclusion of the TGU has got to tell you something.  But can anyone do it?

Let's take a look at the following video by Neghar Fonooni (who is anything BUT your average athlete) demonstrating a TGU with a kettlebell that is half of her body weight:


As far are techniques go the TGU is pretty complex and takes not only a lot of coaching but a lot of awareness on the part of the athlete.  There are positional and transitional strength considerations as well as mobility issues to concern yourself with.  Because of these elements the TGU can be de-constructed and trained in pieces i.e. work on the segments that you are strong in and isolate the ones that you are having difficulty with.  One way to strengthen the movement is to work it from the top-down i.e. from standing to lying down as opposed to lying down to standing.

Max Shank is a Master RKC and his strength, fluidity and control is demonstrated in his presentation of the TGU.  BTW - he is using either a 44 or 48 kg kettlebell (which I can tell you from personal experience is TOUGH and he makes it look easy!).


Then there is this demonstration of the TGU.  This just goes to show you that you can find the good, the bad and the downright UGLY information on YouTube:


NOTE: do your best to model your technique after the first two examples and just enjoy the third one for its comedic value!

Fleet Feet Sports and CrossFit Koncepts!

Fleet Feet Sports and CrossFit Koncepts are teaming up to introduce the CrossFit training methodology to a new group of people and you are invited!

This Saturday (09/28/13) at 09:00 am Fleet Feet Sports is hosting an intro to CrossFit workout at their Kentlands store.  If you are interested in coming out to give it a try - or know someone who might - give them a call at 301/926-6442 and tell them you want to have some fun this Saturday!

BTW - the WOD is called "Atalanta" (if you don't know who that is try "googling" it) and is going to be a lot of fun for runners and non-runners alike!

CrossFit Day_SingleFlyer_NewDate

Improving Your Chin-ups

Chin-ups and Pull-ups are good test of your overall strength, upper-body mobility, muscular integration and tension management.  Which explains why so many people have a hard time with them!  The following video will give you some pointers on how to get more, or your first, chin-up and how to fill in the weaknesses that are keeping you from doing them.


An Evening With Dan John - Part II

An Evening with Dan John – Part II
09/30/13 from 0730-0930 pm at CrossFit Koncepts in Gaithersburg, MD

Spend an evening with Dan John and learn from one of the most influential Strength and Conditioning coaches of our time. Dan will be lecturing, answering questions and doing some hands-on work as well. "Adult refreshments" will be served as part of the Q&A Session.

What is Dan going to be lecturing on?  How about this:

  1. Reasonableness and How it Applies to Your Training
  2. Regressions: The Best Corrections
  3. Deprivation Builds Capacity

NOTE: "Regressions" will be the 'hands-on' segment of the lecture and I've seen the hand-out for this section. This information is going to be extremely valuable (an understatement!) to any trainer or coach that works with a wide variety of athletes/clients.

Fee for this event is $95/person if registered before 09/27/13 or $125/person at the door. Space is limited to 30 people and there are no guarantees for at the door admittance. Once we hit capacity the event will be closed.  Contact me as soon as possible if you are interested in attending this event!


Gada Training

The Gada, or Indian Mace, is an ancient training tool that was used to condition the torso for the rigors of unarmed and armed combat.  A combination of strength and conditioning and martial awareness it is the perfect compliment to Russian Kettlebell training.  It also a great tool to mobilize the shoulders, arms and thoracic spine when used properly.  On top of all the great benefits it is also a lot of fun to work with! Check out this video on how to control and align the Gada for maximum benefit.

BTW - thanks again to my good friend Richard "Army" Maguire (from for giving me the Gada that I currently train with.


Thoracic Spine Mobility - Part II

I'm not going to get on you for not doing your mobility work but I will say this - with just a couple minutes invested in doing some simple work you can greatly reduce your chance for injury, get stronger by properly loading the torso, and reduce fatigue from improper positioning.  Sounds like it's worth it to me...

Here's a simple one using the foam roller:


Here's another good one that is almost as good as the Bretzel:



NOTE: Please excuse the following rant.  I rarely blow off steam online but this one has been brewing for a while and it's better to get it out than keep it in.  (I think I just quoted "Shrek"!)

Angry-coachI've been training people since I first started taking Tae Kwon Do over four decades ago.  I hadn't been in the class more than a couple weeks before I found myself in front of the class running warm-ups and drills. Not because I was an awesome TKD practitioner but instead it was because I was relaxed and able to communicate to the diverse group that comprised the class.  Skills and ability came a lot later...

I've expressed my dismay publicly and privately about the proliferation of "coaches" being churned out by CrossFit over the years.  It seems that there is a Level I certification every weekend somewhere in the world that will pump out upwards of 100 new "coaches".  Many come into the Level I with little or no experience as an athlete or coach and will leave "qualified" to open their own gym and start training people. So after a handful of hours exposure to some advanced movement skills they are qualified to teach others safely? Seriously?

On a personal level I have trained in the martial arts for over forty years with some of the most knowledgeable martial artists in the world.  Along the way I have acquired some pretty heady credentials as well.  I am entitled to use the title "sensei", "sifu", "guro", and a host of others - but when I teach I go by the most important title: "Mike". Why?  Because even after four decades of training I consider myself a beginner.  My "love affair" with steel is almost this long and also includes accolades and certifications.  Most prominent are my credentials with the RKC.  I've had the good fortune of being involved with this organization for over a decade and consider it the best training you will ever recieve when it comes to learning to not only use the Kettlebell but to become a competent and qualified trainer.

But does that mean that I can afford to stop learning and training?  Not hardly.  I spend a lot of time each week reading, researching and interacting with others in the strength and conditioning arena.  Becoming a trainer or coach takes a humilty and dedication that few can muster even on a good day.  I find that "the more I know, the more I realize I don't know" on a daily basis and I thank my clients for being patient with me as I strive to improve my meager skills.

To get another authors perspective on the "coach" concept please check out this great article on the  Breaking Muscle website.

The RKC Six

There are six foundational techniques in the RKC: the Swing, Squat, Clean, Press, Snatch and Turkish Get-up.  That's it - but in reality it's quite a lot. Unfortunately many trainers and users think that they need to "jazz" things up to make the Kettlebell more effective - but this is far from the truth.  Can you imagine doing some of the crazy stuff people do with a Kettlebell with a bar instead?  Not only would it be comical but potentially suicidal!  Study the basics until you can execute them flawlessly... and then keep working on them.

Listen to what is being presented in this video about the importance of the Kettlebell Swing and how it reverses a lot of the damage we do to our bodies outside the gym.