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October 2014

Combat Volleyball?

Boot campTeam training and conditioning is a huge share of the fitness market and there are a myriad of approaches to this endeavor.  One of the more popular ones is putting a militaristic or "boot camp" spin to the training experience to "toughen up" the participants and push them to new levels.  This is a process that has been perfected by the military, and with ten of thousands of people put through their various programs, they have the process down to a science and know EXACTLY how far and how hard to push the recruits when training them through the various phases.  Can the same be said for a personal trainer, college level trainer, or even a S&C coach? 

Training athletes, especially pre-season, is a delicate balance of assessing strengths and weaknesses, creating new habits and building new skills.  Establishing trust, rapport and cohesion amongst team members should also be an integral part of the pre-season training experience.  What needs to be looked at when implementing a pre-season training program, like the one illustrated below, is do the risks of injury to the athletes offset the benefit of the training experience they receive?  Based on what I saw in the video I would think that their time could have been better spent... but that's just me!


Whacked Out Wednesday Number 32

WowThis Whacked Out Wednesday (Number 32) was hard to pass up!

It seems that alcohol and Kettlebells are a potent mix and one that is hard to pass up... but I strongly suggest that you do just that!  This is one of many funny clips of people testing their strength with Kettlebells while (deeply) under the influence of alcohol - and always with disasterous results!

Enjoy this one and please DO NOT try this at home!


Time Under Tension

Time-under-tensionIf I've said it once I've said it a million times: "Time Under Tension (TUT) makes you STRONG".  Of course saying something a million times doesn't necessarily mean that anyone is actually paying attention to what you are saying.  Sometimes an "object lesson" is much more effective... and a lot more fun to watch.

Take for example the "Drunken Push Up (DPU)".  Sounds like something you would do after a night of drinking Captain Morgan and Coke?  Possibly - but not in this case!  Imagine doing a Push Up where you start going down maximally loading the right arm (shifting as much weight as possible onto the right hand), shifting sides in the bottom (loaded) position from right to left, and then coming up on the maximally loaded left arm.  For the next rep go down on the left side and come up on the right side.  NOTE: stay TIGHT at the bottom and just barely hover over the ground as you switch sides.  Sound easy?  Great!  Drop and give me TEN... nice and slow. Once you crawl up off of the floor you can finish reading this post... that's okay - we'll wait for you to finish! :)

What does the "Drunken Push Up" have to do with TUT? Everything!  Most people do Push Ups as a spastic ballistic movement with their body neither loose nor tight, but some God-awful thing in between.  When you are doing the DPU you have to slowly pull yourself into the bottom position, push yourself across onto the other arm, and then press up and lock out the arms.  This is a slow and somewhat agonizing ordeal... and one that will make you respect TUT; maybe not immediately, although I suspect it will, but in about 24 hours when the DOMS set in and you can neither bend or extend your arms.

The long and short is this: TUT is an integral part of any grinding technique be it body weight, kettlebell, bar, sandbag, etc.  Respect the grind and get the most out of load because the only person you are cheating is yourself...

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 31

It's that time again!  Time for another installment of Whacked Out Wednesday!

This has got to be the absolute shortest WOW to date at all of seven seconds!  But in that seven seconds you see all that you need to see - massive failure!!!  I'm sure the young lady in the video walked away with little more than a sore neck and a bruised ego but the end result could have been a lot worse.  This is the result of, in my opinion, jumping into a high level skill without "earning" the right to do it by mastering all of the skills and strengths before it. You see this all too often and the end result is at best frustration and at worse injury...


What is the takeaway from this video?  Get the basics down, be patient and develop the strength for the advnaced techniques before you need it.  Look for more next week... :)

How Much Is Too Much?

RKC Big Six II_SmallWhen it comes to food I think you should get as much variety as possible - meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. But the reality of the average American's diet is that most people really only eat a handful of different meals and basic foods. Their choices suck (i.e., pizza is not a basic food group!) and their poor choices make them overweight and unhealthy.  

Does the same hold true when it comes to your training?  Do you need a lot of variety to "confuse" your body and trick it into making strength and conditioning gains?  Hardly!  The whole concept of confusing your body into getting stronger is total bunk, and while it will give you short term changes, so will doing anything new for a few weeks!

Do you really want to get long term changes in your strength and conditioning?  Then you're going to need to narrow your focus and work on developing exceptional basics and stick to that path.  If you really, really want to make changes you have to invest time in the basic skills (like the RKC Big Six: Swing Clean, Press, Squat, Snatch and TGU) and work towards not only mastering the movement but also progressively going heavier and heavier.

Check out this recent RKC Blog posting (by yours truly) to find out how you can use the humble Russian Kettlebell to get you on the right path to attain your strength and conditioning goals!

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 30

WowWelcome to Whacked Out Wednesday Number 30!

This week we have a video that combines Kettlebells and Kickboxing... sort of.  Kettlebells are something I think I know a few things about; I've been using them for over a decade and have trained people from all walks of life to use them safely and effectively.  Kickboxing is something I have a little experience in as well; I've been practicing and teaching martial arts for almost four decades and have trained everyone from civilians to elite military personnel.  To say that what they are doing in this video is Kettlebells and Kickboxing is like saying that Taco Bell is authentic Mexican food!


Watch for yourself and see what I mean!  Have a great Whacked Out Wednesday!

Kettlebell Juggling

Yeah, I know it sounds beyond stupid but juggling Kettlebells is a lot of fun and a great way to see if you can make your techniques work together.  Just stringing simple things like Kettlebell Swings together can give you a whole different perspective on how to move better and where the movement should be coming from.  I've been juggling Kettlebells off and on, more off than on actually, since I first picked one up over a decade ago.  All I can tell you is that every time I catch the bug to start tossing them around again I get a renewed sense of appreciation from seeing young athletes over in Europe doing long juggling routines.  They make is look way and seamless... something that I know is tremendously hard to do. Check out the following video to see some excellent examples of what can be done with a kettlebell and a little time to burn... and a safe place to train i.e., no kids, hardwood floors, dogs, etc.!


Whacked Out Wednesday Number 29

WowNeed a little motivation to get your through Hump Day?  For some people Wednesday is the toughest day of the week and for others it's the start of the weekend!  For me it's an opportunity to feature a video that makes you stop and go "Huh"... and this week I'm featuring a video on an amazing little kid who will make you stop and consider how hard you would train if you didn't have any limitations - because this little guy has absolutely none!

Take a few minutes to watch a little powerhouse of a kid (Giuliano Stroe) who can do Muscle Ups better than most people twice or three times his age.  His intensity and focus contradicts his young age; impressive and amazingly mature for a kid who isn't even in the double digits yet!  Is that enough motivation to get you up and moving on a Wednesday?!?!?


And if that's not enough how about checking out his highlight reel with little Giuliano emulating The Incredible Hulk!


My Aching Back!?!?

CBackpainan't breath, can't talk, can't find a comfortable position to stand or lay down.  If you've ever hurt your back you know how tough it can be to get any relief.  The most simple of tasks, like brushing your teeth, take a monumental effort to complete and can leave you exhausted and in even more pain.  Can you avoid most back pain and even get relief from it without spending a fortune or taking time off work to visit the doctor?  I think you can!

Back pain is one of the major causes of loss from work and for medical disability.  Most medical practitioners are going to address back pain with meds, meds, and physical therapy.  I'm not say that this approach doesn't work because it does.  But if you could address the back pain in it's earlier stages you might not need the intervention of a doctor.  The kind of back pain I'm talking about is the nagging aches and pains you get from sitting too long, standing too long or from a tough workout.  Most of the triggers from this type of back pain can be easily addressed on your own with a very high percentage of success.  Check out the following video from Dr. Kelly Starrett and start feeling and moving better!


NOTE: severe back pain should always be addressed by a medical professional.

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 28

WowThis week I have to go after one of the most feared of all CrossFit WODs... Fran!  Envisioned by Greg Glassman as a test of strength endurance and intestinal fortitude, it has now devolved into something altogether different.  With half-rep Thrusters and Butterfly Pull Ups it looks more like an methamphetamine addict going through withdrawal than an MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning) workout.  If you see this WOD on the white board at any other gym leave... before you have to watch something like this happen! :)


If that is not entertaining enough then check international fitness expert Bob Harper doing "Fran":