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January 2015

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 40

Broken-skull-challenge-logoWelcome to Whacked Out Wednesday Number 40!

This week I thought I would post a different kind of video - something that is not about training but about what you are training for.  The following video is an actual television show hosted by (Stone Cold) Steve Austin and is called the Broken Skull Challenge.  This is a pretty tough group of people that are pitted against each other to not only complete physical challenges but to actually brawl! :)

It's a little long at 39 minutes but it is fun to watch and these guys and gals are tough!


Lessons from the Dragon

Bruce-lee-glovesAs a martial artist for the majority of my life (over four decades) I have a few opinions about training... really, just a few!  First and foremost you have to train, train, train the basics.  Kick, punch, throw, lock - over and over again. Then, when you think you know what you're doing - start all over again from the beginning. Second, and almost as important as the first point, is don't be in a hurry to learn the next skill.  I see it time and time again: speed being used to mask poor technique or lack of technique altogether. Remember the old adage: "Slow is smooth and smooth is fast". Third, you don't need to learn a thousand techniques; you just need to learn how to apply a handful of techniques in every environment, know how to get in and out of them smoothly and efficiently, and above all make them devastating and effective. Finally, train hard but don't train so hard that you get hurt.  Sparring, or training so hard that you get hurt, takes you out of the equation until you heal and slows the  learning process.  In short: train at a level that you can readily recover from, learn consistently, and maintain your skills throughout your lifetime.

So, what does this have to do with CrossFit or Russian Kettlebells?  Everything!  If you want to become good at CrossFit or Kettlebells you need to learn the basics at a very high level.  I don't mean watching a YouTube video or a quick review before a workout - you need to STUDY them and learn as much as you can about them.  Getting an excellent education in the basics will also help you fight "Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS)".  What is SOS?  It's trying every new fitness toy or class that pops up in the hope that it will get your closer to your fitness goals?  If your training is too intense (you're puking or getting injured) you are going to be hard pressed to make strength gains.  Every WOD (Workout of the Day) should be scalable so that you can train the skills and the intensity that you need to continually make progress.  Getting destroyed each and every workout is going to do more harm than good in the long run and is going to drastically shorten your career as an athlete.

So... those are my thoughts on Bruce Lee and how his martial training philosophy has influenced my training philosophy in the gym.  A friend of mine, Master RKC Andrew Read, has his own thoughts on the how "The Dragon" can influence your training as well.  To get the full story check out my buddy Andrew Read's post on the Breaking Muscle website.  The following is from the article:

The Four Take Away Lessons From Bruce Lee’s Training Are:

  • Split your sessions into smaller chunks so you can better focus on improving skill
  • Strength train, but keep your main focus on your art. Look to find the simplest exercises you can and milk the most you can from them
  • Don’t neglect roadwork and other endurance work as these form a key role in overall fitness, health, and body composition
  • Targeted abdominal work links the whole thing together and allows better power production as well as forming a protective shield during fighting.

Indian Clubs and Elbows

When you watch most people use the Indian Clubs you see something that is more akin to twirling than manipulating the clubs.  While there is a modicum of wrist movement in the clubs the real benefit comes from learning to integrate the elbow and shoulder.  Mobilizing the elbow will help free up the shoulder for better movement as well as loosen up the thoracic spine - something we can all use!

Check out this video and see if you can apply the lessons that he is demonstrating into your own practice with the Indian Clubs!


Whacked Out Wednesday Number 39

WowThis isn't the normal fare for WOW - it's awesome!

Check out this video that combines the amazing athletics of Parkour (also known as Free Running) and Zombies!?!? This is definitely something I would like to do if I was still YDFC!!!

Enjoy the video and be prepared for a grisly ending!  BTW - fun to watch... as long as you don't get motion sick in the process!


Hardstyle Kettlebell Certifications (HKC) in 2015

HKC_LogoDragon Door’s One-day,
Entry-level Kettlebell Instructor Certification Workshop
with Michael A. Krivka, Senior RKC

How to master the essentials of kettlebell lifting—and dramatically advance your skills as a personal trainer or coach!

Master the essentials of kettlebell lifting by learning the principles of HardStyle training. At this 8-hour instructor course, you will learn the most effective, safe, and efficient ways to use, teach and coach the basic kettlebell lifts starting with the Swing, Get-Up, and Goblet Squat. During this hands-on course, you will be both coached and will coach others, to facilitate your learning and retention.

Kettlebell training develops superior athleticism by reinforcing natural movement patterns, learning to move explosively from the hips, and challenges the stabilizers during all lifts—both ballistic and grinds. As a top fitness professional, NOT having this training method in your toolbox could be seriously holding you back from getting fast, impressive results for yourself and your clients.

Enhance Your Strength and Conditioning, Boost Your Income and Attract More Customers—With the HKC Advantage...

  • MAK_2014_smallGet a deeper knowledge of how to use the world’s #1 strength and conditioning tool
  • Learn simple techniques for preventing and recovering from injuries
  • Enhance your skills as a movement coach by learning how to quickly assess, correct and teach these complex movement patterns
  • Discover simple yet highly effective cueing and troubleshooting techniques to speed up the learning process—to get faster results for your clients
  • Learn how to get superior results with clients ranging from the athletic to beginners and the deconditioned
  • Get a free page on Dragon Door’s website and join a community of the world’s top trainers
  • Network with some of the greatest minds and coaches in the industry
  • Learn how to incorporate kettlebells into your current programming to maximize your client’s results

Become certified as an HKC and join the elite community of fitness professionals!

Not conviced that the HKC is for you?  Then check out this post on the Dragon Door RKC Blog to get my thoughts on the power of the HKC; be sure to also check out the comments at the end of the post to hear from others about the HKC!

Upcoming HKC Certifications at the Following Locations:

February 22, 2015
Gold's Gym – Fredericksburg (2380 Plank Road Fredericksburg, VA)
Register online at or call 1-800-899-5111
NOTE: Early bird registration ends on 01/22/15. Register now and save $100!

March 01, 2015
Fitness Together (115 West State Street Media, PA)
Register online at or call 1-800-899-5111
NOTE: Early bird registration ends on 02/06/15. Register now and save $100!

May 16, 2015
CrossFit Frederick (5119 Pegasus Court Suite B Frederick, MD)

Register online at or call 1-800-899-5111
NOTE: Early bird registration ends on 03/01/15. Register now and save $100!

June 14, 2015
Britt’s Training Systems (205 County Line Rockwall, TX)
Register online at or call 1-800-899-5111
NOTE: Early bird registration ends on 03/14/15. Register now and save $100!

Whacked Out Wednesday Number 38

WowWelcome to another edition of Whacked Out Wednesday!  This week we get another one of the "fail compilations" that are so popular on the Web.  It doesn't matter what activity it is - there is a fail compilation out there to make fun of it!

This week's video is all about doing too much of a good thing... watch it and you'll see what I mean!

BTW - I really hate to watch these videos because I don't like seeing people getting hurt.  Sometimes they are getting hurt because of their own stupidity; that's okay because the Darwin Awards need contestants every year.  Other times people are getting hurt in (stupid) competitions that put them at rick of serious injury for no good reason whatsoever.  Pushed on by ego or competitive spirit (ego once again) they push themselves beyond what common sense should stop them from doing.

Do me a favor and don't become part of one of these fail compilations - train hard, train smart and train for life!


Revisiting The Pistol

PistolWhat single move gives you more "bang for the buck" than any other?  What single move is arguably the most under utilized by athletes?  What single move can show you integration faults and weaknesses in the mid-line and across the stabilizers?  If you're thinking it's the Deadlift you can't be blamed for making that assumption.  In reality it's the Squat and its many variations... but why?

The Squat is one of the staple techniques for strength athletes... well, for forever!  It has application in pretty much every sport and has tremendous crossover when it comes to training any age group (especially in the older and more "mature" athletes).  It also one of the most effective "mass builders" that you can do - as in adding muscle to your body and to your a$$. So why isn't everyone doing Squats?  I'd like to say it's because they aren't effective - because they are!  The reason most people don't do Sqauts is because they are hard; and that's the reason why you should be doign them!  Anything that is hard and makes you struggle is going to make you stronger and you will reap the benefits from that struggle! 

So what it my favorite Squat? Arguably it has to be the (Kettlebell) Goblet Squat.  Easy to teach and learn and has a tremendous impact on posture and alignment (doing them every day is a good idea).  Next has to be the (Kettlebell) Front Squat. Once again it is easy to teach, has a tremendous impact on posture and alignment, and can be used by a broad athlete profile for strength and conditioning. Next - that's easy: the Pistol.  The Pistol is in my top three Squatting techniques because it is the perfect reflection of strength, mobility and integration.  While some people will find them challenging, they are well within the reach of most athletes (and most demographics if scaled appropriately).

Want to see how you can do the Pistol?  Check out this great video by my friend Adrienne Harvey to see a host of Pistol variations that you can do to get stronger, move better, and build legs (and a butt) of steel!


Get The Heck Up!

FallenA video has been circulating around the Web that shows a doctor putting several volunteers through a test (The Sitting and Rising Test or SRT).  It's a simple test: get up off the ground using as few limbs as possible.  His theory is that the fewer limbs used the better and this test can be used as an indicator of longevity and survivability. I think the theory is good and I strongly believe that everyone, athlete and non-athlete, can benefit from spending some time practicing how to get up off the ground.  By all appearances it sounds like a simple task but in reality it can show you a lot about someones weaknesses and mobility issues.


Check out this video to see 53 ways to get up off the ground; some are going to be easy for everyone and some are going to be out of reach for many.

Check out this link about the test on NBC News.