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April 2018

Depth vs Width

The concept of having skills that are inch wide and a mile thick is foreign to most trainers and athletes. Instead of having a toolbox that is stocked with well-developed and highly effective skills, most will chase the "technique of the month" of YouTube or Instagram. Instead of exploring the basics (Push, Pull, Squat, Hinge, Carry and Other), most will pursue the newest and "sexiest" technique that will definitely get them clicks.

This is unfortunate on many levels. Primarily in that they will never get benefit from any exercise because then don't spend enough time developing it. Instead of developing "depth" in their training they will pursue "width" by throwing everything into the mix. Why? Because they are hoping to discover the "magic complex" that will give them a six-pack and a 350 lbs bench press.

Look at it this way: some of the strongest men and women in the world only do four lifts. Some of the best grapplers in the world only execute six or eight techniques in competition. Even boxers only have a handful of technique that they use in the ring. The difference between having a "deep few" and a "shallow many" is that the "few" are developed to such a high level that they will always outshine and outperform the many.

Something to think about when you are setting up your next training cycle...

Kettlebell Complexes...

Kettlebells give you the ability to use one hand or both hands to perform a variety of exercises.  Not a lot of other tools allow you this flexibility while still maintaining a high ROI (Return on Investment). The following video (it's a couple years old; note the abundance of hair) shows a beginner to intermediate complex that you can do with two-hands. There are a lot of transitions in this technique so there are plenty of things to work on while getting in a good training session. Take your time, work on the individual skills then work on smoothing out the transitions between them... oh, and have some fun!

Scaling A WOD

The concept of scaling a workout is foreign to most athletes, especially if they are in a highly competitive gym. Every workout ends up being a "d$%k-measuring contest" and bragging rights go to the athlete who has the best time or score. Unfortunately, this is the case in a lot of gyms that don't have a firm grasp of training their athletes for life (decades of training) and an immature understanding of scaling (modifying technique, load, duration and intensity). It's really to bad because people are getting unnecessarily getting hurt or burning out instead of getting stronger, moving better, and staying excited about training for years and years!

Here's a good example. This workout has been a staple at CrossFit Koncepts for around a decade. We just recently did is again and, as always, it was a big hit with everyone! Why, because the workout can be readily scaled to anyone's skill, strength or experience level while still maintaining good movement and safety. Oh, and still getting a great workout in...

Can you see how this workout can be scaled for a variety of athletes and skill levels? Here's what we had during a single day:

  • One-hand w/KB
  • Two-hands w/KB
  • Two KB's
  • Olympic Bar
  • Plyo Ball
  • DVRT
  • All Body-weight

BTW - Greg Glassman, one of the founders of the CrossFit movement, stated many years ago that the WOD's on the CrossFit website were designed for the top five-percent of the athletes in the world. The rest? They were obliged to scale the WOD. So... if you go into a CrossFit gym and EVERYONE is doing the same workout... RUN because they don't have a clue as to what they are doing!!!

"Remember the Alamo"

The workouts that a gym does says a lot about their priorities and training methodology.

Take a look at the workouts that are posted by other CrossFit gyms. Check out the techniques, loads and the rep schemes. Look carefully and see if you can determine what the purpose is behind the workout. Is the goal to crush the athlete or to make them stronger? Is the goal to make them collapse on the floor afterwards or to make them ready to come back the next day and do more work?

Check out the following workout that we did on Tuesday night. It's going to seem pretty tame to "die hard" Crossfitters; the load is going to seem to low and the reps are nowhere near to what they are used to operate at. That being said - this workout is technically challenging, scalable across all skill levels and strength levels, and sets a foundation for future work.


  1. Double Kettlebells are RX'd at double 53 lbs/men and double 35 lbs/women.
  2. Texas Protocol for Pull Ups - rep one is 01 Pull Up (release both hands); rep two is 02 Pull Ups (release both hands; rep three is 03 Pull Ups
  3. Texas Protocol for Burpees (STRICT) - rep one is 01 Push Up; rep two is 02 Push Ups; rep three is 03 Push Ups


Kettlebell, Strength and Speed Summit (KS3)!

KS3LogoReversedDATESJust Announced!  The Kettlebell, Strength and Speed Summit (KS3) is happening on July 14th and 15th, 2018 in San Diego, California! Hosted by the Weck Method Performance Training Center, the KS3 will be two days of hands-on training by some of the top coaches in the Kettlebell, Strength and Speed world.

You will have access to, and be trained by:

  • David Weck (Weck Method, Pulsers and more)
  • Marty Gallagher (Powerlifting Master Coach)
  • Dr. Chris Holder (Master RKC and Weck Method)
  • Chris White (S&C Director at LSU and Weck Method)
  • Michael Krivka (Master RKC)

More information in the coming days!

Run or Lift? Why not BOTH?!?!

It's been my experience, and the experience of other coaches around the world, that runners need to be supplementing their running with a strength and conditioning program.

Over the last eleven years we have had a lot of runners come through our doors. Most were broken (from running) and had some pretty substantial mobility issues to overcome. Every single one of them were able to get stronger, improve and remediate their mobility issues, and reduce not only the miles they put in prepping for races but also drop their times significantly. The "secret sauce" - get systemically strong by including two to three intense strength-based workouts to their training programs. BTW - race preparation (miles) was kept to a minimum with impressive time reduction across the board.

So it's not a question of do you want to lift and run; it's more a question of how much do you want to lift and not run!

Burpee? Snatch? How about the Kettlebell Burpee Snatch?

I personally love Burpees. I know they suck and crush your soul. Too bad - they make you resilient and provide an intensity that few other exercises do.

The same thing goes for the Kettlebell Snatch. Power, speed, intensity - all part of the package and they are well wort the effort it takes to learn how to do them right.

So... what happens when you combine too things that easily peg the "suck meter"?  You get the Kettlebell Burpee Snatch!

BTW - this video is from 2008... and yes I did have hair ten years ago!

The Kettlebell High Pull

There is a technique, along with the Kettlebell Thruster, that should be in the arsenal of anyone training with Kettlebells.  That technique is the Kettlebell High Pull (KHP).

When I attended the RKC sixteen (16) years ago the KHP was part of the (extensive) curriculum we were exposed to. In recent years it has been dropped from the RKC curriculum but it hasn't been forgotten by those of us who are on the front lines of training athletes.

Why is the KHP a forgotten technique? It could be that a number of years a group of Kettlebell "experts" deemed it dangerous to the shoulder and panned it. If they were truly "experts" they would have recognized immediately that it was not only perfectly safe for the shoulders (when properly coached) but it was an important tool in building confidence and skill with the trajectory aligned with the Clean and Snatch.

Irregardless of what the "experts" say about it, the KHP is an important tool our Kettlebell arsenal. It is dissimilar enough to the Kettlebell Swing that it requires additional coaching and cueing - but the effort is well worth it. The KHP has a more compressed recycle rate and requires a much more "tight" trajectory than the Kettlebell Swing... and that is why it is so valuable.

SMH - The Kettlebell Swing

The fundamental ballistic technique with the Russian Kettlebell is most decidedly the Kettlebell Swing (KS). While it is a "simple" technique in appearance it is anything but when it comes to execution. YouTube and Facebook are littered with well intentioned clients and under-educated and under-trained coaches executing (and I mean "executing") this technique.

Common failures include: poor set-up, incomplete loading, non-existent backswing, improper power base, dangerous unloading, etc. The list is actually longer but you get the idea. How can this fundamental technique be so poorly represented? Could it be that because it looks so "simple" that people barely scratch the surface when they train it? Could it be inherent physical weakness or mobility issues overriding technique? Yeah... very likely it's a combination of this and more.

Want to see a solid Kettlebell Swing with near half-bodyweight? Check out the video below: