Phil Ross demonstrates the health of his spine and shoulder by pressing Cathy Raimonda

Phil Ross demonstrates the health of his spine and shoulder by pressing Cathy Raimonda

I don’t know how many of you know much of history, but in September of 2011, I suffered a spinal cord injury and sustained permanent damage. In December of 2011, four levels of my neck were operated on. I underwent framenectamy, lamanectamy as well as other procedures to alleviate my spinal stenosis and remove the osteophyte that created my spinal edema (scar on my spinal cord). Needless to say, I couldn’t even hold a piece of paper in my hand until after the operation. Immediately after the surgery, I could not even bottoms up press a 10KG! (Now I can do the 28KG).
My son Spencer is 17 and one of the top ranked high school aged throwers in the country. He’s an RKC and is quite strong. I wanted to put a little more size on him, so I started incorporating some barbell training into his routine. We started doing dead lifts. I used to be able to rip 505 lbs of of the ground, but no more. Once I got over 305, my right hand (the side most adversely effected by the injury) would simply give out. I was getting very frustrated. During one training session, he suggested that I try to single leg barbell deadlifts. What a great suggestion! I’d been doing the Dual Bell Kettlebell Deadlifts for years, but it never dawned on me to do them with a barbell. At this point, I’m doing 185 max for my sets of 6 and my hand has no issue holding bar.
The point of the story is to simply talk about my deadlift numbers, but to listen to others and look outside o the box – especially when it comes to your own training. I’ve never had an issue coming up with solutions for others, but solving my own issue took listening to my kid!

Master RKC Phil Ross Performs a Pistol Squat

Master RKC Phil Ross Performs a Pistol Squat

The Pistol (Single Leg Squat): The most difficult and beneficial leg exercise – period. The training enroute a butt to heel Pistol develops balance, trunk stability and incredible leg strength. There are weight lifters that can full squat 500 to 600 pounds, yet they collapse and fall over when attempting the Pistol.

 Let me relay a little story to you. I was cornering at a UFC Event in Houston in 2011 and went out for a bit of R & R before the fight, once my fighter was in bed. As a typical occurrence, the supporting fight team trainers and coaches usually run into each other and discuss their “Trade Secrets” and training methods. As it happened, I ran into a couple of other trainers in a local watering hole (that’s another name for a bar incase the younger crowd is wondering what I’m talking about.) So I’m talking to a couple of the other trainers and we strike up a conversation about strength training, what works best, how we train, etc… Our conversation moves onto squats. Now both of these guys were around 30 years old and are built like brick outhouses. They could both squat in excess of 600 lbs, but were not overweight or disproportionate. We started talking about the one-legged squat (Pistol) and I proceeded to demonstrate a few of them. They, of course, had to try and promptly fell over – on every attempt. Not a clean pistol performed between the both of them. I now had their attention. 
The balance, core strength and overall athletic development gained from performing the Pistol are incomparable. In most athletic events (even in walking!) you are placing all of your weight on one foot and then the other.  When you make a “cut” on the field, quickly hop from one side to the other or have to scale a deep incline, your stabilizers, tendons and and core are continuously firing. Pistols, much more than machines or bilateral, two legged exercises, increase your strength more efficiently.
 As far as injury prevention, the development of the synergy with these muscles of the leg – all at once – is incredible. I experienced a trilateral break o my left leg which resulted in 10 screws and a 5″ plate being installed.  I used Pistols as part of the rehabilitation process. I realize that whole industries have been built and billions spent on leg muscle “isolation” machines. However, when you walk, perform a task or athletic event – do you ever isolate your gastrocs, quads or hammys? The answer is a resounding “No”. Unless you’ve experienced some type of injury to a specific area, you will be creating asymmetries by muscle isolation. If you have a leg extension/hamstring machine, do yourself favor and sell it for scrap metal and practice your Pistols! 
 
So, how do we achieve the proper execution of this Ultimate Leg Exercise? You need to employ progressions and at times, regressions. This exercise, up to a certain weight, is more easily achieved with a kettlebell. The counter weight aides your downward momentum.  One of the best books on the subject is Coach Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning:  http://www.dragondohttp://www.dragondoor.com/?apid=4640 visit products/books. The progressions enroute achieving the Pistol are the best available. 
To start your Pistol Training, you must first be able to perform narrow stance squats. Once you are able to do 20 or so, you are ready to attempt shifting the weight from two legs to one. I believe the best methods to improve your Pistol is with both Top Down and Bottom Up motions. Maintaining tension throughout the full range of the movement is tantamount, especially at the bottom of the Pistol. That is the point where most people lose their tension and collapse. Go down into a full narrow stance squat and thrust one foot forward and then go up. Be sure to stomp your Pistol foot into the ground and drive your power through the heel of the unweighted leg. Grunting and focused hissing, especially when you are first learning, is very helpful.  Again, creating and maintaining the tension throughout the whole movement is essential. For the Top Down training – employ the use of a bench and once your buttocks touches the bench, EXPLODE Upward. When practicing the Bottom Up training, use a rope or band thrown over a high bar. While you improve, you’ll have to use your arms less and less to help you come out of the bottom position. There are also a variety of steps explained thoroughly in Coach Paul Wades Convict Conditioning book. Once you start to develop the ability to perform the Pistol, do it from a raised platform so that your unweighted leg does not have to be held so high. When you can perform 5 or more on a raised platform, you are ready to try a Pistol from the floor. The actual amount of repetitions before you are ready to move to the next step may vary from individual to individual. However, the numbers listed are good guidelines. 
There are more advanced levels of the pistol as well. One or two hands raised in the air adds an element of difficulty and makes the Pistol a truly Elite Movement. You may add weight. It is true that a smaller kettlebell makes performing the movement a bit easier, but once you start increasing the weight or use two kettlebells or a barbell, then you have significantly increased the difficulty of the movement.
As Always, Train Hard & Train Often!
Coach Phil
www.kettlebellking.com

Get stronger while watching TV?!?!?!? Is this one of those nonsensical claims that require you to send in $14.99 every month for 6 months and you’ll receive some funky, plastic and foam device that will fall apart before you finish paying for it. No, this is much more simple – yet it does require effort.

Here’s an example – I posted it on my FaceBook page the other night and got some interesting responses as well as a bunch of people starting to do the same thing.

While on vacation, we were watching the Godfather on AMC. I was feeling a little antsy, so I decided to do some push-ups during the commercials. The commercial breaks were pretty long, so I did between 25 and 50 reps on each break. By the end of the movie, I had hit 500! And I felt great. I wasn’t even very sore the next day!

You don’t have to bang out 500 push-ups a night, but instead of sitting there watching TV and eating snacks – drop to the floor and do some push-ups, or abs or squats or whatever else you might want to try. Have some fun with it! You’ll amaze yourself, add some strength, burn some calories and not feel like a slug watching TV!

Train Hard & Train Often!

Coach Phil
Kettlebellking.com

Master Phil Ross - 7th Degree Black Belt
Master Phil Ross – 8th Degree Black Belt

Everyone involved in Martial Arts gains…. whether from the enjoyment of increasing one’s Athletic and Martial Arts Skills while learning The Science of Fighting, from the many health and appearance benefits of Physical Training and Fitness, from gaining The Mental Edges of Confidence, Discipline and Inner Peace, to the personal Challenges of Competition; if one chooses to do so in your studio, local tournaments or even the stage of Ultimate Fighting. No matter what aspect one desires, martial arts training is beneficial and attractive for anyone who desires to build their mind, body and spirit. - Saya Phil Ross

BGS, RKC, CK-FMS, CPT, Internationally Recognized Instructor, Trainer and Wrestling Coach with over 35 years of experience competing and training in the Martial Arts and Fitness.

Many people have asked me how and why I became an instructor. It can be summed up very simply. The Martial Arts and Fitness has become a way of life for me. Aside from the obvious health benefits, it has made me the man I am today. The lessons of hard work and discipline cannot be found anywhere else. The problem solving, the goal achievement and all of the dedication it takes to become successful has enabled me to overcome a multitude of adversities and reach levels of achievement and a belief in myself that would NEVER be possible without the rigors of training.

My personal, physical and spiritual gains have been so great, that I feel compelled to pass this knowledge onto others so that they too may experience what I have. There is no greater joy than to see someone persevere and achieve with the skills and knowledge that you have been able to pass onto them. I feel so strongly about the benefits of training that I have passed them onto to my family members. Witnessing my daughter attain the level of Jr. Black Belt, after 10 years of training, was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Having my son, niece and nephew training on my floor gives me great pride. I trained my younger brother for 22 years and my younger sister for over 12. It was incredible watching them grow, develop, achieve and change through their time with me. Now they are recognized internationally in the fields of Martial Arts and Fitness, respectively. It has given me great pleasure to have trained them.

There are many other very accomplished individuals that have trained and continue to train with me; The US Navy SEALs, UFC Fighters, Martial Arts School Owners, Professional Fighters, FBI Agents, DEA Agents, Police Officers, US Marines, Professional Athletes, Doctors, Attorneys, a High School Principal, Students with Special Needs, School Teachers, Computer Programmers, Wall Street moguls, moms and dads. The lessons that they learn are carried over into their everyday lives. It’s an incredible feeling to receive a visit from a college student as they relay a story to you about how the lessons you taught them had such a positive impact upon their lives. When the students that I have taught positively influence and guide others with the lessons learned from training with me, there can be no bigger thrill.

The people that I have met and the friendships that I have forged from my involvement in the martial arts and fitness fields is irreplaceable. The more people that share in the same joy and peace of mind that I enjoy, the better.

Master Ross was inducted in the Martial Arts Hall of Fame and is a High School Wrestling Coach for an NJ State ranked team. He has had the good fortune of either training under and/or receiving ranks from:

  • Professor Jon Collins: East/West Martial Arts Alliance/Bando
  • Dr. Patrick Finely: Bando/Arnis & Shootfighting
  • Frank Shamrock: Shamrock Submission Fighting
  • Professor Mitch Coats: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Team Alliance
  • Dr. Maung Gyi: American Bando Assoc.
  • Shihan James Martin: Shotokan Karate
  • Guro Dan Inosanto: Arnis (Through Patrick Finely)
  • Tom Patire: CDT
  • Dr. Mike Evangel: Taekwondo
  • Chris Catalfo: US Wrestling Olympian
  • Dave Pruzansky: Pan American Judo Champion
  • Carl Cestari: Combatu Defendu Jujutsu
  • Cosmo Ferro (Grandfather) – Western Boxing, Silk City Gym, Paterson, NJ

 

Dirty Dozen Move # 5: The Kettlebell Press

There are not too many many things cooler than pressing heavy weight over your head. The Kettlebell press is one of the best methods available to enable you to achieve these great feats of strength.

You may say that I can press dumbbells and barbells and get the same effect. Yes, you can press dumbbells and barbells – and there is nothing wrong with it. However for the “Best Bang for your Buck”, maximum shoulder load with reduced shoulder stress and a greater recruitment of stabilizers, the Kettlebell Press can’t be beat.

The Kettlebell Press differs from the dumbbell press and the barbell press in several ways. Dumbbells and barbells have a unilateral weight distribution, so there is a less of a need for the body make adjustments. Due to the shape of the Kettlebell, with it’s offset Center of Gravity (COG), the position of the weight constantly changes during the movement of the press. This requires more involvement of the core, stabilizers and lats to complete the movement. The pressing motion starts in a racked position with a tensioning of the body ends with the full lockout and the arm pressing the Kettlebell in line with or slighting behind the ear. This motion upward is accomplished with a “J” pattern of travel. The degree of the “J” may vary from practitioner to practitioner.

When pressing, you not only want to focus on pressing the bell skyward, but think about pressing your body away from the bell as well. This will also aid you in rooting with the floor and employing total body tension. We also need to pay particular attention to the width of your stance. Experiment with the wider then more narrow stance. You will discover that you are able to create more tension with a less than shoulder width stance.

As with many Kettlebell exercises, root with the floor, bring your coccyx to your naval, contract your glutes and abs, pack your shoulders and engage your lats. Focus on an exhale with the eccentric movement of the press and an inhale with the concentric portion, all accomplished while maintaining tension and compression.

When pressing heavier Kettlebells, you may employ a slight hip hitch to the opposite side of your pressing hand. This will help you recruit more of your lats. However, be certain no to go so far as to turn the press into a side press. In addition to the Military or Kettlebell Press and the Heavy Press there are many other presses with Kettlebells. Push Press, Jerk Press, Bottoms-up Press, Waiters Press, Side Press and the Bent Press, to name a few. There are also dual bell versions of most of the aforementioned.

Good luck with discovering or enhancing your Kettlebell Pressing Skills! If you have any any questions or comments on this introduction to the Kettlebell Press or any of the other Dirty Dozen Exercises, do not hesitate to contact me.

Train Hard and Train Often – Coach Phil

www.kettlebellking.com

 

Zack Fox began his Martial Arts training here at American Eagle MMA in June of 2012. However, Zack arrived at the AEMMA Academy with quite a solid list of athletic accomplishments. Zack was a High School All American Lacrosse player for Don Bosco Prep and an NCAA Division 1 Recruit for St. John’s University. Zack was also a Jr. National Power Lifting Champion and now at a weight of 195lbs, has a bench press of 520, a squat of 680 and pulls another 680 in the dead lift.

Despite having no wrestling experience or any other prior combat experience, Zack began competing in Jiu Jitsu after only 5 weeks of training at the AEMMA Academy. He placed second in the White Belt Gi Division after training only 9 weeks and after only 3 months of training he secured his first Championship at the NAGA North American Championships on November 17th, 2012. We are anticipating a lot of achievements from this young competitor. Zack is also HKC Kettlebell Certified and is a personal strength & fitness trainer at the AEMMA Academy.

On April 20th, 2013, Zack Fox added a NAGA World Championship to his list of accomplishments. He won the Cruiserweight, Beginner Title in the No-Gi Competition.

Marine Corps Pyramid Workout.

 More Fit & Fifty!
If you have about 27 minutes today, try the Marine Pyramid. Our Boxing Coach Joe Rubino brought it in last night. I hadn’t seen it in quite some time. GREAT STUFF!

   Marine Corps Pyramid Routine
Chin Ups   Dips   Push Ups   Sit Ups   Squats
4                    6         15                25              15
6                   8         20               30              20
8                  10        25               35              25
10                12         30             40             30
12               14          35              45            35
10               12          30            40            30
8                  10         25            35             25
6                8             20          30             20
4                6             15           25             15
Totals:  68            86          215          305           215

No rest between sets

30 seconds rest between exercises

 

Coach Phil Ross with Zach Fox and Josh Lay

Coach Phil Ross with Zach Fox and Josh Lay at the NAGA North American Grappling Championships

November 17th, 2012, Newark, NJ: NAGA North American Championship: Essex County College was the site of the North American Grappling Association’s annual North American Championships. The Ho-Ho-Kus based American Eagle MMA & Kettlebell School entered two combatants, Zachary Fox of Wyckoff and Joshua Lay of Ridgewood in the nationally ranked tourney. Zach Fox was crowned the No-Gi Champion in the Cruiserweight Division (under 199.9) and in his first contest ever, Josh Lay took home the Bronze in the Light Heavyweight (Under 189.9) competition.

NAGA, along with Grappler’s Quest are two of the top grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu leagues in the world. This year alone, Master Phil Ross’ Team Alliance BJJ school member, American Eagle MMA, has had four (4) champions crowned at these prestigious events. The also competes in the regional, but highly competitive tournaments hosted by The Good Fight.