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!
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!
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
What Kettlebells and the RKC have done for me. This year, I’ll be putting out my Dirty Dozen must have exercises in my monthly Blog. This will cover the 12 months of the year. However, I must digress a tad and let you know how this seemingly innocuous, yet at times evil black iron ball with a handle and the organization that promotes the training – The RKC has had an incredibly significant effect on my life. I know that it may seem impossible, yet locked inside that black chunk of iron is an incredible amount of emotion, sweat, enjoyment, pain, love, trial, tribulation and triumph.
At the beginning of my Kettlebell Journey, people thought that I was a “Crazed Man Possessed”. This may be all true, (wink, wink) but I was committed to spreading the word about kettlebells and the RKC. I personally had never felt physically better, more challenged and more excited about a training method in my over 35 years of serious training. People looked at me quizzically when I spoke, especially the skeptics of the Greater NY/NJ Metropolitan area. Yet I never let up.
One of the first major Kettlebell/RKC events that changed my life had to do with my first Kettlebell video. I had called my distributor, BayView Entertainment, to see how sales were going on my S.A.V.E. Self Defense video series and they informed me that they were doing a Kettlebell video with Amy Bento. I let them know that I had just become RKC Certified and they asked me to do an Advanced Kettlebell Workout video for their label. They then asked me to establish contact with Amy. We were doing our shoots back to back, so we got to talking during the months preceding the shoot. I wound up letting her use some of my kettlebells for her video. Over the next year, we established a friendship and wound up dating, getting married and being blessed with our daughter Adrienne. Amy became RKC certified and her latest Kettlebell Power video just received a Top 10 Rating from Fitness Magazine in February, 2013.
My oldest daughter, Nicole, a college freshman is pursing a degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science. Nicole is a Black Belt, HKC Certified and a staunch vegan with a popular recipe blog. At 99 lbs, she can do 100 snatches with the 12kg (25 lb) kettlebell in under 4 minutes. She does yoga, zumba and martial arts in college and ran track in high school. Fitness and sports have helped her through many tough times in her life and have become a big part of her persona and a way of life. She loves helping people live better.
My son Spencer is a poster child for Kettlebell Training. He is 16 years old, 6 foot 1 inch, weighing 210 lbs. His most recent throw of 58’ 8.5” put him at the #7 spot in the nation and #2 for all High School Juniors. One of the most amazing things is that he also wins and places in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and he is anywhere from 50 to 100 lbs lighter than the other Elite Status throwers. I do not have him do barbell back squats, but he can do a heel to butt Pistol (single leg squat) with the Beast (106 lb kettlebell) with either leg, easily! He has never done a max bench press or deadlift. He only started doing those exercises last year, and only for reps. He is a true product of Kettlebell and Bodyweight training.
As you can see, Kettlebells and the RKC has had an incredible, positive impact upon my family. Heck, I even have my 74 year old mom swinging bells three times a week! The RKC is more than a simple fitness organization. It’s an incredible network of people committed to helping others achieve better lives through our proven training methods. Everyone loves to share their knowledge and help others to succeed. We have such a great community with such a vast knowledge base. I’m so thrilled to be a part of it and I know that my life is immeasurably better ever since I made the decision to pick up a bell, sign up for my RKC and go for it. I urge others to do the same. You will get back your financial investment 100-Fold!
Yes, the RKC Certification is not inexpensive. So what? Is anything worth anything cheap? You get what you pay for. If you want to learn how to use Kettlebells from watching YouTube, GOOD LUCK! If you want to be part of an incredible organization of like-minded people, join the RKC Community, it will be worth every penny.
For more information on Kettlebell Training visit Dragon Door or www.kettlebellking.com
I have been in the Combat Arts for over 35 years. I’ve won numerous State and National Titles, competed in International Competitions and as a Professional.I was a Department of Criminal Justice Defensive Tactics Instructor and a Licensed Body Guard. I am an NJ State Licensed MMA Trainer, Promoter, et al. Despite the fact that I have won over 300 fights and have Black Belts and Instructorships in 6 styles of Martial Arts: I HAVE YET TO HAVE MY HANDS REGISTERED AS LETHAL WEAPONS. I have also promoted dozens of students to the level of Black Belt. Not once was there a requirement for licensure of their hands. Laughable.
The fact that these “Masters” dupe their students into believing that they need to register their hands speaks volumes about the Instructor, system and school that they run. Why do they feel the need to perpetuate this myth? Lying to their students and instilling in them a false sense of security and accomplishment; only for the purposes of financial gain? It’s appalling!
Before you spend your hard earned money and jeopardize the integrity of your children’s training, check into the system and the instructor of the school that you want to sign your child up at. There are plenty of good schools in the area, but there are enough unscrupulous “Masters” out there to make it reasonable to be wary of their practices.
Watch a class and review the class curriculum. Make certain that all phases of the martial arts are addressed; striking, blocking, grappling, self defense, fitness, etc…Inquire about the testing procedure. Make certain that the students have a set of tasks that need to be performed with reasonable proficiency.
Good luck in your training!
My Best Friend: Are you a fitness enthusiast that takes their running shoes on trips, only to feel uncomfortable road running in unfamiliar areas? Are you tired of endlessly waiting for cardio equipment to free up at your gym, only to feel like a hamster running on a wheel? Do you love to run outdoors, yet shy away from putting on five layers of under-armor and sweats on in order to brave the sub arctic temperatures?
Well, let me introduce you to my “Best Friend”, the jump rope. You can take it anywhere, you do not need much space, it does not matter what the weather is like outside, you do not need expensive equipment ($2.00 to $20.00 for a rope, my favorite costs $8.00) and you can vary the routines and movements to keep it interesting. My Grandfather was a boxing trainer in Paterson, NJ back in the 30’s, 40’s and into the 50’s. He instructed me on how to jump rope as a teenager as a means to improve my foot speed and endurance for wrestling and football. I then began to realize the incredible benefits of jumping rope.
If you jump rope at a good pace for 5 minutes, it’s equivalent to running a mile! The coordination of your hands and feet moving in rhythm with each other is essential for a fighter. All of my martial arts classes begin with 3 to 5 minutes of jumping rope. In addition to the coordination development, jumping rope is an incredible means to warm up the body.
Even if you are a beginner and you miss on your jump, keep moving your feet. To learn how to jump, here are a couple of tips:
1) Play some music that you like with a good beat. You should put together a playlist for at least the same amount of time that you want to jump for. Use your favorite, upbeat songs & make a mix. Or, for those with obsessive, manic personalities, repeat the same song as an extended version. This also helps you jump rope longer. You basically fool your self into NOT thinking that you are jumping that long.
2) To initially get your timing, watch as the rope hits the ground. That’s when you time your jump. It may take a few weeks to get your timing, but keep working, it will eventually happen.
3) If you are still having issues, try putting the rope in one hand and jump up and down while rotating your wrist. This will help you to find your timing.
4) Remember the less movement of your arms, the better. Your wrists are the primary focus of the rotation. Try also to keep them in the same spot, approximately at the level between the bottom of your chest and the top of your hips. This does not hold true when you are doing more advanced movements, like crossing the rope or double jumps.
5) You do not have to jump very high. You only need to jump high enough to allow the thin rope to pass under your feet. Get your rhythm and all else will fall into place.
If you’d like to workout the rest of your body, try performing push-ups and abdominal exercises in a rotation with jumping rope. You can start with 100 jumps, 20 push – ups and 30 abdominals. Start with 3 rotations and then increase to 5. You may also execute additional push – ups or abdominals. What a great way to start the day!
Victory Favors the Prepared!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach me at HYPERLINK “http://www.philross.com” www.philross.com.
What’s your motivation? (and how to keep it)
A seemingly simple question to answer, but whatever your motivation to train is, it must be more compelling than distractions that will dissuade you from your fitness commitment. Maybe you want to be the best fighter in the world, or your grandfather died of a young age due to his weight, you were mugged or picked on as a child. There could also be positive motivations: the quest to be the best that you can be, to stay in or get in great shape, for the enjoyment of training, stress relief, competition with others and yourself. Unless your motivation is harmful to others, there is no right or wrong reason to train, as long as it keeps you working out and improving yourself – it’s good.
Many of the the reasons that are our original motivation to train do not last forever. Example – let’s say you want to make the Varsity Football Team. You have to get bigger, faster, stronger and learn the skill set for your desired position. OK – you’ve made the team, now the season ends and your are graduating high school. There’s no way that you are going to play in college, yet you really enjoyed the way that you felt and how your body looked and performed when you were working out. Now you have a different motivation.
Just like rotating your workout schedule, you need to alter your motivational factors from time to time. If you start a new martial art with the goal of becoming a Black Belt and then a few months later decide to enter a triathlon. They are quite different goals, but the training for one will help the other. Keep fresh motivation, shot range goals and try different motivations.
I have plenty of clients that come in want to lose weight. They have now lost their 80 lbs (yes, this did happen), what do they do now? Just keeping the weight off as a goal may not be motivating enough. The person knows that they must keep working out – but what is the motivating factor? This person wants to be able to do a pull-up and start the martial arts. They can achieve the new goal because of their former motivation.
I’ve had other clients that wanted to get off of all of their blood pressure and cholesterol medications. Avoiding death is a reasonably strong motivator. Now that the client is off of the pills, what’s his new motivation? He now wants to be able to snatch a 24kg (53 lb) kettlebell 100 times. That’s a very respectable goal and new motivation. He had to change his motivation since his former goal to train had been met.
The point of all of this is to get you to think of new goals, new motivations and new methods to keep you inspired to continue your training. There are many excuses for failure – find the reason to succeed!
As Always: Train Hard and Train Often!