The Kettlebell Front Squat is a key movement directly applicable to virtually every sport and to ALL sports requiring explosive power and strength positions. The squat is also essential to everyday life. Picking up our child, carrying suitcases, getting up out a chair – to name a few. Many people believe that they can’t squat. However after one short lesson they realize that they can. In most cases, if you can sit on a toilet you are able to squat. We utilize an active negative method of pulling the hips into the squat position. Barring any severe deficiencies or physical limitations, this method has remarkable results – usually the first time it is applied!
Why is the Kettlebell Front Squat such an essential movement? The strength gains from the Kettlebell Front Squat experienced in the legs, hips and especially the core are greater and with a significantly lighter load than required with the back squat. When considering Sports Performance and General Fitness, there is a breakpoint where the training required and the muscle size created actually hinders your performance. For example, if squatting 400 lbs. helps you reach a 10.4 second mark in the 100 meter dash, squatting 450 lbs may not necessarily bring your sprint down to 10.2; you may actually become slower! Yes, your squat will increase, but your hamstrings and hips will become tighter thus slowing your movement. The aforementioned numbers are arbitrary. There are far too many variables in individuals and sports to effectively assign exact numbers. In order to provide accurate assessments, experimentation needs to be conducted on a case by case basis. However, I will add one caveat; if your goal to have an extremely heavy back squat and you are a powerlfter, you need to perform heavy sets of traditional, back squats. Even though the Kettlebell Front Squat (KFS) will help boost your back squat numbers, you still need to perform the actual movement that you are competing in.
The Kettlebell is placed in front of you, whether bottoms up, racked or bottoms down. Compression and core activation is required to stabilize your truck and and your spine. Compression, tension and an active negative are all employed as you inhale and pull yourself deep into your squat. The spine is kept long and strong with no “tail tuck” as you get to the bottom. A quick, short and forceful exhale shoots you upward to the fully locked position. The strength of your upper torso is also required/developed to hold the Kettlebell(s) in place as you perform your KFS. Proper power breathing and expansion of your intercostals and serratus, not to mention the development of your pectorals, forearms, biceps and triceps. The muscles that comprise latissimus dorsi are recruited to keep your back straight and strong to handle the load in front.
As far as actual weight is concerned, you have to use considerably less weight with a KFS than for a back squat with better results and less chance of injury. On the back squat, the object is to break parallel with the greatest amount of weight possible on your back and then stand back up into the upright position. One’s back is compromised from having to bend forward to get lower and the hips are also overloaded due to the wide stance. This position does not aide you in developing the strength and proper neural pattern for strength development. On the other hand, the proper execution of the KFS lends itself to activating the Central Nervous System to develop incredible strength the legs as well as in the core/stabilizers. By keeping the spine long and strong, you develop a “Tower of Power” enabling you to move resistive loads and push with your whole body.
I could go on and on about the Kettlebell Front Squat, but I’m sure that you only have a limited time to read! You need to get in there and start practicing your KFS! Substantial gains in your leg strength, increased your cardiovascular capacity and explosive power development, while creating a healthy spine and a pair knees, are all benefits of the Kettlebell Front Squat.
Get Strong and Stay Strong!
Coach Phil Ross, Master RKC
For more information of Strength, Conditioning or Kettlebells visit www.kettlebellking.com or call 201-612-1429.
The Dirty Dozen Exercises: Move #2, The Bridge
S.W.A.T. Kettlebell Based Boot Camps:
Learn from one of the country’s top Kettlebell Authorities - Right here in Ho-Ho-Kus! Master RKC Phil Ross, Star of the Advanced Russian Kettlebell Workout Video and trainer to many fighters, athletes, celebrities and physicians designed and conducts these classes. Included with the membership is guide to learning kettlebells, a manual on the Basics of Kettlebell Based Training.
The system employs body-weight exercises, flexibility, plyometrics and the most revolutionary fitness tool in the world – The Kettlebell. The kettlebell exercises as presented are from the teachings of the Father of Modern Kettlebell Training, Pavel Tsatsouline’s Hard Style Kettlebell System. Phil Ross is a Master RKC and part of the RKC Leadership.
The Kettlebell Swing: Often to referred to as the “Mother of All Kettlebell Exercises” and is the root of all Kettlebell Training. The Kettlebell Swing is not only the basis but one of the biggest differentiators between Kettlebell Training and other strength and conditioning systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by the development of the hip hinge, hamstring and glute recruitment through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly. In addition, the incredible rooting effect for power transference through the body is applicable to improved performance in virtually all sports and strength performance.
The Kettlebell Swing has so many benefits, yet many go untapped through poor execution. I’ve had people walk into my studio claiming “I love to swing, I do tons of them all of the time.” Then I watch them swing – Ooof! I don’t know where the heck they learned to “swing”, but now I know why they thought that swings were easy! No eccentric/concentric motion, shoulder’s not packed, no rooting, legs bent at the top and to much at the bottom, chicken necking so much that I thought was I hanging with Frank Perdue, lats not engaged, power leaks all over!
Now that we’ve looked at the poor examples, how do we execute the swing? Step one, find a quality instructor or at least purchase some DVDs or get your hands on a video program from one of the top flight RKC Instructors. I will mention, no matter how good a video is, nothing replaces working under the scrutiny of a qualified Kettlebell Instructor.
Starting from the ground up, let’s consider our feet. First make certain that your feet are the correct width apart. If they are too close, you’ll never be able to swing the bell between your legs. If they are too far apart, you won’t be able to completely fire your gluteus, thus leaking power. Additionally, you will tax your hip flexors more which could result in injury. Rooting with the floor is key. Take advantage of the feedback from your feet with the floor. Establishing that that intimate contact with the floor creates a map of you body’s nervous system and helps facilitate feedback and feedforward of movement. Draw your kneecaps up into your quadriceps as you lock out your knees. This should happen simultaneously to the driving of your coccyx to your naval and the contraction of your gluteus. While all of this in occurring, you need to shorten your abdominals by “zipping up” and exhaling a short, hard purposeful breath. Pack your shoulders and engage the lats as the power of the swing travels from the ground, through your feet, into your legs and through you hips and gluteus, up into your lats, passing through your arms and shoots out of the bottom of the Kettlebell. When you are swinging, think of “hips and grips”. It’s also very important that you go between full relaxation and full tension. This is how to develop incredibly useful strength!
There are quite a few swing variations. There are the two hand swings, the one hand swing, hopping lateral swing, hand to hand swing, dual bell swing, dead start swing, walking swings and the much maligned bottoms up swing, to name a few. All of the same principles apply to all of the swing variations, however there are certain unique benefits to each variation. Check out the accompanying video demonstrating some of the variations of the swing.
Now its time to get off of the computer and start swinging!
American Eagle MMA & Kettlebells is proud to announce new classes for the 2013 year. Starting NOW – We have added new Children’s MMA Classes on Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30 and 5:00pm. These new 30 minute classes are geared toward the beginner through the advanced student. Once the Basics are completed, the students are split into pods to work on aspects for their level.
Bootless Bootcamp: Also on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we now have a 7:10am S.W.A.T. Kettlebell Class. Get the heart rate going and the your muscles pumped first thing in your day! Bodyweight, Kettlebells, Cardio and Flexibility training are utilized in this unique fitness approach. Join the Revolution!
New MMA Class: On March 4th, we will be adding another Adult and Teen Mixed Martial Arts class. Students will be able to train at 7:00pm and then participate in Coach Joe Rubino’s Boxing Class at 8:00. We look forward to seeing you there!
Brand New Body Box Class: Challenge your self with this 45 minute total body fitness class. The incredible combination Bodyweight and Kickboxing will have you pouring sweat and get you ripped! Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 9:15am. 3 months for ONLY $299 – Includes Boxing Gloves. Or you may purchase 10 session blocks for ONLY $199. Classes begin on Tuesday, March 5th.
Over the next few weeks, Dragon Door will be announcing a number of promotions to its future RKC leadership team. Kicking off a dramatic new era for the RKC, we are proud to announce that Phil Ross has accepted the position of Master RKC with Dragon Door, effective January 1, 2013.
Phil is an exceptionally accomplished martial artist, athlete, trainer and kettlebell instructor and we are delighted to welcome him to Dragon Door’s dynamic new RKC leadership team. Below is a description of our new Master RKC’s accomplishments:
Phil Ross: 8th Degree Black Belt, Specialist in Bodyweight Strength and CK-FMS Certified.
Phil Ross’ name is synonymous with Martial Arts and Fitness. He is known as his area’s Kettlebell King and has successfully competed on the National Level in Submission Fighting, Kickboxing, both Full Contact & Point Karate, Taekwondo and Olympic Style Wrestling from 1979 through 2010. He has also held several titles in Bodybuilding and Power Lifting.
More important than his personal accomplishments are the many benefits that his students have gained. A multitude of very accomplished individuals have trained and continue to train with Phil Ross; US Special Forces, UFC Fighters and other Professional Fighters, Martial Arts School Owners, FBI Agents, DEA Agents, US Federal Marshals, High School Athletes, Police Officers, US Marines, Professional Athletes, Doctors, Attorneys, Educators, Students with Special Needs, Computer Programmers, Wall Street moguls, moms, dads, not to mention the thousands of children and teenagers trained over the years.
His training methods have produced champions in the sports of Karate, Kickboxing, both Collegiate and Olympic style wrestling, Track and Field, Lacrosse, Football, Volleyball, Golf, Baseball, Hockey, Tennis and Soccer, to name a few.
Due to the influence of his Grandfather and Father, Mr. Ross embarked on his combat arts and strength and fitness journey in the 1970’s. He has been on a continuous quest to improve himself and bring the best training available to his students. The owner/operator of his New Jersey based American Eagle MMA & Kettlebell studio ever since 1988, he provides over 35 classes per week in addition to his small group and private sessions.
Combat Arts Experience and Honors: Victorious in well over 300 combat competitions inclusive of matches in Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Wrestling and Submission Fighting. He competed successfully on the National Level from 1979 through 2010. Some of his honors include: Silver Medal at the 1979 AAU Eastern National Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships, Bronze Medal in the 1992 AAU Taekwondo Nationals, 1995 Free Fighting National Champion, 2010 NAGA No-Gi Submission Fighting Expert Level Champion, 8 Time Gold Medalist at the NJ Garden State Games Karate Championships, MVP at the 1996 NJ vs. NY Karate Challenge, Team Captain of the 1994 World Karate Union’s Team NJ second place World Championship team. Black Belt Hall of Fame Martial Artist, Brooklyn New York’s Big Apple Challenge 1989 Black Belt Kumite Champion.
Black Belts: East/West Martial Alliance, Combat Jiujitsu, Bando, Taekwondo
Instructorships: CDT, Arnis, Shamrock Submission Fighting
Fitness & Strength Honors: Mr. Wilkes Bodybuilding Champion in 1981, 3rd Place 1983 Mr. DC Bodybuilding, 1982 University of Maryland Olympic Lifting Champion, 1987 Reebok Challenge Power Lifting Champion, totaling 1400 lbs at a weight of 179.9 (370 Bench, 525 Squat & 505 Deadlift)
Fitness: RKC Certified Kettlebell Instructor, Master Personal Trainer, Functional Movement Specialist, Specialist in Bodyweight Strength Certified
Other Experience: High School Wrestling Coach, Professional Bodyguard
His S.A.V.E. Self Defense Fitness video series was Rated #1 by two separate nationally recognized video reviewers and his Advanced Russian Kettlebell video is ranked in the Top 10 of Kettlebell workout videos. His Kettlebell Basics Workshop and Manual was the approved Kettlebell Training Course by the National Academy of Sports Medicine for continuing education credits.
Never Say Die
You hear it all of the time “Never Say Die”. You see the athlete in competition, whether its MMA, a Grappling Match, a Track Meet or a Football game – the sport does not matter, only the actions that lead to the end result. The participant is behind and it seems as if all is lost and then the tide shifts and the athlete that appeared to be done for surges and emerges victorious.
Everyone wants to win. Wanting to win is not the hard part. Sacrificing everyday in your training, your eating habits and ignoring distractions; that is the difficult task. You need to make your training your priority – no room for excuses – make it to your workouts and push yourself to get better, stronger and faster. Excuses for failure are common, find a way to succeed.
How does this happen? How does one develop this “Never Say Die” attitude? Can it be developed? Or is it only in certain people?
There are certain people born with an innate inner toughness, but if it’s not cultivated, they burn out and lose it over time. Others seem to develop, grow tougher and more resilient over time. How is this done?
There is one sure fire way to develop this Never Say Die attitude, Train Hard. Yes, the more that you sacrifice and persevere, the more you become committed to succeed and less you are able to tolerate failure. There are many times when a combatant is in a scramble, they could easily give in and let their opponent win, yet they do not allow this to happen. The time, effort and pain endured in training comes through and they “dig deep” into their soul and put forth another effort. Training with purpose will not only harden your body, but your mind as well.
When you are training, think to yourself “What is my opponent doing? Is he training like I am? Is he sparring those extra rounds, running that additional mile and performing those few more reps? Is he pushing through the pain?” You will never be able to answer those questions, until after the contest. The best chance of success that you have is to train to your best ability and don’t make excuses for not training.
The more that you put in, the more that you will be prepared to win. Take the Samurai for example. They were in Life and Death Battles. If they lost, they were dead. In order to win, they needed to have supreme confidence. They developed this confidence through their daily training regiment and discipline. The tenants espoused by the Samurai are ones that we can base our training on to develop our Never Say Die attitude.
As Always – Train Hard & Train Often.
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.