Back Bridge

 

Handstand Wall Push-ups

 

 

Dips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A few weeks ago, my son and I were on a family fishing trip in Miami. It was Saturday afternoon and we needed to train, so we went down to the hotel gym and saw it loaded with treadmills, small dumbbells and a cable machine. We looked at each other & decided to head back to the room to do a bodyweight workout.
The first group of exercises included Bridges, Handstand Push-ups and Squats. We performed 5 sets of various repetitions. The next group included Split Squats, Dips and Abdominals. We also mixed in several variations of push-ups.
It was a great workout and it was completed in the room. The movements are based on exercises from Paul Wade’s Convict Conditioning book. Another little piece of equipment to bring with you is a jump rope. There are many times I intersperse bodyweight exercises with rounds of jumping rope.
When you are traveling, there is no reason not to train!
Strength & Honor,
Coach Phil

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

 

Zack Fox, NAGA Cruiser-weight Champion

Zack Fox, NAGA Cruiser-weight Champion


Mennen Sports Arena, Morristown, NJ, April 20th & 21st; The North American Grappling Association: NAGA, 
held the the 2013 World Championships. There were teams from Poland, Brazil, China as well as the top US Teams from all over the country. Team Alliance, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Wilkes Warriors and even the US Naval Academy entered 17 Mid-Shipmen from their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition team.

Two of Phil Ross’s American Eagle MMA/Team Alliance BJJ students earned titles at the two-day event. Zack Fox from Wykoff won the Criuser-weight (190-199) No-Gi contest and 12 year old Julian Rigg from Allendale secured the Gold in Gi and a Silver in the No-Gi children’s competition. Zack’s Gold came after his NAGA National Gold in November.
For more information on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Martial Arts or Kettlebells call 201-612-1429 or visitwww.americaneaglemma.com

The Dirty Dozen Exercises: Move #2, The Bridge

Master Ross doing Bridge Work with Cathy.

Master Ross doing Bridge Work with Cathy.

The Bridge, what an incredible exercise! There is no single exercise for developing two steel cable like spinal erectors supporting and protecting your spine than the Bridge. Being a former wrestler, I had the fortune of being introduced to the Bridge at an early age and while training in Greco-Roman Wrestling, I was taught how to go belly to belly with another wrestler, pop my hips and bridge all the way backward, landing my opponent on his back (or head!) behind me. This required a great deal of practice bridging backward from a standing position. We would also “reverse bridge” from that position, coming up to fully upright and regain the standing position once again and repeat. Little did I realize at the time that I was equipping myself with an incredible foundation of strength that would help me with all of my other physical and athletic activities for the rest of my life. Other than gymnastics, very few high school sports develop the spinal erectors and utilize the bridge to the extent of wrestling and gymnastics.The muscles in the back at the most important group of muscles in the body. The Bridge is exactly what the name connotes, the exercise “bridges” the upper and lower sections of your body together. Your back is also the support structure for your whole body. How many times have you seen (or experienced) throwing your back out and being completely helpless? One can have “biceps like mountain peaks”, they tweak their back and they are as helpless as a newborn lamb! The importance of the Bridge is second to none. Your central nervous system is housed in your spine and the spinal erectors and other support muscles protect and control the the spine and it’s movement. Why would anyone ignore the single exercise that develops the most important muscle group in the body? The Ancient Greeks knew the importance of a strong back. Look at the depictions of the god Atlas. His exceptionally prominent back muscles rippling under the stress of his eternal task of holding up the world!
How do we achieve this? Who does the Bridge work for?
There are many variations of the Bridge. You will find a variation or modification that may be used by virtually anyone at any age. Even people who have physical deficiencies will benefit from doing bridges. I have students that have suffered severe injuries or were born disabled and they have developed great strength in their backs and abdominals through employing bridging techniques. Not only does the Bridge develop the spinal erectors and other back support muscles but it has a profound positive effect on the abdominals, gluteus, hamstrings and in higher level movements, the shoulders and arms as well. The Tall Kneeling Bridge also develops great strength and flexibility in the quads.
The regenerative and restorative properties of the Bridge are unmatched by any other single exercise group. The Bridge develops stability, flexibility and durability like no other. Implement the Bridge into your workout regiment and develop a “Bullet Proof Back”!

Master Ross demonstrates The Bridge

 

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!

 

 

 

Bridging the generational gap with my daughter.

Spending some quality family time with my daughter back from college for her break.

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