Master RKC Phil Ross leads the First Ever RKC Instructor Kettlebell Certification in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ! The three day event will cover the Big 6 Kettlebell Movements, Bodyweight, Programming, Instruction as well as how to run your Kettlebell Business. Become part of the most prestigious Kettlebell Training Organization in the world: The RKC! Are you up to the challenge?
For additional information on this workshop or to register, visit: http://www.dragondoor.com/
Space is limited to 22 participants – reserve your spot today!
The “Dirty Dozen” Exercises:
More often than not, I get asked “Coach, what are the best exercises to do?” Or “If you were to choose “X” amount of exercise, what would they be?”. There are a plethora of great exercises and variations that my students and I truly love to do. However if I were to boil it down to several movements that are essential to any strength and conditioning regiment, I would choose 6 Kettlebell exercises and 6 Bodyweight movements.
I’m not saying that these are the ONLY exercises you should do but they all should be included in your workout regiment, no matter what your focus is. These exercises will increase strength, endurance, coordination, flexibility and durability like no others. These exercises will even improve your performance with your bench press, deadlift and bar squats.
Over the next year, I’ll be putting forth write ups accompanied by videos on the “Dirty Dozen”. We’ll discuss variations and progressions, especially when considering bodyweight. I’ll discuss each movement in depth and give my reasoning for the selection of each movement.
OK- here’s the list.
The Kettlebell Swing: This movement is the root of all Kettlebell Training and the great differentiator between Kettlebell based training and all other strength developing exercise systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by developing hip hinge through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly.
The Front Squat: Single Rack or Bottoms up. Squatting is the most important movement for lower body and core strength. The Front Squat, by virtue of the position of the Kettlebell, this exercise requires the complete linkage of the upper and lower body. Tensioning of the trunk (core – tho I’m not a fan of the word) and maintaining the bell in the prescribed position requires considerable upper body engagement in addition to the tension in the trunk.
The Kettlebell Press: Pressing heavy weight above your head is very cool and extremely useful. The Kettlebell Press employs full range of motion, full body tension and active negative (downward) motion of the bell.
The Get-up: There is not a single movement that incorporates more muscles of the body than the Get up, also known as the Turkish Get Up or TGU. This incredible exercise is a signature movement of Kettlebell Training. Dynamic tension, balance, flexibility and body alignment are all developed with the TGU. The Clean: The Kettlebell Clean is used in a great deal of Kettlebell complexes, racking the kettlebell for Squats and Presses, but it’s an incredibly beneficial stand alone movement. A single arm clean taxes the stabilizers in the trunk as well as reinforcing the tensioning and relaxation.
The Kettlebell Snatch: This is my favorite of all Kettlebell movements. The Kettlebell Snatch is a ballistic movement that develops strength, endurance, speed, coordination and there is no question why this movement is used in both competitions and testing as a fitness barometer. The Kettlebell Snatch V02 Max workout is unmatched in maximizing one’s volume of oxygen uptake.
The Bridge: An ignored movement in American physical fitness. Very few athletes, except for wrestlers and gymnasts, utilize this crucial movement. The Bridge is exactly what it’s name connotes. The development of a strong, flexible spine linking together the upper torso with the trunk and lower limbs. Strong spinal erectors are essential to a healthy spine and unhindered movement. Key to athletics, active living and certain vocations – not to mention every day living!
Hanging Abdominals: One can do thousands of crunches and buy every gimmicky ab machine on the TV at 2:00am, nothing will develop your abdominals better than the Hanging the Abdominals. Lifting your legs up to your chest or your feet above your head develops and requires significant abdominal strength.
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 600 pounds, yet they collapse and fall over when attempting the Pistol.
The Hand Stand: This is the coolest of all bodyweight exercises. Nothing demonstrates full body control and balance than being able to invert yourself in the middle of a room and hold it there. The progressions building up to the Handstand develop incredible shoulder and trunk strength.
The Pull-up: There is no single exercise that demonstrates and develops upper body strength like the Pull-up. If you can do 20 pull-ups, you are in great shape. I challenge you to show me a person who can do 20 pull-ups and doesn’t have a 6-pack.
The Push-up: The Push-up is my favorite for several reasons. There are fun and challenging variations, the movement works not only your upper body but conditions your abdominals and reinforces the total body tensioning. The best thing about Push-ups is that you can do them virtually anywhere that there is a floor. Your bedroom, basement or office – anywhere. There is no good reason for you not to do them. Get started now!
There you have it. 12 exercises that no training regiment should be without. If you want to achieve ultimate, applicable strength and conditioning, your program needs to include these core “Dirty Dozen” exercises.
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.
Muscle Confusion: Hype or Reality?
Since the advent of the P90X video series, the notion of “Muscle Confusion” seems to be on everyone’s lips and has replaced conversations of Core Based Workouts as the main concern for fitness enthusiasts. We’ll tackle the notion of the elusive “Core” in another blog.
Muscle confusion has been a very popular training method for many, many years. Yes – the P90X does a good job at leading you through your daily routine, but the program does not take into consideration the varying degrees of fitness, athletic ability, age and other stressors that the potential customer base may possess. I am not here to bash the P90X series. On one hand it has inspired many people to lose weight, get in shape and improve their lives, on the other hand many people have become injured while using it. I have personally worked with several clients, of various ages, that came to me after doing the PX90 series and incurring injuries. People have injured their backs, knees, hips and shoulders.
If you read the book by Arnold Schwartzeneggar: The Education of A Bodybuilder. I read this book in 1978 and it had an incredible impact on me. While attending the University of Maryland I participated in a workout session with the Barbarian Brothers, Peter & David Paul. They were filming of the movie DC Cab with Mr. T & Gary Bussey. My friend’s dad owned the Gold’s Gym in Wheaton, Maryland and he invited a few of us guys down for the workout session. The book by Arnold, the workout session with the Barbarian Brothers and countless other strength and fitness athletes have always stressed “Varying the Workout”, “Shock the Muscles”, “Change your Routine”. That is the only true way to stimulate growth and achieve higher levels of fitness.
Why is it so important? Why can’t I just stick with my set of exercises? Why can’t I simply run the same amount and the same route every time? Why – because the body gets stale with the same routine. You need to “force” the body to respond to varied loads and/or movements. Soreness from your workout should be the norm. If you do not experience soreness on a regular basis, you are not developing. If you have hit platues with your strength or your times running or find that you are dreading training; you need to varying your routine. Not to mention the fact of repetitive stress injuries that the same routine breed.
When you do your roadwork, you need to vary the terrain, the distance and the level of intensity that you run. Example: If you run three times a week, session one, do a 3 mile mile run at 80 percent your capability. Next session, do interval training or what runners call the “Float”. Go to the track and run a 200 hard, then at 50%. Do this for several laps, in accordance to your fitness level and ability. The third session of the week, go for a long run at an easy pace, 65 to 70%. This is just an example for one week. I’ll address running programs in more detail in future blogs.
Kettlebell Training: Lends itself to Muscle Confusion better than any other method available. Personally, I know several hundred movement variations with the Kettlebell. There are also a plethora of workout delivery methods with a Kettlebell. Complexes, Chains, Powerdure, 4×8’s, Combined Kettlebell and Body weight routines, Scrambled eggs, Strength, Endurance, Flexibility, Explosive Power Focus. One of the differentiators with Kettlebells, is that you have the ability to either focus on one of the phases of training or mix and match the methods in any combination that make sense or that keeps your workout interesting. You also need to employ the various levels of intensity to your workouts. You can’t go 100% every workout. This is another subject that I will cover in greater detail in a future blog. Hey – I have to keep you coming back for more!
Yes – Muscle Confusion is a reality and has great merit, but it’s not new or revolutionary – It’s just simply good.
Train Hard & Train Often!
Greasing the Grove: How to Dramatically Increase Strength
Strength, in certain movements eludes many of us. How do we harness this power? By Greasing the Grove – according to Pavel Tsatsouline, the father of modern day Kettlebell Training and Strength Development. It’s a very simple and pointed notion, yet requires great discipline. You have to re-tool your thinking from simply working out to practicing strength.
If you desire to get better at a specific exercise, you will need to practice it throughout the day. Do not do your sets to failure, rather focus on doing 50 to 60% of your maximum. For example, if you would like to increase your push-ups and you max out at 50, do sets of 25 or 30 reps 4 to 5 times throughout the day. You may want to vary the routine by performing 5 to 10 repetitions very slowly or a combination of the two.
Only focus on one to two exercises for 4 to 6 weeks. I recently underwent neck surgery and was unable to do much. I started doing 10 push-ups several times during the day. Within 6 weeks I was up to doing five, one armed push-ups! Now I am able to do pull-ups, so I am doing 5 pull-ups and 1 pistol (one legged squat) at a time. I’m doing this 5 to 6 times a day.
Why does this work? Shouldn’t we train to failure and then recover and get stronger that way? ABSOLUTELY NOT! You increase your strength due to synaptic facilitation. By utilizing a relatively intense stimulation repeated frequently at full strength, increases the strength of the synaptic connections. In other words, more boost will be given to the muscle when performing a given exercise and the muscle will have learned to make a harder contraction and yield more strength.
You may do the same with weights. If you are able to perform a maximum dead lift of 400, do sets of 3 to 6 reps of 250. Do it 4 to 6 times a day. I have a friend of mine who increased his already respectable bench press by more than 75 pounds in 4 weeks! He was bench pressing 425 and started “Greasing the Groove” by doing 3 repetitions of 315 4 to 6 times a day 4 days per week. His bench press went through the roof in 1 month & he broke the 500 pound mark!
Pick an exercise, do it frequently 4 to 6 times a day and keep it up for 6 weeks and see how you improve. You will be astonished. Let me know your results.
Train Hard & Train Smart!
Blog Post: 4/18/2011
Strength & Conditioning: Two essential components, not only to success in martial arts and athletics, but in life. The Human Animal was not meant to be a sedentary creature. We were designed to run, jump, climb, lift and carry, not to sit on our behinds for endless hours playing X-box or Madden 2011.
Even though our lives do not require the same amount of physical exertion as our ancestors, our lives are extremely busy and stressful with little time left for ourselves and our fitness. How do we achieve optimal fitness levels and maintain a healthy lifestyle with growing responsibilities and diminishing time alloted for ourselves?
Enter the Kettlebell.
Why Kettlebells? “I lift weights, it’s the same thing”. Yes and a Big “NO”. Yes, kettlebell training is a resistance exercise; but no it’s not simply lifting weights. Most of our conventional weight training exercises come from several sources: Body Building, Power Lifting and Olympic Lifting. Yes, there is a cross over of strength and conditioning from these methods of training, however the main goal of Body Building is to create larger muscles and a symmetrical shape, Power Lifting and Olympic Lifting are designed to increase strength – for specific lifts – not for athletic performance.
Kettlebell training increases durability, flexibility, strength, endurance and athletic ability. Through the techniques of “rooting” for strength, explosive hip pop and lock, core engagement on virtually every exercise, the practitioner achieves levels of fitness and performance never before attainable. The kettlebell is a handheld gym and replaces conventional barbells, dumbbells, cardio equipment, hand grips, weight machines, ropes, cable and bands. This is not to say that there in anything wrong with the other methods, it’s only that the same or better results in more aspects of fitness will be accomplished through the proper employment of kettlebell training in a shorter amount of time and space. For example – you will need a full rack of dumbbells to perform a workout that would require only three kettlebells.
How is this Accomplished? As a weighted exercise implement, the kettlebell is more akin to the unwieldy sandbag than to the commercialized dumbbell. The center of gravity (COG) of the kettlebell is about a good half foot away from your hand. With this displaced COG, the central nervous system (CNS) simply has to require more muscles groups to wield the awkward object. Curl a dumbbell, and feel it get LIGHTER as it redistributes its weight on top of your wrist and elbow when you pass 90 degrees. Curl a kettlebell of the same weight; you will actually feel it get HEAVIER, because no such shift in COG occurs. You’ll find yourself actually having to brace not only your entire arm to control it, but your abs, glutes, and your OTHER arm as well. When you employ various grips and motions, you are able to increase the effect even more! By recruiting your whole body for the kettlebell, you’re doing a full body workout with a as opposed to the muscle isolation when using a dumbbell.
Master Trainer Phil Ross: Master RKC , CK-FMS Certified, Martial Arts Master, AFPA Certified Personal Trainer. Phil Ross brings over 35 years of experience in the fitness world to his clients. A Certified Movement Specialist enables Phil to decifer a client’s assymetries and provide corrective movement strategies. He has a great deal of experience with Athletes of many sports disciplines, Martial Arts, Wrestling, Golf, Track & Field, Football, etc… as well as people simply desiring to improve their well being. His clients range in age from 10 to 72.
Jennifer Chaparian: HKC Kettlebell Certified, WITS Certified Personal Trainer, Yamina Certified and Massage Therapist. Jennifer brings her in-depth understanding of the human body to her a personal training clients. Her approach has a more subtle tone and is based on stretching and elongating the client. Don’t be mistaken – she can also turn it up and get the heart rate pumping and muscles aching – just watch her teach a (KB)2 Boot Camp!
Dave Ferrazzano: NASM Certified Personal Trainer, Associates Degree and Exercise Physiology. Dave has been involved in sports and fitness for most of his life. He holds a certification from the most prestigious Personal Training Certification Organization in the World: NASM. Additionally, he is working toward his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from William Paterson University. Dave has experience with many sports as well as the Martial Arts.
Zachary Fox: HKC Kettlebell Certified, Studying Exercise Science. 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. Zack is in the process of attaining his Bachelor’s Degree from Montclair State University in Exercise Science.