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Nick Lynch RKC Team Leader Committed to Kettlebell Training

To properly train your body with kettlebells, you must continually enhance your skills. Correct me if I’m wrong but the Wright brothers crashed many model planes before they actually took flight, right? That’s because they were learning something new. Since each day brings new challenges, each day’s training session is a new opportunity for growth. The kettlebell requires commitment, consistency and willpower for that growth to occur.

Commitment

Has anyone started a new job without any sort of onsite training? Sorry, but we don’t come out of the womb with a tool belt, construction hat, and the know-how to build a house! To build your first home, more likely than not, you’ll collapse a few walls, stub some toes, nail a finger or two to the wall before your dream stands sturdy and proud. If you’re really serious about getting started with kettlebell training or continuing your path of training, commitment is mandatory. A practice regimen of once per week won’t cut it. Kettlebell training is a 7-days-a-week commitment regardless if you’re swinging, pressing or just working on mobility. During your training, all your thoughts and movements should be focused on enhancing your skills.

I recommend picking up Max Shank’s Master The Kettlebell. Read it! Now read it again. And then? Read it again. Hire a local RKC Instructor and have them teach you the basics. At first, go light to go right. Don’t worry, I assure you the beast tamers who may have inspired you started just like this on Day one.

Senior RKC Robert Miller pressing a kettlebell twice the size of his head

Senior RKC Robert Miller pressing a kettlebell twice the size of his head!

Consistency

It may not be a good fit for everyone to lift weights 7-days per week. Your body will tell you if it’s a day to go crazy or a day to stay away; waving loads is essential when training consistently. One must be skilled in knowing when to go heavy, when to go light, or when to not to go at all. Programming with consistency is what kettlebell training is all about! I’ve seen the best results with a Monday/Wednesday/Friday routine: Monday’s light, Wednesday’s medium and Friday’s heavy. I practice swings, calisthenics and mobility on the days in between to prepare myself for the next lifting day.

What is consistency? Consistency is following though with a training schedule. Our lives are centered on some sort of schedule. Each commitment requires a consistent schedule to succeed. You have to train your body properly everyday if you want real results. Set a schedule that works for you and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way. Consistency allows you to achive progress and is essential for growth.

Willpower

If we’re all being honest with ourselves, we will admit that it takes willpower to consistently commit to any type of program. Kettlebell training is complex and requires both commitment and consistency. Regardless of what your goals are, you’ll need willpower. You’re going to have that coworker who guarantees what you’re doing is a waste of time. You may even have some friends who are upset that it’s Friday night and while they’re on shot #3 and beer #4 you’re busy with Turkish Get Up #4 on minute #3. Willpower is required to stand up to the inevitable temptations. Remind your friends that you want to enhance your health. Who can argue with that? By surrounding yourself with things and people conducive to your goals and tuning out the rest, willpower grows!

Casia Justine, RKC tapping into her willpower

Casia Justine, RKC tapping into her willpower

Cultivate willpower, become consistent and be commited to your kettlebell program. If you don’t know what to do, hire a local RKC Instructor. If you don’t have a local RKC, hire one via the Internet. With commitment, consistency and willpower prepare for some serious strength and conditioning gains! Thanks for reading and feel free to ask some questions in the comments section below. I’ll do my best to answer or point you in the right direction!

In the following video, I press a 36kg kettlebell after years of practicing with commitment, consistency and willpower. For these long legs and skinny arms this a most excellent feat of strength!

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RKC Team Leader Nick Lynch is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Milwaukee School of Engineering University (MSOE). He owns Superb Health Milwaukee, a kettlebell studio in Milwaukee, WI. Most recently, he became an RKC Team Leader. He has 13 years of full-time training and coaching experience and a lifetime of wellness education. Nick lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife Natalie and son Weston.

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Running 10 Miles Without Any Training Runs

by Paul Britt on November 12, 2014

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Paul Britt Tough Mudder

I hate running. I really mean it. I would rather go shopping for furniture with my wife and kids, then run around the block. So when I participated in the 3.5 mile Warrior Dash Challenge, I did not include running as part on my training regimen. I fully believed that I would be able to train for it without actually running. And I was correct. I easily completed the Warrior Dash in about 35 minutes.

Later I decided to take on the 10 mile Tough Mudder. I felt that that the Tough Mudder would be a great way to test my theory that you can run a 10 mile course with no running during the training leading up to it. The last time I put in anywhere near this much mileage was as a young soldier back in the 90’s.

I signed up for the January Tough Mudder on November 27th giving me 62 days to prepare for the challenge. I chose a training protocol consisting of kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. There are so many different training thoughts and programs with the kettlebell and within the RKC. I looked at several different ways to make it work such as VO2 Max, Secret Service Snatch Test and several other tried and true programs, but it came down to swings.

The swing is awesome in its simplicity and ease of use. I like the fact that while not injury proof, swings are pretty safe to do for lots of reps and sets. I felt that the general template of time under load was exactly what I would need. The organizers advised that the course would take at least 2:30 minutes to complete so I needed to add more swing time. I also decided that I would need to use a mix of heavier and lighter kettlebells and most likely double kettlebells to be able to develop the strength and stamina to last the 10 miles. What a great testament to Hard Style and the RKC if I could actually pull off a 10 mile run without any running beforehand.

I began the program swinging double 32kg kettlebells for 30 sec on/30 sec off for 15 minutes. The next day was 15 minutes of get-ups with a 32kg, but not straight from prone to standing. Instead, I worked each piece of the get-up for at least two reps. I was able to make it to the windmill position in the 15 minute time frame. It was my goal to add 5 minutes a week to swings and get-ups. The plan was to hit 45 minutes of each exercise. I trained 4 days a week on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

Month 1
Monday/Thursday

FMS Correctives
Double swings started out 15 min a session and increased to 35 min a session over the month
Relax Into Stretch

Paul Britt Practicing FMS Correctives for Shoulder Mobility

RKC Team Leader Paul Britt Practicing FMS Correctives

Tuesday/Friday

FMS Correctives
Get Ups 15 min a session increased to 30 min a session over the month
Relax into Stretch

After 4 weeks I reevaluated the program (3 weeks actually, I had a 7 day break due to the flu), How far I had progressed and where I still needed to be. I was up to 35 minutes of double swings with the 32’s and 30 minutes of get-ups with a single 32kg. I felt really good, but I decided that I needed to really push it a little harder. At 4 weeks out, I was a little worried about if I was up to the task, I knew that I was getting stronger, but starting to worry it wouldn’t work. I felt that I was on the right path, but not quite sure where I stood. I was not going to do any training runs, since the goal was not to run before the race.

In looking at the obstacles, distance and what people were blogging about the race, I decided to increase my swing weights to the 40kgs. That would add strength and power that I would be need for some of the 19 obstacles I would face in the Tough Mudder. At this point in my training, it was a big jump and actually, my swing weight was heavier than my own body weight. After making the weight jump, I realized this strategy would also help with mental toughness; because swinging two heavy kettlebells is hard! The first day of the double 40’s lasted about 20 minutes. And I only lasted that long because I refused to quit.

It was during this time that the “10,000 Swings in 21 Days Challenge” started to float around the internet. I thought about it and decided that it fit within my training program/thought process. I figured that more swings would fit the bill. In looking at the numbers, it would take 500 swings a day to reach the 10,000 in 21 days. I knew that I wanted to keep the heavy double swings in the mix and wanted to get as many swings in the 21 Days as possible. Working towards the weight I wanted to hit with double kettlebell swings would probably keep me from 10,000 in 21 days, but I had 25 days of training left in my programming before my 4 days of deloading to be rested. I decided to try and get all of the swings in, but would not sweat it if I didn’t.

The modifications had me swinging almost every day for up to 45 minutes a session. I knew I could not keep up the heavy doubles for 21 days so I changed my schedule to have a medium, light and play weight during the week. The play weight was whatever I felt like messing with on that day for lots of reps. My training week was typically: heavy double swings on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and either two hand swings with the Beast or double 32 swings on the other days. The “play” day was exactly that, no real plan of action. Some days it was throwing out a bunch of kettlebells; 48kg, 40kg, 32kg and 24kg and doing 10 swings with each for multiple sets until I was tired., other days it was swings with the 24kgs’s. One thing I did find from practicing every day was that my swings got better, a lot better.

I ended up with 8500 swings on the 21st day and 10,000 by the 24th.

Month 2
Monday/Wednesday/Friday

FMS Correctives
Two-handed or double swings 300-500
Indian Clubs as active recovery

Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday

FMS Correctives
Heavy Double swings 200-500
Indian Clubs as active recovery between each set
Pull ups for 3-4 sets of 3-5

How did it work out for me? I completed the Tough Mudder in 2 hours 45 minutes. It was a hard race, with plenty of obstacles to climb over, crawl under and swing from, and lots of running. But the running was actually the easy part. I did not realize how much swimming we would have to do and the massive amounts of swings dropped my body fat to under 8% and I added 10lbs to my bodyweight. It made it hard to float and the cold water really sucked the heat out of me. It was interesting,  I read the 4 Hour Body by Tim Ferris the week of the race and found his section on running a marathon advocated interval training. It made me realize that I was on the right path with this training program.

Paul Britt Tough Mudder FInish Line

What would I do differently? I would continue with the swings, but keep the get-ups in there to improve core and rotational strength. I had no issues with the posterior chain after the race. My frontal core however, was pretty sore for a few days afterward. I think that if I had kept the get-ups in the mix, I would not have hurt so badly. It stemmed from climbing, monkey bars and helping boost others over obstacles. The grind power derived from the get-ups would have helped in all of those activities.

What is the summary of this little experiment? It is possible to train for a mid-range running event without running in training. Will you have record shattering times? Most likely not, but the goal was just seeing if it could be done. I now know that it can be done. I see a few ways to improve, if I chose to do it again. I would keep the swing volume high, add more get-ups and I would add clean and jerks to the program. The clean and jerks would help develop power strength and some mental toughness.

 

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RKC Team Leader Paul Britt has been an RKC kettlebell instructor since 2006. He trains clients at Britt’s Training Systems, his award-winning Hardstyle Kettlebell Training Facility in Rockwall, Texas. Paul has served as an assistant instructor at many RKC and HKC Courses, is a Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist (CK-FMS) and works with some of the top Chiroprators in North Texas. Please visit his website brittstrainingsystems.com for more information.

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Kaizen–The Ancient Japanese Art of Continuous, Incremental Self-Improvement

November 5, 2014

I was introduced to this term years ago when I worked as an IT Consultant for a German automotive supplier. I learned that it was this ancient Japanese concept that transformed Toyota from a small and inefficient car manufacturer into the de facto worldwide industry leader in production efficiency and accuracy. Today virtually all major […]

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The 3-6-9-12 Program

October 29, 2014

It is when you feel like you can break. You have put everything on the line. Heroes have been made, dreams have been dashed. It is the fourth quarter. I remember playing basketball that time, the time when everything came down to how you prepared. How well could you execute even though you were shaky, […]

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Gripping Your Strength

October 22, 2014

The first two body parts to make any form of physical contact (unless you’re in FIFA) are your feet and hands. First feet, then hands. To strengthen your feet, train barefoot. To strengthen your hands, train barehanded and lift heavy stuff with vengeance. Why should you care about your grip strength? “The tenser your muscles […]

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10 Reasons to Hire an RKC to Learn to Use Kettlebells

October 15, 2014

An online fitness magazine caught my attention recently when the headline read, “The Problem with Kettlebells is …” The article explained that the problem is there are not enough certified kettlebell coaches to match the interest in kettlebells at the average gym. The result is poor technique and injuries resulting from no understanding of how […]

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Improve Your Windmill

October 1, 2014

The windmill is an excellent exercise to increase mobility, flexibility and core strength. As an added benefit, it also increases shoulder strength and stability. It’s a unique exercise because it engages multiple muscle groups and takes the body through a combined range of motion. Windmills are a great way to get heavy weight over your […]

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Pass Your RKC: A Complete 6-Month RKC Level One Preparatory Program

September 24, 2014

As athletes preparing for a grueling physical feat, we must ask ourselves, “How do I train properly?” There are many outstanding training programs already out there, so my hope for this program is to further help you and your students prepare for a successful RKC certification. I’ve personally had great success with this program, as […]

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Smart Kettlebell Training for Competitive Endurance Athletes

September 17, 2014

For endurance athletes, time well spent is time working toward a specific goal. Unfortunately this often means strength training takes a back seat or becomes obsolete. In the world of strength and conditioning we like to believe that getting stronger solves all our problems. How much strength does the endurance athlete really need? For those […]

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Why I Run and How I Keep My Motivation

September 3, 2014

Technically, I’m on my one week vacation, but I had some thoughts coursing through my head as I was on a 4 mile jaunt this morning. For those of you who have been following my Dirty Dozen exercise blog posts, don’t worry, the installments for the final two movements, #11 The Kettlebell Snatch and #12 […]

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