Back in the brutally hot, mid July of 2010, I decided to tag along with RKC Level 2, Tim Shuman, to the NSCA Conference here in Orlando. I’d been training with Tim for the upcoming RKC workshop which would be held that October. He’d heard Dragon Door would have a booth in the exhibit hall, and wanted to buy a “Beast” kettlebell. I was considering a few books. Convict Conditioning had been consistently catching my eye on the website and emails, so I had planned on buying it at least. I also wanted to get the opinion of someone “in the know” about any other preparations I should be making for the upcoming RKC Certification Workshop. Even though I had been training very hard for nearly a year, my confidence hadn’t caught up.
We walked up and saw Nicole Du Cane was at the booth – along with a lot of kettlebells, and a huge table full of books. We talked to Nicole about the new 16kg handle and I gave it a try. At this time, I was so small that I was still well within the comfortable range of testing with the 12kg. I did a few snatches with the 12kg for fun and generally asked Nicole if I seemed at all ready. She said I did, and that was a good thing to hear! I thumbed through a few books on the table before finding Convict Conditioning, and deciding that was definitely the book I wanted to get. So, even before attending my first RKC Workshop, I was able to purchase the Convict Conditioning book from Nicole, which is pretty neat.
Tim bought a “beast” kettlebell, which we would pick up later and amusingly put on an escalator on the way to Tim’s truck! He asked what I bought, then made a “yuck face” when he heard the answer. I shrugged and said that I was curious, and had already liked what I’d seen in the book in terms of progressions useful for myself and with the handful of personal training clients I had at the time. Also, the idea of a woman doing a real 1 arm chin is practically unheard of, meaning I at least had to investigate. The book ended up being read in whole, then in parts, then thumbed through for regular reference. Sometimes, when out on the coffee table, it garnered scowls, curiosity, and outright disgust at the name “Convict Conditioning.” I didn’t care, I was getting stronger, and starting to do some pretty incredible things.
Having already been proficient with the pistol squat from Naked Warrior, some coaching and practice, I was able to really dial it in using the principles in CC. Handstand pushups started happening in a hurry, and they really began to help my kettlebell military press. Pull ups became stronger than ever, and I started blasting through my long standing 8 rep plateau in short order. I started working on bridges, something that hadn’t ever seemed interesting until now – and began the reaping strength, flexibility, and coordination benefits from this new challenge. In short, Convict Conditioning rarely—if ever—finds itself on the shelf, and over the course of a couple years of constant but careful use, started getting ragged.
The binding started to come apart, and the cover kept slipping. It was a matter of time until I picked it up and ripped it (and not in a cool grip-strength way). Fortunately, it has a stitched binding, so no pages would be lost, but it was becoming unsightly, and since I seem to look at it all the time, I figured it would be good to have it spiral bound. For less than $7, a helpful person at Fedex/Kinkos cut and rebound the book for me with a spiral, now allowing the book to lay flat on the floor (which is often where it happens to be.) Amusingly, while she was working on the book, I saw her start to read it too.
For the motivated person, this is a great program that can be used at home or anywhere. Some people really enjoy the energy of a large group class, while others thrive working on their own in private, or in a natural setting. The ideas and exercises in Convict Conditioning have allowed me to sidestep the inconvenience of having to “find a place to train” which has the “right equipment” for years. Don’t be fooled by it’s bad boy image, this book is pure gold. If you wonder if you’ll “really use it,” just look at what happened to my copy. And now with it’s new binding, it should have many more years of regular use ahead of it.
About Adrienne Harvey, RKCII, CK-FMS, Primal Move Nat’l Instructor
I started studying kettlebell training over three years ago and became RKC Certified in October of 2010, and became an RKC Level 2 Instructor in July 10th of 2011. Kettlebell and bodyweight training have been absolutely crucial in my personal quest for fitness, and I love sharing these ultra-effective modalities with small groups and individuals. Similarly, developing recipes to further support performance, body composition, and general enjoyment is another passion.
Go to http://www.giryagirl.com/ for more information about Adrienne!