Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"Linkage Over Leakage" KB Training Tips

Yet another enlightening Sunday Morning Line Up with Kettlebells Los Angeles Comrades! This time under the watchful eyes of RKC Anton since Dr. Cheng was still on the road. The theme of the day was "Linkage Over Leakage." We spent the morning practicing our HARD style lockouts to prevent force leaks. I stayed after class to jot down some notes before I forgot them. Another group showed up with a KB. I watched them for a while. BIG difference! When people don't know or understand HARD style, at best they are not efficient and at worst they are outright dangerous with a KB and an injury waiting to happen! I'm thankful to be learning KBs the RIGHT way--and the safe way.

To help y'all do it the right way i.e. in true HARD style (and SAFE style!) of the RKC and KBLA, read on:

Deadlifts: Use a "lat lock" technique to keep shoulders packed throughout.
  • Think about pressing the KB "down" as you deadlift the KB up--this will trigger more lat lock which then helps stabilize shoulders more. This was kind of weird at first, but it worked. My shoulders really don't move much during deadlifts--they stay back and down without protracting. My ankles, knees, and hips move and my arms "slightly" rotate in the shoulder joint, but the shoulders themselves do not round forward.

Swings: A great tip to help you engage the lats before you swing is to place the KB out in front then "drag it back" for 1-2" before you actually pick it up. This triggers your lats to fire which then helps you pack your shoulders. The more you engage lats then pack shoulders, the safer you will be while also increasing performance and efficiency--a win-win Comrades.
  • If you do 1-Arm Swings, make sure to stay SQUARE on your lockout. Don't let your body rotate or be pulled forward on the KB side...think lat lock again. Even when you backswing the KB between your legs be thinking about keeping the KB arm/shoulder back as much as possible. If you allow the shoulder to unpack, you weaken the joint.

Cleans: Make sure to punch up under the KB quickly so you don't bang the forearms.
  • The best HARD style tip at KBLA for me on cleans was a super clench of the glutes. The better I pop the glutes, the more the KB jumps up into my armpit like a cat.
  • We worked on "Dead Cleans" too which is when you pull the KB straight up off the ground without a back swing. These force you to use even better technique in some ways, but in general, use the backswing method to get the KB moving before you bring it up.

Presses: As you lockout overhead, press chest slightly forward. This keeps the KB centered better with your body so you have more structural support from the skeleton and rely less on soft tissue support at the top end position.
  • Use a more narrow stance on the press--no wider than hips. After you clean the KB, you can readjust slightly with your feet before beginning to press.
  • Using a double crush grip enables more MVC--Maximum Volitional Contraction. Basically this means you can press more weight if you try to crush the KB handle while also crushing your opposing fist as well.
  • Use the double lat lock technique--BOTH sides even though you are pressing with one side and one KB. This will keep you SQUARE with two packed shoulders and in the safest position. Using the double lat lock also keeps you from doing a side lean as you lockout. Don't allow your torso to collapse under the KB as you lock it out! Stand tall Comrades!
  • If there is one big point I've learned about pressing it's to slow down and go HARD. Get a hard lockout on top, then slowly descend like you are literally doing a 1-Arm pullup. Set the KB into the rack firmly--pack the rack!!! I use two exhalations with the Press--one of top lockout and one on bottom rack position too.

Turkish Get Ups: This is a new technique for me on descending into the negative. As you come back down, you "slide" your back foot back instead of blindly reaching back. The slide method will keep you more stable. The key is to slide back at hip width. When I had my stance too narrow, I lost too much base of support, and it was not comfortable or efficient.

  • Another HARD style TGU tip is to SLOW DOWN! Really push the stabilization with these. I have hard stops in my TGUs. I stop, assess form, think about my next more before I go there, and wait until I start shaking a bit to get the full joint stabilization benefits. Speed with TGUs is not the objective with me. Max reps is not the objective. I only do 3-5 per side with the 16kg. Doing these HARD style pushing max stabilization like above is...well...HARD! Trust me--less is more with this one if you do them right as in less reps but more quality.
  • Don't allow your rear foot and ankle to externally rotate putting stress onto your knee and ankle.
  • Basically, this looks like what I call a Box Lunge as you step back and down.

Our Workout: We did a ladder drill instead of a finishing circuit today. Enjoy the pain!!!

  • Descending ladder drill of swings followed by goblet squats. Start with 10 swings followed by 10 goblets then go to 9-9, 8-8, etc. Take a brief rest as needed between sets to emphasize both quality and safety i.e. HARD style! Go all the way down to 1-1.
  • Go deep on the goblets. This will help open up your hips.

So these are the basics from Sunday, December 7th. Another HARD style Sunday in Santa Monica with KBLA. Enjoy! From SoCal this week, Coach RJ!


Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Well written, Coach! Way to represent the KBLA crew!

Coach RJ said...

HARD Style or NO style Doc! That's how we "role"!!!