Sunday, May 31, 2009

KBLA-Anton Summers, More "Line Up" Learnings

Yet another great morning of HARD style with Kettlebells Los Angeles under the qualified instruction of Dr. Cheng's assistant Anton Summers. If you need ANY kettlebell training in Los Angeles, look Anton up. Whether Dr. Cheng is in town or traveling, it is ALWAYS worth the drive to Santa Monica for the KBLA Line Up! There can be numerous RKCs in the group on any given morning besides the chief instructor up front. Don't be shy--throw down!
I had numerous learning points this morning with Anton and the group. I'm preparing for my RKC in San Diego this August. Time for fine tuning. Anton provided more detail for me this morning which I appreciated. Here's a few summary points.
DeadLift: Really worked on getting squared up with equal tension on BOTH sides.
  • Shoot both arms straight into the ground.
  • Don't have ANY slack in the arms when you pick up the KB...load the tension BEFORE picking up the bell. Keep pressing it down even though you pick it up.
  • "Pull" hips forward--just don't drive hips forward with glutes.
  • Keep a long neck with maximum space between ears and shoulders, or as Doc says, "NO chicken necks!"
  • "Happy Faces" i.e. relaxed necks and face remind us to keep the tension BELOW the shoulders but not above into the neck and face.

Single Leg DeadLift: Great for equalizing the tension. Makes you really aware of what is not locked and what is.

  • Put KB on outside of foot right at mid point in length. We discussed this a bit. It's easier to do this when you are learning because you don't get the rotational twist like you do when the KB is on the inside of the foot. A double KB DL on one leg would be even one more step lower to get someone going, so I guess were sort of in the middle level this morning. It worked much better than what I was doing before.
  • Even though you have "one" bell, pretend you are picking up two suitcases. Keep the tension equal on BOTH sides of body all the way through.
  • FULLY extend the hips at top lockout. People get lazy with this on the SLDL.

Dead Cleans: Yet another tension equalization exercise! I really recalibrated on this today!

  • Build pressure before picking up bell. It's very important to keep the core squared up. Don't let your shoulders unlock and rotate. Think lower body! Drive with legs--not shoulders. This really helps to keep the knees from flying all over the place which I see sometimes.

Clean & Press: Kept working on the pre-lift pressure thing with this one too.

  • Point well taken that your "clean" sets up your "press." If you have a crappy clean, you have a crappy press.
  • When you reset or rack, you MUST rebuild tension before the next press.
  • We also worked on some single leg pressing which lets you know in a hurry if you don't have equal lock and tension on BOTH sides!

Light Clean & Press: I then went from 24k to 16k and worked on pressing the body into the ground AWAY from the bell instead of just pressing up the bell or extending the arm. These were way harder than they looked...HAAARD style...Enjoy!

  • The critical point here was to NEVER let the shoulder elevate. Keep packed and horizontal throughout the whole lift. A lot of people will let shoulder elevate then when they lock out the arm will set the shoulder back down. Going light, we worked on keeping the packed shoulder more effectively. This was a good drill. I'm going to work on this next week.

Snatch: Applying all the above, you can really decrease the stress on your shoulder and arm as you drive out of hips and legs.

  • I made an interesting observation of Anton. When he snatches, it's like his elbow stays glued to his ribs. He can do that because he's not "lifting" the KB with his arm--he's driving it from below with legs and hips. This was HUGE for me today. I'm going to regroove this a bit.

It's been a mind-blowing week for me. Literally! I've been up to my arse in Gray Cook DVDs, Functional Movement Screen notes, Dr. Cheng blog posts, Pavel stuff, my God!!! I think I've added about 30% to my working knowledge and application just in the last week alone. The whole corrective exercise scene is really exciting. I'm turning into a biomechanics geek I think. Instead of listening to music, I've been listening to Gray Cook podcasts...

Speaking of podcasts, I was listening to Rif's podcast with the new kettlebell secrets series the other day. He had a great comment something to the effect of, "Do you want to be entertained or do you want results and progress?" How true! So many people want to be "entertained" instead of getting to work and busting some butt to make real changes. The sooner people realize that health and fitness is WORK, the better off they will be. It's not like everyone has to be brutal on every workout--that's not what he's talking about. It's just old school let's get to work and get something of real value done and stop screwing around with things that don't really matter...that can take you a long way in health and fitness Comrades...words of wisdom for sure. Thanks Rif.

If you want to check out Anton Summers, you can contact him on his website below:

So as usual, no matter what your workout choice...Enjoy!

From a HARD Style SoCal, Coach RJ!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

National Cemetery-Memorial Day.09

114.5 acres. 82,000 graves. 82,000 American Flags.
I visited the National Cemetery today. Lest we NOT forget those that gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may remain free. Next time you feel too lazy for a workout...DON'T.
In Remembrance, Coach RJ

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 873

This is my 873rd straight day of exercising "at least" 30 minutes per day. The Lean Berets would be proud!!!
Tonight for 873? I'm heading to the park in Valencia, CA with my KBs for some snatching, SLDL, light CP. Might do some MVO2...not sure yet. Don't want to totally blow myself before the KBLA Line Up as Doc might get frisky beings it's Memorial Day weekend! We all get pretty emotional about supporting the troops...might be some extra pain to enjoy Sunday morning! But alas, for now, as the sun is warming and preparing to drop over the SoCal mountains, I head to the park for Day 873.
On Friday, June 19th, I'll be hitting Day 900. Anyone care to throw down that Friday night in Valencia with kettlebell HARD style? At least one person will be You can't miss me...I'll be the one sweaty my arse off with iron in my hand. From Sunny SoCal, Coach RJ!

Lessons of the day...

Yesterday, I rolled my Z down the 101 along the coast of California from Paso Robles back to Santa Barbara. It was a relaxed drive with LOTS of sport cars on the road. I stopped by Rusty Smith's reincarnated "HardCore 360 Gym" in Santa Barbara to meet KB Comrade Tim Spencer. Tim showed me around the new 360...AWESOME! Can't wait to talk more about this cool training facility just blocks from the SoCal ocean in SB. Tim, Rusty, me, and other 360 comrades are all heading for the RKC certification in San Diego this August, so Tim and I discussed our strengths, weaknesses, and training strategies for the next couple of months to get ready. After that, I rolled in the late afternoon down to Ventura where a KB throwdown at the city park seemed to be in order.
Decided to do some 24kg swings. 20 at the top of each minute. 15 minutes=150 swings. Then I worked on some 24kg overhead lockouts with a walkaround. I walked down about 20 yards, turned around, then walked back with one arm, short rest, repeated with other arm. After a few sets of this, I was walking around and taking my rest and stepped on bee which promptly stung the crap out of my foot! As I watched my foot turn red and throb with pain, I became absorbed into a Zen frame of mind asking myself what was the lesson and where is my gratitude? Lesson? I should consider wearing shoes when working in the bright sunshine on grass that has clover flowers! Gratitude? I'm thankful the bee did not sting me when I had the 24kg over my head!
As I was warming up, a pleasant young woman sat right in front of me (but out of my line of fire) with a huge papaya. She smiled and asked what those things were. I explained they were Russian kettlebells. She asked me what they did. I explained the strength and power benefits but went into the corrective aspects too. She smiled. I went back to my workout. She carefully sliced the papaya and laid them all out on the grass like playing cards then ate one at a time in a very relaxed manner with my pressurized breathing and lockouts in the background. After about 20 minutes, we bid each other farewell and good day. Then the bee stung me a few minutes later, and I decided the workout was over...or rather this was decided by the tribal guru bee creature.
I went to eat some fish tacos at the Anacapa Brewery--my favorite hangout in Ventura. I felt inclined to walk barefoot which was inspired by a recent blog post by Tim Spencer. I walked along the beach with no shoes letting the cool and frothy surf sweep over my naked feet (soothing my one throbbing foot too!). I walked slowly...looking. You see a lot of stuff when you look for it. I found a cool rock with another small rock embedded into it. I found a large vertebrae. Not sure what animal it came from--but I thought it was cool. I found a piece of sea glass. It was white.
I saw some trash and started thinking about Steve Ilg's teachings that we should take appropriate action each day and do small things that make a difference. I picked up a couple pieces of plastic and carried them back to the trash can before leaving. Then I rolled back to Valencia...tired but relaxed.
From SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend, Coach RJ

Monday, May 18, 2009

Memento Mori...

RJ @ Piedmont Park, Atlanta

Death waits for no one Comrades. Here's a little memento mori reminder for y'all. Money, fame, power, all comes to an end, so let's not waste time.
Tempus Fugit, Coach RJ!