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GET READY:  To Redeem your groupon offer please complete the following form and you will be contacted with instructions on how to register and reserve your class space.

 

 

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GET SET: Making Your Class Reservation
All class sizes are limited to 8 participants and you will be asked to reserve you spot in advance.
We offer a combination of Kettlebell classes and or private training 6-Days per week Monday through Saturday.  (You can use the link below)

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GO!
After reserving your class spot,  come to class wearing standard workout attire (shorts, shirt) also bring water and a towel.
During your first few classes we will ask a few questions, conduct assessments and gradually introduce you to fundamental techniques. Each workout with progress toward more challenging exercises and goals as you learn and improve.

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Notice: Our studio is only open during class hours and visits are by appointment and class reservation only.

Omaha Elite Kettlebell 10-week Ballistics Challenge

10-Week Kettlebell Challenge – “Go Ballistic”

If the thought of all the good holiday food that’s coming around the corner has you stressed out, you may want to consider having your cake and eating it too. In other words, don’t deny yourself from enjoying the Holidays, just make sure you earn your just desserts.

Here’s a nice 10-week challenge to help you stoke your metabolic fire and keep your fitness progress moving forward.
When performed properly, with sufficient weight and power the techniques included here have the potential to burn over 20-calories per minute for the average individual.  In order to get the most of these techniques I highly recommend… no I INSIST on doing everything within your power to learn the technical subtleties that will allow you to safely squeeze every ounce of transformational power out these movement from a qualified StrongFirst certified kettlebell instructor in your area.

If you follow the plan and find a way to achieve at least 100 reps a day, three days per week for 10-weeks you will have accomplished 3,000 to 6,000 Kettlebell swings, high pulls or snatches and burned over 6,000 calories. You’ll improve your endurance and ability to generate power, ramp-up your metabolism and build muscle in all the right places.  After all that, go ahead and have a slice or four
 of pumpkin pie… you will have earned it.

Enjoy.

10-WEEK PLAN Select a technique from the list below that you can perform safely using a kettlebell size which allows you to perform 10 to 20 powerful repetitions per set. Start with 100 reps in 5 minutes and build up over 10 weeks to 200 reps in 10-minutes. Perform the following training session for up to 10-minutes anywhere from 1 to 3 time per week. Keep a steady predetermined pace such as 10 reps per minute for as long as possible. When you can no longer keep the pace, either switch to an easier technique on the list that allows you to keep pace or end the workout for the day. Each week attempt to increase the total number of sets performed until you can complete all ten-minutes at your goal pace. Eventually build up to completing 20 reps per minute for all 10-minutes. When you can complete 200 reps of a single technique in 100 minutes, it's time to

 

 

10 Characteristics That Can Help You Fail or Achieve Your Fitness Goals

I often think about the many people I have had the honor to work with and I try to understand which characteristics determine whether a client fails succeeds or falls somewhere in the middle.
After some thought, I’ve arrived at the following two lists.

Characteristics of Clients Who Experience Lackluster Results

  1. Focus on short term results and immediate rewards.
    “I want to lose 10lbs before my High-School Reunion next month.” ” I saw or read a really cool workout I want to tryout.”
  2. They don’t value what is being offered… often seeking discounts, free lessons or shortcuts. Indecisive or reluctant to invest time and money into their long term health and fitness.
  3. Irregular and inconsistent training schedule.
    They have no idea if they will train today or tomorrow. They often take extended “breaks” from training all together, then return frustrated because they’ve fallen behind.
  4. Inconsistent effort and energy level.
    More often than not they allow their performance to be ruled by their emotions.
  5. Poor focus and easily distracted during training.
    This can mean bringing life’s problems into the gym, being excessively chatty during training time,  or being distracted frequently by new workouts or routines.
  6. They are blissfully ignorant of their own progress, personal bests, etc…
    They don’t keep a training journal. They never know what weights they are supposed to be using and have no idea what their 5 or 1 rep max is in a given movement.
  7. They make little to no effort to educate themselves on fitness and health outside of class.  They abdicate as much responsibility for their own fitness and health as possible onto others.
  8. They have no fitness integrity. In other words, the 3 to 5 hours of work they put into class every week is continually undermined by 160+ hours of lethargy, poor posture, lack of sleep and bad nutritional habits.
  9. They avoid objectively assessing themselves, avoid what makes them uncomfortable and either set unrealistic, unmeasurable or no fitness/performance goals.
  10. They network and surround themselves with people who are NOT passionate about  strength, fitness or health.

By contrast, this inevitably brought me to build a list of characteristics shared by students who are the most successful.

Characteristics of Clients Who Get the BEST Results

  1. They have a long term vision focusing on the big picture. Slow progress, steady and consistent work over months and years beats a short-lived unsustainable burst of intense effort.
  2. They seek out value and are willing to pay what it’s worth and take decisive action. This seems to be common among successful professionals and their family members who understand what it took to be successful themselves. They commit and put their own money and reputation on the line, then follow up with action.
  3. They know their training schedule in advance and train consistently and predictably, even when it’s inconvenient.  For example: every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at the same time, regardless of how much sleep they had the night before and notify their trainer or training partners when they will be absent.
  4. They consistently train with a relatively high level of energy and intensity. They take responsibility for their energy level and  aren’t easily ruled by their emotions. They approach their training with professionalism… even when they don’t feel like it.
  5. They have a high degree of focus while training. They are on task during training and have no problem sticking to a 10 to 12-week program.
  6. They know their personal bests and track and measure their progress.
  7. They have an active and almost insatiable interest in health and fitness and educate themselves on the topic outside of class. (Example: my best students are typically those who learn to eat healthy, are constantly reading willing to pursue extra-curricular learning opportunities or fitness challenge like the StrongFirst User Courses or Certifications or the Tactical Strength Challenge)
  8. Fitness Integrity.  A.k.a. They have learned to make fitness and health an important part of their everyday lifestyle and they train outside of class. In their spare time they enjoy hiking, biking, being outdoors, swimming, playing sports, participating in athletic competitions, playing with their kids, etc…
  9. They are continually assessing themselves and setting, objective, goals that address their own weaknesses as well as their strengths. They are no stranger to making themselves uncomfortable.
  10. They network with and surround themselves with people who are passionate about  strength, fitness and health. (Example: StrongFirst Certified instructors tend to network and train with other StrongFirst Certified Instructors  )

Don’t interpret these two lists as containers to place individuals in, because it’s rare that one list perfectly describes any one person.  Instead look at these lists as one set of ten characteristics, each characteristic with it’s own continuum or sliding scale.  If you were to score yourself on these 10 qualities daily there may be some fluctuation, but overall I believe most people would score pretty consistently over time. There are times in life when other things take priority or it’s difficult to stick to a routine… but then there are those who accept no excuses and either find or make a way. Individuals who lean toward the qualities in the latter list will tend to be those who experience the most successful results.  I personally believe all of the qualities listed are choices and behaviors that can be tweaked and learned over time.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU
Look at the above lists, determine your relative weaknesses and turn one into a strength over the course of several months and you’ll be a better or man or woman for having done so.

In other words… strength is a choice.

Are Kettlebells Better for Strength, Cardio or Toning?

Double Kettlebell Renegade Row Omaha Elite Kettlebell

“Are kettlebells better for strength, cardio or toning?” – The short answer: “YES”.  

The following post is a response to a question posted by Laura Spencer
“Anyone have any insight as far as kettlebell goes? Is it more cardio based than most yoga or barre? Does it compare in the toning you see from barre? I’d like to hear some input from people personally before doing a listless web search.”

I originally posted my response to her blog, but after further consideration I realize that there are probably MANY more people out there asking similar questions.


Laura,

Kettlebells are simply tools that can be programmed and utilized many ways.

Put simply, kettlebells can be used to improve both strength and endurance. Of course, “it depends” on how your workouts are programmed, using the appropriate weights, reps and sets, rest, and safe technique.

Caution: There are a lot of fitness classes out there utilizing kettlebells run by instructors who know next to nothing about how to perform or teach kettlebell techniques let alone how to program a kettlebell workout. To find what I consider to be the highest calibre of Kettlebell training visit http://www.StrongFirst.com

Kettlebells are a form of resistance training, and when you think about it… so are Barre and Yoga. In Yoga and Barre you use your bodyweight and manipulated leverages as the main source of resistance while kettlebell training relies on… kettlebells. Any form of training that builds strength improves muscle tone. The more resistance you can learn to overcome by either adding an external load or manipulating leverage the stronger you will become and you will improve the “tone” of the muscles being worked.

Tone = Tension. Tension = Strength. Therefore, Strength = Tone
Muscle tone is partly due to the amount of resting tension your muscles have throughout the day.
Tension is strength. When you flex you are temporarily increasing the amount of tension in the muscles involved. So, to lift a heavier weight you need the ability to “flex” harder or generate more tension, which when done with a sufficiently heavy enough weight to elicit an adaptation response builds a stronger muscle capable of generating even more tension. The stronger a muscle is, the more tension it can afford to have at rest (consider the rippling muscles of Bruce Lee, a tiger or even a chimpanzee at rest… THAT’s TONE!)

Additionally, there are many unique kettlebell lifts that develop flexibility like the Getup, Cossack Squats, Pistols, crooked press, arm bars, windmills and Bent presses that many people like to refer to as Yoga with Weights.

SAMPLE KETTLEBELL WORKOUTS

KETTLEBELL STRENGTH & CONDITIONING WORKOUTS
A Kettlebell Workout that does BOTH Strength/Tone & Conditioning can be viewed on my blog
here: https://omahaelitekettlebell.com/2014/09/11/15-minute-advanced-double-kettlebell-workout-no-gym-membership-required/

KETTLEBELL “CARDIO” WORKOUTS
Simple examples of Kettlebell “cardio” workouts that melt fat to reveal the underlying muscle tone could be something like

– Using a light kettlebell you can snatch overhead for 15 to 20 reps and doing sets of 10 per arm with a 1:1 work:rest ratio for 15 minutes. A similar workout was shown to burn more than 20 calories per minute by the average person (study:http://www.acefitness.org/getfit/studies/kettlebells012010.pdf)

– Alternating 20 seconds of kettlebell swings with 20 seconds of goblet squats.
(20 seconds of swings: 10 seconds rest: 20 seconds of goblet squats: 10 seconds rest) x 8
Shoot for 10+ swings and 8+ squats per round.
THEN
(20 seconds of double bell Clean & Push Presses: 10 seconds rest: 20 seconds of renegade rows: 10 seconds rest) x 8

KETTLEBELL “STRENGTH” WORKOUTS
Key features of a kettlebell STRENGTH workout is that the rest periods are longer, the reps are typically lower and the weights are much heavier.

Simple examples of HEAVY kettlebell STRENGTH workouts that increase muscle tone
– 1 getup per arm per minute for 10 minutes.
– A pair of bells you can lift & squat for 5 reps: 2 clean & press + 3 Squats, rest & repeat. 
– Two VERY heavy bells you can swing for 5-10 reps and perform sets of 5  

As you can see, there are many variables you can manipulate in your kettlebell training to target the results you seek. 

Hope that helps. ;]”

15-Minute Advanced Double Kettlebell Workout – No Gym Membership Required

Double 32kg Kettlebell Setup

If your time is limited and you want to get stronger grab a pair of heavy kettlebells and practice the basics.
Don’t worry about what exercises are going to be in the next W.O.D.,
stop scouring through all the generic fitness magazines for a new routine and
immediately cease and desist with the endless buffet of home workout DVDs or youtube videos.

To maximize what precious little training time you have, you need to come to terms with the fact that less is more. Specifically, Less distractions and less techniques.

Resistance training isn’t new, it’s been around for millennia so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The biggest and most productive  movements in the weight room are common knowledge and according to Master SFG Dan John they can be narrowed down to about 4 categories: Pushing, Pulling, Squatting and Hip Hinging. As long as you hit all four categories in your training and stay strong in each, you’re ahead of the curve.

  1. SQUATTING: Squatting or Lunging
  2. HIP HINGING: Deadlift variations, Cleans and Snatches
  3. PULLING:  Rows or weighted pull-ups
  4. PUSHING:  All manner of pressing

A heavy barbell workout consisting of the above movements can take hours or days and lots of expensive equipment, not to mention a steep learning curve for the Olympic lifts, finding a gym that permits these movements and enough available equipment & space to not have to wait or work in with others. However, with two appropriate kettlebells you can do all of this and more and be finished in 15 minutes.  The ways you can arrange these movements are endless… but here’s a great 15-minute full-body kettlebell routine that uses all four categories.

15-MINUTE Strength & Conditioning Workout

The following workout doesn’t mess around.
It’s intended for the experienced kettlebell lifter.
It consists of two parts: A strength routine and a ballistics routine.

QUICK & DIRTY WARM-UP
10 Pump Stretches, 3 Kneeling Hip Stretch per side, 5 half-kneeling halos each direction per leg.

GRINDS (You’ll perform the first three movements as a complex without setting the bells down)

Omaha Elite Kettlebell Double Kettlebell Grind Complex: double Kettlebell clean, double Kettlebell press, double Kettlebell squat, double Kettlebell renegade row.

  • Cleans x  3-5
    Hike the bells behind you between your legs, then stand up explosively. Guide the kettlebell to the rack position without crashing. Hold motionless for 1 second while building maximal tension in the legs, glutes abs and lats.  Repeat for reps.
  • Presses x 1 -5
    Picking up where the clean left off… adjust & narrow your stance.  Tighten up, press down into the earth and press the bells overhead. Hold the lockout motionless for 1 second and perform a strong active negative as you return the bells to the rack. Repeat for reps. 
  • Squats: x 3-5
    Picking up where the press left off…. interlace your fingers, inhale, stay tight and pull yourself with strength down into a squat. Pause motionless for 1 second, then drive your heels into the earth and wedge your hips underneath you to return to standing. Fully extend your hips, maximally contracting your quads, glutes and abs at the top before repeating for reps.
    Now you can set the bells down.
  • renegade rows: x 3-5
    Assume a pushup position using the kettlebells handles to support your weight.  Maintain hip extension as you stiffen your entire torso, glutes and legs.  Alternately pull one bell to your hip at a time. Left + Right = 1. Repeat for reps.
  • Rest & Repeat as necessary.  I like to perform 3 to 5 rounds and always strive to use weights that allow me to get 3 reps or more per technique.

FINISHER
Omaha Elite Kettlebell: Double Kettlebell Ballistics Swings, double Kettlebell High Pulls, double Kettlebell Snatches
I always enjoy wrapping up with a heart pounding lung burning finisher like so…

  • Snatches x 1 – 5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • High Pulls x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Rest Briefly
  • Swings x 1-5 reps or (RM -1)
  • Start over with snatches and repeat this circuit for remainder of the allotted time.

OPTION A) Complete the entire workout with a moderate set of bells such as 24kg bells for men or 12 to 16kg bells for women.

OPTION B) “Weight Pyramids & Ladders”
Use up to three pairs of different size bells, light, medium and heavy and perform the workout like so

  • Perform the Clean, Press, Squat, Row complex with a weight pyramid: 
    Round 1: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
    Round 2: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 3: Perform the entire complex with Heavy bells.
    Round 4: Perform the entire complex with Medium bells.
    Round 5: Perform the entire complex with Light bells.
  • Perform the Snatch, High Pull and Swing Circuit using a Descending Weight Ladder
    Round 1: Heavy: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 2: Medium: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Round 3: Light: Snatches, High Pulls, Swings
    Done.

There you have it, a workout that takes 15-minutes and includes variations of the all the big movements.

Efficient, spirited & brutal, just the way I like it… and in my humble opinion you should too.

Enjoy.

Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Strong(er)

Conquering The 5-Minute Kettlebell Snatch Test

In my opinion the Kettlebell snatch is the most powerful and beautiful movement one can perform with a kettlebell. Nothing looks as athletic or awesome as a girevik standing tall with perfect posture holding a kettlebell locked out overhead, victorious.

Aside from just looking cool as all-get-out the kettlebell snatch is just hard work. So hard that the average person measured burns over 20 calories per minute performing them.  The kettlebell snatch uses muscles from your fingers to your toes, the bell travels twice the distance as the kettlebell swing yet uses only one arm and therefore takes nearly twice as much effort… if not more. It requires more mobility than a swing, as well as the finesse to not crash the bell against your forearm. Then you have to drop the bell from the overhead position and master the backswing before gravity and the kettlebell conspire to master you.  The kettlebell picks up speed accelerating down and back until the moment you brace, drive your heels through the earth and rip the bell overhead for another rep. The bell floats upward as you steer the weight to catch it, pausing in perfect stillness… a timeless victory pose the likes of which have been immortalized in statues and paintings for millennia. Very few workouts feel as exhilarating to me as a hard set of kettlebell snatches. Something about it is primal. High rep sets leave your chest pounding, lungs burning and forearms swollen. It is literally about as close as you’ll get to feeling like you’ve been in a fight without throwing a single punch. During extended sets it is often a combination of simple tenacity, fighting spirit and nerves of steel that separates the casual exerciser from the disciplined trainee.  The perfect exercise. Vicious poetry in motion.

In the world of today’s kettlebell enthusiast the minimum mark of competence for a would be kettlebell instructor is the five-minute snatch test.  Men and women typically use a 24kg(52.8lb) or 16kg(35.2lb) bell respectively and are required to perform 100 repetitions to standard without dropping the bell or allowing it to touch the shoulder.  Although not everyone who trains with kettlebells needs to nor should become a kettlebell instructor I believe everyone should strive to achieve and eventually exceed the work capacity required to pass this minimum standard on any given day.

 

THE “OEKB SNATCH TEST CONQUER” PROGRAM

There are many proven methods for passing the snatch test.
You’ll find mine below.

Continue reading

BREAKING THROUGH THE WALL

 

Our bodies are designed to adapt and conserve energy.
The more skilled we become at something, the more efficient our technique becomes and the less mental and physical energy we need to expend to get the same amount of work done.

This explains why when we start a new activity, diet or sport we see dramatic results, but the same activity that helped us get in “shape” performed in the same way over time will cease to deliver the desired results that it once did. For example: I don’t care how much you love jogging, at some point you simply can’t spend more hours per week jogging and you’re body will stop adapting in the manner you desire. What then????

The answer to manipulate one or more of the following variables.

- Nutrition ( better fuel yields better performance, recovery and results)
- Technique (better movement improves safety, longevity elicits positive results)
- Physical Intensity (perceived difficulty or effort required per repetition)
- Volume ( the amount of work our repetitions performed)
- Density ( how fast you work per unit of time and how much rest your take. This includes managing sleep, relaxation and stress levels outside of training)
- Mental Intensity ( how focused you are and the INTENT you bring to your training. You can punch the clock or show up to kick ass and take names. )

If you’re mind and body are sufficiently primed to make progress then you can tweak one of the above variables and force your body to adapt in the desired direction.

If you are overtrained, you will need to cut back and makes things easier for a while by either reducing the volume, density or intensity before gradually increasing difficulty and building up to a new peak or personal best.

BIG 25 WORKOUT

By John Scott Stevens, SFGII

Once again, I’m not a fan of W.O.D.s or Workouts of the Day. Instead I prefer to stick with a few movements and hit them hard for several weeks using a program  then use a “WOD” as an occasional test to measure progress.
What follows is a nice challenging & heavy change of pace workout inspired by Dan John’s “Big 55” featured on T-Nation. My personal twist is to use slightly heavier weights and either use this as an occasional test or as a 6-12 week program.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

  • This workout uses heavier weights and has a 45 minute time limit.
  • Pick three lifts and choose a 5RM – 8RM weight for each and complete 25 total reps of each movement using sets of 2,3 or 5 reps. Example: 5,2,3,5,2,3,5
    • Two lifts should be grinds
    • One lift should be an explosive or ballistic lift
    • One of the three lifts should intentionally be a lift that is not your favorite. In other words, it is particularly challenging for you and addresses a weakness.
    • Pick lifts that compliment each other in such a way that each lift is a form of active rest from the other two. Sample technique selections:
      • Barbell Military Press + Double Kettlebell Clean & Front Squats
      • Bent Press Left + Bent Press Right + Double Kettlebell Snatch
      • Barbell Deadlift + Kettlebell Clean & Press Left + Kettlebell Clean & press Right
      • Double Kettlebell Push Press + Renegade Rows
      • Bench Press + Zercher Squats + Double Kettlebell Swings ( feel free to use a 10RM weight on swings and double the reps for the swings)
  • Rest enough between sets to feel strong and complete the next set with excellent form but no so much as to cool down.
  • Don’t be a slave to the numbers. Stop each set short of failure and leave at least one perfect rep in the bank.
  • When you can complete the workout progress to one of the following:
    • repeat the workout and compress your rest periods
    • When you can’t compress the rest periods any more…
      replace one or more sets of 2,3 with one set of 5 until you can complete 5 sets of 5.
  • When you can do 5×5 compress the rest periods again.
  • When you can’t compress the rest periods, move up in weight and start anew.
GETUP SIL BLACK copy-01

Progressing the Getup

The Getup is a fundamental kettlebell technique that I teach to all of my students and require them to perform competently before progressing to overhead movements like pressing, snatches, windmills, bent presses, clean & jerks etc…

The getup is wonderful for several reasons

  • It consists of many steps which can be added or removed to suit the abilities or limitations of the individual.
  • It places you under tension for a relatively long duration of time to complete a single rep, this builds serious strength.
  • It requires a high degree of focus for a long amount of time to perform correctly. For this reason learning a body weight or water bottle getup is a great tool for teaching athletes body awareness and concentration.
  • The Getup addresses, reveals and improves a great many movement patterns while forcing symmetry.

Using the program template from Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline men and women are expected to transition from performing getups with a 32kg to a 48kg and from a 16kg to a 24kg kettlebell. In either case that’s a dramatic increase of 50% in load. Conquering a bell that’s 50% heavier can take some time, and it should. What follows are four goals to help you divide and conquer this task.

Notes:
Take as much time as needed to master each step before moving on the next.
I recommend applying the StrongFirst principles of “Waving the Load” and “Specialized Variety” to your getup training so that every day is not exactly the same as the last. – If you are unfamiliar with the application of these principles see a StrongFirst instructor.

“STRONGER ISN’T ONLY ABOUT MUSCLE, IT’S ABOUT TECHNIQUE & SAFETY AS WELL”

Aside from getting stronger, improving your technique and understanding of the getup is one of the best ways to progress safely. Invest in learning the subtleties of this technique from a certified instructor and you’ll be amazed at the benefits the getup can deliver.

Goal 1: Partial Getups
Every minute perform 30-seconds of continuous partial getups without setting the bell down.
Switch arms every minute.

From the supine firing range position, proceed to the elbow-sit or the tall-seated position, then reverse the movement. Without setting the bell down continue to perform as many slow & continuous reps as you can perform safely  until the the full 30-seconds are up. The number of reps you perform does not matter, the goal is to gradually build up to keeping the bell aloft for a full 30-seconds at a time.

Goal 2: Get Downs
Perform one “Get-Down” each minute, switching arms every minute.

Push-press the bell overhead and perform a Reverse Getup or “Get-Down” without standing back up.

Starting from the standing overhead lockout position you will descend into a lunge, progressing to the 1/2 kneeling windmill, and finally the supine firing range position. From the supine firing range position, lower the bell with both hands to your midsection then roll to your side and set the bell down. Perform fast & loose exercises for the remainder of the minute. Build up to moving slowly and smoothly taking up to a full 30-seconds to perform one get-down.

Goal 3: Get-Downs + Partial Getups
Perform one Get-Down + a Partial Getup every minute, switching arms each minute.

Push-press the bell overhead and perform a Reverse Getup a.k.a. “Get-Down” to the supine position, then perform a partial getup to either the elbow-sit or tall-seated position then  back down. Feel free to perform as many partial repetition from supine to the tall-sit as time allows.

Goal 4: Full Getups
One full getup per minute, switching arms every minute.

Perform a full getup from the floor, to standing and back to the floor again.

 


 

Common Mistakes to Avoid in the Getup

  • Don’t treat the getup like a weighted sit-up. Instead treat the movement like a moving plank and learn to wedge under the weight.
  • Avoid curling up and curling down, putting the spine into flexion.  Instead, learn to brace your midsection and maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
  • Don’t even think about “Tomahawking” the neck and kettlebell arm forward to build momentum on the ascent. Aside from looking sloppy it is very dangerous and is poor strategy that cannot be safely applied to a heavy bell.  Instead take the time to develop sufficient strength to move smoothly and safely under control.
  • Don’t allow yourself to bend the airborne elbow and/or wrist. Instead,  take the time to develop the mobility and proprioception to achieve a safely locked out wrist and elbow throughout the movement.  This will develop healthy and stable joints, while promoting a healthy degree of flexibility.
  • Don’t bend laterally or sideways from the spine during the transition from half kneeling to the tall-sit.  Instead learn to hinge safely and strongly at the hips while keeping your spine in a neutral position.
  • Don’t shrug the shoulders or allow the chin to jut forward. This will reinforce horrible posture and lead to neck and shoulder stiffness, pain and injury
  • Avoid quick jerky transitions. These often occur when you attempt to rush through difficult portions of the movement without first developing the flexibility and skill to move smoothly into position. Always strive to perform techniques that are smooth and aesthetically pleasing to watch; this likely means the movements are biomechanically correct for your body.
  • Don’t rush and jump right into getups with weight added without first becoming proficient at the movement using bodyweight only. The full getup is a complex series of movements that requires memorization and must be performed gracefully under the stress of an additional load. The last thing you want to happen is to get into an awkward position with a heavy  weight overhead and panic because you don’t know how to complete the movement or bail out safely.
  • Don’t automatically think that full getups or heavy getups are for everyone.
    Not everyone is ready for the full Get-up or a heavy weight, however it has been my experience that EVERYONE can perform a partial getup with at least their bodyweight. Be patient. Build better movement and strength safely by working WITHIN your limitations and gradually expanding them outward.
  • Not Seeking Feedback
    I have yet to witness an untrained individual perform a safe and controlled getup without first learning how to do so from an a certified instructor. Yes, this applies to people who have learned kettlebell techniques from a DVD or book as well. Sign-up for a one-hour lesson with an expertly trained SFG instructor for the purpose of correcting errors you can’t see yourself making as well as to learn technical subtleties that will make a dramatic difference in performance, safety and the ability to more efficiently obtain the results you desire.
  • Ignoring Pain
    It is your responsibility to become the world’s foremost expert on your body. Just like seeking out feedback from a trained expert you need to learn to listen to and interpret the feedback your body provides. Some muscular soreness is fine but bruising and pain is a sign of injury. If your training is not making you feel better and move better, then something is wrong. Consult with the appropriate medical and fitness professionals to learn what is right for you and how to perform strength training techniques correctly.

SIMPLE SAMPLE KETTLEBELL WORKOUTS

Image

I usually avoid workouts of the day and I’m typically not one for posting them.  I believe that stringing together a random series of single workouts simply can’t deliver the kind of results that a well thought out program can.  Additionally, if someone tackles a “WOD” before they are ready for it, then the chance of injury is high.

Let me point out a few differences between workouts and programs:

  • Workouts are about being entertained and challenged right now, while programs are about long term results and preparing your for a challenge.
  • Workouts have a one size fits all mentality, while programs take the individual’s goals and limitations into consideration.
  • Workouts are there to kick your ass, while programs are designed to make you better.
  • A workout is simply something you do once then repeat rarely or never again, while a program often consists of the same workout repeated daily, for weeks on end with a few variables changing over time.

The Right Time and Place
While I’m clearly in favor of following a good program over working out… I do believe that there is a right time and place for a good workout every now and then.

The Right Time
The right time is when you need variety, need to test yourself after completing a program, or need to blow off some steam AND you don’t have any conflicting goals that the workout can interfere with such as needing to perform at a high level within the next day or three.

The Right Place
Your are in the right place in your training for these workouts when you have all of the featured techniques  dialed-in at such a high level that there is practically zero chance of you doing it incorrectly even under a high level of fatigue.

Here are a two sample kettlebell only workouts for your amusement. Be sure to use them only at the time and place.

WORKOUT #1: “GOING BALLISTIC”
The idea behind this workout is to start out with a relatively difficult movement then move on to progressively easier and easier ones as fatigue sets in. Every movement is ballistic and done with maximum hip drive.

Grab three different sized bells  small medium and large.
Men: 16kg, 24kg, 32kg, Women 8kg, 12kg, 16kg

Whatever technique you are using, perform an all out set per arm with the heaviest bell, then do the same with the medium bell and finally then smallest bell. When you are done, start over with the largest bell using a slightly less demanding lift.
Keep moving on to less and less demanding lifts until you are thoroughly “worked out”.

Example:
Using three single bells

  1. Snatches: Heavy x all out left & all out right, Medium x all out left & all out right, Light x all out left & all out right,
  2. High Pulls: Heavy x all out left & all out right, Medium x all out left & all out right, Light x all out left & all out right,
  3. Cleans: Heavy x all out left & all out right, Medium x all out left & all out right, Light x all out left & all out right,
  4. Swings: Heavy x all out left & all out right, Medium x all out left & all out right, Light x all out left & all out right,

Of course if  you’re advanced and have the means you can always Double the Pleasure by using three pairs of bells instead.
Example

  1. Double Snatches: heavy all out,  medium all out, light  all out
  2. Double High Pulls: heavy all out,  medium all out, light  all out
  3. Double Cleans: heavy all out,  medium all out, light  all out
  4. Double Swings: heavy all out,  medium all out, light  all out

Note: Using this double format I was able to perform a 15-minute workout that burned 26 calories per minute.  I never repeated it.

Workout #2: “MR. CLEAN’S LADDER”
This workout features the clean and reminds me of the telephone game we played in grade school.
Using one or two bells perform 1 rep of a clean, then one rep of a technique of your choice.
Remember this sequence and repeat it adding another clean and another technique, then repeat this new sequence adding again and again and again.

  1. 1 Double Clean + 1 Front Squat
  2. 1 Double Clean + 1 Front Squat + 1 Clean + 1 Military Press
  3. 1 Double Clean + 1 Front Squat + 1 Clean + 1 Military Press + 1 Clean + 1 Snatch
  4. 1 Double Clean + 1 Front Squat + 1 Clean + 1 Military Press + 1 Clean + 1 Snatch + 1 clean + 1 Push Press

Climb as high as you can then rest as little as necessary.
Repeat the same ladder with the chosen techniques stacked in reverse order

  1. 1 Double Clean + 1 Push Press
  2. 1 Double Clean + 1 Push Press + 1 clean + 1 Snatch
  3. 1 Double Clean + 1 Push Press + 1 clean + 1 Snatch + 1 clean + 1 Military Press
  4. 1 Double Clean + 1 Push Press + 1 clean + 1 Snatch + 1 clean + 1 Military Press + 1 clean + 1 Front Squat

The same workout can be performed with higher reps per ladder or a single bell so you’ll need to repeat each ladder twice (once with each side of your body).