Heavenly and Hellish Technique Pairings - Omaha Elite Kettlebell

Matches made in Heaven or Hell Kettlebell Exercise Pairings for Efficiency & Health

One of the strengths AND drawbacks of high volume kettlebell training is that it places a tremendous emphasis on grip strength. There are two sides to every coin. Strength requires muscular tension, but too much tension is not healthy.  Overworking the grip can lead to elbow pain if not balanced with open handed exercises to train your finger extensors so… the answer should be pretty obvious: balance grip work with open hand exercises or extensor work.  Once I was training pull-ups, bottoms up kettlebell work, C.O.C. grippers and heavy deadlifts simulateously which lead to some serious elbow pain.  I was able to remedy it quickly by readjusting my programming and inserting a healthy dose of open hand exercises to balance out the grip work.  This kind of overuse can occur with any muscle group and it’s very unpleasant. Since then, I try to pair a kettlebell exercise with a technique that moves me in the “opposite” way. For example front squats usually result in spending a great deal of time in the bottom position (almost a fetal position with the fists clenched), so any exercise that looks like full body extension with open hands such as a cartwheel or hand stand is a great complimentary exercise.

Intelligently pairing kettlebell techniques with bodyweight techniques is a force multiplier than can
increase the health benefits, challenge, efficiency and benefits of any workout.

 

Heavenly and Hellish Technique Pairings - Omaha Elite Kettlebell
Matches Made in Heaven and Hell
Some of the following pairings are “heavenly” providing a welcomed change of pace in the form of active rest
while others are Continue reading

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

The Courage to Do Less

Musashi Screen

The other day I was testing some of my lifts in preparation for attending an upcoming StrongFirst Barbell certification. Despite having limited experience with a barbell I was pleased to find I met all of the strength requirements for the barbell testing despite only really training with kettlebells and bodyweight.  During the previous week I had also received some friendly challenges from friends to perform Dragon Flags and Superman Pushups which I discovered I was also able to perform on the first attempt.

It wasn’t always this way for me and I can remember back to 6 years ago before I discovered Pavel’s teachings when so many things that I can do now seemed nearly impossible.  With little to no barbell training, it seems that several years of applying the Hardstyle/StrongFirst principles to a handful of techniques plus the One Mind any Weapon approach have prepared me well.

Ever since getups from the program minimum healed an injured shoulder, single leg deadlifts from the Rite of Passage variety days rehabbed a chronically sprained ankle I’ve been believer in Pavel’s less is more approach. Several years later I’m even more of a believer that when it comes to strength less truly is more.  This is what sets StrongFirst apart.

When it comes to StrongFirst we have the courage to consistently do less in order to accomplish more.

While others use workouts of the day devised to entertain, we forge ahead with programs like the Rite of Passage.

Where others have fallen for “muscle-confusion” we follow the “same-but-different” principle to train the same skill in subtly different ways.

While others do hundreds of reps to failure, we have the courage to “Grease the Groove” or follow programs like Easy Strength performing as little as 10 reps or less without fatigue and become stronger for it.

While most “programs” found in popular fitness magazines contain dozens of techniques we choose programs like “Power to the People” and “the Program Minimum” that use only two techniques to perfection.

When others are at globo-gyms with millions of dollars of equipment, and computerized machines that allow them to train while seated we deliver superior results in our courage corners that typically contain little more than a few kettlebells, a barbell, a piece of floor and a pull-up bar.

While others are in a rush to take a photo of the biggest sweat puddle,  create the latest exercise variation or post a video of their own personal best we work quietly and professionally drilling the basics and filling in the gaps.

A great StrongFirst approved training session is as simple as it needs to be, a work of art where the rest achieves just as much as the work done.

I imagine if the StrongFirst methods could be applied to a form of painting it would be Sumi-e painting. In Sumi-e the artist typically uses black ink only and as few brush strokes as possible.  The use of empty space is just as important if not more so than the ink. Mastering the art of Sumi-e requires great discipline, concentration and daily practice.  In many ways sumi-e is has been used as a metaphor for the way a warrior must live his life or fight a battle where the courage and discipline to release a single brush stroke without regret is compared to delivering a decisive blow in battle.  Taken another direction I believe sumi-e painting can be a metaphor for the StrongFirst methods.

A favorite story of mine that illustrates the point goes something like this…

In feudal Japan a master artist was commissioned by his lord to create a particular sumi-e painting. The artist would receive a sum of money every day until the painting was completed. The lord waited impatiently for many months and finally journeyed to the artist’s  home to see what the delay was all about. When the artist insisted that the painting was not ready and he could not commit to a delivery date the lord demanded his painting be produced immediately under penalty of death.  The artist sat down with his tools and within minutes created a masterful sumi-painting with a mere handful of brilliant brush strokes. The painting was wonderful and exactly what the lord wanted.  At first the lord was pleased, but then he grew furious as he realized he had been forced to wait months for something that only took the master artist a few minutes to produce.  When the lord demanded the artist to explain why he made the lord wait , the artist simply said the he was not ready.  This made the lord even more furious.  At that the artist showed the lord a room full of cabinets. The artist opened a cabinet and out fell hundreds of versions of the exact same painting. Then he continued to open every cabinet and one after another each cabinet contained hundreds upon hundreds more of the same painting totaling in the thousands. As the lord looked on in amazement he began to realize that while each painting was a masterpiece each consecutive painting was usually just a little better than the last and the version that he witnessed the artist produce this very day was the best to date.  At that moment it became obvious to that what had only taken a few minutes to complete had actually taken a life time to prepare for.

The lord apologized to the artist and begged him to continue working on the commissioned painting until it was ready.

MUSASHI-Kobokumeigekizu

Training with the StrongFirst methods is a lot like a masterful Sumi-e painting.

We get the job done with a few strokes and limited equipment.

There are times of urgency when training goals and deadlines must be met and then there is the majority of the time when we must simply be consistent and practice.  Instead of constantly racing toward a result, we have faith in the process while pursuing improvement and looking forward to the day when we will have hundreds or thousands of masterful training sessions under our belt.

Follow the StrongFirst methods and in the end your strength, your skill and your body will be your own work of art.

John Scott Stevens, SFGII, SFBW, CKFMS  is a Omaha’s longest standing certified Kettlebell instructor and chief instructor at Omaha Elite Kettlebell.

Become a Pistolero

Whether you seek to master your bodyweight, develop the kicking power of a martial arts legend or freedom from the gym the single leg squat a.k.a. “Pistol” may be just what you’re looking for.

At first glance everyone has the same reaction… Their eyes bulge, the jaw drops and then finally comes the statement “That can’t be safe!”  We’ll, if it’s not safe… you’re not doing it right.

The Pistol is a  POWERFUL tool and like any powerful tool, when used improperly it can have unintended consequences. So reinvent the wheel or in this case the pistol at your own risk because instruction in this technique is best left to the experts.

There are a few things to consider before taking on the pistol…

Progressions: The key to mastering this technique is the wise use of pistol progressions and regressions. Typically I advise starting by practicing partial pistols to an elevated surface such as a bench, or low step.

Squatting: If you can’t squat safely with two legs, then you’re obviously not ready for the pistol. By taking one leg out of the equation the pistol is basically twice as hard as a normal squat, not to mention the added challenge of balancing on one foot.

Knee Health: If your knees are already shot, then this technique is best kept on the shelf.

Flexibility: Your ankles, hips, Hamstrings, Back and even shoulders will need sufficient flexibility and mobility.
If you know you have serious flexibility or mobility issues in any of these areas then address them first.

Ab Strength: One common limiting factor is the ability to maintain a high amount of abdominal tension long enough to complete the technique. This is especially true when adding a “heavy” weight to the pistol.

Want to Become a Pistolero? 
Check out the following excellent resources:

Owner of Omaha Elite Kettlebell: John Scott Stevens, RKCII, CKFMS

  • Read the Naked Warrior and watch it’s companion DVD to learn how to get strong anywhere using nothing but your own body-weight to master the one arm push-up or pistol.

Register for a Free Intro to the Kettlebell Swing

Ten spots available for a free 90-minute lesson and workout.
Learn the Hardstyle Kettlebell swing from Nebraska’s most experienced and highly certified kettlebell instructor.

The kettlebell swing is a full body exercise that builds muscle, burns fat, shapes the leg and glutes, develops power, grip strength and endurance.

Time
9am-10:30am

Location
SW YMCA
13010 Atwood Ave.
Omaha, NE
68144

Register online

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Body By You: A Challenge for Life

Get The Body You Want
Through Supplements, Bootcamps and Six Week Programs???

When it comes to transforming bodies most people are looking for a quick fix. It’s a sort of sad irony that the very people who are out of shape or obese are the same people that have absolutely no idea what it takes to achieve a strong healthy body or they would have it already. In other words, they make the perfect victims for snake oil salesmen. You’ll find no shortage of fitness charlatans preying upon these people and selling them some quick fix in the form of new diets, six-week bootcamps, 90-day programs or poisonous supplements.

Body By Supplements???
One such popular option today is a product known as Visalus or Body by Vi. It is a meal replacement shake that contains Sucralose sold as a line of supplements. This is being pushed as health way to quickly transform you body and lose fat. Here’s an interesting article that exposes the health risk of taking supplements: Sucralose: Dangerous Sugar Substitute.

Before deciding which 90-day program, 6-week challenge, vitamin supplement or meal replacement shake you’re going to spend your hard earned money on consider the following:

  • Does the person pimping the product actually care about you? If the product injures you, doesn’t work out gives you cancer will it bother them in the least?
  • Do you actually know people first hand that have achieved and maintained the body or level of health you want from using the product?
  • Can you continue using the “product” for the rest of you life?
  • What are you going to do during the days, weeks, months and years that follow the end of the program?
  • What will you do when the manufacture or company of your product goes out of business or moves?

Success Leaves Clues
If you know someone that has the body you want or admire and has maintained it for some time chances are they didn’t get it through supplements or any other quick fix. Chances are it is a direct result of the way they have lived day in and day out for years. Any athletic body that I admire is the product of … an active & athletic lifestyle and eating in a manner that uses food a source of fuel rather than a source of happiness. I think it’s no coincidence that these bodies are owned by individuals that are intelligent, always seeking new challenges and growing. I’m talking about those individuals who once they conquer a challenge or reach a certain level of excellence set out in search of the next challenge that pushes them outside of their comfort zone. Those that compete regularly, constantly setting out to achieve personal bests and learn.

One such physique I admire is owned by a 66 year old Vietnam Veteran. I had the honor of meeting Jan when he enrolled in my kettlebell class at the age of 64. Jan performs some sort of intense training nearly every day and his workouts would humble most men in their twenties. He is approximately 5’9″ tall about 160lbs and boasts a low body fat percentage in the single digits. I once witnessed Jan perform 66 chin-ups; one for each year he’s been alive. When I asked him about his impressive chin-ups he told me that ever since he was a teenager he’s made it a goal to be able to do one chin-up for each year he’s been alive. Adding one rep a year was a reasonable goal and one that he’s been able to achieve each year so far. He loves to run and has participated in dozens of marathons. At the gym he performs L-Sits for minutes at time, hanging leg raises, a lot of ab-wheel, uses heavy barbell training performing things like cleans and standing military presses. He also enjoys hardstyle kettlebell training, particularly five or ten minute sets of snatches with a 53lb or 70lb kettlebell. His workouts are typically short, around 30 minutes or so. Sometime he’ll workout two to three times in one day. Sometimes he won’t train at all and take a few days or a week off. When I asked him how he eats he tells me he typically eats one very large meal a day in the evening with raw veggies and protein as the featured ingredient. He snacks on things like fruit veggies or nuts throughout the day. He never concerns himself with the scale. He very much loves things thing like burgers and beer but for the most part he simply eats for energy so that he can keep up with his grand kids, his full time job and his workouts.

A Challenge for Life
Starting now, for the rest of your life perform a reasonable amount of enjoyable exercise 5 to 6 days a week. Learn how to perform your exercises safely and effectively. Read about nutrition. Make better food choices. Eliminate unnecessary stress and get plenty of sleep. On average your exercise should be medium intensity, finish every workout feeling fantastic, once every week or so push yourself much harder. Your body will change for the better little by little in a way that is easily sustainable.

When that 6-week bootcamp is over, the 90-day program is up, the meal replacement shakes and supplements are taken off the market for causing cancer or the manufacturer goes out of business you’ll be enjoying your daily exercise, eating healthy and spending your hard earned money of things that make you happy.

Here’s a photo of Kelly Rushlow, she’s lost over 100 lbs and kept if off. Her transformation was achieved gradually over a few years through sensible diet and regularly training with Kettlebells and Hardstyle methods three days and one FMS session per week. She also enjoys regularly trying new exercise classes such as martial arts and most recently Zumba. She recommends losing no more than one pound of fat per week. Kelly is currently an HKC certified kettlebell instructor.

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Give Omaha Elite Kettlebell a try. Choose one of our group classes offered six days a week or schedule a private session. We’ll teach you techniques for achieving a stronger healthier you that can be sustained for a lifetime.

Overview of the Kettlebell Clean & Press

Like most kettlebell techniques, the Kettlebell Clean & Press is a full-body compound exercise that challenges muscles from your hands all the way down to your feet. When performed using RKC Hardstyle methods the press becomes a great way not only build strong shoulders but strong lats and abs. For strength it is generally recommended to perform sets of 1-10 reps using a weight that is between 40% & 80% of your one rep max.

Some benefits of the kettlebell clean and press over free weights and machines.

  • The design of the kettlebell allows you to maintain a neutral wrist position which is safer for the wrists and challenges the forearm muscles to a greater degree.
  • The design of the kettlebell allows you to use a greater range of motion without the bar or awkward ends of heavy dumbbells getting in your way. A greater range of motion means building more strength, burning more calories, building more flexibility and it just feels awesome.
  • Kettlebells allow you to rotate your wrists and shoulders into a natural position that is safe for you versus being jammed into an odd position by a bar or machine.
  • Kettlebells allow you use your natural pressing groove that is safest and strongest for your shoulders whereas bars force your shoulders to move in a way that may not be suitable for you, or machines that force you to follow a linear path placing shearing forces on your joints.
  • Kettlebells can be recleaned by hiking them and accelerating them backward between your legs. This large range of motion cannot be duplicated with barbells and is too awkward with heavy dumbbells. The result is a greater cardio workout and developing explosive power through a large range of motion.

While the kettlebell is an excellent tool for the clean & press one of the biggest drawbacks is that it becomes impractical to clean & press heavier than 212 lbs since most kettlebell manufactures only make bells up to 106lbs. I have seen kettlebells that are heavier but the price of such kettlebells are prohibitive and the size becomes unwieldy. However 2 35lb kettlebell and 2 70lb kettlebell is enough to keep most men and women challenged for a lifetime.

The Clean

The Clean is where you bring the weight up to your shoulder in one clean movement.
The Press is simply pressing the kettlebell overhead from your shoulder.
When you lower then re-clean the weight between each press your performing the “Clean & Press”
When you clean the weight once then perform multiple presses in a row this is called a “Military Press.”

Before performing this technique in high volume I strongly advise taking time to develop the adequate shoulder mobility & stability to get your arm into a safe lockout position and hold a given weight there comfortably. In general you should be able to hold the weight overhead for at least 30 seconds before you begin doing presses with it. The best way to go about all of this is spend several weeks practicing things like pump stretches, “Brettzels”, the Turkish Getup, and Walks with the weight in the overhead lockout position.

  1. Assume the ready position with the kettlebell(s) on the ground in front of you.
  2. Hike the bell(s) backward between your legs.
  3. Quick stand up, keeping your armpit(s) shut and your elbow(s) glued low to your side.
  4. Quickly accelerate your hand(s) around the kettlebell(s) and catch the bell(s) softly between your upper and lower arm.

Lower the bell(s) by quickly pushing your hips backward, hiking the kettlebell(s) behind you then lettingthe kettlebell(s) pendulum forward to a rest in front of you.

The Press
The press is simply (not necessarily easily) pressing the kettlebell overhead.

  1. From the Rack position sniff in some air and get tight from the armpits down to your toes.
  2. Initiate the press with grunt to pressurize your midsection and protect your back.
  3. Keeping your forearms vertical drive your elbows outward and up.
  4. Full extend your arms and lockout with your biceps behind your ears.
  5. Lower the bells by pulling your elbows down in front of you keeping your midsection tense and return the bells to the rack position.
  6. From here you can set the bells down, perform another clean or go directly into the next rep.

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DROP and GIVE ME FIVE

Want to get stronger? Give Me Five Reps!

I know what you’re thinking… “Five!? Five is easy!” Bingo! That’s the whole point… most people CAN drop and give me five, or two sets of five, or a set of two then three repeated twice. Only a few can give me fifty that actually amounts to something. If the average person gives me fifty, the first five are good, reps six through ten are questionable and the last 40 are like watching a train wreck. But, that’s the way most people train, hammering away regardless of form and grind out horrible reps so they can get a three for one work-out: they stay weak, they get sore and they get self-induced injuries as a extra bonus.

One of the biggest “secrets” to reaching any goal is consistency. There is great strength in consistency. Repeat a correct performance often enough and you WILL become very good at it. Practice two sets of five perfect reps, five days a week for 40 workouts and at the end of the 8 weeks I’ll show you 10 STRONG reps.

Another secret is setting small easily achievable goals that build upon one another.
Can you do ten reps today, and the day after that for 40 workouts? Yes, that’s reasonable. By doing so can you increase you bench press by 10lbs in 8 weeks? Yes, that’s reasonable. Can you simultaneously improve in one or two other lifts by a similar amount during those 8 weeks. Easily. Can you do this several times throughout the year? I think so. Can you do this for several years to come over the span of your athletic career? Now that’s strength training.

This is one of the themes of “Easy Strength” by Dan John & Pavel Tsatsouline that is having a huge impact on the way professional athletes train strength. Keep it brief, make it realistic, keep it perfect and keep it simple. Pick two to three full body movements that address your weaknesses and practice ten reps of each consistently for 40-workouts. It sounds too simple to work, but that’s exactly why it works… it IS simple, it IS doable, it IS brief and it IS something that is reasonable to do for 40 consecutive workouts. “Easy Strength” is ideal for athletes because low rep heavy lifts have been shown to not produce muscular soreness and it allows athletes more time to focus on practicing and mastering their sport.

I recently attended Pavel Tsatsouline’s & Dan John’s Easy Strength two day workshop in Reno, NV. It was an amazing experience where I was surrounded by a lot of great strength professionals, a lot of who where RKCs. The workshop covered Dan John’s incredibly useful concept of putting athletes into quadrants to determine their training needs, templates for “Easy Strength Training” and “Even Easier Strength Training”. We received top notch coaching in the Olympic Lifts from Dan and Pavel and a lot more.

For those of you who have not read “Easy Strength” watched the DVD set or attended the “Easy Strength Workshop” here are just a handful of gems:

  • Don’t confuse strength training with conditioning & endurance.
  • The stronger you are the easier it is to achieve fat loss, speed, endurance, power etc…
  • The stronger you are the more wiggle room you have when it comes to dieting.
  • The reasons plyometrics is a waste of time for most people.
  • Why lunges are not appropriate for most.
  • How to make significant strength and performance gains in as little as 20-30 minutes of strength training 3 days per week.

As an RKC I get paid to help people get stronger. As it is for most RKCs getting someone stronger is easy. Now it’s even easier. Armed with new tools, knowledge and renewed enthusiasm I can’t wait to see what strength gains my clients will be experiencing in the next 8-weeks. What can you accomplish in 40-workouts?

Give me a call, I’ll create a professionally designed “Easy Strength” program for you and begin 8-weeks to a stronger you.

Stop the Insanity: Simpler is Better.

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It all started for me in 2006, I went to bed one night and woke up the next morning fat.
I bought myself a Speed Rope and Buddy Lee’s book on jump rope training and stuck to the plan. I started off fat but average at jump rope and within a year I was making that jump rope hum and buzz at a dizzying rate enough to make Rocky Balboa look bad. I could jump 40-minutes with only a handful of missed jumps and do things like 110 revolutions in 30 seconds. 50 consecutive double-unders & double-under cross-overs were something I do on moments notice on a bad day. I was lighter, faster, more agile and a hell of a lot leaner. Two problems…

  • I’d wake up with my feet killing me. (Plantar Fasciatis from all the stress of jumping.)
  • While I was indeed leaner with improved cardio, I was not any stronger.

I realized that while jumping rope was an incredible exercise it wasn’t something I wanted to do or could continue doing for up to 40-minutes 5-days a week for the rest of life and it wasn’t going to improve my physique or strength past a certain degree. Then I discovered Kettlebells. For years I had been reading books on martial arts and flexibility training and there’d always be these ads by some Russian guy promising to get me in the splits in record time. I’d read those ads and sneer…. until I bought one of those books and his stuff worked, not full splits in minutes… but 12 inches improvement after years of being plateaued in seconds. So when this same Russian promised Kettlebell training would deliver the same sort of rapid strength and endurance gains I was intrigued to say the least.

I purchased the book “Enter the Kettlebell” and read it several times, took notes and bought my self some kettlebells. I followed the plan provided in ETK and stuck to it. A few weeks of the break-in program called “The Program Minimum” and then I began my journey to as the Evil Russian put it “become a man among men” by following the program entitled the “Rite of Passage”. Within months I was making rapid, incredible and unbelievable gains with only six exercises: Getups, Swings, Cleans, Presses, High Pulls and Snatches all done with a single kettlebell. Here are just some of the benefits I experienced

  • I lost 14lbs of body fat and replaced it with 14lbs of muscle.
  • I rehabbed a shoulder that used to sound like broken glass during warm-ups
  • I rehabbed a chronically sprained ankle that had bothered me for years within 4 workouts
  • I went from pressing the 16kg/35lb kettlebell to man-handling the 24kg/53lb kettlebell
  • My posture improved so dramatically that I was frequently shocked by my own reflection in mirrors. Out of the corner of my eye, I would honestly see this guy following me that I didn’t recognize, turn my head and realize it was my own reflection.
  • Developed forearms that drew unsolicited compliments from other men in the gym.
  • Develop muscles on neck, back and shoulder that honestly freaked me out the first time I discovered them by accident in a mirror.
  • Lowered my resting heart rate from the 70s to the low 40’s in just 4 weeks.

That was the start. Now it’s 5 years later. I completed the Rite of Passage: I can one arm press a Kettlebell 1/2 my bodyweight and perform 200 or more reps of kettlebell snatches in 10-minutes with a 53lb kettlebell. I’ve earned my RKC, RKC II and CK-FMS Kettlebell instructor certifications.
I’ve taught thousands of group and private Kettlebell lessons, hosted kettlebell workshops and certifications, successfully trained others who have gone on to lose weight, transform their bodies, become better athletes or go on to become HKC and RKC certified instructors themselves. Just yesterday I returned from a continuing education workshop for kettlebell instructors and strength coaches and I’m scheduled to attend several more this year alone. I learned more about fitness in 23 hours of my first RKC than most trainers learn in a decade. Since then I learned even more, more than I honestly ever thought there was to know and I’ve discovered that strength and fitness are simple. Not easy, but simple and I owe everything I’ve learned to Pavel, John DuCane, Dan John, Jon Engum, Gray Cook, Brett Jones, Thomas Phillips, Zar Horton, David Whitley, Betsy Collie, Karen Smith and all of the strong, and intelligent professionals in the RKC School of Strength that I’ve had the honor to learn from.

Why am I telling you this? I suppose it’s because despite all the disinformation and crap out there concerning exercise and fitness there’s so little of it that actually delivers the results as promised in a way that is realistic, reasonable and sustainable for life. Programs like Crossfit, P90X, Insanity, and Biggest Loser are selling people on the idea that every workout has to be insane performed at a super high intensity. That if you’re not wearing a shirt that insults someone else’s performance you’re not a real athlete or worthy to train in certain gym. That puking and muscular soreness are admirable goals. That Box Jumps are appropriate for a 300 pound female with bad ankles and knees as well as for a teenage volleyball player who can’t perform a decent squat with her own bodyweight.

Fitness doesn’t require another intense 90-day program and boxes of supplements. It doesn’t demand high risk exercises like box jumps for obese weight loss clients or a skinny female trainer yelling at you on television. You don’t need Tires to flip, sledge hammers, bosu balls, plyo boxes, Concept II Rowing Machines, boxing bags, and all the other equipment necessary for the next Workout of the Day.

Still don’t believe me?
Here’s more proof… Karen Smith Sr. RKC performing a strict one arm press, weighted dead hang pullp and one legged squat with the 53lb kettlebell all in two months with just 10 reps a day of each exercise, … no puking, no box jumps, no screaming trainers.

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The RKC Methods can deliver elite fitness with as little a Kettlebell and your bodyweight.
But your’e not hearing me. The kettlebell won’t deliver the results, the exercises won’t either…the RKC Methods will. The RKC Methods will deliver results regardless of the tool you choose to use. It’s documented and proven and the RKC methods are currently in use by professional athletes, special forces and more… for a reason, THEY WORK! The RKC Methods consistently provide the kind of safe and effective techniques that can transform a fat couch potato into an athlete or transform an athlete into a champion. Moreover, the RKC never rests it is constantly improving. The RKC is a think tank that continues to attract the best of best and develops people that are stronger than they look and stronger than most people believe they have the right to be.

Are you tired of the fitness B.S. and seeking a coach that will cut the crap and give you ONLY what you need.

Do you want results, not fitness oriented entertainment?

Are you tired of the macho posturing in fitness; the puking, the tough talk and slogans that insult your intelligence?

Do you want training that is high yield, not high risk?

Do you want to be stronger in your 70’s that most people are in their 20’s?

Are you ready to commit to 6 years of smart, sustainable & repeatable training vs 6 weeks of stupidity that virtually guarantees injury?

If this sounds like you, then I can’t wait to meet you and help you achieve and ultimately surpass your fitness goals. As an active and constantly growing/improving RKC, RKC II, CK-FMS instructor I am uniquely qualified to deliver exactly what you seek. Safety, Strength, Intelligent training and Results.

So after you’ve recovered from your W.O.D. induced injury, discovered you really can’t train like the highlite reels from The Ultimate Fighter, put away your P-90X DVDs, or have gotten fed up with that skinny lady yelling at you in bootcamp, give me a call and together we’ll begin an intelligent approach to fitness that you will look forward to doing AND be able to do for the rest of your life.

Start your “Rite of Passage” from victim of insantiy to master of your own health by calling me at 402-850-5551.

Swing It Hardstyle

Allow me to introduce you to one of the safest and most powerful exercises you’ve never experienced: The Hardstyle Swing.

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The Hardstyle Swing is the foundation of effective Kettlebell training. It burns calories at a high rate, develops phenomenal cardio with no impact, develops a powerful midsection, explosive hip drive, resilient hamstrings and a strong back. These benefits have lead to the hardstyle swing establishing a well documented track record of improving the performance of people of all abilities including elite athletes in nearly every athletic endeavor.

The Kettlebell swing looks simple enough on paper.

“Swing a kettlebell back between your legs and then in front of you up to chest level for reps.”

As a result of this deceptively simple explanation many people including well intentioned trainers get the idea that simply reading a magazine article or watching a youtube clip
will arm them with all the information necessary to get spectacular results. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, such simple instruction is just enough to get most people injured and derail their journey to improved health, temporarily or permanently.

As world class strength coach Marty Gallagher and author of the “Purposeful Primitive” says “the swing is an inch wide and a mile deep”. Having the courage to view your exercise as “a mile deep” means taking the time to learn and perfect the details that make this deceptively simple movement a powerful tool for physical transformation and athletic development.

Keep in mind that the Hardstyle swing is not a slow overhead drag from a deep squat as seen in infomercials, most Crossfit boxes, Biggest Loser highlight reels, fitness magazines and your local gym… not even close. The Hardstyle swing is a fluid, athletic, crisp and powerful movement that more closely resembles a cross between a ballerina’s streamlined take-off and karate master’s deadly punch. Performed properly you’ll experience a full body blast that will leave your chest pounding, lungs burning, forearms bulging, abs, lats, glutes and hamstring screaming in the kind of sweet agony that promises a stronger and more athletic you than you have ever known.

“This one goes to eleven”
– Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist of the rock band “Spinal Tap”

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11 Tips for Performing the Hardstyle Swing
Why not ten? While most lists go to ten, I figure you deserve at least one better.

  1. Maintain a flat back.
  2. Keep the heels planted.
  3. Knees track the toes at all times.
  4. Arms are straight in the bottom of the “hike-pass” position
  5. The kettlebell handle stays above the knees during the hike-pass.
  6. There is NO forward knee movement on the upswing.
  7. The body forms straight line from heels to head on the top the of the swing.
  8. The kettlebell forms an extension of the straight arm at the top of the swing.
  9. Forcefully exhale at the top of each rep and inhale during the “hike pass”.
  10. Forcefully and visibly contract both the abs and glutes at the top of each swing.
  11. Stay relaxed from the neck up, keeping the shoulders down and back.

The list above was not meant as “How-to”, but rather a check list to give you a taste of the kind of detail it takes to unlock the swing’s potential and to do so safely. If you decide to give it a try you’ll find that it looks easier on paper than it is in reality. You may even get frustrated and figure it’s too difficult. Let me reassure you that you can do it. In fact, every single client I’ve ever trained has learned to swing the kettlebell effectively and safely, but that’s the key… they were trained by an RKC.

As an RKC Certified Instructor, RKC level II and CK-FMS Functional Movement Specialist I represent the RKC School of Strength: the world’s first and most highly respected Kettlebell Instructor Certification course. Although the RKC’s tool of choice is the kettlebell, an RKC instructor is far more than a kettlebell instructor. An RKC is a strength coach that can teach you how improve your safety and performance in any athletic endeavor or mode of exercise and the kettlebell swing just happens to be one of the best exercises for improving performance in most activities.

The RKC School of Strength is home to such internationally sought after and respected trainers as Pavel Tsatsouline, Brett Jones, Daniel John, Gray Cook, Jon Engum, Geoff Nupert, David Whitley, Mark Reifkind, Andrea DuCane, Mark Cheng and too many to mention by name. These are the same people that the world’s elite athletes turn to when they want to get even more out of their already high performing physiques.

At the center of the RKC Universe is the Kettlebell Swing. Learn this movement from an RKC instructor like myself and your understanding of exercise will be forever changed.

I invite you to be my guest and learn the Hardstyle Swing and improve the way you train.

Email RKC.Scott.Stevens@gmail.com to schedule your intro.

RECOMMENDED RESOURCES
No Book or DVD will ever replace the immediate feedback, corrective drills and personalized instruction a qualified instructor (RKC) can provide.

The most efficient path to unlocking the potential of the kettlebell is qualified instruction. The next best option is excellent instructional material. With that caveat below you’ll find what I consider to be the best resources on the market for getting the most out of the hardstyle swing.


ENTER THE KETTLEBELL: Men’s Starter Kit
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MASTERING THE SWING

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