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  1. #1
    resrie is offline Senior Member
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    Lightbulb Immediate results the day after attending the SJ RKC

    Hi,

    I started working with Kbells last summer and trained 2x with a RKC before I re-injured my lower back... I took a break from KBs to learn how to DL, and easily pulled 180x5+150x5.

    Since I'm a full-time student not far from San Jose, I drove down 30ish miles [footnote 1] every morning to attend the cert. I wanted to learn as much as possible, to improve myself as a student-athlete and "functional fitness activist" who loves to learn&teach my friends, family, and club sports teammates.

    I just wanted to mention a few immediate results from the SJ RKC, starting first with a few techniques I had never attempted before. Before the weekend started, I had never pressed a 16kg, performed a weighted squat, used more than one KB at a time, performed a single-legged deadlift... I did all of these after the first 1.5 days.

    By wknd's end, I pressed a 16kg, learned to goblet squat with two 12kg, to dbl swing and double clean and double snatch with a 12kg. I learned why my technique was so much better when I closed my eyes (I'm a very visual person) but was able to fix my eyed-open lifting w/ "soft eyes" rather than always fixating.

    I learned to fix my squat with goblets (not that I ever knew how to squat in the last ten years -- my body forgot!) + how to strengthen my back using 1-legged deads, and critically I learned why I injured my lower back several years ago during a sports injury.

    As a kid, I was passionate about both Shaolin gung fu and playing the flute, both of which I did for a number of years. In college, I did Wushu. However, ten years of playing the flute gave me marathon-type endurance diaphragm muscles rather than explosive diaphragm movements. Thus, I was sucking in (not engaging diaphragm to push down), and when we were instructed to press down with our diaphragm, I actually got *weaker* rather than stronger. It turns out that I can engage my diaphragm without engaging my abs, and vice versa, whereas most folks have not trained their endurance diaphragms to fire without engage their abs...

    By learning proper power breathing technique, building on Pavel+Stuart McGill's work on bracing vs sucking / drawing, I learned how to actually power-breathe in a way that does not compromise my spine stability (drawing in). Bracing for a punch was actually the most useful metaphor 4 me, as my body understands that, rather than the difference between squatting and deadlifting (I never squat, but after attending this RKC to learn as a student-athlete, I can now squat for the first time since I was a kid just starting Shaolin-style gung fu).

    I also learned Doc / Sifu Cheng's canonical TGU with the "strong" bridge, and began to Grease the Groove wrt getting up. I noticed that many RKC candidates got better form, but their *function* did not necessarily improve over the weekend. On the other hand, every time I needed to get up, I would roll myself into a position where I would push myself up from a lunge position without scissoring. This has immediate applications if I were to be a counter-terrorist with an MP5 (I'm not), but I am a student-athlete and being able to go from a lunge to a sprint _without moving backwards_ will give me and my sports team an extra edge (the sport I play requires this as a prerequisite for elite level play).

    Form is great, but it seems the RKC training is also strongly about function, and after just a few days, I feel like my martial arts (Wushu, gung fu, Ving Tsun), my fundamental / primitive movement patterns (lunge to a run, sprinting & bracing, jumping), and my sport-specific skills (throwing, moving, and laying out) have all improved dramatically.

    As a result, even though I am a student-athlete in my 20s, I feel like I can more easily and more strongly get-up. Oh, and I also safely performed a TGU with a 16kg which I had never done (or attempted!) before.

    By building on Sifu Cheng's "glute punch" demonstration, I realized that (at least in my mind, correct me if I state things imprecisely please, thank you) RKC hard-style swings are really about learning to move one's "centerpoint" (roughly near the dantian / center of gravity) forward in a straight line.

    I noticed many strong men and Crossfitters moving their centerpoint in either an arc (worse) or a non-horizontal line (tilted up towards the sky). That's fine if you want to throw an uppercut, but for the rest of us, most of our motion is directed on the plane parallel to the ground [footnote 2], and the hard-style RKC swing teaches you this primitive pattern from the get go.

    We weren't taught the swing in this way, but this is how I taught my "victim", an ex-football player whose gut I might have been able to fit into were I still supermodel height+weight (nowadays I'm shooting for the Gina Carano look, woo, somewhere between supermodels and hypertrophied 'builders and lifters). As a result, my ex-football player got a hard work out from his Kettlebells for the first time. He could bench 270 but had a beer+boob gut the size of Homer Simpson's. Not only that, but after teaching my "victim" the 1/2 get up (he got it down 80%), he did a < 10 min workout, 2 TGUs on each side with a light bell and 5-6 minutes of 30s on / 30s off with a 20kg which left him all hot and sweaty.

    Now, my client was not a weak man, given his bench of 250+ and that he did a farmer walk of the 16kg and 20kg hundreds of feet and up two flights of stairs without getting really winded... but after 5 minutes of KB swing form better than most random YouTube vids, and was sweating/panting hard (but not too hard, as he engaged glutes and employed proper power breathing w/ diaphragm and abs, bracing rather than drawing, kept lats engaged with the "pen trick" visualization I learned from Team leader Toomey, kept his knees locked, his heels on the ground, and floated the bell at the top of his fluid swing.)

    I had learned how to give an ex-football player who benches 270 but is too fat to run or jump rope the ability to lose the fat he so wants to lose (we also talked about diet / nutrition on the way back). Not only that, but we did so in less than an hour, and I have never trained someone with Kbells in a professional context before. Even more compelling, my client *flew in* to be trained and was completely satisfied.

    But I'll go even further. If my client/"victim" does not lose a significant amount of fat in 6 weeks now that he knows how to train with KBs and presumably purchased the DD 20kg appropriate for his strength level, I promise to return my Certificate of Attendance to my nearest Senior Instructor--in other words, if I was not successful in teaching my client to lose fat with Kbells in less than an hour I will not use the name of Pavel or the RKC when I teach my fellow student-athletes, friends, or family until I get properly certified. (remember, I am a student-athlete and have never trained a stranger to work with Kbells or weights)

    If you went through the RKC training and your clients were working out rather than getting a real workout, then you missed something. My client actually noticed that he was the only one sweating (I noticed this too, but then again we're biased ).

    In any case, I need to wrap up here, as class starts in a few minutes and I have sports practice after that. I'm sore but stronger than ever before. I will be able to immediately bring what I learned at the RKC on Fri / Sat / Sun to my sports practice today (Monday), and help my fellow teammates to bulletproof their own bodies, fix their movement patterns, and get stronger / faster / better along the way.

    And one last thing. When I first worked on the TGU, I noticed that I accidentally developed lats.

    I am a strength *and* endurance athlete--in the weekends before and after the RKC I will burn 4000-5000 calories a tournament running/playing 6-8 hours over 32 hours total, and yet sprint hard as I can every 90 seconds. What is this sport where we run for a marathon's length of time (and calorie-wise greater than what I burned at this RKC...) and sprint as hard/fast as possible every 60-90 seconds? It's called Ultimate for a reason.

    As a strength+endurance athlete (most attendees were mainly strength athletes, or mostly strength and some endurance--boxing / MMA / gynastics), my max-strength isn't at superhuman RKC-certified levels, and due to the college sports season I haven't been able to train seriously with Kettlebells or deadlifts over the last six months. Even still, I work up this morning to discover that, just like I accidentally developed lats working on the TGU, I accidentally developed traps just by attending the RKC. How's that for a parting gift?

    Thank you Pavel, all the Marks who taught me along the way, and the assistant RKCs that made things that much better. Stay strong, and more power to you.

    ~Leslie


    Footnotes:

    [1]
    (It would have been nice to not have to drive those 200 total miles, as I eventually had to learn what I call Blistered Palm Slash Re-injured Extensor Digitalis Longus or Posterior Tibialis Driving Technique, struggling to make the drive back and forth each day... but as a graduate student that has supported myself for the last 7 years, I decided not to live in the hotel nor pay the high dinner cost. In retrospect, if I knew how much of a burden this would have been, I might have considered sleeping in my car for all three days, as there is no notion of "financial aid" for younger attendees who support themselves financially.)

    [2]
    Okay, so more accurately it's the plane perpendicular to the normal vector to the tangent plane to the earth that points away from the earth-center, but then again when Rif asked us about Newton's Laws of Motion, only a few responded

  2. #2
    Jwood is offline Senior Member
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    Great post...start a blog... and write more stuff like this.

  3. #3
    resrie is offline Senior Member
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    Thank you sir!

    I also forgot to mention that it'll be interesting to practice a sport which requires catching/throwing this week given how ripped up my hands got even by day one (I had never practiced more than a two or three swings in a row with a 16kg... or 10-12 swings with a 12kg).

    I didn't talk about realizing why VO2max with RKC hard-style swing-snatches might actually be effective (I jump rope, which doesn't get my HR up as high as Ultimate gets it to, about 215-220 once or twice a tourney), or more about how you actually train a client by properly jabbing them (or hitting them with a foam roller, for the ladies out there), or instructing them in what I might call the "centerpunch" way of teaching clients to swing (this builds heavily on Rif's riff & lectures but borrows concepts and frames from Sifu Cheng's blog)... but maybe one day.

    I'm not going to describe the "centerpunch" training method in detail here either as I don't yet know if it is correct or safe, but it seemed to get really good results with my first victim. I will ask my Mark Sifus / other folks to see what they have to say!

  4. #4
    Pavel Tsatsouline Guest

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    Com. Leslie, a great post! It was great meeting you and putting a hurt on you. I am sure you will fulfill the cert requirements and become an RKC soon.

  5. #5
    resrie is offline Senior Member
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    Default RKC 2009 follow up, one week later

    Thank you Pavel!

    A follow-up note, one week later.

    In the month prior to the RKC, I had been burning 5000+ Cals a week in practice & tournaments for three weeks straight.

    The week immediately following the RKC, I had another tournament and in total was able to burn about 7000 Cals in practice (Mon, Wed, Thu) and during the tournament (Sat / Sun), which adds up to a roughly estimated 40% increase in work capacity in the 7 days immediately following the RKC in San Jose (compared to prior weeks).

    (A total of 10,000 heart-rate monitor estimated calories in 10 days including the RKC weekend.)

    In practice, also I noticed that my ability to "get lower" to the ground translated to sharper and stronger cuts on the field, and a stronger, more stablized core directly led to super-stable throws.

    While I'm sure my body was challenged to deal with these two extremes of strength training and endurance work, at a 2-day tournament one week after the RKC, I felt stronger, jumped higher in the endzone, and threw more consistently and accurately than I have in years (none of my "pulls" landed out of bounds).

    Now, to take a back-off week and soften up a little before I push ahead once more!

  6. #6
    jtsaint72 is offline Senior Member
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    Great post! Thanks for sharing. It's great reading everyone's after thoughts from such an amazing weekend...
    David R Bradley, RKC
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