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The Kettlebell Convention: Really made me think

Josh Hillis

New member
Pavel's part – the wedge. Until I’d seen the wedge in the RKC Cert, I’d never really had explosive hip drive. Seeing it again was awesome, and I’m sure for those who had never seen it before it huge. Also really cool, until this time it had never occurred to me to use the wedge in grinds – mind blowing! How did I never see that before?

Steve Maxwell's joint mobility was awesome. Like everyone else I would love to get a list of those exercises. For those of you that have the grappler’s DVD where he does the joint mobility drills with kettlebells it was like that, except TONS NEW stuff. Everyone seemed to love the Halos, but I’ve been doing those since the issue of Hard Style he showed ‘em, I was really stoked about the body wave, four corner balance, that kinda warrior pose side bend thing ect.

Dan Jon, how cool was his part? The whole thing about rotating people through drills and short workouts, really really cool ideas for team training. Two really good points: “If it’s worth doing, do it every day. Otherwise throw it out.” -Dan Gable and “Any drill 70% of the fighters cannot catch on to right away has to be eliminated, no matter how good it is.” Steve Baccari.

Randy and Missy are superhuman. I think Missy is like ten times stronger than I am. Watching them demo the Kettlebell Decathlon was just really cool to see, until I saw it and heard Randy talk about it I never really ‘got it’. Plus it really inspired me to start working with heavier bells. I went right over and ordered my first 32kg bell.

Tim Larkin’s TFT training mini intro was really cool. Made me totally think about the different kinds of training I’ve done – Krav Maga response to a threat vs. Jiu Jitsu. His knowledge of how the body responds to trauma was amazing. Really cool idea to focus on targets (throat, groin, ect.) instead of the kind of strikes. Also the idea that the goal of self defence is to cause an injury, and that until the other person is injured you aren’t really safe was a wake up call.

Mike Mahler's strength and size for kettlebells. I have his size and strength DVD and I still learned a lot. Like how Mike always focussed on strength and the size just came. Using TGUs to fix weak links in pressing. What really hit me in his presentation was how "a lot of strength training is mental" and how to build confidence for bigger bells. Doing static holds, gripping the bell super hard and flexing everything, with a bigger bell to build the confidence for it. This was something I hadn't really thought about and totally opened up new worlds to me. Got me really psyched about that 72lb bell I've got coming. Also inspired me to snatch my 62lb bell for reps when I got home - like Mike said "use the biggest bell you can".

Rob Lawrence’s ten points. Really cool basics on program design. What was cool about it is talking about building programs that you’ll enjoy (he just didn’t like GS training) and how and when to use variation. Now being a CrossFit guy, Rob’s point on variation being a power tool (not to be misused) made me really stop and think about how the variation works in my own training. What I realized is that there really isn’t as much variation in my training as it appears at first. In reality the difference between a push press and wall ball is about the same amount of variation in the different kinds of cleans Rob demoed.

Nate Morrison’s part I totally missed. A bunch of kids I used to work with who happened to be in Vegas at the same time as the convention, and we all went out to Club Pure at Ceasar’s Palace. Out ‘til 5am. Good times. Woke up a little late…

I am still amazed that the whole place didn’t go ballistic when Brett closed the Captains of Crush #3 right in front of us. Come on guys, that’s like running a four minute mile! And then he bends the red nail like it’s nothing. Brett mentioned that he really got to focus on grip after hurting his knee. I think of how many people have gotten really good at something when they got hurt and had to cut out a lot of their training. Focus is good.

Andrea Du Cane’s strength and flexibility was really really cool. Pyramid deadlfits and good mornings are the bomb. The few times I’ve actually had flexibility gains it was strength + flexibility at the same time, and this totally reminded me of that. I’m definitely going to add back in good mornings and windmills. This part was SO GOOD, Andrea if you’ve got more you should put out a DVD. Also working depth in the swing and hanging out in the low point of the swing was SO BENEFICIAL. That’s where I realized my swing had gotten way too shallow. After realizing that I had so much more hip drive I snatched the 72lb Kettlebell for the first time ever, and it really wasn’t that hard.

Charles Staley talking about ETD. Funny part, he’s like how could I write a whole book about it? Made me think of how some CrossFit workouts are density workouts, like Cindy that's gotten so much press here lately =)

Steve Cotter’s part to me was all about body control and body awareness. Serving teacups was really cool, dragon twisting I’m doing every day now, and the spinning drill was really cool. All about developing control while rotating. Awesome. Ordered his new DVD. Inspired to give his old DVD a fresh look (by that I mean actually start doing the drills from it!)

The H2H KB class was so much fun! First time I ever hit a behind the back H2H toss. And I’ve actually repeated it several times now! Lots of things just got clearer, like the uppercut drill. Also really tightened up my hot potato (thanks Mike Krivka!) Also first time I’d ever seen the helicopter spin.

Also the contests were really fun. Trying to do pull-ups with the 88lb kb strapped to me (I only weigh 159) was really cool. I was stoked I got half way up. The throwing was fun also. I was bummed I was too hungover for the SSST. In retrospect I should have strapped on a pair, done the SSST, ‘cause it’s 50/50 I wouldn’t have barfed.

The best part was just hanging out with all the hardcore strength crazies like myself. I was amazed how many phenomenal athletes there were there. Hanging out with the Senior RKCs was really cool. And then just talking to everyone about their unique Kettlebell stories, and haning out with all my friends from the June 2004 RKC. SO MUCH FUN! Also decided that I in fact HAVE to attend the RKC Level 2.

Josh Hillis
RKC + CrossFit
Free Course