Wednesday, September 22, 2010

RECAP: Triathlete Kettlebell Workshop

On Tuesday 09-21-2010, I taught some kettlebelling to a local triathlon group. This session, at 75 minutes, was a breeze-through of introducing and practicing the most fundamental movements. I write this blog post as not only a summary for yesterday's students, but also as a reminder for many of us who have picked up this discipline and have gone stale.

KBs can be used to cause physical and neurological adaptations in each of DynaMax's ten physical skills. For you CrossFitters, you've seen this list plenty of times, as CFHQ has adopted it as one of their definitions of fitness (What is Fitness? article):
  • Strength
  • Cardio-Respiratory Endurance
  • Speed
  • Power
  • Agility
  • Coordination
  • Balance
  • Accuracy
  • Flexibility
  • Stamina
There are specific movements and drills that can be used to polish-up the above list of fitness components. For example, heavy KBs can be used to build strength. Lighter KBs can be "juggled" for accuracy, or lifted for high repetition count for stamina. Mid-weight KBs can be thrown for power development. However, one must first understand his/her personal goals before jumping into a KB program. A very strong person might desire stamina or C-R endurance -- in which case s/he should be using mid-weight or light KBs for high repetition counts (and very little or no rest). An endurance athlete might pick a weight that is so heavy, only three or five reps is possible at a time (with plenty of rest between sets).

There are seven primary human movements. Here is a piece I did about these movements. The movements are:
  • Pushing
  • Pulling
  • Squatting
  • Gait / Lunging
  • Trunk Flexing
  • Trunk Extending
  • Trunk (Anti-) Rotating

There are four main positions that are used during KBing. These are:
  • The Load - The KB is on the ground, between the feet, on the imaginary line connecting the heels. One hand grips the hanlde. The butt is down, the chin is up, the shoulders are back, and the chest is big. Heels are flat on the ground.
  • The Hang - The KB is hanging between the legs. The body is in the Triple Threat position -- as if shooting a free throw, about to field a ground ball, or set up as a middle linebacker. Weight is balanced on the mid-foot, knees and hips are gently bent, head is up.
  • The Rack - The KB is nestled at shoulder-height. Ribcage is "protected" by the forearm. No grip is necessary -- fingers can "wave hello" as the weight is balanced in the web of the hand. Palm faces chest. Body is erect.
  • The Up - The KB is held high overhead. The body is erect. The shoulder cap is driven towards the ear. The head is vertical, not tilted to a side. The KB is inline with shoulder, hip, knee, and foot for maximum stability. Palm is forward or slightly twisted outward.

Some of the movements learned were (each is a link to video demonstrations):

Before anyone starts to combine these movements into a workout session (or more importantly, a workout program), I recommend reading this series of posts: "Make Stuff Up" Programming. You'll have to read them from the bottom up, as the blog lists the posts by date published. Remember that functional fitness is about MOVEMENTS, not muscle groups. Pair up different movements (Ex: thrusters with high pulls or pullups; SDLHPs with presses or pushups; deadlifts with TGUs or situps) to create effective workout sessions. There is a lot of so-called science to developing workout sessions and programs. I learn something new each week about it.

Lastly, click to access the Prison Workout #2 (the one with kettlebells). The PWO#2 has 26 workouts, meant to be done in order, one at a time.

Thanks to MJ for inviting me out. And to Q for carting out hundreds of pounds of iron.

And to all: Happy kettlebelling! I hope to see you out again for a workout now that you all know the moves!!

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