Archive for the ‘Brett Jones’ Category

Hello everyone.  Hope you are training with integrity, grace, and a bit of humility.  I am just finishing up my training for RKC Level 2 and Dan John is so correct that the training “is about the journey, not the destination”.  I have learned so much about myself and how to not only properly train myself, but others to achieve their health and fitness goals.

I want to review to you an extremely valuable DVD and tool called Kettlebells from the Ground Up 2-Advanced Corrections.  This DVD was performed by Brett Jones, Dr. Mark Cheng, and Jeff O’Connor.  This is a step in the progression from the Kalos Sthenos 1 DVD set performed by Brett Jones and Gray Cook.

In the Kalos Sthenos 1 DVD and video progression, in my mind, it went on the progression of using the Turkish Get Up as a very valuable evaluation tool toward asymmetry and how to work on each specific step of the Turkish Get Up towards the goal of fluidity and balance.  Also included in the KS1 DVD are very valuable information and drills that I have personally seen do wonders for Shoulder Mobility & Stability as well as Rotary Stability.  It is a great way to use kettlebells to help clean up movement patterns.

The Kalos Sthenos 2 DVD takes the Turkish Get Up to another level.  It very nicely reviews the Turkish Get Up and involves some more progressions to help open up the shoulder (mobility).  What is the gem of the KS2 DVD is the Active Straight Leg Raise progressions/Hip Mobility drills.  These set drills do a fantastic job of working on the FMS Active Straight Leg Raise and Rotary Stability movements.

The small drills alone I have seen with my own eyes do wonders on improving hip mobility, ankle mobility, as well as making a huge impact on clients ASLR and RS scores.  Plus it is a type of Reactive Neuromuscular Training needed to help improvements to stick.

In my professional recommendation, I HIGHLY suggest that you purchase this video as it will do wonders for your patients and clients with kettlebell experience.  The drills in here can be done in a personal training format, in a class/team type setting as a warm up/cool down or FMS break, and also as something that the client or patient can be sent home with to do daily if they have kettlebells at home. It will make a DIRECT impact on your clients and how efficiently they move.

Right now you can purchase your own copy at Perform Better.



Hello again everyone! It has been a terrific September as an offical RKC instructor. I have to say I have been able to apply all that I have learned at the RKC Instructor Certification Course everyday with my clients as well as my physical therapy patients.
As I promised, I am writing a 2nd installment to the Iron Tamer Clan Post from last week. This week I am giving props to the instructors and others who helped us to prepare for our success at the RKC.

David Whitley, Senior RKC
It all began when I returned from a Functional Movement Screen Seminar where one of the presenters (Gray Cook, PT, RKC) introduced me to some kettlebell exercises. I was very interested and ended up finding out that David (aka the IRONTAMER) held classes in Nashville and is also FMS certified (CK-FMS). For the next month I was blown away by how much he knew about movements and how the kettlebell itself can be used as a tool to work on mobility and stability at the same time. On my first day of Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp I performed turkish get ups and could not believe how much I was working on mobility of my joints as well as stability of my joints with one exercise! I decided to give 4 weeks of my bootcamp workouts and retest my FMS score. Note I did not do any other corrective exercises other than bootcamp. My FMS score went from a 15 to an 18! My wife went from a 14 to an 18 in the same time and can now do a very good push up.

After 3 months of bootcamp and about 20 pounds of fat loss later I was hooked. Nikki and I proceeded to let the Irontamer know that Iwe were interested in training for the RKC Instructor Certification Course. He told me that he would be happy to train Nikki and I and that we should continue to come to bootcamp to prepare. And boy did we prepare! David was tough on us but in a very good way. He knew what the RKC cert was like and was preparing us for the grueling days that would be the RKC. He did not sugar coat things. We heard things like “quit your whining and swing!” and “if your clean is like that at the end of RKC you WILL fail the course”. It was exactly what we needed to hear. He motivated us very well.
I owe David everything. He introduced me to kettlebell training and what the RKC is about. He reiterated that the RKC is not just about the kettlebell, the kettlebell is only a tool. Its the movements and the concept behind the RKC that makes it so successful. Thanks to his knowledge and teaching, I am a much better Certified Athletic Trainer and FMS specialist at correcting movement imbalances. Thanks David! I will always introduce myself as being a decendent of the Iron Tamer Clan and you as my mentor.

Matt McBryde
Matt just received his RKC instructor certification last year (2008). We met Matt as he was one of David’s instructors that covers his class when David is out of town. Matt is a terrific instructor from the very first day we met him. He put his own spin on class but the RKC techniques were always the foundation. Matt was gracious enough to come to our RKC prep days at 6am to help us with technique and also gave us some killer workouts, including the VO2 Max protocol from the Viking Warrior Conditioning. The VO2 practice we had with him very much helped us at RKC to improve on our snatch technique but also to prepare us for the grueling workouts. Matt now currently owns and runs Tennessee Kettlebell Bootcamp along with his cool wife, Kristen (the Hardstyle Diva part of the Irontamer Clan!) in Franklin, TN. Thank you for all your wisdom, Matt. Not only did I learn so much from you but I also gained 2 friends. I know that Kristen and yourself did not have to drive 20 minutes every Saturday to come train with us, but you did for the sake of helping us become as prepared as we could be. I will never forget your generosity.

Dennis Breckey
Dennis is the first RKC that we met in Nashville after working with the IronTamer and he also subbed for David from time to time. He teaches a very structured class and gave a different point of view with corrections and cues on our technique. Dennis was also showed up to almost every Saturday morning RKC prep class. He had nothing to gain from coming. He did not have anyone close to him prepping like Matt did. He just came to help us out. I was truly blown away that he would come so early in the am to come help us out. Dennis is currently working on his Z Health certification and when Nikki spoke to him about her tricep issues, he made the time to research and ask other Z health professionals about what drills would work best to alleviate her problems. Dennis is just a whole lot of awesome in my book.
I would also like to give a quick shout out to some other important people who played a role in our RKC certification. Mandy (with a Y not an I) Whitley is a wonderful friend of ours who let us borrow her husband on many accounts to have him work with us. She was the first person I saw when I passed my snatch test and she was jumping up and down in excitement. She put up with our Vibram Stank in the hotel room for 3 days. And was there to give me updates on who all passed since I was the last one. She made the whole process fun and well worth it.
I would like to thank Gray Cook for steering me in the correct direction of the RKC. Also to Brett Jones for all of his articles and information who has helped me out. Brett and Gray have a terrific DVD series “the secrets” and “Kalos Sthenos” which provides important corrective exercises to help improve on asymmetries in your body. I would like to say that thanks to them I am a better informed and prepared RKC and athletic trainer.


Everyone has something that they need to address when it comes to imbalances within their body. The important thing to know is that you have to except the fact that you have a limitation and that you address that limitation on a daily basis. Some days might take more time than others to workout those limitations, some days you might only work on cleaning up that limitation and nothing else.

This is fine, actually I believe that Brett Jones, Master RKC and Gray Cook, RKC would agree with me on the fact that if you don’t improve on your limitations then you should not be working out. “If you don’t have time to perform your prep work, then you don’t have time to workout” (Brett Jones)

This means taking 5-15 minutes in the beginning of your workout and addressing this issue that you need to fix. For example, if you ever check out Brett Jones’ Applied Strength blog (he posts his workouts on there) he ALWAYS has some type of prep work to address his limitations. Whether it be Z health work, ASLR work, brettzels, you name it he is working on addressing any limitations he may have before he even picks up a heavy kettlebell. This means not only a safer workout, but a more productive workout as well.

As for another example I will use myself. On the FMS my lowest score has been on the shoulder mobility test. Through time and the discovery of the RKC system I have improved on this imbalance. But, I continually must make an effort to address my thoracic and shoulder mobility to make sure that I am in balance before I workout or there is a good chance that I will fall back into my old patterns and return to a lower score on the shoulder mobility.

I have two very strong ladies in my Injury Prevention & Human Performance program who begin every workout that they perform addressing these limitations. One has a knee mobility issue from a previous injury/surgery and the other addresses her shoulder/thoracic mobility on a daily basis. They always make time to address these corrections first and foremost.
Not sure what your limitation is? Find a FMS specialist or a CK-FMS specialist and get screened, then let them work with your on addressing your limitations.


Everyone has something that they need to address when it comes to imbalances within their body. The important thing to know is that you have to except the fact that you have a limitation and that you address that limitation on a daily basis. Some days might take more time than others to workout those limitations, some days you might only work on cleaning up that limitation and nothing else.

This is fine, actually I believe that Brett Jones, Master RKC and Gray Cook, RKC would agree with me on the fact that if you don’t improve on your limitations then you should not be working out. “If you don’t have time to perform your prep work, then you don’t have time to workout” (Brett Jones)

This means taking 5-15 minutes in the beginning of your workout and addressing this issue that you need to fix. For example, if you ever check out Brett Jones’ Applied Strength blog (he posts his workouts on there) he ALWAYS has some type of prep work to address his limitations. Whether it be Z health work, ASLR work, brettzels, you name it he is working on addressing any limitations he may have before he even picks up a heavy kettlebell. This means not only a safer workout, but a more productive workout as well.

As for another example I will use myself. On the FMS my lowest score has been on the shoulder mobility test. Through time and the discovery of the RKC system I have improved on this imbalance. But, I continually must make an effort to address my thoracic and shoulder mobility to make sure that I am in balance before I workout or there is a good chance that I will fall back into my old patterns and return to a lower score on the shoulder mobility.

I have two very strong ladies in my Injury Prevention & Human Performance program who begin every workout that they perform addressing these limitations. One has a knee mobility issue from a previous injury/surgery and the other addresses her shoulder/thoracic mobility on a daily basis. They always make time to address these corrections first and foremost.
Not sure what your limitation is? Find a FMS specialist or a CK-FMS specialist and get screened, then let them work with your on addressing your limitations.

Here is a post I received from one of my friends who is living up in the Northeast. Thought I would share it and then comment more on the subject.

Hey Snowman!
I love the blogs you’ve been writing. I’ve been working out myself for the past 6 months or so, taking sporadic breaks. Last year I had back surgery for a ruptured disc that I had been dealing with for quite sometime. Since the surgery I’m scared to death of doing squats and I saw that you no longer recommend leg extensions. So I’m wondering what type of leg exercises you would recommend for me. Right now I’m doing leg press, leg extensions and hamstring curls. Would lunges be an option? I’m curious about your thoughts and your recommendations.


Here is what I replied to him:
The important thing after back surgery is to work on exercises that stress the core but keep your spine in a neutral position (the way it was designed to be). Any crunches or weighted back squats can be problematic for your back.

I will get some videos up on hip hinges, deadlifts and front squats. This will help. Lunges are terrific if you can keep your spine in neutral. Leg presses can be hard on the spine and extensions and curls just aren’t very functional.

Another good suggestion would be to get your hands on the book by Stuart McGill
titled: Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance Book.

Dr. McGill has extensive knowledge of working with athletes who suffer from back pain. He even states that the leg press may not be a good option due to the fact that it increases pressure on the lumbar discs. I also feel that the leg press may be dangerous is due to the reason that the exercise does not require any trunk stability which is vital to the back.


To begin, in the opinion of someone who has a background in sports medicine, performance enhancement and injury prevention, I would get you performing exercises that keeps your spine in a neutral position (no more weighted crunches) and works on the muscles of the hips, trunk and scapula to help support your back.

I think it would be in everyone’s best interests to first and foremost see a Functional Movement Screen Certified Specialist and get screened to see if any imbalances may exist within your body that may have been the reason that the back pain/surgery resulted. They can clean up your movements so you can work on functional strength without the fear of re-injury.

The importance is when you lift to have the ability to brace your abdominals like you were about to get punched in the stomach.

Here are some examples of leg exercises that I would give in order of difficulty. I want to emphasize the importance of keeping a neutral spine with all activities. This is just good practice for everyone, especially those recovering/suffering from a bad back.

First and foremost-MOBILITY

You need to have mobility before stability. So if your hip flexors are tighter then tight. You need to spend time on them and get them to open up. Think about this. If you squat and you feel pain in your back, then more than likely your hip flexors are tight.


Frog Stretch

This exercise is a doozy, but really has helped with my
kettlebell swings and squats. My problem was that I
lacked hip mobility. Didn’t matter how many times
I performed the exercise, I had to have good hip
mobility to take stress off of my other joints.

Stability Exercises

These exercises will require you to have the proper mobility
and also make you kick in your stabilizers.


Hip Hinges
This exercise is a great start to learning how to hinge with
your hips instead of using the motion in your ankles and
knees to perform a squat. Great to work on the eccentric
loading of the glutes and hamstrings for proper hip
extension.

Quadruped Training/Supermans
Leg lock bridge

Hamstring Bridge

Reactive Neuromuscular Training/Complex Lifts
These exercises help to program the body to use the mobility
and stability you just achieved to work together to train the
body to be more functional.

Reverse Lunge

Deadlift


For all of you who believe that the deadlift is one of the
worst things you can do for your back I am here to tell
you differently. If you perform the deadlift incorrectly
yes you very much can put too much pressure on your
back (But on the other hand, you can also do that with
the squatif performed incorrectly).
Hip hinges are a great place to start, then move onto
using tubing, then onto a weight like a plate or a
kettlebell. Use enough weight to make sure you fire
your trunk, too less of a weight will only make you
use your back extensors and that may be the reason
you are here in the first place.

Gray Cook has a terrific YouTube video on the
deadlift that is much worth watching. Gray Cook and
Brett Jones have teamed together to makea “Secrets
Series” DVD set. On one video they speak about
training the backside using the deadlift.
Brett loves to deadlift and he had a previous back
surgery as well and he can now perform a Turkish
Get Up with a 108 lb. Kettlebell.


So there you have it. I hope that this provides some idea
of how to train your legs after suffering from back
pain/surgery. Get screened 1st and foremost, clean up
any imbalances that exist, then work on mobility and
stability, then tie everything together by using your
stabilizers in unison.

The only thing that I did not cover in this post is
squatting. But I believe that you should be able to
deadlift first before you even think of squatting.
Improving your squat I am going to save for another post.

Questions? Comment on the blog or email me at
sghumanperformance@gmail.com.