Archive for the ‘kettlebell training’ 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 everyone out there.  Hope you all are doing well and training smart.  Hope you are doing something to help exercise your mind, body and soul.  Just finished watching Tracy Reifkind’s Programming the Kettlebell Swing.

No one has done more with the kettlebell swing than Tracy Reifkind.  She is a visionary in the art of the kettlebell swing and the numerous ways you can perform swing variations and workouts.  Her DVD alone has provided me with some vital information about ways to change up things in our classes here at SG Human Performance.  From swing timing, on the minute swings, to the roundabout swing, Tracy provides many important drills and aspects to the swing that I would have never even thought of until I watched the DVD.  The roundabout swing idea alone is a solid drill for newcomers all the way to skilled RKC’s on perfecting their one arm swing.

IF you don’t want to take my word for it then I am sure you will listen to what Pavel has to say:

“If you searching a brutally effective fat loss and conditioning regimen, you have found it: Programming the Swing. I was so impressed with Tracy Reifkind’s innovations that I am incorporating some of them into the RKC curriculum.”

Anyone who is training clients and groups with kettlebell swings will greatly improve their programming by using her material.  I again think that this DVD along with Dave Whitley’s Deepening Your Get Up Skills and Mark Reifkind’s Lats the Super Muscles will provide you with vital information when training for your upcoming Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification and/or your Russian Kettlebell Certification.  I really would not see why you would not purchase the 4 disc set really.

Hello everyone!  Hope you are training smart.  Just wanted to let everyone know of our upcoming events coming here in the late winter/early spring.

Russian Kettlebell Challenge Workshop

Sunday, March 20th.  12pm-3pm

This is a 3 hour workshop designed to introduce or sharpen your kettlebell skills.  We will be teaching and practicing the 6 foundational kettlebell exercises.  Here are the foundational exercises:

  • Kettlebell Swing (and variations)
  • Kettlebell Clean
  • Squat variations
  • Kettlebell Press
  • Kettlebell Snatch
  • Turkish Get Up

Cost is only $89 and you can sign up by CLICKING HERE.  Again this workshop is ideal for those individuals who want to learn how to PROPERLY perform the kettlebell exercises/workouts in the RKC/Dragon Door community.  It is also a fantastic prep workshop for the Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification and the Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

Workshop is eligible for CEU’s (ACE, NASM, NSCA, NATA).  For NASM and ACE you will have to petition and pay a separate petition fee.

Hardstyle Kettlebell Instructor Certification Workshop

Omaha, NE

Saturday, April 30th: 8am-5pm

For more information and to sign up CLICK HERE

Workshop is eligible for CEU’s (ACE, NASM, NSCA, NATA).  For NASM and ACE you will have to petition and pay a separate petition fee.

Russian Kettlebell Challenge Re-Certification Workshop

Omaha, NE

Sunday, May 1st: 8am-5pm

For more information and to sign up CLICK HERE.

Workshop is eligible for CEU’s (ACE, NASM, NSCA, NATA).  For NASM and ACE you will have to petition and pay a separate petition fee.

Hello everyone.  I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving weekend and have made sure to take time to reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for.  I sure did.

This blog is one of four reviews I will be doing of all 4 DVD’s that were just put out by Mark and Tracy Reifkind and David Whitley.  You would think naturally I would first review my mentor and long time coach Master RKC David Whitely, but actually I started with the DVD that I thought would help me to work on one of my weaknesses.  My shoulder stability and strength.

So naturally I began with Lats, the Super Muscles by Master RKC, Mark Reifkind.  Mark is extremely knowledgeable about injuries (he has had them), anatomy of the muscles and how they coordinate with each other, and really helped to explain to me how the Lats are a bridge between the upper and lower body.

His drills that he demonstrates within the DVD will help develop anyone’s kettlebell exercise technique.  The drills alone helped to improve my swing, ESPECIALLY my clean (weak point), and my press.  I will continue to revisit these drills to make sure that I am using my lats properly in my lifts.  They will be especially helpful in my training for RKC Level II (pull up, half bodyweight press and etc).

I truly believe that there are individuals out there that have a weak press or even a painful press that would greatly benefit from this DVD.  Besides for $29.95 it is a steal and should be in all RKC/HKC’s library collection.

Hello everyone!  Hope all is well with you and your families.

Was speaking to a client (and close friend) and we spoke about kettlebell training.  She commented on how good our technique was on the kettlebell swing.  I told her that it wasn’t always this way and that I am still always “tweaking” and practicing for the perfect rep.  She found that very hard to believe until I pulled out my iphone and showed her this video.  She was shocked.

All of you SGHP members out there enjoy this video and feel free to make fun of us as much as you would like. Take a look at the backwards hat, crappy swing (which made my back very sore) and are those running shoes?

This was our second week in David Whitley’s Kettlebell Class.  I was very naive and felt I had the kettlebell swing SO DOWN PAT that I took a video of it.  Boy was I wrong (and boy was I naive, sorry Dave!).

The point of the video is to show people that practice will help improve your technique (barring any imbalances or asymmetries that may exist, you should take care of those first).  As for myself, I struggled with figuring out the kettlebell swing.  Like with every dynamic movement, (example: dribbling a soccer ball, swinging a golf club, throwing a ball) it takes practice to get the desired result.  I hope this encourages all of you to see that with time, practice and patience you too can be where Nikki and I are at today.  (Notice Nikki was swinging a 12kg-orange and now she usually prefers to swing a 24kg-red or 28kg -orange/purple).  The same could be said for our squats and turkish get ups.  We spent a lot of time working on those drills, corrective exercises and practicing to get where we are now.  And we will still continually try to improve on technique.

The benefit that we had (and that our members have) is our kettlebell instructor was well trained with understanding the nuances of the kettlebell exercises and how to best teach us to improve on the swing.  You may get that from a DVD (preferably anything from Dragon but more than likely you will not.  I thought I had everything down from the 15lb kettlebell and DVD I bought at a local store, but I was sorely mistaken.  I needed a Russian Kettlebell Certified Instructor to show me the correct way and how to get the most out of my kettlebell workouts.  I haven’t found anything close (other than the TRX) that provides so much bang for your buck.

The problem is that most trainers (including fitness celebrities) feel that they have the kettlebell swing down (and can teach it to anyone) because they have never been shown the absolute correct way to perform the swing.  If those trainers would do like we did and meet with an RKC professional then they would FEEL the difference between good technique versus poor technique.  They would feel how it works the backside (proper technique) instead of the frontside (incorrect technique).  They would understand the difference between proper load and not enough load.  These concepts I had no grasp of until I met with David and continued onto my progression (physically and mentally) to become RKC certified.

What is the big deal with technique you ask?  Here are some things to think about:

  • The RKC method teaches a step by step approach to kettlebell training.  This is the way we are suppossed to learn.  Most trainers will just start and end with the swing.  Is that how we learned to play a sport?  Is that how we learned to walk as toddlers?  No we learned step by step.
  • As Americans, we are too frontside loaded.  This leads us to imbalances, poor movement, injuries and poor health.  The RKC swing is training the backside.  The part of the body we tend to neglect and do not train nearly enough.
  • The RKC has way more bang for the buck.  More load.  Safer (MUCH SAFER). Better Workout.  Can prevent injury and pain (EVEN BACK PAIN, by getting you to fire your muscles the way you were made to)

Here is a nice little comparison video of my swing (just like the one up top) and then my swing after 12 weeks in kettlebell class with expert instruction.

So I hope that my words and the video has inspired you that you are on the right track towards your goals.  The true goal should be that you make small steps every day (this can be with your nutrition, training, movement, soul, etc) to be better than you were weeks and months before.

We are teaming up with University of Nebraska Omaha this Summer to provide athletes ages 13 and up an opportunity to train like the professionals do.   SG Human Performance uses the same program used by Professional Teams such as the Indianapolis Colts and Vanderbilt University (among others) which uses the functional movement screen and kettlebell training under the program of the Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

The Summer camp will run in 2 sessions.   the camp will run on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am or 2pm.  Session 1 will run June 1st to July 2nd and Session 2 will run July 5th through August 6th.  The bootcamp will address athletes ability to move with proper mobility, stability, power and coordination.  We will be using kettlebell training primarily along with body weight drills and battling ropes.

Anyone who is interested can download the brochure here for more information and can sign up for the bootcamp by emailing or by clicking here.  Cost comes down to less than $20 per workout!

Hello everyone. We here at SG Human Performance having a very productive off week here at the gym. This is our week to get caught up on some paperwork, review our bootcamps to see how are members are progressing and to re-screen individuals on the functional movement screen.

Every off week we try to offer 1-2 bonus workouts that have a little twist to keep our members guessing. This week’s bonus workout is termed the deck of cards!

We took 2 decks and eliminated all cards with a 9 or 10. (Cards remaining are 2-8, Ace=1, jacks, queens, kings & jokers)Then we set a timer for 30 minutes and instructed the members to pick a card and do the exercise that went along with the suit and the number determined the amount of repetitions. We instructed to chose the weight accordingly to the number of reps requested for them to perform. Quality over quantity and to feel free to take breaks during the exercise and/or the workout itself. Here are the exercises we assigned for the workout according to the cards.

Heart = Kettlebell swing x 2 (example: pull an 8 of hearts and you perform 16 kb swings)

Club = Pushups (these can be performed on the TRX, elevated on anything {we use a tractor tire}, or any type of modification depending on reps needed

Diamond = Goblet Squats

Spade = 1 arm rows (pull a 4 of spades perform 4 reps per side)

Pull a Jack of any suit = use the battling rope for 40 repetitions, don’t have a rope? Do 20 mountain climbers!

Queen = 50 jump ropes of any kind

King = 10 burpees

Joker = 15 double kettlebell swings

Today’s workout.

Wanted to work on some basic kettlebell drills and also push myself pretty hard. Borrowed the “stack” workout idea from David Whitley, Master RKC.

Set gymboss to :30, automatic rounds. Chose a medium sized Kettlebell. Perform the exercises in order. Remember: quality over quantity.

-kettlebell swing, rest

-swing, plank, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, bridge, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, bridge, 1arm row R, 1 arm row L, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, bridge, 1arm row R, 1 arm row L, kb swing tranfers, rest

You can now chose to stop here or do what we did and head back down the stack.

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, bridge, 1arm row R, 1 arm row L, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, bridge, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, 1 arm swing L, 1 arm swing R, rest

-swing, plank, goblet squat, rest

-swing, plank, rest

-swing, rest

All in all around 72 rounds of :30 for a total of about 36 minutes. Please remember to pick a medium sized kb and really concentrate on form. Feel free to rest if needed.

I cannot begin to explain all the emotions that went through the last weekend. There were times of doubt, nervousness, excitement, exhaustion, fulfillment, pain, anger, and many others. At the end I finally understood what RKC is all about. It is hard to describe what transition I went through, but I truly believe that I am a stronger and more honorable man now that I have been through it and passed. My bond with Nikki (my wife!) is even stronger than before. I also have a very strong, almost unbreakable bond with my team, my fellow RKC’s and especially the IronTamer Clan.
I would like to take this time to talk a bit about the IronTamer Clan. A long time ago, Nikki and myself began Nashville Kettlebell Bootcamp and were blown away on the results that we were getting in class. We decided that we would like to train for the RKC and began our quest. Along the way we made a bond with other members of the bootcamp and for some unknown reason, all 5 of us decided to all sign up for RKC San Diego in August and thus began our quest to become RKC certified. I would like to take the time to brag about each and every one of them.

Nikki (or as most of you know I just introduce as “my wife, Nikki”) has always been an outstanding athlete and it showed from day 1 of bootcamp when we met with David. On the very first day with only very limited experience with kettlebell training she was already swinging a 24kg with good form. Dave Whitley stated “the force is strong in this one”. Nikki has hit some impressive numbers since beginning training back in October of 2008. She has hit over 200 snatches with a 16kg in 10 minutes, can strict press a 24kg, do a full get up with a 28kg and a 1/2 get up with a 32kg. More importantly she was a very motivating factor in my training. She was very patient with my moods, got me out of bed every morning at 5:15am when it was time to train. And gave me countless important cues on improving my technique. She is quite a remarkable woman and I am proud to say that “she is all mine!”


When we first met Kristen it was through her husband, Matt who is an RKC. He was subbing for a class of ours when Dave Whitley was out of town. We walked in and saw Kristen snatching with a 16kg. (Nikki thought to herself, “how in the hell is she doing that?”). Kristen told us she was planning/training for RKC certification probably around October 2009. But Kristen was next in line to sign up for RKC and join the clan after the Irontamer called and notified her and her husband that Nikki & I just signed up and that the Irontamer himself was going to be instructing. Kristen is just a little thing, but I would definitely would not mess with her since she is very strong and strong willed to boot. “We are here for physical training!” as she would let people know in the elevator in La Jolla when they asked her if she was here on vacation. Kristen was the first person I saw after we finished the 5 minute snatch test and she was jumping up and down excited that all of us performed it so well. I also think that Kristen really helped Nikki out by having another female in the group to work with and ask questions to. There was a time that Nikki thought there was no way she would be able to snatch a 16kg until she saw Kristen doing it for reps. They developed a very strong bond between the 2 of them. Kristen is also the one that right after RKC stated that we should all go to RKC II together. I think the world of her and the things that she can do. Her and Nikki both belong in the “sexy and strong” group that so many of the RKC women demonstrate.


Jay has been coming to bootcamp for a long time and stated that he has always wanted to perform the RKC instructor certification program. When David called him to tell him that Nikki Kristen, and myself were going, along with himself as an instructor. He immediately joined the team and signed up. Jay is an amazing individual, his terrific sense of humor came out at out of the blue times to make all of us laugh. Whether it is his Rick Flair impersonations while doing push ups and squats or his “cardio step” warm up routine for RKC prep on Saturday Mornings at 6am, to his 80’s dance offs with David Whitley. He always kept us entertained. Jay is a diabetic and through his diet and exercise regimen you never would guess he suffers from the disease. The one thing that I love about Jay is the fire that burns inside of him. On Saturday morning of the RKC cert, he looked totally wrecked. He stated that he cramped up all day on Friday and was very tired and sore. But wouldn’t you have known it, he pushed through with the heart of a lion. I looked over to him during the grad workout when I was running out of gas and looked into his eyes and saw that “fire” again. He was yelling and grunting his way to the finish line that was truly inspiring. This loving husband and father is truly a man among boys in my eyes.

David E.

David was the last to sign up for RKC. If I remember correctly, he began a long time ago doing some personal sessions with the Irontamer. On the day after everyone else signed up, David E. showed up to say hello to the Irontamer and they spoke about the RKC. The following day he signed up as well. David E. decided to enroll in the RKC certification as a birtday challenge to himself. At 40 years of age (although he looks under 30 and his work ethic and body look like that which most 20 year olds wish they could have) David E’s progression and training was the most challenging. The rest of us were in top shape and have been training with kettlebells for some time. David E. pretty much began about 3 months out from scratch. He had to retrain himself into all the required kettlebell exercises that he would be trained on. David E. has a history of back problems and he had times when his back was too sore to train at all. But little by little, David’s progression pushed along. His back stopped hurting cause he was using his glutes instead of his back extensors, then he reached 100 snatches in 5 minutes, then he just took off. By the week before we left for RKC, David E. was clean and pressing, snatching, snatching and doing get ups with a 32kg! I would have to admit that I was quite jealous on how strong he had become in such a short period of time.
At the RKC certification he took a leadership role with Team Cheng and flourished in that role. When I was finishing the workout and was running out of gas, I could hear David yell… “Come on SNOW!!! just like we do back home!!!!!!!!!!! Very glad to hear those words. I am very proud of his accomplishments and hope I look as good as he does when I turn 40.

So that is the IronTamer Clan in a nutshell. All are unique in their very own way. I have to say that the bond I have with them is unbreakable. I no longer call them friends, I call them family. I no longer shake their hands or high five, but I hug them each with a feeling of pride. I will never forget you guys and how you have motivated me.

Next blog I will talk about the influential people who helped us to become RKC’s.

From Left: Kristen, David E., Myself, Nikki & Jay

Been a while since I have updated everyone on how Nikki and I are doing for our preparation for out Russian Kettlebell Instructor Certification in San Diego, CA on Aug 28-30th.

2 weeks from today we will be on a plane for the west coast. I have been a little on edge lately. Don’t think I have been this nervous for anything in my life. State wrestling was one but I was too young and naive to understand the ramifications of what I was about to accomplish. First day of college football and my first day of working at a Division I football school was nerve racking as well. My wedding I was a giddy nervous, I couldn’t wait to get married to the love of my life.

I guess when you are so committed to a system (that being the RKC) you really want to not only pass, but perform very well.

If you are interested in seeing what the instructor certification requirements are, click here.

Our instructor Dave Whitley gave us some very encouraging words, he said basically that he feels that we have prepared well and are ready. Anything we need to improve on or “clean up”with our technique should be cleaned up during the certification. All we need to do now for the next 2 weeks is to maintain what we have and don’t do anything to jeopardize our performance (example: tearing up our hands, pulling a hamstring, and so forth)

That is all for right now. I will definitely try and blog once or twice down in San Diego depending what is going on and give you a recap after it is all over and done with. I would love to be able to announce in 3 weeks that you are now speaking with Mark Snow, RKC and Nikki Snow, RKC!