Archive for the ‘RKC Level 2’ Category

Hello everyone.  Hope you are training smart, plus taking care of yourself and the ones around you.

I want to start a discussion about achieving your 1/2 bodyweight press requirement for RKC Level 2.  From reading the RKC Forum and through speaking with individuals who have trained for RKC Level 2.  It seems the most common reoccurring theme for males were issues achieving the 1/2 bodyweight press requirement.

It seems that those who did not pass Level 2 certification could not achieve their 1/2 bw press and those who cancelled attending RKC Level 2 usually did due to some type of injury from training to achieve the 1/2 bw press.

I trained successfully for RKC Level 1 by performing Enter the Kettlebell Rite of Passage program of pressing ladders.  The ROP is a fantastic program for building a solid foundation for swings, cleans, and presses.  This was especially successful for building up my strength and endurance to achieve 5 double kb presses with a significant amount of weight (one of the requirements for passing RKC Level 1).

When I signed up for RKC Level 2 in August, I planned out all the requirements on a piece of paper and listed them from what would be the most challenging to achieve and that I felt I had a decent grasp upon.  I did this to determine how I would program my workouts to achieve all the RKC Level 2 requirements.  At the top of the list was the 1/2 bw press.

I decided to take a different approach to this requirement and not do the ROP clean and press ladders.  Instead I planned on doing a few different things to see if I could achieve this goal.

  1. Complete a Functional movement screen (every 4-6 weeks) to make sure that I am symmetrical and that my programming is taking me on the correct course (my baseline).
  2. Use bottoms up kb cleans, walks, squats, and pressing (self limiting exercises) to accomplish the proper alignment and technique to accomplish the press.
  3. Train for the press, pull up, and pistol by performing sets of 1 repetition.  Since that is what the requirement stated, I am going to train accordingly.

I brought up this plan of action to my mentor, Master RKC David Whitley, and he suggested an alternate route, the bent press.  As we were sitting there discussing my goals, he stated that the bent press is a way to achieve the type of mobility and stability necessary to achieve the 1/2 bw press.  Plus you get the opportunity to get heavy loads above your head and then train the pressing pattern eccentrically.  I was very intrigued by this idea and was willing to give it a try, but I had one problem.  I had no idea how to properly bent press.  David worked with me about a year before on my BP and I failed miserably.  At the time I did not have the type of mobility to achieve such a lift.

So David spent the next 45 minutes with me bodyweight patterning the bent press.  It was quite the learning experience and I cannot say enough of how fortunate I am to learn from the best.  David sent me home with some points of the bent press and told me “to practice”.  So for the next 10 weeks I made it a priority to improve my bent press to really see if it would have a carry over to the 1/2 bw press.  My previous heaviest kb press was the 36kg at RKC Level 1 (my performance baseline) so with the bent press I began with a 24kg to see if I could get the movement down.  The movement felt akward, and uncomfortable.  But in my experience that could necessarily mean that I am learning so I kept with it.  I got a lot of positive feedback just by videoing myself performing the bent press and then seeing the movement in my mind.

My 10 minute workouts throughout the day would go something like this:

  • Bent press 1/1 followed by single arm swing 5/5
  • I would review the video I did on my technique during my rest period
  • I would play out the proper movement in my mind, maybe even go through the motions with just bodyweight
  • Rinse and repeat

Once I felt I was no longer learning during my practice sessions, I would stop and do other things and then come back to the movement later that day or the next workout.  As I progressed within the movement, the 24kg no longer gave me the type of feedback that I needed to progress so I moved up in weight to the 28kg.  In not much time at all I progressed onto the 32kg bent press followed by single arm swings with the 32kg.

I still continued to video myself and occasionally sent the video onto David for some feedback.  I always tried to keep learning during this movement.  I learned along the way that if I achieved a new weight with the bent press that this new achievement did not mean that it was my new practice weight.  I needed to keep learning during practice and when my practice kb was no longer giving me the feedback I needed, then and only then, would I move up.

2 weeks ago I bent press the 44kg for 1 repetition on each side.  2 days later just to measure progress I was able to strict press the 40kg for the first time ever.  I was also able to bottoms up press the 24kg.  This is the type of progression I was looking for.  I am going up on my press weight and am not suffering from any shoulder/neck issues currently.  As a matter of fact, my shoulder mobility now is the most symmetrical it has ever been.

Some finer points I want to emphasize if you are planning on trying this method:

  • Get your FMS screen:  In my opinion there is a minimum requirement of mobility and stability to begin practicing the bent press.  When I tried it before and was so bad at it, I had not yet achieved that minimum standard and it was only when I got more symmetrical that the learning experience could include
  • The bent press is a SKILL just like all other lifts:  You need to get expert instruction and be willing to practice the skill.  It will be uncomfortable (but not painful!), it will be difficult, but you need to communicate with your body and keep making progress.  Stop the practice session when you are no longer making progress.

So my experiment is not yet done but I will continue to work on it and report on my progress.  As a matter of fact, after another one on one coaching session with the Iron Tamer himself, I achieved the 48kg bent press.  I still have some work to do but I know I am on the proper path as I have my baseline (my FMS score) and my strength continues to increase.

Would love to get some feedback from other individuals as how they achieved their press requirement for Level 2.  I am not saying that this is the only way to train for it, but it has worked very well for me and is something to consider especially if you have suffered from shoulder and neck issues in the past.

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Hello everyone.  Hope all of you are doing well and training smart.

Just a quick post on how things are going.  Had such a fantastic week training for RKC Level 2 certification last week.  I was able to press the 40kg on Tuesday, pistol both sides with a 16kg, and on Saturday I did my first bent press with a 44kg.  The 44kg felt really good as it was my first attempt at it but it went up quite smoothly.

Now the decisions I made next are crucial for me to be able to continue with my strength training foundation and to hit more PR’s.  The old me would have quickly ran over and tried to bent press the 48kg since the 44kg went so smooth.  I remember when I did this big jump before and I was able to perform it but a week later I had to take time off because I hurt my shoulder blade.  So I placed the 44kg down with happiness and left it at that.

My next decision is to lay off this week and really get to moving well.  I am taking the advice of many others who say not to keep hitting the accelerator when you hit a PR.  Every time I hit a PR it seems the next week I get hurt because I did not back off.  I was feeling so good last week and felt unbreakable, that is my hint that its time to back off and start the trek back up the peak slowly but surely next week.

Not that I am going to lay down on the couch or anything, but I am going to lighten the loads and really work on technique this week.

Goals this week: GREASE THE GROOVE

  • Bent Press practice with 32kg
  • 1 arm swings for sets of 5/5 with 32kg to build up grip strength for heavier kb cleans
  • Level 1 prep with 16kgs or 20kgs
  • Pistol practice with feet and knees together (more of a feet and knees together squat but it really helps my pistol)
  • Continue to work on thoracic mobility and ankle mobility
  • Own my rolling patterns
  • Kalos Sthenos on the Get Up (1 and 2)

As many of you may have read, in the past 2 weeks of my training I decided to revert back and work on some movement patterns and get back to basics.

  1. Been working the brettzel stretch and ankle mobility which was recently re-introduced to me by Master RKC, Jeff O’Connor.
  2. Went back to the beginning and relearned the drills for the bent press, pistol, and pull up.
  3. Then just started playing around with the level II drills here and there and just trying to OWN the movements.

Just yesterday Nikki and I decided to “play around a bit”.  I was extremely impressed by how going back to the basics and owning the movement patterns has made a big impact on my training.

  • Performed a pull ups on the bar
    • (1st set with 18#, and 2nd with 10kg: I know this is not much but I was doing them with a 16kg and decided that I was not finishing high enough on the bar so went back to basics)
  • Performed bottoms up press with a 24kg on both sides.
    • Very pleased with how seamless this felt and am looking forward to BU Pressing the 28kg soon
  • Performed some basic pistol work
    • Bottom position way more steady than before
  • Pressed the 40kg for the first time on my right side
    • Before yesterday, wasn’t able to get anywhere close to this.  Special thanks to MRKC David Whitley on his Bent Press Program to help me achieve this.  Now back to more bent pressing 🙂

Hopefully I have learned enough from previous bad habits of lift, lift more, lift heavier, lift even heavier then get hurt, rest and start over again.  Going to keep working those patterns daily and stay with the basics.  Here are my upcoming goals for the next 4 weeks.

  1. Continue to work on mobility (brettzels, ankle, soft tissue and rib pulls)
  2. Perform drills every day -Grease the Groove (some type of press for singles, some type of pistol or squat work, some type of pull up)
  3. Remind myself to taper when I get to the point that I feel indestructible then start back over at the basics.

Just started with Geoff Neupert’s New Nutrition Program so I will keep all of you posted.  Right now I am at 215 and would like to lose some body fat if at all possible to help me during this journey.  Don’t necessarily want to cut weight to press less, but if I end up losing some fat and staying strong in the process I won’t complain if I am asked to press the 44kg instead of the 48kg at RKC Level II.

 

Hope all of you are doing well and training smart.  Nikki and I were progressing very well in our RKC Level II Training in the past few weeks.  We were feeling more grooved with the bent press, clean and jerk was coming along well with few problems and pull up and pistol training was really starting to take off thanks to the pistol progressions we were given by Senior RKC Franz Snideman (you can also youtube Doc Mark Cheng on his pistol progressions as well as they are both outstanding).

The very cool thing is that we really worked with a simplistic type of approach that you would see in Dan John’s 40 day workout program.  We spent 2 days per week doing Level II skills, 1 day per week doing Level I skills, and 2 more days just getting in some swings.

Then we kind of ran into a wall training wise.  We went off to CK-FMS for a wonderful weekend and the following week off to Net Profit Explosion’s Mega Training and Orlando HKC.  During this time my skills began to start lacking.  My tailbone would be sore from time to time as well.  We got back from Orlando and were thinking of getting hard and heavy into training when we did a very smart thing, we FMS screened each other.  The astonishing thing was is that we both scored a 12.  This was a very kind way that my body was telling me I had some things to work on and to back off before I get an injury in training.

I feel that this was a very important lesson for me and for everyone reaching for a big fitness goal.  There is a time to hit the pedal to the metal and a time to back off.  As Master RKC Mark Reifkind states “the next step off of a peak is always down” & “tough guy periodization- Heavy, heavier, even heavier, INJURY, light, light, heavy…..” you get the idea. I feel a lot of this occurs not only within the RKC community when training for the RKC Level I and II (example: 1/2 bodyweight press for level II) but also in the health and fitness community as a whole.  We never want to back off.  We have to remind ourselves and our clients that we need to take ourselves in for an inspection and  tune up every now and then and get back to basics.

So this past week I decided I would listen to my body and go back to some of the very basics:  pistol progression from the beginning, deadlifts, body weight pull ups, and FMS correctives (mine was rolling patterns, scored 1/1). By the end of this past week my FMS improved by 3-4 points and now I am ready to get back into the training program.  We were also fortunate enough that Master RKC Jeff O’Connor came in town to teach the Omaha HKC.  The following day we hosted a mobility and stability workshop taught by the Red Neck Ninja himself and man was it fantastic.  More information on how that went is upcoming.