Posts Tagged ‘omaha kettlebell bootcamp’

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)

Hello everyone! We have 5 RKC hopefuls that will be attending the Level I Russian Kettlebell Challenge Certification this summer and wanted to post some finer points on training for and passing the RKC snatch test.

1. Have a Functional Movement Screen

  • Yeah, Yeah, I know. I am the corrective guy. But think of it this way. You have an asymmetry that is inhibiting from you using your body at its finest. The metabolic load that you place on your body when you are banging up against an asymmetry can lead to gassing you out very very fast! Do not pass go beyond this point until you get screened and correct your asymmetries.
  • Example: I had a shoulder mobility issue. I was getting gassed and ripping up my hands when I first began training for the snatch test. I was basically catching the kb wrong (probably a no count half of the time) and the load it was putting on my system was too much let alone I was setting up my shoulder and neck for disaster. It wasn’t until I took a step back, worked on my shoulder mobility daily and worked on Kalos Sthenos Get Ups and overhead walks did I overcome my issues. Then the 100 snatches came naturally and I wasn’t as gassed!

2. Know the RULES of the snatch test!

  • Why would anyone ever want to train for the snatch test let alone test out without knowing the rules? That is beyond me!
  • Now that you looked up the rules, train like them.
    1. Get a timer that beeps on the minute
    2. Get someone to count for you and you go on their count and not your own pace
    3. If no one is around to count for you then, YOU count out loud at the top of every snatch
  • This will help prepare you for the snatch test and also will allow you a little rest break at the top

2. Have the snatch technique down first, THEN start pushing towards the Snatch test.

  • One of the biggest problems we see is too many individuals going after the snatch test with crappy form. Get the form down first with your snatch test weight, THEN move into the snatch test.
  • One method that has helped our hopefuls is from Phase II of Kettlebell Burn. Set a timer for 15 minutes and then perform 3 snatches on the Left, then 3 snatches on the Right. Then set the kettlbell down. Repeat and pace yourself. Go for perfecting technique. Video yourself to see if you need to fine tune anything.
    • This is a great way for women to move into using the 16kg for the first time and for men to progress to the 24kg. Then after you have mastered that particular weight, you can even progress to heavier bells on “variety days” to make the snatch test kb seem lighter and easier to handle
  • Another huge help for preparing for snatch test is the Enter the Kettlebell Rite of Passage and/or Kettlebell Burn. These programs help you to handle the 1 arm swing and being able to perfect this technique and handle the load with your snatch test kb will help you pass your snatch test.

3. Its not a sprint, think more of an 800 meter dash.

  • Pace yourself! I see too many hopefuls who fly through the first 20-30 and then are too gassed to finish. Find a pacing method that works best for you!
  • I like the 10/10 method. I do 10 snatches on my Left, then 10 on my Right and keep switching. If I feel I am getting a little to sloppy to get a good 10/10 then I switch to 5/5

4. Try not to set the kettlebell down.

  • Just eats up too much time. I have seen people do it and pass, but I prefer to rest at the top as needed. Then I don’t lose all the momentum I have started.
  • What works best for me is I work myself ahead of the timer. Example when the first minute beeps on the timer and say I am at 24 snatches, I am ahead of the timer. Then I use a little time to rest with the kettlebell at the top. Then I just keep going after that. This has been huge for me!

5. It’s all about the HIPS!

  • I am borrowing this from Master RKC, David Whitley. When people start to lose it towards the end of their snatch test they totally forget to use their hip snap to get the kettlebell overhead. I believe this has alot to do with the drop and throwback of the kettlebell. If you don’t throw the kb back far enough (on my video you should be able to see the handle of the 24kg on the backswing) which robs you of some important energy to get the kb back overhead.

There are some great videos and article posted by some of the best in the business that very much helped me with understanding the finer points of the kettlebell snatch. RKC Team Leader, Jordan Vezina (you tube averagetoelite), RKC Team Leader, Dr. Mark Cheng, and Master RKC, David Whitley (my big brother sort of speaking).

Here is a video of my snatch test I performed today where I tried to perform all the principles above.

Here is my 5 minute snatch test with some fine points mixed in. Hope this helps.

Very compelling argument when you start using force plates.

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