Monday, December 29, 2008

What Makes a Good Strength Coach?

This is an excellent question. I was just listening to a Mike Boyle Podcast on this subject and it prompted me to ask myself what I believe makes a great strength coach.

With the fitness industry now becoming a more respected industry and a viable profession, what qualities make up a great strength coach? Ask many coaches and trainers and you will get different responses. Here is a list of qualities that I believe make a great strength coach. This is by no means an exhaustive list but just some essentials that I think are important for current strength coaches and for people wanting to enter the fitness industry.

Quality # 1 - Focus on serving your client, not yourself

This is hugely important. When you take on a client, whether they be a housewife or a high school athlete, ask yourself what is your motivation working with that client. Are you training them to make yourself look better & more successful or are you training the person wanting to help them achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams. The most successful trainers and coaches I have ever met have been SERVANTS! Yes, that is right. They have learned to SERVE others and to pour their passion, their soul and their energy in to helping that person rise to higher levels. This is the most important aspect of being a coach in my book. Serve others, listen to them, encourage them, love them and guide them. People really don't care how much you know or who smart you are. They care about the fact that you genuinely care about them. Do that and you will have a client for life!

Quality # 2 - Passion

If you have passion you will have energy. Passionate energy will drive you to learn, apply and grow. The more you learn and the more you grow the better your clients will perform and better results they will have. Nobody wants to hang out with a trainer who is boring, lacking enthusiasm and passion. People want to be around passionate people. Ask yourself this question; when was the last time you hung out with a boring person who lacks passion and wanted to get hang out with them again in the future? The answer is probably never again would you want to hang out with them. A great strength coach has Passion, LOTS OF PASSION! Passion gives you energy and energy is contagious. Passion is also a choose to be passionate about strength, fitness, conditioning, health, power, fill in the blank. If you want to be a great in anything you must have passion as that passion will drive you to learn and to empower yourself which ultimately allows you to EMPOWER others!!!!

Quality # 3 - Initiative

We have all seen people with tons of talent that haven't done anything with their talent. Chances are you know many people right now who would fit this profile. Talent alone will get you no where if you lack the INITIATIVE to take action. You must take action and get the ball rolling. If you are planning on becoming a world class strength coach you must start by taking your fist seminar or reading your first book. Most of the best coaches I know are great not because they are necessarily more talented than others, they are great because they take action ALL THE TIME! Initiative is one sets apart the best from the best. People who are LESS TALENTED than most often become the most successful because they out study, out train and frankly work much harder than people with tons of talent. Having lots of talent sometimes can be a curse if you fail to plan ahead and prepare yourself like most less talented people do. The best strength coaches have the initiative to get the ball rolling , take some risks and put themselves into a position where they might fail.

QUALITY # 4 - Learn all the time!

The best strength coaches are constantly learning. I think of people like Josh Henkins who I have know for over 12years. Josh since 1996 has constantly been studying under the best and brightest minds in the industry and has taken just about every certification out there. In fact to this date he still takes certification and by no means feels like he has "Arrived" and is above taking seminars. The best of the best continue to study, to grow, to read and attend seminars. It is super humbling to me to see a person like Pavel taking seminars and certification so he can grow as a coach and as a leader in this industry. If Pavel is studying like he is, shouldn't we be studying as well? My twin brother Keats Snideman is also one the brightest minds I have ever seen in the fitness industry. The amount of knowledge that he possesses is scary and it is because he is a ferocious reader. I know of not one person who reads the amount of fitness, health, nutrition and science books like my brother. If you want to be a great strength coach, read alot, attend seminars, and pick the brains of the best and brightest in the fitness field.

Quality # 5 Stick with the Basics but be open to new ideas

This has been one that I have struggled with in my career as a trainer. I am a constant learner and am therefore always looking for new methods, new tehcniques, and new ideas. The challenge I have had is that earlier in my career I would totally abandon older, proven techniques and completely jump ship. I really got hooked with the whole wobble board, swiss ball and balance training in the mid to late 90's. I swallowed the "functional training" pill and became a functional guru. Well, with my best intentions in mind, I quickly realized that my clients were losing their muscle mass and thus were losing enthusiasm because I has stopped loading them. It was a couple of years later that I realized I had lef the best and most proven principles behind in order to become a "whoopie cushion" guru.

More than decade a later I have left behind what didn't work and kept what did. I believe it is always good to experiement and be looking for better and more efficient ways to improve your training and programing. But it should never be at the expense of plain old fashioned classical weight lifting. In my opinion the following movements should never be left behind or forgotten:

* Squatting (barbell or kettlebell)

* Deadlifting (barbell / kettlebell or dumbbell)

* Pressing (both overhead pressing and horizontal pushing)

* Pulling (Pull ups, Chin ups, Rows)

* Cleans (barbell and kettlebell)

* Snatches (kettlebell and/or barbell)

QUALITY # 6 Stand on the Shoulders of Giants

This easily could be a sub-category of Quality # 4, (learn all the time), but it must be said. Learn from the best and you will minimize the amount of time it takes you to become excellent and proficient in your craft. There are some GIANTS out there that have proven systems and methodologies that work. Does that mean you cannot be innovative and creative? Of course not, but it means that correct principles are the compass to get you to where you want and need to go. Principles never change! Model people who are successful and take what works. Always, I repeat always give credit to those who have helped you and have been gracious enough to invest their time and energy in mentoring you.

QUALITY # 7 Fail Forward

Do not be afraid to take risks (although better to take calculated risks...obviously). Try things, do things, take action. You will fail and make mistakes......and this is totally normal. That makes you human and will make you more humble. Take responsibility for your actions and for your failures. As John Maxwell says, "you cannot learn from your failures if you refuse to take responsibility for them." So true! At the end of their lives, successful people will have failed more than unsuccessful people for the simple fact that they actually attempted a lot more things in life!

So there it is. Not an exhaustive list but definitely some qualities that would make a strength coach a "better"' coach!!!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Back to Squatting with the Barbell

I have not squatted with a barbell on my back since the 90's. Years of SI joint issues and two disc herniations kept me from squatting with barbell. Why? It hurt too much. Years later I can proudly admit that perhaps it was my technique that was keeping me from barbell usage. My twin brother Keats Snideman was just out visiting me in November and he showed me a different technique. The technique he showed me was the LOW bar version of keeping the barbell very low on my back, literally 1/2 an inch below the spine of the scapula which is pretty darn low. I had never even tried this version. It almost feels as if the bar might slp off my back it's so low. What keeps the bar in place is the TIGHT contraction of all the upper and mid back spinal musclues (rhomboids, middle and lower traps, erectors, posterior deltoid). The only limitations are in my wrists/forearms and in my shoulders as I still lack the adequate flexibility in those areas.

The version not only feels better it on my back I feel much stronger in my hips. Years of kettlebell swings and snatches has strengthened my hamstrings and glutes but have not strengthened by quads. I feel that the quadricep muscles are starting to come alive for the first time in almost a decade!
Much of this information can be found in the Book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe, perhaps one of the best strength training books I have ever read. If you are a strength enthusiast, this is a must have book!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Hollidays, Training and Birthday's

We got back from Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and what a trip it was. So fun to see Marianna experience the beaches, the pools, the turtles, the fish. Everything is so amazing through the eyes of a child. I wonder what she thinks when she sees and experiences all these things for the first time. If I could make it back to Hawaii once a year I would be very content. Hopefully we can make it happen every year.

Training wise I took a week completely off when I got back from Hawaii and have ramped it back up this week. Training calendar looks like this:

Monday = Conventional Stance Deadlifts / Incline Bench Press / Weighted Pull ups
Tuesday = Sprint days at the Track / Speed work / 20 meters, 30 meters, 40 meters
Wednesday = Back Squat (with the bar really low on the back) / KB Clean and Press / Pull Ups
Thursday = Speed work on the Track / More 20's, 30's & 40's
Friday = Back Squats (again) / Snatches / Weighted Pull Ups / Heavy KB Clean and Press
Saturday = Active Recovery / Lots of Stretching
Sunday = Walk / Russian Sports Massage

(and Grease the Groove COC gripper work every day)

My strength goals are to increase my strength primarily in my Squat, my press and my Pull Ups. Also working on closing the number 2 COC gripper. Almost there!I will sprinkle in some swings and snatches to keep up a decent base of conditioning, although I feel as if my track warm ups are getting me in decent condition. My Speed goals are to get my 100 meter dash time back down to the low 11's by spring and to sprint a 10.8 or 10.9 second 100 meter dash by summer. I turned 35 years old last Wednesday so I know I am racing against my age and my lack of sprint conditioning. However I feel that I am more strong in ways I never was back in my mid 20's. I don't recover as fast as I did but I feel that I still have plenty of speed ready to BURST out.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Training, Change and Vacation Time!

Change has come! Whether you are a democrat or Republican this country needed a change in a big way. I pray that Obama does a great job as our new president. Only time till tell!

This Friday I am taking the Family to Kona, Hawaii for a much needed vacation. Very excited to take our daughter on her first "Hawai" trip ever. Should be fun. Looking forward to unplugging from the hustle and bustle of every day life and spending some time with the family in what may be one of the last "Garden of Eden" locations in the world.

Today's Training

Weighted Pull Ups
24kg 5,5,5

24kg 10 sets x 20 reps = 200 reps

Double KB Front Lunges
16kgs 4 sets x 5/5

Clean and Press w/32kg (COC Trainer Gripper in hand)
5 sets x 2/2

32kg 3 sets x 20 reps

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Busy Weekend for Revolution Fitness!

This last weekend was super busy. On Saturday I gave a one day NSCA sponsored RKC Prep Course to over 50 NSCA personal trainers in Irvine at Koh Physical Therapy Lab in Irvine, CA. This was the part two course after Pavel's level one course he did earlier in the month. Congrat's to all who participated. Thanks to RKC's Yoana Snideman (my lovely wife of course) Robert Budd, Cassie Charlebois, Paul Daniels and Steve Belinger for assisting. They all did very well and represented the RKC with pride and with honor.

There were comments from the first seminar that people wanted fresh and new material for this workshop. The problem was that none of them had even come close to mastering the RKC Drills of: Swing / Get Ups / Clean / Press / Snatch and Front squat. I made it very clear to the students that the RKC is not about seeing how many cool variations of exercises you can do, it is about mastering the basics. If you don't have the basics, you will not pass the RKC, not even close!

On Sunday Yoana and I were at the La Jolla Farmers' Market 10 year anniversary where we got a booth and marketed our business to the locals. It was fun....but I was ready to take a nap by the end of the weekend. Very busy......but all good stuff!!!! Revolution is growing!!!!!

Training Today

Weighted Pull ups
w/16kg KB 4 sets x 6 reps

Double KB Front Lunges
w/16kgs 4 sets x 5/5

Bottoms Up Press
24kg 2/2, 2/2,

Monday Training

Clean and Press
32kg 1 set x 2/2 w/Trainer Gripper in opposite hand

Swings w/32kg
5 sets x 20 reps = 100 reps

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kettlebells........My life has never been the same again!

So here I am listening to Josh Henkin's Interview with Anthony Dilugio from Punch gym and Art of Strength and it brings me back to how my journey started with Kettlebells. I was certified in April of 2003 along with a stellar class of strength coaches and trainers that have all gone on to do huge things in the fitness industry and push the fitness industry to new heights. Who was there at the April RKC 2003?

Josh Henkin
Anthony Dilugio
Jason Brown
Steve Rochet
Josh Everett
Steve Cotter
Mike Burgner
Tim Larkin
Shawn Mozen (Agustu KB's)

Check out Josh's Interview with Anthony here!

and many more. From what I can see everyone on that list has gone on to do huge things in this industry and continues to influence people in a MAJOR way. I am proud to be part of that group.

And since then my life has changed in ways I could have never imagined. I came back from the 2003 cert on FIRE, and told Yoana that we were going to open up a Kettlebell studio and that is jsut what we did. Next month in November will be 4 years that we have been open and it has been a dream come true for both Yoana and myself. And it all started on a friday afternoon in fall of 2002 in Santa Monica. Like a lot of people, my life was forever changed when I met Pavel Tsatsouline. A client of mine and I met up in Santa Monica and hired Pavel for two hours to help us get started using these kettlebells. The bottom line is that the session changed the direction of my life forever. It was also brutally hard and showed me how dysfunctional I had become using corrective exercise for years. From that day on I stopped using the wobble boards, woopie cushion discs for standing on, and all the other "functional" toys and got serious about my training. I had essentially "wasted" so many years on balls and boards and started focusing on my kettlebell skills. But it wasn't until the April 2003 Certification that I was able to really get the technique downs and progress as a kettlebell student and athlete.

And I am more excited about kettlebells and health than I was back in 2003. Am I where I want to be? No. Am I headed in the right direction with my training? Yes. My body feels better than it ever did when I was doing the "functional training" and I attribute that to Pavel and to kettlebells. Are kettlebells the only tool I use? No, but they certainly make up a fairly huge chunk of my training and I don't see that changing in the near future.

As Anthony Diligio says, Joint mobility and corretive exercise are built into the kettlebell movements, especially the foundational RKC movements:

1) Swing
2) Turkish Get Up
3) Cleans
4) Military Presses
5) Front Squats
6) Snatches

If you can get those movements down, even if they don't look pretty in the beginning, you will look and feel better, period! I know I am preaching to the crowd here but those six movements above are life changing and so is the RKC!

Power to all of us! I thank God every day for the opportunities He has given me and Yoana and I am so glad to be alive at a time like now where their is a Renaissance in the fitness industry like their right now!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finding the Right Groove

(Our precious little Angel, Marianna!)

Last Tuesday I had the honor of working out with Mike LoBue (track and field coach and strength coach for SDSU). Needless to say, he put me through a tough tough I had to rest the remainder of the week. But it was tons of fun and it taught me first hand about the SAID principle. He had me use an Axle (thick barbell) for DL's and Clean and Push Presses along with Plyo's on high boxes, pistols, swings, Double KB clean and Presses, and some sledgehammer work. It was tuns of fun...but it smoked me.

Tuesday Training
Today I did what Master RKC Kenneth Jay wrote about in the RKC manual. Grab two different size KB's and press them in one hand. This forces you to keep your forearm vertical and makes you find the perfect pressing Groove. I gotta tell you....this just feels right! I think this will help my pressing woes, big time!

16kg + 12kg Single arm Military Press 1/1 x 10 sets = 20 reps

Single Arm Swings
24kg 20/20 x 3 sets = 120 reps

short and sweet. Felt great to train at home in our garage gym. I need to do this more often.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Re-thinking the PRESS

Last week I finally was able to PR in the press by duck-taping a 10 pound weight plate to the bottom of a 32kg KB. Was able to only 1 rep on my right. PR!!! Left? Not yet :(
But I still feel like I am missing something. Something is still not quite working....especially on my weaker left side. Now I realize this is a common problem, especially for a right hand dominant person like me. Anatomically and functionally something still feels "OFF" on my left side.

After reading Kenneth Jay's article on Training for Maximal Strength with the Russian Kettlebell (in the RKC manual on page 127), I realized that I have been lifting primarily the 28kg and 32kg for low reps. What is Kenneth's advice? To go much HIGHER on the VOLUME. I had been maybe getting around 8 to 25 total reps per training session (and that is with both arms combined). Now I am going to keep the high load day in for sure...but I am just adding in a higher volume day to get my pressing volume up which I cannot do safely with a heavier bell.

In other words my Pressing volume is way to LOW. Therefore I am taking the advice of Kenneth and adding in one super high volume day on pressing with the 16kg with the goal of being able to get around 100 reps per arm per session. I instinctively feel that this is important for me and will help practice my SKILL of pressing as I am using a lighter weight. And that is exactly what I started off today with.....a high volume day(at least for me).

Monday (high volume pressing day)
Barbell Dynamic Lunges 95lbs 3 sets x 5/5

Military Press with 16kg
10 sets x 5/5 = 100 total reps

Double Swings w/ 16kgs
5 sets x 10 reps = 50 total reps

Sunday Training w/ Yoana
10 x 10 100 yards Tempo Runs at 60% effort.
BW exercises after each 100 yard run (jumping lunges, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, shuffles, burpees, fisted push ups)

On another note I was able to assist Pavel (along with some other RKC's) at Pavel's NSCA Kettlebell Seminar up in Irvine. It is always awesome to watch Pavel teach and hang out with him. Pavel is just such a class act and has so much integrity! I will be teaching a Level II Kettlebell Seminar for the NSCA (an RKC prep course) on Saturday October 25th at the same place in Irvine. Should be fun!!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

More Training

Proverbs 3:5-8 ( I love the proverbs. Some of the best passages in the entire Bible)

"5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight. [a]

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones."

Last week I felt weaker than usual so didn't hit the training as hard. I'll slowly start to progress into more volume.


TGU w/24 kg 1/1 + 20swings w/ 24kg

200 Rep Challenge w/24kg (see how fast you can complete 200 reps)
10 sets of 20 swings (2 handed)
Time = 7 min 32 sec (PR) Beat my previous PR of 7 min 42 sec

Bulgarian Split Squats
2x16kgs 6/6 x 3 sets

Clean and Press
Double Clean and Press
24kg 5 x 2 sets

Clean and Press (w. COC Trainer in opposite hand)
32kg 1/1 x 4 sets

Weighted Pull Ups
40kg 2,2,2

Yoana and I hiked up Cowles mountain. Highest peak in San Diego.
23 min, 49 sec - Yoana beat me by 20 seconds

Friday, September 26, 2008

Trace Adkins - You're Gonna Miss This

I am NOT a country fan. But this song by Trace Adkins is awesome. How often do we tell ourselves that life will be better when.....we get married.....or when we get that big promotion...........or when you weigh a certain amount...............or when you are old enough to drive a car......or when I get that car and house!

The fact is that life is so fast that we must stop and enjoy every STAGE of life because once it's gone.........IT's GONE!!!

Life is not a dress rehersal! The lyrics in this song are true! Listen to them carefully!

Blessings to all!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall is in the air!

Living in San Diego is awesome. The weather is great year round..........but it does start to cool down a bit in the night and evening and you can start to smell fall in the air. I love it! I miss seeing the trees change colors like it does in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I grew up. As much as I miss the trees and mountains I would not trade the ocean for anything. Living by the ocean it's easy to get spoiled. I guess just seeing the vastness and SIZE of the ocean is just awe inspiring.

Tuesday Training
Bulgarian Split Squats
2 x 16kgs 3 x 10/10

Kneeling Military Press
16kg 3 x 8/8

Weighted Pull Ups
28kg 4,4,4 = 12 reps

Clean and Press w/ Gripper in opposite hand
28kg 4 x 3/3 = 12 reps each arm

Monday Training
Clean and Press
32kg + 5 pound weight taped on - 1 rep right (PR)
32kg + 10 pound weight taped on 1 rep right (PR) 80 lbs C & P - woo hoo

Sunday Training
Swings w/ 24kg = Yoana and I both got 200 swings in 7 minutes and 40 seconds. Blew my previous record out of the water which was a laughable 11 minutes.

Pull Ups 12, 10
Hiked Cowles Mountain (the highest peak in San Diego County)

Did the workout with my KB Class. We performed everything in circuit format for 3 sets
Single Leg DL's 8/8
Kneeling Presses 8/8
Squat Thrusters 5
KB Prone Bridge 4/4
Ribbons 5/5
Swings 32kg x 10
Swings 24kg x 10
Swings 20kg x 10
Run around block

Clean and Press
32kg 1/1 x 3 sets

Weighted Pull Ups
32kg 3,3,4
32kg x 1/1 x 3 sets

Bulgarian Split Squats
16kg x 2 10/10 x 3 sets

Monday, September 15, 2008

Franz's 88 lb. Kettle Bell Snatches

Well, after judging the TSC I was so pumped up I had to try to set a PR in something. My previous best with the BULLDOG was 16 reps on the right arm and 6 reps on the left. My bodyweight 167 pounds.

20 Reps right arm

13 Reps left arm

Man, was that fun! I am definitely a power athlete more than a strength athlete. Pressing the BULLDOG has never happened, Snatching it, YES!!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

TSC Results

Another fun and exciting TSC at Revolution. I never get tired of the TSC's because it is so fun to watch people give it their all and set PR's. If you have never been to a TSC or competed in a TSC, you have got to do it!!!!! It's not for sissies that's for sure. And as Mark Rifkeind says, "it's all easy until you start lifting heavy."
Unfortunately we had no women competitors this TSC but the men showed up and represented well.

Mike Baltren BW 224 DL 500 Pull Ups 15 Snatches 116
John Shilling BW 251 DL 500 Pull Ups 6 Snatches 128 (PR in DL)
Alex Wolf BW 231 DL 435 Pull Ups 5 Snatches 125 (PR in snatches)
Murray Birch BW 185 DL 415 Pull Ups 21 Snatches 114 (PR in DL, never did snatches before - yikes. Murray did amazing. Never touches a 24kg KB ever in his life before today)
Os Aponte BW 155 DL 355 Pull Ups 26 Snatches 111 (DL PR - way to go Os!!!!!!)
Mike Pellicio BW 162 DL 406 Pull Ups 17 Snatches 85 (Mike showed up having not trained at all since last TSC- very nice)
Firmen Sowres BW 161 DL 315 Pull Ups 15 Snatches 84 (PR's on everything. Never deadlifted before and never has tested himself like this!
Everyone did awesome! Congratulations to all who competed!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday Training

I learned some very important things yesterday about my pressing:

1) My pressing technique is better after heavy weighted pull ups for singles or doubles.

Perhaps it is because this facilitated the lats firing more and also gets my grip out of "sleepy ville."

2) Using a gripper (the Trainer from Captain of crush) and crushing it right as I press the KB in the air works. Pavel is much more power because irradiation.

3) Doing heavy TGU's prior to pressing lights up my core and my pressing ability. I don't do these enough....these felt so good using the new RKC technique

Feel much better now about my pressing. Funny how things can change in one day. Tuesday I'm ready to jump off the Coronado bridge because I feel as weak as a kitten. Wednesday I feel like I am the pressing king of La Jolla.

The overall conclusion is that I have to get better at the "skill" of pressing and whatever other methods or tools are helpful, those I need to use.

Wednesday Training
TGU with 32kg 1/1 x 3 sets

Weighted Pull Ups
24kg 1 rep (warm up)
40kg 2,2,1,1,2,2 - 10 reps = these are coming along nicely

Clean and Press w/ Trainer Gripper in opposite hand
32kg 1/1 x 6 sets = 6 singles per arm

Snatches 2/24kg
10/10 x 2 = 40 reps

Monday, September 08, 2008

32kg snatches

Decided to test myself on the clean and press with the 32kg......and it didn't go to well.

3 reps on the right / 1 rep on the left

Feels as if the Clean and Press ladders with the 28kg have done nothing to build my strength, at least not with the 32kg. Looks I have to keep pressing on as this could take a lot of time. The DAMN press just doesn't come natural to me....sometimes I feel like I'm going backwards...dammit! Frustration is at an all time high....something is just not clicking with my press. I feel as if my lumbar spine in perhaps keeping me from lifting big. I have had my L4-L5 herniated twice (actaully two severe disc bulges). That disc is basically flatened. I'm wondering if my body just doesn't want me to load it and thus is shutting of neurological flow to my muscles. That is the only thing I can think of.

Oh well, I have my PULLS such as snatches and pull ups to keep me going. Even if my clean and press plateaus (which it has for years), I can contine to get stronger with my snatches and weighted pull ups. Let's face it.............

I am a much better PULLER than I am pusher. I will have to earn the press......and looks like it might take me longer than I expected to press that BULLDOG! I will not give up, but I will not beat myself up if I do not get it soon.
Training Today
Clean and Press
32kg 3 reps right / 1 rep left (left side feels pathetically weak)

Strict military press (no clean)
24kg 5/5 x 3 sets
32kg 10/10 x 3 sets = 60 snatches - these felt great!!!!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Keeping it simple!

Focusing on the two movements has simplified my training considerably.....and I like that.
The only additional work I am doing is ASLR work and T-spine mobility work which is what came us as priority #1 on my Functional Movement Screen. So in a nutshell, here are my goals:

1) Get my ASLR to at least a score of 2 and fix the asymmetry.
2) Get my T-spine to move better and with better coordination and symmetry to help my achy shoulders.
3) To Press the Bulldog by next June for the RKC II.
4) To Pull up the BEAST to the neck.

Those are my goals. Achievable? Definitely!!! Hard work? For sure!


Thursday August 4
Clean and Press Ladders
28kg 1,2,3 x 5 sets (last 2 sets, rep 3 was difficult)

Weighted Pull Ups
28kg x 4,4,4,3,3,3 = 21 reps

Pick Up basketball game --left me SMOKED!!! Ouch!

Clean and Press Ladders
28kg 1 rep x 5 sets

Weighted Pull Ups
28kg 3,4,4 = 11 reps

16kg 25/25 x 2 = 100 reps

Saturday August 30th
24kg Two handed swings 200 reps in 11:07 (brutal). (inspired by reading Doug Nepodal's blog. Although he got 200 done in 8 minutes. On a funny note, Yoana did 200 hardstyle swings with the 24kg yesterday in 7:56 and blew me out the water. But what do you expect- I'm a sprinter- we hate endurance. yikes! YOANA is a MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

After the swings I was so tired. It just shows me how horrible my GPP and conditioning is. I don't like high reps. What a wuss I am, huh? I must start doing more swings to get my conditioning up. Is there any thing more important than swings? According the RKC Swings are the center of the universe! Better include them in a lot more!

Friday, August 29, 2008

It is not the critic who counts!

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

"Citizenship in a Republic,"
Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

One of my most favorite quotes of all time. In fact I had this engraved onto a beautiful piece of wood that I hung in my hallway in my house. Every time I read it I remember how important it is to take action and forget about people's approval or disapproval of you. In the end all that matters is what and how you act upon the dreams inside of your heart.

There is a saying that the talents and potential we have is a gift from God. Our gift back to God is what we do with those talents!I

Friday Training

Clean and Press Ladders (High Volume day)
28kg 1,2,3,4 x 1 (PR)
28kg 1,2,3 x 4

Weighted Pull ups
28kg 5,3,4,4,4,4 = 24 reps

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Love Being a DAD!!!

You gotta love the coconut bra :)

I gotta say that I love being a Dad. Every month gets better with our daughter and each month I like more than the previous one. It just keeps getting more and more exciting and awesome. All you parents out there will relate, the love you feel for a child is beyond comprehension. Rarely would you ever willingly die for anybody on this planet. But for your child, you would die in one second. In fact, the attachment I felt with Marianna when I first got to hold her was so strong, it was as if she had been in my life forever and I couldn't imagine life without her. How unreal? You know this little person for 1 minute and yet you would take a bullet for her without a second thought!

I think God uses children in our lives to teach us about life and about how he must unconditionally love us.

Training -

Monday August 25
Clean and Press Ladders (Easy Day)
28kg 5 sets x1/1

Snatches w/16kg
40 L / 40 R = 80 reps - nice finisher

Basketball (to help me work on explosive power, jumping and multi-directional agility)

Clean and Press Ladders (medium day)
28kg 5 sets x 1,2

Weighted Pull Ups
28kg 6 sets x 3

Goblet Squats
32kg 10,8,6

One Arm swings
16kg 25 L, 25 R x 2 = 100 reps

Blessings to all!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Fighting the good fight!!!

(the above photo is my twin brother Keats with his boys and my daughter Marianna. Bottom photo is Keats and I with Marianna)

This week was tough in the sense that I could feel my body not responding to much of anything.....the reason being the my busy schedule and travel schedule finally caught up with me. I am smoked! Santa Fe 4 day trip followed by 4 days at the UCLA RKC, followed immediately by the CK-FMS. Whooooooooo! Mucho tired!

Very tired......and everything hurts. Need to get some long needed rest. Overall I am still excited with the whole process of improving my physical asymmetries because it is helping me gain victory over other lifestyle issues such as being over worked and lack of sleep. It's forcing me to re-structure my work schedule and take more time off to spend with the family and do things for me such as sleep, reading, track work, and massage. But I must FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!!!!

Especially now since I have to be able to press the 40kg (BULLDOG) if I want to pass the RKC II next summer. I have alot of work to do.............A LOT!!!!!!! But I'm up for the challenge!!!!!

TRAINING (every day - Active Straight Leg Raise Corrective work, T-Spine Mobility work)

Last Thursday
Clean and Press Ladder w/28kg 1,2,3 x 3 sets

Last Friday
Sumo Deadlifts - 225 x 5 x 4 sets (Base conditioning)

Sunday - my first basketball game in over 4 years. Tons of fun as I got to play with former Chicago Bull Steve Kerr. What a nice guy. I had to take off until last Wednesday in order to recover. WOW!

Clean and Press Ladder w/ 28kg 1,2,3 x 4 sets

Thursday -
Weighted Pull ups w/ 28kg 3,3,3,3,3,3 = 18 reps

Today (Saturday August 23)
Sumo Deadlifts - 225 x 5 x 4 sets
Clean and Press Ladders w/ 28kg - 1,2,3 x 5 (NEW PR!!!!!!!!!)

1 Timothy 6:12-13
But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goals......which path shall I take?

After implementing in the CK-FMS info this week, three things are very clear to me:

1) I need to get much better at addressing asymmetries in my clients right from the start. This is something that I have not addressed enough.

2) As Gray Cook said, "Always be structured and focused on the front end." In other words, let the movement screen set the direction of the training program. Too often do I prescribe exercises to clients that I enjoy rather than giving them movements that address their weaknesses or asymmetries. Also, having everything organized (folders, forms, exercise homework print outs) just makes the process so much easier.

3) I have not earned the right to use heavy KB right now! Gulp! That one hurts! I am strong...although much of that strength was built on a dyfunctional body! Let's just say that the 16kg is plenty heavy right now.

My clients are loving the concept of the FMS and I have allready performed it on two clients. Many more to come this week and the weeks to come! I think they are also excited to see me so excited! Much more posts to come about the results!

Last week I focused on the following areas because I scored low on the:

* Active Straight Leg Raise
* Shoulder Mobility - (T-spine in rotation is really the problem)

My program now is mainly:
*1/2 TGU's with light weights - focusing on slowing down and perfecting the movement.
* Kneeling KB Military Presses - both in lunge and tall kneeling positions -very difficult for me
* Sumo Barbell Deadlifts - focusing on the grip strength, tricep and lat involvement - very good!
*Swings - The center of the RKC UNIVERSE - I have never really focused on swings for any length of time. Now is the time to put the swing into full force.
* Right Hamstring Stretching
*Left Psoas, Rectis Femoris, TFL, IT Band Stretching, mobility and soft tissue work
* T-spine Rotations from CK-FMS Manual
* Some Z-health Mobility work
* Daily Grip work (GTG) for my left hand with te Trainer Captrain of Crush Gripper

So far now this is my get my body working better and better. The grip work on my left side is really starting to make a difference in full body function. Brett and Gray talked about not having more than a 10% difference between left and right and I for sure have a huge difference. Exciting times for sure!

I promise to update this blog more often! I PROMISE!!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

CK- FMS.........WOW!


That is what I have to say about the CK-FMS certification. My hats off to Gray Cook, Brett Jones and Dragon Door for putting on such a high quality certification. If you are an RKC, I highly recommend you take this cert. It beautifully ties together the hardstyle KB system with Gray Cook's Functional Movement Screen.

Seeing Pavel as a student also proved to me why he is such an incredible teacher and mentor, because he is a "student" first. RKC's have a great commander in chief in Pavel. We are lucky to be alive right now and reap the benefits of people like Pavel, Gray Cook and Brett Jones. Right now my head is spinning from the cert, but I am starting to piece everything together that I learned. Below are some of the primary principles (although not an exhaustive list by any means) of the CK-FMS system that stood out to me as being essential and significant.

1) The Functional Movement Screen is a system (not a program) that allows you to SCREEN clients for DURABILITY.

* Performance Vs. Durability = there is a difference. High performance does not always lead to durability.
* The Movement Screen is a DURABILITY DETECTOR

2) Advanced Pattern Detection = You must find the weak link in the chain.

3) Goldman Algorithm = Be consistent and methodical on the front end.
*Basically you have a movement standard and a baseline.
*You must have structure on the front end. This FMS is an algorithm that protects the therapist /trainer / coach against any biases and expertise. If you don't go through the screening you may miss the most important aspect that the clients needs to have addressed.

4) Asymmetries are the #1 indicator that can predict a future injury. Bottom line: fix asymmetries that come up in the screening process.

5)Core Stability is foot position dependent. Train different stance,including kneeling position, lunge position, single leg stance, etc.

6) Most of the space in our brain regarding movement is dedicated to the hands and feet. Bottome line: get strong hands (grip) and you will have stronger shoulders and a stronger body. Wear good shoes (Pavel has been preaching this for years).

7) The body never thinks in terms of individual muscles. Think Movement Patterns. The nervous sytem works by MOVING the body as a whole. I think we all know this but it's nice to hear again from some of the most knowledgeable coaches out there.

and there is so much more to write....I think I will wait to post the rest when I am not so sleepy!

Thanks to Aaron and Fawn Friday for having a get together at their house. The Friday's are the nicest people you will ever meet. So gracious and just so down to earth. Good people!!!!! Tracy and Rif were there at the party.....and let me tell you, Tracy knows how to cook great tasting healthy food!

It was nice to finally meet some blog friends, Franklin (my roomate at the cert), Sean, Gabi, Kate and Maura. It was also cool to see Mike T. Nelson and his girlfriend Jodi. It's alway great to see old friends and RKC TL's, Seniors, and now Masters Instructors. RKC school of strength is the place to be!

Monday, August 04, 2008


What a weekend!!!

The RKC never ceases to amaze me....the students....Pavel.....the instructors......and the energy. If you have never been to an RKC it's hard to express in words alone. RKC is a school of strength first, but for me and my family it is a way of life. The community that collectively makes up the RKC transcends anything I have ever experienced. Since my first certification in 2003, the RKC has transformed my life and my business. There is an energy that is absolutely electrifying once you catch hold of it. Perhaps it's because more than 100 people eager to learn and grow and improve are all simultaneously on the same QUEST. All who come to the RKC are humbled by their experience and that is a GOOD thing!

Anyone who comes with too big of an EGO, ready to conquer the the RKC community is quickly put in their place and that too is a good thing. You go in excited and willing to win, and you leave tired, exhuasted, yet totally VICTORIOUS! Becoming an RKC is tough........and it doesn't come easy. You must EARN it with sweat, bloody hands, and a warrior spirit!

Seeing Pavel teach is always a blessing to me as his communication skills and coaching always helps me in more ways than I know. Watching Dan John teach was also amazing. What a great addition to the RKC community. Brett Jones was focused as usual, and Andrea Ducane gave a great explanation on how to learn the Clean and how to teach new students kettlebell exercises.

Team Snideman

I had the absolute privilage to work with 10 amazing people: Ricky, Dominic, Mike, Megan, Celina, Hugo, Jacob, Kingston, Kenneth, and Barrett. Everyone gave it their all and left victorious in many ways. I am proud of all of you! Thank you for your effort and for your willingness to learn!!!!

NEW Master RKC's Rif and Kennth Jay

Yoana and I are so happy for these guys. Talk about two honorable men that walk with total integrity. I got to hand it to Pavel, he has really assembled a fine group of top instructors. These guys are the best out there, period!!!!!

RKC Assistants, Team Leaders, Friends

It is so awesome to be able to see old friends that Yoana and I have made during our years with the RKC, and it's always great to make new friends. Tracy and Rif are always fun to hang out with. In fact Tracy took Yoana shopping in Santa Monica and I nearly lost my fortune. Rumor has it that Tracy loves to shop. Luckily Yoana ended up buying nothing.....Rif cannot say the same about Tracy though :)

We also got to see our good friend Dr. Mark Cheng (phenomenal teacher)and his lovely wife Courtney and his beautiful boy!

I finally got to meet Will Williams.....gotta love that guy's passion and enthusiasm, great teacher. Doug Nepodal....what a cool guy! Zar Horton....he is the man!!!! Chris Holder......good friend...loyal friend.....he is awesome for the RKC! Trisha Dong, Missy Beaver, and my assistants Dave and Laura, they rock!

And it was really cool to finally meet Zachariah Salazar....this guy knows his stuff. He is a great teacher and just such an approachable and likable guy. Seeing Steve Belanger was awesome as was seeing and meeting all the new assistants that I had never met before!