Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Swing = The Center of the Universe


Heresy you say!!! Pure Heresy! I'm not talking about the actual universe I am talkling about the exercise and training universe. In the world of the Russian Kettlebell Challenge Master RKC Mark Reifkind said that the kettlebell swing is the "Center of the Universe" and he was right on when he said this. The SWING really is the center of the "movement"  universe followed by the GET UP in a very close second place. Now of course I am not saying that there are no other movements worth doing because there are many movements that I feel are "ESSENTIAL" and worth doing. But when it comes to kettlebell training the SWING is KING of all kettlebell movements because it teaches you how to use your hips in a powerful, explosive and athletic way.

 Ever try swinging a dumbbell?  Feels strange and awkward doesn't it?

Every try swinging a barbell between the legs? Obviously you cannot do this!

So for those people opposed to kettlebell training...blah...blah...blah! Obviously those people have not ever experienced the benefits of what properly done kettlebell training gives you.

It is hard (almost impossible) to find a movement that gives you MUSCULAR, CARDIOVASCULAR and ENDURANCE training all at the same time.  It also teaches you do move from the hips which immediately increases MOBILITY and FLEXIBILITY and give you a rock solid lower back and strong spine.

Running is better? I don't think so (at last not for most people). The impact of running will catch up with most people and I offer swings as a great solution to people looking for some great cardiovascular training who also can't afford to put more mileage on their overworked frames.

I agree with Mark Reifkind that the Swing gets looked over in spite of its foundational properties to all other movements. The Swing is not as fancy or fun like a heavy clean and press or heavy snatch. Some people try and race to TGU a very heavy KB overhead which is an impressive feat of strength for sure. But somehow the Swing seems to get overlooked.

Want to get a better Clean? A better Snatch? A better Deadlift?

By advice for you: GO BACK TO THE SWING!

Here are some Swing tutorial videos I did that can be very helpful if you are new to kettlebells.

Video 1: Breaking down the kettlebell Swing
Video 2: Breaking  down the kettlebell Swing
Video 3: Breaking down the kettlebell Swing

That's doesn't mean you abandon your other training but it does mean that you constantly have a place in your training plan for the "PRACTICE" of swings. That's right PRACTICE!!!

The Swing is an internal requires intention, thought and focus on how and when you move. Invest in the swing.....spend time on it....the investment in time is worth it...and the dividends are tremendous!!!

Anyone can swing a kettlebell............but NOT ALL PEOPLE CAN DO A KETTLEBELL SWING!!!!!

Correct  your form first and then start building a base. It could be as simple as setting the timer for 10 minutes and seeing how many sets of 10 you can get in those 10 minutes. Next workout try and beat the the number. Keep going until you cannot beat that number and then change the program. Perhaps you set it for 15 minutes and do the same thing. The idea is to progressively increase the reps from workout to workout.

For a great DVD on the swing I recommend RCK Tracy Reifkind's PROGRAMMING THE KETTLEBELL SWING.

What has your experience been with the kettlebell swing? Are you even doing swings???

Thoughts and comments??

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Barefoot Craze!!!!

Whether you are a runner, kettlebell user, fitness fanatic or outdoorsman, switching over to using the Vibram Five Fingers can dramatically improve your athleticism, performance and health.

It’s not just a fad folks. Big chucky shoes are on the way out……and simple, barefoot style shoes are here to stay? Why you ask? Because most shoes officially suck!!! Yes, I said it! They SUCK!  I spent most of my life is chunky running shoes with giant soles and my body was a mess. I’ve officially been wearing Vibram Five fingers for over 2 years now and my feet are the healthiest they have ever been.  My ankles are getting more mobile and the forces entering my body feel like they are distributed in a much healthier and efficient way.

I realize that there are many different types of “minimalist shoes” but the ones that I have experience using are the Vibrams. Having tested the goods I know the results I have had wearing Virbrams and they are the real deal!

If you have any desire to feel healthier, function well and move more athletically, than you should definitely look into getting a pair of the Vibrams and including some barefoot training into your current programming.

Here are my 5 top reasons why you should ditch the running shoes and go barefoot/Vibram style.

1)      Immediately gives your feet, toes and ankles better awareness of where your feet are and how they are functioning. 
2)      Increases MOBILITY in each individual toe, forefoot and ankle.
3)      Strengthens your feet and your legs.
4)      Naturally fixes gait and running style. If you are heel striker when you run, you will NOT be with Vibrams. Why? Because it hurts.  It changes your gait to more of a forefoot striker first and then a slight heal tap at the end. This one aspect alone may re-ignite peoples running careers (not that I am a huge fan of distance running).
5)      Makes you feel like a Ninja. In other words, improved reflexes leads to increased agility, coordination and speed.
Bottom line. Add some barefoot training into your program. Better yet, ditch your shoes and get some Vibrams.
Please leave your thoughts, comments and experiences with barefoot training and VIBRAMS.