Kettlebells

Ladies fitness and strength workout

Northern Suburbs Kettlebell trainer

Having been involved within the fitness industry since 2006 in starting from walking the gym floor, group fitness and now operating my own personal training private facility I’ve had the pleasure of working with hundreds of women in both group fitness and now in personal training sessions. Prior to that I had been involved with martial arts and seemed always to be in the teaching and training others mode. By now I think I’ve got a general idea as to what works well for the ladies, what they like and definitely what they don’t like.

If it wasn’t obvious to you the ladies have a habit of telling you outright what works, what they like and over time you get to learn a lot. Sometimes more that you would read in a book.

Now that I operate my own place I’m able to continue to deliver a high level of service in conducting my personal training sessions. I have the space and equipment now without disruption to cover the entire basis on what the ladies need.

Some of the requests I’ve had include. (In addition to strength, fitness, weight loss) are working the Hips, thighs, flabby triceps, bottom of the belly, muffin top and puny legs. OH let’s not forget their Bu**!

The exercises that are my go to movements will basically cover all the bases with the many and varied requests I get from clients and additionally allow me to provide them with a decent base of Strength, Fitness and ensure they move better. It’s only logical that with all programs you don’t just focus on just one element. You need an all over balance. Still hitting those areas a little harder doesn’t hurt.

Well almost.

Here are my most dynamic and effective exercises that are a favoured with the ladies I work with. As an experienced RKC2 kettlebell instructor with several years of ladies group fitness under my belt, watch out as you might get what you want!

Kettlebells

  • Kettlebell Squats – With any effective program the inclusion of squats in any form provider they are performed correctly will go a long way in achieving results. The kettlebell squats sith in the rack positon and hits both the quads and gluteus while the more upright position gets the core activated. Go get some.
  • Kettlebell SLDL – this little gem I picked up a few years ago from a fellow female fitness kettlebell instructor. How? It simply isolates the gluteus while working the single leg. Give this one a go and see how you negotiate the stairs at work the next couple of days. To date I haven hear one lady complain about the effect this one has.
  • Kettlebell Swings – A staple within the kettlebell world and a dynamic standalone movement that works your, hips, butt and legs all in one. The cardio gets an absolute boost while also promoting grip strength. It’s a go to for me when warming up that posterior chain. (Hamstrings, gluteus and lower back) and easily fits into the programming needs of my female clients.
  • Kettlebell Military press – One of my favourite movements is the classic Military press (standing shoulder press) that is performed standing up, as most kettlebell movements are. The simplicity with correct technique makes the Military press and ideal upper body movements. For the ladies the arms get a tremendous workout so there is rarely enough gas in the tank to even consider curls. An excellent shoulder workout with additional benefits when performed correctly.

Core work

  • Medicine ball sit ups – This old classic is basically performing a high volume of medicine ball throws while you complete a sit up and throw it back. Give this one a go with a lighter ball and go the volume. Your abs will be screaming for a while.
  • Hanging knee raises – This is an alternative to the good old crunches. It works the same muscles however the loading on the body creates a greater return with isometrically holding the core, grip strength overhead extension and works the core brilliantly.
  • Hollow position/prone holds – These two I stole from my gymnastics buddies and is a well know one with the yoga group. I rotate the hollow (dish position) with the classic bridge hold to ensure your core area is also strengthened during strict stability work. Who’s up for a tight set of abs then?

This is just a small sample of the few exercises that work with only a kettlebell and 3 selected core movements. Obviously we can get results with a barbell and other equipment. For the sake of efficiency and keeping a solid tempo I have chosen the kettlebell for its ease of use and immediate effect it has during the session.

The ladies like to know what works ASAP, for now the kettlebells it is.

There are many more ways in hitting certain areas as requested. The above ways simply works for me given my experience with this dynamic tool in providing you what you want.

A firmer, leaner and fitter body.

Claudefit Operates his own private gym facility within a professional environment and takes a straightforward no fuss approach in delivering results.

Kettlebells for Mobility

Kettlebells for Mobility and Strength

It still surprises me to this day that most gym goers neglect something that is an important component of their overall fitness and strength program. People tend to neglect their mobility work in stretching and flexibility as parts of their workout not realising that it will go a long way in adding value to their program. It’s best described as something they will do at home later. Somehow I don’t think this will happen. In the past I’ve myself have been guilty in taking this approach. I guess I was too busy and in a rush wanting to get home and didn’t really place too much emphasis on it.

The bottom line is we all need some form of Mobility for the benefits it brings. Take yoga for instance and you will soon understand why it’s such a popular past time. Its stretches you out, makes you feel great and promotes a healthy outlook in life. However one component is missing. It’s not strength training.

So what will allow you to both get a strength and mobility workout in a single session? well this is where the ever reliable Kettlebell comes into it. The Kettlebell will allow a natural pattern of movement and with the three exercises I will cover with be all you need in combining the elements of mobility, stretching and strength.

The Kettlebell movements here are the Turkish get up, the goblet squat and the dynamic swing. Along with the relevant stretches (depending on your needs) you will be well served at getting what you want. A more flexible, stronger and mobile individual.

The Turkish get up. This old and dynamic exercise will allow you to from a lying position stand up again with the weight been held above your head in a press/locked out position. It’s not just a “trick”exercise that gets you to stand up and lie back down again. It’s more than that. The benefits here are within the transition of various positions in getting you to stand up and get back down again in benefiting both sides of the body. With an experienced RKC Kettlebell Instructor you can be sure this single exercise can work your movement, flexibility and strength components all in the same workout.

The Goblet Squat. This little treasure if performed correctly benefits you in getting those tight hips to open up in a controlled and safe plain. I’ve used it many times in getting the older gentlemen with tight hips in both aiding inflexibility and simply taking away the pain of feeling rigid and sore as men often do. The other is that it promotes a solid postural position in its application, on obvious carry over effect if daily life. Especially for those office workers who seek comfort from sitting down all day. It’s also an excellent way to teach someone how to squat. If you can get them to perform a proper goblet squat it makes sense to be able to do a freestanding one and then progress with load.

The Kettlebell Swing. One of my go to movement for most fitness requirement in delivering results. The swing allows me in one movement to get the hips to fold and contract the posterior chain , it helps me indirectly teach the deadlift, compliments your running mechanics, builds stamina and is a clear winner in burning calories.Overall performing the kettlebell swing and its many variables is a staple here at claudefit. Because it works. 

The above three exercise on their very own are great for delivering solid results in movement, flexibility and strength and have certain carry over effect in many sporting application. You can also add more specific exercises depending on your needs. Together they make up a total movement package in making you both stronger all over and mobile.

Unfortunately a lot of trainers get to the fun stuff because they mistakenly think this is what client needs.   Yes it is what the client needs but with most movements you are required to have an adequate range of motion. (ROM)   And guess what gets it done. mobility work.Without a sufficient ROM you will not be able to benefit from the exercises properly and get the results you are after.

It’s important to include mobility work into you program, over time you will learn to move, stretch and work on flexibly more efficiently over a workout. Once you take the time to apply some simple drills you will never look back.

I’m sure you work out to Move better, feel better and look you best. So grab a kettlebell now and get started.

Claudefit is a certified RKC2 instructor with over 7 years of practical experience.

A few of my conditioning exercises.

As many experiences Personal trainers will tell you if you are after quick results it’s all about keeping to the basics and doing them well. A basic movement should not be confused with an easy movement!  I will say this, for the athletes, Crossfit enthusiasts that enjoy their sport and the committed individuals who make training part of their lifestyle, it’s the only way. It’s a must and is the most valuable component we need. They simply return more bang for your buck and are proven superior to the many fads that have come and gone.

Do them well and results are sure to follow. Neglect them and you will not progress.

A somewhat downbeat view to take on this is the fact that doing the basics over a long period of time is boring to some and in my opinion is not handled well by the 99% of the regular weekend fitness crowd either. The cries of “gimme another program because this is not working” is common in commercial gyms after giving it a try for only two weeks and maybe just 3 sessions.

In order to be able to grind out proper session after session sometimes the training can be changed to add a fresher approach and still be results based. The following are some of my got to movements in relation to my fitness and strength client. These are great for strength and conditioning, suitable to Crossfit type training or those who are already following a somewhat rigid and set plan catering to more specific needs can be used on lighter days and still cover the main body parts.

  • The first one is a variation on the old power move with the bench press and power clean. Basically I use a bench protocol of 5 x 10 with a reasonable weigh superseded with a set of 10 double cleans with pair of kettlebells. This gets the heart rate up and allows for a nice compact hit to the system. Give me a couple of these sets and you’ll soon have the lungs working overtime. Repeat for 5 sets
  • The next one is basic ally a set of barbell front squats superseded soon after with a set of 10 Swings with a pair of double Kettlebells.  Again the same response in reaching for the imaginary oxygen mask (that I never have around) and one you’ll soon find an appreciation for fresh air. The response from the front squat alone works your heart rate to the max. The kettlebell is these just to test your will. Go ahead challenge yourself.
  • One of my favourites for the shoulders is performing a set of ten double kettlebell push presses followed immediately by ten fast bodyweight push ups. Try these with a limited rest in between sets. Basic and brutal if you choose the correct set of bells.
  • The use of gymnastics rings are also a stapler here. For example try pushing out 10-20 chest presses  ( alter angel depending on strength ) on the rings followed immediately with  a set of 20 hard style swings with a single “ heavy” kettlebell that will allow you to get 20 solid swings done. You have to be honest here in choosing the right bell and angle used on the rings. Given the proper application you are sure to get that hear rate up and as they say in this industry -feel it. Great for the hips.
  • Just to add a bit of bodyweight mix to these conditioning movements the last one to try is one for the bodyweight tough guys. Perform a set of sprawls to a chin up (back) and repeat for a set of ten.  Try to ensure that the start and end position of the feet are the same than jump up and in one smooth flow perform a pull up. Repeat for ten. This one takes a bit of practice like most of them. Once you get it right it sits in these nicely as part of your conditioning arsenal.

At Claudefit my client base is generally people like you and me. We want to get fit, lose a little weight, have some muscles and look good. The above movements are part of what is introduces to incite a response in delivering results. Great for those who are interested in Crossfit preparation in a one on one environment.

For the more advanced types. Learn them and then hit them hard. With the correct application to protocol you are sure to get the desired effect.

HKC, it all starts with a swing

The HKC is simply a Kettlebell certification. (Well sort of) It is the first one recommended in achieving further development in both a Kettlebell and strength knowledge base for progressive fitness professionals. It’s a whole day even that only covers 3 major exercises. The efficient Kettlebell swing, Complex Turkish get up and complimentary Goblet squat. Yep that’s all, only 3 exercises. When I realised this, I immediately though, What? I’m paying for 3 exercises and given that I had previously received a lot more in “another cert” What could this offer me now?

Well for starters it offered and delivered a lot more.

When fitness minded individuals look into enrolling into a fitness certification they should be seeking out what best suits them in relation further business opportunities, getting more clients and own professional development. Sometime people just want to gain the knowledge for their own personal understanding on different training methods used in this ever evolving industry. In this case the humble Kettlebell. For some trainers sadly it’s only about the allure of obtaining CEC’s (continuing education credits) and cost can sometime be an issue. I understand. However with the recent changes to include CEC’c to the HKC it now carries vital points. It’s pretty much a double win if you choose to go down this path.

As you progress your knowledge into the Kettlebell/strength/ movement realm of your professional growth you will appreciate that these unique movements are quite dynamic in how they form the basis of a strength, mobility and fitness program. It is this reason that once you complete you HKC you will be well versed in demonstrating, teaching and utilising this knowledge straight away in benefiting your current and future clients.

I’m still learning more about these 3 exercises, and I did the HKC back in late 2010! If you’re currently a fitness professional that is looking and making the Kettlebell one of the disciplines you will use with your business and own training it’s important to understand that the HKC three are basically the foundation of the system learned, and without it the “house of cards will collapse” They are the building block that all other movement are built on. for the progressive ones ,think RKC here.

The stronger the base, the more you can build on.

My basic preparation and approach

When I was initially making online enquiries about the HKC one of the questions I asked was what I have to do to be prepared for this workshop. Keep in mind that I had previously done another cert that taught me around 12-15 exercises, did a short test, and got a cool manual so basically “I already knew Kettlebells, ok”.  The respond from Andrew Read was simple and to the point…..”You need to do swings, a lot of them to prepare” so that’s what I did.

Swing preparation. I played around with the swing for a few weeks and then decided to go all out and based on my logs I did 10,001 (had to do the extra one) swings the month prior to workshop. Here’s how they went. I used the 12, 16, 24 and 32kg bells and swung them as I felt like it (great plan I say) they would simply be at around volumes of 300 to 500 total reps in sets of 20-50 a day according to my strength levels and Kettlebell used, so don’t assume I swung 500 with a heavy one. Occasionally I did 700 on the day, most likely a weekend. Obviously having this focus and putting all other training aside ensured the swing volumes added up nicely.

TGU preparation. How hard could it be to stand up with a bell and get back down right? Well I did manage to get it down pat I though. I even had a “bent arm” (the holding arm) and to my surprise around half a dozen other items that were later fixed. (Well you are paying for the knowledge aren’t you?) With previous lifting experience the TGU practice was rather raw during my preparation. It was just bullying it without much technique at all. Still I was fortunate enough to not get injured and made it to the cert unscathed. The rep/set range per session was to get 5 on each side a session using the 24kgs. Fortunately for me that I didn’t injure myself with my lack of technique, I can only sum it up to respecting the weight and not doing something heroic or plain stupid. Glad I made it to the HKC with healthy shoulders. I recommend you do same.

Goblet squat preparation, this was quite limited as I basically performed it in reps of 10×10 in a typical two hand front squat fashion going as deep as I could and just repped it out. How hard could it be?  So I put that under the “no worries” category. What a surprise I got when finally learned to do it properly.  Didn’t think my hips could do that!

The sole reason that got me conditioned for the day was the return on investment in working those swings, it prepared me to the point of being pretty much recovered after all the working sets performed during the constant breaking down of all the movement. During the HKC, the exercises are broken down to such detail that you don’t realise the continuous testing of the technique unless you turn up, well unprepared. So be ready.

For example after the swing is broken down and explained, you swing, learn the relevant stretches, you  swing  and expected participant questions ,well you Get it by now , swing. Wait till you get to the breakdown of the Goblet squat and TGU and you will soon realise why you are only taught 3 movements. By the end of the day your body is spent and your brain is fried. If it’s not, you are truly a physical specimen or haven’t worked hard enough!

So clearly the conditioning of the body will allow the mind to absorb all the information that is passed onto you by the Instructors on hand, the notes you take, the questions you ask and the workshops manual.

Be prepared, do the work beforehand and reap the benefits of what the HKC course offers.

Now go out and get those swing sorted out, and prep well.

 

Here is the Link and a few words on what you get.

http://www.dragondooraustralia.com/index.php/component/option,com_eventbooking/Itemid,140/view,category/

Attend the HKC and leave with these major advantages:

  • A deep understanding of the true benefits of kettlebell training—for both yourself and your clients
  • A solid knowledge of vital kettlebell training safety procedures
  • A workmanlike grasp of the fundamentals of biomechanics—to ensure your clients move with perfect form and avoid injury
  • A grasp of the key HardStyle skills and principles of strength
  • The ability to competently perform the three foundational kettlebell exercises (the Swing, the Get-Up, and the Goblet Squat)
  • The confidence you can now correctly teach the three essential kettlebell exercises—and troubleshoot common technique problems
  • The unique HKC template for designing an unlimited number of effective kettlebell workouts.

 

Passing the RKC. It’s about the weekend.

If you are one of the many who have taken the path of working towards the RKC you will soon realise that it’s more than the one item that typically becomes the mental barrier in getting your RKC. This means the whole weekend and not only the often dreaded snatch test, as the title spells it out my intention is simple. Provide you with solid advice to incorporate into you own programming and get you to pass the “weekend”.  Time now to throw my hat in and assist you with what I consider a realistic plan and mental approach in what’s required to obtain membership into the RKC community, which incidentally is one of the standards of all things kettlebell related among  other  strength and conditioning education.

As a current RKC11 with a couple of decades in “lifting weights” I can certainly point you in the right direction in getting your RKC. If you choose to do your own thing, good luck.

In planning towards the weekend it basically starts the moment you put the money down and commit, that is the first step. Like most things, thinking about it won’t motivate you until you invest the fee towards your professional development. It’s amazing how motivated one gets when payment is made compared to just thinking about it. The fee for the RKC depending on when you pay is not the cheapest workshop you pay for, but its all so worth it for the ones who achieve it. The next step in my opinions for some is to arrange a few sessions with an RKC instructor that will help you out with technique and just as importantly place you in a position to receive some vital information that will help you with your goal.  Remember, they have been there and done it so take notice. No one passes it with luck. Last time I checked it was roughly 30% failure rate on average, how?  A lack of preparation I guess.

Be warned as you need to be prepared, well conditioned, and teachable to pass.

You need to be aware of the standards required to get through the 3 days. You need to be ready. And I mean not just being strong, but physically and mentally capable of performing the required lifts as required with good form and (GPP) conditioning in dealing with the volumes of work dished out by the team of instructors who are there to get you by. This is not a walk up workshop where you are rubber stamped and given your piece of paper at the end.  It is also not a beat down either. Be ready to learn as the proud and very capable team of instructors on the day are there to offer expertise, help out and get you to pass all components. The RKC will not simply give you the certification. It has to be earned.

Your next move is to find out how long you have and work backwards. The term periodization comes to mind. (a fancy word for planning). Often people think that the snatch test is the be all, end all of the weekend and if they pass the snatch test they are done, well sort off. (You still have 2 days and 7hrs to deal with) You also have various workouts during the day and the final graduate workout. This was quite challenging as we experienced during the first ever Australian RKC. It was dealt to us outside in the scotching Aussie heat! –  A memorable experience.

The plan….yes my plan.

The template I used was simple. The way I like to keep things. It consisted of roughly 6 month of planning (lucky me) and was broken down to training in block of 5-6 weeks with the first phase logically being base building. I got stronger first (no pun intended) and then took it from there. I worked on simple 5×3 to 5×5 blocks on getting my Barbell Deadlift, Squats, Overhead Press strong and worked on increasing my chin ups with a simple 5×5 method and was able to knock off roughly 50 (10×5) reps on any given workout. Having previously done the recommended HKC , The Goblet squat, Turkish Get Up and swings were included in building my strength platform and blended in nicely with programming.

I also managed to get myself down to Read Performance Training and under Andrew Reads tuition participated in their RKC preparation workshop. It made sense to me to do the workshops as Andrew was the one hosting the RKC. Who better to refine the movement and throw a few tips your way? Once I got an idea of what to do and brushed up on my technique, off I went and started to build up my necessary base strength and conditioning to better deal with the volumes required.

After a few months of getting the basics down, my next block(s) I would introduce double kettlebell work and build up my “Kettlebell strength”. The RKC was tested with the single bell so I took the approach of getting as strong as I could with the doubles. If you don’t have doubles available using the single is fine. Please note during my preparation I was 90kgs in bodyweight and fortunately for me as operator of Claudefit Personal training had the preparation time and equipment freely available.

A sample workout on a “feeling good day” would now be;

  • Double presses(2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double squats(2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double cleans (2x24kg) 5×5
  • Double swings (2x24kg) 5×5
  • TGU with the 24 about 5 per session.
  • Goblet squat used a warm up when required
  • Heavy single one arm swings. ( 100 per session with single hand 10/10 x 5)

The simplicity of the Snatch test preparation that worked for me, here it is.

Single Kettlebell swings with a 32kg twice a week working towards a 10/10 x 5. (for me this was my heavy one) basically I build up my grip strength and endurance in just using the heavy swings as conditioning. Occasionally when I felt strong I would work up to 100 one arm swings in one set following a 10/10 x 5 with the 24kgs. I just build it up to a point of being able to do repeated sets of 10 swings on each side at will with never doing more that 100 per session. Twice a week was enough.  During my testing days along with a friend who was the time keeper, using the 24kg I would adopt a 10/10 x 3 stop (re-chalked my hands) and finished off with 10/10 x 2 equalling 100 reps.

The overhead positioning of the TGU and kettlebell press with a heavy bell ensured the top component of the snatch was covered. The body of the movement comes from the hip drive. All in all I only tested the snatch test 5 times once a week in leading up to the weekend.  At my age( then 45) I managed to get it done on 4min and 5sec which is not required. You have 5 minutes. Experience suggests you use the time wisely. Let’s be clear. For me the conditioning was there but not the technique as master RKC Andrew Read dutifully advised me after he saw my YouTube clip offering. So I went back to the drawing board, fixed my technique and let the conditioning look after me on the day of testing.  Glad I put my ego aside and took the advice. The test is about passing. “Make it pretty not fast” Andrew would say.

It worked for me during both RKC1 & RKC11

The Reality.

1)      Being injured does not help at all, as unfortunately one of my fellow strength coaches found out over the weekend. It was only due to his his sheer mental fortitude, plain stubbornness and overall never give up attitude that he persisted over the weekend, however this still wasn’t enough to pass the set criteria. He did however meet the requirements and got his RKC once he was injury free and his body allowed him to test.  I’m sure he would have preferred to get it done on the day. It was still not gifted to him.

2)      On passing the snatch test you need to cover all the 100 reps in 5 minutes with an efficient technique without dropping the bell and only placing the bell down to rest.  I have been in the unfortunate position in witnessing one of our own team members fail his test and if my memory serves me well it was on 98 or 99. He did not get passed.

3)       I myself completed the test well within the time limit, passed all the others tests over the weekend and was still required to submit a video later on to show “proper technique” on the snatch. It was borderline, but not to standard on the day. It took me a 3 minute video 2-3 weeks later on to finally get my cert.  A lesson learned.

(For further details on the testing criteria refer to the information easily found on the Dragondoor website where you registered for RKC)

As most of you leading up to the RKC have your HKC, you simply build on this already established base of knowledge, strength and movements to your program. Believe me it all adds up in getting you the conditioning up to successfully pass the weekend.

Take action now and look forward on hearing about your inclusion into the RKC community.

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