Training Concepts Gone BadBy
So yesterday I arrive to one of my classes and as I am writing down what we are doing for the day one of my clients says to me
“I have a bit of of a funny story for you. My boss couldn’t believe that I was able to do one handed swings for 30 seconds on 30 seconds off for 10 minutes because he didn’t think I would be able to do that without blowing out my shoulder.”(as is done in phase 2 of the Kettlebell Burn program)
Now when she said it, it didn’t quite click for a moment and I had to actually ask her to repeat it. Read the quote again…especially the part about the shoulder. Now keep in mind that this client of mine moonlights as a personal trainer at the gym. She was the one that recognized her limitations and sought me out as a coach and now that she has seen the light and is “in the know” she is a bit of a spy on my behalf and tells me some of the horror stories in her gym. One other fact I would like to throw in there is she has access to a full gym but takes my kettlebell classes and does no other training because the kettlebell classes are “complete.” Complete without having to combine it with other stuff.
Watch this quick demo of the kettlebell swing. Even though this was performed with two hands you can see that the power is generated with my hips, not my shoulders.
Watch Kettlebell Swings in Educational & How-To | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
(this movement alone can provide pretty much complete fitness…but it is NOT a shoulder exercise.)
Well anyways her boss is a trainer at the gym and couldn’t believe that she would have enough “shoulder power” to do a single handed swing for that many reps (about 20 per minute) for 10 minutes. That’s precisely the problem because the kettlebell swing is a hip driven movement, not a shoulder one. In his eyes the swing is nothing more then a squatting front raise with a faddish weight and there is a good chance he learned that bit of BS from Bob Harper or Jillian Micheals (and you thought they might be doing a good thing by inspiring people).
That’s one reason I tend to get bent out of shape. You see people look up to Bob Harper and Jillian Micheals and that douchebag that is trademarked as the “leader in global kettlebell fitness” and they think that those people are the people to listen to. The reality is that those people that are being looked up to took a good concept created by smart people and ran in a direction that makes it lose the forest from the trees, and that gets me bent out of shape.
(This is me getting bent out of shape…or should I say bent into shape?)
It happens literally everywhere and with everything in the fitness industry. When the Tabata Protocol came about it was famous for the fact that it was only 4 minutes long and for the fact that it produced rapid changes in conditioning. The original program used an exercise bike done with maximum effort for 20 seconds work 10 seconds rest up to 4 mins. Dan John used the timing of it to do front squats which was a good idea. A million others did it by substituting crunches and any exercise you can think of in it’s place which was a bad idea. (I have been guilty of this but at the time I didn’t know who to listen to so I was a victim as well.)
Yuri Verkoshansky came up with plyometrics. He found that his methods of shock training worked well at generating power in experienced athletes. The prerequisites of plyometrics was to have around a double bodyweight squat. It was never intended to be used on severely obese people via the idiot trainers on the Biggest Loser. The original methods did include jumping but the parameters behind the jumping was a lot different then teaching people how to jump around their living rooms with “air guitar squats” and “ski jumps”. You can read exactly what I have to say about that in my review of p90x plyometrics x (Oh by the way every time someone says the secret is muscle confusion or implies that confusing the muscles is the pinnacle of training theory a dolphin gets run over by a jet ski)
Kettlebells and kettlebell training is looked at the same way usually by people who just don’t know any better. Wow kettlebell training burns 20 calories a minute! Let’s go buy some shitty walmart brand kettlebells and do some curls and crunches with them and we will be burning 20 calories a minute because of the magic power of kettlebells! Whoa not so fast there bro, that bit about kettlebells burning 20 calories a minute was because they tested kettlebell snatches done to the guidelines outlined in the book Viking Warrior Conditioning
Unless that is the exact program you are using then unless you are measuring the caloric expenditure yourself you are just guessing. Not everything is created equal in every way with all kettlebell exercises…especially not the way most people do the exercises (squatting front raises cough cough cough).
I work part time in a gym where some mixed martial artists and boxers train. One guy runs a “mma conditioning class”. Now this guy is trying to tell me that I am doing swings in a manner that is dangerous for my back (because they are performed explosively which is apparently dangerous). This guy thinks he is an expert because he watched a youtube video or two. His idea of training his “athletes” is to recreate the movements that mma people do (like throwing a punch) and make them hold 8lbs weights while they do it. Basically sport specific training gone bad. His students form and the fact that they can’t even do a decent looking pushup speaks volumes about what kind of coach he is. Well anyways he tried asking for my advice because I am the head kettlebell instructor there and he tries recreating the movements with a kettlebell to give me ideas (I don’t take advice from trainers who’s “athletes” can’t even do a decent pushup). I can’t teach him because his “cup” is already full (unteachable). Kettlebells being used to train mixed martial artists. A good idea gone bad. He took one thing and ran in the wrong direction with it…hence I won’t be affiliated with him.
So I guess what I am trying to teach you here because even though this started as a bit of a rant there are lessons to be learned. Look at the roots of whatever it is that you are trying to accomplish. I love taking existing programs and mixing and matching the different concepts of them for the sake of learning and trying to improve upon them but what I am doing is taking the general idea and basing what I do off of that rather then the details and messing with those. It pays to look to the root of the matter.