KB’s

Posted on Posted in News, On Combatives

I’ve spent today working on the manual – from 10:00am EST to 16:00 I wrote about 20 pages. It’s brutal on the posture and on the back and my upper back, unfamiliar with typing for 6 hours straight was in full rebellion by 16:00. To be honest, it’s 18:34 and my upper back is still seizing up and forcing me to adjust my posture to be very, very specific because I swore to myself…I’ll finish this chapter by tomorrow night.
Only problem – my back wouldn’t have it. So, it was gym time.

My first time holding a kettlebell was back in 1998 when some of the ROSS guys were working with them, studying under Pavel. I played with them and began learning and had a lot of students use them over there years. I haven’t touched them much since 1998. But, I was reintroduced to kettlebell’s last year by Greg Mihovich at Underground Gym last year when I taught at his school. He was a beast at them and it impressed me, and it worked me out in a way I wasn’t used to, which is good. Later, Pete Kamoutsis in Cleveland, who is part of our DLP and I taught at his school, showed me some more tricks. I had been playing with the KB’s since Greg’s, and Pete turned my attention to some good exercises to look at for efficiency in movement with the kb, as opposed to power.

To me, efficiency is a path to power and endurance.

That was December.

I am very, VERY careful about my exercise routine. Being head of Pramek, squatting 500 pounds or bench pressing 300 means nothing if I can’t do a simple exercise or roll that I teach. Exercise routines require mechanically efficient postures, while shying away from biomechanically efficient. An example is those who can squat to lift weights, but can not touch their heels to the ground while deep squatting (the rear at it’s lowest point as opposed to even with the knees).

While strong, they are limited in their range of motion. So, I am very limited in what I do beyond body weight exercises…I’d rather have very strong, yet plastic tendons and ligaments while having longer wirey muscles, than limited mobility in my joints and large muscles.

I began working with 18 pounds KB’s late last summer, and graduated to 35 lb to keep my posture and biomechanics proper. 35 pounds gives me a challenge because I want it to. I use them for cleans, snatches, etc., but nothing advanced or anything that I do for an extended period because I do not want the neuro-programming that comes with motor repetition. This happens quickly and is easy to identify in RMA and movement art folks who take on KB’s and soon lose wave like motions they are taught to stand up and transition to use their quads and muscles to stand.

I use them as a means to educate myself on efficiency – lifting them biomechanically, as opposed to mechanically, timing my breath, controlling my heart rate, sometimes using muscle, sometimes using ligament, sometimes using bone structure.

I use them how I want to use them. I do not use them how someone tells me – I use them to explore. Sometimes I will clean and jerk ‘properly’ which is primarily half muscular and half skeletal, sometimes I will clean and jerk and focus on compensation, sometimes I will clean and jerk to be all muscular system and respiratory systems with as little skeletal as I can.

I will never instruct others to use them…so I am unconcerned with how people view my use of them.

In the end, I view them as tools…and have a large amount of respect for the RKC instructors and master’s of these implements.
They simply are amazing folks who use amazing tools.

And today, I finally graduated to a new level – from 35 to 45 on most exercises, and on my clean and jerk to 55lbs.

55lbs. Yea, it’s nothing to a lot of you 🙂 But, this was amazing to me, to marry my biomechanics to a weight…as I did 3 sets of 3 reps on each arm and only failed on the left on the second of my 3rd rep. A huge accomplishment.

So, keep on those KB’s folks…make them your own, make them your teacher, and always be safe.

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