Strength: noun. the ability to overcome.

Kettlebells: How To Maximize Your Results In 2010.

by GEOFFN on January 6

I was thinking about how to maximize your results from your kettlebell training and your kettlebell workouts.

I came up with 3 easy steps:

Step 1. Pick a program and follow it to completion.

Step 2. Always focus on your technique over the quantity of your reps.

Step 3. Repeat steps 1 & 2.

Let’s break it down, because although it appears simple on the surface, it isn’t necessarily easy.

Step 1. Pick A Program And Follow It To Completion.

Follow a program with a successful track record.

Not all strength training programs are created equally. And the same is certainly true for kettlebell programs. You should pick a program developed by a local RKC or by Pavel himself.

The reasons are two-fold:

1. Your local RKC can’t stay in business if he/she’s not producing results with his/her current customer/client base.

Why an RKC and not somebody else?

Because the RKC is the original Kettlebell Training System. It was first and all others are essentially derived from it.

You can find an instructor near you here.

2. Pick a program by Pavel (or one of the books/videos on Dragon Door) and follow it.

Pavel has plenty of kettlebell programs for you to follow. They are very detailed and usually have accompanying videos. Enter the Kettlebell is THE kettlebell training primer. If you’ve never used kettlebells, or need to brush up on your technique, you owe it to yourself to have this in your library.

Follow the program the way it was written.

For example, if you have a very little time to train and want to push up your maximum strength, Power To The People would be an idea for you. It’s a program that’s based around the Deadlift and the Side Press. Now, if you decided that you wanted to do the same thing with double kettlebells, it would not be the same program at all. It would be something completely different. Different sets. Different reps. Different loading parameters. Bad outcome. If you did it this way, it would be easy to complain about the program “not working.” But, that wouldn’t be a fair assessment at all for the simple fact that you didn’t follow PTTP the way it was designed and planned.

And, if you didn’t complete the program, you have no way to know if it works or not, or it’s potential to fully work for you.

Pick a program suited to your needs.

For example, if you’re new to kettlebell training, you will want to start at the beginning with Enter the Kettlebell. Or, if you’ve been through ETK, made the progress you wanted, then you may want to try something else to challenge yourself, like Return of the Kettlebell. But, RTK would be unsuited to your needs if you were a newbie – too much information to assimilate and apply that needs to be learned in ETK.

Make sure your program is actually a program.

In today’s “training ADD” world, the “Workout of the Day” model is the trend. That’s a great model if all you were doing was working out one day. But, and pay attention here, a collection, or string of WODs strung together does not make a program. Here’s a hint about whether a program is really a program: It has a theme.

For example, Kenneth Jay’s, Viking Warrior Conditioning is a program. It’s theme is developing cardiovascular conditioning using a kettlebell. So, if improving your aerobic fitness is important to you, you would follow a program like Kenneth’s.

Step 2. Always Focus On Your Technique Over the Quantity of Your Reps.

Don’t fall into this trap.

This is a trap that many trainees, new or advanced, fall into. You get so focused on getting a specific number that you forget or just plain ignore the fact that it’s as much “how” you reach that number. If your form is sloppy, you’re pretty much setting yourself up for injury.

For example, when pressing, it’s easy once you get tired to forget about the basics. In order to get the kettlebell overhead many trainees forget to squeeze their gluts. Not only does this rob you of the power you need to press the bell successfully, but your pelvis now tips forward creating sheering forces on your lumbar spine. Over time this hyperextension of the lower back will hurt you.

Not only that, you have just installed a program in your brain (your neuro-software if you like) that essentially tells your body to relax your gluts and hyperextend your lower back every time you get tired when pressing. The more you do this, the more you will do this and the harder it will be to correct your technique. (Here’s a depressing thought: Noted Physical Therapist Shirley Sarhmann has discovered that for every 1 rep performed incorrectly, it takes 3 to 5 reps performed correctly to overcome the old motor pattern. Take home point? Do it right the first time, every time!)

Guarantee faster results.

Another example: 99 out of 100 people fail to realize when they start training that proper technique, although slow at first to acquire, will produce faster results in the long run than short cutting it with sloppy form. The proper technique allows you to train safely, keeps you from expending too much neural energy and frying your nervous system, and allows you to train more frequently for faster results.

You should always cease training with any particular exercise when your form fails. Give yourself one more rep to get it right. If you can’t, you’re done with that exercise. Move on to the next exercise. If your form is off on that exercise then you’re tired and you’re done training for the day.

Focusing on technique over quantity of reps is one of the keys to long term sustainable progress.

Step 3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

This seems like a no-brainer but some will always ask “then what?”

That’s fine. But essentially these are the only two variables you need to be successful with your kettlebell training or any training for that matter.

Of course, Steps 1 and 2 don’t just apply to a kettlebell training program.

They apply to anything in life you are trying to master.

Give them a shot and let me know how you’re doing this year compared to last year.

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