What A Great Weekend!
My apologies for not getting to your questions last week. I literally just ran out of time prepping for the RKC2 weekend.
Speaking of which, I just got back from an outstanding weekend of teaching at the RKC2. What a blast!
My responsibilities were to review RKC Level 1 exercises and to teach the Jerk. It was great to see how many people had practiced the Get Up when we reviewed that part of the RKC Level 1. The Jerk is a great exercise to develop power production and teach deceleration as well as force absorption.
The biggest tone for the weekend was that the RKC is a principles-based system. It’s not just a collection of “cool” exercises. We apply the same principles to all of the exercises.
That being said, I wanted to share with you just a little bit from this weekend so you can apply it to your training.
Movements that Matter.
1. The Shoulder. I’m still amazed how many people do not know what I now admittedly take for granted. In pretty much any activity that involves the shoulder, the gleno-humeral joint needs to be “centrated” – or “packed” as we say in the RKC.
This involves engaging your lat(s) in any pressing or supporting movement, not just pulling movements. Interestingly enough, it’s surprising how many people don’t even do that while pulling!
So here’s what you need to do to “pack your shoulder” to improve your strength and your [shoulder] health:
- Actively pull your shoulder down to your hip in any pressing or pulling movement to engage the lat
- Keep it there throughout the motion
- If you can’t do that, spend time increasing your hip mobility and thoracic mobility
2. The Hip. I am equally amazed at how many people have no idea where their hips are. Your movements should be initiated with a “hip-hinge” – that is – pushing back into the hips first to initiate your Swings, Snatches, what have you.
If you can’t do that, then you need to spend some time working on your hip mobility, and regaining the flexibility in your hip flexors and quadriceps.
If you’re not sure about either of those, then start by re-reading Enter the Kettlebell. Pavel extensively covers the hip-hinge and shoulder packing in there.
If you ignore these concepts along with many others, you can fully expect injuries in your future. It’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when.” So be smart about your training and get these dialed in before moving further.
What’s the Difference?
Ok, admittedly, those two points may seem pretty mundane. But do you know the difference between an amateur and an elite athlete? The elite athlete routinely practices the basics and has mastered them. Even as a Master RKC Instructor, I still focus on at least these two points in every training session I perform. And I make progress every single session. I become even more in tune with my body and move more fluidly because of it. It may not be “sexy,” “fun,” or “exciting” at times, but the results are.
One year ago, I couldn’t do a Get Up without pain in my knees or a hip. Today, I can do a full Kalos Sthenos style Get Up with a 48kg. Admittedly, part of that was from seeing Brett Jones back in November, but the rest is from taking my time and focusing on the basics.
What could you do by mastering the basics?