Time, Value, Money, and Other Answers To Your Questions…

When I was fresh out of college, I used to drive an hour away every Saturday and spend it with my weightlifting coach, who mentored me. He is a kind, generous, and humble man, filled with knowledge I’m sure that most of today’s experts have never even heard of. (As an aside, I am trying my best to get him to put that information into a book, but he’s just survived pancreatic cancer and doesn’t have much energy right now…) But, in some ways, and I say this with all respect, he did me a disservice.

Let me explain.

Ok, one of the secrets to getting stronger, and I don’t just mean with your kettlebells or under the bar, is to change, or expand your view and understanding of your life and the way you view it. Sounds deep, and it is to an extent it is.

How Do You Define “Value?”

Let’s take a look at the concept of “value.” What do you value? For many of us it’s time, relationships, and stuff, including money.

But what is most important of all these?

It depends on who you ask, but if we’re being pragmatic, and only talking about expediency, then it would have to be time. And for most of us, we would rather spend the time trying to figure out stuff we’re not good at then paying those who are good at such things to help us out.

Which brings me back to my coach. Since he gave me so much information for “free,” I didn’t value it when I was younger. It’s only after I neglected it, and paid other people to tell me half the story, that I really started to value his time and information. And even more so, the man himself.

With that being said, let’s jump into the first two of today’s questions, which I’ll lump together in their entirety because they have similar answers, important answers.

Dear Geoff,

After hearing you speak of FMS  – I got screened today  – not bad  – The trainer is really capable (he was a strength conditioning coach for the Dolphins). He said that was really tight in my shoulders and chest  – he suggested that I stop kettlebell for while and work on some stretching and muscle massage. He used a handball on my shoulder and it felt better.

This guy is really expensive.  Can I do it on my own (stretching and correcting some of the problems that he has pointed out) with Pavel’s Resilient program????

I like this guy?  He is good don’t get me wrong but at 100 dollars an hour – is it worth it?

From a poor happy guy with kettlebells in his backyard. – Matt Dubocq


Hi Geoff,

Last Friday, for the first time in I don’t know how many months, I was able to snatch the 16kg 40 reps without putting down the bell.  Instead of 7 mins for 100 reps, I completed the 100 reps in 6mins.  I feel I am very close.  I want to ask you…before you take your first RKC, did you train with another RKC?  I recently had to let my trainer (he is currently RKC 1) go due to financial set backs.  I want to go for RKC1, what kind of preparation I need to do besides the snatch test? (Name Withheld)

Ok, both of these are very important questions because they deal with the concept of “value.” Both Matt, and the second person, are dealing with financial issues/constraints, which I understand and respect, because I have been there, and to a certain extent, still am (I have one business that is in major negative cash flow mode… but let’s save that for another time, shall we?)

But what is the value of getting expert assistance? In the first case, it’s a trainer who was a strength coach for the Miami Dolphins. At $100 per hour, that’s a steal in my book. This guy works with pro athletes so undoubtedly he’s got a ton of experience.

Matt – I love Pavel’s material, and Resilient is outstanding, but why not follow the advice and instructions you just paid for? I have not screened you nor has Pavel. So anything we say is a shotgun approach, that although it will work for 9 people out of 10, may or may not be applicable to your specific situation. That being said, if you already have Resilient, then you may want to watch it repeatedly and do the drills Pavel demonstrates to open your shoulders. Then after a period of time (30, 60, or 90 days), go back to the trainer and get re-screened and see if the results changed.

And for the “Name Withheld” – GREAT JOB on your Snatches! You are doing something right! But I need more information to answer your question thoroughly – did your trainer design the program that helped you get these results? Are you capable of replicating these results on your own? If you’re not sure, how much time are you willing to spend to investigate and test methods that do help you achieve those and better results?

The RKC is much, much more than just the Snatch Test. That’s just the entry requirement. (We do that first thing on Friday morning.) Brett Jones wrote an outstanding article giving ideas on how to train for the RKC, which everyone planning to attend the RKC should read, consider, and apply if necessary. (Do a google search – I think it was in an issue of HardStyle magazine – sorry I don’t have it at my fingertips…)

There is always a higher price tag for customization, as there should be. It saves time and energy on the consumer’s part.

So here’s the take away point for everyone – you can always, always, always make more money. Always – despite the gloom and doom on the news. It’s a matter of mindset. But once you’ve spent your time, you will never, ever get it back. So, when looking at questions about “is it worth it,” ask yourself this question, “What’s my time worth?” It has been a hard and life-changing and ever evolving question for me to answer.

Alright, next question.

Mental Mindsets For Constant Improvements

Hi Geoff – I am 57 years old –  5’11” & 171 pounds – decent strength. In 4th week of your training – based on your book.  Can only use 20 lb KBs – will fit in 1 or 2 sets with 25 lb KBs.  Am I a total weakling or is this weight appropriate for someone my age and size.  For next 8 weeks – should I stick with 20 lbs or mix in with 25 lb KBs if up to it or could I possibly gain enough strength along the way to move to the 25 pounders for all sets?  Advice – comments?  Thx – Mike

Mike, I refuse to pass judgment on you and your weights and you should too. The only thing you need to focus on is where you are now and where you want to be. It doesn’t matter how you stack up against anyone else unless you are competing for something. If not, strive to be better. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a negative attitude and go nowhere.

I only compare myself against myself. Even though I want to compete, I’m only concerned with what I can do today and how that stacks up against what I did yesterday and if it’s moving me forward to my goals. Make sense?

And I have to admit, I lied. I don’t know too many 57 year olds who train with kettlebells. Let alone guys your height at only 171lbs. You’re doing lots of things right – keep going! And, oh yeah, stick with the 20lbs-ers, unless they feel way, way, way too light.

Scientifical Stuffs…

Both of these are from Robert Nilsson.

Geoff – In some recent posts on the DD Forum there were some individuals who were asking questions about starting doubles work.  I was going to advocate that they increase their base of experience with unilateral work first so I hit the books to see what I might see.  In my researching I came across the term Bilateral Deficiency (which interested me since I’m way stronger on the right than on the left).  My source indicated that bilateral work decreases BLD.  So my first question is – Can double kettlebell work be considered bilateral?

Great question, Robert. I would call double kettlebell work “semi-unilateral” or “quasi-unilateral” for the following reason.

The stimulus on the body as an organism is very similar to bilateral loading as with a barbell in the legs and hips, but then because the kettlebells move independently in the hands, this affects the arm and shoulder musculature similarly to unilateral loading. Notice I said “similarly.” You will most likely still be able to press more in one hand with one kettlebell than being able to put that same weight in two hands.

For example, if you can press the 48kg for one rep, it does not mean that you can press a 48kg in each hand for one rep. (It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t either…)

So to get good at doubles work, you most definitely need a base of singles work (less going on in the brain, easier to control and master body positioning, internal cueing, feedback, etc), but you really need to practice doubles work. It’s another “same but different” form of training. I generally, but not always recommend taking the bell you can press for a 5RM and using two bells a size or two below that. The heavier the bell, the bigger the drop I would take.

For example, press a 48kg? Double press 32 or 36kg. Probably 32kg and err on the side of caution.


Ligament Strength: I’ve heard this mentioned, but never really addressed.  Why is this important?  How is it developed?

Ligament strength is important because your ligaments keep your bones “tied together” and the more you load your muscles, the stronger your ligaments need to be to keep your bones properly aligned.

There are two ways to develop ligament strength –

  1. Heavy loads, especially heavy support loads – squat supports with 120% 1RM
  2. Light loads, for high reps – 20-30% 1RM for 30+ reps

That’s all I’ve got time for today.

Got a question that needs answerin’?

Email me at support@kettlebellsecrets.com.

Happy Weekend to you all!

8 comments… add one
  • Russ Moon Jul 23, 2010 @ 12:09

    Brett Jones article – “How to Prepare for and PASS the RKC” from his blog Applied Strength

    http://appliedstrength.blogspot.com/2008/12/going-barefoot-is-good-for-you.html – copy and paste this URL into your browser and press Enter.

    Look at the page and about 4 inches from the top you will see the post “How to Prepare for and Pass the RKC” highlighted in Red Letters, that is your target data.

    Not sure this is the exact article Master RKC Neupert is referencing but it is from Master RKC Jones and it does address the topic of RKC preparation so at least a valid start point.

    • GEOFFN Jul 26, 2010 @ 9:15

      Thanks, Russ.

  • Nathan Jul 23, 2010 @ 14:46

    Geoff- Great blog. Your workouts are even better. I’m on vacation this week and thought I’d try a different kind of ballistic workout. I’m tossing kids ranging from 24kg – 44kg around the pool. My goal is to see just how far and high I can toss these screaming, laughing, kicking kids in the air and then into the pool. Call it a squat-press complex. The results are immediate and gratifying. A quality kb workout is the obvious pre-requisite for such an intense workout. Thanks for preparing me for this important event! -Nathan

    • GEOFFN Jul 26, 2010 @ 9:17

      Nathan – Glad you’re having a blast on vacation. That’s exactly what good KB workouts are designed to do – give you more time, strength, and energy to do the things you love. Glad these are working for you. See you soon.

  • Josh Hillis Jul 24, 2010 @ 0:48

    Awesome post, as usual. Always like your blog.

    I had this experience with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where I spent about a hundred dollars a month to go to an ok school, and I sucked for *years*

    Flew down to Brazil, and my first private lesson with a black belt completely changed everything. After about five private lessons with said black belt, I was unrecognizable.

    It blew me away that I’d wasted all that time – I’d had many opportunities to pay for private training with really amazing black belt teachers in the past, and I’d always passed on the opportunity. I could have saved myself years just by paying for expertise.

    And I had the same experience with my business.

    Figuring it out on my own totally blows. Hiring someone who already knows how it works is awesome.

    • GEOFFN Jul 26, 2010 @ 9:18

      Thanks, Josh. You’re right – figuring it out on your own is a lesson in frustration and futility. When I was younger, I wanted to do “my way.” Now I want to do it as quickly and successfully as possible.

  • Rob Jul 24, 2010 @ 8:24


    Great info as always.

    Thanks for satisfying my curiosity.

    – Rob

    • GEOFFN Jul 26, 2010 @ 9:18

      You bet, Rob.

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