Editor’s Note: Today we have a contribution from expert coach Ric Garcia. Ric runs Full Force Personal Training in Modesto, California in addition to a very successful online coaching business. He is also one of the strongest pound-for-pound men that you will ever meet. It would serve you well to listen to him. -Chris
Dead Stop Reps: The Kettlebell Technique You Are Not Doing Enough Of
by: Ric Garcia, SFGII, SFB, SFL, Original Strength Instructor
To quote the move Rudy, “I am five foot nothing, weigh 100 and nothing pounds.”
BUT, I have busted my A-word (I have two very young daughters so prepare for a bunch of harsh letters in this article) to get pretty strong.
Since I tend to move heavier weights than most dudes my size I have to be smart about my training because the big boy weights beat me up a little more than someone who is 50-60 pounds heavier than me.
I have to find ways to use fairly heavy bells but make them safer and more challenging.
Since I like to play guinea pig for my clients, I often find ways to push my training forward without using different equipment. This is a BIG plus for those of you who train at home because we can make the bell you have feel heavier AND get a little more out of them without buying new stuff.
We can take your ballistic kettlebell movements (the swing, clean, and snatch) and really push the envelope of your explosive strength training in a very safe and effective way.
So how do we do this?
We add in something I like to call Dead Stop Reps (DSRs).
Dead Stop Reps are so simple you are probably going to slam your head into a wall for not already including it in your training on your own. Don’t be upset at yourself though, it is my job to sit around and think about ways to make training harder- I mean more effective ☺.
DSRs have helped many of my clients hit their strength goals faster and look better when they are flexing in the mirror after a training session. Don’t act like you don’t do it either☺.
DSRs take some of the training effects that make Kettlebells such a great fat loss and power development tool and tweak them to focus more on the power development aspect of the ballistic movements.
Here’s a quick physics lesson…
Force = Mass x Acceleration
This is important to know because by focusing on accelerating a weight faster – or even better, by making it more challenging to accelerate a weight faster – you can train your body to increase force production without moving to a heavier load.
Simply put, you are taking the kettlebells you already own and making them feel heavier without buying new bells.
This is a win for everyone (except the people who make money from selling kettlebells).
Now, most of you already know that the first rep of all your ballistic movements is the hardest for your body because you have to generate all the force to move that weight on your own.
After the first rep, the momentum of the kettlebell will help you load the muscles of your posterior chain – the muscles on the back side of your body – by taking advantage of a phenomenon called The Stretch Reflex.
After the first rep your muscles act like giant rubber bands that get stretched when you actively throw your hips back and also by the weight of the kettlebell.
That quick stretch actually “helps” you make the next rep(s) easier, in terms of muscular effort, up to a certain point.
The Stretch Reflex is awesome if you want to get a crazy amount of work done in a short amount of time – like during your conditioning work – but is something we can easily reduce or eliminate to make each and every rep you perform that much more impactful to your explosive strength.
Here are some of the benefits of DSR’s:
- They make every rep a SAFE challenge.
- They are incredibly effective and ridiculously easy to perform.
- They improve your technical skill since every rep can be set up perfectly.
- They make every rep an explosive rep and improve your ability to produce force which will make you the strongest BAMF you can be.
What I’m saying is that DSR’s kick some major A-word when you add it in your training!
Like I said earlier, you are going to be mad at yourself for not thinking of this.
BUT all you need to do to start do DSRs is just set the bell(s) down on the ground between reps, keep your hands on them while you readjust into a perfect position and wait 2-3 sec in the set position before performing your next rep.
That’s it! That is all there is to it!
By stopping the bells between reps and waiting, you dissipate The Stretch Reflex, force the bells to travel a greater distance on each repetition, and YOU are forced to accelerate the bells.
It makes your kettlebell ballistic movements resemble Olympic lifting without having to buy a barbell or learn a new skill.
It makes you WORK and force you to give full effort on every rep which will give you a training effect that will carry over to your strength movements because you are learning to produce maximum force each and every time you move the weight.
Tomorrow, I'll show you a technique video on how to perform your DSRs and then on Thursday, I'll give you a template on how to structure DSRs into your training.
Ric Garcia, SFGII, SFB, SFL, OSS - Modesto, CA
I love to move, read and blast hip hop & rock when I’m lifting barbells or swinging kettlebells and I am hoping my little munchkins grow up to do the same. Other than long walks on the beach, my idea of a perfect day consists of training outside next to my wife and baby girls and eating some homemade food while lying on the ground and enjoying the sun. I am trying to teach my girls that being a good neighbour is one of the easiest ways to create positive change in the city they live in and if you are ever find yourself in California on a Friday, swing by for Family Fun Day and we can lift together in front of my home.