Weird Gym Stuff and a Kettlebell Abdominal Exercise

It was an interesting day at the gym today.

In fact, it was an interesting day in general.

First, I didn't get ANY sleep last night because Q (my son) was up teething – in the words of Lionel Richie – ALL NIGHT LONG.  Literally ZERO sleep.

Then at the gym, while training a client, I saw some crazy stuff going on…

-One guy went from bench press, to incline bench press, to decline bench press, back to flat bench press with a Football Bar and then went to a 1/4 range of motion (he was only going from 1/4 down to lockout) shoulder press with the same Football Bar.  And then proceeded to take 70lb dumbbells and do various shoulder raises, but the dumbbells were too heavy that  he could only raise them a few degrees from his body.

LESSON #1: Don't waste your time trying to hit the same muscle group at every possible angle. My shoulders were in pain just watching him. Instead, get the most bang for your buck by focusing on a single movement and getting better and better at it.  Remember, strength is a skill that needs to be practiced.

-Another guy set the pins on the rack as low as he could and then proceeded to load plates on the bar (which was set on the pins).  Then he got up on a plyobox and deadlifted the bar (3 plates on each side) with a rounded back…all with no warm-up.

LESSON #2: To prevent potential injury, NEVER start any workout without a proper warm-up AND NEVER pick anything off the floor or do any exercise with a rounded back. You MUST try to maintain a tight arch through the full range of motion.  If you start to "lose" your arch, then the weight is too heavy.

-And then another guy did some weird kettlebell swing by keeping his elbows tight to his body and reverse curled the bell up to his chest after his hip thrust.  He was using a 36kg bell (which is about 80lbs).  He super-setted that exercise with an overhead squat holding a dowel (not too bad), but had a 45lb chain around his neck (wtf?).  Towards the last few reps, the chain got so heavy that his head started to tilt forward and he looked like Quasimodo (the Hunchback of Notre Dame).

LESSON #3: Keep things simple.  Kettlebell Swings will work your grip and forearms WITHOUT having to make any modifications to the exercise. And overhead squats with a dowel are a great exercise for mobility, so just keep them as that – a mobility exercise.  If you want to get stronger, use the front, back or goblet squat.  If you want the overhead squat to be more challenging, use an olympic bar.  Focus on perfection for each rep and you'll be just fine.

Anyway, the thing that confused me the most was that I got to the gym to train a client just AFTER crazy bench press guy to train a client.  I left the gym AFTER my own workout and "crazy bench press guy" was still there working on his "umpteenth" set of shoulder raises.

What a waste of time.

Maybe it's because I have 5 kids that I'm so cognizant of time (every minute wasted for me is a minute that I could have spent reading with one of my daughters or teaching my son how to shoot hoops or riding our bikes).

The days of the long marathon workouts are long gone from my life. And it's my humble suggestion that you eliminate the marathon workouts from your life as well.

After all, isn't time the one thing that we can never get back?

So today, because I didn't get any sleep and because my hands were still recovering from doing 44 sets of VO2 max training with high rep snatches, I did this simple workout…

Warm-up: Turkish Get-Up x 3 per side w/16kg

Workout Circuit: Swing x 25, Military Press x 3/side, Chin-up x 5 – I repeated that circuit 5 times

Finisher: I did 1 set of 25 reps per side of this KB Abdominal exercise…



It's not your "traditional" abdominal exercise, I know, but remember what I said about NOT WASTING TIME?

This exercise is multi-purpose and has more bang-for-your-buck than any crunch, sit-up or twisting exercise.

If I was really ambitious, I would have done some ab wheel roll-outs after or some type of plank.  But like I said, NO SLEEP.

-Chris Lopez, RKC

p.s. Don't forget to check out the TT KB Revolution and the different "Finshers" that I use in each workout to help you lose a ton of fat with just a kettlebell and your own bodyweight…

=>Lose Fat with just a Kettebell and Bodyweight


  • Reply May 9, 2011


    Thank you for that explanation of how to do the row properly. I’ve read your posts on how effective the row is, and I originally thought that I was supposed to rotate. I just did the rows this right way this morning and noticed that I feel more in my abs by not twisting. One thing I would like to know is does the row work your lower abs more if done without the bench? I’ve had 3 children and seems like I’m losing fat from the upper torso much quicker than my lower.

  • Reply May 9, 2011


    I forgot… if I may suggest an unconventional solution for your son’s teething problem. It’s not something you will want to allow him to do unsupervised but it works wonders. When my youngest was teething her grandma told me to give her a chicken bone. She stripped the leg of meat and gristle and handed my daughter the naked bone. She sucked and gnawed and within minutes she was quiet and content. I think it works great because the child can maneuver it in their mouth where they need to and it rubs the irritated gums. I told a guy at work about it and he looked at me like I was crazy. When his daughter started cutting more teeth, he told me that he had given her a chicken leg. His daughter was obsessed with the bone. Of course he acted like he forgot that I told him about it, but bottom line is that it works better than any teething ring you can buy.

  • Reply May 9, 2011


    love the info on the videos, just one thing that bothers me, the on board microphone you are using to record audio with means you have to shout to be heard over a less than pleasant room reverb effect that is distorting your voice. Just saying, keep up the hard work, but next time you invest in something to improve your videos, you should strongly consider a shotgun mic!

  • Reply May 9, 2011

    Chris Lopez, RKC

    @Miles – You read my mind. I’m supposed to pick-up a great mic this week! Thanks so much for the kind words!

  • Reply May 9, 2011

    Chris Lopez, RKC

    @ Nikki – Hi Nikki, thanks so much for the teething advice. I’ve given Q a chicken bone before, but didn’t think about giving him one now. That’s a great idea!

    Re: your workout question. The rows will work more of your obliques than anything else. I’ve found that a lot of the lower abdominal issues that people experience can be cleared up with diet. Have you even been checked for food intolerances? If not, then maybe book an appointment with a good naturopath and have her see if you have any allergies or aversions.

  • Reply May 11, 2011


    Ok, ok. I have changed my diet but I still have my daily indulgences. I still have cravings and I thought that caving in to one a day wouldn’t hurt anything. Obviously I was wrong. I will keep my goal in mind this evening when I start craving ice cream. Thanks 🙂

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