Kettlebell Q’n’A: My Current Program & The RKC

 Q: What are you doing for your workouts these days? You posted what you do for winter, but what’s going on right now?

-Jorge, Puerto Rico

A: I’ve been doing a 20-minutes, 6-days per week type of thing lately.  Here’s how it breaks down…

 

Monday

1a) KB Clean & Press (3 x 5-8)

1b) Blast Strap Reverse Fly (2 x 15)

2a) Renegade Row x 20

2b) KB Windmill x 8/side

2c) Ab Wheel Roll Out x 20

3) 2-Arm KB Swings x 100

Tuesday

1) Turkish Get-Ups (3 x 5/side)

2a) Close Grip Chin-ups (3 x AMRAP)

2b) Pistols (3 x AMRAP)

2c) Blast Strap Push-Ups

3) KB Snatches (AMRAP in 7 minutes)

Wednesday AND Saturday (optional)

1) Early AM Hill Sprints

2) Stretching, planks & bridges

Thursday

1a) KB Military Press (3-4 x 5)

1b) KB Row (3 x AMRAP)

2a) Blast Strap Dips

2b) Blast Strap Tricep Ext

2c) Blast Strap Ab Fall-Outs

3) 2-Arm KB Swings x 100

Friday

1) 1-arm KB Snatches (AMRAP)

2) Turkish Get-Ups

2) Chin-up Variation

SUNDAY – OFF

Sometimes I’ll sub some sandbag exercises in – like walking lunges or clean & presses or windmills – if I feel like I’m getting bored.  After writing out what I’ve been doing, it seems like a lot, but I’ve been on this program for a few weeks now and I don’t really feel any symptoms of over-training (excessive fatigue, soreness or low-motivation).

I’ve also leaned out quite a bit.  Right now I’m around 170 and my abs are "coming in" nicely. That could be because I’m doing some type of metabolic finisher after every workout (either swings or snatches) or because of the hill sprints or it could be because I ride my bike to work everyday.  I’m not sure.

Friday is an "unstructured" day so I’ll do whatever I feel like. If I feel like I need to improve my snatch numbers, then I’ll snatch. If I think my chin-ups are getting weak, I’ll do chins.  If I don’t have a lot of time, I’ll just to TGUs. Most days lately, I’ve been able to get all 3 in.

The "optional" hill day on Saturday has been a challenge to get to because of family commitments. My daughter is playing beach volleyball this summer so her tournaments are early Saturday mornings. So instead of getting up and going to the hill, I’m getting up and getting breakfast ready and packing lunch for the day.

The extra day off is also welcome.

Q: Chris, you’ve gotten a lot of flack for not being "kettlebell" certified. What gives?  How come you don’t have a kettlebell certification?

-Douglas, Boca Raton, FL

A: Douglas, I’ve been a trainer for 13 years. I went to school for 4 years to get a Bachelor of Science specialization in Kinesiology. I have the highest possible certification available in the industry (the CSCS from the NSCA) which requires that you have a post-secondary degree in the related field.  I’ve worked with athletes (amateur & professional), rehab patients and regular people like you and me. And I’ve mentored and consulted with the best.

All that said, you’re right, I don’t have a certification for kettlebells.  I also don’t have a specific certification to use a dumbbell, or a stability ball or a barbell or a sandbag or a tractor tire or a stop-watch for that matter.  Does that mean that I don’t know how to use those tools or apparati? 

Of course not.

HOWEVER, I do see the benefit of one particular kettlebell certification and that is Dragon Door’s RKC. So after extensive research and reading all the testimonials of the experience that other RKCs have had, I have registered to complete my RKC later in the year.

Truth be told, I’m in an industry that is constantly evolving and changing. And the opportunity to learn from the BEST kettlebell instructors just couldn’t be passed up. So in an effort to better myself and my programming – and to give my readers an even better experience, I’m going through the gruelling RKC certification course.

I’m looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to making myself better.

-Chris

 

28 Comments

  • Reply July 18, 2010

    Dale

    Glad to see that you are finally going to RKC. Douglas, if you get this and are looking for an RKC in Boca Raton get in contact with me. I am the only one in Boca and the only one in all of Palm Beach that has a kettlebell gym.
    Dale

  • Actually Dale, if you ever do an RKC workshop in Boca, I’m definitely down for that.

    I have friends that have a house really close to your gym, so if you get an RKC Level 2, count me in!

    Chris

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Dale

    No RKC in Boca, I am hosting an HKC here in December. RKC will be in Orlando in October this year. Chris, for RKC all you need to practice are the 6 basics: swing, clean, press, snatch, get-up, squat. Don’t worry about the other exercises. Just perfect and practice these. I can send you an outline designed from Mater RKC Brett Jones if you like. I also have several videos and an 8 week blog on http://dalebuchanan.info on my RKC prep from this year. I did it in April.
    Dale

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Scott

    Chris,
    Which RKC certification are you planning to attend? I’m prepping hard myself & can’t wait to joint the RKC community, it’s the best kettlebell certification there is, period. I can’t wait!
    ~Scott

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Dale

    Oh and Chris, your friends should be training kettlebells with me.

    • thanks for the offer Dale, but they’re 72 and 66 years old and are only in Boca for a few weeks in the year.

      they train w/KBs with me here in Toronto and they golf while they’re in Boca. too bad though, they live on East Camino which I think is a stone’s throw away from your gym?

      CL

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Clement

    Hi Chris,

    I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it, but would you consider writing a programme on muscle-building using KB and bodyweight workouts?

    Also, I’ve really enjoyed your barbell-KB exercise post. I personally only do KB work to cut weight as I’ve found the high volume suits it very well.

    I do have a question regarding your workouts, though. You usually use pistols for your leg work. In my experience, they’re extremely quad dominant with some glute recruitment but little for the hamstrings. Your posterior chain work only consists of high rep KB swings, which are more conditioning-type workouts. These would not strengthen the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes) will they, unless you use low rep, heavy KB swings?

    I’d appreciate it if you took the time to reply to my question. I’ve always been puzzled and unsure if I could use high-rep swings to build up my posterior chain or if it’s mainly conditioning. I guess I don’t know KBs well enough.

    • Hi Clement

      The routine I’ve outlined above is what I use in the summer and is mainly for conditioning and fat loss.

      Pistols will strengthen your posterior chain muscles (glutes & hams) so long as you get below parallel when you do them (your glutes don’t kick-in until you’ve gone past parallel – something I learned from Gray Cook back in the day). Nonetheless, I’ve found that I get a lot of glute and hamstring work from running the hills twice per week (I’m pretty sore afterwards).

      If you don’t find that your hamstrings are getting enough work, then I would add in some Glute-Ham Raises or, as Dale mentions below, some single-leg deadlifts holding a KB.

      Chris

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    James

    Chris,

    This is why someone in the public eye needs certification:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KtwKROm1Mk

    If not you can hurt someone.

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Alex

    On the workout what does: AMRAP mean

    3 x AMRAP

    Thanks

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Dale

    Clement,
    try single leg deadlifts for your hams and glutes

    Also there is a good book out on kettlebell for muscle but only going to post that if Chris approves.

    Dale

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Roger

    Can somone explain what a kb windmill is?

    • Roger, I’ve got a video filming session booked for tomorrow.

      On the menu…KB Windmills and Glute-Ham-Raises.

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Steve

    Chris, Good call on the RKC. The kettlebell is a dynamic tool. not simply a piece of iron; proper use will enhance the outcome.

    Jillian is not certified and anybody following her KB training style is not getting any benefit and probably getting hurt. is she even certified?

    The RKC will change your life.

    Enjoy the Pain!

    • thanks, Steve. I’m looking forward to it.

      Which Jillian would you be talking about? the biggest loser trainer?

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Mickey

    @Alex

    AMRAP means As many reps as possible.

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Dale

    Chris,
    Do you have an affiliate program for this site?
    Dale

  • Reply July 19, 2010

    Clement

    Thanks a lot, Chris and Dale. I’m currently on stronglifts 5×5 as my kettlebell of 12k is now much too light for me. I’ve tried SLDLs but they don’t offer much resistance. However, I will continue KB training as I find the conditioning that it provides to be extremely effective. Keep up the great work, and I look forward to reading the mystery book!

    Oh by the way, I’m a big fan of the RKC. I have Convict Conditioning, ETK, PTTP and Beyond Bodybuilding. I learnt the KB techniques from ETK and haven’t had bruises on my arms ever since!

  • Reply July 20, 2010

    Dale

    Clement,
    SLDL are great and very effective if done correctly and with enough resistance.
    Dale

  • Reply July 20, 2010

    mj

    Chris
    I really would like your input on the new KB’s from powerblocks–they adjust just like their dumbell product–I dont see a downside to purchasing these but I would appreciate your professional input before I made a purchase of these to make sure there is nothing that I am missing
    thanks! Love your posts
    mj

    • Hey MJ

      I’ll swing by a Fitness Depot up here in the great white north and check them out for you. You’ve sparked my curiosity.

      Chris

      • Reply July 21, 2010

        mj

        thanks Chris I want an experts opinion the regular powerblocks are great really cuts down on amount of dumbbells and saves space –if you want just email directly with the answer if its easier but i think all your followers would benefit from these.

        Mj

  • Reply July 26, 2010

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