Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Workout with a Human Weapon!

Now that I have your attention.

Fredericksburg Judo will be hosting yet another great competitor; Yasutaka Ohkawa from Tokai University.

He is featured below in the final 'fight' scene from the History Channel's Human Weapon. If you have practiced judo for more than like 2 weeks, you should get a big kick out of Jason Chambers' comments.


VCU JUDOKA: Please mail me NOW to come work out with Ohkawa THIS SATURDAY, in Fredericksburg, VA.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The push press

The Push Press is the middle sister on the continuum of vertical pushes...

First there's a strict press, military press, what have you. A motion that isolates the shoulder girdle and the muscles of arm extension and abduction(as much as any exercise can isolate) in their role of lifting the bar overhead.

Next you have the push press, where the hips are used to drive and create momentum on the bar that is then guided by the arms and the movement is completed by the locking out of the arms, typically against resistance, so here the role of the arms and shoulders have been reduced to say 50% of the equation.

Finally there is the jerk, where the hips drive the bar to a predetermined height, as the knees rebend to lower the body, allowing the athlete to catch the bar with the arms locked out overhead, with little or no work from the shoulders/arms. In the jerk, the load placed upon the arms should ideally be 25% or less.

Today I am pointing out some of the different ways people 'push' press, whether it be the way they teach or the implements they use.

Here's the first peice; Pat from Crossfit VA Beach teaching the dip portion-if you've been powerlifting for a while, the 'hips back' habit is hard to break!
Check it out

Here's one of the athlete's from Mike's Gym doing a barbell push press
check this out

Now, here's Valery Fedorenko of the AKC doing a few KB push presses. It's only one pood, but he completes several repetitions :)

The KB is very good for developing confidence, stability and mobility in the shoulders during lockout. The barbell is wonderful for incremental changes in load. Other common implements include dumbbells, sandbags, kegs and logs. Dumbbells are dumbbells. Sandbags vary so much in shape, density and solidity that it's difficult to generalize. Almost always, they are more difficult to press or jerk than their bar or bell equivalent. Kegs of course are like that too, but at least they have handles. They are only really heavy if they are filled (with liquid of course!) so they are all 'sloshy'. An 'odd' object overhead is almost always humbling and often as much psychological training as it is strength. In the beginning, I recommend sticking to bars, bells and the occasional Dynamax ball.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh boy am I so happy!

Losing weight could finally bring you the happiness that has eluded you, just as it has this woman;

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

2000 Visitors

I would just like to thank everyone that has visited my blog over the last few months.

Its my great honor to have shared my own training as well as training advice with 2000 different people. The world-wide interweb is a wonderful thing. I don't know how I could have hoped to have reached so many people in so little time without it.

That being said, I still have the same old problem; comments.
I got into the blog game to have a conversation with some folks! Right now, the ratio of visits to comments is about a 120:1 which is a substantial improvement(back in the day), but I feel like I could do better. So my message to you, dear visitors; Say Anything.

Questions? Comments. Don't like my beard? (It's a frequent topic of debate) Don't like Ivan Drago*? SAY IT!


(Ivan Drago)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Where do I get some Bells?

The response to the video that Klint and I made has been pretty great!
My tiny little blog has seen about 150 new visitors in the last 30 hours or so!
The video as posted on youtube is already my most viewed one...
I guess people really are very interested in KBs for enhancing their BJJ, Judo and MMA.
It seems like a lot of the viewers are new to KBs, and people want to know;

-what brand were we using?
-what is the best brand?

Well, in our video, we were using MuscleDriver bells.
MuscleDriver is a newer company, and they don't quite have the reputation that say DragonDoor or one of the older brands may have. Truth be told, there are a number of quality bells out there, but these two are my favorites. Valery Fedorenko and the American Kettlebell Club also produce some of their own bells, specifically designed for Girevoy Sport. They are great, but maybe a little too expensive and specialized for a beginner. DragonDoor too are not cheap. This is why I almost always recommend the MuscleDriver bells. Bang for the buck, they can't be beat!

A little one: 8kg or about 17.6lbs (1/2 Pood)

12kg- a great starter for women

24kg, or 1.5 Pood; considered the standard for men

and the 32kg... for the unusually strong!

Well, I hope this helps. I find that the MuscleDriver bells are about 90% as good as anything else out there on the market, but cost about 40-60% as much. Shipping is cheaper and faster(particularly if you are here in Richmond!), they are rarely out of stock (though at the time I write this they will be out of several popular sizes for a few more days) customer service is excellent, and they carry a line of other great strength training equipment, like sleds, plyometric equipment and lifting shoes.
They also sponsor NAS, and are heavily involved in the StrongMan world. Very cool.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why Kettlebells for Grapplers?

A lot of people ask me 'why should I use kettlebells?'.
First off; you don't have to.
You could use anything you want.
Most of the movements that are now considered de rigeur in kettlebell lifting (the windmill, the turkish get up or the side press) were all once performed with anything, including but not limited to, the kettlebell.
As Greg Glassman of Crossfit fame says 'the magic is in the movements'.
That being said, here's why I think you should use a kettlebell; the coaches. There are plenty of great coaches out their that don't teach kettlebells. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that you have to do kettlebells to be good. What I am saying is this; the RKC certification is a pretty rigorous one, and focuses in more detail on a smaller number of skills than any other to which I have been exposed. There aren't many bad RKCs... they simply don't pass the course, which has a pretty high failure rate.

Now that I've got that off my chest... I will say this as well. You could perform most KB moves with a barbell or a dumbbell. The most compelling reason to use the KB at all is because it just works. The off-centered nature of the weight makes it ideal for movements featuring an overhead lockout component... the windmill, TGU and side press again, as well as others such as the snatch and jerk. They are also convenient; they are pretty sturdy, portable and indestructible. Compared to a complete set of dumbbells, or a nice barbell and bumpers, they are pretty affordable as well.

So much for philosophizing about the KBs themselves... what about the movements? Well, my interest is in sports performance, and most specifically grappling. I love Judo, Bjj, wrestling, sambo whatever. I also love training others with the same interest! To that end, my good friend Klint Radwani (Yamasaki jiu jitsu brown belt) and I have compiled a short video pointing out a few ways in which kettlebell lifting is perfectly suited to grapplers in the gi. Check it out!

find this compelling? Come to one of my KB classes.

Some spots left!

6 Week Kettlebells for Beginners

MMA and I will be conducting a 6 week class that meets 4 mornings a week, and a lot of people seem to be wondering just what that entails!

Well, first, the basics...

It's a class for beginning to intermediate students who have little to no experience with kettlebells and even little to no experience with weightlifting/exercise

You won't need a kettlebell of your own, that will be provided for you

you can come anywhere from 2 to 4 times per week

The costs vary a little depending on participation;

12 classes=$150
18 classes=$200
24 classes=$225
(that's anywhere from $9.38 to $12.50 per class)

The class follows a progressive curriculum, ie week one is very basic and fundamental material and week six is refinement of the most advanced techniques of the course

A graduate of the course will be competent in all the major KB lifts, such as;
  1. the windmill
  2. the Turkish get up
  3. the swing
  4. the clean
  5. the jerk
  6. the snatch
  7. the russian military press
  8. the front squat
and even a few more ( see a video HERE )

and finally, the class will be a combination of theory, technique and practice as well as rigorous exercise to perfect the technique and improve the physical capacity to perform in both kettlebell lifting and in sport!

If you'd like more information or are interested in joining, please contact myself via mail me or call MMA today, as space is limited and classes start next week!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kettlebell Workshop this Weekend!

Mechanicsville Martial Arts
Jason Struck, RKC
will be hosting a 'Kettlebells for Beginners' workshop
this Saturday, May 17th from 9am until 12 noon

I'm afraid it's sold out!

But starting the following Monday (May 19th) we will be beginning
a six week course for beginners in KB lifting as well.
We still have a few spots open for this one!

Please call MMA or e-mail me for more info.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Packing and a Moving!

today, my fiancee and i are packing up our stuff and tomorrow we will move to our new home.

here's a pic!

i think we are keeping this paint job.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

River City Strongman Challenge

July 19th
the Sports Center of Richmond (SCOR)

Light and Heavy Weight Divisions (NAS)
Sanctioned by North American Strongman

  1. Axle Clean and Press for Reps (single clean, multiple presses)
  2. Axle Deadlift for Max Weight (3 attempts, Wessels rule)
  3. Farmer's Walk; 100 feet, straight course, 1 drop
  4. Medley; Tire Flip+Standing Hand-over-Hand sled pull
  5. Atlas Stones
Entries must be received by June 27th

for more info; info@rivercitystrongman.com

sneak preview;
Strongman Training at the Weight Room and Weight Room athletes in competition!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kettlebell Basics one day seminar!

Weekend after next (May 17th) Mechanicsville Martial Arts will be hosting a 3 hour introductory course to KB lifting, taught by me!

See my previous post for more info; HERE

Crossfit Overhead Squat Benchmark

Still making good progress in my OHS, but not at quite the same pace!

Tested my max at 135lbs, got ten reps. I think I can bump this to about 16-18 in 2 weeks. We'll see.

When I retest, I'll have to shoot another video!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Introduction to Kettlebell Lifting

Coming soon!

RiverCity Physical Culture and Mechanicsville Martial Arts(MMA)
are going to be teaming up to offer a six week course that will instruct
beginners on the core lifts of the RKC system
and prepare them for training on their own or in groups.

We will cover;
  • Front Squats
  • Russian Military Press
  • Jerk
  • Clean
  • Snatch
  • Windmills
  • Turkish Get Ups
  • a lot more
In addition, we will learn accessory and assistance lifts, as well as how to train;
The girevoy sport methods
the 'Hard-Style' methods
training for sport
for strength
for endurance
for fat loss

Prices will be dirt cheap, the facility great and classes will be offered at least 3 times a week!

Unfortunately, in order to ensure the best training for the participants,
we will have to limit enrollment, so space is limited and on a first-come,
first-pay=first served basis.

Click here to for more info about MMA and to sign up!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Kettlebell Workshop Mechanicsville, VA

Mechanicsville Martial Arts
Richmond's Yamasaki Jiu Jitsu affiliate
will be hosting a one day introduction to kettlebell lifting seminar on
May 17th
from 9am until 12 noon at their school,
located near the intersection of Mechanicsville Turnpike and I 295

as instructed by me, Jason Struck, RKC

cost of attendance will be $20,
and is limited to the first 15 participants to sign up.
Call Klint or Mike ( (804) 840-2434 ) to reserve your spot today!

Do Win Shoe Review

Guess what came in the MAIL TODAY!!!

I was pretty excited, I have been really itchin to go hit some olympic lifts in my new shoes....

here's the story- click here to see the previous post

I got the first half of my order on monday, all of 2 business days after I ordered them. The shoes were not included, they didn't arrive until Thursday, or 5 business days after I placed my order. I am not certain why, but the shoes had to be shipped separately.

First impressions?
  • style-pretty cool for O lifting shoes (kind of like retro Saucony)
  • fits my foot pretty nicely
  • I ordered according to my usual French size (44), but I ordered one size smaller (43) as that is what everyone says you're supposed to do. It worked out perfect, they fit like a glove!
  • Not super breathable, but I have tried on a few others (suede) that where like spending a summer day in a rubber coffin. After wearing them for a while, I have to say; Not as breathable or light as the Nike Free, (duh) but pretty damn comfy!
  • The heel is actually pretty understated. It's shorter than last year's Do Win, which is fine by me, because like so many other Crossfitting jerks, I have been doing most of my O lifts in Nike Free's. I wasn't ready to start wearing stilettos.