Landmine Training| A Simple Workout for Fat Loss

fat loss, Landmine Training

 

The landmine attachment is a hybrid workout tool and a great addition to any home gym set-up.

Landmine attachments are a part free weight/part fixed range of motion apparatus.  One end of the barbell slides inside of the landmine sleeve while the other end is controlled by the user.  The sleeved end of the barbell pivots about a range of motion as the user engages in pressing, pulling and grappling with the free end.

Here’s a video…

Similar to barbell training, the exercises can be progressed by adding weight plates or increasing the complexity of the exercise.  Training factors like reps, sets, time under tension may also be adjusted to suit the needs of the individual.

The user controls the free end of the barbell, which will travel through an arcing, fixed range of motion.  Commonly barbells are 7 feet in length, so the range of motion is wide.

For the beginner, no weight or a very limited amount of weight may be necessary to familiarize oneself with the functionality of the set-up.

The barbell/landmine integration adds another dimension of unique exercises to a person’s exercise selection.  Many of these exercises will surface in future articles, though a few will be discussed in this post. which will be discussed briefly with the elements of this workout, but in greater detail in future articles.

Nearly any traditional exercise can be performed using a landmine, the main difference becomes this “fixed range of motion” feature.  Having a fixed range of motion transforms many exercises into “angled exercises”, naturally.  

Using the landmine in combination short rest and a high amount of work can inject a much-needed freshness to fat loss workouts where creating EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) is the goal.  Maximum metabolic disruption.  

Obviously, nutrition is an important piece of any body transformation, but including challenging workouts will increase the speed at which fat is burned and lean muscle is earned.

This simple landmine complex workout is just one in an entire Rolodex of workout options.  I plan to share them all, so strap in.

The Workout…

 Perform each exercise in descending order for the reps listed… 

Split Stance Angled Press x 5 right/left

Reverse Lunge x5 right/left

Bent Over Row x6 right/left

Front Squat x6 

Landmine Grappler T

Single Leg Deadlift x6 right/left

This workout might be considered a complex, where all of the work is performed and rest is taken at the end of the last rep of single leg deadlifts.  

I recommend working through 3-6 total rounds of this landmine complex.  

Rest will vary based on a person’s current conditioning, but 45-90 seconds is generally appropriate for most people.  

I’ve had complexes where I rested for 45 seconds in between early rounds (1-3), and longer in between later rounds (4-6) based on my fatigue level.  Adjust the rest as needed.    

There is no right or wrong amount, the key is to push yourself without sacrificing exercise technique.

[Sidenote: If this type of training interests you, all landmine workout ideas are going to be continually posted on the M[EAUX}TION YouTube page and described in further detail later on the blog.]

Closing it out…

Using the landmine in combination less rest and a higher amount of work can inject a much-needed freshness to fat loss specific training where EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption) is the goal.  EPOC, in my world, is simply creating a training effect specific to burning fat loss.  It can be achieved through many methods:  cardio, resistance training or a combination of both.

Short-term metabolic disruption.  Stressing the body to expand performance.

Doing more work in less time is one way to measure and describe work capacity. Work capacity-oriented workouts are a very potent method to assist in reducing body fat.  

Obviously, I cannot tell you it is the ONLY WAY (because this is not true), but there is no arguing the “lean out effect” from doing more physical work in less time.  The training effect is massive, and the benefits extend beyond the workout.

It’s common for people to lose fat despite any nutritional changes.

Lower-load resistance training coupled with interval-style bursts develops work-capacity beyond what traditional cardio can offer, while maintaining the potency of resistance-training.  The keyword in the bolded/underlined sentence is “lower”.  Sub-maximal weight is best for metabolic workouts.

For the record, I don’t feel metabolic workouts trump traditional cardio.  You’ll see this as the M(EAUX)TION content grows.  Both have their place in training as useful tools.

In the future, you’ll see more landmine workouts posted, except integrated with bodyweight exercises and other training tools to increase the flavor and shake things up a bit.  

Bodyweight exercise always pairs nicely, whether it’s traditional (push-ups, pull-ups, etc) or new-school ground-based movements like you’d find in Animal Flow.

 

For now, get going on this workout, let me know how you made out.

KG

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Metabolic Conditioning: The Bear Barbell Complex Workout

20 minute Workouts, Quick Tips

“The Bear” Barbell Complex is as close to flowing barbell training with a barbell that you’ll ever get, or at least I have ever gotten.

I’ll assume that “The Bear” is referred to as “The Bear” because of how difficult the workout is.

This complex workout leverages barbells.  Barbells are mostly thought to develop pure strength and power.

The barbell was manufactured to work well for moving heavy weight.  Moving heavy weight creates the ideal training stimulus for building strength.  If a person moves the barbell fast enough across a set distance (Point A to Point B), the barbell becomes a tool that enhances an individuals power.  Think cleans, snatches, jerks, etc.

  • Slower moving + heavy weight = Strength Development
  • Fast moving + medium/heavy weight = Force Production = Power Development

Although barbell training might not be an appetizing fitness solution for a lot of people, taking some time to learn and practice the basics of barbell training can pay a person back ten-fold over time.

My guess is a lot of people avoid barbell training because of the intimidation and unfamiliarity factor, or for some, the uncomfortable sensation of iron grinding against the skin.  Barbell work will develop tough hands over time.

The callouses I cannot help you with… but if you want to know more about barbell training, buy Starting Strength by Mark Rippletoe.  Read a few pages, practice, read a few more pages and practice some more.  There is a wealth of knowledge in Starting Strength that can help you establish the emotional confidence and the technique to play around with the barbell a bit more.

It’s important not to be afraid or intimidated by the barbell.  When people think of barbell training they usually picture a 300lb tank-of-a-man squatting 500lbs, yelling like a maniac during every rep while his friends stand around yelling like maniacs during every rep.

You’re partially right if this is your initial mental picture.  But barbells, and how we use them to develop physical qualities has evolved a lot over the years.

Like any other fitness tool, barbells can be leveraged for other purposes also.

In particular, I enjoy using the barbell during work capacity directed training sessions (aka: metabolic conditioning) or at the end of a workout for a short burst finisher.  Think high reps with lower loads, or a highly concentrated amount of work done in a short time frame, or unique mixture of both.

When I re-stumbled onto the The Bear Barbell Complex a few weeks ago, I reintroduced myself to a style of barbell training that I used to use quite a bit, especially when available workout time was limited.

“What is The Bear Complex?, you ask.

Come a bit closer and let’s take a look…

Barrier to Entry

Tools: Barbell and plates (bumper or standard metal work fine), clock timer such as the GymBoss.
Skill:  Working knowledge of the barbell based exercises listed below.

The Exercises

#1: Power Clean

#2: Front Squat

#3:  Push Press

#4: Back Squat

#5:  Behind-the-neck Push Press

Workout Structure

–  Each movement is performed for 1 repetition before immediately moving into the next exercise.

–  1 Cycle =  1 repetition from #1-#5 in alternating/descending order.  After exercise #5’s rep, return back to exercise #1.

–  1 Round = 7 Cycles

–  Perform 5 Rounds

–  Rest 90 seconds after finishing each round.

–  Barbell weight is dependent on:

  • Weakest lift (the weakest lift determines the appropriate load, which should be sub-maximal)
  • Exercise technique and know-how.
  • Reaction to fatigue (which correlates closely with the deterioration of exercise technique)
  • Advanced Women – 95lbs
  • Advanced Men – 135lbs

The Extended Break-Down…

There are 35 reps of every movement being performed throughout all 5 rounds.  Just 35 reps.  If you consider the volume of a more traditional work-rest training session, where a squat is performed for 8 reps x 3-4sets, the volume is not much higher.

The weight used is also much lighter than a more traditional work-rest set and should be determined by your weakest lift in the complex.  For a lot of people that is going to be the push press, possibly the power clean (grip). I’m asking you to perform 5 reps for each round.  The barbell load should be a sub-maximal, which means that you should be able to push press that barbell for 8-10 reps comfortably.

My suggestions on weight for men and women are not the law.  Adjust the weight to what is appropriate for your current fitness level and know-how.

Every exercise is performed for a single rep before moving into the next exercise.  From rep to rep, you’re alternating between different movement pattern throughout each cycle.  It’s important to understand this aspect of The Bear Complex, because it’s one of it’s features that makes it so physically taxing.

Elevation Change

The barbell begins on the floor and travels to chest height after the clean and during the front squat.  After the front squat the barbell moves overhead after the push press.  The barbell then transitions from the front of the body to the back of the body on the descent down from the push press.

At this point, the barbell rests on the shoulders while you perform a back squat.  At the top of the back squat, the barbell is forcefully pressed overhead once more, and caught back into the front rack position at chest height.  The barbell is guided back to waist height and eventually back down to the floor to prepare for the next cycle, starting with a power clean.

The training stimulus elicited by moving the barbell up and down, front to back, movement to movement creates a large metabolic training effect.

Performing single rep of a movement pattern, followed by single rep of a completely different movement pattern, while bundling a bunch of different movement patterns together in a row (creating a “cycle”) is extremely fatiguing.  It’s provides a unique training stimulus for the body to cope with and also laser-like focus for the mind to keep up with since every rep involves a different movement pattern.

‘Single-rep-alternating-movement-pattern-workouts’ have proven to be an effective variation of traditional complex training, where exercises are performed for multiple repetitions before moving on to the next movement pattern.

If you’re accustomed to sectioning off your complexes, doing 6 reps of one exercise here and 6 reps of another there before moving on, alternating movement patterns with every rep will be a shock to your system.

It’s reiterating once again that alternating the movement pattern on every rep requires great skill.  The barbell is constantly changes levels, stopping and starting in different positions.  The transitions can be brutal.  There’s a high level of focus needed here.

The Fatigue is Coming…

During The Bear Complex, the first few reps/cycles usually don’t feel too rough, but the wave of fatigue that bites you in the ass somewhere around cycle 5, 6 or 7 can be overwhelming.  Possibly so much so that executing all 7 cycles for any 1 round is just plain unreasonable if you’re new it.  Don’t be afraid to remove your hands from the barbell to take a break and to gather yourself.

Loaded conditioning is a fantastic method to burn fat and develop high level work capacity which has great transfer into sport and becoming more resilient toward real life labor, but fatigue can break down your exercise technique.  Don’t be a hero here, be smart.  If 5 rounds is too much, do 4 rounds.  Be reasonable.

Movement technique first and foremost, forever and always.

Pay Attention to your grip integrity

Alternating movement patterns and transitioning the bar to different resting positions can fry your grip.  Consider that the bar is moving from the floor, to chest to over head, to shoulders, back to overhead and finally back down to the floor position.  That’s a lot of bar movement.  Don’t be afraid to walk away from the barbell if your grip starts to slip.  A quality grip is needed for the cleans.  Attempting to pull a barbell with a poor grip can be dangerous, and the fatigue that’s been created with slow your reaction/recovery time.  Again, rest for a few seconds, gather yourself, then complete the work with a solid grip.

If you’re a tenacious sweater like I am, also be aware of any sweat rolling down your forearm and into the hand/barbell interface.  Don’t push through this situation either.  Dry all surfaces with a towel and continue on.  Maybe consider using a no mess chalk solution such as HumanX Chalk Balls to help maintain grip.  Chalking your hands has come a long way.
.

This workout is advanced 

Complex training in general is an advanced form of training.

Any exercise scheduled in a complex must be an exercise that you have a familiarity with BEFORE you enter the workout.  You must have experience and proficiency in executing each of the included exercises on an individual level before you attempt a workout like The Bear Complex.  If you don’t know how to perform any one of the exercises, The Bear Complex is not the place to learn.

Explore…

If you’re looking to add in some variety to your training, give The Bear Complex a legitimate shot.  Be honest with your rest periods, your exercise technique and the structure of the reps, cycles, rounds.  Also be honest with weight that you choose to use.  There’s no shame in lessening the load if you need to.

Cheers to The Bear…

Kyle

(Video Coming Soon)

Can You Swing it? High Repetition Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Training

The kettlebell swing is a fascinating exercise.

It’s hard to think up another exercise that delivers so many benefits in one shot.  

The next best thing are probably deadlifts or thrusters.

Multiple birds are killed with one stone, that stone being the kettlebell swing.

Despite what magazines and news media will tout, there really isn’t just one exercise that a person should base an entire workout program around.  It’s not fair to the exercise and it’s not fair to you, the trainee. Although, there are some programs that revolve around the kettlebell swing.  

One that comes to mind is: The Swing!

If you’re a beginner that needs to develop the basics of bodyweight strength and conditioning, then exercises like push-ups, squats, crawling, pull-ups and chin-ups is where you should spend your time.  

Animal Flow may be a bodyweight oriented program to consider.  

Bodyweight exercise will transition you into kettlebell swings with a sound foundation of strength and conditioning. 

Now, if you have a handle on all of those movements, experience with lifting weight and you’re looking for a refreshing movement to throw into the mix, kettlebell swings are for you.  

Kettlebell swings have been a staple exercise in my workouts for the past 7+ years.  

The impact on my performance and body composition was immediate.  

For my own purposes, kettlebell swing have been magic.

I haven’t found a tool (the kettlebell) or an exercise (the swing) that can maintain or build lean muscle in a comparable way.  

Swings stripped fat off of my body while building functional strength and cardiovascular conditioning I didn’t previously have.  

Swinging kettlebells has improved my running, particularly power I’m able to generate from the hip extension.  

Kettlebell swings are a total body activity.  Few muscles are working during a set of swings.  

Swinging kettlebells has also improved my work capacity, or my conditioning.  

A few years ago, I rarely swung my 28kg bell beyond the 15-20 rep mark.  In reflection, that was both stupid and smart on my part.

Many so-called experts were throwing out cautionary tales of that high rep swings were pointless, or potentially dangerous.  

I bought into it.  Foolishly.  

Until I read a book from Bud Jefferies where he described how he burned loads of fat from his body (without losing much strength) using high rep kettlebell swing workouts.  

Since that time, I have explored the higher rep ranges of swings myself and had great success.  

—> Here is a short list of my observations and findings during that time<—

1)  High rep kettlebell swings will expose any weaknesses in your grip endurance and make your forearms burn like crazy.

2)  Building off of #1, you may find that the limiting factor to higher rep swinging is in fact… your grip and your ability to hold on to the kettlebell.

3)  Soft tissue work on the forearms using a lacrosse ball, trigger point therapy ball or something similar is crucial to avoid the development of range of motion restrictions in your wrists.

4)  You’ll get lean quick… “quick” as in a matter of 3+ sessions you’ll notice drastic increases in your metabolism, hunger and visual changes in the mirror (think 2-3 weeks time for visual change).

5)  You’ll need to use a foam roller (or other soft tissue tool) to smash and iron out your low and mid back.  The eccentric and concentric stress placed on muscles (not the spine) is aggressive when swinging for high reps multiple days per week.  You’ll feel soreness after the early sessions and stiff over time if you don’t take time to roll and massage your back.

6)  Hip power, and the ability to repeated produce athletic-like hip extension increases dramatically in time.  This is ideal for success in any athletic endeavor.

7)  Work capacity increases significantly, and has great carry over other athletic activities.

8)  10-20 minute swing workouts are enough to provide a MED (minimum effective dose) response and initiate noticeable fat loss while retaining lean muscle.

9)  There is potential for overuse and injury if adequate rest, recovery and repair tactics are not employed.

These are just observations.  

I’m not here to broadcast kettlebell swings as the end all be all.  Too many swings can be bad if you’re reckless with your approach. 

Structuring a workout, you’ve got several options.  

First, I would consider “high rep swings” to be any quantity over 100+ in a single training session.  If you’ve never swung a kettlebell before and consider yourself a beginner,  40-50 swings might be considered high rep for your experience level.  If you’re advanced, 200+ might your ticket.  It just depends on your conditioning level and familiarity with swinging.

A classic benchmark swing workout for beginners and intermediate alike would be:

Baseline Kettlebell Swing Workout

(100 reps total)

A workout like this is deceptively challenging.  

The rest periods can make it feel like you’re hardly working, yet in the later rounds,  the fatigue snowballs and each swing is a grind.  

By the numbers, in 10 minutes you’ve completed 100 swings.  

If you’ve chosen an appropriate weight for a workout like this, 24kg for men and a 16kg/20kg for women are good starting points, there’s no doubt you’ll be feeling this workout in the days after. 

This type of workout uses a traditional work:rest model.  

Rest is plentiful enough to avoid sloppy swings for the duration of the workout, even after heart rate begins to climb and muscle fatigue sets in.  

Speaking of a heart rate monitor, if you want to be more precise with the length of your work and rest periods, a heart rate monitor can be used to track recovery heart rates which will initiate the next set of swings.  

Commonly I’ve used 130 bpm as the trigger for the next set of swings.  When you see 130 on the watch, you’re swinging.

I’ve toyed around with many other workout structures, some good and some bad.  I discuss some of those in this article right here.

Workout design options for high-rep kettlebell swings are endless.

It’s important to swing heavier bells if you want to maximize the training effect of each workout.  

Especially with 2-handed swings.  A lot of people make the mistake of swinging kettlebell that aren’t heavy enough to challenge their hip hinge pattern.  

The hips are the most powerful set of muscles in the body, so sizing up your bell is advised.  

As great as swings are, your body adapts to the training stress extremely fast.  What once felt like a heavy kettlebell to swing will soon feel easy.  

Adding more volume to your swing workouts is not always the right choice.  At some point, you’re wasting your time by swinging 500 reps every workout.  

Instead, swing 100 reps with a kettlebell two sizes heavier and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results.  

It’s basic progression, the same kind of progression that you would use with more traditional strength training or cardiovascular training.

Swinging heavier kettlebells naturally demand more hip snap to move the weight through the arc of motion.  

Lighter kettlebells can influence a person to lift the kettlebell instead of hiking, hinging and snapping it through.  We want hip snap, not lifting.  

If we’re going to lift, we will deadlift. Kettlebell swings are a ballistic movement, snap those hips!

After increasing the weight of your kettlebell, expect to decrease the reps, which makes logical sense doesn’t it?  

If you add 75lbs to your barbell back squat, you’re probably not going to hit the same number of reps as you did before adding that weight.  Same for swings.  

For example, if you can swing a 24kg bell for 50 consecutive (“unbroken” if you’re a familiar with Cross-Fit lingo) reps no problem and you bump up to a 28kg/32kg bell for an added challenge, don’t be surprised if you can hardly manage 30 reps.  

Grip may fail you before your hip extension will.

So, after all of that rambling… should you work high repetition kettlebell swings into your fitness endeavors?

Well I will say this:  I’m a fan of high repetition kettlebell swings.  

If you can “swing it” (pun completely intended), they are fantastic.  Both from an body appearance (fat loss + lean muscle retention) and sports performance standpoint, kettlebell swings deliver.  

There are advantages and disadvantages (as there are with everything in life), but at the end of the day, kettlebell swings are well worth the time investment to learn and practice.

If you swing consistently and eat properly… you’ll lean out, fast.

It wouldn’t feel right ending an article implying kettlebell swings are the answer all of body transformation.  

Swings are a valuable exercise to help initiate fat loss and lean muscle gain, but nutrition is the grandaddy of body transformation.  

You won’t be able to out swing a poor diet.  

If there was any #truth in this post, it is this:  

You can exponentially increase the visual impact (fat loss, lean muscle gain, “the shrink wrapping effect”) of your swing workouts if you include effective eating habits.

Even an ounce of nutritional effort, coupled with smart exercise, will result in fat loss.  

Proper pre-workout nutrition will give you the energy needed to crush your workouts.  

Post-workout nutrition will help re-fuel and repair the body afterward, setting the stage for nutrient partitioning and readying the body for the next workout.

I know for a fact most people don’t know where to start with nutrition.  It’s overwhelming.  I’m confident these statements will resonate with many readers, because I was once the confused/overwhelmed guy.  I had no friggin clue where to start with nutrition.

One important tip is this: your nutrition doesn’t need to look like anyone else’s nutrition.

Why? Because they aren’t you!  

What worked for them might not work for you, and the moment you presume that it will, as soon as it doesn’t, you’ll be crushed.  

If there was only one way to eat, there would only be one nutrition book on Amazon.

However, that being said, if you’ve never considered Intermittent Fasting and your goal is to lose fat while gain or maintaining muscle, I suggest you take a look at: 

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 5.42.13 AM

Intermittent Fasting

“Eat Stop Eat” author Brad Pilon is on his 2nd or 3rd edition of this landmark guide to Intermittent Fasting.  Why?  Because the research on Intermittent Fasting is being published in droves.  

Take a look as some of the before and after photos on the website.  It’s crazy.  Most people are stripping fat with minimal physical exercise.  

Why transitioned to Intermittent Fasting…

Personally, I leaned out beyond my already low body fat while on I.F., but it wasn’t my goal.  I don’t like being freakishly lean.  Just being lean is good enough for me.  Besides, I drink a lot of craft beer.  

Anyways, the reason I tested Intermittent Fasting was because I used to get terrible cloudiness after eating food in the afternoon.  I’d eat and then immediately feel like I had to peel my eyes open while at work.  It sucked, more annoying than anything.  Especially when you’re motivated to be productive with your time, but you’re stuck in food haze.

Roughly 7-10 days into my first experience with Intermittent Fasting, and I had tweaked my eating schedule to avoid the afternoon food daze altogether.  It turned out to be a really great solution to a ridiculous problem.  

Toss some kettlebell swings in the with some clever diet patterning, and you’re going to lean out in a hurry.  

So far, Intermittent Fasting has not affected my workouts at all.  If anything, I feel better during my workout.

Again, there are many ways to peel an onion, make sure you find the way best for you.  

 

 

Cheers to “swinging it”!

KG

The RKC Deep Six Kettlebell Workout

Kettlebell Training

 

The RKC Deep Six Kettlebell Workout provides a valuable lesson in the proven effectiveness of practicing six fundamental kettlebell exercises:

  • Snatches
  • Swings
  • Cleans and Presses
  • Squats
  • Turkish Get-Ups

Boom.  

There’s power in peeling away the minutiae to attack time-tested exercises.  

The less, but better approach.

Practicing the fundamentals regularly will deliver predictably great results.  

It’s dangerous to make claims, but I feel it’s hard to argue on the effectiveness of exercises like snatches, squats, pressing, turkish get-ups and swings.  Especially with intelligent workout design.   

It’s rare to find a person who doesn’t make massive progress by fully committing to a training program focused on improving the fundamentals, the basics.

Nevermind kettlebell training for a quick second, this applies to any training methodology.  People who go all in on becoming the best they can be with the basics of any training method reap big rewards in nearly all physical categories (strength, stability, endurance, mobility, work capacity, power, etc).  Beyond that, new doors are opened more progressive athletic endeavors.

The holy grails of body transformation, fat loss and lean muscle gain, can be achieved equally well through fundamental training.  When fat loss occurs and layers of usable muscle are built, weight loss becomes a myth as well.  People look in the mirror and like what they see, sometimes at a heavier weight than where they started! 

One of the biggest tragedies in the health and wellness is how the general public has been fooled into believing exercise must be sexy, hardcore or extreme to be effective.

It doesn’t.  

Simple doesn’t mean worse and complex doesn’t mean better.  

God, it feels good to say that.  

Fitness is cyclical in what’s popular, no different than fashion or haircuts.  The old ways will become the “new” ways once again.  It’s easy to drift away from fundamental exercise, the tried and true. 

“Sexy” is always a bit tempting, isn’t it?  

Shit, sexy training tempts me every day.  Especially with the exponential growth of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.  We are exposed to it more than ever.

The fundamentals shouldn’t be neglected because they are the pillars from which great progression is built.  Give them a chance to work wonders for you, as they have for millions of people.  

Let’s chat about this workout, shall we?…

As mentioned in the opening comments, the RKC Deep Six Kettlebell Workout is designed around snatches, swings, cleans and presses, squats and turkish get-ups.  These are “big bang for your buck” exercises.  

For early visualization, here is a snapshot plucked from the Meauxtion Pinterest board:

The RKC Deep Six Workout

Workout Structure… 

Each of the movements will be performed in the order above, 1 through 5, starting with snatches.  Complete all 5 reps of snatches, proceed on to 5 reps on single arm swings, 5 reps of clean to press, etc.  

This workout uses one kettlebell, so keep in mind each exercise must be performed on BOTH SIDES OF THE BODY before advancing.

Again, the exercise order and repetition structure of The RKC Deep Six Kettlebell Workout looks the following:

5 Snatches

5 Single Arm Swings

5 Clean to Press

5 Squats

1 Turkish Get-Up

The Turkish Get-Up is the only exercise that uses a different rep structure, 1 per side.  

Because this is a single kettlebell workout, you’ll be changing hands/sides after each Turkish Get-Up.  

How do you go about changing sides?

Ideally, you’d change hands without letting the kettlebell touch the floor.  The requires a hand to hand transition similar to this: 

 

However, if you’ve never executed a hand to hand transition, don’t attempt it under fatigue.  Body position, timing, coordination all change when you’re tired.  It can be a great way to wreck yourself.  

In this situation, set the kettlebell down and pick it up with the other hand, continue on.  No worries.  

Rest period management is an important aspect of getting the most out of work capacity training.  The decision to increase or decrease rest periods will depend on your fitness level and past experience.  It is better to start with longer rest periods and complete more rounds with better quality movement.    

In general, plan on resting 1-2 minutes between each round.

Remember, each round consists of one full cycle through the exercises (snatches to turkish get-ups) on each hand.

Complete 3-5 total rounds.

Workout Summary: 

  • 5 reps per exercise (except Turkish Get Ups) per arm.
  • 3-5 total rounds
  • 1-2 minutes rest after each round.

Personal Recommendations…

Common sense isn’t always so common.  

Keep water and a towel nearby.  Hands lubricated with sweat on introduces the possibility of losing hold of the kettlebell.  A solid grip is important to have with most kettlebell exercises.  Snatches, swings and clean are all exercises that rely heavily on having a good grip on the kettlebell.

Exclude any exercises you’re unfamiliar with.  Practice them another time, not when you’re tired or too stubborn to remove them.  You should be proficient in each of the drills listed before you engage in this workout.

How often should you do this workout?  Honestly, not that often.  In the short-term, you could use this workout two or three times a week.  However, adaptation to physical stress can occur quickly, particularly if it’s the same pattern of physical stress (doing the same thing over and over without change).

Without making adjustments to load progression, additional reps, decreasing rest or mixing in variation, the encouraging gains experienced in the beginning when training stimulus will remain the same.   

Scale this workout to your abilities.  If you require fewer reps per exercise, decrease the reps.  If your body needs more time to recover, add more rest.  If 3 rounds is a bit aggressive, crush 2 rounds.  If you burn through 5 rounds no problem, increase the weight of the kettlebell next time.  

Progression is a long-term play.  Build up smart.  

If you want more progressive kettlebell workouts like this, check out Forest Vance’s Kettlebell Challenge Workouts.  

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Forest designed a bunch of challenging turn-key workouts to keep a person progressing for a long time. 

Turn-key workouts often serve as benchmarks to measure increases in physical fitness, or they can function to limit decision fatigue when trying to decide on the workout for the day.  I’ve used them both ways with success.  

For more exercise ideas and workouts updated daily, make sure you subscribe to M[EAUX]TION on the following platforms:

Make sure you take action on this RKC Deep Six Workout, it’s a good one.  Also, make sure to leave me a comment on how you made out.   

Cheers to your effort…

Kyle 

The Brilliance of CrossFit

Quick Tips

crossfit logo

The day that I opened by mind and stopped hating on other methods of building physical fitness is the day that I realized that I could write a book, teach it and be a resource to the masses.

If you’ve spent any time lurking around this blog, you’ve undoubtedly come across some posts where I take some jabs at the fitness phenomena known as CrossFit.

While I am not endorsing CrossFit in this post, I do have to pay this fitness monster a few compliments.

Because you see, CrossFit, while not completely in line with my thought process and methodology, has achieved some feats (in a matter of a few years) that hundreds of other fitness fads have failed at miserably.

This post is devoted to acknowledging these feats.  Yes, CrossFit, I am going to pump your tires for a bit here, but that doesn’t meant that you and I are buddies by any means…

Community.

The first thing that I noticed about CrossFit, all silly training methods aside, is that they have built a community that is unlike any other.  And they did it record time, as CrossFit was founded in 2000.  We all probably know someone who is a member of a CrossFit “box”, and you have probably heard this person (in conversation) talk about how great it is to workout with the support and encouragement of other CrossFitters.  I hear it all of the time.  It’s the same attitude and encouragement that you receive when you are apart of an athletic team.  No one wants to see anyone else fail.  The attitude seems to be that although the workouts are accomplished on the individual level, the greater victory is that everyone finishes the race.  I can get on board with that.

Intensity.

CrossFit has given people the hope that working out doesn’t have to be centered around cheesy aerobic bars and headbands, water weights, hamster training (withering away for life on the treadmill), or Jazzercise while blasting the Tina Turner on a treble dominant boom box.  It brought “cool” back to giving a training session an all out effort, using every god-given muscle to complete physical tasks.  It brought the idea that it’s ok to put the “work” back in working out.  A little effort never killed anyone, although pushing it too far has definitely hurt some people.  Breathe a little intensity back into your training.  You’ve probably got another safe gear to switch in to.

Positive body composition shift.

This builds off of intensity.  I like that Cross-Fit doesn’t preach the same old song and dance about working out and it’s benefits for fat loss.  Yes, I talk about this a lot on this blog, but I also stress the importance of fat loss as BY PRODUCT of working both hard and smart.  Work capacity style training sessions will burn fat like none other, especially when using total body lifts and sub-maximal loading.  Assuming the person doesn’t injure themselves or cause long-term internal damage from the training stimulus, it is safe to say that training sessions that involve metabolic resistance-like efforts are going to rip fat off of your body.  I’ll even go as far as saying that you can avoid an alterations in your diet (for a little while) and see great results.  Lord knows the number of people who would rather exercise over tweak the basics in their diet.  It’s habit, I get it, change is difficult for me too.

Iron and women.

Women are afraid of rough hands and bulky bodies.  Okay, this might be a bad stereotype, but in my experience most women hate the idea of loading a barbell and lifting it with their silky soft hands.  Heaven forbid ladies, you roughen them up a bit.  CrossFit made this cool also.  When you walk into a CrossFit gym, it’s common to see no cable machine or rubber coated handles of any kind.  It’s mostly iron.  Skin on iron.  Those women who survive the first few weeks of torture, seem to end up becoming addicted to moving weight with hands on iron.  You wouldn’t believe the kind of resistance that most strength coaches and personal trainers get when attempting to integrate barbell work into a clients training regimen.  I applaud you CrossFit.

Crazy lifts.

CrossFit has done what even strength coaches and highly educated personal trainers could not.  They made olympic lifting “cool”.  The people in my social network that regularly attend CrossFit training sessions think that Olympic lifting (snatches, cleans, jerks, etc) is the greatest thing ever.  In CrossFit’s infancy, I know for a fact that these lifts were being taught half-ass.  It was disturbing to think that they were even posting videos on their website, basically showing the crime being committed.  Over the years, however, I have noticed that they have progressively taken steps forward in the reinforcement of technique during such lifts.  If nothing else, it’s encouraging to see gym owners/trainers taking the time to coach before loading them up for a WOD.

Bright minds surface.

Guys like Kelly Starret are the greatest thing that has ever happened to CrossFit.  I say no more.

Rogue.

Rogue training equipment is brilliant.  I have been looking for rugged training gear that is meant for un-polished concrete for a while.  I always wondered why I couldn’t find anything that could be used OUTSIDE of the controlled gym environment.  The fact that the bumper plates from Rogue are recycled from used car tires and have minimal bounce when dropped, are a major turn on for me.  I can support this.  Part of the problem of a person’s struggling commitment to fitness is the dullness of the place where fitness happens.  It’s like going to school when you were younger… you knew that you had to go but dreaded waking up for it every day.  Get outside, train in your garage or your basement.  Don’t be reckless, but don’t be afraid to switch up your scenery to keep your training fresh and interesting.

The Wrap Up…

I feel like I just went to confession.  I purged myself on this blog just now.  But as I alluded to earlier in the post, I have to stop holding grudges against ideas and methods that I don’t like. Life is too short, there is value is just about everything.  The sad part is that the strength coach community does the same thing.  I won’t fall victim to being narrow-minded.

Since adopting this sort of open-minded thinking, my writing skills (book-wise) have improved tremendously.  I no longer feel pigeon-holed to writing about any one technique.  “Cornered” might be a better description.  All methods work just fine when executed properly, it’s just a matter of assessing yourself both physically and mentally, your goals and then getting to work.

 

 

Cheers to some positive things that Crossfit has brought to the table!

KG

How Fast Can You Complete the 100 Burpee Challenge?

Quick Tips

ImageThe Burpee.

I’ve been obsessed with work capacity style workouts for quite sometime now, and I have a love/hate relationship with burpees.  Burpees have been a main ingredient in many of these workouts, and for damn good reason.

Burpees are one of the greatest work total body conditioning exercises known to man.  

Transitioning from a standing position down into a pushup then immediately back into a full squat jump is fatiguing as all heck.  Incredibly fatiguing.

If someone gave me the choice between burpees, kettlebell swings, Schwinn Airdyne sprints or hill sprints as a work capacity conditioning session, I am going to choose all three of the latter before I choose burpees.  Sorry burpees.  Sometimes the best exercises are the ones that we dread the most.  This is one of those cases for me and many others out there.  

However, since this is a love/hate relationship, I have to admit that the burpee can drastically improve a person’s cardiovascular conditioning while accelerating body composition changes.  

In other words, if you keep working at burpees and get really good at them, you’re going to put yourself into a state of great physical shape and see some serious changes in the mirror.

I wouldn’t never build an entire program around burpees alone- or any exercise- but I would build an entire workout or a solid “finisher” around the burpees.  “Finishers” are sequences of exercises grouped together at the end of a workout to elicit a large metabolic training effect.  They are designed to test your mind and your body, and well, finish you.

If you enjoy leaving the gym feeling highly fatigued- and lets face it most of us do- the 100 burpee for time finisher is a fantastic challenge.  

Here is how it works:

—> The Rules for the 100 Burpee AFAP (as fast as possible) <—

  • Full burpees only (push up and squat jump included).
  • Take breaks as needed but remember you’re racing the clock.
  • Stop if you experience nausea or dizziness.

That’s it.  Set the clock and get to work.  

Now, I know that not everyone is at a fitness level to perform burpees for the full 100 reps.  You may not be able to finish 20 reps.  If this is the case, adjust the challenge to fit you.

Here are some general guidelines for different fitness levels:

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If you’ve never performed a single rep of burpees, you’re a beginner in my book.  Sorry, but you are.  You might be physically fit but you’ve never experienced a single burpee.  Nothing wrong with that.  Never a better time to start implementing the burpee.

What I really like about this challenge is that it requires zero equipment, can be performed anywhere and can serve as a conditioning test that you can continue to re-test to see improvements in fitness.  It’s no different than testing how fast you can run 2-miles.  

One of the keys to work capacity style workouts and finishers is to avoid letting your mind cash checks that your body can’t cash.  

The best work capacity workouts keep the trainee in complete control of their body and the weight being used.  Of course, it’s every person’s responsibility to pull the plug at his or her own discretion.  You’ve got a brain, don’t be afraid to use it, even if it means swallowing your pride and falling short of your goals for the training session.  

If reps get sloppy, stop the set and regroup.  Grab a drink, take a breather, gather yourself.  If you still cannot finish the set after a break in the action, stop.  Done.  Finished.  

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Don’t be afraid to pull the plug.

Grinding out one more rep with horrific form isn’t worth the torn rotator cuff, slipped disc in the lower back or tweaked ankle.  There’s no glory in it.  None.

I’d like to think that much of what I advocate on this blog is high tempo, yet safe.  There will be no circus tricks done for high reps just to burn you out and get you fatigued.  Safety is a real concern here.  

Push it hard and to the limit, but in a safe manner.  If you keep that balance, you’ll be able to sustain a life full of physical activity, not just a few years of glory until ligaments and tendons start giving out.  

Building your fitness and preserve your body.  It’s a balance.

Give this challenge a real shot, either as workout in and of itself or as a finisher after a strength training session.  

Submit your time in the comments section!

 

Cheers to 100 beautiful burpees in a row…

 

KG

Simple Tests to Measure Your Fitness/Performance

Bodyweight Workouts, Human Performance Discussion

I have never liked the word fitness.  It just reminds me of people like Tony Little and Richard Simmons bouncing around like circus clowns.

I think I might go as Tony Little this year for Halloween now that I think about it.  Interesting.

A net worth of $200 million. Unreal.

Anyways…

What I want to talk about today is how to measure your training to make sure that you are moving forward.  Just like improving your eating is going to help your body composition and weight issues, measuring improvements in your training goals is also going correlate with the amount of fat you lose.  I suppose this is assuming that you don’t ruin your workout by eating an ice cream sundae.

If I were you, these are some simple measures of physical fitness that I would measure…

  • 1 mile run
  • 400 meter run for time
  • Distance ride for time (amount of time it takes to ride 5 miles on a stationary bike)
  • Maximum # of push-ups (full reps)
  • Maximum # of bilateral squats (bodyweight and 2-legs)
  • Maximum # of single leg squats (are both sides equal?)
  • Maximum # of pull-ups and chin-ups
  • Maximum # of inverted rows (aka:  body rows)
  • Time to complete:  24 squats, 12 fw lunges r/l, 12 split squat jumps r/l, 24 squat jumps (beginners= 1 set, intermediate/advanced=2-3 set repeats)

Take note of the last bullet where I recommend that an intermediate or advanced trainee complete the circuit 2-3 times.  Record the time it takes to complete one full circuit.  Your rest period before starting the next circuit will be twice the time it took for you to complete the prior circuit.

Example: Intermediate trainee required 96 seconds to complete circuit…  2 x 96 seconds=  3:20/rest

This is a lower body work capacity circuit for an intermediate or an advanced trainee, and probably a combination of strength and work capacity for a beginner.  If you are beginner, GREAT!  You may have to modify it a bit to complete the circuit, but that is no problem.

Kudos to you for taking action.  

Most people don’t.

Just remember that what is easy for one person, may be difficult for another.  It is quite common for a beginner to get one hell of a training stimulus from simple bodyweight moves.  Heck, I still use bodyweight moves in my own training just because they are so effective and require zero equipment.

Very simple to implement.

Let me be clear that there are far more extensive tests that I could recommend, there are.  But, when it comes to training at home, not everyone has the equipment necessary to properly measure your performance. That’s fine.  You’re not training for the olympics, I wouldn’t worry about it.  Use what you have.  That will work.

If you are making solid improvements in most of the performance based tests I listed above, I guarantee something great is happening to your body.  The correlation between increasing performance is closely tied with leaning out and getting fit in my opinion.

Especially when you begin to make significant improvements in load lifting, work capacity efforts and

Improved performance comes with this great little by-product called leanness.

With the olympics still rolling in London, now is as good of time as ever to make that point.  Performance and leanness seem to go hand in hand.  Take a look at 99% of the athletes in the olympics.  Of course I would exclude the olympic lifting, archery and table tennis, but hey, most of those athletes are pretty lean also.  I should probably add in the ridiculously skinny/atrophied long distance guys/gals too.

Maybe we should all train like athletes?  (Hint, hint)

Don’t be afraid of sweat and effort. 🙂

Let me know how it goes…

 

KG

(P.S.  This is performance based testing.  Keep in mind that movement quality should be evaluated also, I will show you how to measure that in a future post).