Seasons of Training

Our physical training can have many seasons depending on factors such as our current state-of-health, goals, hobbies and current conditioning level.

We just hosted an RKC-I event at MoveStrong Kettlebells. The participants, including two from our gym, were focused on mastering the six skills they were required to test. They also prepared to test 100 snatches in 5 minutes with a prescribed kettlebell weight and they worked hard to increase their overall conditioning to make it through the 27 hours of the event. They were in the season of Event Preparation.

Event Preparation. When we have paid and registered to participate in a competition, workshop or certification event, very specific training is often necessary to get the most out of the event. In my experience, this includes at least 2-3 days of week of specific skill preparation. The other 2-3 days can include mobility/movements that complement the event preparation. Our two RKC candidates prepared by attending kettlebell classes regularly 3-4 days a week. I made sure the programming was appropriate for them with technique emphasis, conditioning and snatch test preparation. This same programming benefited all of our general kettlebell students with occasional modifications.

Standard Training. This is training to be happy, healthy and mobile in everyday life. This is how we (at MoveStrong Kettlebells) train most of the time. This is a mix of upper and lower body push and pull 3-4 days a week using hardstyle kettlebell movements and lifts, lots of mobility and bodyweight work and occasional barbells lifts. We seek to improve in some way in every session. Some coaches refer to this at the 1% rule (get 1% better at something every time you train.) Standard Training can actually be quite extraordinary because there is a lot of learning and progressing without the pressure of preparing for an event. Personally, this is my favorite way to train because it is a mix of light, medium, heavy training and exploratory movement, with rest days as needed, over the course of a week.

Training Toward a Personal Record. Our general physical preparation is varied, yet strategic, so that progress is made consistently over several months. If someone has a specific goal, we can train toward that over time. We don't always have to train, for example, barbell deadlifts, to keep that skill high. However, for an experienced athlete who is seeking to improve a lift by, for example, 20%, that athlete needs to train it regularly with attention to load, volume and rest to achieve that goal. That student may want to follow a specific written program with steps to progress intentionally to that goal. This can be challenging in a group setting where all the needs of the group must be met. Some additional work with your coach may be needed outside of classes. 

Adaptive Training. Sometimes a new or former injury fires up and we need to carefully step back and train differently to allow the body to strengthen and/or heal. Perhaps a weak area of the body is causing a compensation in another area. Special attention is needed to progress in our weak areas to protect our health and to keep safely progressing. For example, if low back pain occurs because of rounding in the lumbar during pulling activities, the focus is on improving pull technique, repositioning the load to prevent compensatory movement or perhaps using no load at all until the movement is perfected in the body. Some additional strengthening exercises, more mobility, or even time away from the gym may also be necessary to move back into Standard Training.

Specialized Sport Training. Many students have a specialized sport they enjoy for a portion of the training year. I like them to continue their strength and conditioning with us two days a week to keep their kettlebell skills high and to help them stay overall strong and therefore more resilient to injury. But of course, when they are in 'season', our general training is secondary to their primary sport. My goal is to keep them injury free and moving well. They are not training their heaviest with us when they are in season and I ask them to manage their overall physical and mental fatigue. I have found that hardstyle kettlebell training is highly complementary to specialized sports with appropriate loading and rest days.

Summary. Our gym members fall into different seasons of training at different times in their lives. Yet, we all train together in small group classes. How is that possible? It is surprisingly easy to do with the RKC System of Strength which allows each person to adapt with varied training loads, volume, intensity and rest. Small group training is a cost-effective and a safe way for people to train if they are moving safely and mindfully. With small group training, you have peers to support you, a coach to guide you, and the programming to help you progress at your own pace in a non-competitive environment.

Do you want to learn more about our training methods? Contact us as we'd love to share our training approach with you. ~Lori

The RKC-I Experience from the Heart

I cry fairly easy. In fact, I cry at every certification event, no matter what role I play because of the intensity of the experience.

The candidates put a great amount of time and effort into preparing ... and when they arrive an emotional and unpredictable journey begins.

We recently had the privilege of hosting our first RKC-I event at our gym, MoveStrong Kettlebells, and I was reminded of the tumultuous emotions that weave in and out of the 3-day event. This is a group of people who are striving together toward a very specific goal that is tough to achieve: to be RKC.

Men and women of different ages, fitness levels and backgrounds come together to refine their hardstyle kettlebell technique in their own bodies,. They test their metal with 100 snatches in 5 minutes. They teach kettlebell skills to each other and also to people from the community we invite in to give them a real-life experience.

Read Neal's perspective (one of the RKC candidates) in his Dragon Door blog post here.

They learn a lot about their bodies and how to mobilize them with different stretching and movement techniques throughout the weekend to complement the presentations, workouts, kettlebell skill practice and of course, coaching each other.

RKC candidates can spend many months, even years, with an eye toward the RKC.

Their understanding of RKC principles is facilitated by watching and cueing each other with instructor presentations and continuous hands-on practice. They become more comfortable and confident with each other and with themselves as the weekend unfolds.

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. we are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.
— Wilma Rudolph

The kettlebell facilitates this experience of learning how the body moves and then how to move the body better. Developing ballistic power and patience for grinds is not necessarily intuitive. It is developed with mindful practice and an understanding of power production from the hips, managing relaxation and tension combined with the proper preparation in terms of strength and conditioning. 

The RKC-I is filled with striving and growing, excitement and exhaustion, and to some degree, a stepping out into the unknown of what the body and mind can do when safely challenged like it has not been challenged before.

The RKC experience reveals something new to each candidate; it may awaken, change, disturb, surprise, invigorate or distress. Or maybe all of these, and more, over the course of the weekend. It is an experience they will never forget. It may even change the direction of their careers, and therefore, their lives.

The body and mind might tire, but the marvelous display of the human spirit marches on. The candidates relish each other's improvements and accomplishments as if they were their own -- because the group eventually begins working together as one. 

Challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected, and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success, and satisfaction.
— Brendon Buchard

Some will have a few skills yet to refine after the RKC weekend concludes, but it does not diminish the experience. Instead, it presents yet another growth opportunity for these teachers-of-strength.

As with any skill, the learning process continues on, and joyfully so.

Great friendships are forged, fond memories are made and then it's home to infuse their lives with the power and energy of the RKC.

Our RKC sisters and brothers span the globe. With these skills we can touch people in gyms, schools, teams, community centers, churches, military, law enforcement, social groups, families and more.

While we are physically moving iron, we know that it is truly not about the iron, but rather how we can impact people with strength that leads to healthy, happy lives. We can't ask for much more. ~Lori Crock, RKC Team Leader 

Congratulations to our New HKCs!

We recently hosted our first Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification (HKC) event at MoveStrong Kettlebells. Congratulations to all who attended on a job well-done!

Two of our gym members, Dustin Jones and Terry Butterworth, passed and are now HKC certified trainers. It is exciting for me because I introduced kettlebells to them and now they are introducing the art of hardstyle kettlebell movement to others.

We are all very proud of them and it will be exciting to see where this new knowledge leads them (besides teaching at MSK!)

We had a very strong group of 13 HKC candidates at the certification event, with Master RKC Andrea Du Cane instructing, with assistance from RKC Team Leader (me) and three local RKCs: Chris Meredith, Paul Synenky and Brandon Sallee.

Senior and Master instructors always teach this course and are assisted by local RKCs. We are proud to be RKC, so it is an honor and a pleasure to assist at a certification event.

The HKC is a one-day entry-level certification in which we teach the Swing, Turkish Getup and Goblet Squat with variations, progressions, regressions and associated mobility drills.

This is not a 'user' event with a series of workouts, but a unique, in-depth learning opportunity that attracts people with all types of goals--and are all ages and fitness levels.

Candidates came from around Ohio, and neighboring states, with a mix of fitness instructors and kettlebell enthusiasts who wanted to learn to safely and skillfully use kettlebells for their own use and/or to share with others.

No matter how experienced we are, whether teacher or student, we always learn something new from each other at the certification events.

Some of our MSK gym members provided a homemade lunch for us at the gym so the candidates and RKCs could relax and network and not have to rush out to find food on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Our HKC candidates came to the event very well-prepared--several had trained with other HKCs and RKCs--and watching them refine their skills throughout the day was impressive.

We commented that their skills were as strong as candidates we’ve seen at RKC events

Several from this HKC event expressed an interest in preparing for an RKC event in the near future. Although not required, the HKC is ideal preparation for the 3-day, more physically intense RKC certification event.

As our HKC candidates progressed through the steps of each of the movements, they practiced teaching and learning from their peers and instructors throughout the day. Candidates were formally tested on their skills.

This event delivers a positive, supportive environment focused on challenging the candidates to get their skill proficiency as high as possible given their individual abilities with the three movements.

We were able to provide 3-to-1 instructor attention to our students and 12 of the 13 passed. Typically, 20-30% do not pass that day. Candidates have 90 days to submit a video when they feel they meet the standard.

We have individual exit interviews with each candidate so they can let us know how the experience impacted them and we give them plenty of feedback about their strengths and weaknesses.

The designation of HKC means they become part of the Dragon Door family, they have a wonderful resource manual, the in-depth experience of the day, and a new group of HKCs and RKCs to network with online and in person.

It opens up a new world of potentially life-changing knowledge and experiences that extend way beyond kettlebell training.

Interested in learning more?

We’ll be hosting an HKC again in Ohio in 2015. Or consider an RKC event. MoveStrong Kettlebells is hosting an RKC event April 10-12. Registration is open and discounts apply for early registration.

Nature Run

We have added a new summer program on Saturday called the Nature Run.

This takes me back to my MovNat trainer roots with some light trail running, strength work in the woods using whatever the environment has to offer along with the fun of training outdoors in a group.

This started when one of our members, Laura Santagata, invited me to run on a Saturday morning before Strength class. So we tried it out on a park trail and really enjoyed it.

I used to run a lot, but when I when I discovered MovNat, barbells and kettlebells my world changed to a near obsession with strength and movement. Now, I am doing some barefoot running weekly and running to get to cool parks and playgrounds with gym members.

This week, the folks at Living Fit Columbus, including founder Teresa Gellenbeck, joined our MoveStrong members on a run to Indian Run Falls trail and home through RiverPark.

One of my goals with this new programming is to teach people how to use trees, fallen logs, rocks, hills, whatever is presented in the environment, to safely challenge their bodies in new ways while on a run.

This isn't doing pushups, situps or other 'gym' movements in nature ... but instead doing natural human movements that our bodies are designed to do, such as: jumping, climbing, crawling, balancing, lifting, carrying, throwing and catching.

I can't tell you how many fallen logs and stumps I have balanced on, lifted and jumped on the last couple years. It is great conditioning for the body and for the mind.

This type of natural, outdoor training takes us far away from our to-do lists, desk-sitting, televisions, technology and cars.

A few of us were talking about it today ... we feel like we did when we were kids -- free to run and play on a warm summer day.

Today we did some hand-foot crawling up a hill, tree climbing, jumping, and log shouldering along the way. I was really proud of everyone including one of our members who is new and gave the log shouldering a try. The Living Fit Columbus group was open to trying it all too and I think they enjoyed it!

I will change the route and activities each week to keep bringing in new physical challenges.

I am really happy with how everyone embraced the experience today. I challenged them to try diaphragmatic breathing while running, using a more natural stride rather than heel-striking, balancing while running and a little sprinting.

Want to try out the Nature Run? Contact me so we know to expect you.

Keep on moving strong, Lori

At the Playground

Some very forward-thinking yoga instructors, Eric and Chelsea from Solaluna Yoga, had us in recently to teach MovNat to their community in beautiful Oberlin, Ohio. See the photo gallery at the end of this story.

Even though balance is a strength for yoga trainees, everyone enjoyed the challenges MovNat balance practice imposed with the dowell thow-and-catch, walking over and under obstacles and through the hula hoop and balancing with a squat and lunge.

Lifting and carrying is very practical skill we teach-- whether we are lifting/carrying sandbags or people.

Another favorite are the variations of the foot-hand crawl -- and  trainees are always surprised at how difficult it can be to master the various crawl techniques that came so naturally when we were babies.

The highlight of the day was our trip to the local playground.

How often does a group of adults get to enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon climbing trees, jumping on and off a giant turtle, hanging from the monkey bars and testing out their newfound efficient movement skills including the jump-over-human-to-front roll? Smiles everywhere.

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And because we had to get to the playground somehow, we practiced our forefoot running on the way -- on the way back we jumped over benches and balanced on curbs, movnat-style, with nary a nod from anyone. Oberlin is a college town after all.

To play with purpose -- explore movement using MovNat, sharing stories, tweaking our running form, using our bodies to move in new ways, laughing and being physically active without reps, sets, machines or even any rules (except to be safe and try some of the skills) is all that we ask.

On days like this, I do have the best job in the world ... helping people learn to look at 'exercise' and health in a new way with freedom, excitement and pure fun.

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In our competitive world, people find the collaborative nature of MovNat refreshing.

We encourage each other and share in each other's triumphs while practicing the skills.

When someone masters an elbow swing up over the bar, we're all sharing in it, and in fact, we feel like we are really right up there with them.

Different ages can practice together and each be challenged.

We had a family in the workshop with a 10 year-old boy ... and it was so interesting to hear the 10-year-old' perspective on movement (it's so simple, it's a bear crawl!) and his favorite movement was the jump with a slap landing.

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We had a couple trainees preparing for the Tough Mudder and we gave them lots of practical movement tips and techniques to help them prepare for the 12K grueling obstacle course next weekend.

I don't think many fitness sessions leave people feeling energized and so happy afterward.

Okay, maybe we are a little sore the next day, but while we are in the midst of it, it is nothing but fun and community building and for a period of time, we leave the rest of the world out of our minds.

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Thanks to Solaluna for hosting us! We enjoy giving private workshops at fitness studios, to corporate groups and non-profit organizations. Contact us for more information.

A Taste of Fitness Freedom

Saturday was pretty cool so I have to write and tell you about it. First, we had a MovNat and Paleo Meetup where this week we taught and practiced Efficient Running, Crawling and Throwing (rocks) outdoors.

Second, my daughter Sarah and her boyfriend Slade came in for their first session with me indoors.

Third, one of our bridal clients and her fiance came in from out of state to train with us.

What the three have in common is this ...

They all experienced Fitness Freedom.

The Meetup folks learned to run efficiently and naturally, the MovNat way ... and this is totally counter-cultural to our heavily-padded tennis shoe world of running.

We practiced excellent form barefoot, or in socks, to get the feel of the forefoot landing with an emphasis on posture, leg pull and the landing. Based on their feedback, it was a positive change in running form -- one that was quite eye-opening; it gave them something new to take with them and explore further in their daily lives.

Sarah and Slade experienced an indoor movement session with a mix of MovNat (climbing, crawling), TRX and Kettlebells. It especially resonated with Slade -- as an engineer whose job includes plenty of time working at a computer. I believe the physical fitness will be a nice addition to his life as he seeks to increase strength and have fun doing it.

Finally, Anthony and Valessa enjoyed exploring the Waterfall park with me through the practice of MovNat. The weather was perfect and the fallen logs allowed us to practice the deadlift, clean-and-jerks, crawling, balancing and climbing and jumping.

Their minds were open to all of it, and to experience it together, both indoors and in nature, was really special.

Here Valessa's testimonial about how she enjoyed training in nature and learning MovNat with us over the last month or so.

I can’t describe how much fun it is to teach these incredible people to explore their environment through simple, safe, efficient movement and to watch them learn, grow and unfold in new ways as their view of fitness changes.

On days like this, fitness coaching feels like the best job in the world because I get to help people have fun, appreciate their bodies, learn to move well in new ways, reconnect with nature -- and with each other.

Want to experience Fitness Freedom too? Contact us to get started.