Tuesday, July 3, 2007

A kettlebell disaster

I am definitely not the authority on kettlebell training, but when I started using these bad bears I took it upon myself to learn everything I possibly could. Not only for myself, but so that my clients would be getting the maximum benefit from their training, and more importantly so that no one sustains any injuries. It's true, it is possible to injure yourself using kettlebells if you do not know what you're doing.
I've said before that kettlebells will never be in the mainstream because it's such a hard workout. More and more now I am seeing people trying to float this as a group exercise method, and as something that is super easy to learn on your own. This is all about nuance. On the surface it would seem relatively easy. You just swing it, right? Those of you who have done kettlebell swings with me know how much goes into this. Weeks or even months after you have started doing swings I am still fine tuning your form. Never-mind Cleans or Snatches.
Trying to sell this as group fitness is a bad idea, and I'll tell you why. Unless everyone comes in with solid form, you are going to have to correct it, or teach it. I have already considered doing this, and I broke it down in this manner. How could I run a kettlebell based group fitness class safely and effectively? The goal not being to cash in on a new craze, but to give effective training? It would have to be based around swings, and kept to a minimum. Most likely I would never have more then five per class, and if I did I would require another instructor for each five or so. It would be timed intervals of swinging with bodyweight exercises and simple kettlebell movements like squats.

Ok. I didn't want to have to do this, but it's time for Kettlebell Concepts to get owned. I literally just visited their site.
This is some company doing their own certification, and the ones who sparked this whole blog. I was giving them the benefit of the doubt until I saw that their 'testimonials' seem to spend a lot of time talking smack about the RKC run by Pavel Tsatsouline, and basically saying their cert is better. One of them even mentions that they did not get as much floor time at the KBC cert, but it didn't affect his technique. He also states that he had already attended the RKC. Well gee, could your technique possibly be good because of that? You cannot learn to be an instructor by listening to someone talk. They also say the RKC (Pavel's) is like bootcamp and made them feel bad. Well boo hoo. He also states:

"Now if you are the type of person who likes to be screamed and yelled at, demeaned and drilled non-stop from 9—6pm on a dusty field(one hour for lunch) lifting kettlebells that that are required weight to pass, but too heavy, (in other words you LIKE Boot Camp)then do not read any further!"

I have yet to attend the RKC, but am pretty sure this is exaggerated. This statement about lifting kettlebells too heavy, but required to pass the course is laughable. The passing requirements are clearly stated on the site. Don't show up for the big show out of shape, that's all. You showed up out of shape. You lose. Of course I do like bootcamp, so...

I do think this type of attitude is indicative of a bigger problem in society. Too many people think no one should ever be hard on them. Anything worth winning, will be snatched from the grasp of a worthy adversary. It doesn't make you less of a person if you respect the skills and experience of another. If I enter into a situation where I am learning something it is always 'yes sir, no sir', because I try to be a respectful person. I think this guy was probably lacking that. I do not want a 'kinder and gentler' alternative to traditional kettlebell training, and it looks like that is what KBC is trying to be.

I then watched some of the videos on their site, and lost track of all the form deviations and people who looked like they were about to inure themselves any minute. Totally awesome.

In short: Beware of kettlebell concepts.

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