Mid Michigan

Learn From My Girevoy Sport Technique Mistakes

This past weekend I had the fun experience of Kettlebell Sport competing at the Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI. This was only my second official competition with my first being a month prior. I've learned quite a bit of technique in the past couple months of training. You see I've been training with kettlebells for about 3 years now; however moreover in a more fitness style and not sport style training. At the beginning of March, after this year's Arnold Sports Festival where I had a few athletes (my wife one of them), I decided it was time I through myself onto the platform. I've had a lingering lumbar spine disc protrusion for the past 3 years which I've allowed to limit me and I wasn't gonna let that happen any longer. So I jumped into the Girevoy Sport water and decided to swim. It's been a fun past couple months and my technique and strength continue to improve. By exposing myself to these Kettlebell Sport competition experiences I rub shoulders with some of the best lifters the U.S. has to offer. Some of them have been privileged to have training opportunity with top level Russian lifters and coaches. That being said, they have passed some of their invaluable knowledge onto me and exposed both my weaknesses as well as gaps in my technique. By correcting my mistakes, from what I've learned in one weekend experience alone just being around these amazing athletes, it has made me a much better lifter and coach.

In hopes that you too will learn from my own technique mistakes I have included pics of what they look like and what to look/feel for when you are training.

Mistake 1. Use Proper Equipment: Get lifting shoes from the start. Get your own here: Rogue Fitness "Do-Wins"

Mistake 2. Have Proper Body Alignment: Always keep your elbows in front when resting in the rack. Never lean to one side or the other as you see me mistakenly do in the pictures below.

Mistake 3. Proper Lockout: When the bells are locked out overhead count "one one-thousand" before bringing them down. This will ensure a good lockout. My picture directly below is NOT a good lockout and was the last one I performed in my set before setting down my bells. I received a "No Count" for it and rightly so.

Definition of a proper overhead kettlebell lockout: By AKC Coach Mike Stefano The feet are flat on the floor, knees, hips straight and strong. Back is arched, and gaze forward. The lockout arm extends straight up over the head with the bicep near the ear. The elbow is locked and shoulder is seated. The kettlebell hangs off the heal of the hand (hip of the palm) behind the head, wrist is relaxed. Ears, shoulders, hips, and knees line up vertically creating a skeletal stack to accept the majority of the resting load. The palm is angled slightly towards the face, not rotated out where the kettlebell spins out overhead. The kettlebell is completely still or fixated. From the side view the upper arm appears to be perpendicular to the floor as it rises up out of the shoulder joint. The elbow joint is fully extended (not hyperextended) and completely locked. This may result in a gentle backward curve in the arm. Don't confuse this with the elbow being bent. The arm should never be in front of the face from the side view, as this will require much greater muscle contraction to stabilize the shoulder joint. How far back the arm will go depends upon the flexibility of the shoulder joint. Many people have a tight anterior, rounding the shoulders, thus preventing the arm from getting to that parallel-to-ear position while overhead, preventing a stable rest position.

Mistake 4. Fixation: Fixation in a nutshell means being in control of the kettlebell. Fixate the bells overhead prior to lowering them back to the rack in the case of Jerks and Long Cycle or before tossing back into the swing in the case of the Snatch. Fixation means no overhead movement of any kind as well as no unstable footing. To have good fixation both your elbows will be locked, both your knees will be locked, and there will be full bodily control over the bell. You will not have any momentum or movement going anywhere. By ensuring fixation overhead you will have all the stabilizer muscles working and ultimately become stronger. Once you have fixation you are ready to return the bell whence it came whether that was the rack position or to re-snatch it.

These are the things I am working directly on and my encouragement to you is to do the same no matter if you're working with one bell or two in your own training sessions. Even if you have no desire to compete in Kettlebell Sport you are going to benefit from proper overhead lockout, fixation, and focusing on body stability in all of your movements.  Valery Fedorenko told me that fixation in the lockout is the key to kettlebell lifting whether for sport or fitness so that your body becomes strong, stable, and ensures chance of injury is greatly diminished. Having fixation means having control over the kettlebells. If you have control then you are able to better focus and succeed in your kettlebell training goals.

Darlene Davis 10 Min. 8kg One Arm Long Cycle

Team Synergy keeps growing and working very hard to improve ourselves at every kettlebell competition we can make. Darlene Davis, my sister-in-law, did a super great job at her first Kettlebell competition at the Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI. She performed 123 reps and achieved IKFF Rank IV at her debut event. On top of that we received some excellent feedback that's gonna help our team by me being a better coach and them better athletes.

Awesome job Darlene and CONGRATS! Stay focused and let's keep working hard. I can't wait to see what more you can do in the future.

And here's Darlene's quick 3 min. 12kg One Arm Long Cycle sprint set that was just for fun and also for charity to raise money for the Michigan Soldiers fund.

AGAIN - Awesome job Darlene!! :)

My First Long Cycle Set Using 2x24kgs

So I threw myself to the wolves at this year's Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI when I decided to give the 24kgs Kettlebells a go. It was only my third time using them outside of a warm-up or single bell work. I don't think my set this time around was the prettiest ever performed and seen on the Girevoy Sport platform, BUT the fact that I got up there and did my best is worth noting. I've only been training specifically for Girevoy Sport, aka Kettlebell Sport, for about 3 months. Yes I've been working with kettlebells for about 3 years, but that has been more fitness oriented and only with one bell. Since this past year's Arnold Sports Festival back in March I got more serious and wanted to Kettlebell Sport train to compete. I had to get up there and throw myself into the water and swim so I know exactly what I am doing right as well as wrong. That is the way I find works best for me to learn. I will only strive to continue improving myself through experience and feedback that I receive by better as well as more weathered lifters.

I have A LOT of work to focus on in tweaking my overall technique such as getting more comfortable and stable with them, better elbow posturing in the rack position, longer and more strict fixations, and lower second hip dips. I know that I will only get better the more I work with them ongoing.

I received some really, really good feedback on my Long Cycle set that I will directly put into practice in my training. Honestly and truly I never ever claim to be the best or do everything right. I've only been practicing kettlebell training for about 3 years and when it comes to G.S., I'm still a baby in this sport with only 2 competitions under my belt and 3 where I've coached athletes in them. With each one I learn more and more.

When I post my videos I know I get feedback. That's the point. I know I'm not perfect and never claimed to be a great Kettlebell lifter. But if I don't jump on the platform and just do it then I'll never experience what I need to in order to learn and grow.

There is two main reasons why I compete- and am extremely glad I can given my lumbar spine condition. The first is for fun. The second is for abrasion. In order to grow we must scrape off that which is unneeded and be guided in the direction of accepted and proper habits. This most recent competition experience has given me tremendous guidance in which I will be abrading myself in order to come back stronger in several regards.

It is because of everyone who comments to me on the video where I posted it on Facebook, Youtube, and my blog here, who attended the event, who I spoke to privately, and who I continue to be mentored from that have truly given me leverage over my abrasive self. I just want to enjoy kettlebell sport... so I got up on the platform and went to work. I didn't expect perfection. In fact my wife reminds me all the time that I am definitely not there yet. But what I did want is the abrading experience that only comes by sucking up the fact that I am not of the highest caliber of G.S. athletes and jumping up there and just doing it.

In Russia, they too must all start somewhere. Typically we only see the videos of the good Russian lifters, BUT there are lifters making the exact same mistakes that I, and everyone else here in the U.S., are making. Each of their own coaches must work with them ongoing to get better and better. That's just the process of the way it goes. As much as we'd like to think all Russians are born born with a Kettlebell in their hand and with an MS branded on their foreheads, they are not. They too have to do exactly as I, and all the other American rookies are doing. We've gotta just get up there and do. In doing we get better... in hopes that one day we might put up a really good set which in turn truly deserves the "good jobs" and "thatta boys/girls". I like hearing that, but know deep down what I need to do in order to get better and better. If there is something that I need to know and work on, well, that comes with experiencing the abrasion. I welcome that.

So again to all of you I say: THANK YOU. I truly, truly mean that and all of your comments, thoughts, and words never ever fall on deaf ears. I take every one of them to heart and because of my own mistakes every one else can also continue to grow.

Overall the Kettlebell meet was a really fun time with some super great people there to hang with.

Here's a video of my performance:

And here's my quick 3 min. 2x20kg Long Cycle sprint set that was just for fun and also for charity to raise money for the Michigan Soldiers fund.

My First Long Cycle Set Using 2x24kgs

So I threw myself to the wolves at this year's Mid Michigan Kettlebell Invitational in Livonia, MI when I decided to give the 24kgs Kettlebells a go. It was only my third time using them outside of a warm-up or single bell work. I don't think my set this time around was the prettiest ever performed and seen on the Girevoy Sport platform, BUT the fact that I got up there and did my best is worth noting. I've only been training specifically for Girevoy Sport, aka Kettlebell Sport, for about 3 months. Yes I've been working with kettlebells for about 3 years, but that has been more fitness oriented and only with one bell. Since this past year's Arnold Sports Festival back in March I got more serious and wanted to Kettlebell Sport train to compete. I had to get up there and throw myself into the water and swim so I know exactly what I am doing right as well as wrong. That is the way I find works best for me to learn. I will only strive to continue improving myself through experience and feedback that I receive by better as well as more weathered lifters.

I have A LOT of work to focus on in tweaking my overall technique such as getting more comfortable and stable with them, better elbow posturing in the rack position, longer and more strict fixations, and lower second hip dips. I know that I will only get better the more I work with them ongoing.

I received some really, really good feedback on my Long Cycle set that I will directly put into practice in my training. Honestly and truly I never ever claim to be the best or do everything right. I've only been practicing kettlebell training for about 3 years and when it comes to G.S., I'm still a baby in this sport with only 2 competitions under my belt and 3 where I've coached athletes in them. With each one I learn more and more.

When I post my videos I know I get feedback. That's the point. I know I'm not perfect and never claimed to be a great Kettlebell lifter. But if I don't jump on the platform and just do it then I'll never experience what I need to in order to learn and grow.

There is two main reasons why I compete- and am extremely glad I can given my lumbar spine condition. The first is for fun. The second is for abrasion. In order to grow we must scrape off that which is unneeded and be guided in the direction of accepted and proper habits. This most recent competition experience has given me tremendous guidance in which I will be abrading myself in order to come back stronger in several regards.

It is because of everyone who comments to me on the video where I posted it on Facebook, Youtube, and my blog here, who attended the event, who I spoke to privately, and who I continue to be mentored from that have truly given me leverage over my abrasive self. I just want to enjoy kettlebell sport... so I got up on the platform and went to work. I didn't expect perfection. In fact my wife reminds me all the time that I am definitely not there yet. But what I did want is the abrading experience that only comes by sucking up the fact that I am not of the highest caliber of G.S. athletes and jumping up there and just doing it.

In Russia, they too must all start somewhere. Typically we only see the videos of the good Russian lifters, BUT there are lifters making the exact same mistakes that I, and everyone else here in the U.S., are making. Each of their own coaches must work with them ongoing to get better and better. That's just the process of the way it goes. As much as we'd like to think all Russians are born born with a Kettlebell in their hand and with an MS branded on their foreheads, they are not. They too have to do exactly as I, and all the other American rookies are doing. We've gotta just get up there and do. In doing we get better... in hopes that one day we might put up a really good set which in turn truly deserves the "good jobs" and "thatta boys/girls". I like hearing that, but know deep down what I need to do in order to get better and better. If there is something that I need to know and work on, well, that comes with experiencing the abrasion. I welcome that.

So again to all of you I say: THANK YOU. I truly, truly mean that and all of your comments, thoughts, and words never ever fall on deaf ears. I take every one of them to heart and because of my own mistakes every one else can also continue to grow.

Overall the Kettlebell meet was a really fun time with some super great people there to hang with.

Here's a video of my performance:

And here's my quick 3 min. 2x20kg Long Cycle sprint set that was just for fun and also for charity to raise money for the Michigan Soldiers fund.

Back To Kettlebell Sport Competition Prep

After last weekend's hard work and great results, in the Great Lakes Kettlebell Lifting Competition at the Turtle CreekCasino in Traverse City, Michigan, we took a few days off to recoup and relax a bit.  Lisa and I went for a massage, chiropractor adjustment, foam rolling, yoga, mobility drills, icing over the week off and during that time our diet was, I can use and say the "P" word: PERFECT for recovery and increased strength.  Despite all our self care, the past week actually made me feel a little achier in my back, but after my first workout back, this past Friday, I've been feeling great. We had a couple good Long Cycle sets that I caught on video and then accidentally deleted it, but I did manage to keep our Jerk finisher set. At least it's something. LOL

During our workout, and the part that I accidentally deleted, Lisa did a 4 min One Arm Long Cycle set with the 20kg @ 6rpm. This was her first set of Long Cycle training with this bell. Then she did another 4 minute set of One Arm Long Cycle with the 16kg @ 10rpm. My sets were 3 min 2x24kg @ 6rpm. The first two minutes were 6rpm and the 3rd was 5. This is the longest I've gone with these bells and the strongest my back has belt since I re-injured it back in December. I'm VERY glad it's letting me progress --- FINALLY!

No my numbers aren't record breaking, but my goal is for rank. I'll get there. It is my life motto to never ever give up until I achieve what I set out to do.  After a few days to relax we got back in the swing of things so that we can be on track for our next Kettlebell Sport competition on May 22nd. It's the Mid-Michigan Kettlebell Championships meet and Team Synergy is SUPER excited!  Lisa's focus is on Candidate Master of Sport inside a few months and mine is IKFF Rank I (which for my body weight I need 72 reps inside of 10 minutes with two 24kg bells). The Mid Michigan meet will be  a good motivating test for us to keep on track. Here's a quick video of how fun it was last year.

I'll keep updating our progress from time to time. For now, here's a quick 2 minute set of One Arm Kettlebell Jerks that we used to finish our Girevoy Sport practice with on Sunday and end with on a strong note lifting heavy bells. Lisa used the 24kg(53lb) kettlebell and I used the 32kg(70lb) kettlebell.