Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kettlebell Training & Technique

I just got back from Juniata and what a great clinic this year was! I can't say enough about coach Smith or the event he puts on. We had some awesome presentations and some very exciting hands-on sessions. Job well done to all of the speakers!

My presentation was everything I had hoped it would be. I was scheduled for Friday morning at 10am in the large lecture hall. The large hall has about 6 times the seating capacity as the upstairs hall, which I was assigned to last year. I was hoping to get the large hall this time because I wanted as many people in attendance as possible. I got my wish. I would estimate that there were nearly 100 people in the audience - the largest group I've ever spoken to for an hour or more, and by far the most pleasurable speaking engagement I've had as well. I've never felt more comfortable in front of such a large group.

As I mentioned before, my presentation was titled "Kettlebell Training & Technique". I am in a rather unique position being that I am certified as both an American Kettlebell Club coach and a Russian Kettlebell instructor. These two organizations have conflicting philosophies when it comes to kettlebell training. Unfortunately, this has created a division in a very small community of people who are passionate about kettlebell training. This division is not without it's trash talk either. You have people on both sides of the fence who poo-poo the other organization/style. This is stupid. Not only is it short sighted to say there is only one way to lift a kettlebell but badmouthing of any kind does nothing good for your image or the organization you represent. I would suggest these overzealous few (and it is only a few) spend more time on the lifting platform and less time on the internet. What's interesting is that I've never heard a derogatory statement come out of either of Pavel or Valery. Take another lesson from your coach, fellas.

I stay out of it. And I tried to make my presentation as unbiased as possible, offering only the facts of each style of training. I gave credit where credit was due and the only opinions I presented were how to best implement kettlebells into a comprehensive training program. We must not forget, the kettlebell is only one tool in our proverbial toolbox. You use different tools for different jobs. But I digress...

My presentation was very well received and I think I struck the right balance with the whole style debate. I spoke to both RKC and AKC instructors that were in attendance and they were all very supportive of my lecture. In fact, I got a lot of compliments from everyone I spoke with afterwards.

The hands-on session went well too. A rain storm rolled through just long enough to inconvenience us and put us under a tent but that didn't stop everyone from practicing their clean & jerks or hitting the 100 rep swing test. It was a good time and I got some good training in between my demonstrations, the Diesel Crew's strongman session and Mike Rankin (of Drexel University) session on clubbell training.

Of course, when you put a bunch of strength coaches, trainers and athletes together it is never a dull night. It wasn't 2 hours later before we were back at the dorm rooms drinking beer, tearing decks of cards and swinging kettlebells. Partying with such people is worth the 3.5 hour trip to Huntingdon, PA itself. It's nice to sit in the lecture hall with a pen & pad taking notes but it's another thing to sit at the bar and pick the brain of the coach next to you.

Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for Saturday's presentations and I headed home early. Whenever I pass through York, PA I try to make it a point to stop by York Barbell and the USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame. The museum is worth a look if you have never been. You might just stumble into the IPA World Powerlifting Championships like I did. I stopped in to watch a few of the lifters but the real treat was getting to talk with some of the guys working the event. I learned a couple grip exercises, got a lesson in Meridian Stretching, played with some more clubbells and talked some Iron Game history. The visit to York was the perfect way to top off the weekend!

Actually, I take that back... coming home and having my daughter smile at me was the perfect way to top off the weekend.

If anyone would like a copy of the presentation, I have decided to offer it for $9.99. It is a fair price considering the people in attendance had to pay for the clinic. I have put some work in this presentation and it is worth it. Email me at if interested.

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