Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Accomplishing Fitness Goals and Back-in-the-Saddle Strength Training

Well the clients from Team Rogue Kettlebell Fitness rocked the Heritage Half Marathon and 5K!  We had different people running--some who had never run and some looking to break PRs.  Everyone trained really hard both in-and-out of the gym.  We used kettlebell strength and conditioning in classes, and the clients ran and trained on their own following my programming.  The results were AWESOME: Not only did everyone finish, but everyone beat their goals.

Some members of the 1/2 Marathon Team before the race: O-Dark-30.

It is just a testament to the dedication and discipline that was exhibited during the last few months.  It goes to show that with proper training and coaching, ANYTHING is achievable.  ANYTHING!!!  It is also a testament to how kettlebell training can be used for any kind of protocol--from strength training to supplemental conditioning for races and such.  My clients all made major gains in their times and distances; kept up a base level of strength; and ran injury free for their training.

More members of the Team huddling to stay warm.

Me at the finish with some great clients.  They ROCKED!

For me, since it is getting cold, it is back to strength training and metacon.  If you're interested in this kind of training, you can follow the blog (and past posts) to see the programming, or check us out at our fitness studio.  What's really cool is I got some phone calls over the last few weeks from some Marines I used to train.  All are sold on the KBs, yet I am not at Quantico to train them anymore, or they are deployed.  So over the next few months and training cycle, I will be designing a total strength and conditioning program for myself and them, to propel them into awesome shape.  So stay tuned for some awesome WODs and programming.

Back-In-The-Saddle Training (I took Monday as a rest day!)

Tuesday: 10 Rounds / No Rest

15 Swings (32K)
10 Pushups
5 Pullups

Wednesday: Strength

WU: 5/5 TGUs (24K)

Strength Circuit: 6 Rounds of 5 Reps (moving up in weight by 2K increments each time)

Double KB Press (20K-30K)
1-Arm Rows (22K-32K)
Front Squats (22K-32K)

Finisher: 15/15 for 5 min snatches (24K)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Having Goals, Good Running Training, and Getting Ready for the 1/2 with Team Rogue KB Fitness

Well, I am at the end of a training cycle for the Heritage Half Marathon this weekend.  We have a solid team: Some are running their first event; others are going for PRs.  The main point is to have goals and strive to accomplish them.  Let your training have a focal point with and end result; otherwise, you can train in vain.  Also, many of my clients did the supplemental running on their own and trained as a team, so it was great to hear about their motivation and chart their progress.

Another major point is many of my clients ran less than a normal training program, and focused on the training in class--with circuits and strength training.  Similarly, I did the same and was able to get by on 2 runs per week, but still add distance and speed to each one without getting injured.  Further, none of my clients reported any major injuries that are typical when training for a long running race.

For programming, I recommend a long distance run once per week, and then some speed/tempo (hills or sprints) work.  This keeps the training fresh, plus allows one to still strength train with kettlebells or other fitness programs.  All-in-all, you want to keep everything fresh so you don't get bored.  During this period, I was also able to keep on strength training.

Here is my last training week for me--which my clients follow too--to show how I made gains on my running and still did strength and conditioning, although I backed of on serious weight the last week.  The circuits also keep your anaerobic conditioning up without too much extra impact on the legs.

Monday: Speed Workout

1-Mile Jogging Warmup
5x800m sprints with walking rest

Tuesday: Metacon

5 Rounds nonstop
1 Min. Rower
5/5 Push Press (32K)
200 Jump Ropes

Snatch Finisher (24K) Nonstop

10/10, 8/8, 6/6, 4/4, 2/2

Wednesday: Final Run

8-Mile Road/Trail Run (Race Pace, 7-8 Min. Mile)

* Friday I will hit on last low-impact metacon: AMRAP 15 Swings, 10 Pushups, 5 Pullups.
** Race is Sunday so will rest next few days.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

More of My Favorite KB Lifts with Comp Bells and Hamstring Development for Running

Great training and conditioning so far for my half marathon.  I ran 12 miles this weekend in the mountains--I had not run over 6 in training--and was feeling great on Monday.  So I was still able to lift strong.  The strength training with the metacon is really paying off.  Since the race is in 2 weeks, I will cut back a little on maxing out, keep the legs fresh, and do a little more running.  Still, I feel that the strength days need to be the cornerstone of every workout.

I am training several other people for it, too, and I am noticing that they can add miles and increase time without injury.  Some of my clients are running their first half marathon--some had never run more than a 5K before--and they are all progressing well.  They make train hard 3-4 times a week in class, and then run on their own.

One main thing I have been training is the hamstrings.  I had noticed that people who were running a lot were injuring their knees and and lower backs quite a bit.  So this time around, I threw in a lot of KB work for the posterior chain, like cleans and double swings; heavy single swings; and deadlifts with the trap bar.  In addition, I train the upper body push-pull complex to get the upper body and core more developed and involved.  In particular, BW rows, pushups, floor press, and Renegade Rows.  These all aid in running by making the upper body stronger and getting the mass involved with forward momentum by moving your arms more.

Check out some scenes from Wednesday's Progression Workout:

First Strength Complex for Upper Body Push/Pull and Posterior Chain (3 Rounds)

Second Strength Complex for Upper Body Push/Pull and Posterior Chain (3 Rounds)



12-mile Trail Run

Monday: Recon Workout (An old Pavel Favorite)

TGUs 5/5 24K

Set 1: 5x5
5 Clean and Strict Press (24Ks)
5 Weighted Pullups (16K)

Set 2: 5x5 Front Squats (32Ks)

Set 3: 5x10/10 Snatch (24K)

Great Workout!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Why Competition Style KBs are Great for Strength Training, Video of Strength Circuit, and Running Training Program

Many people I talk to about kettlebells seem to only know about the basic lifts, like swings, deadlifts, and highpulls.  Or I see people in the gym trying to do traditional lifts, like curls, with them.  Further, many don't understand the full potential of double kettlebell work and the full body lifts.

Some of my favorite lifts with double competition bells in a strength circuit.

Lifting with competition style bells has several advantages for the compound lifts, which people should have in a sound strength and conditioning program.  The ballistic nature of the kettlebells also develops superior posterior chain development, which is neglected in many workout programs.  Here are some key advantages to lifting with competition kettlebells:

--The size is all standard, so you don't have to adjust your form every time you go up in weight.
--The Olympic style  and compound lifts--Clean and Press, Jerk, Front Squat, Push Press, Snatch--are safer and easier to learn than with an Olympic bar.
--The rack position is safer and more comfortable than the rack position with an O-bar.
--Using two individual bells in each hand works our imbalances on each side.

I have found that for the majority of the population, implementing a strength and conditioning program with comp bells really keeps people lifting longer and injury free.  Also, once you learn the moves and get the ballistics down, people really learn the proper form faster.  Overall, double KB work with comp bells has great advantages for the majority of the population, especially older clients or people who have had shoulder issues.

WODs focusing on running conditioning for 1/2 marathon:

Thursday: Split Day
Strength and Running

AM Upper Body Focus (6 Rounds)

5/5 Seesaw Press (26Ks)
5 Deadhang Pullups
5/5 Snatch

PM Run

6 mile up Bull Run Mtn.

Friday: Recover and LSD

10 miles on Mtn. Bike

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AM Morning Crew and Metcon Workouts

It has been a great training week so far.  The AM morning crews are really crushing what we throw at them.  I am having fun with some new programming: that is, new finishers that challenge the clients, and shorter WODs that really focus on strength, conditioning, and body rejuvination.  You have to program and cycle right after heavy strength days.  Otherwise, you will burn out.

The TUESDAY AM Wake Up Crew, 0520!

In particular, body weight exercises, kettlebell lifts, and other plyometrics really get the job done.  I feel fresh and strong for each strength day that follows.  This allows me to maximize each workout.  Check out my Tuesday metcon WOD.

Went through nonstop:

5 rounds of...

5/5 Pushpress (32K)
7 pullups
7 24" boxjumps

Then right into...

1000 meters C2 rower (level 10)

Finished with...

30 40K swings
2 sets of 25 pushups

Took me about 20 minutes.  Great heart pumper.  Look forward to a fresh strength day tomorrow.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Strength and Conditioning for Running and Overall Fitness Awesomeness

As of late, my programming is focused on increasing our overall strength and conditioning, primarily for a half-marathon that we are all running.  For my clients, many want overall conditioning balanced with a busy life.  But they also want to get into sick shape to push themselves in events they are traning for.

Myself included, I am training for several things--a run and a kettlebell event--but I don't want to lose my overall strength and power.  So I have to strike a delicate balance with my training.  That is usually a hard thing to do when training for a running event while also training strength.  One thing I have been doing is supplementing my training with finishers and mini metabolic conditioning routines. (Check out for more details by Mike Stelhe.) Also, I have been doing workout splits on running days: I do an upper body mini-circuit in the morning, and a run in the afternoon.  I still hit strength on 3 other days during the week.

Examples of mini-metacons: Do them in short bursts or loop them together for a full body workout!

I am finding that I am  not losing my overall power.  Further, because my body is recovering well and I am getting stronger from functional lifts on quality strength days, my runnng is more programmed, I am faster, and I am not getting injured.  To boot, my clients and I are only running between 2-3 times per week.  Yet we are all adding disctance and speed without injury.

Too many times I see people run too much and get injured training for such enduracne events.  They also lose overall strength.  Thus, that is the beauty of kettlebell training: You don't have to sacrafice one type of training for the other.  Rather, it improves your overall all fitness and health.  With many of the circuits at Rogue Kettlebell Fitness, we do full body workouts that consist of the following:

Upper Body Pushing and Pulling: Rows, Presses, Pullups, Pushups.  All these help maintain strength in the back and shoulders, as well as the core.  These are all keys to running healthy and upright.

Lower Body Pushing and Pulling: Squats, Deadlift, Snatch, Swings, Plyo Box Jumos.  All these help strengthen the legs, knees, and hips; as well as promote their synergenic use.  Also, working the posterior chain adds running power and core stability on the trail.

Overall, when programmed the right way, this type if training pays out amazing results to your overall fitness.  Check out how we do it!

Great strength and conditioning circuit for runners and endurance athletes.

Metacon Finisher: Pushups and Swings do a body good.

Metacon examples from the week:

Sunday: Long Mountain Bike Ride

Tuesday: 15 min.

400 meters rower
100 Jumpropes
5/5 KB Snatches (32K)

Thursday: Metacon and Running Split

AM Workout:

5/5 Seesaw Press (26Ks)
7 Deadhang Pulups
5/5 Snatch (26K)

PM Run: 6 Mile Trail Run Up Bullrun Mountain

Friday, September 14, 2012

Stop Domestic Violence, and Great Strength Training and Mini-Metacons: The Secret to Ultimate Fitness

First off, I am looking forward to helping Master John Thomas of United States Karate Center help stop domestic violence.  Our dojo is dedicated to the cause, and we have raised thousands for women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  We support the Artemis House in Fairfax, VA.  So donate and help out.

Great end of a training week.  My strength training composed of functional lifts, coupled with metabolic finishers; and 2-3 days a week of metacon circuits and cardio-endurance are paying off.  I am  ramping up for a half-marathon in October that I want to PR.  However, I am taking an unorthodox approach: I am running less.

I tried this a few years ago when I ran a 100-mile ultra.  I trained strictly with kettlebells 3 days a week, and did short metacon circuits and skill work on off days.  I also mixed in mountain biking.  The result was I never ran over 13 miles on long runs, but my runs--on skill day--were more effective because I was fresh and faster.  The same occurred yesterday.  I had not run any distance since the Spartan Race, but I killed a 6-mile run at an average of 7-8 min. a mile.  And I am not sore today.

I will continue this kind of training and post about it to show the power of kettlebell training and programming.  The fact is kettlebells can be used as a strength tool and metacon tool to get you in the ultimate shape of your life.  And the proof is out there!  Most of my clients are looking to invest minimal time for maximum results.  Follow the Rogue Kettlebell Fitness Blog to see WODs like this and the programming.

It must be noted that this kind of training is not new in Russia or with KB sport.  But I learned of training this way from Mike Stehle and Jim Milkoski of The Training Room out of New Jersey.  (Training from the IKFF also has influenced this.) They broke from the CrossFit mold and really started to incorporate minimetacons and KB work into their main program.  I saw HUGE results.  In fact, they just came out with a new set of workouts that is ideal   for any busy adult who wants to train hard, but has limited time.  I bought it and it is great.  Get the ebook here:

Matt's WODs

Wednesday: Strength

WU: 3 Rounds

10/10 Snatch (16K)
20 Pushups

WO 1: 3 x 5+ (all out on last round)

Double KB Cleans (32Ks)
1- Arm Floor Press (32K)
1-Arm Rows (36K)

WO 2: T-Bar Deads
5x3 at 395 lbs.

Finisher:  3x20

KB Swings (32K)

Thursday: Cardio and Skill Day

6-Mile Tempo Run at 7-8 min. pace

* Was at expected race pace.  Will add 1 mile per week and do 1 main run a week until race day. 

Friday: Strength and Cardio Split

WO1 (morning): Upper Body Strength

2 x 2 min. Rounds of Clean Jerk (16Ks,18Ks)

2 x 2 min. Rounds of Jerk (16Ks, 18Ks)

2 x 2 min. Rounds of Snatch (18Ks, 20Ks) 1 arm switch at 1-min. mark

*5 pullups with vest after each round

WO2: 2-Hour Mountain Biking Ride