I got an exciting phone call this week! Food Matters TV has decided to pick up my Kettlebells for the Busy Professional 6 part video series for their site starting this November. It is basically a Netflix for Health and Wellness and have some really interesting videos and documentaries. In a week or so I should have a login that will give you a free 30 day trial with them (no credit card info needed.)
The series focuses on one of each of the foundation kettlebell exercises in every video. The first one is (of course) focused on the swing and you check it out in this post. If you don’t want to wait until November or sign up for FMTV the whole series can be found here, and use the coupon code “TWENTY” in all caps to get a 20% discount.
One of the services I offer is distance coaching and many of my distance coaching students have fat loss and body composition change as one of their main goals. In my opinion, the best way to get lean (in addition to a clean diet, of course) is with kettlebell snatching. The problem is, especially with distance students because I don’t have my eyes on them all the time, is that people many times just aren’t ready to start kettlebell snatching and I don’t want to program them into distance programs if I can’t have my eyes on them. In this case, for added conditioning, I often program Viking Push Presses in a Viking Warrior Conditioning style training. (For more information on Viking Warrior Conditioning you can check out Kenneth Jay’s book by the same name.)
When a student sees the “Viking Push Press” in their program the first question is always “How is this different from a standard push press?” It’s an excellent question because the exercises are, in fact, very different and for very different goals.
As mentioned earlier, the Viking push press is a great tool for improved body composition and is a high intensity, high rep quick lift. The push press is a way to get a heavy bell over your head and you wouldn’t perform NEARLY as many repetitions as in a programmed Viking Push Press program. We like to say, “If you can’t press it, push press it. If you can’t push press it, jerk it. If you can’t jerk it, bent press it.” The idea is, for example, you can strictly press a 24kg bell you would push press the 28kg to get used to having it overhead and for a heavy exercise focused on athletic power production. Conversely, the Viking Push Press is done a bell (or two) lighter than your strict military press bell with a narrower stance many reps as fast as you can.
When I was coaching with my friend and colleague Joe Bogle last weekend, I happened to notice that he had a fantastic squat. Squatting is a basic human movement pattern (if you don’t believe me, watch a toddler pick something up) but it seems to get lost when we become adults and sit for hours on end – either at a desk, on a couch, or even driving.
Many times, I see people who try to stay above parallel (which was a tip based on a research project in the 80’s whose findings were eventually proven incorrect) and it causes them to either allow their knees to come excessively forward which can be bad on the knees (remember, “Squats don’t hurt your knees. The way you squat hurts your knees.”) or cause them to hinge back into almost a deadlift pattern and not a squat and with the front loading of a kettlebell goblet or kettlebell front squat can cause unnecessary strain on the back.
As Joe beautifully demonstrates in the video that goes along with this post, you will see that as he descends into the squat it’s like he is standing by a clock and aiming his butt toward 5PM. This is a clue that even the person with zero fitness background can visualize. You can use this cue to help people be aware of a target for which to aim in the descent of their squat.