IKSC’s Burpee November

IKSC’s Burpee November has been a thing since 2011. To give credit where it’s due, it came from Lisa Shafer and Kettlebell Inc. She suggested on the forums that we should try doing 100 burpees a day throughout the month. Some of us bit in and did it. It has been a tradition ever since, with some modifications here and there.

It always works. There are few times I will say that something will guarantee some kind of result, but this is one. I don’t really look at these monthly events like a huge “challenge” as much as a movement quota. I like to think of them as forcing me to get some kind of small exercise breaks in throughout the day.

This year’s breakdown went like this. 500 per week for advanced, 350 per week intermediate, 250 per week for beginners. Any modification was allowed. Even dropping into a plank position and then regaining the standing position is allowed if someone isn’t able to do anything else. Getting up and down from the floor is absolutely a necessary life skill that most adults shy away from as they age.

Others chose versions with added resistance, like double kettlebell burpee-cleans, kettlebell burpee-deadlifts, or burpee-pullups, where you do a burpee under a pullup bar then grab the bar at the top and do a pullup. These variations were counted at a 2:1 ratio.

It for me, it helped maintain body comp almost effortlessly. I’m 45 now, and I that is past the age genetics can carry you. It has to be lifestyle. I can’t get away with eating other than a diet that is aligned with my DNA (i.e. what would be called a paleo diet) and doing exercises that are effective.

I mostly chose to do burpee variations that used kettlebells or burpee pullups and stayed effortlessly lean at 224lbs at the end of the month. Nope, I don’t look that much different than I have for several years. My body is pretty happy right about here, and since I primarily do martial art as a physical activity outside the gym I compare my physique to what a heavyweight MMA fighter looks like, rather than a physique model.
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Nutrition Basics: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Nutrition Basics: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

Jim Beaumont CSC, Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, Certified Sport Nutrition Specialist, Primal Blueprint Heath Coach, Tactical Athlete Kettlebell Instructor. Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning(208) 412-6079 www.idahokettlebells.com

Holiday weight gain is about more than just eating more food and a few holiday parties.
It’s no secret that many people put on extra layers of fat during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Yes, some of it is due to eating more and it is harder to make good food choices when co-workers, friends, and family carefully and lovingly prepare special treats. It definitely comes from a good place in their hearts, but you are in control of what you put in your mouth.

But, it’s not just a plate of cookies here and there or a few holiday parties that do the damage. It’s almost a perfect storm of factors that are enough to sabotage health and fitness goals.

Exercise is 10% of a strength or fitness goal. Nutrition is 80% of that goal. Sleep and stress levels are the remaining 10% Today, we are focusing on how that last 10% relate to the other two, and how there are special considerations during this time of year. And no, “just eat less and move more” is not the answer.

Poor Sleep
Lack of sleep and poor sleep hygiene is a problem for most people at all times of year, but it is especially problematic for those of us in climates that see significantly less sunlight during winter months.
Deep sleep cycles stimulate the release of growth hormone (GH). Repeated nights of poor sleep severely compromise insulin and leptin sensitivity and elevate cortisol levels. This places you in a constantly stressed condition and interferes with blood sugar levels. This contributes to poor food choices and makes fat storage your body’s preference. Understand that a poor night of sleep might make you more susceptible to poor food choices.

Optimize Your Sleep:
•Sleep in a completely dark, cool room. This includes alarm clocks phones, etc.
•Avoid screen time and bright light prior to bed. This interferes with DLMO (dim-light melatonin onset). Melatonin and GH are closely related.
•Get exposure to blue light in the morning and daytime, but avoid at night.
•Install F.lux on your computer (or a similar program for phones).
•Wear “blue blocker” glasses after sundown (3 hours before bedtime).
•Get more thiamine and taurine. These come from things like eating organ meats.
•Get adequate zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins. Take ZMA.
•Take melatonin (but my advice is to do so sparingly).
•Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine.
•Take vitamin C after training and in the evenings.
•Foam roll or stretch before bed and practice deep breathing.
•Naps are your friend.
•Bi-phasic sleep is normal and natural.
•Yes, you do need more sleep in the winter.
•Shift work can cause special problems. Safeguard your sleep like your life depends on it.
Avoid Acute and Chronic Stressors:
•The effect a stressor has upon you is directly related to how much awareness and control you have over the situation.
•We can’t control all sources of stress, but we can control our behaviors surrounding the situation.
•“Stress eating” and “comfort foods.” These are responses to heightened cortisol levels.
•Financial stress
•Family stress.
•Social pressure. Be a little selfish sometimes. Ask yourself what will make you the happiest and what is the most important to you and your health.
•Social media and news. Follow Jim’s “25 Year Rule.”

Action Items:

1. Remove corn, wheat, and soy from your diet (review from previous class).

2. Evaluate your sleep hygiene.

3. Identify behaviors/situations that “trigger” poor eating choices.

4. Control what you can. Manage what you cannot. Don’t allow yourself to become a victim-of-circumstance. You have 100% control over what you put in your mouth.

5. Focus on what makes you the happiest.

6. Eliminate people, news, and social media sources that don’t have a direct and positive effect on your life.

7. Look at ancestral food options for holiday feasts. Check out what was on the table for the first Thanksgiving.

8. Take time to enjoy the moment. Be grateful. We live in the best county in the world, in probably the best area of that country. We are safe, relatively free of environmental catastrophe, have enough to eat, and have the potential to be the healthiest we’ve ever been.

9. Donate to a cause you believe in. Don’t tell a soul about it. Keep it a secret.

10. Remember: No matter what else, you can change your health starting with your next meal, next night of sleep, and next training session. Progress, not perfection.

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Brief Notes on Ancestral Health Symposium 2018

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Spent last week at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Bozeman, Montana and listened to some amazing insight and intellect from around the globe. It was mostly a review of things I’ve gathered from studying these subjects for several years now, but here are some of the major takeaways in Reader’s Digest form:

  • Like it or not, humans evolved to eat lots of meat. We are apex predators on this planet. Name a primitive culture that didn’t eat meat…There are NONE. It does not coincide with human existence.
  • Adopting a diet that is based on 100s or even 1000s of generations of our ancestors is optimal (rather than this “novel” diet that the USDA has pushed for only the last generation or two). The staples of corn, wheat and soy that make up the processed food most Americans eat was just not part of our diets more than 150years ago.
  • Your gut health and mental health are inextricably tied. Gut health means no processed food and sugar, and lots of meat, liver, fermented foods, fish, and eggs.
  • Your eyesight is tied to your diet. The more processed food you eat, the faster your eyesight deteriorates. Maps of the U.S. showing rates of metabolic syndrome, processed food consumption, and rates of macular degeneration basically coincide. Also, macular degeneration was almost unheard of prior to the 1900s, when the population began to have access to processed foods.
  • Sustainable and ethical food sources DO NOT mean a push towards less meat. All food sources have an impact on the planet. Arguably, a vegetarian diet is more harmful and less sustainable than raising animals for food. A field of corporate farm crops displaces an entire ecosystem and many animals, great and small. A single cow raised, versus hundreds or thousands of mice, rats, snakes, birds, predators etc. destroyed by a row crop. Who’s to say the lives of many small animals is worth less than a bigger animal?
  • Avoiding sunlight is harmful, but so is allowing yourself to get sunburned. The healthiest thing to do is get regular, chronic exposure to sunlight. A good guideline is enough to maintain a slight tan throughout the year. Tanning beds are OK in a pinch, but make sure you strictly limit their use to less than 10-12 times per year, during winter months. Yes, you probably still need to supplement with vitamin D.
  • Kids and young adults can thrive on a variety of dietary strategies, but adults past the age of 35-50 years old benefit greatly by a diet that is ancestrally based. This may not be a pre-historic diet, but it is definitely based on things that didn’t compose a major component of our diet prior to the late 1800s. Basically, the older you are the more you benefit from an ancestral diet. And, sometimes food or gut issues that have been present for your entire life will only present themselves later in life. Nope, you can’t eat like a kid your whole life and expect to be healthy.
  • Humans may well have been self-selected for certain mental illnesses due to our heavy reliance on grains and processed foods over the past 5,000+ years. Food sources were controlled by the ruling class, which used food sources as a form of social control.
  • Your blood cholesterol numbers can vary daily, and total cholesterol numbers mean very little. HDL in relation to triglycerides are significant, but LDL levels might indicate several things.
  • Those with very low total cholesterol have a higher rate of mental illnesses.
  • High-fat diets don’t necessarily result in faster weight loss (but, are generally more satiating so free-range humans will eat less by their own volition).
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Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning’s “Three Sets of Ten”

Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning’s “Three Sets of Ten”

Three sets of 10 reps of a given exercise is a generic recommendation for any number of exercises. You’ll see this in different popular exercise magazines and sometimes given out as a basic recommendation as a basic starter’s workout plan at a commercial gym.

It goes something like this: 3 sets of 8-12 reps of bench press, 3 sets of 8-12 reps of lat pulldown, 3 sets of bicep curls, etc. Rest and work periods are sometimes addressed, but usually not stressed or strictly enforced.

At IKSC, we quickly borrowed some key concepts from various strength and conditioning protocols from sources like Charles Poliquin, Valery Fedorenko, Vince Gironda, etc. to form our own version of “3 sets of 10.”

Instead of 10 reps of each exercise, it became three 10-minute “sets” of three basic exercises:  A  single compound lower-body exercise, a upper-body pull, and an upper-body push. The most common is some variation of squat, some variation of pull, and some variation of a push.

Timed Sets Borrowed from Kettlebell Sport

The concept of timed sets comes from the kettlebell sport world and the World Kettlebell Club’s Strength and Conditioning Quotient, albeit in a very modified format. It also closely mirrors the International Kettlebell Lifting Federation’s BOLT (Believe Overcome Lift Triumph) competition. In these arenas, sets are measured in minutes – not necessarily repetitions – although work is measured in reps per minute (RPM) for training purposes.

So, a 5 minute set = 5 minutes spent on an exercise.  Training sessions are measured not just in max reps completed, but also in the RPM.  For example: If I do an 8-minute set of bicep curls at 8RPM, I am doing eight curls each minute for eight minutes. The protocol for this exercise would be at the start of the minute, I’d do eight reps (which would probably take me 30 seconds) and then rest the remainder of the minute. Start the next set of eight promptly at the top of the next minute. I prefer using an analog wall clock, since the visual of the sweeping second hand is a good cue, but any stopwatch will do. If you aren’t timing in some form, you aren’t training.

3 Sets of 10 Utilizing Squats, Pull, Push

Back to our basic 3 Sets of 10…

Don’t overthink this. “Paralysis by analysis” is a fatal flaw when it comes to exercise. Our bodies are only designed to move so many ways, and when you take an effective multi-joint movement and load it properly, we don’t have to worry much about working each little muscle in isolation. Don’t major in minor things. Our bodies are pretty smart, and when you load things up enough the system ends up working pretty well if you work long enough and hard enough.

A full-range squat loaded with any kind of free weight, or even body weight squats will utilize every muscle of the body, but will mostly be using the legs. A kettlebell or dumbbell goblet squat is nearly a full-body exercise, in that the core musculature and grip is also heavily tasked. Any type of squat could be used, however. I’ve even used back squats, loaded with my bodyweight for this type of work capacity training.

Likewise, a pushup works the chest, shoulders and triceps, but is also a full-body exercise. But, any kind of pushing exercise could be used, just make sure it uses every muscle needed to push. Standing overhead presses are also great choices.

Pulling can be many things. For advanced people, pullups or horizontal rows are good choices, but seated or dumbbell versions of these are also good choices.

One deceptively simple exercise that can be used on its own or as an extra is the loaded carry. Just pick up something heavy (even a pair of dumbells) and carry it for a distance at the start of each minute. Carrying for 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off is a good full-body workout, and is thought by some to be the one of the best single measures of one’s overall strength and functionality. Grip strength, core strength and stability, pelvic stability, balance, and metabolic conditioning all come into play during extended bouts of loaded carries.

3 Sets of 10…Let’s Go!

Simplicity itself.

Pick a squat or lower body exercise and pair it with a weight you can do 10 good solid repetitions with. You’ll also need a clock or stopwatch.

Do a five reps at the top of the first minute. Rest until the next minute starts. Do another set of five. It will be easy for the first few sets. It is designed to be that way. It is about doing quality reps for many small sets with restricted rest periods. Err on the side of light. You can always amp things up next session, but starting out with too much is a sure way to discourage a repeat session. Don’t underestimate this protocol. It can be as hard as anyone can stand.

After the 10 minutes of squats, rest a few minutes and move to the pull and push. Ten minutes of each, using the same format. I use a notebook and a pen or a dry erase board to keep track of minutes, it is easy to talk yourself out of one of the sets.

There Are Sets and then there are Sets.

Some confusion comes up when we start calling timed sets of exercises “sets.” Sets, in the traditional sense means a specific number of repetitions, say five reps. In this sense, if we were to do five sets of five it would mean five repetitions, rest and then repeat that sequence five times.

Here we are calling both the timed period a set and the number of repetitions completed each minute a set. If we were to write out each 10-minute block, it would look like this:

10 X 5, or 10 sets of 5 repetitions each. In our case, we are doing this at a rate of 5 reps per minute to complete all 10 clusters of 5 reps.

Our ultimate goal is to get a volume of quality reps with a weight we would not normally be able to. This is 50 reps of each compound exercise per session. That is a lot, especially if using a challenging weight and exercise.

Frequency and Recovery

I would recommend 48-72 hours between sessions, although you could break it up into a lower-body one day, and upper-body another day. For many, doing all three exercises in one gym session is very time-efficient. You are in and out in well less than an hour, with really only 30 minutes of total working time. It’s not how much time is spent, but the quality of that time that matters. And when doing focused, timed sets each minute, you compact a lot of quality reps into that time. Advanced people often need a few days between sessions because they can literally load this to the point they are absolute jelly at the end of one session and require 4-5 days to fully recover.

Progression

This is a general protocol used to build work capacity. While some strength adaptations will occur, it is not a maximal strength program. The goal is to be able to adapt to doing a good deal of work in a given time. This also builds metabolic efficiency.

With that in mind, we don’t increase the weights used unless it is just too easy after the first session. The ideal weight is one that is easy for the first few sets and slowly becomes very hard during the final minutes of each set, but that is still doable. The goal is to do demanding reps successfully, but not to failure.

I recommend changing things up after three to four sessions. In this case, we do this by decreasing the time it takes to do roughly the same amount of total volume. We’ll call these progressions “blocks.”

 

Block #1

3, 10-minute sets of 5 reps per minute. Repeat 3-5 sessions.

Block #2

3, 8-minute sets of 6 reps per minute. Repeat 3-5 sessions.

(We are doing about the same amount of total work in less time. Note: This means less rest time)

Block #3

7, 7-minute sets of 7 reps per minute.  Repeat 3-5 sessions.

What Should I Do When I Finish?

This is normal question. My usual answer is just to focus on the next day’s work and don’t worry as much about what to do afterwards. This represents what is known in the strength and conditioning world as a meso-cycle. It takes roughly a month, give or take. One thing I’ve found training for years is that everyone is unique, and will require different things at different points, and 3-4 weeks is about as long as a given program is good for. I always thought I was somehow deficient when I wasn’t very good at programming out for 3-6 months in advance, until I listened to an interview with Charles Poliquin in which he said that even top people take a few weeks to adapt, and then some kind of change is needed. This doesn’t necessarily mean different exercises, but maybe just a change in sets or reps.

-Jim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are kind of a hot thing right now. Yes, I am very familiar with all the ins and outs of it, having used this strategy consistently for a number of years. Here’s what people are getting right and wrong about this approach currently:

Right:

Reducing blood sugar and body fat by cutting out the sugar and eliminating processed carbohydrate. Carbs are an “elective” macronutrient. Your body can run on fats and protein after an adjustment period. It may or may not run its best (depending on who you are), but it will run just fine if you do it right and get through the transition period.

If humans didn’t have this “metabolic flexibility” we wouldn’t have survived. The vast majority of people in today’s society overdo their carbs. You have to earn them, or they are just going to be stored as fat.

Wrong:

Using supplements and eating low-quality, inflammatory foods and man-made oils.

A keto diet can be very healthy if you are getting lots of fatty wild fish, fatty pastured meats, grass-fed butter, low-carb veggies, etc. But, if you are getting your fats from nothing but supplements (yes, even coconut oil and MCT oil are meant to be limited), and are eating pounds of bacon and sausage per day, you are not going to do well.

So basically, what we are looking at is a very low-carb version of a paleo or primal diet, if one is to do this in a healthy way. Like it or not, that is what we’re talking about, or something about 95% there. It may be marketed as something different, but it is likely just a knockoff of a very basic ancestral diet.

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Your Swing is Never Perfect.

Your swing is never perfect. Strive to work better, not harder.

Proper kettlebell swing training is not simply about using more weight. There is an optimal weight for everyone’s individual anthropometry. Owning this movement pattern will increase force production in nearly every area. The value is in owning this movement perfectly, not just pushing pounds. A fast, fluid and powerful swing with a kettlebell of the optimal weight is far superior to one with a heavier bell, even though the perceived exertion is more.

Key points:

1) Fold at the hips rather than squat at the knees or bend at the waist.

2) Weight is distributed evenly though the feet. Grip the ground with your toes.

3) Shoulders should remain back and down. Essentially, the opposite of a shoulder shrug.

4) Inhale though the nose on the backswing. Forcefully exhale through the teeth upon hip extension (Think of a high-pressure air hose). This is like a fighter taking a punch or kick to the body.

5) Grip the handle tightly with all fingers. “Hike” the bell back aggressively, and then accelerate the instant it reaches the peak of backswing. No hesitation or slack in kinetic chain. Think of a slingshot.

6) Knees should stay inline with the toes at all times. The shins should remain mostly vertical and should not translate past the toes.

7) Arms are straight at the backswing. Forearms should contact the inner thighs, above the knees, about 1/2 way between groin and knees. Do not “strafe” the ground.

8) Do not lift with the arms. The end height of the swing is mostly irrelevant. Full hip, knee, and torso extension is the goal. Swings will terminate between hips and shoulders. They should NOT go overhead.

9) Keep the spine neutral. Eyes should focus on a single, non-moving spot no higher than eye level across the room. Ignore your reflection in the mirror.

10) Abdominals should be braced like you are expecting a punch. Glutes are contracted hard. This, in coordination with breath control, will protect the spine. Muscular tension is your body’s armor. Lose tension, and you will get hurt.

Common Errors

* Lifting with the arms.

* Rounding back.

* Bending at the waist (“woodpecker swings”)

* Squatting the bell.

* Improper set up and finish of set.

* Losing speed and focus during the set.

* Upper body disengagement (“T-Rex swings”)

* Backswing is too high or too low: Either causes it to “tiger tail” or they strafe the floor.

* Disconnecting the lats and allowing the bell to pull the shoulders forward.

All of these errors will eventually cause discomfort and possible injury. Corrective techniques should be used to help get the client back on track and the best results possible.

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Supplement and Nutrition Product Scam Test

Supplement and Nutrition Product Scam Test:

1) Does the supplement company immediately discuss a “business opportunity?”

*If so, the supplement company makes more money off of the person signing up to sell the stuff than it does from profit margin of the actual physical product.

2) Do they ask for hundreds of dollars for their business starting kits or fees? Are there various “levels” of opportunity, based on how much you are willing to plunk down?

*They ask for hundreds of dollars for “starting kits” because this is how they make money…making money off of would-be sellers, not from the product itself.

3) Do you see their products sold in the standard retail marketplace? Or, are they only available after attending special meetings that discuss marketing opportunities?

*Their products are not available on the standard market because they can’t compete, unless they are sold where there are no competing products.

4) Are the majority of sales made to the general public? Or are the distributors and end-users one and the same?
*It is not a legitimate business. It is a pyramid scam.

Beware that Facebook is a huge open range for network marketing scams.

As my friend James Allen Stanton said:
“Network marketing: It still works, because people are still stupid.”

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Turkish Getups

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Turkish Getups

For the most part, you can totally “geek out” on the getup. There are probably 1,000s of good articles online from a variety of differing sources on the getup. What’s more, is that you will find that it combines elements of many staple strength, mobility, and stability exercises in one package.

The getup is best learned in person, by an experienced instructor. After that it will easily take 500-1000 correct repetitions in order to understand well, before you will effectively be able to teach others.

The getup trains several different movements. No doubt, if we put our heads together we could probably come up with a dozen more.

In fact, in one exercise the getup fulfills all of Tudor Bompa’s (the father of periodization training for sports) 6 Basic Laws of Strength Training. These are used to ensure the value of an exercise selection for any sports strength and conditioning program.

1. Develops joint flexibility.

2. Develops tendon and ligament strength.

3. Develops core strength.

4. Develops the stabilizers.

5. Trains different major human movements.

6. It focuses on elements of strength that are necessary, while not being a new, gimmicky exercise.

Here are a few things the getup trains:

-Horizontal pressing

-Unilateral overhead stabilization throughout a full range-of-motion.

-It is both an open-chain and closed-chain movement at different stages.

-Lunging, hip hinging.

-Rotational and anti-rotational strength.

-It requires strength and stability for the entire shoulder complex.

-Thoracic spine mobility.

-Contra-lateral movement.

-Breath control.

-Core stabilization.

-Balance and proprioception.

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Beware of Fitness Cults

Beware of Fitness Cults 

What are fitness cults, you ask? Fitness cults are fitness systems, trainers, or coaches that take advantage of weak and otherwise unfit people and convince them that their system is the only thing that has changed their lives in a positive direction, that theirs is superior to everything else.

To a weak and powerless person, this can cause the fitness cult to take on a disproportionate part of their lives and creates an unhealthy relationship with the cult or personalities associated with it.

Here’s an example:

Average Jane (or John):

Jane is 35. She never learned to to tax herself physically in any way, and hasn’t done any form of structured exercise since high school. Now, at 35 she works a desk job, is a mother of two, eats a Standard American Diet (SAD) and carries an extra 30lbs of fat around the midsection. She has very little positive reinforcement in her life, hates her job, and has no hope for anything better. In her eyes she is old, fat, and has little control over anything.

One day a friend of Jane’s invites her to a local Cultfit gym. She gets started and sees rapid progress since she also changed her eating habits, and despite the sedentary lifestyle, actually had some good genetic raw material under the surface.

A year later she has made some big changes and begins to coach others (after paying $1000 for a  weekend certification). Now, after a year she knows very little, but in the newbie’s eyes she is an expert. Since she has little perspective on what it means to be strong and athletic beyond Cultfit, and had very poor self-esteem to start with, she believes that Cultfit is the best thing in the world.

Truth be told, if you take a totally de-conditioned person eating a horrible diet and get them to do literally any type of exercise and structured eating plan you will see massive improvements initially. There was nothing special about Cultfit.

Since Cultfit gives her a little positive reinforcement and some sense of accomplishment in her life, it takes on a disproportionate level of importance. She even gets a tattoo of Cultfit’s logo on her back.

This level of blind allegiance is not lost on the head coach of Cultfit (who also has poor self-esteem) and he knows he can take advantage of this level of dedication to get her to do anything and sell anything.

Jane will drink whatever flavor of Kool-aid Cultfit serves up without question. She has no alternative, because to do otherwise is to revert to her powerless life before Cultfit. She has no way of progressing past Cultfit.

This situation is amplified, since Jane’s life has revolved around Cultfit for the past year. Cultift is all she talks about and most of her pre-Cultfit friends have become distant and alienated. Even her husband and kids are sick and tired of Cultfit.

To question Cultfit’s methodology or business practices is unthinkable. Cultift now takes more from Jane than it ever gave her.

Sound familiar? Change the names or the sex of the people involved and we could easily transfer this to many different fitness systems (actually Cult-like martial art schools are the masters of this business model).

The worst examples of this are some of the multi-level marketing companies that prey on this mentality for financial gain. The diet and supplement industry are infested with these practices.

Contrast this with what a great strength coach or teacher does: 

He or she empowers the trainee to learn for themselves. It is the coach’s ultimate goal. My Taekwon-Do master once told me as soon as you begin to think that you know something your instructor doesn’t, it is time to thank your instructor because this means he was very good at what he did. This is because your instructor inspired you to learn and had your best interests at heart.

The ultimate compliment to an instructor is to have the student surpass them. This can only happen when the instructor is unselfish and cares more about the student’s training than they do their own or the brand. This, of course, doesn’t mean the instructor doesn’t train or skips training. Quite the opposite, the instructor now has the awesome burden of students watching his every move and seeing his level of training diligence as an example. This is completely non-dogmatic, in that it is only through the student’s trust and loyalty that this model works. In a healthy teacher-student relationship this is a two-way street.

This is precisely the opposite of Cultfit. This is empowerment. This is what enhances someone’s quality of life and sense of self-worth beyond the gym and should last well after that gym closes its doors.

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Idaho Kettlebell Strength and Conditioning Philosophy

IKSC Programming Philosophy

Instructors in any system should be experts in the movements. You can’t teach something you can’t do well yourself. No one respects an instructor that dishes out training that he or she has not, could not, and will not complete themselves. 

The goal of any legitimate instructor is to build clients’ strength and conditioning levels, while preventing future injury. It is the de facto purpose of exercise. Intelligent program design and proper knowledge and supervision are vital to minimize injury risk, with maximal benefit.

There is a fine line between training that provides ample hormetic effect, and that which causes injury and excessive stress. Coupled with improper nutrition, rest, and recovery, what might be an extremely effective program can quickly overstress a focused and motivated person. The goal is to train smarter, not harder. Any idiot trainer can make up a “hard” workout, but not any program will make a client stronger and more resilient.

Valid reasons to include an exercise are:

* Proven to build strength and prevent injury.

* Place a huge metabolic demand on the system.

* Build functional, useable range-of-motion (and prevent injury in end-ranges).

* Increase balance and coordination.

* Increase force coupling ability, motor unit synchronicity, and motor unit firing rate.

* Build neuromuscular efficiency.

Dumb reasons to include an exercise are:

* It creates soreness.

* It is hard to do and learn.

* It looks cool on video.

* “I saw it on TV.” (i.e. CrossFit Games, UFC Unleashed, etc.)

Purpose Behind Each Movement 

It is important as an instructor to ask why you are doing each exercise programmed into a session. “Because is looks cool” is never a valid reason, and it is not just for entertainment purposes. “Enter-train-ment” is not good work, even though it is rampant in the mainstream fitness industry.

Building Strength -vs- Demonstrating Stunts or Feats of Strength

The goal is to build strength progressively through quality movement, increased resistance, force production, injury resistance, and work capacity. Each training session should be about building those things, not making every training session a competitive event. Save that for the competition floor or playing field. No one care if you “win” your workout.

Time-Tested Tools and Movements

One thing that is true in fitness is that the longer a piece of equipment or exercise has been around, the more likely it is to be effective. Bodyweight exercises like pushups, burpees, squats, lunges and pull-ups have been used for conditioning for eons, and pretty much always work. Kettlebells, barbells, medicine balls, rowing, and sled pulling are certainly not new, either.

 

Low-risk/High-Yield

Exercises with a high injury risk are to be avoided. Olympic barbell lifts like the clean & jerk and snatch are appropriate for a very small percentage of the population, and even then, only under the supervision of a certified and experienced weightlifting coach. For most of the general population they just aren’t necessary and the risk far outweighs the reward.

A strength and conditioning program is not a sport. Athletes use a strength and conditioning program to prevent injury, not risk injury by performing stunts. Clients will not train if they are injured.

In addition to the obvious liability risks, the damage word-of-mouth can do as a result of injury is devastating. By contrast, IKSC’s fundamental exercises have a proven track record of low injury potential, and improving client’s performance and quality-of-life in many ways.

Low-skill/High-Yield

It is important that selected exercises are easy to learn and teach. Remember that as trainers, we love to delve into the minutia of each exercise and movement. Clients are usually not this way. It is important that they spend the time allotted to working. Athletes have limited time for strength training in relation to sport skill training.

Tudor Bompa’s 6 Basic Laws of Strength Training for Athletes

Prof. Tudor Bompa is regarded as the father of sports periodization training. As a strength coach, Bompa coached 11 medalists (including two gold medalists) Olympic and world championship competition. He himself was an Olympic rower. IKSC uses his 6 Basic Laws of Strength Training.

1) Develop Joint Flexibility.

2) Develop Tendon and Ligament Strength.

3) Develop Core Strength.

4) Develop the Stabilizers.

5) Focus on movements, not individual muscles.

6) Don’t focus on what is new, but on what is necessary.

IKSC’s 3-Level System

IKSC’s tiered group training system is broken into three basic levels. Level III is generally the most technical and most challenging, Level II is intermediate, and Level I is a very basic, beginner workout.

The higher levels generally entail more volume or more weight, but this is not always the case. It is more that they just require the client have more familiarity with a wider range of exercises.

The ultimate goal is to allow a group with a wide disparity in ability to train simultaneously with equal results. As you begin to build rapport with your regular class attendees, you will begin to gauge your programming for them each day.

Example:

4 mixed Tabata rounds. Alternate between both exercises for each 4-minute interval. 4-minute rest between intervals.

Level III

Double kettlebell 1/2 Snatch and Hindu pushups.

Level II

2-arm swings and regular pushups.

Level I

Jog in place and hard plank holds.

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