Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Have KB, will travel... and WOD!

Kettlebells are useful little devices - compact and extremely portable, they offer a wide range of challenging movements if you have the knowledge and creativity to put them into use.  On a road trip to Utah in the summer of 2010, a 55lb KB was the only piece of equipment I brought and it was an excellent choice... nothing like crushing kb snatches and goblet squats in the desert in July!

Ideally it would be great to have a selection of weights along for the ride but I find the good old 1 pood fits most needs really well - it's a good weight for swings, presses, snatches, c+j, goblets, and TGU's.  If you're a bit stronger, a 1.5 (73lb) kb might be a better option.

Either way, pick one up, learn yourself some KB skills and pop it into your car.  That way, whenever the mood strikes you, there's a gym just waiting to happen.  This is a great option during the summer months as well when it's so nice to get outside to crush a workout.

Last night I did just that.  There's a small school with a big playground and field a short drive away from my house, and I needed to do some conditioning work.  The obvious choice with a kb, a pullup bar, and field was "Helen" (3 rounds of 400m run, 21 swings, 12 pullups).  I wanted a bit longer wod so I bumped the rounds up to 4.  The pullup bar was a good challenge since my feet tended to scrape the ground a bit when I did my kip, and I'm not sure about the run distance but it "felt" about right!

In the end, it was a great evening to be outside and crushing a workout... all thanks to my kb buddy.

Give yourself a break from the usual gym-ness during the summer when you can - you'll find it's a great way to enjoy your fitness experience and it will add some necessary variety.


Friday, 15 June 2012

Visiting Catalyst Athletics

It goes without saying that not all coaches or training centres are alike, and there are definite quality differences even between people who are at "the top". After visiting Catalyst Athletics and getting to see Coach Greg Everett in action, I can assure you that he lives up to his reputation. Greg is mostly known for his excellent book - Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes and Coaches - as well as the monthly Performance Menu online magazine that is published through Catalyst. With these accomplishments it might be easy for someone to forget what formed the basis of Greg's publication success - which is excellence in coaching. My main goal for heading down to Catalyst was to see him in action and working with his competitive lifters. There are certain cues and technical details that are only truly realized when seen in person. One thing that really stuck out for me was the emphasis on the "pull under" the bar. I've seen this many times before of course and it is emphasized by all good Oly coaches, but the way that it is taught and ingrained at Catalyst really hit home. The best drill that I've seen to develop this pull is what they call the "tall snatch". Check out to see a video of this in action... it definitely pushes the development of the pull under like no other teaching drill that I have seen. Over two days there, I definitely picked up a lot in regards to training lifters. I was fortunate enough also to observe Catalyst's beginner/recreational Oly class and their fitness class, so I saw how they developed the skills of part time lifters. I even got a glimpse of 2007 CF Games champion Jolie Gentry crushing a workout one night. Aside from the training aspects, two other things are remarkable about Catalyst. Firstly, I am a great believer in associating with quality people, and they have that part dialled down there. Steve and Alyssa are two competitive lifters that are both friendly and humble people and are dedicated to their coaching duties for the recreational lifters and fitness group respectively. In addition to that, the lifters that train there genuinely seem to be friends and the environment in the gym was very positive. Secondly, you have to have PASSION if you truly want to succeed in your position. You can tell that Greg honestly loves his job - it's evident in the way he coaches and interacts with his athletes, his commitment to excellence, and even how he has hand-built many of the structures and platforms in his gym. Overall, it was a great trip and my only regret is that I didn't get so spend more time down there... maybe a week next year! Cam