Well, I have a big smile and sore lower back and neck from today’s activities. It was great to be around 12 other enthusiasts who have a love for the ‘bell, and I am sure that we all learned something about the way we were using it and making that more correct.
We walked through the basic exercises, starting with the Turkish Get Up. This exercise had everyone sweating within five minutes with relatively light weights, since we broke it up into three parts and performed repetitions, with Taikei Sensei checking everyone’s form. Small little reminders, like keeping the legs at right angles when going into the final body lift, keeping the streatched out leg with foot turned towards the floor, and to spread the palm in the initial lift off the ground, made total sense. There is only so much you can learn from the internet and books- you need the human touch to remind you of the little things.
Then we moved on to the press, swing and snatch, with a variety fo variations meant to cure the various problems that arise. I found out that I had been racking my left arm in front of my body and twisting the torso a bit, instead of keeping my body square, and it was good to pick this up and correct now before I seriously think about certification.
When pressing, to practice for a heavier weight by keeping the weight on the forearm and allowing room for a bigger bell later. It makes balance harder, but helps keep the form too. Everything always tight tight tight with the muscles, keeping abs and the gluttes locked and braced for action really helps. Also, making sure that the handle is pressed against the base of the palm closest to the little finger actuates your muscles the most when pressing; that and making sure that hip is right below the bell before you attempt to press it.
Another tip when pressing and snatching is to make sure that your arm is to bring your arm behind your head into the fully locked position; arm straight and elbow locked, and you head reaching forwards a little to actuate the shoulder and musculature more. The head has to come a little forward with double presses as well.
Squats came next, with us going as low as you can, flat footed, then spreading the legs out as wide as you can before pressing back up. We really emphasized the pressurized breathing technique here, with the “tsu tsu” really being forced out during the performance of any exercise.
I started with the snatch just using a 16kg bell, (which I mistook for a 12) and found that my elbow wasn’t really locking out enough at the top a few times. Thankfully this is now something that I can watch in the future. I cannot emphasize enough how much your lower body and abs play in this movement, with Taikei sensei yelling “ squeeze tighter, tighter!” to a few people, and this really locked the weight in above your head.
As if that wasn’t enough, we did a timed snatch count for sets of 15 seconds with a fifteen second rest in between, and there were a few sweaty faces at the end of that session let me tell you.
Next came burpees! Muhahaha! Better get used to those if you want to take RKC certification as Pavel supposedly loves to hand these out as punishment.
At the end of snatch, one tip was- if you have problems with it, do more tgu’S to cure it. The two exercises are related as with all kettlebell exercises, and the performance of one has effects on the rest of your routines.
What came next? Well, it was so humid in the room by this point that the mirrors were fogging up, but we did some sandbag work; deadlifts, snatches, tgus with the bag( now that was interesting as the weight shifted around- I highly recommend it!)
We ended the session with Viking push presses, got some clarification on performing the jerk ( get under the bell at the top) and a floor press ( which is basically bench press for kb’s ).
By the time I left, some of the Japanese guys who had perhaps written me off at the beginning now nodded to me with mutual respect: I had made some new friends, and I am sure all of them were heading home to hopes of hot baths and a good night’s sleep!