Personal/Group training sessions for Kettlebells and Body-weight training available

Hi all,

Just to let you know that I am available for individual or group training sessions. Classes generally run for two hours, which includes a good stretching/posture check first up, then into some band work/body weight resistance training to get your joints and body ready for work, then the ‘bells.

I tailor every class to the individual needs of the student.

In this weather, you can expect to need a lot of water for training,so make sure you bring at least a liter, probably two to be sure. I train the bells with lots of stretching mixed in, and normally end the class with a little Qigong to relax you.

Classes are tailored to your ability and interest, and generally I give some tips and pointers for develoing your own workout regimen.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me here or at my email.

mark.jersey(at)gmail.com

Happy training!

Mark

AeroSling: Ready to work!

download 1 I was recently contacted by a fellow called Elmar Schumacher over at Aerobis Germany to test one of their suspension trainer devices- The AeroSling Pro Set. Knowing that I had pretty extensive experience with other suspension trainers and that I have been using them for some of my clients here in Japan, I appreciated their forthrightness in approaching me for a critical evaluation of this new line of equipment

The Goods.DSC_0107

The first thing you notice when you receive one of these kits is the packaging. Its well thought out with little extras that make it obvious that a lot of effort and thought has been put into making this kit as complete as possible. For example, I liked the re-sealable plastic bags that all of the equipment came in, instead of the usual rip and throw variety. It shows an environmental sense. The main parts of the aerosling come already assembled, with accessories separate and each with an instruction guide as to how to set up or add to the assembly.The handy doorknob sign for the busy businessperson staying in a hotel that lets people know- hey, I’m training in here! The exercise chart and easy to follow dvd made my first workout a breeze, with little time spent in set up. My first impressions were- this kit is well thought out.

Getting started.

Compared to other equipment I have used, the Aerosling was both lightweight and sturdy.For anyone carrying equipment or wanting portability with their workouts, a few grams here and there make a big difference. This equipment fits easily into the draw string carry bag (comes with the kit) which can be put in a backpack for an outdoor in-the-wild adventure or take with you to your gym. Here in Japan, we have a mainly urban environment, so the ability for me to pick up the kit and head to the local park is a big plus. All the components were sturdy and built for hours of use. Attaching the device to a wall mount or overhead beam etc was as simple as flipping one end of the attaching cable over the attach point, and then clipping it on the carabineer. For more sturdiness, two winds around the beam give you an extra sure attachment point. Then a simple weight test to check proper set up, and you are off to work.

Having used similiar devices before, I found this one really simple and user friendly. Don’t get me wrong- I like heavy duty, and there is a place for such types of equipment, but there is also some sense of overkill at times, such as in weight. I usually carry other equipment with me, such as kettlebells etc, so the ease of trasnportantion was a big plus for me. For your average athlete or gym who needs equipment that can take a hard workout and still be ready for me, the Aerosling fits the bill.

Instant fun.DSC_0117

If you are already used to doing body weight/resistance training, or have some gymnastic background, you will immediately sense of advantage when training- the core muscles are instantly involved to balance you while you work out. For first timers with this kind of equipment, I recommend watching the instruction video and setting up your Aerosling for beginner intensity level. Then as you gain confidence, you can up the intensity easily by a quick unwind of the main handles.

Scalable workouts.

I love the versatility that this equipment brings a workout. You can push yourself as hard as you like, or take the more moderate path. Each exercise shows a simple form and then an advanced level version on the cd, and the exercises are easy to follow. I recommend though that you watch all the exercises through completely first, and perhaps don’t attempt to do them all straight away. Pick a particular area of  your body that you want to train, and then follow the related exercise. DSC_0122

I tested the Aerosling out on a couple of my students, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. Its a fun machine that you can set up in your own house, take to the gym, or set up outside. For us, it was smiles all round and my students were exhausted after a 45 minute session. I can see it being a real boon to any professionals out there wanting to keep fit while they travel for business and have to adjust to busy schedules. You would hardly notice this kit in a suitcase, even a carry on bag. Perfect. Crossfitters, this equipment has something for you too. Fighters, well enough said- this equipment rocks.

What it will cost you.

The staff at Aerobis have made this equipment very affordable. ( see the details and special offer below!)

Summary:

For those who travel, the lightness, sturdiness and well thought out design of these easy to use kits will mean that you can take it anywhere with you and give yourself a good workout. Whether you are a professional athlete, sports trainer looking for equipment for your clients, or someone just out to keep your body toned, this kit has something for you.

Two thumbs up from me.

Q: How do I get one???

Elmar at Aerobis headquarters sent me these useful links and some extra information for you :

Go to Aerobis.com
http://www.aerobis.com/shop/en/index

Go right to the aerosling models:

http://www.aerobis.com/shop/en/Suspended-Pulley-Trainers/aeroSlings (our aeroSling Models)

http://www.aerobis.com/shop/en/Suspended-Pulley-Trainers/aeroSling-Sets (I received a Set which is called the aeroSling ELITE)

A new model for you to check out as well. I will let Elmar explain:

The new aeroSling XPE is a lightweight smaller brother of the ELITE that you tested. It retails at 139 EUR incl. Door Anchor and DVD. It also has great material but is simpler as such as it cannot be extended with other grips etc.. So professionals would go for the ELITE or ELITE set – beginners in Suspended Pulley Training would go for the XPE.

And a special coupon offer from Elmar at Aerobis for you!

People that are interested will get a coupon code for 15% off to cover shipping and such (100 EUR order value min):

MDA2011CHL

So..what are you waiting for? Go get one!!! Smile

Whats in a typical kettlebell training session?

 Had a busy weekend teaching several one on one personal training sessions back to  back on Saturday and Sunday, and it was great for me to be around people who all  took their own personal training goals very seriously. It also meant I slept very  soundly Sunday night!

Since some of my blog readers may not have had any kettlebell experience before, I  thought I would take the time to explain what a typical class with me consists of.

The first thing I tend to address in my kb  and conditioning classes are the existing  state of health of the client, any pre-existing injuries, general lifestyle and overall  body mobility.Whether the client is a professional athlete or your average 9-5’er, it  is critical with kettlebells that these points are addressed before working out and  designing a course. You have to know the raw materials you are working with, or it  can potentially lead to disappointment in the student when they cant achieve their  goals or get frustrated by existing physical limitations.

Here in Japan, most of my clients don’t stretch enough, partly due to extremely busy lifestyles and long work hours here in Japan. I generally try to give them a simple routine that they can do daily, at times fitting small exercise/stretching sets into the existing day job when breaks occur and there is time to remind oneself about posture and tension. Men and women that end up sitting at a desk 8-10 hours plus a day are going to have tight hips and stiff lower backs, so oiling the system regularly with some easy stretches makes a big difference in their overall physical experience, especially as they get older.

Starting a serious/ steady exercise routine will ultimately expose any injuries and /or medical history that the client brings with them. I can thank Steve Cotter and his IKFF methodology for a comprehensive and holistic approach to client care, since we tailor each class to the student existing abilities, and work from there. Some clients may end up getting a steady diet of stretching and band work as an integral component of their training, and bring in the kettlebell work gradually. Those with pre-existing injuries will definitely be pointed at band work initially and then body weight exercises to rehabilitate the muscle and encourage once again the body’s true natural function, and gradually start on the path to rehabilitation. Once a level of stability is achieved, weight is added gradually with the kb’s ( I like to call this phase yoga with weights) until we get to the client’s working weight. By that point, the client has been given all the basic and necessary tools to sustain and maintain themselves on their training journey.

All students this week were really serious about their own personal goals and could define quite clearly what they wanted to achieve and the amount of time they were willing to commit regularly to getting there.

Once the arm up and confirmation that the body is ready to go is done, then its time to hit the bells, where we do a lot of work and transition between exercises without putting the bell down. This saves us time for one, and helps keep the conditioning aspect of working with kb to the fore.

I will video a student performing exercises to give them a before and after sense of their lesson, and mix the intensity of the workout with regular stretching throughout to relieve any muscles that are tense of tired. This makes the training session much more enjoyable for the client, who generally push themselves harder than they expected initially.

The end of the class usually involves a revue of work done, and suggestions for home workouts and things to watch out for as they progress.

The general recommended frequency of kettlebell routines normally starts at two or three times a week, and develops from there. Rest is important, as well as diet and what other exercise/activity the person does to support their training goals. Depending on the level of the student, we can go fairly quickly into competitive type lifts, or focus on single arm kettlebell work and conditioning and mobility. Its really up to the client.

I must say that from each student, as I teach I learn a little bit about myself at the same time. Instilling a sense of confidence in a person that they can achieve their own goals is vital, and that some kind of moral support and encouragement is there from me when they need it.

The relationship between trainer and student is symbiotic; often the student gets as much out of it as I put into it.

Enough said 😉

Sunday fun

IMG_2892 Well we certainly earned our keep today- the weather turned around and went from threats of thunderstorms to a beautiful hot Tokyo Summer day. Two first timers joined us and in all we had a great time.

The feed afterwards certainly didn’t hurt either!

We will have another meet again probably in about three weeks to enjoy the Summer while it lasts, and get some of our other friends along.

Cheers!

Interview with Rannoch Donald, on Simple Strength & Kettlebell Scotland

2903_177996015103_576070103_6436573_3321094_nIts not often that you come across another person over the internet that you immediately feel an affinity for, but  it is a testament to Rannoch Donald’s strength of character and enthusiasm for everything he does that permeates even over the ether.

Ranked the #4 RKC trainer in the world by his legions of happy customers, Rannoch has carved a path of his own, working with both the IKFF and Steve Cotter, while at other times with such RKC heavyweights like Mark Cheng, bringing his students and customers sound advice and the practical means to achieve their best. With all around him, he maintains a rock solid integrity; you can be sure that if you ask Rannoch’s opinion, he will tell it to you straight, and it is his frankness and willingness to listen that has earned him a place at the very top rank of the international kettlebell community.

I took some time out recently to ask Rannoch a series of questions, mostly regarding his current activities in Scotland and the latest developments of his own activities as a teacher and self-practice.

Here is the first part, from a man who is known by one name…

GK. Hi Rannoch, thank you for your time today. Lets start off by please telling us a bit about you, your background, your interest in kettlebells and physical fitness in general .


Thanks for the questions. I am 47, have trained in some form or other most of my life. My first passion was martial arts and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to train with some exceptional instructors in a number of disciplines. I am a product of the 70’s martial arts boom. One of my earliest instructors was a charismatic Malaysian called Jarrod Lee who opened my eyes to the sheer diversity out there.
For many years I labored under the illusion that being fit was the purpose of training. I had something of a wake up call when I broke my leg a few years ago and realized that not only was I not as fit as I thought I was, I wasn’t healthy and I really struggled to bounce back.

The traditional rehab methods offered little improvement, so I did my homework and began with simple mobility drills, moved on to include body weight exercises and finally introduced kettlebell practice. Within a short time I found myself in better shape than I’d been in 15 years. What really amazed me was I could achieve this in a fraction of the time I used to “work out”. And the great thing is this is available to, and achievable by, everyone.n576070103_2752395_1447

I realized that my previous efforts did not reflect certain key criteria.

  • Firstly, I needed to be honest with myself regarding the time I have available, not just to train but to recover.
  • Secondly, as a father of three with a full time job, understanding the methods required to enhance my health, not just my fitness, were absolutely critical.
  • Thirdly, that those methods reflect my abilities, are sustainable and not based on the latest routine of some professional sports star with an entourage of personal chefs, physios and coaches.
  • Finally, that my practice reflects my interests. For example, as a middle aged martial artist, I am looking for balance, symmetry and strength, not massive muscles. My practice, and what I teach, is designed to create and promote power. And that is what every aging athlete should be after.

The key to all this is to treat you efforts as practice. The object is to get better at what you do and remain injury free. That what you do is sustainable. The endless desire to add weight to the bar is ultimately self defeating, there will come a time when the tide turns and all you have are over use injuries and creaking joints.
So I think in terms of tai chi and yoga masters whose movement and performance improves with age. This is key; performance is a product of practice. Practice allows you the time and space to refine what you do. Ultimately that manifests itself when you come to perform.
On this subject, many people decide to get back “in shape” by taking up a sport. A word of caution – you will be lousy at the sport and you wont get fit. Technical skill and physical preparedness are two different things. This goes back to your practice reflecting your needs and interests. So we need a method that creates resilient, healthy, lean and strong individuals who can transfer those benefits to the activities they pursue.

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GK. What, in your opinion, is the state of kettlebells today?Its been 8-9 years now since the rediscovery/reintroduction to the general population, and we have seen it gradually integrating itself into the sporting community. What do you see is the future? Where is this all heading?

It’s been great to see how kettlebells training has re-evolved. If we can ensure a high level of coaching then Kettlebells will become standard issue in any progressive training environment. Unfortunately the “hard core” perception of KBs has had an inverse effect with some commercial interests trying to “aerobicize” them, creating bizarre drills and turning them into yet another craze. But when used properly Kettlebells provide a unique challenge. Few tools provide such intensity and such a wide range of benefits across strength, endurance, speed, flexibility and co-ordination. For me, kettebells provide the essential base for my practice. They are not a magic bullet. Nothing is. Used correctly they provide a fantastic return in a relatively short period of time. But as with so many things ultimately effort = results.
My own focus is in promoting in everybody an integrated practice, so along with mobility and body weight, kettlebells provide a well rounded approach.

GK. Many of the readers here, both young and old, are in the process of training or are looking at building themselves a new program. Probably most of them fit these goals around daily work commitments and families as well. What key ingredients do you feel are necessary for an effective long-term fitness strategy for a man or woman who works 9-5? How would you suggest a person assesses their current workout regimen?

Firstly, consider your needs. This requires a tremendous degree of courage because most of us have to first accept we are not as fit, young and healthy as we thought. Many people who come to my workshops get the kind of wake up call I had a few years back. But all this is good because it provides a realistic base from which to start. What I really want is people to take charge of their own well being and the easiest way to do that is to take a serious look at where you are right now.
Once you know where you are you can map out where you want to go. One step at a time, one session at a time. Real fitness and well being is not hemmed in by the constraints of prescriptive programs and inflexible routines. It works because it responds to your life style, your schedule and your abilities. In addition, your practice must leave you with the resources to get on with your life, deal with your job, take care of your family. Anything that leaves you spent is not sustainable.
Also, the mental benefits of training are well documented and can’t be underestimated. There is a self sustaining energy that comes with regular practice.

GK. You and I have had many discussions about the concept of sustainability in terms of a life long approach to fitness. Can you explain in a nutshell what we are talking about here?

It’s important to be open to variety with regard to the methodology of your workout routine and change that is naturally occurring in your body on  a day to day basis, but it’s equally important to not become a victim to novelty. Focus on the basics. Choose a few things and learn to do them exceptionally well. This in turn will pay massive dividends when it comes to tackling bigger tasks. On of my favorite quotes is –
Only those who have the patience to do simple things perfectly will acquire the skill to do difficult things well“. -J. Friedrich von Schiller.

GK. In your own personal journey, what is the greatest challenge for you?

It’s the same as everyone else. Simply getting on with what I know needs to be done. Simple as that.

GK. Rannoch, what drives you? What keeps you going?

The prospect of growing old disgracefully! Being around to see my kids and grow into the the amazing adults I know they will be. I often speak at workshops about our responsibility to the tribe, or in other words, the society we live and work in. Once you stop contributing, you become a burden. I want to contribute as long as I can. I simply want to be awake for the journey; we all need to be participants, not observers and realize that vibrant health is our natural state. We’ll all go the same way at the end of the day but you can influence how present you are for the trip.

GK. What is Simple Strength about? I see you have been developing your site- can you tell the readers a little about what you are working on?

The new Simple Strength website will be unveiled in the next week or so. it will integrate the Simple Strength blog and Kettlebells Scotland under one roof, making it easy to access information, workshop details and articles. It will also highlight events like the forthcoming IKFF CKT Certification in September and our workshop with Frank Forencich of Exhuberant Animal.

GK.So..what is the future for you? Where do you go from here?

As much fun as it is to rub shoulders with Martial artists and athletes I am really interest in people exactly like you and me who simply want to be fit and healthy. This stuff is not the domain of commercial gyms, nutrition companies and personal trainers. It is the natural right of everyone. All you have to do is get on with it.

GK. Thanks for your time Rannoch. I am sure we will be chatting with you again in the near future!

If you have a question for Rannoch, please feel free to write in. Here is  a link to his Simple Strength site:

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Sports Business Directory - BTS Local

Sportspeople in Japan #1- Jan Kaszuba

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Training a client at Bungeling Bay Gym in Ebisu, Tokyo.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a professional fighter living and competing here in Japan, who also teaches boxing and kickboxing for living. Anyone meeting Jan (pronounced “Yon”) for the first time is greeted with a warm smile and a firm handshake, and the conversation rather naturally drifts to what its like to be a foreigner living and fighting in the land of the rising sun.

After spending an afternoon with him learning some fundamental techniques for my journey into boxing/kickboxing, I was impressed with both his professional demeanor and passion for what he does as a fighter. I decided to interview him for the blog, and share his journey with you.

1. Jan, please tell us a bit about yourself.

About me

-from a working class town in Canada called Windsor which borders Detroit

-I studied advertising in college

-28 years old

-Used to fight 85kg but now I fight 70kg

-Lived in Japan for 2.5yrs. Lived in Okayama for .5 and Tokyo for 2yrs

-Started training when I was 14. 1st day of H.S. actually -Started training because I was influenced by the movie Kick boxer

– Former Shidokan MW world champ

2. Why did you come to Japan?

I came to Japan to pursue my dream of fighting in K1. I had no real connections in Canada that could get me a chance at fighting in K1 at the time so I decided to come here.

3. Tell us about some of the people you have trained with- those who really stood out as people that have influenced you a great deal.

I have trained with the professional fighters of Iron Ax at Seido Kaikan since I have lived in Tokyo. Tatsuji is the most successful of the team. Recently I have changed teams. I joined the pro team of Bungeling Bay which trains out of AE Factory. The team is led by Nitta Akeomi and Nicolas Pettas. One of the biggest influences in my training career has been Tomasz Kucharzewski (6 time Shidokan HW world champion and K1 HW competitor) but unfortunately he died while I was here in Japan. Another big influence was my old trainer in Canada. He was a Canadian Olympic boxing coach. His name is William (Bill) Grant.

4. What was the hardest fight you have ever been in?

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Jan earning his daily bread

I’m not sure which fight has been my hardest. Ive had a lot of wars. The hardest fight Ive had recently would have to be the one I had with Nitta Akeomi (owner of Bungeling Bay) We beat the crap out of each other. The last round was an absolute caveman fight. My hands hurt for about a year after that fight. They’re ok now 😉

5. You are 28 years old, where do you plan to go from here?

I have no idea what the future holds for me. I’m kinda just going with the flow right now. Id like to stay in Japan to continue my fighting career and working as a personal trainer but if I move home I may be able to get a job as a park ranger through a friend in the RCMP. I also have the opportunity to work as a trainer in my home town, Chicago, or Dubai. Dubai would be nice.

6. As a foreigner living in Japan, what is hard/easy for you?

Living as a foreigner in Japan has been quite difficult because of obvious reasons such a language barriers and cultural differences but the most difficult thing has been my experience with Nova( the now defunct English teaching school that suddenly went under a couple of years ago). Everyone knows about that.

Its become a lot easier for me since Ive started working at Bungeling Bay Gym because now I’m surrounded by so many kind people and I’ve made a lot of new friends. My Japanese is really starting to improve too. I didn’t have much social contact with Japanese people before working here as all I did before was train with them, but now I work with them too and I’m forced to speak Japanese. I love it.

7. Regarding your personal training, what is your usual routine?

My training routine is currently in transition because my trainer recently moved back to Thailand. I’m training with a new team that really trains like a team and does everything together. I also train at Bungeling Bay with various partners on Tuesday and Thursday.

Training

Training

I normally train Monday through Saturday when I’m preparing for a fight. Right now I am taking any opportunity I can to do different things and change up my routine. I’ve been doing the exact same thing pretty much everyday for the last two years with my trainer and I think its burnt me out a bit. My old routine consisted of shadow boxing, stretching, pad work, bag work and muscle conditioning drill. I usually finish of the day with a run. I hope to start a kettle bell routine in the near future.

8. Why do you like to train people? Whats do you think makes you good as a coach?

I like training people because I actually enjoy teaching people. If I could go back I would probably study to become a high school gym teacher. Teaching kickboxing just seems natural and it definitely doesn’t feel like work. Correcting peoples technique also makes me better as a fighter because it reinforces the techniques and strategies that are in my mind. A good coach not only gives proper instruction but they ask questions too. They must understand what their athlete is thinking and feeling.

9. So Jan, what is the future with you and K1/Pride? What do you hope to achieve in the next few years?

Well, I’m still trying to get my foot in the K1 door. Ive fought 3 K1 fighters (Lim Chi Bim, Hayato and Nitta Akeomi) but I still havent been given the chance to fight in the big show. Now that I’ve joined Bungeling Bay and AE Factory I think my chances of getting in have greatly increased because Nitta and Pettas are both former K1 stars and have the right connections. Training with this new team is also going to improve my game. In the past year a few people have encouraged me to gain weight and fight in the HW division. I gain weight really easily now. I walk around at about 81kg and I don’t even do any weight training.head-kick

If I started to do some serious eating and weight training I’m really confident that I can get over 90kg. The over 90kg division generally makes more money and are not as skilled until you get into the really high calibre fighters that are in K1. It may be easier to get into K1 if I go that route. 70kg is the most competitive division in Japan because it is a more usual weight for Japanese fighters and every fighter dreams of competing in K1 Max, therefore it can prove quite difficult and even seem almost impossible for a foreign fighter living in Japan to fight their way into the tourney.

10. Please tell us about the gym Bungeling Bay in Ebisu where you work, and your teaching philosophy.

Here’s the url, and the site map can be found here http://www.bungelingbay.com/

I like to teach all kinds of students no matter what their ability may be, beginner to advanced, disabled to the physically gifted. I had the opportunity to train with a blind student that frequents the gym. It was my first time working with this disability and I was pretty nervous but we both ended up having a lot of fun. I taught him the basic techniques of kickboxing and in turn he helped me with my Japanese. This client now comes regularly to Bungeling Bay in Ebisu.

Another happy customer

Another happy customer

Ultimately, what I’m looking for in a student is dedication and the willingness to work hard in order to achieve the results that they want. I can only teach and motivate, in the end its all up to the individual to put in the effort to succeed. Also, I like to create a relationship with my student so that we have a common understanding and I know what they really need. An athlete will always work harder for someone they trust.

Jan, thanks for your time and good luck with your own personal development and career!

Cutting through to the core.

image_098As I train more and more, I become more aware of my physical limitations at any given time. Of course these parameters change, of course I can influence them up to a certian point, but the physiology that I was born with cannot be radically altered. I can improve my musculature, watch what I eat and balance what I have into the most effective physical package.

The word or idea that I introduce to you today is- balance. I am a “salaryman” here in Japan, and that entails me sitting at a desk for at least 8 hours a day, often longer.  Allowing that to get out of control and make me start becoming sedentary in my free time, I might as well kiss my life goodbye.

Uh-uh. No way.

I let that happen the first three years I was in Tokyo, and it took my a good 4 months of hard physical slog to win my fitness and conditioning back. And here I will stay.

What did I learn from my sojourn in Europe, and what lessons will I apply to my lifetsyle back in the Japanese head office after April 1st?

1. Bike riding to work- 48 kms round trip, one way (24 kms) takes about an hour. I have a fixed gear road bike which will assist me in this endeavor. It takes me the same amount of time to get home whether I take the train or ride- which would you choose? I ride along the Tamagawa bike path, which can get very very windy, but thats all part of the fun. Aargh!

2. Utilize break times at work to do something: stretching body parts, going to the park at lunch and doing body weight resistance exercises, using the gym that I know is there at lunch time!

3. being aware of what I eat, when I eat, and maintaining a steady blood sugar level with good stuff, not crap.

4. Listening to my body- some days train hard, some days get up early and train before work.

5. Don’t eat the crap that they serve in the company cafeteria

6. Last but not least- work is work- it stays in the office, and all the thoughts and stresses that go along with it.

My workouts improve from day to day as I stretch my own paramaters of fitness and well being.

Always balance.

peace,

Markeu

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Hyper Irradiation and Successive Induction- two keys to workout success

This week, I am going to introduce to you two concepts which will definitely bring benefits to your workouts right now. Without much further bla bla, lets get to the pith.

Hyper irradiation- “cheering not cheating”

This concept means that when you are exercising one muscle, lets take your biceps for example, you can implement more power and strength by recruiting the surrounding muscle mass into the exercise. Here is a concrete example:
Let’s say you are doing bicep curls. Start of course before moving the bar/dumbbell/kettlebell my tensing your bicep.

This is what they call ’loading’ your muscle before it starts to work, and actually increases the amount of muscle fiber in the main muscle that you will recruit. Once you start to feel the muscle starting to tighten to its hardest level, start out from that center to other related muscles- your triceps, shoulders and your forearms, taking each muscle area in turn and feeling the muscle tighten, ready for the work you are about to give it.

Go further! Spread out from your shoulder into your back, traps, lats and deltoids, gradually continuing this ‘call to arms’ through as much of your body as you can recruit. Put your whole body and mind into this! Now, keeping that tension, start moving the weight for as many reps as you require. Keep the tension throughout your muscles until your last rep.

Once you understand how to do it, you can ‘load’ your muscles rather fast and it will only take a couple of seconds before you start your set.

Rather than cheating an extra rep through (potentially) bad technique or an assist, you get the benefit of the rest of your body’s musculature to ‘cheer’ on your main effort, making you stronger and safer in the process.

Many people note an immediate increase in available muscle strength due to this technique; not only that, if you continue this throughout your whole session, you will probably have some very sore muscles the next day since you have got your whole body behind each and every exercise. And you will be sporting a very healthy pump for most of your day.

Give it a try and report back on your results.

Successive Induction- don’t waste that pump!
Taking the bicep curl as an example again, most of us once the weight has been cleared to full contraction point, let the weight drop back downto the starting point, not really thinking too much about the return journey and glad for a break from the effort of squeezing the bi to lift the weight.

There is a better way….

Why waste the return journey? By utilizing the ‘load’ technique above, start to become aware of the triceps working as you lift the weight, and ‘pull’ the weight back down to the start position on the return.

This immediately gives you the benefit of making the bicep stronger, as it is being balanced in work by the tri working in unison.
Give these two techniques a try and get the most out of your workouts today! In any exercise where you have an opposing muscle, recruit it to perform the reverse movement for you.

Oh- and one more thing… try stretching your working muscle between sets- you might see a marked increase in performance if you do!

If you are already doing this stuff, all power to you. But if you are not- give it a try!

Cheers

***These tips are taken from Pavel’s brilliant book,  Power to the People.

For Whom The Bell Tolls.

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by guest writer David Parmer.

Today at the gym I was doing Cleans and Snatches with a 20kg kettlebell. And it felt
good. No, let me correct that: it felt GREAT.
I’ve only been doing kettlebells since December 2008, when I first picked up
an 8kg bell. The only instruction I had was from posts on You Tube to begin
with, then I ordered Pavel’s book and DVD,  Enter the Kettlebell.
After that I did a lot more research on the Internet and found some great
videos by people like Anthony DiLuglio, Jeff Martone, Lauren Brooks, Adam
Davila and Troy Anderson. Many thanks to you all. May the metal gods smile on you.

When I see how really fit some kettlebell users are, I realize that I am truly a beginner.
But I am determined to continue, and here’s why.
I am now sixty-four years old, that’s six-four, not sixty-something, and
with luck in August I will be sixty-five, that’s six five.  And there’s not
a damn thing I can do about it. Or want to.  Normally, I don’t play the
“age card,” but today it bears directly on what I have to say.

Recently I have had experience of watching friends and other people
my age and younger simply deteriorate.  And many of the friends
are up to 10 years younger than me. Many of them are “well off” and
exude satisfaction in the financial area. I congratulate them on their successes.
However at the same time, the majority are “getting old” they have a variety
of ailments including major problems with their joints. Others have made
recoveries from life-threatening illnesses and have put themselves under doctors’
care for the remainder of their days.  As far as I can tell, it doesn’t have to
be that way.

I grew up in the 1950s (To get an almost accurate feeling for the era I recommend
the HBO show MadMen.)  At that time a man was “old” at 45. Naturally he smoked
and drank and by 45 developed a respectable pot belly and could complain of
a bad back without social disapproval.  Twenty years later in the 1970s we had
the beginning of the fitness revolution with Phil Knight’s invention of the
first pair of Nike shoes and a new era opened up.  Health and fitness became a
way of life for a lot of people.  The jury was in; lifestyle, particularly exercise
and diet were definitely connected to longevity.

And yet many people ignore the evidence and continue to push themselves.
They take and take and take, and never give back to their bodies in the
form of exercise. They fail to do what American business writer
Steven Covey calls “sharpening the saw.”  Coffee, cigarettes and overwork
are what their bodies get instead.  And by their fifth or sixth decade the bill
comes due.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as far as I understand it, offers another
paradigm: We have two forms of “essence.”  One type we get at birth from
our parents. This is a fixed amount, like a trust fund. We have another type
of essence which is acquired essence. We get it from our food, rest, the air
we breathe and exercise.  The Chinese Taoists make an art of cultivating
this essence. The result is that they live on the interest and draw sparingly
from the principle, or original essence. We have all seen people “getting
old” and frail, and withering away. TCM might say that they are simply
using up their essence account, and soon there will be no more.

As for me, I am determined to lead a vigorous and healthy life for as
long as possible, (and to top-up the essence account)
and that is where the kettlebells come in.

I am convinced that the kettlebell  (even with my limited experience) is
one of the finest tools available today to build a strong mind and body.
I can still remember the feeling I had the first few times after  doing a kettlebell
workout.  I felt like an animal, like a primate; like some long-lost connection
had been made to a primal part of my brain.
I am equally convinced that traditional “weight training” or
resistance training is not the way to go—at least not for me.
Recently I did two kettlebell workouts in a week and for a third workout
I decided to do “anything-but” kettlebells. I did bench presses, seated
rows, barbell curls etc. The result was that I was both “pumped” and
“burned.”  I didn’t enjoy either. I felt like RoboCop walking down the
street. Certainly a far cry from the primate loping through the urban
jungle.

I truly wish I could help my friends and the people I  know. And yet
the evidence for fitness is all there and the choice is theirs.
None of us are attracted to zealots; quite the opposite, it is those
who quietly walk their talk that inspire us.

“No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne.

David Parmer is a freelance writer
and copywriter living in Tokyo.
You can contact him at: mail@shanghai-vintage-hotels.com