Needless to say, 2020 has been a whirlwind of uncertainty. From concern about what this new virus was and even where it was, to hard decisions about how or whether to keep our home businesses open, and of course how long the initial lock-down would ultimately last. Kettlebell events in particular seemed untouchable at first, after all our sport doesn't require close interaction or contact between athletes. However, one-by-one our beloved destination competitions met the chopping block - OKC Vancouver International, Crazy Monkey, Seattle WAKSC Worlds...
Of course, our friends managed to "pivot", and so did we. ZOOM Video Communications became all the rage and their stock skyrocketed, resulting in a revenue spike of almost 4-fold by Q2 of 2020! It really is no surprise because the whole kettlebell community bought in and defaulted to the ZOOM platform. Talk about a lifesaver. The NKC managed to salvage the year, participating in 5 competitions - our yearly average. It's a shame we didn't get to see many of our kettlebell friends in person, but we demonstrated exactly what it means to be part of a team, as well as a community - we showed up, we put in the effort, and we gave each other strength in a time of struggle.
Nice work team.
This exercise has been used as a quick assessment tool for movement quality because the parameters for both joint mobility and system stability lie at the upper boundaries of what is considered functional. When performed with increasingly heavier weights, there is a high neural demand on cognition and motor control. Thus, this exercise can neither be rushed nor performed without 100% focus.
As renowned physiotherapist and FMS founder Gray Cook remarked, symmetry, bodyweight management, strength, and stability can all be addressed with the Turkish Get Up because despite not working many prime-movers, "[it] really blasts your stabilizers" and "stabilizers are what give you the mechanical advantage to be stronger".
As the legend goes, if you wanted to learn how to lift you would find your local, village strongman and ask him to teach you. The strongman, knowledgeable in such matters understood that not everyone had the focus, determination, coordination or even physical well-being it takes to begin much less endure years of brutal training. In order to separate the wishers from the workers, the strongman would decree:
"This is the Get-Up. You must perform it on both the left and right sides equally. When you can do it with 100lbs I will show you how to lift."
The Turkish Get-Up truly is one of the most accessible ways to assess both quantitative and qualitative parameters of physical fitness. Not only will a TGU performed with light-to-moderately heavy weight keep you in the best shape of your life, but it also a mighty feat of strength when attempted with a maximal load.
The Turkish Get Up includes both an ASCENT and a DESCENT.
STEP 1: FLOOR PRESS
STEP 2: ROLL TO ELBOW
STEP 3: POST TO HAND
STEP 4: HIGH BRIDGE
STEP 5: BRIDGE TO KNEE
You are about to support yourself and the bell on only two points of contact - so be ready! Most of your weight is in your bottom arm here so take it slow and DO NOT take your eyes off the bell! Pull your foot underneath your body, slightly turning your hips to clear the floor with your knee. Plant the knee directly underneath your torso. If you have trouble running your knee into the floor, it's usually due to not turning the hips.
STEP 6: HIP SHIFT
STEP 7: ADJUST YOUR FEET
STEP 8: KNEELING TO STANDING
Don't get cocky! Keep your eyes on the bell, maintain active lockout, keep shoulder blade anchored, and PULL FORWARD into a bilateral stance. DO NOT push back into split squat stance and then step forward. The former utilizes your glute/ham strength and hip stability to ascend, the latter your quad strength and knee stability.
STEP 1: REVERSE LUNGE
STEP 2: HIP SHIFT / POST
STEP 3: SHOOT
STEP 4: PLANT YOUR BUTT
STEP 5: SLIDE TO YOUR SIDE
I have found this technique to be more reliable and predictable than simply reversing the ascending steps. Dropping to the elbow is not usually the issue, but rather getting to the back without dropping awkwardly or directly loading a flexed thoracic spine. Maintaining a stiff arm while sliding out allows a controlled descent at constant speed. People with poor shoulder ROM may have trouble with this step, but then again those people probably cannot TGU without a bent bell arm.
STEP 6: ROLL TO YOUR BACK
Video Key Points:
What is connection?
Connection means connecting the arm holding the kettlebell to your body (i.e. the hips) in order to conduct the force of your hip drive into the bell.
This is the foundation upon which kettlebell swinging works. You cannot create a ballistic swing if you don't have connection, because you cannot launch the bell (i.e. arm) off a surface it was never connected to.
Connection means more power, but it also means lifting safer because it shortens what is referred to in the study of biomechanics as the moment arm.
A moment arm is the length between a joint axis or fulcrum and the line of force acting on that joint.
This is my interpretation of the line of action in a kettlebell swing. I'm not a physics wizard so if anyone else is well studied on lines of action and moment arms feel free to add your take if you feel like there is a significant discrepancy with what actually happens during the swing.
Basically, the longer the line of red dots (moment arm), the more stress the back lever undergoes. Not connecting to the hips also displaces the relative load higher up the spine to the scapula (anchor) increasing the risk of back injury. So example (A) exhibits less risk and less stress, whereas example (B) exhibits more risk and more stress.
It cannot be stressed enough how fundamentally crucial this concept is. If you don't get this concept then you should not be lifting. It's fine if you're working on it, and really it's something you should ALWAYS be working on. But not adhering to this principle makes you a back lifter, and a back lifter is not a safe lifter.
Our April In-House was a blast!
We were so happy to see new people take to the platform, and grateful for our friends from Victoria for making the trip to Nanaimo.
We had a total of 14 lifters who participated, and Rachel jumped in twice to fill out half empty flights, finishing the day with 5 sets of kettlebell!
Most lifters made rank numbers for at least one event, and following everyone's individual sets was a 4 Team Longcycle Relay. We had two mens and 2 womens teams, comprised of 3 members each, lifting 3 minutes each.
Overall Longcycle Relay Team Award went to Rod MacMillan, Matt O'Brien, and Jeff Bremer (Score: 113). And the Top Women's Team Award went to Netta Buczek, Pat Marshall, and Rachel Robertson (Score: 122).
See footage from our event below!
See pictures from the event on Facebook
On January 13th we held our first club In-House meet of 2018. We had some new lifters take to the platform, and many existing members got to shake the rust off and test their lofty ambitions.
The results are as follows:
C. Birchard - Snatch 14kg x 219, Jerk 2*12kg x 49
J. Buczek - Snatch 12kg x 168 (66 rep PR!), TALC 2*12kg x 59 (Debut TALC set!)
D. Coulson - Snatch 8kg x 205 (53 rep PR!), MHS OALC 10kg x 103
L. Cochrane - Snatch 8kg x 167, MHS OALC 10kg x 95 (Debut)
N. Buczek - Jerk 8kg x 80 (Debut)
R. Robertson - Snatch 18kg x 203 (54 rep PR!), Jerk 18kg x 158 (debut biathlon jerk)
L. Robinson - OALC 8kg x 103 (Debut OALC set!)
S. Macys - Snatch 28kg x 115, TALC 2*20kg x 86
On February 3rd, we headed to Vancouver, BC for Jodi Boates' annual IKFF kettlebell sport meet at Jodi Boates Athletics gym. It was an opportunity for our lifters to try some new things and take stock of their continued progress.
The results are as follows:
C. Birchard - 5min MHS Snatch 16kg x 121, TALC 2*12kg x 92 (1st Ever TALC Set!)
J. Buczek - Snatch 12kg x 183 (15 rep PR!), TALC 2*12kg x 69 (10 rep PR!)
R. Robertson - OA Biathlon 20kg x 135.5 (debut 20kg biathlon attempt)
S. Macys - Biathlon 24kg x 131.5, TALC 2*24kg x 42
Congratulations to all lifters! Keep looking ahead to your next conquest!
NEXT EVENT - March 24th, OKC International Vancouver, Richmond Oval
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