Monday, September 21, 2009

Just to clarify:

I have been working out an average of 4-5 days per week, just not at my usual intensity. It's frustrating when I want to be working much harder, but I know it wouldn't be good for me in the long run. Just as an example, last week I did a circuit that included sets of kettlebell high pulls, 10 per side. I used 16 kg ... which was stupid of me, and my back hasn't felt quite right ever since. I should either have used 12 kg or done fewer high pulls per set.

The workout, incidentally, was from the new Turbulence Training Kettlebell Revolution program. The circuit consisted of the following:

10 squat jumps
10 jump lunges per side
5 kettlebell push presses per side
the aforementioned high pulls
20 mountain climbers
25 2-arm kettlebell swings

Lather rinse repeat 3-5 times. Since it was my first time doing the workout I went through the circuit only 3 times, and that was enough.

I'm still not sure what I think of the program as a whole. My initial impression is that the workouts are decent and the progression is sensible, but that the written instructional materials are woefully inadequate. I believe there are some videos on Youtube that are meant to supplement the instruction provided in the handbook, and I would hope they do a better job of explaining how to perform the various exercises. I mean, I'm sure they do. Even so, I think that anyone new to kettlebells who decides to invest in the program would be well advised to get some in-person instruction from an RKC or other certified kettlebell instructor, because even a terrific instructional video doesn't give feedback and provide form corrections.

My other impression is that while the workouts seem fine for general conditioning and fat loss, they probably aren't the best choice if your goal is genuine proficiency with kettlebells because even at the advanced levels there's nothing like the volume of kettlebell work you get on a program like "Enter The Kettlebell!" This is not a criticism, just an observation. Not everyone is an aspiring kettlebell instructor after all!

One of the things I like about the program is that at each level there's a "challenge" workout provided. You need to be able to complete the challenge workout within the prescribed period of time before you can move on to the next level. The challenge workout for Phase 1 of the Advanced program, for example, requires you to complete the following in under 12 minutes:

10 snatches per arm
40 pushups
20 chin-ups
40 prisoner squats
20 military presses per arm
40 swings

Exercises must be performed in the order in which they appear, and all repetitions of each exercise must be completed before you can move on to the next exercise. I like the concept because it tends to discourage people from getting ahead of themselves, although I'm not sure what I think about the actual substance of the challenge. For most women, at least, I think 10 chin-ups (or 20 jumping or band-assisted chins) would be a more appropriate number in this context.