Posts Tagged ‘strength training’

I wrote a post a little while back about the usefulness of kettlebell training when used with good form and technique coupled with intelligent programming. (To read it click here.) In light of how well that post did, ( thank you) I decided to continue with the same premise and break down a bit more how kettlebell and its movements can and will train your core.


Before we begin the practical part of this post, I think it is important to realize exactly what the core is. One simple way to understand exactly what our core is as humans is the saying, “that if I cut off my arms, head and lower leg, there is my core.” So you see our middle as humans is more than just the abs and obliques. (To learn more about this subject, click here.)

Now that we have that out-of-the-way let’s get to the topic at hand: 6 Ways kettlebells can work your core.

The swing works the core:
It is a well-known and accepted fact that the kettlebell swing works the glutes and hamstrings. However, it does even more than that in its proper execution, those two other aspects as I stated earlier are part of your middle. Yet, the swing when done in the hard-style format will also train your abs. In order to make this happen one must brace the abs as if they were going to get punched on the top of the swing. This also serves as a veritable brake to stop the low back from hyper extending at the lockout of the swing.

The Overhead Press works the core:
The body has a highway of sorts on which we transfer energy from the floor into a movement. The overhead press is a perfect example of the concept, in which we wedge ourselves between the floor and the kettlebell that you desire to press. The glutes, abs, lats, diaphragm and so on are activated in order to achieve the overhead move in a way that is safe and strong.

The Kettlebell front squat trains the core:
The kettlebell racked squat is both an anti-rotational drill when done with one bell and a heck of an abs exercise when done with two. It once again hits the glutes as we hip extend, trains the pelvic floor, (more on that in the future) diaphragm when we use proper breathing patterns and so much more. This move is also a great one to teach a lifter good technique to begin to train the squat with barbells.

The Turkish Get-up works the core:
The Get-up is an awesome exercise. It teaches the practitioner to stabilize their shoulder and to move at the same time. It also works hip mobility, and shoulder mobility. But for the sake of this post it has been shown by E.M.G. to work all of the muscles of the core throughout the movement. It has built into a rolling pattern, spinal stability/shoulder stability and so-on. It is safe to say that the Get-up is an awesome exercise that saves time and trains multiple movements at the same time!


The Single leg deadlift works the core:
This move is both a stability and strength exercise. It is also anti-rotational exercise depending on where you place the bell in correlation to the move. This exercise when coupled with the right loading will lead to you having to use an abs brace to produce the force needed to lift the loading that you are using off the floor. Give it a shot and see!

Carries work your core:
Loaded carries can be like magic to those who never do them. These moves when used appropriately can bring balance to your muscles in patterns. Train shoulder stability, anti-rotation, build strength and just make you feel plain great! Click on the link above to learn more about them and to learn how to do most of the variations.

When most people think of the core they think abs and having a “six-pack.” I hope that after you read this post that there is much more than that to it than just a muscle and a look. Your core being balanced and things working well can lead to less pain in your low back and many other issues; it is also important for your performance as a fit person and or if you are an athlete.

So if you aren’t begin to train these moves and if you don’t know how, learn from a qualified, certified instructor in order to get all of the benefits that come training with kettlebells with good form and intelligent programming




This week’s workout is an intense one that involves advanced movements. So make sure that you have spent adequate time on the basics of these exercises before you dive in full on and get busy blasting fat with this intense complex.

For those who have been following this blog for awhile know that I enjoy kettlebell complexes and advanced kb moves.

This week’s workout is an advanced kettlebell complex involving: Gorilla Cleans, Renegade rows and pushups.

The rep ranges for these moves are: 10, 5, 5 and rest a while after because this particular complex should be done with pretty heavy weight for you!




  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

My Online coaching program is back, Click here to see if you are candidate for it.

After spending a little time on developing its technique the kettlebell swing quickly becomes one of the simplest moves that one can do for both strength and conditioning.This week;s workout utilizes this movement plus a carry to build some core strength for you and to develop your work capacity as you do it. Plus this one can be improved upon each week by adding in quality reps and rounds.


This workout is done by doing:

One arm swings with a moderate bell (16 to 24 kg)
Immediately followed by  a bottom’s up carry  ( You can learn more about it here.)

Keep this going for 20 minutes alternating each side  and getting in as many quality rounds as you can each time.











Once again we have your guidelines for success

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

My Online coaching program is back, Click here to see if you are candidate for it.




Lately I have been training a lot of what some may call strength-cardio, wherein the goal is produce force (not maximum) while keeping my heart rate in the aerobic training zones. Now, if you have been following this blog and my post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (which you can access from this blog.) you know that there many huge benefits that one can get form training in this zone; from heart-health, stress management, recovery form difficult training and so many other great things.





So being the wise investor in my health and fitness that I am, I have by collecting these benefits plus some strength work. This is one of the workouts that I have been using with myself along with my ion person and online clients. It is a challenging but reasonable workout that will make you and heart happy with its outcomes!


This workout is done by doing the following:

Finding a challenging weight that doesn’t take you into anaerobic training and that you can do for 10 to 20 minutes.

Then do 8 to 10 reps per side, keeping your heart rate between 130 and 150 beats per minute.

Keep it going for 10 to 20 minutes





Once again we have your guidelines for success

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

My Online coaching program is back, Click here to see if you are candidate for it.




I don’t know if it is still popular, but there was a kid’s show a few years back called Bob the Builder. (I have a toddler, so I assume I will find out soon if it is.) At times, I like a builder or maybe more of an architect with what I do. You see, I help people build a better life, confidence, strength, freedom, etc.


I love this aspect of my career immensely, because 5 to 6 days a week – I make a difference in the lives of my clientele and hopefully, I am helping you my readers at least in a small way. This week’s workout as a result of this aspect of my job, is called the builder and yes it is a toughie!
As you know from last week’s workout we are now on a phase of building strength and power with these weekly workouts. This week’s workout will use three moves to do so the snatch, the jerk and the front squat.  These move in conjunction with each other and using the joy of ladders promises to be a “fun” time of building power and strength.

Watch the video below to learn more about this workout and maybe hear a terrible joke or ten!

Once again we have your guidelines for success

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

My Online coaching program is back, Click here to see if you are candidate for it.



Since the inception of this program, I have tried to offer as much of as a periodization that one could do without the doers not working directly working with me. So you may that the last few sessions have had a focus of cardio or aerobic training. However, as with anything, everyone needs to take time off from an approach to recover and get ready to kill it in that area again. So this week ‘s workout has a strength emphasis with the goal of getting you stronger in the overhead press.


Everything that you need to know is in the video below. Take a few minutes to learn how to do this workout and get strength results!








Once again we have your guidelines for success

  • Do all of your sets and reps with quality form. Crap only produces crap!
  • Breathe by matching your breathing with each pattern
  • Rest as much as you need to and no more.
  • Tough it out while working out ( keep in mind the results)
  • Enjoy the fat blasting effect  and raised metabolism.

My Online coaching program is back, Click here to see if you are candidate for it.

2014-07-29 19.02.30

The full pistol or one leg squat is an advanced movement pattern that many would love to progress into and some even train to do. But somehow they never seem to be able to do it or if they do, it looks terrible and may lead to an injury at some point if they keep doing it that way. In light of that fact the goal of this post is to give you my reader some correctives to help you in your journey to a full pistol and to help those with ugly form improve their technique.

The few things that I will cover in this post are a few things that I have seen in my time coaching this move with clients and even in myself. So as always, try the move in this case the pistol, then do the specific corrective and then re-test the move again to see if it improved.

As with any move that involves this much complexity there are any number of things that could go wrong that can negatively affect this move. These qualities are: mobility, especially of the ankles and hips. There is also a need to master breathing specifically power breathing as well as ab strength. Finally, if none of those help it could be a motor-control thing and some re-patterning and regression of the drill could help take care of that as you work on improving this advanced squat.


Having a tight or restricted ankle can lead to poor pistol performance, in things such as: moving too much through your lumbar spine to make up for your ankle restrictions and or ending up on your toes and having a wobbly and later on a painful knee.

Below are some drills that you can use for your ankle to see if it helps you overcome this mobility deficit in your ankle if that is a problem for you.

In addition to these drills Goblet squats and practicing your pistol with a plate under your heel could help with this problem as well.

Hip flexors:
Tight and overactive hip-flexors can lead to crappy pistol technique. Use these two stretches and activation drills below to deal with this problem and then once again re-pattern the move with low reps and better form.


Another important component of this move is the ability to create your own stability using an ab brace, power breathing and muscle tension. This increases your control and strength throughout the move and of course as you train this move, to decrease your usage of this ability to progress. The video below shows you how you can use the plank to develop this quality and increase your strength.

Ab strength:
Ab strength can be very helpful in owning this movement pattern as well as deep core stability. Use these two moves below to help build both in your program. I recommend doing the half-kneeling chop and lift as a warm up and the ab drills in your workout.

Counter balanced pistol:
Adding a counter balance on your pistol is a great way to help develop better form as you practice and it if you have a long femur, it could help you be able to do this move as well.

Heel lift:
If you have a bit of restricted ankle or lack core stability this regression can help you with being able to learn and earn this move. Watch the video below for demonstration of both.

Door pistol: 
this is one of my favorite drills to help my students achieve their full depth without overlying on an external help. This also requires that you create tension as a means to progress.

Box pistol:
this is another simple progression to build strength specific to the move and to pattern it as you train.

The next few moves are designed to help you build strength for the full pistol. Take a look at them and utilize them to help you build the force needed to help you get through the bottom to the lock out of the squat.

Step ups for pistol strength:

Split squats:

front squats:

You now have a good amount of information to work on and to develop the pistol. Get to work on it, try a corrective and then see if your form get better and stronger as you go along. I would almost recommend to get a friend or coach to watch you as you train and if you can’t do that, then you can video yourself to make sure that you are on pace to develop a pistol squat with good form for longevity and performance.

I am thankful that my job is one that makes a difference. I don’t know how often I have blessed to help people realize their true strength and ability to endure through my teaching and training programs. I can’t count the times that people who have trained with me thought they couldn’t do something and with the right progression and programming bam, they did!

Just the other day on my kettlebell group I had a bunch of members press a heavier kettlebell with one arm that was two to four sizes than they have ever done. I have had two clients get their first pull-up in their life in the last two weeks and other such feats of budding strength.

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(Kevin O nailing his first pull up)

Yet, it seems like there is resistance when it comes to doing challenging moves and developing killer strength. I often encounter excuses when it is time to move on in a programming that someone has been training to do that move. A big one is chin-ups, I often hear statements that lack confidence such as : “that would be nice if I could do one” and so-on. We often think that moves such as chin-ups and pistols are for the few “freaks” and that we will never be able to do them. However, when we think that way, we limit ourselves and don’t realize that the person doing them is human as well.

(If I can, then you can too!)

Here is the thing though, you will need to train specifically of you have a goal like that. You also will need to learn how to program and progress, you will have to stick to a routine, in spite of the fear of boredom. Then you finally, you will have to adjust to what is going on in your life.

Just remember, you are stronger than you think and with some good training, you can also achieve awesomeness and develop the moves that you want to. So get working and do awesome things!

As a bonus here is a a client that embodies this mindset and knows that she is strong:


This is sadly the last post of this series on the chin-up and if you read all of them, then you probably can now do a chin or many. If that is the case, could you take the time to let me know at, I would love to hear from you about it and to be able to celebrate with you. I know that these principles work. But I could even use a bit of ego stroking sometime! LOL. Also if you weren’t relatively strong to begin with, it may take a bit of time to get to doing chins and that is ok, be patient and build up your strength with the movements and programming points that I gave you and you will. (Then you can also send me an e-mail as well after you do!)

After reading all of the former rants on this move and training it stands to ask the title of today’s post, where do I go from here? That is what this post will answer briefly to help you get some ideas for further progress and not simply going into mindless training. As I always saypointless training is almost pointless.”  (At least from a progress standpoint anyway that is.)

Weighted chins

This is almost a given way to progress your strength in the chin-up pattern, you can pretty much load any part of your body and do a weighted chin. No here is my opinion on this and a good way to progress since you are reading my blog, I would start with a weighted vets or a weight in a back pack first. This will prove to be wiser as a beginner to weighted pulls simply due to physics. Make sure that you are using the irradiation concepts from post #3. (Click here for that) Then progress to a belt after a while and finally with a kettlebell around your foot, this is an easy way to get stronger without adding in load.

Single arm progressions:
If you can’t or don’t like to load your chins, you can simply progress your strength by going into one arm chin progressions.

Here is an example of one such variation:

Better form:
Improving your form is another easy way of developing strength without burning out and is a great idea to prepare your body for the more advanced moves. Also have you ever tried to make your form better on an already difficult move, it is very tough and will quickly make you question your toughness and strength!

Pull ups:
Yet another simple way to progress is to just change up your hand position. If you turn your palms out from in the movement will become harder due to the muscles involved in the move. This is also a good way to find out how much back that you are using in your overhead pulling as opposed to biceps.

Pause reps:
Once again we can make this move more difficult by adding in a pause on the top or bottom in order to remove any elastic energy and to have to overcome the resting inertia with greater force than what you weigh. This is one of my favorite ways to get stronger, because it offers true feedback to your strength levels and gives you a great feeling of satisfaction after you do them. (Well at least for me.)

Strength endurance is another way to progress this move by methodically training to increase your ability to do more chins in a row over time.

Once again these thoughts are not all of the ways to get stronger and to keep making progress in your back work. But there are some ideas to use to further your results in your training. Pick the one or ones that appeal to you as a fitness buff and use them. However, make sure to wave the volume, loads, reps, rest periods and various forms of chins to make sure that you are staying healthy and not injuring yourself in your training. Also take a week or two off from the over time to not create a resistance against to as you train. Think long-term in your training and just short-term ego boost and long-term injury as a result!

I hope that you enjoyed this series. Please take the time to e-mail me your results once again and also, let me know if you want to learn about any fitness topic.  Thanks for the follow friends!

If you read all of this and don’t  know where to start, I can help you by my assessment and training program to start exactly where you need to be to get results. Are you ready?! Click here to get started.

Now that we’ve spent some time on technique and correctives for the overhead pull, we can now dive into some different approaches to training this movement successfully. As you probably know, that just trying to increase your reps will only work for a while and will most likely taper off. So instead of just mindlessly trying to add reps or load in, this post will show you how to use various approaches to earn this movement, increase reps, weight lifted and so on. Try them out for an a few weeks and see which one or combo produces the best results for you.

The first variable that we should talk about is sets. You see just doing everything for 3 x 10 May not work in you getting this move down, especially if it is in the upper levels of your strength. If that is the case and it is a more difficult move for you, you will want to do lower reps and take a longer rest in between sets. Now, if a long rest makes you feel guilty or if you don’t have a lot of time, you can do super sets. Just leave your grip and pulling muscles out of it. So you can do core work and or a lower body push that is lighter. If your goals is to do pull-ups you will need to focus on that. My recommendation is to start off with 3 to 4 sets of 5 reps or lower and wave your reps at times. (Do more sets of less reps)



This variable is going to be important for training longevity and to bridge the gap between progressions. It however should be increased slowly. Some ways that you can do that are clustering, escalating density adding reps in and so on. One method that I like to use is ladders and to add a rep on in at various spots for example if I am doing a ladder of 1,2,3 and want to add in a rep, I cab put it in at 1 or at 2 of my ladder. I will do this in order make sure my rep are quality ones on all of the rungs if the ladder.


Learning to create greater tension on your chin is another way to train and to improve your movement and technique as you train. Learning how to create tension will automatically make you stronger and help you better keep your form as you train.


How many weeks will you train without progressing or adding in some wise variety as to not over train. Will you switch your grip? Use rings?  Do less reps and more sets? Do more reps and less sets? Have a plan so that you know you will get results from your program over the long haul and better avoid injury as you do!


How often will you do chins? Will you choose to grease the groove or do two sessions a week for a while? Frequency is another variable you can do to get results. So use it wisely!

Slow and controlled:

Another simple way of progressing with the amount of volume and difficulty is to change the tempo and go slower with pauses on the top or bottom of the move.


Along with that approach there is doing the move more explosively to make gains. Please be aware that when I talk about explosive, it is not a jerky move. But rather a controlled move with tension throughout as explosively as possible.

Use various moves same but different:

Training the same movement pattern over and over again without variation is not a good thing and may lead to breakdown and overuse. However, not doing a move without repetition will lead to de-conditioning and most likely will not create progress. So instead you will want to use the same but different principle and change your grip, use rings and so on in order to make sure that you are on the gain train and not overdoing it!

Rest range:

Lastly and maybe the most important and often neglected factor is the rest interval or period between sets and rungs of a ladder. Many times people misguidedly rush through their rest period to get stronger and to try to turn what is an intense move into a conditioning exercise. This usually leads to getting weaker on each set (unless it has become an easier move.) instead of recovering and returning to baseline and or possibly getting stronger as they go.

So if chin-ups are a difficult exercise for you and you want to build strength, rest anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes in between sets and keep your reps and sets on the lower side. If you do, you will progress quicker in your strength development and most likely have better quality movement which is necessary to progress.

Now if your progression has gotten easier, then you could take some time off your rest period to progress. But not too much, (30 seconds to 1 minute) if you do you most likely will not be able to maintain movement integrity as you work out and probably not progress any further. Remember the S.A.I.D principle, we adapt to what we do and not what we try to do!

Take your time to plan out your program and utilize these points to improve your chin-ups and earn your first one as you train.

Try out these points one or two at a time for a month to 6 weeks and develop better strength and movement as you train for example: increase or decrease your rest as needed and focus on creating greater tension, using the drills that were given in the former posts. Then as the cycle ends, you can utilize a more frequent approach and a slower tempo. Just keeping working these concepts and build your strength, then I will see you at the bar! The chin-up bar that is!

See you next week for the final post in this series!