15 burly men (including 1 FNG!) showed up at Covenant Day School this morning to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Area 51’s inaugural gear workout. To celebrate the occasion, Stone Cold and Horsehead invited High Tide and YHC to lead a kettlebell clinic. After a thorough disclaimer, here’s what went down in the gloom:
- Obligatory SSH x 15 IC
- Prying squat (coach through it and do ~3 reps)
- Halo (3 each way)
- The first exercise we tackled was the Big Daddy, the Swing. Almost every workout includes the swing and it’s the foundation of the other ballistic movements. YHC walked through the setup: grip the bell with the fingers, just above the meat at the top of your palm; bell should be in front of the pax, not beneath them; hike the bell back and use your hips to power it up to chest/chin level (we don’t do any American swings in F3). We then walked through a few exercises, including the hinge vs. squat movement – pretend there’s a wall behind you and touch it with your six, don’t squat in front of it. High Tide walked the pax through the long jump exercise (try it with a squat and a hinge – the distance is pretty much the same). We did a few reps and then High Tide brought out Dan John’s famous “Bulgarian Goat Bag Swing” exercise in which the bell is held by the horns against your abdomen and the hips are hinged. This was a crowd favorite and led to a lot of mumblechatter. This removes the arms from the equation so the pax can focus on the hinge movement. We also did some dead stop swings (parking the bell between reps), some 1-handed swings, and some 2-handed swings. We talked about the fact that the top of a swing is like a standing plank with your body rigid. Remember: “Hips drive, arms guide!”
- Next up was the Clean. The Clean will get the bell from the ground to a racked position safely and efficiently. From there, you can press it, carry it, squat it, etc. Cues for the lean include keeping it close to the body, don’t overpower it so it slams on you, and think about rotating the bell around waist level. The bell should ultimately end up resting on the V formed by the elbow, arm, and chest, not on your shoulder. Your fist should be under your chin. This is the “rack” position.
- Next was the Press. From the rack, with the bell below your chin, press the bell up. Keep the forearms vertical and don’t allow the elbows to flare out. Keep your lower body tight so you don’t leak energy (or noxious fumes). If you’ve got too much weight or you’re smoked, you can use the push press or the jerk to get a few more reps. These exercises allow you to use your legs to get the bell moving.
- Everyone’s favorite squat was next – the Goblet. High Tide had the pax do 3 vertical jumps. Where your feet land naturally should be your approximate stance for a squat. He then had the pax squat down with their hands sliding down the insides of their legs. This was a tip he’d learned from StrongFirst instructor Dan John that may allow you to go lower into the squat than you originally thought possible. Some of the cues for the squat were: stay tall, sit between the legs, and to make sure the shoulders and hips move at the same time (don’t allow yourself to bend at the waist or lean forward and compress your shoulders toward your knees).
- After walking through the goblet squat, the pax were encouraged to partner up with someone with a like-sized bell for some doubles work using the Armor Builder complex – 2 double cleans, 1 double press, 3 double front squats. The idea was to give the pax some experience with the heavier weights of doubles and to give them ideas of how they can use multiple bells.
- The next exercise up was the High Pull. This is a good transition exercise between the swing and the snatch as it teaches you to pull the bell toward you, which is something you will do subtly while snatching. Some cues to remember: keep the forearm parallel to the ground when pulling, elbow the guy behind/next to you, and don’t hit yourself in the face with the handle.
- The last exercise was the Snatch, which is a great cardiovascular and strength exercise. We started with the bell at the top and threw it at our zippers, playing chicken by hinging our hips at the last minute. Cues to remember: keep your grip loose – if you overgrip the bell, you’ll tear your hands up (true of the clean and high pull as well), give a slight pull around face level and then punch your hand through the bell so you meet it at the top – don’t let it swing over the top and slam on your forearm, and the bell should be locked out overhead at the end of the swing, not in front of you.
- Next we did the Cook Drill to show the various carries that can be done with a kettlebell – waiter, racked, and suitcase. Add a second bell in the same or a different position to make it even more fun! Just because we don’t run doesn’t mean we can’t move!
- We ended with a few rounds of the Voodoo complex: swing, high pull, snatch, clean, squat, and press. 1 time through with each side is 1 rep. We did a ladder up to 3 reps per side before running out of time. We’ll have to do the TGUs next time!
- The 2022 Functional Strength Challenge will be held at Olde Providence Elementary on Saturday, May 21 at 0700. Max snatches in 5:00, max pull-ups, and max deadlifts. All are welcome! Come out and test your limits.
- Thanks to Horsehead and Stone Cold for their leadership of Skunkworks. As I mentioned above, it’s Area 51’s original gear AO and where most of us were first introduced to kettlebells. The workouts typically consists of stationary kettlebell exercises mixed with sprints, so it’s a great combination of strength and cardio. If you enjoyed today, start posting and sign up to Q! That’s what keeps these workouts we all love alive!
- Thanks to High Tide, who prepared the weinke and knows more about kettlebells than just about any other pax in all of F3.
- Welcome to our FNG Kyle, a/k/a Bulgarian Goat Bag. Horsehead basically named him during the workout and there was no going back. He’ll probably be introducing himself as BGB at future workouts, so be sure to ask him what it stands for!
- It was great to see so many pax at the clinic, including some faces I haven’t seen in a while (ahem, Header and Funky Cold). #kotters Don’t be strangers!
- If you want more professional guidance, please check out the StrongFirst YouTube channel or Dan John’s YouTube channel.
- Please feel free to sound off below with any additional comments.