Refelctions from My First Instructing Experiences
Hey yinz guys! If you have been following me on twitter or are friends with me on facebook, You have probably notices a ton more promotional work going towards Pittsburgh Kettlebells. In short, yours truly has been granted the opportunity to start teaching under the wing of RKC II Kerry Swick. This has truly been an awesome that I would not trade for the world. RKC II Kerry Swick has been amazing the past few weeks with me in terms of giving me awesome work outs and awesome opportunities to co teach with her up in Sewickley. If you are currently training for a kettlebell certification (and yinz better be coming to HKC Pittsburgh, ya heard?), I HIGHLY RECOMMEND getting together with your local RKC trainer for some teaching experience. Remember, properly demonstrating kettlebell drills is part of being certified. Don’t blow this portion of your cert off. It’s VITAL!
This week, I was instructing a lot of newbies to kettlebell fitness, so I had to focus my attention on nothing but basic drills, and that means lots of kettlebells swings. I have a set routine now when it comes to teaching basic kettlebell drills, and before the swings are ever mentioned, I focus on breathing. Yep. BREATHING! It is crucial that you breathe fluidly when you are lifting weights, and breathing becomes even more crucial when you start doing ballistic kettlebell swing routines. Holding your breath will actually activate your sympathetic nervous system and being to trigger your “fight or flight” response in your body. Once this stress response gets activated, your heart rate increases, your muscles tense, and you the kettlebell machine will have a harder time lifting your own body weight, let alone a kettlebell. I tell everyone that trains with me to get in the habit of diaphragmatic breathing while exercising. As an example, you want to inhale into your stomach as you hike a kettlebell back away from you and exhale as you swing it in front of you. Basic breathing techniques for beginner strength training can can be found here. This kind of breathing will actually increase your lung capacity over time as well as keep your nervous system in check so you can comfortably sustain longer and heavier workouts. If you want to learn more about how to breath properly while training, check out the book “Let Every Breath” by Vladimir Vasiliev . I constantly refer to this book the heavier I lift. It’s the best read out there on how to maintain adequate oxygen levels while exercising, and that’s real talk ya heard?
Moving right along, I have noticed a pattern among kettlebell beginners. When it comes to kettlebell swings, beginners tend to have a tendency to round their backs before hiking the kettlebell back (and I hate to admit this, this is something even I have to watch at the moment. Fear not! Yinz aren’t alone in this). I like having people focus on packing their shoulders first before they even hike back the kettlebell. Packing your shoulders actually helps straighten out your spine and will allow for a much easier swing (DON’T FORGET TO BREATH!). Here’s a great breakdown of how to properly pack your shoulders.
Finally, I have noticed a lot of tight hips with beginners. I am not sure if this is because of he 8 hour day jobs that require us all to sit down (which is my theory at least), but making sure your hips are open and relaxed is just what you’re going to need to follow through on your swings. Most RKC’s I have trained with will help your hip hinges by using a wooden rod. Check out this YouTube video for information on how to work on proper hip hinges.
So, there yunz go! From what I have noticed this week, it appears that breathing, shoulder packing, and hp hinges are of utmost importance when it comes to getting the basic movement patterns down for basic kettlebell swing routines. By the way, if you are interested in dropping in to Pittsburgh Kettlebells when I am around and instructing, send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll give you the inside scoop on when I’ll be around. As always, remember to eat smart, train hard, and enjoy your life!