Sunday, February 22, 2009

Focus On Quality With These Three

I have nothing against Cross Fit per se or other kettlebell methodologies either. Here's what leaves me scratching my head. Why count reps that aren't in good form? At best, poor form isn't your intent and at worst, it leads to injury and the related down time. The late, great John Wooden once said, "If you don't have time to do it right, when will you?"

I try to always target prescribed form so that I get the most out of each movement with the least risk of injury. That seems reasonable to me.

Today, I worked on three different calisthenics. The Turkish Get Up. The tactical pull up and the bodyweight one-legged pistol. Down correctly, each exercise is safe and extremely effective. I used all of my body and did three things. Simple is nice.

The Turkish Get Up may be my favorite kettlebell exercise. The essence of the movement is that you get the kettlebell from the ground to over head. It requires 7 specific coordinated movements under muscular tension to perfect it and get the full benefit. Any asymmetries or weakness will be exposed.

The one-legged pistol is an amazing movement that requires strength, balance and flexibility. I love doing them because they once were inconceivable to me. I couldn't do them as my flexibility was terrible, my strength was mediocre and my balance was just OK. Here is a nice tutorial on one-legged body weight squats, better known as the pistol.

Finally, I did tactical pull ups or thumbless, overhand pull ups. These require that you start and finish with a dead hang with a pause. No using hips to help! A found an article a few weeks ago that should really help the men. Here's one for ladies. Yes you can train yourself to do them!

I did 10 rounds today. Each round was 2 Turkish get ups on each side followed by 2 pistols each side and then finally 3 pull ups. Total was 110 reps and my time was 43 minutes and I burned 594 calories. These were real reps. Strict and safe form.

Try it out!

Sandy Sommer, RKC

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At February 22, 2009 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Bud said...

I agree with you on form. My general take on crossfit is that it is its own best friend and worst enemy when it comes to form. The great strength of crossfit is the group element. You can see multiple methods, and people can help teach each other, essentially extending the reach of the instructor. The group aspect is also motivating.

The problem with the group aspect of crossfit is that training can turn into a race of sorts where less able (and sometimes more able) people neglect form to keep up.

I like this post because it comes from the perspective of someone who was not always able to perform at the level you do now, making it all seem more accessible. I'd like to see some articles on getting from rank beginner to intermediate to your current level.

At February 22, 2009 at 12:03 PM , Blogger Sarah said...

Yes, simple is awesome! Lots of great ideas for pullup training there also, Sandy. Thanks!

At February 22, 2009 at 1:39 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


Great idea. I need to go back through some notes etc as I first picked up the kettlebell in February 2007. It's been an amazing 24 months!

At February 22, 2009 at 1:40 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


A lot of women have expressed interest in a "How To" on pull ups. I hope it helps:)

At February 23, 2009 at 7:54 AM , Blogger Cameron Dube said...

Nice post. Thanks for the links.

RE CrossFit and form, I concur with Bud about the competitive mentality leading to a race situation. I think most Crossfitters would say that, while form may slip from time to time (especially during an intense timed WOTD like Fran), they're still conscious of it and keep a mindful eye on it.

I definitely don't think it's the norm or the purpose of CrossFit to disregard form. After all, they do bring in world-class coaches to help CrossFitters _perfect_ their form.

Thanks again for the info!

At February 23, 2009 at 4:37 PM , Blogger Sandy Sommer, RKC said...


You are welcome and I wish you the best in all your workouts!

Be fit!


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