Focus (AKA Chris re-watched Billy Madison)

The foundation techniques of Hard Style Kettlebell (StrongFirst/RKC/HKC)                                        The Deadlift                                                                                                                                         The Swing                                                                                                                                           The Squat                                                                                                                                           The Clean                                                                                                                                           The Press                                                                                                                                             The Snatch                                                                                                                                           The Turkish Get Up                                                                                                                          Of these techniques the swing and the get up are considered the two basic movements.                  The “sophisticated basics?  The swing and the get up                                                                  Yes, there is that much subject depth and application potential.


I’ve been maintaining a detailed training journal to document the days training including “how things felt.”   Two bookmarks are used to compare the current workout with the last equivalent workout to compare notes, check for progress and address any issues.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Video of my technique in slow motion and regular speed has also been used to clean up some technical errors.  But like anything else, it helps to get a fresh set of eyes on the situation.  In my case, I asked a lot of fresh (and highly educated) eyes to look at things.

I posted some videos online asking a group of StrongFirst coaches to review my technique in the Snatch, Clean and 1 Hand Swing.  Responses came from coaches across the United States, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Suffice it to say, the feedback was enlightening.  I was not outright terrible (at least I wasn’t told so) and two techniques according to feedback “met passing standards.”  This meant a lot coming from a StrongFirst coach, but I know that I can do much better and will improve over time.

My new kettlebell program is straight forward.  I only train one of the 6 foundation techniques daily.  Some workouts are performed entirely with one bell, while others require 3-4.  Presently my weights are 16, 20, 24 and 28kg.  I came up with the idea for this program from a few sources.  In the book “Never Let Go” by Dan John the author spoke about a single lift per day program.  From “Enter the Kettlebell” Pavel spoke about the concept of greasing the groove and the benefits of frequent low-rep executions of a movement pattern.

I’ve decided to take things one step further and incorporated lessons learned from re-watching the movie “Billy Madison”   I need to re-visit the basics and spend some extra quality time with each technique.


“Back to school to prove that I’m not a fool.”

“Billy Madison”                                                                                                                                      Mon:   Snatch Focus                                                                                                                            Tue:     Swing Focus                                                                                                                            Wed:   Get Up Focus                                                                                                                      Thu:    Swing Focus                                                                                                                              Fri:      Squat Focus                                                                                                                              Sat:     Clean/Clean Press Focus                                                                                              Sun:     Swing Focus: Same as Tue.

The rep schemes are simple and add over time.  Workouts are either 45 minutes consecutive with breaks taken as needed, or in small batches throughout the day.  Looking over my ultra-basic program….

  • It’s emotionally and mentally easy. Physically it can be exhausting.  Swing focus on Thursday proved how exhausting kettlebell swings can be.
  • Some people would get bored of this program very quickly. This might not be something meant to be done longer than a few weeks.
  • Guesswork has been removed; equipment is minimal, always available and is portable if need be.
  • There may only be one technique, but there are numerous coaching points and corrections that need to occur. My first Get Up day provided several learning points that I had previously missed.
  • I have options in the variables (weight, reps, sets, time etc.) My goals are to first improve technical skill, then develop work capacity.  Volume with proper technique will believe will cement proper skills. This is about quality over quantity.

My little online coaching experience also proved a few points I’ve made in the past                            Community is a good thing                                                                                                          Every trainer could use their own trainer from time to time.                                                                  There’s nothing wrong with the basics.                                                                                              There’s nothing without the basics.                                                                                                Approaching things with a beginners mind is awesome.


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