Abbreviated Strength Training--RKC Style

July 17, 2008 11:29 AM

Problems: Opportunities in Disguise?
Time, it seems, is always at a premium. No one has the time to work out anymore between work and taking Little Johnny to his soccer practice six times per week--America is overweight, out of shape, and getting fatter by the minute. That's why learning to use and implementing the kettlebell into a training program is the smartest thing anyone can do for themselves. One of the best things about the kettlebell is the quality of loading, or strain, it places on the body. Because of its shape, whether you hold it with one hand in the rack position or two by the horns in the "steering wheel" position, it's obvious to anyone who's picked one up that it recruits more muscle fibers than a dumbbell. Therefore, any training effect one receives using dumbbells is compounded when using a kettlebell. By default, then, the kettlebell becomes a more time efficient training tool.

Many people no longer believe they have time for the obligatory three one hour sessions per week to devote to "working out," let alone the time needed to drive to and from the gym. Many of my clients have difficulty training when they aren't meeting with me, so I devised a very simple training protocol called "10 Minutes of Something." This is protocol dictates that the individual do any form of exercise (I strongly encourage either dynamic joint mobility exercises or swings) for 10 minutes each day.

There are six primary exercises in the RKC system: The Swing, the Get-up, the Clean, the Press, the Front Squat, and the Snatch. They cover every muscle in the human body and when appropriate protocols are followed, one can train every "biomotor" ability. Applying the "10 Minutes of Something" protocol to the RKC exercises, you can now have "10 Minutes of RKC" which could look something like the following:

Monday: Swing
Tuesday: Get-Up
Wednesday: Clean
Thursday: Press
Friday: Front Squat
Saturday: Snatch

Ten minutes a day, six days a week is one hour a week of exercise. Everyone can perform ten minutes of exercise a day.

Sets, Reps, Etc.
5x5? 3x5? 3x3? Ladders? Or the latest workout in from the fitness tabloid sitting on the newstand? Remove all the obstacles and see that the easiest way to manage your "10 Minutes of RKC" Training is to simply use density training. Density training is a training approach where training load is measured in a given time period. In our case, training load will be bound by a given time period--10 minutes. Our goal will be to perform more work each and every session. For example, let's say that in 10 minutes you were able to perform 100 swings. The next session of swings you would need to increase that number, even if it is only by one repetition. If for some reason you find yourself working non-stop for the entire 10 minutes, then it's time for you to use a heavier

Habitual Exercise
The great thing about training "only" 10 minutes each day, six days a week, is that exercise becomes a habit. And if it becomes a habit, then it becomes part of your life, or your client's life. Behavioral scientists agree that it takes approximately 30 days to form a habit. This particular exercise program can and should be followed for six weeks without seeing progress stall. That's 36 out of 42 days where the participant is exercising. That's six days of Swings; six days of Get-Ups; six days of Cleans; six days of Presses; six days of Front Squats; and six days of Snatches. That's a very productive 36 days. Therefore, a kettlebell, the RKC System, and effective applied time/self-management strategies are more than just the solution to the problem of not having time to exercise: They are the opportunity for life change.

Geoff Neupert, Sr. RKC, is owner of Integrated Fitness Solutions, a personal training company, and RapidResults Fitness, a kettlebell based group fitness company, both in Durham, NC. He has almost 15 years of experience in the exercise and fitness profession, including over 17,500 hours of one-on-one personal training and 3 and-a-half years of NCAA Division 1 Strength and Conditioning experience. He is also a competitive weightlifter. His e-mail is geoff.neupert@gmail.com and his website is http://rapidresultsfitness.net