Live and Die By The Kettlebell

Live and Die by the Kettlebell

By Nick Lynch


When I was only a few years into my career as a trainer, the owner where I was working had the opportunity to buy some Kettlebells and asked my opinion about them. My response still makes me laugh, “Kettlebells? They’re a fad, don’t buy em.”


It’s a great example of how an ‘expert mind’ can limit the ability to see clearly and prevent growth. On a daily basis, I am challenged to constantly remove ego, stay open, and invite the Universe of possibilities in. Just when I think I know something, the Universe reminds me that to become an ‘expert’ is to stay ignorant. My goal, to see and teach that possibilities are unlimited, requires me to see with a beginner’s mind.


When I’m successful it allows a certain flow that sees beyond limits. New ideas and concepts seem more plentiful. With a beginner’s mind, I see  the client for who, and where, they are- not where I am. This allows me to not only implement a training program for them, but it also allows me the flexibility to see how, on any given day, it may need to change.


Getting out of my own way enabled me to bring Kettlebells into my client’s, and my own, workouts. I now see unlimited possibilities for what one can do with this singular piece of exercise equipment. For me, “live by the Kettlebell and die by the Kettlebell”  is a metaphor for the importance of keeping an open mind, a beginner’s mind.


Today, I use kettlebells for all of my clients and individualize their use according to the needs of each client. Here’s why:


  • Nothing compares to the shape and weight distribution of the Kettlebell.

  • Going overhead with a Kettlebell and a neutral wrist never gets old. The shape challenges coordination of breath and posture. The wrist position can be seen in this image:

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  • Hand-to-hand ballistics. Swinging a Kettlebell in the air, releasing and catching with the other hand challenges the brain to focus and coordinate. This requires a higher level of performance not only for the workout, but for life. (Video posted below)

  • Full hip range of motion. Reaching your arms between your legs with a Kettlebell allows you to go where your couldn’t with a barbell. A barbell stops at your bones, a Kettlebell can go further. With proper posture, you’re safe.

  • Results, Results, Results! Better posture, development of functional movement patterns, sculpting  and more. Results, like nothing else, make clients happy.



While we all know breath is essential to life, most of us tend to need reminders that to truly “live by the Kettlebell”, one must master the concept of coordinating breath with posture. The Kettlebell requires coordination of breath with movement. In fact, the number one rule to good training is breath. Without breath, there’s death.



To do a lot of of Kettlebell ballistics or to press overhead for high reps or to lift heavy for low reps, your breath needs to be strong. The Kettlebell reminds us to breathe deep. To inhale. To exhale. And, if you breathe deep and at the correct time, you are alive and well.


I am very thankful for the versatility Kettlebells provide to my client’s training programs. Versatility is expansive, it vanquishes narrow-minded, one-way, thinking. Versatility taps into the flow of unlimited potential. And, while I explore and incorporate many different modes of training methods to meet my clients needs, Kettlebells have opened a porthole of awesomeness that younger me, couldn’t have foreseen and they continue to open my mind to see human movement in a whole new way. Kettlebells enable me to help my clients correct dysfunctional movement patterns, correct posture and gain strength. But more than that, I’ve discovered how that metaphor to “live by the Kettlebell, die by the Kettlebell,” is a constant reminder to maintain an open mind that attracts possibilities. Now that’s versatility!

Hand to hand swings video:




About The Author



Nick Lynch

Founder and Owner of Superb Health


Nick’s professional foundation seems to have been the ideal training ground for the career he has chosen. He was raised in Montpelier, Vermont and is the son of Dr. James Lynch, a chiropractor at the center of holistic thinking in his community.


It is clear Nick’s passion for helping others understand their own potential was nurtured in his hometown, but experience played a part too. After working as a personal trainer for six years in for-profit facilities that too often left people injured, Nick decided to follow his vision for how he could best facilitate the potential in others. It is this vision that inspired him to establish Superb Health in 2007.



His credentials are diverse, he has completed coursework at UW-Superior in Exercise Science and following that, has sought out Kettlebell masters to train and obtain certification with. In the process, he acquired the title of Senior RKC and became an Exercise Specialist, a Master Trainer, and is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for MSOE University Rowing Team.

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Nick is a seeker, a learner and a teacher, he enjoys life with Natalie and their two children, Weston and Vera. Together they strive to not only contribute professionally but also, to nurture a sense of authentic community. “I see each client as an extension of my family and I love to watch each and every one grow and excel in their careers, sport and life.”




January News and Updates at Superb Health

Note From Nick

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As a gift of gratitude to our community and members, we’ve invested a great deal of time and funds these last 4 months into upgrades around Superb Health! Here’s a list of news you should know about:

  1. We are transitioning to Mindbody software, please download the Mindbody App on your mobile device. We are working on customizing the App and as soon as we are up and running it will allow you to tap into some scheduling, tracking and billing features, currently unavailable.

  2. New faces - Lori H. is our new manager and she’s doing an amazing job!

  3. Website updates. You’ll notice updated content and testimonials.

  4. New computer systems. You’ll notice all of your workouts are tracked, logged and shared with you to utilize in your off days to constantly progress and improve.

  5. Increased service hours. We’re now offering more serviceable hours than ever before.

  6. Scheduling out ensures you stay consistent with your workouts. We can, and would love to, schedule out your entire package of sessions to ensure you get a time that works best for you.

  7. New phone system. 414-477-2071 is now an integrated landline. Lori monitors this on a daily basis to ensure you’re in the schedule, up to date with billing and any other necessary information. Please note: This is a landline and no longer accepts text messages.

  8. These newsletters. We’re aiming to have 1 per month. Not to much, not to little. We respect you and will therefore only send out necessary information such as this or information that can help guide you in your path to wellness.


Our farm fresh Japanese Green Tea is in and is stronger than ever! Just in time as it’s a antiviral and anti-bacterial POWERHOUSE!

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Next newsletter teaser…



-Dr. Amy Elliot and Natalie Lynch, RN, BSN are giving a talk at Superb Health in February.







Meditative Movement Mastery (M3)

Meditative Movement Mastery (M3)

by Nick Lynch

 

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My friends, if you wish to obtain quality of movement and therefore increase strength you need more energy. Energy is a lot like Free Will. Dan John, in his book Never Let Go, tells us Free Will is like shaving gel. If you use it all up shaving one side of your face, you have to suffer on the other. So use it wisely. The same is true with energy. 

With M3 strength training, meditation allows you the opportunity to preserve your energy until you need it. Today we’re talking about lunges and all their movement mastery. We’re also sprinkling on some meditative techniques to integrate into your program. I would like to share 3 lunge topics and 3 programs with you. This is a gift from me to you and yours. I hope it brings you good health and massive strength gains. 

I have three lunge topics to share with you today:

  1. The Overhead (OH) Lunge Technique
  2. The One Breath Turkish Get Up (TGU)
  3. The M3 Lunge Press

Please allow yourself the opportunity to try these programs and exercises. I think as a result you’ll find a deeper level of inner peace and outer strength gains. You’ll smile as your numbers in the gym, in your sport, at your place of work and in your home will all improve.

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The OH Lunge

  1. Clean up a kettlebell, press it OH and step your opposite KB side leg back into an OH lunge position
  2. Tuck your pelvis directly underneath you, not forward into sway back position, just to neutral
  3. Inhale deep into your belly so it sticks out. This puts pressure on your pelvis making you WANT to descend
  4. Hold your breath and lower down to the ground slowly
  5. At the bottom of the lunge, pause and imagine you’re dragging your back knee forward and your front planted heel back creating tension in all of the muscles in your legs
  6. Stand up fast, exhale hard at the top and repeat

Please hold your breath the whole way down. Your knee should not go past your shins. Basically, keep everything vertical. 

The One Breath Turkish Get Up

  1. Begin as you would with a get-up at the bottom
  2. Exhale all the air out of your lungs until your abs begin to slightly burn
  3. Take the biggest inhale you can and hold your breath
  4. Come up to standing position of the TGU and repeat step 2
  5. Repeat step 3
  6. Come down
  7. Repeat step 2
  8. Switch sides

 

 

Select a step or two down from your ‘go to’ TGU bell. 

The M3 Lunge Press

  1. Same first 3 steps as the OH lunge
  2. Count to 10 on the descent
  3. As you very slowly descend, press a kettlebell OH at the same pace until your knee has touched the ground and the kettlebell arm is locked out OH
  4. Count to 10 as you stand up
  5. As you very slowly stand up, pull the kettlebell down at the same pace until your both of your knees have locked out in standing position and the kettlebell has softly landed in the rack position
  6. Take a deep breath and switch sides

 

 

Select a step or two down from your ‘go to’ press bell. When in doubt, go light and do it right. You can always add more weight later.

 
I really enjoyed an article my friend Dan John wrote a while back about the benefits of classical music during workouts. Another type of music you might enjoy for a higher level of focus is Tibetan gongs. Or perhaps nothing at all but the wonderful sound of your breath matching your movement. Once you’ve determined what you’re going to be listening to, please try one of the following programs out and see how you feel. I recommend turning off your phone and eliminating as many distractions as you can. If you have any distractions that are out of your control, try to think of the distraction as a mindfulness reminder. When the distraction comes into view or within your sound or smell space, it’s reminding you to focus on your breath and focus on your technique. 

Program 1 - The One Breath TGU Meditation

  1. Select the heaviest bell you can safely perform a one breath TGU with
  2. Perform a one breath TGU on one side
  3. Upon completion, lie on your back and take 3 deep breaths. During breathing you should have two thoughts, one on the inhale and one on the exhale. Inhale, "I know I’m breathing in". Exhale, "I know I’m breathing out"
  4. Perform a one breath TGU on the other side
  5. Repeat this program for 15 minutes

Heavy swings pair well with this program. Heavy swings in particular promote breathing matched with movement. Here is a good swing program you can use to meditate and simultaneously build strength.

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Program 2 - Swing Meditation

  1. Select the heaviest possible bell you can safely swing 15 times
  2. Swing the bell 15 times and put the bell down
  3. Straighten up, open your palms and take 5 deep breaths
  4. Repeat this process 5-10 sets

Dan teaches the hoop breath by having his students hold the down position of a

goblet squat

for 30 seconds. I love this exercise very much and use it frequently with my students as well. I like to superset it with the Swing Meditation. 

Program 3 - Goblet/Swing Meditation

  1. Select the heaviest possible bell you can safely squat
  2. Squat down and hold at the bottom for 30 seconds
  3. Ensure you don’t lean on your thighs with your elbows or hands
  4. Keep your posture upright
  5. Keep breathing
  6. Loudest and most powerful hoop possible to stand up
  7. Park the bell
  8. Perform 1 round of program 2
  9. Fast and loose for 20-30 seconds. Standing breathing meditation for 1 minute "I know I’m breathing in" Exhale, "I know I’m breathing out"
  10. Repeat for 5rounds

 

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About the Author

Husband, father, son, brother, coach, trainer, business entrepreneur, fitness & nature lover. Nick is the founder and owner of Superb Health in Milwaukee, WI. He has been working full time as a trainer since 2001. In addition, he was raised and instilled with a wealth of knowledge by the highly sought after Dr. James Lynch of Montpelier, VT. Nick has a large list of certifications and more importantly, experience. Nick's greatest attribute is his genuine belief in humanity. 

Five 5s: Five Simple, Effective, Nourishing Kettlebell Workouts

By Nick Lynch

Sometimes, I just want to do a quick workout and either can’t or don’t want to spend an hour to do it. That’s why I put together this series of efficient kettlebell workouts which can be done in a short amount of time with minimal equipment (a kettlebell, the floor, rings and a pull-up bar of some type). These workouts are also simple to modify. If you DO have an hour in the gym, you can simply multiply your sets. As you’re reading, I invite you to take note of any questions you may have and ask them in the comments section below this blog post. I’m more than happy to do my best when answering them. I hope you enjoy these programs as much as we do in Milwaukee!

1: “The Zen of Zane”

Frank Zane used to train chest, triceps and shoulders in one day. Compared to how his competition was training, his approach was totally bizarre. His competition was training opposing muscle groups such as chest and biceps. Frank was known for his amazing symmetry and muscularity. With a daily dose of this workout, I think you might start to look and feel like Frank Zane!

Set a timer for five minutes and repeat the following sequence of exercises until five minutes has passed.

  • 5 push presses per side
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5-10 push-ups
  • 30 seconds break
  • 1 push-up
  • 1 push press per side
  • 1 pull-up
  • 5 push presses per side
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 5-10 push-ups
  • 30 seconds break

Modification
Trade reps for seconds. For example, instead of 10 pull ups, perform a 10-seconds flex arm hang.

 

2: “My Favorite”

This workout is my personal favorite, let’s see what you think!

Set a timer for eight minutes, complete at least four full sets of the following:

Modifications
Option one: try putting your feet a raised platform for extra stability. Option two: perform bench dips instead of ring dips. Option three: forming a triangle with your hands, and perform 5 push-ups, be sure to use the entire range of motion, bringing your sternum down to your hands.

 

3: “Lungs of Hell”

The name of this workout is a tribute to the classic Megadeth song which I think also sounds great played loud along with this workout…

Set a timer for five minutes, and perform the following sequence safely for time:

Perform a get-up to standing, do 5 overhead lunges, 5 push presses, 5 squats, then 5 snatches. Keeping the kettlebell overhead finish the get-up and return to the floor. Switch sides, resting as needed.

Modifications:
Option one, reduce your reps to three. Option two, reduce the size of the kettlebell you’re using. Option three, reduce your reps to one.

 

4: “Speak To Me/Breathe”

Pink Floyd begins their infamous albums, Dark Side of the Moon with “Speak To Me” which leads right into “Breathe.” I think this is funny because this could also describe the breathing techniques we teach and use in the RKC community. There’s the classic hiss during the swing and goblet squat “hoooop” grunt. You’ll need to focus on your vocalizing your breaths to keep up with these reps. The end result is amazing lung capacity, strong legs, bullet-proof abs, and grip strength that won’t quit!

Set a timer for 8 minutes with the goal of completing 4 rounds of the following:

  • 10 goblet squats
  • 25 swings
  • rest
  • 5 goblet squats
  • 25 swings
  • rest

Use a HEAVY kettlebell.

Modifications
Option one: use a lighter kettlebell. Option two: reduce overall reps. Option three: perform bodyweight squats and vertical jumps instead of goblet squats and swings.

 

5: “Look Alive”

Coordination and attention to detail make this last workout effective and nourishing. It’s challenging and fun at the same time because you must focus on every rep for the entire five minutes.

Set a timer for five minutes. Repeat the following sequence for a total of five sets. If you finish early, take a short active-rest break and, a swig of water and continue until the end of five minutes.

  • 5 push-ups
  • 5 partial jumps (please refer to video for the technique)
  • 5 swings

 

These five simple but scalable workouts produce results even when time is limited. I invite you to share your experience after trying one or all of the Five-5s. Feel free to have fun and modify them to fit your needs.

Enjoy and until next time, have a most excellent day!
Nick Lynch, RKC Senior Instructor

 

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RKC Senior Instructor Nick Lynch is a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Milwaukee School of Engineering University (MSOE). He owns Superb Health Milwaukee, a strength training studio in Milwaukee, WI. He has over 16 years of full-time training and coaching experience and a lifetime of wellness education. Nick lives in Milwaukee, WI with his wife Natalie, son Weston and daughter Vera.