I recently heard a story about one of them there box
gyms workouts that not only made me cringe, but got
my hackles up – way up.
A client of mine said his girlfriend had been going to one
for about 4 years and was a faithful attendee until she
showed up to do a workout that looked something
like the following:
– 4 different exercises put in a circuit, including Get Ups
and Swings, each taking 30s for 2 minutes total
– The did this for 4 rounds and each round had 30s
of rest between it
Then they did some “strength” work – which consisted
of non-stop ladders of Clean + Presses, again, with
very little rest.
– This took about another 15 minutes
Then, to top it all off – when everybody felt like their
heads were swimming and they were going to puke…
… They did a 3 minute Snatch test with a Snatch Test
Well they were supposed to – my client’s girlfriend put
her foot down and told the instructor that she was exhausted
and she wasn’t going to do it. (Good for her!)
I’m going on record right now and saying this is just
Not only that, it’s DANGEROUS.
Why would you burn someone out and then make them
take a test?
“Cause we’re hardcore!”
“Go hard or go home!”
You’re stupid, negligent, and cruel.
Look, I get pushing yourself and testing yourself.
But there’s an inverse relationship between the
complexity of your workouts and the technical demand
of the exercises.
If you want to push yourself and go really hard – really
test your mettle – pick a low skill exercise – in the KB
world that’s a Swing.
Especially if there’s a long duration involved.
Let me repeat just so we’re clear – the longer the
duration, the lower the skill level of the exercise used.
“But that’s not hardcore enough!” you protest.
How’s this for “hardcore?”
You ever heard of Delta Force?
Yeah, those Bad A$$ special forces guys involved in
“Black Hawk Down”?
When they first formed Delta Force, you know what their
physical test was?
You’ll never guess in a million years….
Nope – not one gajillion pull-ups followed by a marathon
and then swimming the English Channel, naked, pulling
a tug boat with their teeth.
I can’t remember the exact number of days, but former
Delta Commander Lt.Gen. Jerry Boykin details it in his
book “Never Surrender.”
In it he says the recruits were given a map, a compass,
a “point A” and a “point B” and a set time to get from one
to the other.
And they did this every single day until they were told to
stop. 8-12 hours a day. Dawn to dusk.
See my point?
Low skill, high focus, long duration – that’s a great test of
mental and physical toughness.
All this brings me to THE point – when doing your workouts
NEVER do your conditioning work before your strength
It’s a surefire way to get weaker and get injured.
And never pre-exhaust yourself to the point of nausea
and then “test” yourself.
ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to lose fat.
Rather, always make sure you’re the freshest for your strength
work, unless of course your conditioning is a priority, like
your training for the RKC Snatch Test or training for Kettlebell
If you’re going to try to design your own kettlebell workouts
that’s a good principle to keep in mind.
Of course, if you have better things to do than try to learn KB
program design (and I suspect your spouse or kids may think so),
and you want something that’s not quite “Delta Force Challenging”
but certainly not stupid – then grab a copy of “Kettlebell Express!”.
The programs are tough enough to challenge you without
violating any of the laws of program design and short enough
to have a life so you don’t have to walk all day long.