Sunday, January 21, 2007

Kettlebells + Z-Health = The Perfect Exercise Combination

I know I've said this privately, but I'm not sure about publicly, so I'll make it so now:

Z-Health + Kettlebell training = The Perfect Exercise Strategy

Z-Health teaches you how to recapture your mobility, joint by joint, and in doing so, makes your CNS not only stronger, but more efficient. Now add the off-centered loading, ballistic or grind, of a kettlebell, and I believe your progress will be close to infinite--limited only by your recovery and your imagination. (See this link for my thoughts on KBs and the RKC:

I have been pushing hard through a hypertrophy phase for Olympic lift specific hypertrophy. However, that amount of volume plus the enormous amount of stress I've been under has not been good for my right knee. Not only that, I haven't been doing my Z specifically to counter my myofascial winding.

Last night, I attempted to finish this week's training session. My right knee would have none of it. I got thru 2 sets of RDLs and the knee was hollering. So, I stopped. I hadn't been using the KBs for awhile because I thought they would overwork the flexors on the left arm. Long story short, after a quick 6x6 with 60 seconds rest using 2x32kg on the Clean and Press, I had more extension in my left elbow than ever before. One of the concepts in Z is, increased loading cements movement patterns more quickly.

Apparently, this is exactly what my body needed.

My right knee pain disappeared totally. Totally.

I believe it was the internal rotation of the arm which caused full elbow extension on the backstroke of the clean (thumbs pointed back toward the body). All I know is it felt good--really good.

With that in mind, I then hit some snatches with the 32kg: 5+5 every 60 seconds for 6 minutes. It was harder than it should be. The knee was still doing great when I finished. This morning, it feels fine--can squat with no pain or discomfort.

Today, I'm on the platform after 2 weeks off and 2 weeks with chronic right knee discomfort--many times I can get it to go away enough to squat, but it comes back later on. So it will be interesting to see how I perform in light of yesterday's rehabilitative work with the KBs.

Back to my original point: My ideas are born out of my own training and that of my clients. I am my own guinea pig and then my clients receive the "benefit." We've all made more progress in the last year because of the integration of these two tools, these two systems (RKC + Z-Health). I for one am very thankful that I met Dr. Eric Cobb and Pavel Tsatsouline. These two men will continue to revolutionize the fitness/wellness/healthcare industries. It's my opinion, born out of my experience, that those who don't get on this train will be left behind.

Finally, back to my training: It is constantly evolving as I try to balance my body's needs with my psyche's wants. My body obviously needs Z-Health and KBs. My psyche wants Olympic lifting. The challenge will be continuing to combine all three to achieve my objective. Now that I know that right now my body actually benefits from the KBs, I'll have to find a way to incorporate them into my training regimen. This is a challenge I look forward to. More on how I'm going to set this up later.

In the mean time, here's what I know about what I'm experiencing right now:
  • KBs should be reincorporated into my training plan
  • Hypertrophy work cannot be performed at this time with traditional movements: RDLs, Squats, Barbell Presses
  • I still need to perform Z in such a way to combat myofascial winding
  • Squats and pulls need to be trained at a lower volume and a higher percentage of 1RM
  • Hypertrophy work must be performed in non-traditional ways--perhaps "fast-10s" style with KBs or through assistance lifts like hypers, lunges, rows and chins.
  • Back to waving the loads through various mechanisms like the series in barbell lifts for faster/greater adaptation
I'll take the rest of the weekend to design a program for the next 2-4 weeks based on the above ideas. When I get done, I'll post it, as usual.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check GreenGhost's training on my blog. His approach to KB training is kind of unique. He is doing push pull now and more bodybuilding with chains, and farmers walks.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


heavy loading in compound moves changes EVERYTHING when it comes to joint health and myofascial restrictions and torques.
your body compensates SO HARD because the absolute loads are so high that it can really get you in trouble.

the kbs, especially the unilateral kb work, really force me to stabilize in a way I dont with any other training.Combined with my own yoga and myofascial release work I would agree with your statement.

and yes I will do z health as soon as possible. :)

My shoulder was killing me till I snatched and then pressed on saturday and it got "put in". do figure.
I am doing a lot of "corrective yoga" these days for longer and longer poses and it is making a huge differernce.

"kill the stretch reflex" is my new mantra,lol.

low rep ballistics with short periods remind me of dynamic squat day ala wsb,really gets youry heart going but you still go big power as well.
and this statement

"Back to my original point: My ideas are born out of my own training and that of my clients. I am my own guinea pig and then my clients receive the "benefit." We've all made more progress in the last year because of the integration of these two tools, these two systems (RKC + Z-Health"

is great.thats what great trainers do and crap trainers forget or refuse to do.figure it out for themselves FIRST. Then the client benefits.

and yes doing hypertrophy work with compounds is murder, esepcially at your, ahem, "age". sorry dude in training years you're old. and OL is SO good for your joints too,lol.

and I definitely think you can build a very functional hypertrophy with the fast kb work, no problem.just keep rest periods low to keep muscle tension up over the workout.

give me a call this week.

7:24 PM  
Blogger Geoff Neupert said...

Tom--thanks for you input. I'll check his stuff out.

Rif--funny you should mention training age and compound loading. I was thinking about that when I designed the original program--hoping I could "out-Z" my training age. However, in the heat of battle, I forgot about the myofascial winding. So, for at least one reason, didn't work. I was planning on calling you--thanks for the suggestion.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Franz Snideman said...


great to see you pusing and expanding the KB/Training envelope by constantly thinking outside the box. That would make a great article by the way, an article on training for need vs. training the psyche!

Keep it rocking brother!

4:33 PM  

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