Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The AKC Fitness Cert

Saturday May 24, 2008

Any excuse to get 35 people, passionate about throwing around handled cannonballs, together for a training is good enough for me. Such was the great time I had on Saturday for the AKC Fitness Cert.

The photo at the top on the left is of none other than our own Howie Brewer of Howz Training, soul brother, kindred spirit in blogging, training. Following is the extraordinary Valery Federenko, Former World Champion and Master of Kettlebell Lifting Sport, and last is Mike Stefano, Firefighter and Head AKC Lifting and Fitness Coach. In attendance were a significant number of RKCs interested in evaluating or furthering their work with the AKC methodology. In particular, I met and was extremely impressed with RKCs Joe Buckley, Greg Landess, Christopher Lombardo and others whose names I can't recall.

It would be silly and disservice to try and repeat the excellent write up of the event as posted on Howie's blog here. Howie also has follow up posts where he describes his progress in following the steps towards the top Level 20 of the AKC Fitness Protocol using a 12kg bell. Don't be fooled by the lighter bell, this protocol is a real smoker!

I also paid and stayed for the Sunday training as well. Unfortunately, Coach Scott Sonnon, of the Clubbell fame, had to cancel at the last minute due to a contagious staff infection. In his place, his top student and CST trainer, Bao Tran, filled in admirably. In all honesty although Coach Sonnon's program had an original approach to joint mobility, recovery and recharge specific to Kettlebell lifting, I was much more interested in learning about his use of Mini-clubbells and their role in his patented CST (Circular Stength Training) but it was not to be.

At this point in time, I am going to put further work with the AKC methodology on hold for the foreseeable future and completely focus on the next six months to a year on furthering to hone the RKC hard-style technique. The issue here being that I am only now beginning to appreciate how effective the RKC methods work (as evidenced by how pleased I am with my continued progress with it). For those who might doubt it, the AKC lifting methodology IS extremely powerful but alas too difficult for me to integrate with RKC at this point. For a recent balanced discussion of the relative merits of the two schools see the dragondoor forum post here.


Katie, KettlebellKate said...

Franklin, I am glad you and Howie got to meet up under the big KB umbrella! Smart to put your efforts to Hardstyle training. You are going to have a BLAST. Be prepared to take care of your hands. Listen to a blister when it's a whisper! Keep the high protein quiche to your self...kidding. I am sure it is good and good for you. Steady on with your training!

Gabi said...

Sounds like you had a great time!
A wise decision to stick with and focus on the RKC methods for the time being, you'll have plenty of time later to get more comfortable with AKC lifting.
You'll love Brett Jones' Prep Program!
Looking forward to meeting you in August :)

Howie Brewer said...

Franklin, what can I say, it was a GREAT time!! And I look forward to swinging the bells with you again in the future. This is only the beginning!!

Colin said...

So you are certifiable now Franklin? Excellent!! I look forward to seeing how much you improve upon your LCCJ scores now.

What would you say were the biggest take home lessons you learned?

Franklin B. Herman said...

Hi Katie,

Thanks for the advice concerning my hands. Towards this end, I intend to bring 1) my coarse emory boards for filing down callouses, 2) some Gulf wax if they let me use it, 3) lots of adhesive tape to tape my hands per Rif's blog 4) bag balm to apply at night. It there is anything I'm forgetting please let me know. As for the high protein quiche .. very yummy indeed!

Hi Gabi,

Wow! You're gonna be at the FMS cert! I'm really looking forward to meeting you .. its gonna be incredible. As for the AKC it really is a great way to lift as well but it will have to be secondary. Its interesting that from what I have I heard the AKC methods are almost exclusively taught in Europe. However, RKC hard-style is certainly beginning to show its presence there with the advent of well attended Danish, Hungarian and now Scottish certs. Obviously, this wouldn't be happening if there wasn't a demand for it.

Hi Howie,

Indeed, it was awesome experience and I am looking forward to training with you at Kettlebells NY !

Hi Colin,

The AKC coaches are technique freaks and rightfully so. There is no way to get such enormous reps with such heavy weights without being extremely strict with regards to its world champion producing form.

The swing requires a rounded back while always watching the bell. At first it must only be practiced with a very light KB to safely build up the necessary back strength (I was very stubborn at the cert and couldn't get enough body feedback with the 12kg so I insisted on swinging a 24kg the AKC way and it resulted in a very sore lower back for a few days).

The AKC rack position is the most important aspect of the methodology and is certainly as effective for resting as it is difficult to master. According to Coach VF, it can take tens of thousands of jerk reps to master. From a training standpoint, the AKC jerk is its most fundamental lift as it builds the base of endurance and strength for the snatch and LCCJ. Finally, training timed sets without putting down the bell is fundamental and is stressed early on over bell size and speed (reps per minute).

Its this later methodology that I intend to employ with continued training of timed sets of 24kg one-arm LCCJ using the RKC hard style. I know that eventually RKC technique will limit my progress, but that is a long way off and carry over to other lifts like the snatch is huge. So, having plateaued at 80 reps in 8 minutes, what I will change is to adhere to an AKC principle and lower the reps to get to 10 minutes first and then slowly increase my speed to get to 100 in 10.