Monday, December 3, 2012

Frankie Mecono, RKC II of The Training Room, Santa Barbara, CA

For the last five weeks I have been focusing exclusively on 32kg kettlebell two-hand swings. With an increasing business work load, I switched to this exercise exclusively as it delivers the biggest bang for buck for both strength and conditioning. Also, this seemed to be the safest way to get back in shape as the prior three weeks was forced downtime due to some heath issues that are now under control.

After the lay-off I started with ten sets of 10 reps of 32kg two-hand swings, each set at the top of the minute. A simple ten minute session to start .. just enough to get going again. By slowly increasing reps per set and the number of sets I improved both the session intensity and volume to all time PRs:

  • For intensity  I am now at ten sets of 20 reps at the top of the minute .. this goal had eluded me for five years.
  • For volume  I have had several recent sessions of 27 sets of 15 reps at the top of the minute (405 reps in total).

So what does any of this have to do with Frankie Mecono? (That's the young man on the left in the photo ..  not the balding geezer on the right (yours truly)  .. perhaps the photo should be captioned "Never clean anything bigger than your head!") Well, two weeks ago when I had to travel to Santa Barbara for business for three  days ..  I did not want to interrupt my swinging sessions. So, I went on-line to find an RKC instructor in the Santa Barbara area using this  RKC Instructor Locator link looking to  rent a 32kg  bell for the duration. Low and behold, the very first instructor listed was Frankie Mecono, RKC II, CK-FMS. This  brought great joy to me as  Frankie was one of the first candidate RKCs I met at my certification over five years ago and we had really hit it off exchanging stories of how RKC kettlebell training had changed our lives. Not only one of truly nicest persons I have every met, Frankie is one VERY strong customer:

During one of the breaks after the session on military pressing at the RKC cert, Frankie was experimenting with heavier bells (we used 24kg for the session .. more than enough for me). It wasn't long before he was easily cleaning and strictly military pressing the 40kg [a.k.a. the "bulldog"] with each arm at around 75kg body weight. [Hey, if you think this is easy .. be my guest and go ahead and give it a shot .. hey hey]

Fast forwarding to my Santa Barbara trip, I met up with Frankie at the "Training Room", a phenomenal facility with all the classic strength tools. After catching up I noticed there was a 32kg bell sitting in the middle of the floor in his office awaiting me. Frankie refused to accept any compensation for loaning me the bell. He also said I could return it anytime including leaving it outside in front of the door if no one was in .. he had no fears of anyone walking away with it.

I did meet my end of the bargain and brought the bell to the office and put it to good use. I trained outside and got in two solid sessions over the three days:   the first with  300 swings and the second one with 400. Many of  my Santa Barbara peers were quite interested in learning what the heck this 71 lb monstrosity was. I did some simple demonstrations and explained that I planned to do timed sets of two-hand swings. At least three times I was asked  "Is that all you do is swings?".  I still get a big laugh out of that one.

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