Saturday, April 3, 2010

Are Your Abs Ready to Start Training With Kettlebells?

For my weekend post, I'd like to feature as a guest, Chris Lopez of I relate well to this article because I'm a big believer of being able to build a strong core without having to lay down horizontally. The kettlebell is a big proponent in my preferred style of training with odd objects. Read on and enjoy Chris' unedited article in its entirety!

Are Your Abs Ready to Start Training With Kettlebells?

This post was written by Chris Lopez. Follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his Tumblr feed.

I came across THIS article in a back issue of MacLeans Magazine over the weekend while at a friend’s house.

It talks about the research done by Dr. Stuart McGill, who in my opinion, is the #1 spine and low back researcher in word (he also happens to be Canadian).

Dr. McGill has written 2 books and has done numerous workshops on his findings of the importance of proper core training and low back injury and health. Having done several of Dr. McGill’s workshops and visiting him in his laboratory a few years back, I know that he is the real deal.

His big claim to fame among the general population is being known as "The Man Who Wants To Kill Crunches".

Because of McGill, I’ve renounced crunches, sit-ups and pretty much any exercise that involves you flexing your spine (or rounding your back). In the TT KB Revolution Programs, you won’t find any weighted sit-ups, side bends or stiff-legged dead lifts that require you to hunch over.

Your spine only has a finite number of flexions in it before you end up blowing a disc or seriously injuring yourself. If you couple that with adding resistance (like holding a 45lb plate on your chest while you’re anchored down and doing full sit-ups), you’re just asking for trouble.

I wrote a post a couple of weeks back and showed you the perfect ab circuit complement to your Kettlebell Training, but what if you’re just getting started with Kettlebells?

The main point to understand before even thinking about swinging or snatching or even picking-up (literally) a kettlebell is that your spine must remain TIGHT. And by tight I mean that your back shouldn’t round when you pick-up a KB or hunch on the down-swing of a 1 or 2 arm KB swing.

So if you’re just starting out, then the "Core Support" program that accompanies your TT Kettlebell Revolution Manual is what you should master.

In that program you learn how to "separate" your breathing from your brace so that you can maintain tight abs for an extended period of time.

You’ll learn the specific bench marks that I’ve set for you to reach in order for you to progress with more ab training.

And finally, you’ll understand why your 6-pack looks the way it does and why your abs were never meant to bring your torso into hips.

Unlike traditional isolated ab training, the Core Support program works your torso as a single unit - BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOUR BODY FUNCTIONS IN LIFE (as a unit and not as bunch of little isolated muscles).

So work hard on learning how to keep your spine stable and your abs tight and you will get that much more from your kettlebell training - not only because kettlebell training burns fat and builds muscle better than any workout you’ll find in a bodybuilding magazine, but because you’ll stay healthy and injury free with no back pain which will allow you to be consistent with your workouts and your results.

Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

Many thanks to Chris Lopez for sharing this valuable information on the fat burning and muscle building prowness of the kettlebell!

Thanks for reading,


P.S. If you are interested in more information about his program, just click Kettlebell Revolution. I have it myself and highly recommend it. With all the different circuits and additional workouts, it makes for a great combination.

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