Kettlebells From the Center

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Description

Product Review

2-DVD Set  Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes, plus 102-page manual

The primary purpose of the Dynami—Kettlebells from the Center DVD project is to correct the common deficit of disconnection between the extremities and the core. Gray and Brett will also expand on our elementary understanding of reflex-driven stability timing and will increase our understanding of neural loads and how to prepare the neural pathways from the grip through the core all the way to the toes.

Note: Gray’s pretty persuasive in his suggestion to clean up movement before beginning this program. This is why they started with the Kalo Sthenos Get-up progression project first—start there and make sure your base is ready for dynamic movement.

This is a 2-hour, 2-disk DVD set, with a 102-page manual. Jeff O’Connor contributes to the manual’s Coaching Sections. My suggestion: Watch the DVDs first, then work through the manual as reference material. The book includes side and front photographs, plus clear instructions and key points to look for during the execution. It closes with sample programming options designed to help you put together all you’ve learned as you practice and perfect the various exercises shown on the DVDs.

Disk One, 54 minutes
Introduction, 14 minutes
Discussion of strength platform, power platform and metabolic platform using push and pull, deadlift to swings to press. They also begin to talk about breathing patterns. They’ll teach us good breathing habits, the true center — we’ll learn two contrasting breathing styles that carry over to all our other movements. Our breathing sequences the moving muscles.

Patterning the Hip Hinge, 7 minutes
Here they teach the hips to move backward instead of down using their props and tricks as we re-pattern the deadlift movement. Gray and his team are excellent at designing tricks to retrain patterns, and in this DVD you’ll find new and unusually tips for you and your use with clients. Included are new tricks I don’t think they’ve taught before, at least not on DVD, exercises and suggestions I don’t think you’ll have seen before.

Slow Strength Deadlift, 5 minutes
Deadlift, hip hinge and progressions throughout: progressions, single-leg, single- and double-kettlebell, swings, push press — a variety of exercises you probably haven’t seen before, many with simple ideas interwoven that will change the way you think about or do some of the exercises.

Symmetry Single-leg Deadlift, 9 minutes
In this section we learn double-kettlebell single-leg deadlift, leading into alternate-arm cross-body deadlift. In rotation, the hips create the rotation and the trunk transmits the torque through the stable core, and this single-leg, cross-body deadlift will uncover asymmetry in this movement, one side versus the other.

Fast Swings, 19 minutes
The swings segment covers five variations of the swing to build the patterns: towel swing, two-arm swing, two-kettlebell swing, single-arm swing, side-stepping swing. They start with towel swings and two-arm swings, then progress to single-arm swings where we go up in motor control requirements.

We see proper breathing and perfect form, as well as demonstrations of improper form and tips for better quality work.

Note: There’s a notable difference between the single-arm and double-arm swing firing patterns. There’s new research showing in the two-arm exercise we use about 80-100% maximum voluntary contraction out of the lat and glute and attached muscles. When we switch to one arm, we get 80-150%. There’s a contra-lateral overflow that we need for rotational sports and other athletics, a reflex-driven, unconscious activation reinforced by cross-body swings.

Disk Two, 60 minutes
Patterning the Squat, 10 minutes
One of the main parts of this section is an extensive coverage of Dan John’s goblet squat where we see an excellent view of Brett’s perfect back and hip positions with Gray’s on-going commentary through Brett’s exercise variations.

Slow Strength, the Kettlebell Squat, 4 minutes
Using the kettlebell front squat in two variations, the guys suggest the front squat with kettlebells racked will provide the physiological upper-body strength carryover. Here again they provide some unusual tips you may not have seen elsewhere.

Symmetry, the Bottoms-up Squat, 9 minutes
This one’s going to stop most of us in our tracks: the bottoms-up squat. And you thought bottoms-up presses were hard! We see the bottoms-up clean, then the double-bottoms-up front squat. Gray adds a fascinating description of how the grip changes when the pelvis position changes. In fact, Gray answered a question I’d had about bottoms-up work since I first tried it several years ago — was I looking at a severe weakness one side to the other, or something else? Turns out it was something else.

Patterning the Press, 10 minutes
To gear up for this, first we learn to simply hold the kettlebell overhead in a settled position. From here we can first rotate, test the weight shift and the move into the waiter’s walk. You already know Gray’s big on half- and tall-kneeling in our exercise learning, and this DVD also gets the kneeling treatment with the press.

Slow Strength, the Hardstyle Press, 7 minutes
Hardstyle press is the RKC style of pressing, and certainly Brett teaches that better than anyone aside from Pavel. Brett uses this time to teach the perfect kettlebell press, to include purposeful breathing patterns. You’ll see the single press and the double press. Yes, you’ve seen this before, but these guys always add a new twist.

Symmetry, the Bottoms-up Press, 3 minutes
Learn the difference between bull-dogging through a regular press to engaging this everything-balanced self-limiting exercise. Pay attention to symmetry on this, both sides operating equally, rather than struggling with excessive weight in the double-bottoms-up press. This will smooth out your pressing.

Push Press, 7 minutes
The counterpoint to the swing, the push press brings your power through the torso, covered in this discussion and demo. Brett shows a variation of a double deep squat push-press that’ll keep you busy all winter. It’s nice to see these from the side as well as the front — I’ve never seen that before. Combined with the swings learned on the first disk, you have a full push and pull workout in two basic moves. As the overused saying goes, keep it simple.

Movement Prep & Clearance Tests, 10 minutes
Gray closes the set with a wrap-up of how to use the exercises — who’s ready for the movements and who should step back a bit as shown by his simple clearing tests. Brett finishes with a few minutes of movement prep exercises that you can use to open all your training workouts and a longer discussion of breathing patterns and coordination.

The guys play off each other a bit more than their previous DVDs. The interchanges are insightful, unusual and enjoyable. I think you’ll like this DVD and manual set very much.

Exercise Examples