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 Light People, Heavy Weights by Rob Lawrence and Steve Knapstein

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PostSubject: Light People, Heavy Weights by Rob Lawrence and Steve Knapstein   Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:54 pm

Light People, Heavy Weights
by Rob Lawrence and Steve Knapstein




The 40-kilo (88-pound) kettlebell, or "bulldog" as it is commonly known, is widely regarded by kettlebell enthusiasts as the barometer for measuring pressing strength. Taming the bulldog is a difficult task, especially for lighter comrades. Performing a strict military press with this weight requires extreme focus and concentration.
Recently Rob Lawrence and Steve Knapstein, both of the Philadelphia Kettlebell Club, joined the short list of comrades who have pressed the bulldog at bodyweights under 175 pounds. On March 6, Rob put the 40-kilo bell up at a weight of 164 pounds. Steve did it several days later at a weight of 168 pounds.
After pressing the bell on the 6th, Rob issued a challenge on the Dragon Door forum, stating that he would buy a 40-kilo bell for the first person to press the bulldog at a bodyweight under 164 pounds. Unfortunately for him he had to deliver immediately, since comrade Nick Fraser of the U.K. had managed the feat in December 2002 at an incredible 154 (!) pounds.
Appropriately enough, then, the bulldog crown currently resides in England. If anyone strict-presses the big bell at a weight under 154, however, Nick himself will have to buy the new champ a new bulldog, as part of originally accepting the challenge.
If you have ever struggled under the weight of a 40-kilo or even 32-kilo bell, you probably wonder how these guys do it. Below Steve and Rob give some insights into their training philosophies and routines. If you see some major differences, you aren't misreading: their training styles and schedules are markedly different, proving again that there is more than one way to skin the proverbial cat.

Steve Knapstein
"If I had to sum up my training philosophy in one sentence, it would be 'make every workout count.' Volume, repetitions, order of exercises, and training frequency may all vary, but intensity is critical."
"Every session is an opportunity to become stronger, leaner, bigger, or whatever your goals are. Make the most of it. I am not advocating over-training - just intense, smart weightlifting."
"The following is a basic routine of functional exercises which I incorporate into my training schedule. The numbers are not etched in stone, but I believe that each of these exercises has its place in any complete program."
"I perform this routine for four to five weeks and then switch to another program (rest pause, bear, circuits) for about the same length of time."
Sample workout:
1. Squat clean-and-jerk or squat snatch, 4-6 sets
2. Kettlebell military press variations (see RKC book p. 93), 3-6 sets
3. Bench or floor press (only once per week), 3-5 sets
4. Kettlebell rows (seesaw or one-arm/one-leg style), 4-6 sets.
5. Deadlift or squat variations, 5-6 sets
6. Chinups with or without weight, 2-3 sets
7. Abdominal work

Rob Lawrence
"I prefer to do extremely abbreviated workouts and work out every day, even if I am training for strength-endurance. I find the whole philosophy of damaging yourself with heavy workouts and then recovering from them wrongheaded. Masochism is not necessary: you can build up to heavy weights and high reps without killing yourself. If you are training for strength or strength-endurance rather than bodybuilding, the daily approach can work well, provided that you have the discipline not to underwork or overwork yourself."

"As far as heavy pressing is concerned, the key is to create a feeling of stability throughout the body. If your body feels stable, it will let your arm push up the weight; if it doesn't, it won't. To be stable you must stay tight, particularly through the midsection, and must concentrate on a feeling of energy running up from your heels all the way to your pressing hand. If that sounds like voodoo, fine, but trust me it works. At the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, I saw plenty of big guys miss with the bulldog and then complain that the lift was 'all technique.' Well, what about it? If you're 6'4" 230 and can't put the thing overhead, you're slack and you've got work to do. Get to it."

Sample routine:
1. Pistols, 32kg or 24 kg kettlebell for sets of 2-5 reps.
2. Superset bent rows and military presses, one or two 32kg kettlebells for sets of 1-4 reps.
3. Snatch or clean-and-jerk following competition kettlebell rules. Two medium-effort sets with 32kg kettlebells, then two more with 24kg kettlebells.
4. Evil wheel from knees or feet.

Rob Lawrence and Steve Knapstein are both members of the Philadelphia Kettlebell Club. For more information on the club, you can check out their website at http://www.msnusers.com/PhiladelphiaareaKettlebellClub.


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