This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend and work with world-class kettlebell athlete and fitness coach Steve Cotter at the Agatsu Kettlebell Seminar, hosted by Shawn Mozen. I’ve learned lots from Steve’s kettlebell and bodyweight dvds so to actually get to meet the man in person was an incredible inspiration.
He is an amazing coach and a very down to earth and approachable person, providing a high level of instruction and not to mention, demonstrated a very impressive level of athleticism that is beyond belief. It was great to see Steve perform some of his many feats of strength in person. Pistol dances, heavy bells, bottoms up clean and all that fun stuff.
The seminar consisted of quite an advanced group of individuals. Most of the people in attendance were trainers who had just undergone Shawn’s kettlebell trainer certification the day before. Given that, I knew I was in for a fantastic workshop.
It was approximately 6 hours in length. We began the workshop with some warm up drills and joint mobility moves then moved into some agility/bodyweight moves, kettlebell timed sets, pistol training, animal moves, and concluded it with some Qigong breathing exercises.
Up until this point, I hadn’t really done much kettlebell training involving timed sets, so this was all very new to me and provided a good challenge of mental toughness and endurance. It really forces you to tighten up on your technique and form and perfect your grip of the kettlebell as you must be at one with it in order to be able to sustain yourself for that period of time. As I learned, each lift has to be consistent and a single perfect form is better than a thousand incorrect ones. I liked it. I think this is something I will certainly be incorporating into my training.
I also got to work with the pro grade bells for the first time and now know what everyone’s been raving about. They are bigger than the classic kettlebells, and I must admit, they do feel really nice in the rack position and to hold because of the narrower handle. They are made of steel and all consistent in size, with varying densities depending on the weight. The main advantage being that when you switch from one weight to another, you do not need to relearn and adjust your technique or grip. This is especially advantageous if you are doing high reps/timed sets for the basic competion lifts – cleans, snatches, jerks, and long cycle.
I learned so much – not just on improving my kettlebell lifting technique and how to be efficient for timed sets, but also how to train my body for optimized athleticism. To do so, your body must be trained to move in all dimensions as opposed to forward and back. You must be able to get down low, react quickly and move swiftly. I really enjoyed the pistol training portion of the workshop. I was following Steve’s Mastering the Pistol DVD previous to this so it was great to get some in person instruction. Steve took us all through some basic progressions that would help prepare the body and eventually lead into doing a full one legged squat. The final part on Qigong breathing was also a highlight. I learned to do deeper breathing through the abdomen as opposed to the lungs along with 7 of the basic movements that go along with it. Aside from being very relaxing, this helps work the internal organs more and works to release any negative energy and tension the body holds.
After a hard days work, we all went out for dinner and in keeping with the kettlebell theme, we partied at a Russian bar afterwards. As we waited out in the cold, Steve tried telling the bouncer his name was Pavel but that didn’t have enough pull so we waited patiently in line with the rest of the people. Good times!