6 Minute Squat Challenge

The Goblet Squat is one of the two best movements we can do to enhance, enrich & expand our quality of life . . . grab a Kettlebell by the horns, pull it up to chest level & Squat low enough to where your ass meets grass. If you’re wondering how this movement improves your QoL, think about getting up & down off the toilet by yourself . . . now imagine having to call someone each time you have to go . . . it’s the seemingly little things we do now that have the greatest impact later. Catastrophe aside, we can actively improve our Quality of Life with a few very simple movements. The Goblet Squat is right up there in the top 3.

Dan John has a new book out, The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge. Since the Goblet Squat is already a hot & trending topic, there’s a nice test to try, and as you’ve probably guessed, it’s called the 6 Minute Squat Challenge. Follow the same protocols for the Goblet Squat, but drop into the bottom of a Squat & hold for 30 seconds. At the 30 second mark, stand and pull yourself back into the Squat for 30 more seconds. Guys grab a 24kg, Ladies grab a 12kg or 16kg . . . go ahead, give it a go.

You’ll feel this all over. My pinkie finger is still quivering, but seems to be calming down somewhat. It’s all good, it was definitely worth the effort. 12 Squats? Simple enough. Not easy, but certainly simple.

Seriously, give it a try. Let me know what you think, how you feel.

If you need help or want assistance learning the Goblet Squat, or how to incorporate Kettlebells into your training, there’s probably an HKC Instructor near you . . . send him a message, or give him a call!

Semper Fortis & Anchored in Movement


40 Days of Lent Workout

Lent begins today. To make a short story even shorter, Lent is the period of 40 days before Easter. Lots of people around the world give something up for Lent. Some people take on something new. We’re encouraging a workout . . . not just any old workout, 40 days of workouts . . . and not just any old 40 days of whatever workouts, 40 days of Lent workouts as suggested by Dan John & Pavel Tsatsouline. Did I mention that Kettlebells would be involved?

Red KB1

Dan wrote about this way back in the prehistoric year of 2009 (feels that long ago, sometimes), but the information is just as relevant & necessary today as it was then . . . we’re just applying it to another well-known & long-standing 40 day period . . . Lent.

(In case you missed the link to the original article, it is here, at T-Nation

As the article indicates, you can design your 40 days any way you’d like, but stick to the design. I say it that way because depending on where you find yourself, you might have different tools available, so stay open to potential possibilities.

One possible suggestion, and the suggestion I’ll be following until Easter is:

  • One-leg Kettlebell Deadlifts – 2 sets of 5 on each leg
  • Kettlebell Strict Press (or Bottoms Up Press) – 2 sets of 5 for each arm
  • Squats (Air or Goblet) – 1 set of 20 to 50 reps
  • Kettlebell Swings – 1 set of 20 to 50 reps
  • Sit-Ups (Crunches, TTB, Knee Raises, etc) – 1 set of 5 

Lots of variations are available in this simple-looking workout because some days I can do this at the gym, some days at home, and some days at the park or by the river . . . Kettlebells are highly portable, and that takes care of equipment for 4 out of the 5 exercises, and while I’d prefer to do Knee Raises or TTBs every day, I haven’t yet purchased my handy Free-Standing Pull-Up Bar. Shame on me, I know.

The point is to pick 5 pretty basic exercises you can do each day. Of course we want variety from one day to the next in our lives & in our workouts, and the weight available or the weight we feel like we can lift determines some of that variety. We won’t last the full 40 if we try to max out every day with the heaviest & burliest Kettlebell we have. Some days will be 16kg, some days are days of the Beast (48kg), and some days are in between.

Whatever you choose, pick exercises you can do and are willing to stick with. Consistency is king, always & forever.

Above all else, have fun with it.

Coveting the Snatch Test

russian reds2RKC has one, SFG has one . . . a 5 minute Snatch Test as part of the certification process. You’re even given a finite rep count: 100 of them . . . in 5 minutes. The weight isn’t particularly heavy, but it does get cumbersome for most before minute 5 or before rep 100. In fact, both organizations, Dragon Door & Strong First, respectively, have a lot of people re-test.

What does it take to Snatch a Kettlebell 100 times in 5 minutes? Practice, lots of it. Rare is the person who can pick up a Kettlebell for the first time and ace this test. Maybe it’s never been done . . . or maybe someone out there really is that skilled and that crazy.

I’m often curious about timed tests like this . . . what it takes, how it feels . . .

As discussed in Learning to Finish What We Start, sometimes we do better to back off the specified weight and build a solid base with a lower weight. Snatching 24kg is not a problem, doing it a hundred times in five minutes can cause problems unless we have a solid base of practice & work.

Dan John, who was RKC then SFG and is now RKC again, wrote a great piece on the process, How to Nail the RKC Kettlebell Snatch Test Once and for All. If anyone is qualified to help people pass this particular test, it is certainly Dan John, Master RKC.

There are movement hacks & tweets that help with the Snatch, and those are covered in the article . . . particularly the drop. Focus on these tips during your warm-up, they do help significantly.

True to form (see Unadulterated Grunt Work) I took his advice and did three 5-minute tests today at 12kg . . . 3 minute rests between each test. My time with the 12kg Kettlebell looked like this:

  • 5 minute Test- 104 reps
  • 3 minute Rest
  • 5 minute Test- 116 reps
  • 3 minute Rest
  • 5 minute Test- 120 reps

Even with the lighter weight, my first test was low . . . more than 100 reps, but barely. It took that first one to begin the groove of what 100 reps in the allotted time feels like. By the second test, and even in the last one when I was starting to feel the effects of 3 sets of this mayhem, getting well over 100 reps at 12kg was not a problem. In Test 3, all 100 reps were complete at the 4 minute mark. Everything else was just me conditioning myself to not pull the bell down until time is called.

There really isn’t any reason to show up at an RKC Certification (or SFG, for that matter) without having performed 100 reps of Snatches in 5 minutes. I certainly wouldn’t consider rolling in there having only done the 100 reps with a 12kg, knowing that I will be tested with a 24kg, but the confidence of knowing what 100 reps feels like will help propel our training towards our goals.

Take every opportunity to learn about what & how to make this skill one of your skills. Study it, practice it, and when the time comes, perform it without undue & unnecessary stress.

Semper Fortis