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Advanced Training Concepts - FAQ's

Q: How Do I Start?

A: Everything begins with the Assessment and Orientation. It is not a test. There is no pass or fail. The Assessment and Orientation (A/O) is an introduction and instruction of the methods and exercises utilized at Advanced Training Concepts. The A/O is a prerequisite to begin any training program at ATC. The A/O consists of two 1- hour training sessions and a 30 minute assessment. The training sessions are one-on-one. During the training sessions all of the fundamental Kettlebell Lifts will be instructed as well as calisthenic exercises and joint mobility protocols unique to our method of training. The assessment phase consists of non-intrusive body composition testing and motor skill analysis. For more information about the A/O or to schedule your appointment - sign up here.

Q: Why can’t I just jump right into a class?

A: Advanced Training Concepts instructs Kettlebell Lifting according to World Kettlebell Club and Kettlebell Sport (Girevoy) methodology. The foundation of Kettlebell Sport is timed sets of ballistic Kettlebell Lifting. The primary goal of the newcomer is to develop fundamentally sound technique and a base level of strength, endurance, and power that will allow the completion of a 10-minute set of continuous Kettlebell Lifting without setting the Kettlebells down or resting them on the shoulders. The lifts are fairly technical and require time to practice as well as attentive instruction to avoid injury. Entering into a class without any preparation could easily lead to injury or pose an overwhelming level of difficulty leading to discouragement for the beginning lifter. The Assessment and Orientation Program will allow the newcomer to begin the process of learning the fundamentals in a one-on-one environment without subjecting the new lifter to undue risk or pressure. There are also a number of bodyweight exercises, joint mobility regimens, and flexibility protocols that are unique to our methodology that will be taught during this time.

Q: OK, but I already know how to lift Kettlebells. Do I still need to do the Assessment and Orientation Program?

A: There are a lot of misunderstandings about Kettlebell Lifting. I have heard people say there are different “types”; although, I only know of one correct way to lift Kettlebells. Our knowledge of Kettlebell Lifting comes from Masters of the Sport and decades of sports science dedicated to efficiency of movement and longevity in lifting. We instruct and practice the methodologies of the World Kettlebell Club (the leading governing body in the sport of Kettlebell Lifting). We have seen some very strange and also comedic things surface now since Kettlebell Lifting has become one of the most talked about fitness modalities. Please understand that what you see on television and depicted by the likes of Jillian Michaels, Bob Harper, and others is not Kettlebell Lifting. The Assessment and Orientation can be forgone provided that the individual can perform the following movements safely with a reasonable level of proficiency:

1. The “finger lock” method of dropping the Kettlebell from over-head Fixation into the back swing or from the Rack position into the back swing.

2. The Rack position: Elbow to Ilia, handle crossing the hip and heel of the palm with wrist inserted within the kettlebell and “open,” hips projected forward, legs straight with proper posture.

3. Over-head Fixation of the Kettlebell and thoracic extension during lockout

4. Proper breathing sequence during all movements

5. The Strict Press

6. The Push Press

7. The Clean

8. The Swing, single-hand and hand-to-hand

9. Clean and Press

10. Clean and Push Press

11. Short Cycle (Jerk)

12. Long Cycle (Clean and Jerk)

13. Half-Snatch

14. Snatch

15. Bottoms-Up Press, Push Press, Clean and Push Press

These are all of the kettlebell movements that are instructed within the 2.5 hour Assessment and Orientation. If you cannot perform all of the above movements without any instruction, then you will need to take the A/O. Proper instruction, motivation, education, and accountability are the services ATC provides.

Q: Can I come watch a class?

A: There are videos on the website of some of the classes. The best way to see if it is “right” for you is to do it. Kettlebell Lifting in its truest sense is not easy, but it has tremendous fitness benefits. It is not only a workout but a discipline. There are other benefits that go beyond aesthetics that will carry over into one’s personal life. Mental toughness, perseverance, a high level of self-confidence, and a feeling of accomplishment can all be gained through the discipline. Watching someone else lift will have no bearing on your own performance. If you watch a skilled lifter, the movements will seem effortless, and the face will be expressionless. This can be very deceptive to the inexperienced observer. Often times a beginner to Kettlebell Lifting will say, “It didn't look like they were struggling like I am.”, wrongfully comparing their own level of exertion to someone who has been lifting for a number of months or even years.

Q: Why does it cost more than a gym membership? I can go to the “Y” for 50 bucks a month.

A: ATC is NOT a Gym. ATC is a Private Training Facility specializing in athletic development and fitness training. Gyms do not have standards for their members. You can do whatever you want or do nothing at all at a Gym, provided you still pay your membership fee. Gyms only offer access to machines that will leave you weak and uncoordinated, over-packed group classes with inferior instruction, and empty promises of getting you in the best shape of your life. Nothing done at any commercial gym, or even other private training centers is comparable to what is done at ATC. Anyone can make you sweat. That is not very hard, especially if you are in a de-conditioned state. Before you come to ATC, please go to some of the other places, and then you'll have a point of comparison. We focus on proper bio-mechanics and technique-based lifting. All of our training modalities have real world applications. If you are looking for high-level physical results, a high level of physical performance and work capacity, a high level of coaching, a supportive environment to learn proper lifting technique, and to be motivated to perform at a level you thought impossible…then ATC is what you are looking for.

Q: What does a typical workout involve?

A: All programming at ATC typically involves high-intensity timed sets with concentration on the technique and regimented pace of the kettlebell lifts. Far more than swings are done with the Kettlebell; the swing is considered quite easy. We often finish a class with 5 minutes of swings without setting the bell to the floor. A warm-up before the actual Kettlebell Lifting might consist of 3 or 4 rounds of pull ups, leg raises, jogging, and various bodyweight exercises. Timed sets with Kettlebells can involve using a single kettlebell or two bells. Timed sets can have a wide variance, from 1-minute sets requiring the performance of 20 reps per minute for 10 to 12 rounds allowing only 1 minute of rest between sets, to the completion of two 10-minute sets at a pace of 8 to 20 reps per minute. Hundreds of repetitions can be done within the span of an hour. The volume of the workload can progress to tons per hour.

The weight used can vary:

  • Advanced Women – 16kg (35 pounds) to 24kg (53 pounds).
  • Intermediate to Beginner Women – 8kg (17.8 pounds) to 12kg (26 pounds).

These weights are per hand, per kettlebell. Women generally lift one Kettlebell but at times lift two Kettlebells.

  • Advanced Men – 24kg (53 pounds) to 32kg (70 pounds).
  • Beginner Men - 12kg (26 pounds), 16kg (35 pounds) to 20kg (45 pounds).

These weights are per hand, per kettlebell. Men generally lift two Kettlebells but at times lift one Kettlebell.

Q: Do I need to be in great shape in order to start? This sounds too hard for me.

A: No, you only need to apply maximum effort and follow directions. It is the task of ATC to get you in great shape. That is the business of ATC. Of course there will be times when you feel like you are struggling. There will also be times when you will fail. This is simply the process of improving strength and conditioning, and to an extent it is continuous. We all have gone through this and continue to go through it in order to reach the next level. Some of the athletes at ATC who struggled the most in the beginning are the ones who have persevered and continue to make the greatest progress. As a fitness professional I have spent most of my life transforming de-conditioned individuals into strong and highly conditioned individuals. You're in good hands.

Q: I'm XX years old; am I too old to do this?

A: If you can sit down and stand up unassisted and have the ability to lift both arms over your head without pain or encumbrance, then you can do some level of Kettlebell Lifting. The EAP class is a self- paced environment where senior adult and young adult can do the exact same workout but at a different pace, load, or duration according to their own ability. We have had students as young as 72, and currently have a few “kids” here in their late 50’s and early 60's.

Q: What is Kettlebell Sport, and do I have to compete in it?

A: Kettlebell Sport or Girevoy Sport, as it is known in Europe and Asia, has roots beginning in the 1700's. The official organization of the sport began in 1948 with the first large-scale Kettlebell Lifting competition attended by 200,000 spectators in Russia. Since that time the sport has grown exponentially due to the efforts of US-based organizations that host Kettlebell Sport competitions such as the World Kettlebell Club and The International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation. Currently there are efforts being undertaken to have Kettlebell Lifting entered as an Olympic Sport. Kettlebell Sport consists of three events: The Long Cycle, The Jerk, and the Snatch. The Long Cycle is generally competed in by itself, but the Jerk and the Snatch are often done in succession to create a Biathlon event. Men compete with two Kettlebells in the Long Cycle and the Jerk, while a single kettlebell is used for the Snatch. Women compete with a single kettlebell in all events. There are ranking systems in place beginning with Rank IV through Rank I for amateurs. Master of Sports World Class is the highest Rank that can be attained in Kettlebell Sport. We do not compete against our own members; we compete on a national and sometimes international level with kettlebell lifters from around the world. The true competition is within the lifter, competing against his/or her own personal best results.

Competing is solely a matter of personal choice at ATC and no one is pressured or even asked to compete. Everyone at ATC is trained at a level programmed for athletic performance. Whether you compete or not is your business, but getting you in a healthy, athletic state of conditioning is our business.

Q: Can I wear Gloves?

A: No. A weightlifting glove is designed to prevent a barbell from sliding or moving within the lifter’s hands. Due to the ballistic nature of Kettlebell Lifting, it is imperative that the bell handle be allowed to move within the hand unencumbered. A glove can easily become “bunched up” and cause the lifter to move the bell in an awkward fashion that could result in injury. It is also important the lifter receive tactile feedback from the Kettlebell as it is being moved. The Kettlebell almost becomes a “live” weight when it is lifted due to its offset center of gravity. The lifter must “feel” the Kettlebell moving within the hand to make adjustments or to avoid harmful or inefficient movement patterns.

Q: How long will it take me to see results?

A: That depends on how often you actually workout, the level of effort that you apply, and the changes you make, if any, to your diet. Kettlebells are not magic. At the end of the day it all amounts to really hard work to get in great shape. The only “shortcut” is to seek professional instruction and programming as provided by ATC. ATC takes the “guesswork” out of the fitness equation and puts you on a direct track to your goals in the quickest and safest way possible but it requires your dedication.

Q: Will it make me bulky? (There are still some women who ask this.)

A: No type of weightlifting, no matter how heavy the weight is or how many times it is lifted, will make a woman bulky. If creating muscle hypertrophy was that easy, every man in America would look like Hercules. Women simply do not have the hormonal make-up to build large muscles. Eating too much, regardless of what type of exercise you do, is what makes you look bulky. If you look bulky it is due to excessive calorie intake. The most common name for “bulk” is "Fat."

Q: Can it make me Bulky? I'm looking to “bulk up” like a bodybuilder. (There is always a guy who asks this.)

A: No. If you want to look like a pro bodybuilder, then you have to do what pro bodybuilders do: lift moderately heavy weights twice a day, consume large amounts of calories, take several naps a day, using steroids as often as possible would probably help too. At ATC we are more interested in creating a normal athletic physique that allows the individual to accomplish a variety of physical tasks and display a broad range of physical attributes: speed, agility, coordination, strength, power, flexibility, stamina, endurance. Our membership is composed of a diverse group of athletes such as cyclists, triathletes, marathon runners, martial artists, kayakers, rock climbers, skiers, swimmers, etc.,

Q. Can I continue to do X type of training and still do Kettlebell Lifting?

A. Yes. We have numerous members that engage in a wide array of activities. Kettlebell Lifting has only enhanced their performance in these pursuits. Running and any type of full range of motion stretching can assist with Kettlebell Lifting. Coincidentally, Kettlebell Lifting will accentuate any type of running performed, increase your level of endurance and level of flexibility. Other forms of weight lifting have little transference to Kettlebell Lifting but Kettlebell Lifting will enhance performance in other forms of weight lifting.

Q. How much does a Kettlebell weigh?

A. Competition Kettlebells come in weights from 8 kilograms to 90 kilograms (1 kg=2.2 lbs) Although they come in different weights, they are all one standard size. The lighter Kettlebells are hollow, and the heavier bells are filled with metal. The fact that they are all the same size allows for a quick progression through the weights. Once rudimentary technique is developed, the lifter needs only to continue to refine the technique while progressing through the heavier weights. The fitness type Kettlebell is produced in varying sized according to weight. The heavier the Kettlebell the larger the mass of the weight. This produces a slower progression.

Q. It looks dangerous

A. There is a very low incidence of injury with Kettlebell Lifting. In fact, there are much higher levels and more serious injuries reported from the activities of walking, running, and playing tennis.

Q. How long does it take to learn?

A. As far as general fitness is concerned, a beginner will have a grasp of the basic techniques within 8 to 12 weeks. Mastery in Kettlebell Sport can be attained within 5 to 7 years, or never.

Q. What is the difference between doing exercises with a Kettlebell versus a Dumbbell?

A. The Kettlebell has several features that make it quite unique as a weight. The U-shaped handle: Most things that we grasp or lift in day-to-day life mimic this same shape. Rarely do we ever pick up or grasp an object that has a perfectly straight, round, easy-to-grip handle, from a book bag, purse, steering wheel, door knob, door handle, grocery bag, toolbox, the collar of a martial arts Gi, gun handle, a water hose, a rope, a child’s arm as he/she unknowingly runs into the path of traffic. As a result, Kettlebell Lifting develops the muscles of the hands and forearms in a way that “wrist curls” and other nonsensical exercises cannot. The body of the Kettlebell is round and its center of gravity offset which adds to the complexity of balancing and controlling it. This further engages musculature that you would not activate using a dumbbell. The dynamic nature of the Kettlebell Lifts in conjunction with its shape, offset center of gravity, and U-shaped handle transform it into a “live” weight when lifted properly. It requires total concentration and a complete integration of the body and mind. The proprioceptive demands of the movements make it a workout not only for the body but the Central Nervous System and mind as well. All aspects of the posterior chain are thoroughly engaged due to the dynamic and ballistic nature of the Kettlebell Lifts. The glutes, Hamstrings, quads and musculature of the hip all receive special attention. The Entire musculature of the Torso; Trapezius, Rhomboids, Deltoids, Biceps, Triceps, Spinal Erectors, Lats, Abdominals and Obliques must all work in a synergistic manner to execute the skillful movements of Kettlebell Lifting. The Heart, and Lungs and all energy systems are taxed during a high intensity times set. Kettlebell Lifting creates an Oxygen dept and calorie expenditure equal to uphill cross country skiing!

Q. I saw someone on YouTube doing something with a Kettlebell, but it was different than what I see on your website.

A. Yes. There is no law against doing foolish things with Kettlebells, so there is a lot of it on YouTube. A Kettlebell is only a weight. Anyone can go to a sporting goods store, purchase one, and make a YouTube video claiming to be an expert.

Kettlebell Sport is the highest level of Kettlebell Lifting. No one would claim to have more skill with a Kettlebell or superior methods of training to those displayed in the highest levels of the sport. Any techniques derived from sources outside of the sport may have some use or fitness benefit, but it also may border on unproven and/or unsafe techniques. However, we know for a fact that all exercises and methods used within the sport and in preparation for Kettlebell Sport are proven and have great fitness benefit. Here is an analogy in the form of a question: What represents Basketball? Is it the competition, skill, and athleticism within the NBA or the antics and tricks of the Harlem Globetrotters?

Q: What about nutrition?

A: Nutritional planning is provided to all members. Those who follow the plan achieve great results; therefore, it can be said that the program works. Those who do not follow the program usually achieve moderate results, which is further testament to the efficacy of the lifting program.

Q: OK, it sounds well structured and everything, intense and all that; is it fun?

A: It is fun and rewarding in the sense of working really hard for something and actually getting what you worked so hard for and more. People are always laughing and joking around after the workouts.

Q: How much do Kettlebells cost?

A: ATC uses the highest grade of competition Kettlebell. See details here.

Q: Do I have to buy my own Kettlebell?

A: No. There are approximately 2.5 tons (5000 to 6000 pounds) of Kettlebells at ATC along with several hundreds of pounds of rubber bumper plates, bars, GHDs, medicine balls, Concept 2 Rowers, tread mill, elliptical and various other equipment. ATC is a fully equipped training facility.

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Results & Testimonials
results and testimonials

Doug Bridges wearing his belt from 248 pounds. Currently 188 pounds and 13% body fat, Rank II Kettlebell Lifter.

Vulcan Strength Training Systems