My Favorite Exercise Combinations: Installment 16 – Kettlebell On Kettlebells

Today’s exercise combination is a little different! In other installments, I usually went over some neuromuscular strategies to increase strength, to combine multiple movements that will help improve motoric control of a movement pattern, or anything of the like.

In conjunction with the awesome weather we are having recently, I’d like to ride the wave of people gearing up for beach season (see what I did there?).

With that said, the most interesting piece of equipment in any gym I believe is the kettlebell. It is shaped funny, you can swing it around, press it, row it, have it as a door stop, and do all types of awesome stuff with the kettlebell.


Now, to use this piece of equipment in a circuit, let’s make it quick, get it done, then step away from it.

Do the thing, and you’ll have the power. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sometimes just focusing on the process of what should be done, over deliberating, deliberating, deliberating, and then making a decision has power with respects to just doing it. Too many people are uneasy with the decision to make, too many people are unfocused, and too many people are looking for the next shiny object. Sometimes what you have to work with is the rusty, hunk of metal, tucked away in the corner of the gym, waiting to be thrown around a few hundred times. Sometimes that is what it takes to get what you want.

So if you’re focusing on  the ability to produce force, improve recovery between tough training sessions, or just looking for a way to sweat, check this exercise combination out.

A1. Kettlebell Swing – 12 reps

A2. 1-Arm KB Row – 8/side

A3. Kettlebell Goblet Squat 12 reps

A4. 1-Arm KB Half Turkish Get Up – 3/side (easy inhalations/exhalations in between movements)

Complete 4 Rounds. Rest 90 to 120sec in between rounds, or until heart rate is between 130 and 140.

Performing these movements in a circuit like fashion with little to no rest is a great way to get your weekend started. Do this specific circuit at the end of your workout every other day of the week, and in conjunction with a dedicated focus on what you are eating, I’m sure you will see results towards an aesthetic you may enjoy seeing in the mirror every day.

That’s it! I want you to enjoy your day, so complete this circuit, get a nice sweat in, and enjoy your weekend/day/life.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Self-Awareness, Self-Auditing, and Patience: Lessons from Gary Vaynerchuk

Here is a list of items I’ve “done” from September 2015 to March 2016 (today):

With respect to work at Cressey Sports Performance…

  • From September 2015 to March 2016, I’ve written 164 exercise programs for athletes at Cressey Sports Performance.
  • I’ve performed assessments on over 29 individual athletes, and an unknown number of informal assessments for staff/friends/family in the meantime.
  • If I ask Pete, I’m sure I can find out how many athletes that have walked into our doors, and I can get a good estimate on the amount of athletes and clients I’ve interacted with and coached.

With respect to my own individual work…

  • September 2015 to March 2016 I’ve written over 30 blog posts. Knowing that I can write a lot, I’ll give myself the benefit of the doubt and say that I’ve had at the very least 1000 words in a blog post. The most recent post I’ve had was 2000 words, however.
  • Scratch that – I just went through each post and found the word counts. I had exactly 31,162 words written from September 2015 to March 2016, not including this post. Also, this is not taking into account the sweat equity for the videos I’ve recorded to support these posts, the editing of these videos for better lighting, and the re-takes for videos that weren’t good enough the first time through.
  • 28 of those blog posts have been posted from January through March 2016, and I wrote exactly 21,534 words within that time frame.
  • I’ve recorded over 5 webinars, gave 1 presentation, on top of countless uploads to YouTube videos from an instructional point of view.
  • On my Facebook page Enhance2Dance, I’ve only uploaded 5 individual videos. This is somewhere where I will need to pick up the pace ten-fold.
  • I’ve listened to over 4 days of audiobooks, over 30 podcasts ranging from business to fitness industry related items, along with countless hours on the phone with industry professionals talking about everything and anything whenever I go on road trips.

The funny thing is that I had to look back and count these items out. I don’t usually do this – counting the things that I’m doing. I just do it, and I know that sometimes things will hit and go viral, and other things won’t go viral.

I’ve started to see threads and patterns in all of these things, and expect even more content to A/B test the things I’m writing and providing content for all of you to consume.

It’s funny, and sad at the same time, but my most visited blog post is one I wrote over two years ago about hip internal rotation. I asked one of my strength coach friends to Google Search “Hip Internal Rotation” and let me know what he sees. He told me I’m the number 4 hit, and Dean Somerset is the number 3 hit.

Dean Somerset - Hip Internal Rotation

That hit me hard. I put over 10 hours into that series of blog post (it’s a one-two series on hip internal rotation), creating a flowchart, checking my anatomy, making it easy to consume, creating tables, creating Tweet-able phrases… and I’m not even number one?

Now keep in mind, I love Dean, he puts out great content, and he is a cool guy. It is mind blowing that I bought one of his co-authored products from a set he did with Tony Gentilcore, Jeff Cubos, Rick Kaselj, and here I am complaining that I’m underneath him in a Google Search phrase.

I don’t display this much, but I’m highly competitive.

I want to be the number one hit on that Google Search term.

All of this retrospection has been brought to light by a chance to listen, meet, and talk shop with one of my mentors from afar, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Want to Be An Entrepreneur? This is What You Signed Up For

At the end of the day, this is just my job.

I’m merely quantifying all of this for a few reasons: to audit myself, my time, the work I’ve “put in” in this specific industry, along with understanding that I need to exhibit a little more patience, and respecting that this is a numbers game.

I can complain all I want about how I’m not getting enough exposure, but I’m still young in this game, no matter how you look at it.

I haven’t even opened up a facility like many of my peers in this industry have, nor do I want to. At least not yet. And that is a totally different ball game if and when I do.

On one level, I’m developing a skill set that I will be able to take with me anywhere:

  • Knowledge on anatomy and physiology.
  • The ability to write to multiple audiences.
  • The ability to speak to multiple types of populations based on their goals.
  • Assessing and identifying functional movements in several different populations
  • Providing strategies for increased fitness for various populations
  • Connections, relationships, and bonds with people at the gym.

No one can take those things away from me.

I have also been able to improve upon my skill set as a coach and trainer. I often hear coaches within our field quote an unknown person saying, “If you are doing things the same way 6 months ago as you are today, you’re doing it wrong.” Well, I’m here to mention that I’m doing things a little different every week, let alone 6 months ago.

60% of the Time, It Works 100% of the Time

Having the ability to execute is a largely underrated skillset. In only 3 months, I’ve had one blog post for every day of a given calendar month.

That means in 30 days, I’ve had 30 blog posts. (It is 3 months out however… so I should be doing 120 posts at least).

I said to my close colleagues and co-workers that I was going to push a heck of a lot more content, but I haven’t been pushing as much as I feel I could be pushing.

Allow me to have a lack of hubris in this one moment – I know I’m good. I want you to know how good I am.

I’d like to think I got part of this drive from Gary, but the truth is I’ve always had this drive to become better, and do more. Listening to him has allowed me to know that I’m on the right path, which is ultimately my path… which is going to be different than everyone else’s path.

I can see the goal, it is far away, but I just know that putting the work in is necessary towards the things I want to achieve.

Are Your Actions Matching Your Goals ?

This question is something that makes sense when I ask it to any of my athletes or clients. If you have a goal, you have to have the subsequent actions to reach them.

They always ask “How much until I achieve this six pack? How much until I can deadlift 400lbs or more?”

These are all fair questions. We all want to know when we are closer to the destination.

But when I flip it on myself, and others who want to be where I am, it is enlightening to say the least.

This same question can be posed towards “online trainers” within this industry:

  • Are your actions matching your intentions?
  • How much have you written?
  • How many videos have you put out there of yourself?
  • What are your results (that you helped your clients achieve)?
  • How much have you exposed your own methodology to help others get better?
  • How much have you exposed yourself to difficult subject matters such as anatomy & physiology?
  • How much have you invested in learning to improve your emotional intelligence?

Self-Awareness and Enduring the Pressure & Heat…

Gary Vaynerchuk talks greatly about self-awareness of who you are as an individual. I’ve always resonated with this statement.

Gary Vaynerchuk

I’ve known who I was ever since I was a kid, and I’ve always wondered why no one else is like me. I never fit in, despite my many efforts to fit in. So I said fuck it, I’ll stand out.

And thus, I started dancing. I actually had a mohawk at one point in both high school and also in college. I even had a double mohawk in college. Yeah, I was that guy.

Gary gave some very simple, yet sobering advice: Paraphrasing…

“Being at the top is lonely. If you want to be #1, there are things you have to sacrifice, on top of having self-awareness. No one says you have to be #1, to be on the same path that I am taking. You can be #2, #3, #4, and still do well from a lifestyle point of view.”

In the context of being a coach, I know that I’m going to be one of the best out there. I can just tell from conversing with others, and speaking to others, and reading what others write, and seeing how they think, all the way to how they write exercise programs. Sometimes I agree, other times I don’t agree. And that’s okay.

I know I’m good, and I’m going to get better as time passes.

Place enough pressure and heat on a piece of rock, and eventually a diamond will form. It won’t be tomorrow, or the next day, but eventually it will happen.

Diamond in the Rough
This is apparently what an unpolished diamond looks like.

I know I can put more content out, more videos, more interactions online.

I’m not providing “life coaching” – I’m only 27, and expecting life advice in this context is ironic at best. I can however, provide different takes on philosophies with respect to training philosophies, exercising, assessing, and generally looking at things from a different perspective regarding exercise and sports/dance performance.

Put This Into Action

With this in mind, I’d like to challenge you, the reader, a way to become more self-aware with one simple question.

What is that one thing that you haven’t done this year, that you set out to do in the beginning of the year?

It is already March in the year 2016, which means if you are playing the New Year’s Resolution game, you are roughly 19% through this year. It is almost 25% of the year once this month is gone.

  • What haven’t you done this year, that you said you would?
  • If you’ve done a little of that one thing, how deep have you gone into it?
  • Can you do more?
  • If you said you’d start working out, have you gone only once every other week?
  • What is stopping you from coming into the gym every other day this week?

Just how diamonds aren’t formed overnight, change also doesn’t occur over one week or one month of time. Keep the pressure on yourself, and bring the heat, and you can create an amazing change for yourself.

As always,

Keep it funky.


Warm-Up – Is It Really Worth It?

Warming up has been something that has been up for debate for quite some time. I’m pretty sure Bruce Lee was always altering his methods for warming up, and even further back we can look at how martial artists warmed up, and if there are is any written history, I’d love to see how gladiators, warriors, etc warmed up.

Bruce Lee - Warmup

Perhaps the reasoning for this is due to the immense amount of “creativity” that individuals within the industry can impose upon their idea of a warm-up in preparation. There is, like everything we do, almost no standardization for what is right or wrong.

However, respecting the actual anatomy and physiology, along with respecting what an individual believes (which speaks to the psychological aspects, self-beliefs, etc), can lead us to a more correct identity of what plans of action to take.

(Side Note: I mention what an individual believes, because sometimes a coach or trainer believes some players need to get “lower”, when in fact getting “lower” will compromise the acetabular-femoral joint going into hip flexion. Further, after identifying the anatomy of an individual, perhaps some persuasion will allow you – the more informed individual – to create a better plan of action, thus “the more correct” version displayed above.)

Hip Pelvis

My Own Experiments Warming Up

My own personal background with “warming up” has consisted of anything and everything. I’ve done the following versions in my own warm-ups:

Version 1

  • Foam Rolling
  • Positional Breathing Drills/Resets
  • Dynamic Warm-Up (various movement drills, crawling, skips, lunges, etc)
  • Movement Rehearsal (with empty barbell for example before benching/squatting/deadlifting)

Version 2

  • Foam Rolling
  • Positional Breathing Drills/Resets

Version 3

  • Positional Breathing Drills

Version 4

  • Dynamic Warm-Up
  • Movement Rehearsal

Version 5

  • Movement Rehearsal (with empty barbell)

These are all methods employed for many various reasons: lack of time, excess of time, priority of a training session (to place myself in a better psychological position),

Further, I’ve explicitly done these items for weeks, sometimes months at a time, just to prove a point – that if I truly believe in something, I also have to see a thought process that I believe is incorrect or wrong, and see how I fare. I learned a few things.

For those that are rigidly sticking to your foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and bands, I encourage and challenge you to step away from what the “industry” has imposed as a necessity, and discover what is truly important for yourself.

Let me say this first:

  • I’ve had great training sessions without any foam rolling.
  • I’ve had great training sessions without doing any quadruped extension rotations, or glute bridges, or dead bugs.
  • I’ve had great training sessions with only open loop drills such as skipping, 15 yard sprints, cariocas, marches, etc.

And on the other end:

  • I’ve also had time crunched training sessions where I’ve had to omit a full on 20 minute foam rolling session, and just do 30 seconds of foam rolling.
  • I’ve had sub-par training session where I’ve only done movement drills, and dynamic warm-ups.
  • I’ve had bad training sessions where I’ve even included foam rolling, movement drills, dynamic warm-ups, etc.

So is it safe to align myself with the thought that you absolutely need to prelude a training session with one of the “Version 1” warm-ups listed above in order to elicit an appropriate physiological training effect?

Again, I’d argue that this point is not as necessary, as I’ve seen great training sessions performed with as little movement preparation other than taking an empty barbell, and furthering the physiological quality of strength (with respect to powerlifting, for example).

For what it is worth, I have to bring into question…

What is the purpose of the warm-up?


1. It can be introduced as a marketing effort to distinguish from services and other businesses.

This is not a bad thing. Many may associate marketing with a negative connotation, and I’m here to say that I’ve seen and heard of bad training methodologies with an amazing marketing team.

I’ve seen amazing training methodologies with zero to little marketing strategies employed, and the featuring a different warm-up is simply another way to distinguish between competitors.

It simply is what it is.

Opening Windows of Adaptation

2. Introduce a window of physiological opportunity to help introduce further physiological training effects.

Now this is where I get excited. I’ve used various technologies, both real pieces of tech (OmegaWave, HRV tech) and cheap tech (tracking heart rate with first two digits on the side of the wrist, plus sleep tracking, plus checking grip strength).

The purpose of these technology items is to track physiological readiness (Am I ready to train a specific quality today?). Now, the warm-up can alter, change, or perhaps if done incorrectly, degrade those qualities of readiness.

Would someone like Allen Iverson do better or worse without doing foam rolling, hip flexor stretches, etc.? Or does he just want to go and practice?

The 4 Components of a Warm-Up

Separating myself from the marketing aspect of how a warm-up can vary from trainer to trainer, and philosophy to philosophy, I believe that there are real physiological qualities that can be enhanced, ignored, or maintained as far as a warm-up is involved.

This leads to the next question of, “what are the components of a warm-up?”

One of my mentors from afar, Charlie Weingroff, succinctly put these items into separate categories, and I believe even he mentioned he had borrowed these themes from Mark Verstegen. And I decided to make an awesome image of these in a more digestible format, based off of what he had discussed in this article: Warm-Up and Motor Concepts


Increase Tissue Temperature

There is so much benefit towards improving both the superficial and deep core temperature. Likewise, there is a lot of literature towards identification of how tissue temperature can influence O2 consumption, expenditure, nervous system conduction, blood flow dilation towards the working muscle groups.

Read: Warm-Up: Potential Mechanisms and the Effects of Passive Warm-Up on Exercise Performance

Priming Active Mobility

This is one concept that will need a better requisite of contemporary literature, namely identification of regional interdependence, the concept of passive versus active mobility, along with understanding a scope of practice that many trainers may not adhere towards when providing neurological changes to clients and athletes.


I still believe in the Joint by Joint Approach (JBJA).

Many of my colleagues may feel as if they have moved on for whatever reason. I’d like to argue that while the JBJA may seem like a black and white approach (for a lack of better phrasing), it is in fact simply a guideline that will allow better clinical decisions to be made. In fact, the JBJA still adheres to the qualitative effects of end feel, neurological tone, regional interdependence, and how gait works.

If the ankle does not dorsiflex as you push off, you will get a collapse of the medial arch and overpronation may occur. This speaks to a possible limitation at the talocrural joint, neurological tone that may prevent movement from the ankle-on-up towards the hip, and can even limit trunk rotation.

3 Way Ankle Mobility
Prepare your joints at multiple angles!

If you do have appropriate ankle dorsiflexion in a passive versus active manner, but you cannot control your given range of motion in an active manner, then you will need to do something in order to provide a motoric strategy that displays a greater control over that range of motion.

Total Hip ROM

If my active hip range of motion is [x], and my passive range of motion is greater than [x], well then I may have a lack of ability to control this range of motion.

Seek a method that will activate, and thus prime, your mobility.

Prep Central Nervous System

This is the portion of a warm-up that can be identified with these pieces of equipment/methods:

  • [Low-Level] Plyometrics (Skips, Marches, Hops, Bounds)
  • Medicine Ball Circuits
  • Kettlebell Circuits (Swings, Snatches, High Pulls)
  • Technical Work with Olympic Lifting
  • Jump Rope
  • Open Loop Drills (Reaction Drills)
  • Plyometric Push Ups

Action Plan

Do these if you are attempting to improve upon force production within your training session.

On that train of thought, you can improve upon this thought by categorizing these items into upper and lower CNS prep.

Lower Body CNS Prep

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Jump Rope
  • Open Loop Drills (Reaction Drills)
  • Olympic Lifts (Squat Cleans, Hang Cleans, Snatches)

Upper Body CNS Prep

  • Olympic Lifts (Snatches, High Pulls)
  • Medicine Ball Circuits (Stomps, Slams, Scoops, Shotputs)
  • Plyometric Push Ups
  • Empty Barbell Throws (Smith Machine)

If you want to move weight, move it fast. So, simply, train fast.

[Specific] Movement Rehearsal


Rehearsal of specific movements is something that has been within my wheelhouse for years on end. When you’re getting ready to dance, you simply just start dancing (toprocking), or grooving to get your body warm.

If you identify with numbers 1 through 3, but don’t practice this last bulletpoint, well then I have to ask, “what you are doing?”

If you go straight to movement rehearsal, are you performing your warm-up incorrectly? I’d have to argue no, because you are still improving blood flow by performing low level movements, but may miss the boat when it comes to CNS activation, or priming the active mobility of a given joint.

Action Plan

If you have time, perform 1 through 3 in order to open certain windows of adaptation towards whatever physiological effect you are attempting to improve upon.

Rehearsing specific movements is important because, well, you need to do those prescribed movements later on at a higher velocity, intensity, or with more precision (technically speaking) in order to elicit whatever physiological goals you are attempting to maintain/improve upon.

Warming Up Prior to Competitions

Let’s go back 10, maybe even just 5 years ago.

Let’s visit a powerlifting meet.

  1. Do people have foam rollers? Only a few.
  2. Are people performing stretches and mobility drills? Only a few.
  3. Are people wearing hoodies, sweats, etc in order to “stay warm?” Many, so yes.
  4. Are people getting under an empty barbell for reps? Yes.

Okay, let’s visit a powerlifting meet nowadays.

  1. Do people have foam rollers? Almost everyone.
  2. Are people performing stretches and mobility drills? Almost everyone.
  3. Are people wearing hoodies, sweats, etc in order to “stay warm?” Many, so yes.
  4. Are people getting under an empty barbell for reps? Yes.

The reasoning for these items being introduced to powerlifting meets now involves understanding further education, the advent of information being introduced within the internet, and simply smart training.

However, let’s visit something I’m more familiar with, such as a [bboy] jam.

  1. Do people have foam rollers? Rarely.
  2. Are people performing stretches and mobility drills? Yes.
  3. Are people wearing hoodies, sweats, etc in order to “stay warm?” Many, so yes.
  4. Are people dancing? Yes. 

This is not to point out that foam rollers are necessary.

Rather, sometimes the acute preparation that the mentality of bringing a foam roller with you may be an erroneous decision in the presence of mentally preparing to compete.

If a tight muscle group is presenting difficulty, it should have been taken care of prior to competition, for example. Dependence on a foam roller means something else in the training process needs to be addressed.

Does this also point out a lack of education on what an appropriate warm-up can elicit to help open up various windows of movement qualities? As my Minnesota-minded interns at CSP would say, “you betcha.”

So… What Have You Learned So Far?

These are thoughts that have been in my head, but better worded through various linguistics and technical language that Charlie has allowed for me to explain.

I’ve always been a fan of performing mobility drills, and then quickly jumping into a specific movement (such as toprocking, and practicing footwork to help amp up the nervous system and increase blood flow).

The introduction of foam rolling allows some windows to be opened up, but only if this lack of mobility was not even critical mass to begin with, as I believe foam rolling is simply one other way to improve upon a neurological awareness of whether a given musculature is tight or not.

In fact, I’ve personally been introducing open loop drills such as throwing a tennis ball and reactively catching with both hands (left hand is a little more difficult), sprinting drills, and medicine ball circuits without foam rolling or movement preparation drills and I’m not noticing any difference in my movement quality.

You can always do whatever you want to do.

I’m simply looking for the most efficacious method towards achieving a goal.

As always,

Keep it funky.