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You Bring About What You Think About

Triathlete Jeremy Devich On Beach

In 2008 I was presented with my first high level triathlete, Jeremy Devich. Jeremy is a machine. I have seen a lot of athletes with a "tank", but not many have ever been as impressive as this guy. He’s a 6’3", 190lb slab of muscle. When Jeremy and I trained together, he routinely warmed up with 3 sets of 10 get-ups (each side) with a 24kg kettlebell. Up and down, up and down, with flawless technique all while moving at a blistering clip. The most impressive thing about Jeremy was that he could finish these warm ups and pop up off the ground with a heart rate under 100bpm.

I was introduced to him by a mutual friend who thought Jeremy would find benefit from working with me. We looked at every aspect of his game and realized that if he even had a weak link, it was when he was on his bike. So, if he could swim like a fish and run like a deer, why was he gassing out on his bike during races? What was an RKC Instructor to do?
Triathlete Jeremy Devich Cycling

I knew that we were going to swing. But I had to find a way to alter his swing so he could really reap the training benefits for his time on the bike. Being a HardStyle kettlebell fundamentalist, I wasn’t prepared to re-invent the swing, but I had to find a way to emphasize quadriceps activation. I needed to smoke his thighs without forcing him to just spend more time on his bike.

When I was in medical school, my Sifu had our class practice a TON of intention training. Medical Qigong is all about energy and more importantly, moving energy to very specific places. In the beginning, this wasn’t very easy. We trained and trained and trained to lock our focus so that we could manipulate the energy at will. One of the mantras that we lived by was "You bring about what you think about".

I needed Jeremy to radically change his emphasis to his quadriceps without altering the mechanics of his kettlebell swing. We invented the "Quad Swing". To the naked eye, it just looked like a regular swing. Anyone in the RKC family could walk into our training space and see a very technical, RKC-approved swing. But, Jeremy was experiencing something very different. See, the "Quad Swing" is a standard RKC swing, but the athlete is concentrating on his/her thighs. For every rep of every swing, the athlete is only thinking about their quads—maximal contraction of the quads on every rep. What Jeremy would tell you—along with any other athlete I’ve used this technique with—is his legs would be cooked. In a very short time, we were able to give him a "deeper tank" to draw from when he was on his bike. He was able to shed tons of time from his rides by simply adding the "Quad Swing" to his training.
Triathlete Jeremy Devich Post Swim

Wait, there’s more! Did you know there’s also an "Ab Swing"? Are you getting ready for bathing suit season or are you prepping for a max deadlift and want to add layers of abdominal strength to stabilize your spine for that big pull? A month of swings while focusing on your midsection as you lock at the top will do the trick.

How about buns of steel? "Glute Swings" will fortify that backside faster than all the squats, glute bridges and deadlifts in the world.

What if you have an athlete with very poor scapular control? You could add "Scap Swings" to their training. When the athlete really squeezes and twists hard on the kettlebell handle while driving their concentration to pack their scapulae down (and in) at the top, they will quickly begin to create the neurological activation they need.
Triathlete Jeremy Devich Running
We aren’t reinventing the swing or altering the kettlebell techniques. But, what we are forcing our clients to be very present during their training. The mind is a very powerful tool in our physical training. If someone has a lagging body part, we don’t need to create new exercises for them, we need them to focus their concentration on the area of concern while performing our gold standard exercise. I challenge all of you to get up from your computer right now and give me 3 sets of 10 of each kind of swing we discussed in this article: "Quad Swings", "Ab Swings", "Glute Swings" and "Scap Swings". You’ll be amazed.

Dr. Chris Holder Qigong Senior RKCDr. Christopher R. Holder DP, DMQ (China), Senior RKC, CrossFit Level 1, CSCS can be contacted by email at (mention RKC in the email subject so your email isn't accidentally deleted).