This past weekend I attended the Evolution Kettlebell Groundwork (EKG) 2 Day Intensive Workshop in Santa Clarita at the College of the Canyons (home to Coach Dos). EKG takes an unconventional approach to bodyweight and kettlebell training.
It utilizes foundational bodyweight drills and exercises that are outside of our standard squat, hinge, push, pull etc arsenal in a program that emphasizes integrated joint mobility, deceleration and rotational strength through progressions that deal with complexity, neurological and metabolic stimuli not simply adding weight to the kettlebell or movement.
For those of you that are familiar with me, it is no surprise that something of this nature was interesting to me. It is also what drew me into the DVRT and FMS communities.
The workshop was more than I could have asked for in terms of both learning the skills as an end-user as well as a professional to incorporate into programs and the experience overall. The EKG team (headed by John Wolf) are a great group of men and teachers.
Here are a couple lessons I got from the weekend…
True Multi-Planar Movement
When we look at movement and how the average person exercises overall, it is for the most part in the sagittal (front to back) plane, going either up/down or forward/backward. Utilizing multiple planes of movement is becoming more and more common with the “functional” revolution but we still tend to see things done in one plane, just no longer the sagittal plane.
A good example is something like the lateral lunge. It is great that it is in the frontal plane and moving side to side but it is still dominantly one plane of movement. This is where DVRT and EKG are similar in terms of exercises in more than one plane. They truly utilize multi-planar movement. Here is an example of John Wolf demonstrating the Tripod Reach.
He is moving through two planes while stabilizing in all three. Utilizing true multi-planar movement not only allows for true functional movement but it also produces a huge training effect…
I’ll preface this with saying I certainly know that soreness is not an indicator of a good workout and should certainly not be the goal of your workout. Im one of the fitness professionals who actually would prefer I didn’t even get sore though it does happen every now and then. Not the type that loves hobbling around with soreness like a badge of honor.
Throughout the two day workshop, I did not use anything heavier than 8kg kettlebells and more often than not, only used one of them, only using doubles on a couple exercises to see the difference. And even with only using bodyweight and 8kgs of resistance, I was beat. Full on whooped. Sunday when I woke up after the Saturday training and learning, it was probably one of the sorest my hips and glutes had ever been.
It’s interesting to note, the industry leans towards heavier, harder and more but you can get this massive training effect, not only as a good amount of soreness but also in feeling like you got your ass kicked overall all while feeling and moving better in the process.
The Shinbox, Shinbox Extension and Loaded Decompression
One of the core aspects of the EKG system is loaded decompression, or a combination of decompression (finding range of motion) and obviously, load. We usually think of decompression as only a bodyweight modality but the theory of loaded decompression goes a bit further. One example of it is the Shinbox and Shinbox (to) Extension.
It was quickly become one of my new favorite exercises both for its versatility in hip mobility, stability and strength in multiple planes but also for its potential to transition into other movements such as the Shinbox Get Up and Lunge variations, not to mention a killer glute exercise. It is a good example of loaded decompression as it puts you in a significant range of motion and builds strength in it as well as emphasizes hip internal rotation which a lot of people have trouble with it. I will definitely be playing around with the Shinbox and its variations with my and clients training programs.
Those were my main takeaways and lessons from a great workshop. If you want to learn more about EKG you can check them out HERE or on Facebook. It is a great system and an even greater group of men. Be sure to check them out and let me know what you think.