Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend Mike Mahler’s Aggressive Strength Kettlebell Training Workshop CLICK hosted at Crossfit Long Island City CLICK. I had followed Mike Mahler’s work for years via DVDs, books, and YouTube and was excited to receive instruction face to face.
During the workshop Mike covered the swing, clean, overhead press, side press, bent press, bent over row, snatch, and Turkish get-up. Mike’s instruction was clear and methodical. For the more complex movements such as the clean, snatch, and Turkish get-up Mike broke the movement down into steps with one building upon another. This building-block approach worked well and no one felt overwhelmed. Mike kept the repetitions low (between two and ten depending upon the movement) which enabled all present to learn the movement without causing extreme fatigue.
In addition to learning the kettlebell Mike demonstrated the Dragon Flag movement to build a strong core. Several of us attempted the movement. I was able to complete one repetition. However, I was seeing stars at the end of it due to holding my breath. The total body tension required to execute a Dragon Flag is simply amazing. I shall add them to my repertoire sparingly.
Mike also spoke for 45 minutes or so about hormone optimization. This led to a question and answer period that covered meal planning, quality of sleep, the value of meditation, restoration, and the timing of workouts. I found this to be extremely valuable as I must work out in the evening and sometimes have trouble going to sleep after. Mike provided several suggestions that I will try out.
At the beginning, after the hormone optimization lecture, and at the end of the workshop Mike ran us through his joint mobility routine CLICK. This was extremely helpful. It readied us for work at the beginning, got our bodies stretched out following the hormone optimization lecture, and ensured I was limber enough after the workshop to execute a five and a half hour commute home. I think many of us, myself included, let our ego be the boss and put too much stock in lifting heavy things to the detriment of joint mobility and restoration. Thanks to Mike’s expert instruction I now know better. I added the link above as an icon on my smart phone and plan to do the routine each morning and following each workout.
Overall the workshop was an extremely positive experience. I learned a lot from Mike and would love to attend a future workshop whenever he offers one. I cannot emphasize enough the value of in-person instruction. Many learn kettlebells from books, DVDs, and “Youtube University” as Mike says. Though these mediums are valuable they do not replace in-person instruction. Mike was able to correct several deficiencies in my technique, show me movements that I did not want to attempt without proper instruction, and illustrate the value of other movements that I had previously dismissed.
One of the workshop attendees was Mixed Martial Arts fighter Diego Lopez. Diego hosts the Walking Alone Podcast CLICK and can be followed on Twitter: @diegolowpez I introduced myself having listened to his podcast and we spoke about kettlebells, fighting, and teaching ground fighting to young children as this is something I plan to do when my daughter is old enough. Diego is a class act and I plan to follow his endeavors in the future.
The Crossfit Long Island City facility was very nice and met all of our needs. There were a variety of kettlebells available which enabled us to use higher weights with the movements we were confident in such as the overhead press and then lighten up for movements that may have been new to us such as the bent press. There were bathrooms and showers available which was nice for those of us traveling home immediately following the seminar.
I stayed at Z-Hotel CLICK which is right around the corner from Crossfit Long Island City. If I could describe Z-Hotel in one word it would be trendy. The hotel room was clean, well laid out, and the bed was comfortable. My hotel room had a beautiful view of the New York City skyline. On the roof Z-Hotel has a bar that is open seasonally. They also do yoga on the roof in the morning dependent upon the weather. The Z-Hotel restaurant serves a variety of food and the environment is quite relaxing. If I were to return to the area I would not hesitate to stay at Z-Hotel.