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My “Kettlebell” Rude Awakening

by Coach Chris Wilson of Team Critical Bench

The weekend before my big debut with Team Critical Bench started with a 3 Day Workshop in Tallahassee Florida and about 30 hours of kettlebell exercise.A few months prior to this amazing weekend the Founder of Critical Bench who is my good friend Mike Westerdal reached out to me with an opportunity.

We had already been discussing the possibility of me joining the business but at the time he was searching for a training partner.

He wasn’t looking for a spotter or motivator…he was looking for a commitment from a hard working friend.

Mike had recently been rewarded with the chance to train with kettlebell’s. And not with Joe Schmoe either. With the most prestigious organization in the world for Russian Kettlebell Training…Dragondoor.

He’s like, “Hey, do you know much about kettlebells?” I said, “a little bit, stuff like swings and squats I guess.”

He proceeds to tell me a little bit more about this awesome chance to learn from the best in the business and offered me the opportunity to join him. Knowing that I had a real chance at joining Critical Bench in the near future, I felt almost an obligation to say YES to Mike.

So the date was circled on the calendar and I felt great about it, until…I drove up to where Mike had been training for the past few weeks with an RKC Instructor and I had a…….


I meet this really nice, reserved fellow named Mike Wille as well. We make friendly conversation during warm ups and then we start doing some basic kettlebell exercises.

Fast forward about 5 minutes…

I’m already dying and scared about what’s coming next!  Meanwhile, Mike the trainer is tossing these things around like they’re 5 lbs AND I outweigh him by at least 50 lbs! Talk about feeling wimpy.

Mike Westerdal & Mike Wille, RKC 

I barely get through the hour long workout and I have to drive back to my old work (almost two hours by the way…ughh). Let me tell you, I’ve been training with weights for years and just one hour of doing strict kettlebell movements left me beaten, battered and extremely humbled.

I was so nervous about not only the next training session with “Mr. Nice Guy” Mike the trainer but I was seriously considering bailing out on that RKC Workshop thing at the end of April.  Well, I didn’t quit just yet…I wanted to stay the course for my friend and see if there was any chance that I could improve my skills with that darn 24 kilogram weight. I’m usually pretty confident when it comes to strength movements and being explosive.

But not doing stuff like deadlifts, power cleans, clean and jerk, and push presses for a while will drastically destroy your chances of being truly explosive with weights. I practically had to reteach myself  to be explosive and move with real power through my hips.

By the fourth session with Mike the trainer I had a smidge of confidence in myself. Enough to remain committed to my friend and this upcoming weekend workshop.

Russian Kettlebell Certification “RKC” WEEKEND

Mike and I make the drive to northern Florida from the Tampa Bay area in good time. We decide to eat some burgers (with some reservations of course) the Thursday night before the workshop started.Little did we know, we could have eaten 5,000 calories if we wanted to and still lost weight over the weekend.

By Friday evening (after 10 hours of straight exercise), Mike and I were so sore, so exhausted that we looked at each other at dinner and thought, “how in the world are we gonna be able to do that again on Saturday AND Sunday???”

Well, Saturday came and went ending with the kettlebell Snatch Test, an RKC special. After moving around all day long with kettlebells varying in weight from 16 kg to 32 kg, we were asked to do 100 reps of kettlebell snatches in 5 minutes or less….it still scares me to think about.

I was toasted. I failed to get 100 snatches. My hands were destroyed with open sores and I fumbled my way to 67 reps.   Mike did much better and got to 88 reps. His powerlifting background really helped his efforts. For the rest of my life, I will remember those numbers!

Sunday was more of the same with even more testing at the end along with the final workout called the Graduate Workout….let me just say, imagine the worst 20 minutes of your life and multiply it by 5.

Easily, one of the most grueling exercise routines I’ve ever participated in. A non-stop combination of kettlebell swings, cleans, presses and squats….I mean non-stop…you never put the weight down!

Mike and I received certificates of attendance and we passed on several of the skills but both of us had to retest the Snatch Test and we had 90 days to do it following the workshop.  Good old Mike was the first one to nail it and a few weeks later (after 3 failed attempts) I reached 100 reps with the 24 kg kettlebell in 5 minutes and became an RKC certified instructor too.

Here is a cool video of me passing my snatch test finally.  This was months after the RKC but it is an example of what perseverance and dedication can do when achieving your goals.


And of course, we can’t forget the man himself, Coach Mike passing his snatch test!


Easily, one of the greatest and most challenging  accomplishments of our life.


Get Ripped in 8-Minutes or Less with Kettlebell Finishers…


How Many Days Per Week To Train A Muscle?

August 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Recent Posts, Training

I”m glad to be back home even if it’s so hot it feels like I”m walking through pudding when I go outside.

I just returned from a trip to CT to visit the parents while attending a wedding in MA for my wife’s cousin Cassie.

Anytime I meet new people and I tell them I run an Internet Business related to building muscle the questions always start pouring in.

One guy at my table said he only trains each body part once per week. Another guy says he makes better gains training each body part twice a week. They asked who was right and I’m going to have to agree with my buddy Jason Ferruggia.

jay4If you don’t know Jason he’s the Chief Training Advisor for Men’s Fitness and he runs a hardcore gym in Jersey. He’s one of the top strength & conditioning guys in the country so when he takes the time to explain something, I listen.

I told the guys at the table I’d write a blog post about their question and I couldn’t think of a better person to have do a guest post than Jason. Here’s what he said when I asked him who was right…….

“I believe the two keys to effective training are overload and frequency. He who makes the greatest strength gains (in a hypertrophy rep range) over a given time period, while training the muscle as frequently as possible, will get the greatest size gains. The key is to do just enough to stimulate a hypertrophy response then get out and recover and get back to the gym as soon as possible. As long as you keep the volume low, the frequency can remain high and you can make consistent strength gains. As long as the weights are going up you know you are not over trained.

Like Lee Haney said, “stimulate, don’t annihilate.” No matter how many sets you do, the majority of people will not require a full seven days of recovery between body parts. But when you do a ton of sets you create the need for that amount of time between workouts because each workout would take three hours if you hit more than one or two muscle groups on a typical high volume bodybuilding program. That may be fine if you are inhumanly strong and 260 pounds of rock hard muscle. But for the average guy, he is going to detrain and actually start to lose size. It’s two steps forward, two steps back. With lower volume and higher frequency you can actually take one smaller step forward, but remain there with no steps back. This is the optimal plan for the average, drug free trainee.”

Another question people ask me a lot is what sites I like to visit and who I like to read up on. Well Jay’s site is right up my alley. I like his no BS attitude and he doesn’t sugar coat anything.

He’s the author of a best selling program called Muscle Gaining Secrets. It’s a great mass building program and totally explains why 95% of all hardgainers are dead wrong in how they train for muscle growth.

Jason is actually running a promo right now. He’s giving away three extra bonus items for anyone that buys his MGS program in the next 3-days.


Limited-Time Bonus #1: Renegade Cardio: Intervals, steady state, fasted, fed, high intensity, low intensity… with all the conflicting information and confusion it’s no wonder most people will never see their abs no matter how hard they try. They’re doing it all wrong! But I finally set the record straight and allow you to steal my closely guarded secret cardio workouts, usually only reserved for my highest paying clients. Get ready to get shredded!

Limited-Time Bonus #2: MGS Advanced Mass Building Guide: After you’ve completed the main program and packed on your first 20-30 pounds of ripped muscle you’ll be ready to move on to the advanced level. But be warned, this workout is so powerful that you absolutely must complete the basic program first in order to prepare your body for the extreme metamorphosis it’s about to experience!

Limited-Time Bonus #3: Armed & Dangerous: Let’s face it, everybody wants and envies a pair of big, muscular, sleeve stretching arms. A pair of pipe cleaners dangling in a loose t-shirt is a terrible look and one that will get you no respect from the guys or the girls. With this arm specialization workout you will add 2 inches of awe inspiring, rock solid muscle to your arms in just 8 short weeks!

You should go over to Jay’s site and find out more about his Muscle Gaining Secrets program while he’s offering these cool Bonus items.


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