Dennis “The Menace” James hosted another roundtable edition of The Menace Podcast with Milos Sarcev, Chris Cormier, and special guest Troy Alves. However, one of the biggest subjects of discussion was regarding James himself, who was recording from Dubai. That’s because he was training the reigning two-time Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay as he prepares to go for the three-peat this December in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I’m pushing him hard, and he’s willing to get pushed,” James said of the 16th Mr. Olympia. James also has had Big Ramy go through posing sessions since he arrived in Dubai, and even he was impressed with what the champion presented – even with more than three months to go before the contest.
“Videos and pictures don’t do him justice. Even though it looks impressive in pictures and on video, in real life, it’s next level.” Sarcev also expressed praise for the way Elssbiay looks.
“He looks like he is six weeks out,” the coach and retired competitor expressed. “
One of the reasons that James feels that the champ is ahead of schedule is that he went to work right after he won the Olympia in Orlando, Florida last year.
“He started training basically the day after the Olympia,” James shared. “He kept training. He had days here and there where he had some issues going on, but all in all, he’s been training the whole time.”
Elssbiay will be looking to become the ninth man to win at least three Mr. Olympia titles. To do so, he has to hold off 2019 champion Brandon Curry as well as top contenders such as Hadi Choopan, Hunter Labrada, and Nick Walker.
Other topics of discussion what Alves’ updates on his life, a look back at his bodybuilding career, karate, and a lot more. Catch all episodes of TMP over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. New episodes drop every Sunday at 3 PM Eastern time. You can follow @themenacepodcast and @bigdjames as well.
No athlete becomes a champion without the support of friends, family, or a positive mentor that inspires them to be their very best. In any sport, from football to bodybuilding, or baseball to pro wrestling, success requires a positive mindset that isn’t dragged down by the negativity and careless limitations that others may place on you. On Thursday, WWE superstars Bianca Belair, and the tag team known as “The Street Profits” (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) took time out from training for their huge “Clash at the Castle” live event in Cardiff, to bring some of this positive messaging to the Boys and Girls Club of Wales. M&F were on hand to hear how important it is to support young athletes with professional mentoring and make sure that local authorities invest adequately in sports, empowering them to reach their full potential.
Since 2011, WWE’s “Be a STAR” rallies and programs have reached more than 500,000 children across the world, visiting hubs such as the Boys and Girls Club here in Cardiff Wales; a desperately needed charity that has been running since the 1920s, and seeks to promote sports and physical activity through vital youth schemes. The reality is that you just never know when a young person may be inspired to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo, LeBron James, or John Cena, so reaching and supporting young athletes everywhere is a must. Unfortunately, however, a lack of government funding, the pandemic, and other social and cultural issues threaten to derail a young persons’ sporting career even before it gets off the blocks. It’s a subject that WWE Raw Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair feels strongly about.
“Encouraging kids to get into sports is everything to me,” says the former gymnast and track star, turned pro wrestler. “Playing sports gives you such a great skillset for life, whether you are doing professional sports or not. You’ll develop great leadership skills and [sports] teaches you about hard work.” Far from being born or created in a lab, even the elite athletes that you see on TV needed strong mentors to guide them toward success.
“On a personal level, my high school track coach always instilled in me, to just keep going,” says Montez Ford. “He coached me to be determined, and always try to outdo myself. He taught me about putting zero error into your training. He taught me about mindset, because in order to perform at a high level, your mind has to be clear.” Of course, sticking with sports past childhood could be of huge benefit to mental health in general, but studies suggest that most kids give up playing sports in a regular capacity by the time they hit 11 years of age. It’s a situation that threatens to thwart our ability to produce the next great athletic icons. So, by visiting young people as WWE travels from town to town, meeting with local governments and getting kids fired up about being active, there’s a chance that the next sporting star may be listening.
“I played football pretty much my whole life,” says Angelo Dawkins. “I didn’t start wrestling until my junior year of high school. I have to give credit to my coach because without him, I probably would not be here having this conversation. If I didn’t step onto a wrestling mat in high school, then I’m not in the position that I am in now.” Sticking with sports has been a defining factor for Dawkins, who is now a multiple time Tag Team Champion along with Ford.
These WWE wrestlers understand the reward that comes from hanging in there and enjoying the thrill of being competitive. “I grew up wanting to be an Olympic gymnast or track athlete, and I’m neither of those, but because I was in sports, it helped me get through college, it helped me get through early adulthood and has really contributed to my success here in WWE,” adds Belair, one of the companies most popular stars. She says that she gets a lot of personal satisfaction from encouraging kids to keep pushing themselves in order to reach their potential.
The “Be a STAR” rallies are not the only initiative that WWE runs to improve peoples’ chances of making sport pay. The professional wrestling juggernaut recently unveiled its “Next in Line” program, designed to offer a way for athletes to transition from other disciplines to the WWE ring. Recent signings have included University of Tennessee track and field athlete Chandler Hayden and most famously; the 2021 Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Gable Stevenson. These transitioning sports stars are now on the path to becoming the next big things in WWE.
If just one of the young athletes in attendance in Cardiff hears the words of Bianca Belair, Montez Ford, and Angelo Dawkins, then who’s to say that they won’t one day find themselves competing on a future WrestleMania or international stadium show like the one planned this weekend in Cardiff?
WWE “Clash at the Castle” takes place this Saturday, Sept. 3, live from Principality Stadium. Tickets are available via Ticketmaster. Watch live via Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everywhere else.
The Bodybuilding Journey gets to know athletes of the IFBB and the struggles they overcame to get to the coveted Olympia stage! Lee Labrada came to the United States from Cuba at a young age. After growing up as a poor immigrant, Lee implemented the work ethic and deep family values he learned from his father to guide him to success, not only in bodybuilding but also as a businessman. Take a look at his incredible journey brought to you by FitDoc Productions!
Carrying around heavy weights appears at face value to be of no value except for strengthening your grip. But when you perform a movement like the barbell overhead carry exercise and pick up the weights and walk around, you’ll realize there’s so much more to carries than meets the eye.
Your shoulders and lungs burn with every step and any deviations while you walk will be felt twofold. Plus, the voices inside your head will be telling you to quit because of the intense discomfort you’re feeling. Then you’ll realize there’s much more to carries than meets the eye. But with a simple tweak, you can take your carry game to a whole new level. What is it? It’s carrying a barbell overhead.
Here we’ll explain what overhead carries are, the benefits of overhead barbell carry, how to perform an overhead carry, programming suggestions, and overhead carry variations if the barbell overhead carry isn’t for you.
What is the Barbell Overhead Carry
There’s no doubt regular carries (by your side, rack, suitcase, or goblet) are difficult. But walking with a barbell overhead takes this to another level because of the increased leverage. The further away the weight is from your working muscles, in this case, your legs, the harder it is to carry. Carrying a barbell overhead will put your whole body under tension and every step is a test of your single leg balance. This means starting on the lighter side with overhead carries, somewhere between 60-80% of your barbell overhead press 1RM works best.
How To Do A Barbell Overhead Carry
You have two options to get the barbell in the overhead position. First, and the most preferable option is pressing it overhead from the squat rack. The second is a clean and press from the floor. A wider than shoulder-width grip works well here.
Once the barbell is pressed overhead, make sure your wrists are in neutral, elbows are locked out, and your biceps are even or behind your ears.
Take small slow steps forward paying attention to your gait and the position of the barbell. Walk 20 to 40 yards.
Return the barbell to the squat rack or floor carefully.
The overhead barbell carry is a total body exercise because of the overhead position and its dynamic nature. Here are the major muscles trained by the overhead barbell carry.
All three deltoids
Anterior and posterior core
Barbell Overhead Carry Benefits
When overhead carries are performed with good form, they’ll improve your
Better Posture: Anything less than good posture when performing overhead carries is a sure-fire way to lose balance and get hurt. Carrying weights overhead reinforces good posture and strengthens the muscles needed for better posture.
Encourages Proper Breathing Patterns: Chest breathing is great when you need to breathe quickly when being chased by a wild animal. But most of your breathing needs to come from your diaphragm. When doing the overhead carry it’s difficult to be a chest breather when you’re carrying heavy weights overhead and therefore encourages better breathing patterns.
Shoulder Stability: Your rotator cuffs are working like crazy to keep your shoulders in your sockets and all three deltoids’ muscles are on fire to maintain the barbell in the overhead position. Carrying weights overhead improves your shoulder stability because of the increased time under tension for the entire shoulder girdle.
Better Balance: Every step with the barbell overhead is a single-leg stance. Any loss of balance will be magnified here so be careful. The last thing you want is to end up on a workout fail video.
Conditioning and Mental Toughness: All loaded carries and particularly the overhead carry will teach you to deal with discomfort and to walk with a load. This has a fantastic carryover in and out of the gym.
How To Add It To Your Routine
There are a couple of ways to program the overhead barbell carry. The first option is part of your strength programming, or the second option is part of your core routine before hitting the weights. Either one you choose, perform it early because this is a physically taxing exercise that requires your full attention.
Here are a couple of examples.
1A. Bench Press Variation
1B. Barbell Overhead Carry – 40 yards
1A. Barbell Overhead Carry- 40 yards
1B. Stability Ball Plank – 30 seconds
1C. Half Kneeling Pallof Press- 12 reps each side.
Weight, Set, and Rep Suggestions
Below are guidelines on how to program the barbell overhead carry for strength and hypertrophy. These are only guidelines and can be changed to fit your personal goals.
Hypertrophy: Time under tension and volume is the key to gaining muscle with any exercise including the overhead carry. Performing three to four sets, walking 40+ yards using 60-80% of your 1RM overhead press is a good starting point.
Strength: Increasing the weight and reducing your walking distance will increase your strength in the overhead position. 3 sets walking 20 yards using 80-90% of your 1RM overhead press will challenge you.
Barbell Overhead Carry Variations
Barbell overhead carries are an advanced variation and are not for everybody, especially for those who have shoulder mobility issues or suffer from shoulder pain. In these cases, incorporating an overhead carry variation can provide the same types of benefits as a barbell carry. in your routine is key. Here are three overhead variations to add spice to your carry game.
When I got the opportunity to interview the two-time reigning Ms Olympia, one of the initial things we got out of the way is how she’s put together (physically). I know there are pics all over the web, but in bodybuilding, seasons bring fluidity to conditioning.
I wanted to see what I was dealing with today. Well, at 5’6″ and just north of 200 pounds (off season), all I can say is (in my best James Brown voice), good god, that lady is packing! So, me being me, there’s this initial bit of reticence, especially because that’s bodybuilder I-can-still-see-abs 204, and I don’t know this lady from Eve. Which begs to consider how I’m going to position some — not all — questions that might tread in a gray area.
That’s because I’m interviewing a lady here named Andrea Shaw. Not Ms Olympia. She just happens to be Ms Olympia right now. But that’s what she is, not who she is. Surely there’s more to her than that. And there is. But, like I said, I don’t know her. Some people (especially these days) get a bit guarded and sensitive when it comes to matters that people only think about and don’t much talk about, and certainly don’t ask about. So, yeah, this not going to be about reps and sets and macronutrients and all the other crap littering social media. I’m focusing on the actual person under the muscle. So, I gotta get personal.
Once I got done telling Andrea the long version of all that, I was sitting there at my desk with my shoulders hunched up, bracing myself for one of the typical responses I’ve gotten over the years when I’m posed with an in-depth interview of someone of particular importance, whom I don’t know personally. In my experience, some — not all — bodybuilders take themselves way too seriously and don’t like to open up their private lives (don’t think for a minute that a social media post is a glimpse into anyones actual personal private life, or any manner of how and what they think and believe). On top of that, it’s sad to say, too many of them have the personality of the middle of a donut. Getting anything raw and interesting out of them is like pulling teeth out of a sleeping bull.
Twelve syllables into her fist sentence, my shoulders retracted back to normal and a huge smile spread across my face. Absolutely immediately I could tell this girl is cool. First thing she said was something to the effect of, and I’m paraphrasing here, “so, what’s your background? What gives you the cred to be occupying this lofty position and interviewing the likes of me?” It wasn’t the question so much as it was the delivery — a jovial and assertive blend of sass and elegance.
Ahh, youth. Considering my first article was published a year before she was born, I had a little catching her up to do. I assured her though that I’m no stranger to the realm. And, I think girls with muscles are the coolest thing on earth.
But, the preference is a strong drink that few can take neat. Over the years, the drink has gotten stronger and the appetite for it has dwindled. In fact, during the era when Cory Everson occupied the office, the Ms. Olympia contest was held as a stand alone event that sold out the Felt Forum in NY’s Madison Square Garden. (for a little perspective if you’re not familiar with New York City’s most famous venue, selling out “the Garden” is usually reserved for world championship boxing, pro wrestling, rock concerts, basketball games and hockey. Selling out the Ms O was like topping a banana split with a pearl onion). The ensuing three decades suffered a precipitous drop however, and the lime light faded to a side show during the expo; prize money cut and recut; until the Ms Olympia was ultimately no longer held. (The same thing happened to the Arnold Classic’s Ms International.)
M&F: If it Wasn’t for Jake Wood, his vision and his resources, the Ms. O would still be dead. Why do you think that is?
AS: There’s a definite down trend. I wish there had been more interaction between the fans and the athletes. To let them know what it’s like to be a bodybuilder.
Did you always want to be a bodybuilder?
I shunned it, I didn’t want to do bodybuilding. I liked figure, but I naturally carried a lot of muscle. What I really wanted was to look like Lenda Murray.
Who could blame you? Probably one of the most beautiful women on earth.
Right? She was so feminine. The way she carried herself, her mannerisms. I didn’t want to lose that. I wanted to look like Lenda. But like I told you, I naturally carried a lot of muscle. My dad was huge!
I don’t think anyone could rightfully fault you for the job you’re doing. But it’s more than skin deep. Lenda always had a hundred-watt smile on her face. She was an infinitely approachable person. She wasn’t one of these girls always wearing their game face; no smiles, no eye contact, sour … Intimidating. It makes some people unapproachable.
Ladies have to have personalities. I’m a real person. I want to be able to open up a dialog with other ladies. We can talk to make a connection to make them interested in, not necessarily the sport, but at least wanting to know more about how their bodies work and how we can learn to control ourselves.
You make a good point. Back in the Cory era, that sold-out crowd at the Garden was mostly moms and daughters. Very different from the bulk of the fans today.
When people like you they want to follow you — it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. My purpose is not to be as jacked as possible, but rather to be a beacon for women to get interested in their health and their bodies. I realize I’m at a very high level, but that’s not what I expect from any of my sisters. I can help them though. Like the big sister…. How do you navigate? Would you rather learn how to drive from a high school driver’s ed teacher, or the reigning Formula 1 champion?
Do you think there is a sisterhood? I know guys are big on being “bros,” especially in the iron game [me included], because we’re all mutants. No one understands us except other bodybuilders. But, among women, I think the ladies have more issues. Is it prime time for a sisterhood?
Yes! We can make a deeper connection to lift each other up. Helping one of my sisters change the outside to feel better on the inside is the main thing. It’s like a spring board. Rather than changing your body be the end of the road, maybe its just beginning? Point is, sisters help each other.
So what do you say to the sister who seems to have taken it to the point — I don’t want to say “too far” — but to where terms such as “manly, “masculine,” “man face” or other descriptions that seem to decry the beauty lost in the game while hating on the player?
You should find a way to make bodybuilding beautiful and elegant for you. You have to elevate all that you are and project an air of regalness. It’s not all sweat and grunts. What is your brand of elegance? I find when I challenge ladies on that most of them bring it a notch higher. That’s uplifting.
What do you think is the most defining element of your brand of elegance? What’s that look like when you’re trying to tell someone how to do that?
It’s all in your mannerisms. Mannerisms, your hand movements, your walk, your posture, your expression — what do those things say about you without you saying a word? It’s the presentation. It’s called “elegant.”
I would have to say a bit of elegance is missing these days. Why do you think that is?
Because of male coaches who take on the roll of posing female athletes! I don’t get that. You’re not a woman! You have to walk onstage like you’re going to the prom, or a wedding, in a gown. How is a man supposed to tell you how to convey that I’m wearing an evening gown while I’m on stage in a tiny bikini flexing and posing? He cant do that. You need your feminine touch in the transitions. Male coaches don’t pay attention to guiding a female athlete to pull it out. That’s why some girls pose like dudes. Coaches are not doing their clients a good service. You have to farm that shit out. Find the best posing coach. Trust me, it plays out on stage if you’ve worked with the best.
So there’s aren’t any good male posing coaches, other than your coach [and former partner] John Simmons[laughs]?
There’s definitely one or two, but, for the most part, no. A posing coach for a woman has to do more than just teach things like take her time with her poses, make it graceful, choose the best angles that show off your physique. You can have a great physique, but if you can’t pose, forget it. Then what about your hair? Should you be wearing an up-doo? That’s more elegant if you’re wearing a gown. What about earrings? One time a girl said to me, “I thought you weren’t supposed to wear earrings at pre judging?” I said who told you that?! Sister, I’m wearing the biggest earrings, the biggest hair… I’m going up there like it’s the queen’s ball.”
So what is your relationship now? “Boyfriend? Coach? Coach with benefits?” [laughs]
[Laughing] ”Coach with former benefits. We dated for a while then decided we’re better as friends. He’s still my coach and we’re still really close.
So tell me about training at Highland Park Powerhouse.
Yes! I love that gym. I must go there especially during prep. The equipment there is like no where else. They have a vertical leg press! You know how rare that is? It is is my go to exercise. I’ve never seen some of the equipment they have anywhere else.
Is it a hardcore atmosphere?
Extremely! The atmosphere is dirty. Grungy. You go there to get work done. That’s the vibe when you’re in there.
Are you approachable in the gym?
Not during a set.mI’ll politely put them off until after I’m done training. But I’m always happy to talk to anyone afterward
What’s on your workout playlist?
Oh, man … well, my favorite song right now is Jung Youth and Sam and Tenniz Fighter, definitely some EDM (electronic dance). Some rap, you know, Tupac, DMX, Rough Riders.
Where do you live?
Just outside of Detroit.
Do you have any pets?
I don’t have time now for pets, but, when I do, I want a dog.
You don’t seem like a cat person.
Lenda has cats, you know.
How do you feel about Instagram and social media?
In general, I feel like people get too much confidence on social media. They get super courage behind a keyboard and say things they’d never say up front, in person. I call it “fat mouthing.” I just let the results speak for them selves. At that point, they’ll either go away quietly or just tell you good going.
Is it motivating?
It does motivate me. I can’t lie. I enjoy it.
What about in person, out in public. Are you OK with all that you got going on?
Sometimes not. I have to cover up when I go to the store. I hear people say negative things and I just don’t want to deal with it, But, I’m 90% happy with it.
And your love life? Are you at least 90% happy with that?
I’m not in a relationship right now.
Is it hard to be in a relationship with you?
Well, you have to understand the lifestyle. Prepping for a show isn’t easy
Do you get mean?
I don’t get mean,. but maybe a little snappy.
I imagine a man can’t let insecurity be an issue dating you.
Well, the guy has to be in shape. You have to understand the lifestyle.
I imagine you do. Which brings me to cheat meals. What’s your favorite cheat meal?
Hold on, brother! Cheat “meal”? No, it has to be a cheat day. It’s a cheat day for me.
Which, I imagine would start with breakfast?
Oh ye! Waffles. I love waffles! All kinds— light, crispy on the outside. I like them with berries, or bananas, or fruit.
And what about the heavy artillery later on? Whats the big meal?
Lamb chops. I like the Argentine restaurants.
Do you mean the places where they bring the meat to your table on a sword?
Yes! I tell them when I get there then I’m going in hard for the lamb chops. That chip is only going to be green when the lamb chops come out.
And the final act? You have to top that off with something.
With ice cream?
No ice cream.
Just plain apple pie?
It’s serious business. I had it back stage.
You carb up on apple pie?
Yup. .Walking around back stage eating it out of a big container.
So, Ms. Olympia carbs up on apple pie?
And some sweet potatoes. Rice cakes too. But not the plain ones. Yuck. I need the bougie rice cakes… cinnamon toast crunch flavor.”
Is dieting the hardest part of bodybuilding?
The hardest part in the off season is the body image. Once you see yourself in shape you’re never satisfied until you see it again.
What’s difficult about being the best bodybuilder in the world?
Making sure that mentally I stay balanced without going too deep into my head about me being the standard.” she replied. “I have to make sure I’m doing the right thing. Representing the sport well. If someone makes a rude comment…..can’t do that. I have to conduct myself on and off the stage that makes the best representation for women’s bodybuilding and the sport.
What do you think of society today?
“People have gone crazy! Covid was a horrible thing. I think we hit a note now that people are more health conscious. Today people know the word “comorbidity. People are thinking that maybe I do need to join a gym and get someone to help me. The healthier they are the better they can fight off being sick.
What’s amazing about living in America?
Our freedoms. We can be really good at something, work hard and get rewarded. God created this country to be the best on earth, because it offers an avenue to the be the best in the world. And in the process, we’re afforded rights and guidelines to keep us safe and healthy. It’s possible to president! No one does engineering like us. There’s brilliance in this country.
There’s a faction of society that disagrees with you.
Cancel all that woke s***! And there’s no privilege! When I was in college and I was studying late at night in the library, I was the only black girl there! You get out what you put in.
The youngsters have gotten soft, haven’t they?
“Could you imagine these kids going through what the kids in Europe did in World War II? Imagine them during the Blitzkrieg?! Bombs going off every night. People hiding in the subway. Could you imagine? No way! And post war? Rebuilding? Pff!
Rude awakening indeed. So, shifting gears one last time. I know we’ve been all over the place, but, what about if you were in charge? Like Dr. Seuss’ If I ran The Circus?
“Oooooh — thats a big question. I would find a way to have community involvement. You need to exemplify a heart for caring. I’d want to create a certain number of community events geared to different parts of the community – kids, for example – geared toward health, fitness, prevention. Help to get more education out to teenagers and college aged kids — if we’re going to be the best in the world we need to improve these people. If you’re going to compete then you have to give back to the community. Champions can help people to help make their lives better. Encourage people. Give them guidance. Be more socially involve with helping the community. If people like you they will follow you if you come from a genuine place.
Last question. Tell me something people generally don’t know about you and it’s surprising to them?
I’m a World War II history buff.
OK, one more question: What message would you like to impart in your send off here?
Don’t be afraid.” She replied. “Do it — take the risk. Evaluate the cost, but take the risk.
The barbell is a one-stop for all things muscle, power, and mass and has a proven track record. Strength training’s most basic tool has worked for millions of lifters since it first hit European gyms in the 1860s. Since then, they have formed a successful strength-training foundation for most lifers who have passed through the weightroom. But back in the beginning, there were only a few ways to lift them. Now there’s plenty options of barbell attachments to challenge your typical barbell routine.
Since power racks began becoming popular in the ‘70s, creative minds have been looking for other ways to utilize the barbell. First, it was shoving the barbell into a corner — beginning the era you know as landmine training.
Now, for nearly every power-building goal you may be working toward — from grip enhancement devices to Olympic lifting simulation bars — there are multiple barbell attachments.
Over the last decade, kettlebell training has become increasingly popular, making its way into bootcamps and CrossFit classes across the globe. Yet somehow, the full-body conditioning tool is often overlooked and underutilized in regular fitness routines.
As an effective strength training alternative to dumbbells and barbells, the kettlebell is a fantastic way to shape up and strengthen your body from head to toe. By its design, the dome-shaped iron weight can be used to boost strength and power development, build core strength and stability, and increase endurance. All while beating boredom and blasting plateaus.
Gawron, aka “Coach Sarah,” who is also certified with CrossFit L2, USA Weightlifting L2, and Kettlebell Athletic, is here to smash the myths surrounding kettlebell training while providing all the reasons you should be adding kettlebells to your regularly scheduled training routine.
Coach Sarah Debunks Common Kettlebell Myths
If you’re one of many gymgoers still reluctant to commit to kettlebell training for fear of injury or just uneasiness regarding the training tool’s technique and benefits, Gawron says don’t let these common kettlebell misconceptions. Knowing kettlebell truth from fiction is the first step toward making additional gains to your training.
1. A person can’t to gain strength with kettlebells
Truth: “Building strength and size can be done in many different ways, and depends on numerous factors such as genetics, diet, training program, body type,” Gawron says. Case in point – Yes, kettlebells can build strength, but the end result comes down to how you train, how/what you eat, your genetics, lifestyle (and more) that create an environment for growth (or lack thereof).
2. Kettlebells can cause back issues.
Truth: “Using kettlebells takes technique and skill development; Therefore, many people don’t use them because they think they will get hurt and end up bruised,” Gawron explains. If you are new to using kettlebells, she encourages working with a trainer and taking an online course or class that goes over the fundamentals. This will ensure proper technique and safety.
3. There is only one way to lift and use kettlebells.
Truth: Short answer: FALSE! “There are many ways, styles, and schools of kettlebell training,” Gawron says. “All will confirm and encourage the movements should be done efficiently and pain-free.” She explains.
“Some people get confused by seeing hardstyle, Kettlebell Sport, or some hybrid of the two and want to know which style is ‘correct,” she says. But since movement can take so many different forms, there is no “wrong” way to move.
The Difference Between Kettlebells Training and Dumbbells
Although both kettlebells and dumbbells do a body good, there happens to be a surprising difference between the two.
Interestingly, the design of the kettlebell allows for a fuller and greater range of motion when training. “For example, the strict press, (when using a kettlebell), you can use the full range of the shoulder joint,” Gawron says. “When using a dumbbell or barbell, because of their design, the movement is shortened.”
Unlike barbells or dumbbells, kettlebell exercises allow the body to train different planes, where movements executed with a dumbbell and barbell are typically done in just the sagittal plane), recruit stabilizer muscles more, therefore making joints stronger, and require the body to evenly generate force in order to execute movements efficiently.
“The design of the kettlebell makes it unique and different compared to conventional tools like dumbbells,” Gawron says. “A kettlebell’s center of gravity is offset from its handle—it rests several inches away, requiring the stabilizer muscles to engage more to balance the weight during a movement,” she says, giving you more bang for your buck when pumping iron.
The Benefits of Kettlebell Training
Get ready to add kettlebells to your sweat sessions as they have proven themselves to be an excellent tool for total body conditioning. “Kettlebell training is a fine balance of improving mobility, building stability through joints, increasing muscle, and developing power,” Gawron says.
The conventional and traditional movements of kettlebell training such as the swing, clean, and snatch are all power and strength movements. “It is important to have such power movements in your training to help develop stronger, more resilient connective tissue; specifically, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and joint capsules,” she explains.
Kettlebell training also develops grip strength and helps aid in improving coordination and mobility. And of course, kettlebells crush the core as well.
“You can use kettlebells in a variety of ways: circuits, flow, strengthen exercises to build strength and improve cardiovascularly,” Gawron says. And you can train anywhere; the beach, a park, in the comfort of your own home, or your local gym!
You don’t need to invest much to get started in Kettlebell training. In fact, a person can accomplish a lot with a light, medium, and heavyweight. Here are Coach Sarah’s top three favorite Kettlebell Brands for you to choose from:
Keep in mind: Each company’s kettlebell mold is slightly different. One brand might have a long or thicker handle and the kettlebell will sit differently in the rack position. Consulting with a kettlebell instructor or professional will help take the guesswork out of what kettlebell works best for you.
Oftentimes, people may get intimidated by kettlebell terminology, one of those being a flow. A flow, according to Gawron, is like a dance, a combination of one move, say, a kettlebell swing, leading into another, like a clean, and continuing in what looks like a choreographed routine. It’s almost like a zen-like state with a kettlebell, and before you know it, you’re moving the bell for five minutes without putting it down. keeping up with those around us that but if we can really channel in and move with purpose. So I find that flow work really helps with that. Because now your focus on the movement, you’re in tune with your breath. So that way, you can move with the bell for five plus minutes at a time without putting it down.
“I find with a lot of students or people who are interested in wanting to start using the tool is that they see all these crazy flows, or they look really impressive on social media. But as simple like flow could be a swing, even simplify, it’ll be like a clean, a press a squat. That’s it. And you can just do the clean squat to overhead. And once I explain or tell people that that’s a flow, they’re like, oh, I can do that.
Inspired to kettlebell train? Let’s begin!
Coach Sarah’s Entry-Level Kettlebell Training Workout
Block A (3 rounds, done as a circuit). Use this as a warmup for the two blocks that follow this.
Squat to Halo: 10 reps What it does: This is used to warm up and help mobilize shoulders as well as loosen up the lower body. How to do it: Start by holding a light kettlebell upside down (bell facing up) while grabbing onto the bell’s horns. With feet at about shoulder width, squat, then drive up, and rotate the bell around your head from left to right, then bring back to your chest. That’s one rep. Repeat for five reps before switching rotations (right to left).
Suitcase + Rack Carry: 30 sec per side: What it does: This is used to warm up and stabilize your core as well as to help activate the shoulders. How to do it: Hold one light kettlebell in one hand in a front rack position (holding bell to your chest while keeping your wrist strong and elbow tight). Hold a heavier kettlebell with your other hand at your side (like a suitcase). Walk a straight line or in place, focusing on keeping your core tight and hips straight. After 30 seconds, switch sides.
Chest Swings: 15 reps What it does: This hip hinge movement is used to warm up and help activate the hamstrings and glutes. (You shouldn’t be feeling this in your lower back.) It’s also a great starting point for learning how to master the kettlebell swing. How to do it: Start by holding the kettlebell with both hands at your sternum with feet about shoulder width and directly underneath your hips. (Keeping the weight close to you close to your center of mass will eliminate the possibilities of feeling it in your low back). Hinge at the hips, then, pushing your feet into the floor, engage your glutes and stand up. That’s one rep.
Block B (Strength): 3-4 sets / Rest as needed between sets. Try to keep the flow going from one move to the next.
Two-handed Clean to Squat: 5 reps (each side) What it does: This is a great move for developing lower-body power and explosiveness. How to do it: Keep feet at about shoulder width as you place a light to medium kettlebell on the floor, between your ankles. Send your hips back, and reach for the bell with both hands. Then, using legs and glutes, pull the bell toward your chest. Standing straight with bell still at your chest, lower into a squat then place the kettlebell back onto the floor. That’s one rep. Reset and repeat.
Standing Seesaw Press: 6 reps (each side) What it does: Develops shoulder strength and power How to do it: Hold a pair of light kettlebells from the rack position (focus on keeping your elbows close to sides and thumbs at your collarbone). Press one bell toward the ceiling until lockout. Then lower that dumbbell while simultaneously pressing opposite kettlebell. Continue this “seasaw” pattern for the remainder of the set.
Deadstop Swing: 12 reps What it does: This is a great hip-hinge movement that is an outstanding building block for advancing to kettlebell swings. How to do it: Taking a similar approach as you previously did with the chest swing — feet underneath you, bell between ankles, only this time the kettlebell is placed on the floor. Send your hips back, reach down for the bell and tilt the bell toward you — that’s your starting position. From here, “hike” the bell like a football, keeping it close to your hips, push your feet into the floor, engage your glutes, let the bell swing forward. Allow it to swing back, then lower to the floor and reset. That’s one rep.
Block C (Core Cashout): — 3 sets of 30 seconds on/15 seconds off
High Plank Drag What it does:Focuses on core strength and anti-rotation. How to do it: Set up in a strong high plank position, with kettlebell along one side of torso. With opposite arm, reach across chest and grab the bell, dragging it to your other side. Then with opposite arm, reach across again and grab bell to other side. Keep alternating for 30 seconds. (Note: If you’re losing the plank position, lower to your knees and continue performing drags.)
½ Kneeling Windmill What it does: Focuses on rotation as well as hip and shoulder stability. How to do it: From a half-kneeling position, with one foot in front and the other leg down. Holding a kettlebell on your front-foot side, press it overhead, keeping it locked out for 30 seconds. Rotate your torso toward the kettlebell side, looking at the bell, while lowering your opposite hand to the floor (place your hand on a yoga block if you have mobility issues). Return back to original half-kneeling position and repeat.
To borrow three words from The Rock, “It doesn’t matter” if you are a pro wrestling fan or not, because the chances are, either way, you’ve heard of the Undertaker. The ghostly character was brought to life, or rather death, by Mark Calloway back in 1990, and has since gone on to transcend “Sports Entertainment” ever since.
From the deadman’s likeness appearing every year as cosplay for Halloween getup, through to Bollywood film portrayals, Saudi statues, and collectible comic books, popular culture often gives a nod to the Undertaker. So tonight, after an in-ring career spanning 30-plus extraordinary years, one of WWE’s most successful and enduring stars will stalk the red carpet and claim his rightful place in the company’s Hall of Fame.
Unquestionably, Calloway’s desire to shun interviews and the media spotlight, to keep his Undertaker persona mysterious, has been one of the keys to his success, but behind the black trench coat and unearthly demeanor lies a dedicated athlete that has wowed millions of fans with his feats of intestinal fortitude. Ahead of Takers’ big night as part of WrestleMania week, M&F takes a look the the Undertaker’s long lasting career in the squared circle and the moments that changed WWE history.
The Undertaker and The Choke Slam
Right from his very first pin-fall victory against Dusty Rhodes at 1990’s Survivor Series Pay-Per-View, the Undertaker would claim the move as one of his signature strikes. When the deadman slapped his giant hands on an opponent’s neck before lifting them off the ground and returning them to the earth with authority, no one was safe from the choke slam.
“Your’e about to go for a ride when he slaps that big hand on you,” says AJ Styles, who faced the Undertaker at WrestleMania 37. “I know, because it’s happened to me, and he’s a legend no doubt!”
Another victim of the Undertaker during his debut at Survivor Series was Koko B Ware. He would prove to be the first of hundreds to suffer the Phenom’s “Tombstone” finisher. The move, technically known as the inverted piledriver, has doomed some of the WWE’s greatest stars. It is a move that requires strength and control, in order to plant his opponent head first onto the mat.
“It’s very devastating, you don’t see a lot of people do that, but when he did it, it was all over baby!” says WWE Hall of Famer and iconic ringside manager, Jimmy Hart.
Walking the Ropes
Rarely in pro wrestling does a man who stands 6’10” walk along the length of the ring’s top rope, but few “big men” in wrestling have every been as athletic as the Undertaker.
“It was so out of the box,” says Sammi Zayne, who will face Jackass star Johnny Knoxville at WrestleMania. “Especially for the time, and now 30 years later, we are still talking about it, especially for a guy of his size. When you see some of the ropes from the early 90s, those ropes were sagging, and he held his balance so well. It was ahead of his time, no question, he was ahead of his time.”
The Undertaker Breaks Shawn Michaels Heart
Having tangled with the Undertaker in many memorable matches, the “Phenom” would finally lay rest to the “Heartbreak Kid’s” active in-ring career in 2010, at WrestleMania 26, in one of the greatest pro wrestling matches of all time. “I was I tears,” recalls Beck Lynch, who will defend her WWE RAW women’s title against Bianca Belair at WrestleMania. “It was one of the greatest matches ever. I look at the Undertaker, he is such a legend, and I study everything that he does. It’s one of the greatest careers in WWE history and I’m so excited for him to go into the Hall of Fame.”
Despite burying hundreds of hapless opponents during his storied, three decade plus career, Undertaker’s respect for his fellow combatants often gave fans a momentous match that only served to seal his fate as one of WWE’s most feared and equally beloved warriors. With his unmatched combination of strength, speed, and intensity, Mark Calloway created a character that will be immortalized in the WWE’s Hall of Fame class of 2022 on Friday evening. Congratulations, deadman!
The Romanian man-mountain, Andrei Deiu’ is an authority when it comes to building huge arms. In 2011, at just 17 years of age, he entered the Miami Pro and while it would be his first taste of competition, the young upstart impressed judges so much that he walked away as the winner.
Now at age 25, Deiu’ is building an enviable reputation as one of the world’s most exciting fashion models, lending his face and physique to brands such as boohooMAN active wear. And, with more than five million avid followers on Instagram, it’s easy to understand his growing popularity.
Andrei Deiu’, who has guns measuring in at 18.9-inches pre-pump, treats us to a masterclass for those serious about gaining muscle and building bigger arms.
Have you learned a lot through working with renowned coach, Hany Rambod?
I have been working with Hany Rambod for the past three years and even now I’m learning new tricks and tips. That’s why they call him the Pro Creator! The mind-to-muscle connection is very important. Hany has taught me that you don’t always have to go really heavy in order to gain mass. If you go slightly lighter by 5kg or even 10kg, but make sure to contract the muscles and hold on, this helps to break down more muscle fibers and gives better blood flow.
Do you find that many bodybuilders wanting to grow their arms focus too much on their biceps? What else should they be doing?
In my younger days, I thought that training my biceps was the way to get bigger arms. In one way this worked as it did help me develop bigger arms but then I missed out, because I had weaker triceps. Now I say focus on balancing the full arm out, by working both triceps and biceps.
These days, I always start my arm day by training triceps and then biceps because the triceps are actually the bigger group of muscles. Also, I always try to vary and adjust the training every time I do arms, to make sure I activate all parts of the muscle so that my body doesn’t get used to moving the same load in the same way all of the time.
If you want to improve your arms, train them twice each week with three biceps and three triceps exercises. I only train biceps now once per week because I used to over train them and I feel that they are more over developed than my triceps. Also, I don’t want them to get any bigger as I need them to stay in proportion to my body. I train my triceps twice per week, one session is along with my biceps and then the other is paired with a chest session.
Do you make time for recovery?
Hany holds me accountable for making sure I get the right amount of sleep and rest. Quality muscle is made in the kitchen and while sleeping, because this is how your body recovers and is able to repair the muscle tissue that you have torn while in the gym. In the past, I never really took rest days as I thought that to get big, I had to go to the gym and train every day. Hany has taught me to listen to my body and rest when needed.
I try to get six to eight hours of sleep during the night and if I don’t, I will try to take a nap during the day. I take at least one rest day during the week where I’ll only do cardio if needed. I also make sure I get a sports massage at least once per week to help with my recovery, and I like to add epsom salt to baths.
How important to you is protein for muscle growth?
I believe protein is one of the most important things required to build muscle. Hany taught me that real food is always better than shakes or bars, but the reason he tells me to have at least a shake after my training is because it’s a quick acting protein source and digests faster to help my recovery.
My favorite protein is chicken, salmon, and steak [bison]. Usually, I eat five meals and take one shake each day and that equates to around 260 to 280 grams of protein. Currently I’m on a bulk, and so Hany has put me on at least six meals per day, with a shake. This comes to around 3,000 to 3,500 calories per day, and I also myself two cheat meals each week. These are cheat meals, not cheat days.
Andrei Deiu’ has worked hard to develop his killer bod. During his early teen years, his weight began to spiral out of control due to bad lifestyle choices such as playing video games into the late hours, and eating too much junk food. As it turned out, making positive changes to his physique — including feeling comfortable in his clothes — was also advantageous for his mental health, and he says that feeling has given him the confidence he needs, in order to continue with his bodybuilding career. In 2002, Deiu’ aims to gain his Olympia qualification and then complete on the show itself, hoping to improve on last year’s impressive seventh-place finish in the men’s physique category.
Andrei Deiu’s Triceps Workout
Triceps Cable Rope Extension: 4 working sets, 10-12 reps
Increase weight each set. The final set will comprise of a triple dropset in weight.
Skull Crusher: 4 working sets, 10-12 reps
Increase weight each set.
Make sure to squeeze and hold.
Weighted Triceps Dip superset with Diamond-Grip Pushup: 3 working sets, 10-12 sets (dips)
Increase weight each set.
Perform pushups until failure.
Andrei Deiu’s Biceps Workout
Dumbbell Curl (palms facing out): 4 working sets, 8-10 reps