Friday, January 7, 2011


I am always the first person to admit that I'm one of the luckiest people I know....and I've written about being able to ride coattails to my brilliant husband, Master RKC Mark, to every Cert he is scheduled to teach at. One most recent occasions was Level 2 RKC last Feb. in San Jose, and because I was lucky enough to be "a fly on the wall" during that Cert, I decided to, myself, train and attend Level 2 in St Paul later that same year. The rest of my "Level 2" story is yet to be told, but that's for another time....

The inspiration for this blogpost is that during Level 2 RKC, I saw how relevant some of the skills taught could cross over into some of the other physical parts of my life, especially my yoga practice. At my Level 2 Cert, I learned a hamstring stretch that has changed my yoga life.

I'm lucky enough to have the time to train kettlebells, and yoga, and really whatever else I could have an interest in. I currently don't make enough time to go for walks, but I have added in a Vinyasa Flow yoga practice that is very challenging for me, as it requires strengths that I have yet to develop. I do believe in "crosstraining", but it's all about priorities! If I could only do one thing it would be the kettlebell swing...period.

Back to the point of this blogpost. Because my hamstrings are as tight as a drum, I have always had difficulty in forward folds, whether standing up or sitting down. Everything I do, except for yoga, tightens up my hamstrings. So when Pavel showed us a hamstring stretch that "creates space", and I tried it, I knew a whole new world just opened up (literally) for me.

Here are a few pictures of my practice in one of the first poses in a Bikram's yoga practice...the last part of "half moon", which is a forward fold. In this pose the full expression is when your forehead touches your shins with your legs "locked out", and then your forehead touches your toes....OK, so the forehead to the toes will take a bit of time. These pictures were taken after my 9:30am practice...9:30am is way different than 7:30am for this old gal!

My point is that I think it's important that one choses a variety of training skills to deveolp well rounded physical abilities. But as I witnessed while working in a high end Fitness club too much variety make one a "Jack of all trades, but Master of none"!

Most people take "crosstraining" way too far. What is it that your body needs? Pick a couple of things, if time and motivation allow, and work towards "deep skill"..."mastery"..."full expression", etc. You get the idea.

The concept of "crosstraining" is to pick a couple, or a few, different genres that compliment each other. Not do something new until you get bored and then pick something else.

In my perfect life this is the order of physical exercises I chose....for me (you decide what you need)

kettlebell ballistics

kettlebell grinds

yoga (Bikram's...I explain soon in another blogpost)

yoga...any other style, besides Bikram's




Lucky for me I don't have to do anything I don't like, and I "like" all of these for different reasons.

What do you "crosstrain"?


Average Mama said...

You are so right in your observation. Just pick a few activities that you like and stick to it! Yoga and Kettlebells sound like great combination!
At this point in my life, I don't have time to focus on much more than kettlebells, allthough I try to get it some Crossfit and Fitness boxing every once in a while.

But some day soon, I will try Kung Fu, which I think looks really interesting.

Average Mama said...

Btw, what was the stretch? I am struggeling with the hamstrings myself.

Diana said...

Once kettlebells came into my life, I've used them train for other loves. Training for the RKC helped me to run my best 1/2 marathon. Not necessarily "time" wise, but overall comfort-ability. Using kb's as my number one form of training, the rest fall into place. My endurance to ride a 100 miles on a hybrid bike? Kettlebells. Endurance to finish all the triathlons, 1/2 marys, and other events? Kettlebells. Now, I KNOW this is nothing you don't already know, so I won't bore you anymore! But, doing kb's helps with everything I do. Now if only I could get my fat arse bent over to touch my shins with my forehead....

Amber said...

I too would love to see this stretch :) I have definitely found that Yoga is a great compliment to kettlebells, and even olympic weightlifting which I adore. Strength and Flexibility, two of my favorite things!

Tracy Reifkind said...

Average M,

If I don't have time to improve my chosen activities then I don't add any. In otherwords, If I can "train" a new skill, then I don't do it for the pure reason of burning a few calories. I'm interested in growing as an athlete, not "junk miles"

I'll write a quick blogpost about the stretch as Amber also wants to know

thanks for commenting

Tracy Reifkind said...


It took me to almost 4 years to get into this position!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Ah, olympic friend Fawn is training that now, and she's a perfect fit for that as I don't know anyone as strong and flexible as she is! It's got to be part of the nature of the sport.

One yoga pose that makes me laugh at even the suggestion is when everyone (but me) squats down, ass to the ground, feet flat! Feet flat? Good-ness, not only can I not do that, but to even come close I have to widen my stance beyond my yoga mat!

That's next...ass to the ground....oh and those dang inversions.