Video: Jesse Melamed Learns Kettlebell Training Basics Over Zoom With Physio Aaron Dobie

Apr 23, 2020
by Aaron Dobie  


Jesse Melamed got some new training tools to play with! He checked in with me, his performance Physiotherapist, Aaron Dobie, to ensure he has his technique perfect. Take a back seat to see what a Zoom tele-physio appointment looks like.

Jesse also discussed the changes to his life and training since the COVID-19 pandemic.



How his training is going during the pandemic:

I feel like I usually have a pretty good balance in training, but the one thing that is consistent year-round is going to the gym for my strength training. Not being able to do that has been the biggest change in my training. When the pandemic started, I decided to work on something new so I bought some kettlebells and have been learning to use them. I have base knowledge from my off-season training programs with Dobie but I wanted to learn more. I love the balance of skill, coordination and strength required!



On whether he's training at home every day:

Not quite, very much just going with the flow. I love to exercise, so I’m not worried about an extended period of inactivity. I am still able to ride my bike but I have been leaving that for soul riding and fun. So my true training is done swinging the KB’s and on Zwift, but it has been reigned in a bit. My aim is consistency for the (un)foreseeable future.


What his weekly schedule looks like and how it has changed:

I told Dobie explicitly that I did not want a strict program during the pandemic that would cause me stress by being required to follow it exactly. I have weekly training and life objectives that I tick off as I see fit based on my day and how I feel.

I started going for gravel rides and doing some yoga. It took a few weeks but eventually the fire to suffer and work hard came back. I’m trying to keep that consistent now, never pushing beyond my limit and listening to my body a lot more than usual. I’d say I’m on Zwift at least once a week, outside riding 3-4 times a week and then trying to get 3 KB workouts a week.

Once we have an accurate idea of when our first race will be, I will start adding structure. I am sure there will be lots of warning.


How he's been staying motivated with an uncertain future and not knowing when the next race is:

Honestly, it was really hard for me at first. I felt like I lost sight of my goal and with that, who I was as a person. Sounds deep, but that is where I was.

It was great for some reflection though, I realized that I am very goal-driven and able to stay motivated and determined because I set my sights on something. Currently, I have decided to do the best that I can and enjoy the process of goals more. The KB’s are a huge help - having something totally new to learn has helped me keep the training consistent.


PC: Dane Perras


What the transition has been like from his normal strength routine to the kettlebell routine:

Painful! It has been eye-opening. I’ve been going to the gym for years and I feel like I am pretty strong and pretty balanced. But kettlebells will tell you the truth of just how strong and balanced you are.
I have really enjoyed the process of learning the moves and seeing how my body can or cannot do them. It has made me pumped to see how far I can get with them and see how I’ll feel afterwards.


What he's working on during the pandemic that he's never had time for:

Honestly, a lot of time and energy has been put into creating content. It isn’t something I like to focus on normally. I like to keep my social media natural and relevant. But without racing to fulfill sponsorship obligations, I am really trying to give back to them, what they are continuing to provide for me. It has been a struggle but it is my job now so I am treating it like any other job.

Besides that, I am doing more yoga which I never really give myself time for. I am starting to see the benefits. I normally stretch quite often but yoga has allowed me to find parts of my body that I didn’t realize I needed to stretch. I am also reading and studying more, anything, and everything.


What are the key components to success in racing? What were you working on most going into the 2020 season?

Hard work and talent. Talent isn’t something you can work on, but hard work will always generate results. That means physical fitness, mental fitness, skill development, fine-tuning your bike, and many other little details. I would like to say I am pretty well balanced in those areas so I am trying to add 1% in all. I made good improvement in the mental side last year, and this off season I worked on trusting what I did and solidifying it.

PC: Dane Perras


How he determines what he needs to work on most:

Everything requires an assessment to ensure you are working on the “lowest hanging fruit” and you can not always self-assess. For the physical side, I have Dobie and our team Physio, Tara Lazarski, so that is easy. For riding specific components, I rely on my close circle of friends, team, and family to be honest with me and help me identify what needs to be addressed. Specifically, my family has got me to work on why I have been having big crashes recently as they hate to see me injured.


What he does for recovery:

Recovery is one thing that hasn’t changed. I focus on the foundational principles to recover - real food, water, sleep/rest, and some light stretching. Currently, I am able to be even more consistent with recovery. It is easy to get the required sleep and rest, and I have extra time to cook great food with my roommates. I have always allowed myself to eat as much healthy food as I like, but making more diverse dinners and enjoying the cooking process has helped me keep a healthy relationship with food.

Same amount of chips and ice cream though, those never fail to go on sale at the grocery store…

PC: Dane Perras

Aaron Dobie is a Sports Physiotherapist from Vancouver, BC. Aaron is working as team Physio with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team on the DH and EWS series - @dobiept

Jesse Melamed would like to thank his sponsors during these tough times - @jessemelamed


50 Comments

  • 7 0
 Jesse Melamed has always come off as a straight forward kinda guy who takes his riding seriously and competitively. Hes awesome.
  • 7 0
 Thanks! I wouldn't say otherwise. I like what I do and I take it seriously. Also helps that I just love to ride bikes and will do anything to make myself better for it.
  • 5 0
 Decently good looking as well. He could shave though.
  • 3 0
 @dobiept: Dobie is pretty hot too but I think he would look good with a pony tail
  • 2 0
 @dobiept: Definitely not going to argue that.
  • 3 0
 "But kettlebells will tell you the truth of just how strong and balanced you are."

Oh so true! They have really upped my game though. Just doing two movements with them made a big difference for me last year. Swings and Turkish getups. I did those 3-4 times a week and was really impressed with how much it helped. Also doing those two exercises in the late fall and early winter leading into Nordic skiing (Skate) and I had the easiest transition into good skiing I've ever had.
  • 1 0
 Nice! I look forward to seeing my Nordic Skiing improve this winter then!
  • 1 0
 KB's are a great assessment tool! So cool to hear MVMT Academy rented their equipment. A win-win.
  • 2 0
 First thing my wife and I did was rent 4 kettle bells and a few bands our local gym that we normally go to (MVMT Academcy, North Vancouver - great place). Not only was a way to continue supporting them, but it offers a variety of function movement exercised to continue training at home. It’s been great having these versatile tools at home. Good stuff to see here as solely riding does disproportionately impact certain muscle while neglecting others!
  • 7 0
 That's awesome! I tried to rent some from my local gym but ended up having to buy these. I think the biggest thing I have noticed is how much worse my one bad shoulder is than my other bad shoulder haha. I'm really hoping it will help balance them out!
  • 3 0
 Aaron is a fast mofo on the bike as well. And kettle bells are a killer workout. Just gotta get back into training and riding again.
  • 4 0
 Cheers! Now is the time.
  • 2 0
 Yea he is! Helps me trust what he has to say.
  • 1 0
 Turkish getups will definitely show any instability off! Such a great hardcore power movement. They never fail to get me sweating hard especially when slowing the movements way down.....maybe it's something to do with the constant fear of having my skull smashed in by a heavy weight if I mess up haha
  • 3 0
 Sometime you should try lighter as doing the "bottoms-up". That gets the elbow and wrist stability involved.
  • 1 0
 @dobiept: I hadn't even considered that move! Great advice, thank you as one of my wrists is a little buggered after a snowboard accident
  • 1 0
 How come Jesse is using the big boy and the teacher has a pink one?

But seriously kettlebells are awesome. I’ve been at it for years. The best day is when you step up to a bigger bell on your TGU and grease it. Don’t rush the progression. The adaptation takes time. Wait for mastery before stepping up a size.

TBH. Since I got into KB I ride less and enjoy it much more. I get fit with the bells and ride for pure joy instead of trying to get a workout when I ride.
  • 1 0
 Hahaha! It's red and that is a strong colour.

Honestly, I've been working in private gyms for the past 10+ and don't actually have a huge selection of home equipment as I always have a gym to strength train in. I've only got the essential dumbells, kettlebells and other equipment for home tele-phyio appointments.

Interesting to hear how kettlebells changed your riding style/purpose. So you find that you get your workout done in the gym or with bells. Then ride bikes for the enjoyment piece. Really cool. So do you do KB workouts on the same days as riding?
  • 2 0
 @dobiept: I'm 50. Around the time I turned 40 a life of hard cardio training and bad movement hit me like a mac truck. I woke up one day unable to walk and ended up going to a chiro for the first time. We was a smart guy and I listened. It was about the time the internet was blowing up with fitness info. I started with 2 dumb bells and progressed to KB quickly. The addition of regular strength training has been transformative for me in many ways.

I used to have an agenda when I went for a ride. It was usually over ambitious and I now realize it got in the way of enjoying what makes MTB so awesome: being with friends and enjoying nature. So now rather than treating a ride like some form of torture i ride for enjoyment. I focus more on using flow and developing skills.

The KB stuff I do changes throughout the year. In the Winter I like to set a goal and build. This year it was pavels simple goal of 10 TGU/100 one arm swing with the 70lbs. The rest of the year I do about 2-3 KB workouts a week and 2-3 rides a week.i keep the workouts short and focused. I really just go with how I feel. I've learned if you aren't going to be able to do it with commitment it's not worth doing. That's why I keep the workouts short and focused. If I have a goal I make it realistic so I can be challenged but actually succeed. Success it very motivating.

One thing I noticed when I started the regular strength training is how much better I felt physically. I was crashing less because I was more athletic, I recovered quicker from rides and injuries. I had much less discomfort while riding. The other benefit is mental clarity. It's a process to get to the point where you can focus your energy to move bigger weights. It teaches you a lot about yourself.

Anyways, As you can see I'm a believer. I'm pretty sure if Jesse sticks with those TGU and progresses the load there will be a time when he's ripping the way he does and a root or loose stone catches him off guard. He'll keep the rubber side down due to the KB work. Even the best can get better!
  • 1 0
 @Stumpjumperevo26: Thanks for taking the time to share. I love to hear the process that got you to your current regime.

Jesse is where he is because he is analytical and asks "why?!?". He doesn't get told what to do. He consults with people and adds their suggestions to his plans. Many other athletes are looking to follow recipes instead of discovering what works for them.

Well done with Pavels TGU/Swing plan.
  • 1 0
 @Stumpjumperevo26: Thanks for all of your insight! Motivates me to keep with it as well as to be smart with it. I have already noticed I can't push more weight than I can handle and I like that. It will keep me at the best level and motivate me to work on getting to the next level with hard work and consistency. I'm really looking forward to seeing the benefits from all of this.

Keep it up and hopefully see you on the trails enjoying the ride sometime!
  • 2 0
 @JesseMelamed:most definitely. Fingers are crossed that I’ll be watching you destroy our New England trails this summer at the Burke EWS.
  • 1 0
 Yes, kettlebells are awesome, but you got to do them right. The moves may look simple but they are really technical. Kudos for seeking instruction. For folks who are thinking about it I recommend seeking out a StrongFirst certified instructor. www.strongfirst.com
  • 1 0
 Definitely important to make sure you have the movements right and you aren't compromising yourself!
  • 1 0
 Keep up the good work Jesse! Kettle Bells are an excellent way to increase functional strength and mobility. I use them in every workout and they have changed the way I exercise.
  • 1 0
 I'm looking forward to it! Already noticed some changes and I'm curious how it will have affected me when I start up my normal strength training routine again.
  • 2 0
 Stay away from zoom. Great security issue has cleaned people bank’s account here in spain
  • 2 4
 it was created and run by China - never use it
  • 1 0
 Kettlebells have made lifting exciting to me again.
But, if you haven’t tried one, go swing a macebell around. I can’t believe what 15 and 20 lbs has done for me.
  • 1 0
 Macebells are bonkers. Another tool that takes time to perfect.
Maybe that is video #2? Smile
  • 2 0
 Pretty sure things would get broken if I started swinging one of those around! But always keen to try new things!
  • 1 0
 @dobiept: man, I would love a mtb specfic macebell workout. Most videos or workouts I am doing are led by crazy CrossFit people. Which is fine, but I’m not really a crossfitter.
If you have a super busy day, kids are crazy, can’t get the new shutters on the house perfectly, or battling bears eating your trash, a mace bell can give a good 15 minute workout in a crunch.
  • 1 0
 I'm locked down with my wifes pink 10lb weights and my TRX but I'm making due! If beer wasn't an essential service I'd probably be ahead of the game!
  • 2 0
 Those two pieces of equipment are the most versatile.

If looking to make the 10lb'er harder, try "bottoms-up" movements when the bell is above the handle.
  • 1 0
 Chest fly (same motion like you'd do with dumbells, but in a press up position) and back rows on the TRX always worked well for me for strength and stability. Especially with the straps dropped as low as they can go for max effort.

Would love TRX in the house.
  • 2 0
 Oh man I kind of want a garage tour now. The skis, the bikes, that workbench...
  • 1 0
 Nah nothing of importance in there..
  • 1 0
 Happy to hear there will be continued focus on creating online content. I really enjoy your YouTube videos Jesse. The recent Squamish ride was great, keep it up!
  • 1 0
 Awesome! Responses like this help keep me motivated to do it!
  • 1 0
 Look at the size of Jesse's kettle balls, I mean bells. It's the size of his head, like an orange on a toothpick, bahhahaha
  • 2 1
 mmm never done Kettlebells. mmmm probably should while I am on lockdown!
  • 2 0
 Now's the time!
  • 1 0
 Get amongst it!
  • 1 0
 That kettlebell looks huge! How much does it weigh?
  • 3 0
 That is a competition kettlebell where all sizing is the same for all weights to ensure continuity of movement form. It could be 20, it could be 60 hard to say.
  • 1 0
 This one was 12kg. It's adjustable so I can take it apart and add more weight inside. Handy piece of kit!
  • 1 0
 @JesseMelamed: Ahhh, nice. That sounds super handy!
  • 1 0
 Congrat to bringing your video off the bike.
  • 2 0
 Thank you! I am trying!
  • 1 0
 Great stuff





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