Small details are important to the finished product |

Small details are important to the finished product

I opened a new venture in town. The Bunkhouse, the Vail Valley’s first and only designer hostel, opened its doors earlier this month. The process of conceptualizing, evaluating, processing and executing a start-up is very straightforward — pay specific attention to details every day, and roll with the unforeseen crack to the ribs that happens every other day.

This doesn’t mean that everything is a priority, and that every blow is a TKO respectively. Rather, each day deserves the respect of executing two or three things very well and thoroughly, and every day can’t be a record breaker. Even though two or three things executed daily don’t put a dent into the big picture, over the course of a year, the small details add up; the finished product is something drastically different than the day of initiation. This is how The Bunkhouse came to fruition. This is precisely how proper fitness training looks.


I continuously receive criticism for the simplicity of my training programs. I often receive feedback that the workouts or too easy, too difficult or sometimes right in the sweet spot. This is a purposeful recipe for long term fitness acquisition. Oh, how could only three exercises, with varied changes in intensity deliver results? Why is the answer always kettlebell get-ups, goblet squats, and swings? Because they work!

Further, when life throws a curve ball such as an injury or a layoff from work, these exercises will come in handy. Time and again these three exercises deliver results. In my last column, I discussed the relevance of these exercises and will stand my ground on why these exercises work so well.


A few weeks ago I was assembling furniture at The Bunkhouse. As I was assembling the chairs, I failed to follow the instructions that were provided. This is a very common practice of mine. After five numbing hours, my project was complete. The only problem was the miscellaneous parts that were left on the table after the assembly. Oops. After considering the instructions, and realizing the inch long wooden dowels were left out of the process, I figured the chairs would be fine without them. After a few days, I wasn’t OK with the chairs being assembled improperly. Going through the process of executing the right way is a practice I try to adopt most days. I disassembled the chairs and put them back in order the right way.

A training program that is varied, complicated and polished like Cameron Frye’s — father’s — Ferrari doesn’t make a difference if it’s not executed well. A training program that is so simple in design doesn’t necessarily equal easy, or dismiss the value of pursuing.

The chairs would have likely been fine without the attention to detail. Your kettlebell swing that isn’t perfect probably will deliver decent results. But, perfecting an exercise by diligently practicing the movement over and over and over will deliver a fine finished product. Coming full circle, we are too high strung, impatient and distracted to really dive into the dirty details of perfecting anything. When life happens, we reason with our complicated fitness programs; “life is too hectic right now, I don’t have time for 4 hours in the gym each week along with the fancy spreadsheet and circus worthy exercise selections.” Life happening surpasses kettlebell training. Look at the state of our American culture. Another discussion altogether.


Why the get-up, goblet squat, and swing? All of the fundamental human movements are trained using these three exercises. A perfected kettlebell get-up contains all ingredients for shoulder stability and strength, thoracic (mid back) spine mobility, core stability, and single leg strength.

The goblet squat although not heavy compared to traditional barbell squats, ingrain the proper movement mechanics for squatting. Again, squats are fundamental to humans. Just do them.

The swing establishes the proper bending mechanics to effectively strengthen your legs, hips, and back. The swing, or other bending movements are a lifeline for athletic endeavors and robust spine health.

These three exercises combined intelligently will provide not only a well-established base for other training practices, they will generate enough fitness for 90 percent of the population. Acquiring higher fitness measures than these three exercise provide while necessary for specific people, the exceptions are rare. Fine, you’re a paid athlete, competitive cross fitter, or a specialized Olympian. How many of you habitat this planet?

Even though it may be enticing to consider other options, just remember to be good before you’re fancy. I don’t want to embrace kettlebell training as a magic pill that fixes all of your fitness worries, but these three exercises will establish the good in your training. The fancy stuff can wait until you learn how to read instructions, and put a basic chair together properly first. Have a great week!

Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athtlete consulting and personal training company. Richards’ passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at or 970-401-0720.

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