Sunday, August 06, 2006

Enter The Kettlebell

I finally got a copy of Pavel's new training book Enter The Kettlebell. I haven't finished reading it yet but it's having a big impact on my training. Due to my last bout of back pain in the past few weeks I've been forced to start from scratch again. Luckily this time I seem to have kept most of my strength- but my endurance was hit hard. That's what I get for trying not to move at all for about a month I guess.

One of the biggest changes is relearning to do the clean. In Russian Kettlebell Challenge I learned to absorb the "thump" of the kettlebell coming to a rest at shoulder height with a slight dip of the knees. Well, things have changed- incorporating lessons learned from training sessions the new technique is now to keep the body braced for the impact. It seems like a simple little change but I'm still getting used to it a few weeks on. I find that when I get towards the end of a session and I'm tired that I'll slip back into the old, ingrained habit of the knee-dip. I'm hoping that there aren't more technique changes for me to discover later in the book!

Another big change in ETK is that there's a set routine to follow. One of the recommended sessions is the "man maker"; a series of swings interspaced by jogging for twelve minutes. I haven't done that yet; I avoid running like the plague, an effort to protect my back. I'm going to have to think about an alternative- perhaps set my bike up on the turbo trainer instead?

The other is a five minute set of Get Ups. Oh my! I've never done Get Ups before, it was just an exercise that didn't seem to appeal to me. How wrong I was. I spent one or two sessions practicing the movement; the exercise involves lying flat on your back with the kettlebell in one hand lifted up as if you've just pressed it. You then have to rise smoothly to a standing position, come back down, pass the KB to the other hand and repeat for five minutes. The first time I did the workout my shoulders burned with the effort. It's very hard indeed- and I've discovered that I love doing them, it's a tremendous work out.

Anyway, for the past few weeks I've been sticking to basics, interspacing sessions of Get Ups with those based on swings, cleans, the military press and just a few snatches. All of these using my light 16kg KB and keeping the reps up, trying to improve my stamina a bit. The result is that I've dropped 9lbs of weight in the space of three weeks- and that's with a pretty lousy diet, I've been eating out much more than usual lately. Conclusion- kettlebells work.

A few days ago I was supposed to be having a rest day but in the evening I was feeling restless so I decided to have a quick workout. Feeling like it would be short and sweet I grabbed my 32kg KB for the first time in months and proceeded to do some sets of swings. The first few felt clumsy but I soon got used to the extra weight and I ended up training for maybe fifteen minutes, ending up by doing a couple of sets of snatches with the 16kg KB. The heavy bell had me pretty much worn out so those snatches weren't easy. I was expecting to feel a little stiffness from that but it amazed me just how much impact it did have- my thighs felt like blocks of wood the next day and my obliques...well, let's just say that I haven't ever been quite so aware of them. And there's another advantage of KB training- no need to worry about crunches!

1 comment:

FrauBudgie said...

You know, if I didn't peek in on this blog, I'd have never known about the magic of kettlebells.