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Sunday, May 22, 2011

A note on "Getting over the Hump"

It is a task of every person to specialize in something, be it mental, physical or spiritual. In every arena of specialty there is a point to dig in, to push and work toward greater comprehension, to re-delegate time and energy to making it through the tough spot. This is what separates earnest interest from "just a passing phase." This is "getting over the hump."

If you don't know exactly what you want to specialize in, here is my suggested starting place: What do you take the extra time to learn about? What fascinates you, and has always fascinated you? What will you loose track of time doing? This is where you stand a good chance to excel.

If you've read this far you may be wondering, What does this have to do with kettlebell fitness, Christian?
I'll tell you. Lately I've had the great satisfaction of hearing how extremely difficult kettlebell lifting actually is. Many athletes dabble in the beginning, but few will "get over the hump" as one expert trainer put it.

It's true, there is the awkward beginning of completely re-aligning the lower body posture in the chair squat, add to that the never-easy chest opening experience of wall-squatting, and then there is a weight to pick up. The initial learning curve will either enthrall or disenchant people.

And that's not the end. Next there is the brutal wrist-banging experience of learning to clean the weight. Enter the time and efficiency component. We have a finite amount of physical strength to focus on any one training session, so if "putting on the glove" solves it, great! You have the makings of a true kettlebell athlete! For most of us, bruise-free cleaning is a matter of going back to the beginning, re-learning the leg work of one-arm swings, and humbling ourselves to lesser weights as we embark on building more skills.

If you are at either of these major humps in kettlebell lifting, I offer this thought. Giving a season to kettlebell skills training will improve your focus and coordination for many other athletic pursuits. Great teachers acknowledge that training a form until boredom sets in is the only way to breakthrough. There are seasons to all things, the key is being present with the current.

Finally, consider the story of my kettlebell coaches Ken Blackburn and Steve Cotter. They are currently in Russia at a kettlebell sport training camp, learning from world class coaches and athletes. In one meaningful facebook post, Steve mentioned the humbling experience of having his form efficiently dissected on the first day of camp. This is a guy who rose to fame several years ago with his impressive kettlebell-specific DVD series, including Encyclopedia of Kettlebell Lifting, joined forces with his fellow trainer (Blackburn) to break the RKC mold and sweep the world with International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation in the course of 2 years, all the while hosting and competing in Kettlebell Sport Competitions.

If you really want to get over the hump remember this: It's never too late to learn and build on what you already know.

Best wishes to all for a fantastic season,
Christian Goldberg

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