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Monday, April 1, 2013

Put it where it counts

What with so many big GS competitions going on this season I've noticed plenty of footage and comments circulating about great lifting feats. As a perpetual student, I've learned to consult my teacher before considering the actual excellence claimed from any one lifter's peer group.

My first Kettlebell Sport coach Ken Blackburn recently reminded me of the good old efficiency-in-action principle: Say you have 10 units of energy to complete a lift. How do you distribute those units through all the parts of that lift? And is there any energy being saved for consecutive lifts, or are all 10 units being thrown into each lift?

So this has become one consideration of my own training, that is, how much effort does it take to get the kettlebell into a lockout with fixation (AKA. a rep that counts)?

The second teaching that has impressed me is my programming coach Sergey Rudnev's assist exercises.
Specifically LongCycle drill: 1swing + 1clean + 1jerk + 5second fixation hold = 1repetition.
(At first I videoed these sets because it takes some practice to keep track of the count!)

I really enjoy the ingenuity of this exercise because 1) it is tailored to over-eager lifters like myself who get too excited at the beginning to maintain a pace, and 2) it provides a full-body teaching of the most important places in the lift.
The first swing helps me find the dead point on the upswing (important point #1). There is a delineation between how little effort it take and how typical it is to pull early. Most kettlebell lifters were trained this way, but in Girevoy Sport the early acceleration pull throws the weight beyond the dead point. This causes me to then de-accelerate the downswing and work too hard to control the weight for the next clean.
The 5-second fixation hold (important point #2) reminds me to emphasis the main event of the lift, that is, where it gets counted. It also emphasizes the overhead position as a rest position.

To add one element of urgency to the above drill complete 6 repetitions per minute. Either by calculating the seconds or doing it yourself, you quickly figure out there is one place not to linger in this exercise: the Rack.

Thus inspired with the teachings of my coaches, I've enjoyed looking in on my fellow-lifters. And the World Champions are still my ultimate role-models in the seamless execution of 10 or more minutes of one Classic Lift.

Wishing all my fellow-lifters excellent results!

Please contact me for more insight or training with kettlebells!

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