Friday, May 29, 2009

Morning kettlebell practice

I've blogged about this one before.

5 Turkish getups each side
50 swings
4 Turkish getups each side
40 swings
3 Turkish getups each side
30 swings
2 Turkish getups each side
20 swings
1 Turkish getup each side
10 swings

All performed with my 12 kg kettlebell, which I believe is the right weight for me for almost all exercises now because it really puts my technique to the test. Quite simply, if my shoulder isn't packed down properly when I attempt a getup with 12 kg, I'm going to fail. With 8 kg I can fake it; therefore that weight is too light for me. On swings I feel as though I'm just about at that point with the 12 kg kettlebell and might need to think about moving up to 16 kg, which means I'll need to spend some money. I've been thinking about getting a 16 kg bell anyway for my DH, who I think would really enjoy kettlebell training if I could persuade him to give it a try.

I also practiced cleans for a while, and I think I'm seeing some progress. As suggested in Enter The Kettlebell I began by taking a good hard look at my rack (get your minds out of the gutter, all you non-kettlebell people!) and troubleshooting that before anything else.

Thing about the rack position is, it's supposed to be a rest position. It's the end point of your clean, the start point for your press, and the place where the kettlebell sits when you're doing a set of rack squats. It's supposed to be comfortable, and mine wasn't. Part of the problem was that I was allowing the weight of the kettlebell to pull my wrist backward, out of neutral. But even when I straightened out my wrist it still didn't feel comfortable until I tightened up my grip. I am in the habit of using a very loose, open grip when I lift, partly to save my strength and partly to avoid unnecessary spikes in blood pressure. It's a reasonable thing to do when working out with free weights, but it's not appropriate for kettlebell training. Quite simply, you have to keep control of the thing or it will swing wide and clonk you in the wrist. I wasn't, and I've got the bruises to show for it.

Not only that, but in order to avoid the clonk I'd allowed myself to get out of the habit of maximally contracting my glutes on the theory that if I generated less power at the start of the lift there'd be less of a wild swing and clonk at the end. Not good. At all. Fixable, though. It's just a matter of retraining my body through practice, practice and more practice until every part of the movement is automatic.

I'm so not there yet, though! When I practice there's always this voice in my head screaming at me to drive down my heels, lock out my legs, contract my glutes, shove down my shoulderblades and for God's sake tighten up my grip!!!!

Did I just admit to hearing voices in my head? Who here is surprised, really?