Monday, January 28, 2008

The missing link in your chain of progress

I've said this before, and I'll most likely say it again.
I am no different from you. No better, no worse. I have no more athletic talent. In fact, I most likely have far less. I had zero endurance until a certain Sgt. Levin applied some boot to ass counseling and really taught me the whole concept of work output reaping rewards. If you keep running, eventually you will not be as tired as you used to be at point B. The same applies to most athletic endeavors with proper allowance for periodization, the conjugate method, etc.
Set your sights on what you want, map out the best route to get there, and most importantly, show up for the game. Rif put it well talking about how people develop all these elaborate plans for training, but don't show up to do the work. A plan is only as good as your ability to put it into action. Don't spend your time putting together all sorts of fancy routines, when most likely all you really need to be doing is squat, deadlift, and overhead press. That's it.
You have to be like a Doberman with a hambone and absolutely not go off message until you have achieved your goal. If you know your plan is solid, don't get impatient and start changing it every five minutes.
If anything makes me different from you, or from whoever the next big dog is, that is most likely it.
That's one of the things I love about my style of training. Most of the independent workouts I give my clients take 20 minutes or less. That makes it real hard to make excuses about how you couldn't do it, because even as the words come out of your mouth, at the end of the day you know you just didn't do it. That's all.
Below is some video I shot of some grip strength training. If you haven't done the towel swings yet give them a shot. It's a good shot in the arm for your ability to hold onto the belll during the long snatch sets.


  1. I have been training with 24 kg snatches, 48 kg (2 X 24 kg) jerks, and 32 kg swings. You've given some sweet help on the latter two (that Steve Cotter video doubled my jerk reps with the concept of overlapping the kettlebell horns). Do you anticipate hooking us up with some tips on snatching?

  2. Hi Ron, I'm glad the videos were able to help you out. I'll put together the information I've collected over the next day or two and put up a post in regard to snatching. A lot of it depends on what you feel is limiting you. A few quick things:
    1. Make sure your grip endurance is strong. That towel swing and pull up combo will help.
    2. Soap your handles. This will simulate the weakened grip at the end of your sets. Dish soap works fine, just exercise caution.
    3. Keep your callouses in check. This has been my biggest issue. I've started using this device by Dr. Scholl's that looks like a blue handled hair brush with no bristles. I like it better than the stone because I can really sand away. Then of course the Corn Husker's Lotion has been hugely beneficial.

  3. thanks for what you´ve done and what you´re doing. Although my grip and technique could stand some improvement, my main impediment is strength. My arms and/or hips just give out. Aside from practicing more, I´ve recently read that holding the kettlebell in fixation overhead will help with this. I´ve been doing that as well as snatching, but I am always hoping to learn something new that will help me as well

  4. Thanks for the comment Ron. As far as the hips and arms go, ensure your shoulders are firmly in the sockets. make sure they aren't being pulled away as this will tire you out fast. Also, if you are 'casting' the bell on the way down (swinging it away from you instead of dropping it down) this will also cause excessive pull ad tire your arms out quicker as they are working to stay attached to your body. In regard to the hip thrust, make sure the order of operations is correct. I sometimes see people treating the hip thrust almost as decoration, as it occurs when the bell has already been pulled halfway up by the upper body, thus the excessive wear on the arms. Make sure that your hip thrust is the primary mechanism by which the bell is being propelled upwards. You are correct in that maintaining the lockout overhead can help increase your numbers. If you are not snatching for 'speed' but are just trying to get through ten minutes, remember that the lockout is a 'rest position'. Learning to properly utilize this rest position can increase your numbers as you get a little break in-between each snatch. Make sure and check your lockout. If your elbow is bent, you're not locked out. If you see from the side that your arm is not straight up in the air, you are also not locked out. The idea behind the lockout is to use 'joint stacking' as opposed to muscular endurance to suspend the kettlebell overhead.