Monday, May 6, 2013

Gap analysis, pt 1

My last post actually prompted some discussion, particularly the notions of strength training for kettlebell sport and self-coaching. I'm not accustomed to anyone but myself reading my blog, so this certainly warrants a response. I'm wondering if I can concisely sum up the last 4 years of thought into 2 or 3 articles.

First, I got into KB sport kind of diagonally. My first year-plus of fitness training... exercise got stalled and boring. I was aware of KBs and found KB sport was an activity that I could focus my training around. To keep up with a sport, steady progress would periodically guide improvements in strength or cardio or joint mobility, whatever was my current weakest gap. I came into this around age 40 (3 years ago) after nearly 15 years of inactivity and some injury, so there were definitely gaps.

Second, I've come to value the training mindset of Dan John (www.danjohn.net) more than anyone else in my athletic life. To steal a term of his with no explanation whatsoever, I was a very active Quadrant I teenager, but in a school with no organized team sports. I never took real impacts or lifted weights, then I grew up sedentary and fat behind a desk. I dropped the fat around age 37, but not the sedentary. Now, I'm 43 and doing repetitive ballistic weight lifting. If you've read DJ much, then you're already taking notes.

Lastly, there's a Dan John quote I have to paraphrase at this moment: "If you're 37 or older, then you're automatically a Quadrant III athlete again". My top priority is now lean body mass, joint mobility, and physical therapy. Therefore, I have a membership in a barbell gym, where I train all winter and about 50% of the time throughout KB season.

KB sport, on the other hand, has repeated heavy impacts, explosive movements done under fatigue, everything one ordinarily sprinkles on top of their 9-layer dip of fitness. It's like the world's heaviest version of carpal tunnel syndrome. By any reasonable measure, this should be a small fraction of my own fitness life, as detailed in my next post.


P.S. There are people who use primarily KB drills for fitness, including the overweight and the elderly in group classes. I don't question the positive results, but that is a different activity, more exercise than training. When you are sedentary and deconditioned, moving a single 16kg for sets of 8, switching hands, taking breaks, is good for you in many ways. Sport training is a different activity and not for the faint of heart or delicate of frame. As said so often before me, sport begins where fitness leaves off.

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