Saturday, May 24, 2014

Reflections on competition: pt 2

The 2014 ATC Throwdown is in the books. Scores here, Facebook thread here. This is part of a short series of impressions after the event, and a potato-quality video of me coming in not-quite-last.

On having no real idea

Girevoy sport bears this odd set of attributes that are rare to any other sports but maybe Nordic skiing and rowing. It's weight lifting, by definition, but it's also not. "Power lifting" and "weightlifting" are unfortunate misnomers, completely mis-attributing the term "power". Kettlebell sport is technically a power endurance sport. You have to be not only strong, but quick under load, and you perform in a state of incomplete recovery.

For novices like myself, every offseason is a time to take steps backward and address whatever is most necessary in terms of power, recovery, and technique. At the ATC, my launch got slow and I began accommodating with posture. I'm addressing that with physical therapy, with good results in recent weeks. Regular running is improving my capacity for recovery. I was clear-headed and breathing well at the end of my PR set. I had confirmation that my technique looked much-improved. My overhead holds were longer, and there were zero no-counts. So what's on my radar this off-season?

There are 18-yr-old lifters in Russia scoring in the nineties in 24kg Long Cycle. Enjoy.

There's the question of work capacity. In many strength traditions, one trains power first, then strength, then assistance work, then cardio, in decreasing order of demand. But in many martial arts traditions, one runs first, then trains either skills or strength as the day requires. The idea is two-fold, that combat will come to you in a fatigued state, and that one must build a new work capacity even to do the actual training that will be necessary. Kettlebell sport favors this last idea, that you do not just walk in and lift for 10 minutes.

I am aware of this limitation. I've done 100 reps LC in a session, but never in one set. I've never done 100 Jerk in one set. I have finished lighter sets recently with good breathing and a clear head, but even they did not have this volume. In theory, a lifter should be able to go until they're bored with a lighter bell, and I cannot yet. I've been on the edge of burnout these last few weeks, and I may or may not have the free resources in my life to ever reach this level.

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