Dear Kettlebell, I Can’t Tell If We Are Gonna Be Friends

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So today marked the first workout in a new 4 week cycle of training and it kicked my ass. If this is a sign of workouts to come I think I might have picked the wrong sport. Every workout I’m amazed at the amount of grip strength required. I find it so frustrating because I consider myself to be strong. I have a great deadlift, bench press, back squat…but the kettlebell doesn’t give a shit about these numbers. Loads that I consider to be embarrassingly light, I actually find challenging to move using GS technique. I understand its efficiency, but the strength I need for this sport comes in places that I don’t think I have ever really trained.

The way that the workouts make me feel also taps into feelings that I hate that I really need to get over faster. It’s funny but I love met-con style workouts. I don’t mind the feeling like I am going to cough up a lung. I’d rather do 10 hill sprints than 10 pullups. There are certain movements that I love performing (even at challenging loads) several times overandover again. I guess from my cross country running days I am used to that “lung burn” feeling and even though it is uncomfortable – I don’t fear it. Then there are other movements that make me panic when I feel the rep count is too high, even though my lungs feel like they could keep moving, my muscles get to the point where they feel completely empty, incapable of any movement. Then ofcourse on top of that the negative talk sets in and gives in to the discomfort. Weighted gymnastic movements frequently make me feel this way, as well as the first time I tried competitive swimming. Right now I feel like there are some kettle bell workouts that make me feel this way – and although deep down I enjoy the challenge of overcoming these feelings and adversity and learn to become comfortable….it doesn’t make it any less frustrating!

Well, enough of the self-indulgent sports-psych bullshit… this was the workout:

Long Cycle: 1:1 Work/Rest cycles with 1 hand switch
3min set – 12kg bell – warmup
3min set – 16kg bell – warmup (*2:45 and I lost my grip and dropped the bell)
5min set – 12kg bell – 6rpm (*4:30 and I lost my grip and dropped the bell)
5min set – 16kg bell – 6rpm (*3:20 and I am completely embarrassed at how difficult this seemed and how much I panicked and then gave up on the discomfort of my impending lost grip)
2min set – 16kg bell – 8rpm (*I thought it must have been a typo – surely that “6” in 16 was actually supposed to be a 2-hee, hee…. but I think I was so happy that this was the final set that I had no problems)

Farmer’s Walks – 1 minute rest – double kettlebell
4 laps of the gym X 4 sets
So here is another perfect example of where kettlebell sport strips me of some of my feminine badassness…Usually when doing Farmer’s Walks I would be parading around the gym with 32kg’s looking bored. The thought of using 16kg for this made me want to cry. In the end I used 20’s and was struggling on the last set.

Abdominal/ Hip Flexor Work – My Choice = GHD
I did 3 supersets of:
20Β GHD Situps
20Β GHD Hip Extensions

Despite my usual tendency towards beating myself up for not mastering something new in one day… I am actually o.k with today’s workout. It was seriously the best I had to give at 6am this morning. I think once I learn to control my breathing I will swing the loads I know I’m capable of…that and my grip strength improves. Both things are going to need some time, and lots of practice….which is what the next 4 weeks is all about.


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