Halfway through sport camp today and the learning continues to be intense and FUN! My morning started off with an early private training session with Kseniya Dedukhina. She is an incredible lifter with an amazing resume of accomplishments in the sport. I was very nervous to show her just how terrible I am at the snatch, but decided to be brave because I would very much like to improve. She is very kind and positive and has an excellent coaching eye. I learned a lot from our session today and I look forward to practicing and improving! My time with her definitely solidified my decision to take a break from long cycle for 6 months to focus on biathlon. In my only 2 competitions using the 20kg kettlebell for long cycle the first thing to crap out on me has been my grip.
Ofcourse in my freshman lifter eyes I assumed this meant I had a weak grip, so initially my decision for working on snatch was to strengthen my grip. Now (thanks to the coaching I have received this week) I now realize my grip strength is actually not as weak as I thought it was. That being said, if you rely solely on your arms and grip in kettlebellsport it is asking for disaster. The reason my grip is fatiguing so quickly is because I am inefficiently relying too much on the strength of my upper body and not using larger muscle groups like my legs that would actually save me energy and increase both the length of my set and the number of reps I can complete. That being said, I still feel working on my snatch is the smartest way for me to improve because only through that practice will I fully develop the understanding of how to move my body around the bell and use gravity to my advantage so that I can get maximum relaxtion in my arms when they don’t actually need to be working. I feel this connection to the bell is more pronounced in snatch than long cycle…but that is just my opinion.
I really like and respect Kseniya’s coaching eye because after watching many repetitions of my snatch she was quickly and easily able to pinpoint the areas in which I am weak/inefficient and she had me do assistance exercises to help improve those areas. To help engage my legs more we did lots of two handed and one handed swings. She also had me do some jump squats holding the kettlebell.
To improve my grip she showed me (and had me practice a bunch of sets) an exercise she likes to do with a barbell.
Finally she likes to end each training session doing back extensions and ab work. We did a bunch of v-situps (legs straight or slightly bent), bicycle situps and I’m not sure what to call the last one so I had Amanda take video….
In between we did some running and stretching. It was awesome. There is nothing like training with a champion, the way a champion trains. Thank you Kseniya! I think my highlight from this session was when she told me that I was a very good student 🙂
Next up were my two favourite lifters – Yevgeniy Goncharov and Denis Vasilev teaching the finer points of long cycle. Thank goodness we were working on my strongest lift because I was pretty tired after my session with Kseniya. Still it was super important listening to these two champions as they shared with us some of their training secrets for warmup, cooldown, fitting a lifting belt and what to look for in a belt for kettlebell sport and much more.
We spent a good chunk of the afternoon with Sergey Merkulin. I love this man because he has been training and competing in kettlebell sport for 27 years with NO major injuries! He is a highly decorated champion and we are close to the same age. It just shows how amazing this sport is for health and fitness. Merkulin spoke with us about how he incorporates barbell work into his programming. I LOVE his system and the movements he uses. I am definitely going to try a training cycle using his system since it most definitely seems to be effective! 😉 Tomorrow I have a private training session with Merkulin and I can’t wait. Something tells me we will be doing some barbell work after our kettle sets….
On an unrelated note I received some awesome news today! I had written an article over the Christmas break for My Mad Methods on the no hands (double kettlebell) Turkish Get Up (TGU). It was published and released today! I’m so thrilled! I love this magazine and have been wanting to get something published in it for a couple of years now.