Wednesday, March 25, 2009

2009/03/26 - Musings on training

I became obese when I was about six years old. Nobody really knows why. Maybe genetics, unhealthy eating habits, or whatever. I became lean for the first time again when I was about 17 when I took up the practice of Chinese martial arts. I stuck with this for about 6 years and then the cycle of laziness and unhealthy habits (as well as the world of work) took over again.

The first time I made a concerted effort to regain some of my fitness and health came after my divorce in 2001. I started off with Ashtanga Yoga and then ventured back into Chinese Kung Fu. My Kung Fu journey lasted about 2 years and then due to unforeseen circumstances shifted towards the exploration of Russian martial arts. I stuck with this for about two years when laziness and the culture of work above play once again took over.

In In late 2007 I decided to change my physical well-being for the better which resulted in me taking up training with kettlebells - the hard-style or RKC way. I made some impressive gains until I fell down a flight of stairs. This put me back significantly and I had to take a break for about two months. Shortly after taking up the bells again I discovered the GS (Girevoy Sport) method of kettlebell training for general fitness and work capacity. I grabbed this "new" approach with both hands and possibly with a foot or two as well. In 2008 I became a certified kettlebell teacher with Steve Cotter, a real kettlebell guru, who has managed to blend the best of GS with the RKC approach. Since the seminar I have been training with the "Iron Balls" pretty consistently.

More recently I have discovered the work of Scott Sonnon, father of CST (Circular Strength Training) and the guy who brought joint mobility back into public awareness. Since then I have also discovered Scott's 4x7 approach to training. This basically entails training specific attributes in 28 day cycles which include enough "rest" time and some very intense training. Via the teachings of Scott and some of his faculty members I also rediscovered the value of body weight only training.

I guess this brings me to the point of this post. I am a certified Kettlebell teacher and yet it feels to me as if I want to explore the full movement potential of my body beyond the confines of any external weights. My training over the past two years or so brought me to a point where body and mind have begun to communicate in such a way that I have had to ask myself what it is that I really am training towards.

The simple answer at this point in time is to develop my full movement potential. Kettlebells (as I've been using them) is great for developing endurance and work capacity. Yet it seems as if the use of the bells develop some very specific attributes (mainly related to kettlebell sport). Many of the proponents of kettlebell sport methods claim that the bells will develop fitness and health qualities that can transfer easily to any physical activity. From my experience I tend to disagree with this claim. Kettlebells are exceptionally useful when it comes to getting fit, but they are NOT the ultimate tool that will allow a person to discover everything they are capable of. I guess this leaves me somewhat confused regarding the goals of my training. Living in South Africa makes competitive Kettlebell sport seem like a goal far too distant to reach for. Partially as a result of this I've had to decide what it is that I'm training for (goals are so important).

Upon thinking about this I realized that what I really want is the freedom to use my body in as many ways as is possible. This includes building max strength, developing endurance and building the ability to be free to move in any way I wish to. This would naturally entail some changes in my training protocol - which I have yet to figure out.

Please do stay tuned in for my evolving thoughts in this regard.

1 comment:

Howie Brewer said...

Sounds like you've been doing a lot of soul searching there buddy.

Keep it up. It's the only way we can evolve!