Over the last 4.5 months or so I’ve been training for the IKFF National Kettlebell Competition. Riding high on the thrills of competing at the Arnolds in March, I had decided to make this one of my main training goals. To compete in long cycle with the 16kg kettlebell and achieve IKFF Rank 1 Status, while dropping down a weight class to 63kg. I was so set on the goal that I even went as far as hiring my friend Jason Dolby as my Online GS Sport coach. He lives in LA and I live in Toronto, with several miles and a 3 hour time gap between us, we communicated via email, skype, and by phone. Whatever kettle wants, kettle gets. At least, that was the feeling rushing through my head at the time. I thought it’d be an interesting experience and beneficial to train like a Russian for this event, afterall, they are the ones who are most dominant in this sport and Jason had recently traveled to Russia to learn, train and get certified by the IKSFA.
It’s been a long haul and its amazing how time flies. The training was progressive and as time went by, i saw my strength and endurance improve. I felt good. I trained every 2 or 3 days depending on my schedule. I suddenly had to be really disciplined with my training as I needed to report back on how I did each time I did a workout. It certainly helped me stay motivated and on track. Most of it was comprised of indian clubs, swings, squats, long cycle, long cycle, and MORE long cycle. All done with kettlebells of varying weights. I had some amazing lifting sessions but sometimes they were really mentally draining and the bells just felt like they weighed a ton, especially when I was lifting late at night after a long work day just for the sake of ‘fitting it in.’ Probably not the most ideal time of day to be jerking kettlebells overhead. On my ‘off days’ I did anything and everything I loved…rollerblading, biking, rock climbing, more kettlebells, yoga, muay thai boxing, pole dancing, bodyweight workouts, beach volleyball, attending fitness workshops etc. I like to keep things fun and interesting and tend not to enjoy being tied to any one specific activity. When the sun’s out, there’s a good chance I’m not indoors, work being the exception.
With the competition less than a week away, I’ve been really good and focused like a lazer during the last couple of weeks. Coach’s orders. I was told to go easy and not to ‘climb mountains’ on my days off from the GS training. When a fighter prepares for a fight, he/she must stay focused on the task at hand. I’ve been doing 8, 9, 10 minute timed sets with the 16kg combined with some light warm ups with indian clubs, hand to hand swings, and low reps of long cycle with the 12, 16, 20kg bells. I’m happy with my progress and the only thing left to do before the comp is to cut a few extra pounds before the weigh in this Friday.
Looking back on the entire experience, I’ve observed a few things:
1. Good form and technique is everything. I’ve improved my technique, removed some inefficient movements like reducing my under squat, and have seen an increase in my numbers. Still not enough to reach my initial goal of 120reps/10mins but it’s getting there. I’ll still be very happy with anything between 110 to 120 and I know I will be able to do enough reps to achieve Rank 1 status.
2. I have done a LOT of long cycle reps. Sooo many that it’s insane! I should really be getting sick of it by now.
3. Kettlebell is a really tough sport. It’s both mentally and physically challenging. When you think you’re tired and about to quit, you just have to power through it. Sometimes that’s easier said than done.
4. Once you’ve reached a certain level, strength gains become very small and incremental. Now that I’ve been putting in time with the 16kg and 20kg bells, the 12kg feels like a breath of fresh air and a super light weight. I’m getting there with the 16kg…
5. Kettlebell sport exposes your weaknesses. It’s an ugly truth, I hate it but at the same time it also motivates me to overcome it and become stronger because I hate the feeling of being defeated.
I look forward to competing at the IKFF Nationals and hope to hit a PR and come home with a GOLD MEDAL around my neck. I’ll be posting video and updates when I return from Michigan.