The time was 2:00am, Monday night.
I had just wrapped up some freelance design work and decided that I wanted to fit in a quick workout before ending the day.
Ever since lifting at the One Hour Long Cycle charity event back in October of last year, I just haven’t been able to get myself back into kettlebell sport lifting. I felt that the energy or time just wasn’t there, and if there was time, my mind just wasn’t in the right place. Kettlebell sport is a mental game and requires a lot of focus and dedication, at least for me it does. I admit, I’ve had some major sidetracking and slackage on my part in terms of practicing my long cycle clean and jerk sets for the longest time. Not to say that the last few months haven’t been amazing…but something was missing. I was working out but not training for anything. I needed that spark. That will to compete and train for something.
Today’s session was just a quick test set just to see where I stand. I did a quick warm up with indian clubs, went down to the basement, strapped on my lifting shoes, set the gym boss for 10 minutes, grabbed a 12kg kettlebell, and off I went. I was struggling a bit towards the end and the KB didn’t feel quite as light as it used to but I did manage to get about 120 reps of long cycle clean and jerks, so not bad. To overcome the weight and work back up to lifting the 16kg, it looks like I’ve got a lot of lifting ahead of me! Let’s do this!!
So what brought this all on?
Well, a few weekends ago, my good friends Jason Dolby and John Wild Buckley of the Orange Kettlebell Club (OKC) flew in from California to instruct a 2-day workshop on Indian Clubs and Russian Kettlebell training, held at my friend Greg Carver’s gym – Strengthbox. They had just returned from a trip to Siberia to compete and train under the watchful eye of their Russian Coach: Sergey Rudnev and were here to share their collective knowledge and tips on Russian kettlebell lifting with us all. Both guys are extremely passionate about kettlebell lifting. It really showed in their teachings and newly acquired Russian accents and mannerisms. Needless to say, we were all well entertained and educated at the same time!
John Wild Buckley is bigger than Godzilla and the friendliest giant you’ll ever meet. He also possesses superhuman strength. He once lifted me over his head.
Jason Dolby is a total badass. I did a few months of online training with him last year in preparation for one of my kettlebell competitions and saw some great results with lifting the 16kg. We used to text each other every time we finished one of our crazy late night lifting sessions. It was good times and I miss it! Seeing how things are going, we’ll probably be training together again.
The first day of the workshop began with Jason taking us through an entire mobility routine that involved a set of joint mobility movements to warm up the body and prepare it for lifting followed by some shoulder mobility drills with Indian Clubs. Indian Clubs are great, I remember how excited I was to have came across them 3 years ago when I was rehabbing my newly repaired left collarbone. They only weigh a pound each but they work wonders. It helped me restore my range of motion and is just a great all round tool for anyone looking to improve/maintain their range of motion in the shoulders. It’s also great for opening up the chest and keeping the body loose.
Some of the Indian Club moves we did included:
Folding Wrists (fwd and bkwd)
Frontal Plane Circles (half and full)
Sagittal Plane Circles (half and full)
Falling Arcs (inside and outside)
The remainder of the workshop was spent going over the basics of kettlebell sport lifting. We started off with the kettlebell swing, progressed to the clean and rack, then incorporated all the movements for the Jerk. No matter how many times I’m taught the basics, I always learn something new. This time, I learned a new way of swinging the kettlebell that involves an elbow/hip connection, making it more efficient and energy conserving for those long 10 minute sets.
Eric St Onge and Boris Terzic demonstrate the perfect rack while lifting John off the ground. If you have a strong rack, the weight of the kb should be perfectly aligned with your body and you should be resistant to any amount of weight or downward force.
My favourite part was when they taught the Jerk. I’m always learning and seeking ways to improve my technique. We did various drills on the double knee dip and practiced reducing the 2nd knee dip for added efficiency. Jason had the breathing part of it down to an art. You can bet it took hundreds of breathing cycles to perfect. It’ll take a bit of practice before I fully get the hang of it too and for it to feel natural, but I’m working on it and looking forward to seeing how it’ll improve my lifting 🙂 By the end of the day, I was able to jerk the 24kg for a few reps and the 28kg for 1 rep.
We wrapped up day one with dinner out while watching the UFC 129 fight, which was actually in Toronto this time down at the Rogers Centre, but we had to settle for watching it at a local Boston Pizza.
The next day we started off by doing Jason’s joint mobility and indian club warm up drills and spent most of our time learning the more technical movements which included the Snatch and Long Cycle. I actually hate snatches with a passion, but absolutely love my long cycle clean and jerks. Though I’ll admit that after the workshop ended, I hated them a little less, as we did a series of assistance drills to help make the movement more fluid and learned a better way of gripping the bell so that there is less strain on the hands. Torn hands are never sexy. I like to keep my lifting blood-free whenever possible.
Next up, John concluded the workshop with a lecture on programming and how to cater your workouts towards your competition training goals. There are 5 stages. The first 3 stages you’re working out. Stage 4 you’re training for the win, then stage 5 is everything enjoyable, fun, and tasty. So apparently I’ve just been snowboarding, living it up, and stuck in stage 5 for the last 5 months. That’s ok, I was told that it’s healthy to give the joints a break from all that heavy lifting…but pretty soon I need to get back at it, lol. Life’s just too good in Stage 5!!
Thank you OKC for inspiring me to dig deep and get my butt back into hardcore training mode!!