Thursday, January 21, 2010

Girl Power Introduction


"Marty Farrell paid a visit to the IC last weekend. For those who don’t know, Marty is one the most unassuming elite athletes in the world. He is the only male American born Master of Sport in Kettlebell Lifting and also, pound-for-pound, the strongest kettlebell lifter in the country. At 70kg, Marty regularly lifts high-rep sets at over 90% of his body weight (as demonstrated in this video). He competes against guys twice his size. The technical precision of his movements as well as his work capacity make his sets exciting to watch. "

Ice Chamber

This is before Scott Helsley made it:)
When you train for kettlebell competitions with your top athletes, what kind of supplemental training do you introduce to your athletes?

Ice Chamber
When preparing for competitions, the Ice Chamber Kettlebell Girls primarily focus on the specific events involved in the meet. In other words, if they compete in the Biathlon, we train Jerks and Snatches; if they do the Long Cycle, we train Cleans and Jerks. We tend to keep things very simple and follow a stringent protocol. We're not very creative or inventive because this protocol works, as you know personally, so we've just stuck with it. We follow what has worked for Valery; and so far it has worked for us. As far as supplemental training goes, we run, cycle, and do a variety of flexibility work.

Is there any specific diet that you follow on a consistent basis?

Ice Chamber
We do not follow any specific diets other than to eat good proteins, fats, and to keep the bad carbs down to a minimum. This is pre-competition, of course. Post-competition we eat anything we want to ;-)

What kind of athletes do you train and do you use kettlebells as a supplement?

Ice Chamber
We train some high level athletes in a wide range of sports including Judo, BJJ, ski racing, triathlons, rowing, cycling (both road and off road), and of course kettlebell lifting. We do use kettlebells as supplemental training for all the athletes in these categories as a way to improve their work capacity. We found that the kettlebell is an indispensable training apparatus for competitive athletes. One of the most beneficial thing about kettlebell lifting, in my opinion, is the ability to train different energy systems without changing the tool. For example, the phosphagen system can be taxed by doing 10 reps of heavy one arm jerks while the aerobic system can be developed with a 20 minute timed set of relatively light snatches. I haven't found another tool in which this type of implementation process is possible. The kettlebell is unique in this regard.

Is there a favorite kettlebell exercise that you prefer?

Ice Chamber
I like the Snatch. It is easy to learn at first, but quite difficult to master. There is little room for technical error. Unlike the Jerk, where you have a rack position to reset, the Snatch in unforgiving in that once you start, there is no turning back. It's like a fast pace chess game. It is highly technical, and you can lose very quickly if you make one wrong move.

Is there a trend with effects of kettlebell training or does it differ from person to person? For example, does a marathon runner provide the same feedback as a strength athlete when introduced to kettlebells?

Ice Chamber
There seems to be a trend with kettlebell lifting in the areas of core strength, endurance, and coordination. Regardless of the athlete, the carryovers from kettlebell lifting have been consistent in our experience. There is no doubt that lifting kettlebells has helped our athletes develop a strong torso, better work capacity, and keen proprioceptive awareness. Most of our athletes have a great understanding of their physical abilities and limitations, but the effects of kettlebell training have helped them enhance an unexpected dimension of performance - mental fortitude. Working timed sets without the opportunity to perform multiple hand switches helps them develop a certain calm under stress. This aspect of performance training is invaluable.

Thanks Ice Chamber!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Professional perspective of competition

WKC has posted a strongman competition for the Arnold. I'm training for the Arnold and would like to do the traditional competition with 2 32kgs. It really isn't that heavy. I've tried 40 kgs before. That was heavy for me. But its all about context.

I like the idea of heavy kettlebells competition, particularly for 48 kgs.

In a year 2 48 kgs will go up. Why not. Even that is not heavy in the overall context of strength sports. For reps (30 or more), it is world class no doubt but I've seen videos of world champion olympic weight lifters. They are interesting to watch. Not unlike kettlebells, a lot of skill is required for impressive results. While power output per rep is different, the training volume of overall tonnage is similar.

Technique and work ethic are paramount. For the new years resolution I will have a service to offer to bring athletes together for a clinic. This purpose is to work out primarily but also fix problem areas. Since I've fixed mine, I can offer personal experience and also review how to prepare for competitions or ultimately performances. Since 2007 I've traveled every month and ate food that had been inconsistent, slept in different conditions and somehow tried to improve my performance while having additional objectives, such as instruction during a certification. Since this is a lengthy topic, and requires two way communication, it will behoove one to be honest with one self to compete like they train. Too often competition becomes a social event. Thats good! Its all about timing though. If I show up and socialize, I lose focus on what I'm supposed to be doing. I remember when I made Rank I and CMS, that this wasn't an issue. That means that I didn't understand what it (performing better) meant.

When you get to a professional level and it is up to you to decide when that is, you need to show up to the competition with one clear focus. Valery told me not to "have fun" the day before and from countless experiences it took I understand why.

Going back to my earlier sentiment, it's good to have fun, hence an awards ceremony after the competition and maybe a dinner.

In Miami FL, Denisov, Ivanko, who lifted 150 jerks showed up maybe an hour before the competition. He didn't stand around hang out and talk to people. He treated it like training. When I trained for Latvia, I spent 1000 hours in the gym in the last year, I went out before the competition and showed up socializing and did 31 Jerks and 7 minutes. I shot my foot off.

You are probably thinking that the word Primadonna comes to mind, but its again about context. When you invest in something, in this case training, you want to cash in all the hard work of 1000 hours and you get only 10 minutes to do it.

Stay Tuned. I will advertise sport training camp in a week. It is two days of hard work and personal instruction. We will also go over competition prep on the down time at a dinner after the training camp. The reason, I want t a dinner is to remind you that when its time to train, its time to work, when its time to have a good time, thats ok and recommended! The time, place and cost are TBD.