This isn't a post about theology. Instead I want to talk about what you need to succeed with heavy lifting using kettlebells or anything else.

A while back, I figured out that strength was missing from my clients programs. We've changed that by adding new training protocols and early results look promising. But I've noticed that many students struggle with the harmonization of what I call the trinity -- movement, breath, and mind.

Take any lift you're wanting to do heavy -- that's the movement in question. Before you go heavy, you should have significant experience in the movement using a lighter weight. Form had better not be a major point when going for strength training. You should have that mostly nailed down before training for strength. This ensures the nervous system is prepared and you have the confidence necessary to do the lift. Afterall, you've done it a hundred times before. This is an essential requirement for the two components of breath and mind!!

Breath takes a bit longer to incorporate. With lighter weights, how you breathe is less of an issue. With a 4kg weight, it likely doesn't matter how you breathe, you could still press it overhead. Pressing a 32kg kettlebell changes things. Breathing any old way won't work.

You'll need to learn how to pressurize and slowly exhale as you exert yourself. This takes time and practice. And the mechanical details of the lift should have been worked out before breathing is addressed. Worrying about breathing before getting the hips, elbows, knees, etc aligned will needlessly complicate your lifts and totally ruin some clients' confidence. It's too much to worry about. Form first then breathing.

Mind is a missing component in most everyone's fitness. The only people to have it are atheletes or weightlifters. The entire modern fitness community has told a monumental lie to everyone -- you can completely zone out of your workout and still achieve tremendous results. Total BS. That's why the guy next to you on the treadmill still looks the same as he did 5 years ago.

Before I took the lifting test for the IKFF level 2 cert, I slapped my chalked hands together and said loudly, "All in a day's work." This may have seemed arrogant to some but I was mentally preparing myself to completely succeed. All doubts immediately vanished from my mind and I focused like a laser beam. Long term readers will remember that my training for the taichi form competition produced similar results in my ability to concentrate. That concentration is absolutely crucial to your success!!! 

As an aside, I demolished that test and concentration plus preparation is what got me there.

When you lift heavy, you can't be thinking about your girlfriend, what you're going to eat for lunch, or your argument with the boss. The lift will fail or, even worse, you'll get injured. You also can not let one doubt about your ability to lift creep into your mind. If you do, the weight won't go up. 

Timing is absolutely crucial in merging these three components. I often see clients miss the timing by letting one component slip. Some start the movement while concentraining but before the breathing is there. Failed lift. Others don't have the technique down yet so the other components likely can't make up for that. The most common problem is missing the mental timing.

All three components of the lift most come together at exactly the same moment to make it happen. When they do, it's beautfiul and you'll reach a new height fitness-wise and personally.

I'll talk a little more about that last point later.

 

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