I know you like to lift. So do I. But what exactly are you training for? Are you trying to hit a specific load with your dead lift? Are you trying to get in shape for an endurance event? Or maybe a martial arts competition. Maybe, like me, you want to tame the “Beast” (that’s a strict press, strict pull up and pistol squat with the 48k kettlebell). That goal will take me some time but while I work toward it I am also able to stay strong and mobile and adequately conditioned for the upcoming bow hunting season, some of the time likely spent at altitude. Whatever it is, you should know what it is.
Assuming you know what you’re training for the next question is are you on the right path and the question after that is are you sticking to the plan? Once you have a program in hand you need to follow it. Now I don’t mean hitting heavy singles at 95% of your 1RM the day after you had a crappy night of sleep and feel like death warmed over. If that’s your instinct, I’d refer you to my previous post “Always be smarter than the kettlebell.” But assuming you have your head screwed on straight, make sure to follow the plan. Just as desired outcomes in life are not guaranteed, so too is the case for desired outcomes in the gym, but staying the course is your best (and only) chance to find out how close you can get.
So I will ask you again, what are you training for? And are you following the plan you’ve chosen? If not you need to either rethink your goal so it’s more in line what you really want to accomplish or you need to kick yourself in the pants and get back on the program…and stick with it!
Stay strong, my friends!
I wrote “The Martial Arts / Kettlebell Connection” back in 2010 for Black Belt Magazine. When I signed copies for people I always wrote something I had been telling my students for a while, “Always be smarter than the kettlebell!” I found this a funny way for me to get across to people the importance of staying present and rational during training.
Training is a good and necessary thing. But all good things can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. Water is the single most important element to our daily survival. We can last without food for weeks but two days without water in the right (wrong) conditions and you’re dead. Water is truly essential, but you can drink too much. It’s called hyponatremia and is no joke. The condition is rare, but my point is clear: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
In training, the desire is often to beat ourselves to a pulp in order to rebuild stronger. There’s nothing wrong with a good work ethic. In fact, I think it’s one of the few things we can’t really teach someone. It’s either there or it’s not. But like all things it can be taken too far. I had a student who used a lacrosse ball to such an extreme he actually bruised himself. Clearly this is not the goal of a recovery tool. I had another student, actually more than one, who if the session for the day called for running through traffic, they would do it with no hesitation. This is a problem. This is when someone becomes their own worst enemy.
So, yes, please work hard. Training shouldn’t be easy, but it also shouldn’t be stupid. If you find yourself frequently injured or sick, take a step back and make sure you’re being smarter than the kettlebell. Our minds separate us from animals that behave on instinct alone. I strongly suggest you use it.
Stay strong, my friends!