Honestly, I have to admit, there have been times in my life when I felt like I knew it all.
This became extremely difficult when raising teenagers, because all of a sudden there were too many people in our household that knew it all....and the only thing we agreed on was that the others knew absolutely nothing at all.
I have since gained a certain amount of humility, enjoying the process and wonder of learning new things.
So these past few years, I've gained a lot of hard earned knowledge on health, fitness, and diet. I've spent a lot of time in the gym, doing hard cardio to burn calories and lifting heavy weights to get stronger.
But I never really knew about.....POWER!
When I started lifting weights 3 years ago, I wanted to do a full body workout to get stronger and build muscle. A great side benefit has been a total re-shaping of my body, losing inches in the waist and gaining inches in chest, shoulders, legs and back. And so I embarked on a journey to continuously improve my lifts and recently became very interested in competing in Powerlifting meets a couple of times a year. (See blog bit.ly/1hpsk5A
In Powerlifting you do 3 main lifts (squats, deadlift, and bench press) to see how much weight you can do on each. I've been diligent in my training and have made great strides. But all this time I was focused on getting stronger (hence the SP name), not more powerful.
To be honest, I thought strength and power were synonymous and didn't really pay any attention to the nuanced difference.
But there's a big difference! Stay with me.....
A few weeks ago, I became interested in kettlebells.
I'd always thought they were a geeky fad...something that nutty crossfitters did when they ran out of ideas on how to hurt themselves
In any case, I decided to start using them to help aid me in some recovery that would take a couple of weeks.....and I am now hooked!
I watched a couple of youtube videos, read a bunch of on-line articles, grabbed a 35 lb kettlebell at my gym....and started swinging. I'm thinking, "35 lbs, should be pretty easy, let me start with that, then I'll grab those 54 lbers"
WOW, was I wrong.
The difference was between strength.....and power.
I'm pretty strong. I can deadlift and squat almost twice my bodyweight. What the hell can be so hard about swinging a 35 lb cannonball?
But swinging a weight requires power....it's about using your body (mostly hips, back and hamstrings....the Posterior Chain) to generate force to get that 35 lb kettlebell moving....and to keep it moving.
It's about moving heavy weights FAST....and that's a whole different level of conditioning.
I've been amazed that this never occurred to me before (remember when I said there have been times in my life when I felt like I knew it all). I always thought the choice was between strength training and cardio....do one or the other.
But kettlebells combine the 2....you have to have strength to generate the power to swing that ball....and your whole body is working incredibly hard to keep it moving for a set period of time.
So far I've been doing a variety of swing intervals....swing for 30 seconds & take a 60 sec break. My heart rate gets up to the 80% range during the swings and down to the 60% range on the break. I started doing alternating hand swings and have to admit....they're pretty darn cool. It adds a focused thinking element to the workout.....zone out for a second and that cannonball is smashing into the wall, the floor, or your foot!
I asked around our gym to see if there was anybody that had any training on kettlebells and the manager told me that he had a couple of guys on staff that would show me how to safely do a workout and would correct my form....SCORE!
So we'll see how this goes. I've been wanting to find something new anyway. This has been a great adjunct to my weight lifting. I do 20-30 minutes of kettlebell work after lifting and have found that it really loosens me up and it has really helped my posture, endurance, and flexibility.
Thanks for reading Spark friends...have a great night!