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Lifting weights, training or practice

I meet a lot of people that ask me to ”show them some kettlebell exercises”… Believe me, I’d really love to be able to just show some exercises and then the person knows them… but there is way more to a good safe lift than just seeing it.

Let’s say it like this, I can show it to you fast but then the risk of you training with bad form will increase and by that the risk of you injuring yourself increases tremendously. That is not what I’m about. I teach good skills/movement patterns to prevent injury and improve movement quality.

One has to learn the exercise and then refine it to be able to get good training and be able to stay away from injuries, sometimes lifting weights actually isn’t the right thing to do. First the body has to be able to move correctly without fighting it’s own limitations.

Well, anyone that trains any sport or tries to excel in any type of activity can tell you that learning a skill takes time. Take a person trying to learn to write for instance, no one can see someone else write a word and then just do it, it takes time and in the beginning it will not be pretty.

I usually compare it to giving a punch or a kick which is more comparable to a kettlebell lift like the swing for instance (you can compare it to a forehand in tennis, a golf swing or any other movement pattern that you can relate to). To learn that skill, that movement pattern in a safe and effective way you need to have the understanding of the mechanics of it and someone that has the skill to give you that understanding, and be able to pass it to you in an efficient way.

Let’s take Dead-lifts for instance, It’s a great exercise for your whole body but if you can’t touch your toes then dead-lifts isn’t for you. In that case you have to accept your limitations, step away from the bar and get that toe-touch back before your start lifting. By lifting the weight will only make your limitation/asymmetry/problem better at being a problem to you (the human body is great at compensating/adapting). Compare it to having a front tire on your car that is a bit unbalanced or crooked, if you race that car will the tire get straight again or will it eventually break down? Yes… it will eventually break down, unless you fix it before you start racing the car.

Now let’s get back to the issue between training or practicing a lift. When it comes to lifting weights most people think of it like training. A theory of mine is that the reason to that way of thinking is that when you go to a regular gym you mostly work out by yourself – without an instructor. You get a tour of the gym and the different machines/weights and then you’re on your own, unless you hire a PT.

Within the RKC we strongly work in the different direction, to make sure that your health is what comes first, to quote Gray Cook ”fitness isn’t a predictor of durability, movement is”. That statement says it all really (but it would have been a really short article written by Gray Cook, not by me), when your movement pattern (the lift you are training) is good, then you can get fit by training it, if you start at the other end you risk getting injured because you are working against the resistance of your your own body.

Yes, I know that’s the way it always have been done, but changing the perspective will make you more durable and healthier in the long run. Ask any elite athlete if they always goes balls to the walls in training, they don’t because they know that elite sport isn’t healthy in the long run…

If you’re an elite athlete competing in any type of sport you need to have 3 things, 1. functional movement, 2. the ability to generate power and 3. your sport specific skill. If any of the first two limit your sport specific skill or are in imbalance, the risk of you breaking is far greater.

If you come train with me I’ll make sure that you learn the lift first. You practice it until you know it, then you can use it in training. It is about limiting injuries and making you more resistant to them, not the other way around.

To finish it off, yes, I can show you some kettlebell exercises… but I won’t! You have to come train with me and learn the skill off kettlebell lifting in a safe way, that will give you results instead of injuries!

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12 Responses to Lifting weights, training or practice

  1. Aaron Pierson HKC 20101012 at 23:21 #

    This blog says it all. I wish more people would understand that safe, professional instruction is essential.

  2. Tommy 20101012 at 23:34 #

    Thank you Aaron, glad you like it! You heading for the RKC?

  3. Aaron Pierson HKC 20101013 at 18:38 #

    I am heading to the St Paul RKC in April. Very excited!

  4. Tommy 20101019 at 00:20 #

    That sounds great Aaron. You’ll love it!

  5. Jerry Vanepps 20101210 at 06:37 #

    I have been checking out many of your articles and i can state clever stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your site.

  6. Tommy 20101214 at 11:25 #

    Thank you Jerry.
    I’m really glad that you like the articles.

    There will be more coming…

  7. Cole Summers 20120511 at 08:05 #

    Excellant article Tommy! Thank you.

  8. Tommy 20120511 at 08:26 #

    Thank you Cole! Glad you likes it!

  9. Dr. Michael Hartle 20120513 at 19:27 #

    Great article Tommy!! Thank you!

  10. Tommy 20120514 at 00:17 #

    Thank you Michael! Really glad you liked it!
    Hope our paths will cross soon!

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