Well, I’m roughly one week out from the December 5th competition in Georgia, and I’ve lost almost an entire week of training due to yet another cold. This marks at least the fourth cold I’ve had this year, and although everyone I work with is also getting frequent colds, the fact that I keep succumbing makes me worry I”m perhaps pushing myself a bit too hard. To remedy this, I’m forcing myself to get more sleep each night and I’m also upping my water intake as I tend to not drink as much water as I should.
In any event, I’m better now and managed to get in a solid GS practice this morning before the Thanksgiving preparations begin. I’m working with cheap kettlebells in American weights, and since I’ll be competing with 12 kg kettlebells, I’m using 30 lbs kettlebells. My performance wasn’t quite what I need it to be in a week, but I may be able to improve after a solid week of practice:
Double Kettlebell Jerks @30 lbs: 27 reps in 5 minutes
Single Kettlebell Snatches @30 lbs: 30 reps L/R in 6 minutes
I followed this up with a set of single kettlebell jerks and swings using a heavier 20 kg bell. Even allowing for the fact that I’m using slightly heavier bells than what I will be competing with, I have some improvements to make. Assuming I don’t end up weighing 132 lbs or less the day of the event (certainly possible) I should be competing in the 65 kg weightclass, which means I’ll need to complete 48 total jerks and 45 snatches per hand to qualify for Rank IV in the World Kettlebell Club.
I certainly think 45 snatches per hand is within reach, given that the bell used will be lighter and I’ll have more time to rest after jerks. The jerks worry me more, but I didn’t stop due to positive muscular failure caused by the actual exercise, but from exhaustion in the rack-position. During the following week I will attempt to practice at least twice with Pro-Grade kettlebells and concentrate on maintaining a technically perfect rack where the weight of the bells is absorbed by the structure of my body. The actual structure of my kettlebells may be an issue, as the width of the handles may not allow me to hold my hands correctly so that the weight is balanced on my centerline and my elbows rest against my torso. My posture is also important, as shown in the diagram below.
This diagram, showing the various stages of the double kettlebell jerk demonstrates the correct rack position on the far left. Note the backwards lean allowing the elbows to rest on the hip bones and the weight to be carried structurally-correct down the lower body. Also note the straight legs in this position…maintaining bent knees leads to fatigue in the legs and most likely a very abbreviated Jerk set. Also note, I first came across the diagram above in an article in the excellent GS-blog “Girevoy Sport after 40,” which you’ll find to the right in my Blogroll.
I have roughly 3-4 more sessions planned out before my competition, so stay tuned to see my progress. I hope for my sake that there is quite a bit to report on!