When I spotted a used 50# KB on Amazon, I snapped it up. I was kind of curious about how it would be packaged. When it finally arrived, I had to laugh. Shipping label slapped right there on the side. My favorite part, though, is the sticker indicating that this should be lifted by a team.
I really enjoyed Tim Ferriss's talk with former U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Coach Christopher Sommer. There is deep knowledge there.
Coach Sommers talked about incorporating a period of deloading into your training, either by backing off the load or volume, or by simply staying at a given load long enough that it starts to feel too easy.
And he talked about coaching an athlete to a world championship, during which time he did not change the strength workout at all. The trainee simply took less and less time to complete the workout as he adapted to the load.
Those thoguhts dovetailed nicely with something I first saw in Pavel Tsatsouline's book. The idea is that you start with a weight that you can handle with difficulty, and over time develop the strength and skill to master that weight. For heavy kettlebells, this might take months working with the same weight. There's a ton of really interesting stuff packed into that simple idea. For now, it suffices to say that this leverages the body's natural feedback loops to optimize periodization, which is awesome.
So, for my last training block, I picked weights that were tough, and stuck with those same loads, even as they felt progressively easier. I did that for three weeks, then did a back-off week. (When Dan John, Mark Rippetoe, Joe Friel, and now Christopher Sommer all say the same thing, it is wise to listen.)
And now I'm stepping up to a new, more difficult workout. Here's the new deal:
- KB swing x 20 @ 35#
- KB swing x 20 @ 50#
- 1-arm swing x 20 @ 35#
- KB squat x 12 @ 85#
- push-up x 8 @ BW
- standing row x 12 @ 65#
- flutter kicks x 45
- KB waiter walk 6 x ~40m @ 35# (once each arm)
The key difficulty upgrades are the KB squats, flutter kicks, and waiter walks. It's all stuff I can do, but it's hard. The plan is to do this same workout until I feel ready for the next step up, and then I repeat the process.
It's going to take a while to get to the point where this workout is too easy. At the moment, it's perfect, pushing my limits without being crazy. Once I feel solid doing this, I'll start increasing the reps until I can crank out sets of 20. Then I'll hold until that feels too easy, and then it's time for another step up.
I honestly don't know yet what I'll step up to. Time constraints mean I can't add volume, so I'm focused on more challenging movements. So I'm going to dive back into Convict Conditioning and Simple and Sinister and see what I can find.
I'm also paying more attention to stretching and mobility, another insight that's been repeated by everyone from Gray Cook to Dan John to Christopher Sommer. When the best minds in the world all say the same thing, I'd be a fool not to listen. On this front, Full-Body Flexibility has been an asset.