Seven weeks to go before our Kettlebell Pentathlon, and those of us who are up for it are ramping up the training round about now. Girevoy Sport is a demanding discipline, but then I guess every sport participant would say that about their chosen field!
If you take a look at the Russian approach to lifting, you will see true dedication and perseverance to get those reps out, whatever the struggle. I find it really inspirational to watch these guys. In a video clip of 10 minutes lifting, I might see the athlete reaching a barrier several times over, and I ask myself how many times I shake off those moments and carry on in one session? The clip below is non-Pentathlon specific, but pressing 40kg for 100 reps is worth our respect, I reckon!
The key is preparation and assistance drills. The hours in the gym I might put in each week need to include a focus on grip strength, endurance and shoulder mobility in order to manage the five exercises of the Pentathlon. So, those barbell deadlifts, rope drills, Indian Club drills and bodyweight exercises all come into their own. They also add enjoyment, and distraction from an obsessive focus on reps and the demands of the competition ahead.
Secondly, mindset is all important. I usually reach a point of doubt in my lifting ability before my coach does, so when he sets me a workout and ups the weights, I have learnt it’s worth listening to him and trusting his judgement.
Cross- training matters. I chose to get some help from a swim coach, to ensure my swim drills were both progressive and measured. The downside is that as I only use my upperbody in swimming I was still lacking lower body training. I have tried to redress the balance with box jumps and hurdles, but I am not sure that will prove to be enough. The Paralympics have shown us all that the human body has an immense capacity to adapt, but no one ever said adaptation will always be tailored to your specific training needs, which is why I use a coach. Someone else pointing out where your body has begun unhelpful shortcuts to a movement, or identifying a missing element to your training, can make a massive difference.
Nutrition and sufficient sleep/rest cannot be circumvented. There’s nothing clever about skipping a meal or staying up late if I want to train hard the next day. It’s simply a question of working out my priorities.
The final piece of the jigsaw has to be having a life as well. Fitting in time with family, or taking my pup out to the coast for a long walk, are just as important as every other element. After all, the competition is one day of my life, and there will be others beyond that, I hope. So, my schedule needs to acknowledge all these factors, and then I can get on with lifting strong, and enjoying the challenge.