Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't forget the basics

Every four weeks or so, I spend time revisiting the basics of RKC training. I practice the fundamental lifts: Primitive Swings, Naked Getups, Sumo Deadlifts, Bodyweight Squats with little or no weight to make sure my form hasn't gone south. After all, if you can't do the basics properly, how will you do the advanced work?
Sounds boring, I know. But one of the fundamentals of the RKC is that we "practice" kettlebells, instead of working out with them. That means reverse engineering over and over again. This is also one of the reasons why RKCs are so proficient at what they do.
If you ever get the chance to go to baseball Spring Training, you will see batters hitting of a tee like a six-year-old before they see live pitching. Martial artists go through the same back-to-basics in their classes to reinforce motor muscle memory. And RKCs will practice the basic lifts over and over again to make sure they don't lose their skills.
When I hold speed camps, the very first thing I do is to re-educate my athletes on proper running technique.
When I work with clients in the gym, one of the first things I do is to re-teach the squat. On the wall. Over and over again.
I get so sick of seeing trainers ignore fundamentals and push their clients to lift more and more weight with improper, even dangerous form. The problem is that basics aren't sexy.
However, basics are effective:
When Navy Seal snipers took out three Somali pirates with three shots off a moving boat a month back, it wasn't because they practiced fancy shooting. It was because they practiced the basics over and over again, and had the confidence that they could perform this difficult task.
Make time for the basics. Reinforcing proper fundamental technique will ensure the more difficult stuff will become easier.

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