Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kettlebells and personal bests...

I have been working with Whitney for six years now, since she was a junior in high school. She is now getting ready for her senior year in college, and last competitive season as a field hockey player. We have spent numerous hours together in the weight room, and hundreds more on the track, getting her ready for competition.
For five summers she has had a difficult time hitting her target run times until the last week of the summer, and even then, those have been a struggle. In short, she hates to run, and it often psychs her out.
This year, I decided to cut her running down to a minimum, and concentrate on her kettlebell work. Admittedly it was a little risky, but I felt it was worth the try. (Last summer, she stayed at school most of the time, trained with me minimally, and struggled to get playing time in the fall -- it was now time to try and regain her sophomore form, and try and improve it!)
Whit has been very willing to try the new approach, and has been one of our best kettlebell students this summer. She has come for extra time, focusing on gaining the strength and cardiovascular endurance she will need.
She has pressed more weight, for more repetitions than she has ever been able to before.
She has conditioned herself like a "Viking", following Kenneth Jay's Viking Conditioning plan. (Ironically, her high school's nickname is the Vikings...go figure).
She has ran minimally, focusing only on sprints, with few long runs. I felt she has paid the Pavement Gods enough in terms of time and energy.
We have, however, followed her summer conditioning protocol for testing, which calls for specific times to be met on specific days.
This was a testing week.
Yesterday, she hit her target time in all 12 of her 100 yard sprints. In fact, I "cheated" and marked off 100 meters, instead of yards, so her runs were actually farther, yet still within the required time for the test.
Today, she ran her fastest mile ever -- 6:32. Excellent, considering her target for August is 6:40.
The only difference? Kettlebells. She is stronger, faster, and has more endurance than ever before. And she is starting to believe it as well. To see her elation when I showed her the stopwatch at the end of the mile was incredible.
And we still have a month to improve on that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

As I write this I am sitting in the business center at the Paris Hotel, site of the National Strength and Conditioning Association's 32nd Annual Conference. for the past three days, and for the next 10 hours I am sitting through session after session of relevant, science-based information for the strength and fitness industry.
Like any other conference, there are good and bad presentations. I have been mostly fortunate. I have had the pleasure of sitting through seven hours of Gray Cook and Lee Burton outlining their Functional Movement Screen and its effects on human movement, both for athletes and non-athletes alike.
Those who know me, know how much I respect Gray and his research. To have seven hours of his time, teaching me how to better screen my clients is priceless. And better screening only makes me a better trainer.
Interestingly, Dragon Door announced yesterday its schedule for the 2010 Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Screen Workshop for next May. Was it a sign that my email buzzed with this announcement while I was sitting in Gray's presentation? I don't know, but I plan on being there in May.
I spent time learning about rotational athletes (We are all rotational athletes), and have some new drills for them, as well as some new torture for my hockey kids. (Be very afraid).
Most of my traditional clients will benefit as well -- Todd Durkin, who is LaDanian Tomlinson's trainer, brought some new perspectives into my training. Even though I have been to many of Todd's presentations in the past, and have visited his facility on several occasions, he never fails to bring new ideas to the table.
And speaking to many of my fellow delegates, the reason we are here is not simply to get some continuing education credits, but to learn how to do our jobs better. The attendees here are the best of the best, willing to put thousands of dollars on the line (it is Vegas, afterall), and take time out of our weeks, to learn. We don't simply read articles in the latest consumer magazine. We get out, interact, and question the leaders in the industry.
Rest assured, what is happening here in Vegas will not stay in Vegas.