“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett
Any goal worth attaining will serve up failures along the way. Training for Strong First Level 1 (SFG 1) did not disappoint on that count. During my nearly year and half of training, I experienced all sorts of setbacks such as torn hands, tweaked muscles and failed lifts.
The most spectacular set back of all occurred on a heavy swing day. I was in my second to the last round when I lost my grip sending the 45 lb. bell flying a few feet away, landing with a crash on the floor; this setback is one that haunts me regularly during snatches and heavy swings.
It was all I could do not to cry, so instead, I sucked it up and completed the last round.
At that point in my training, I knew where I needed to go to reach my goal of receiving an SFG 1 Certification: I must Adhere to my coach’s program, work the Brett Jones SFG prep guide and listen to my nutritionist. But damn it, days like that, days where I was following the plan and still falling short, made me want to put that dream in the ditch.
As a mom, I have a trick with my kids. On the ride home after a game, football, soccer, basketball and even acting, they are allowed to vent about missed calls, points, and lines. The Jeep is the safe place to be with your emotions. When the ride is over, so is the pity party.
After my failed attempt I gave myself the same grace; I let the tears and frustration overtake me. Then, as with my kids, when the ride was over the negativity ended and it was time to start evaluating what I could do to get better. I knew that in the end, that’s all one has control over.
After a self-evaluation, the areas outside of my kettlebell work I had decided to focus on were quality of sleep, limiting “other” types of exercise that may be interfering with my goal and taking better stock of my progress before heading into a tailspin. I would Progress to heavier swings, fail and then continue to push forward in an attempt to always fail better.
Kettlebell Swing Instruction:
Before you Start:
Disclaimer – Content in this post is strictly informational, a qualified trainer in your area should be consulted before performing this or any other lift.
Shoes – When training with kettlebells flat soled shoes or bare feet are the best method as they allow for greater stability
Power breath– inhale when you hike the bell back and exhale at the top. The power breath is used to keep tension and compression in the abs and to perform the swing safely.
1.Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed out a little.
2. Place the kettlebell in front of you with both hands gripping the handle.
3. Engage the lat muscles to pack the shoulders (arms are not just hanging loose).
4. Bend the hips keep your spine flat. Head and spine should be in a neutral position throughout the swing.
5. Bend slightly at the knees.
6. To begin the swing, breath in deep (power breath) and hike the kettlebell back quickly. The outside of your forearms should graze your inner thigh. It’s important to keep the bell high not allowing it go below your knees.
7. Heals should be firmly rooted to the ground.
8. Send the kettlebell forward by snapping your hips in a fast explosive motion and straightening your knees, releasing the tension breath at the top of the swing.
9. At the top of the swing, for a Russian style swing, the kettlebell should be shoulder height. Your body should be in an upright plank. Abs, glutes, thighs, and lats are fully engaged.
10. Always end as you began. On the top of your last swing go into a final hike position then reverse the movement at the start bringing the kettlebell to rest in front of you.
Watch me demonstrate:
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