I started training with kettlebells back in March. At the time I didn’t really know what I was doing but then I read the excellent book ‘Enter the kettlebell’ which describes the Right of Passage program. This is a program that only includes the essentials of building strength and endurance and is considered the base line within the RKC community and is essential if you want to become an RKC certified instructor. It’s a good program and even though I’m not planning on becoming a kettlebell trainer any time soon I was looking for a way to increase my upper body strength as my lower body is much stronger in comparison (thanks to years of cycling to work), and I wanted to make myself more symmetrical. The program consists of ladders from 1 – 5 of the clean and press mixed with pull ups. A ladder is where you increase the number of reps with each set, so in this case you’d do a set of 1 clean and press followed by 1 pullup, followed by a set of 2 clean and presses followed by 2 pullups and so on up to 5 reps of the clean and press followed by 5 pullups. You’d then do the whole thing 5 times, resulting in performing the clean and press 75 times per arm in one work out. It’s hard.
If you want to know what it looks like you can watch someone do it here. It’s not me by the way, just some random person I found on Youtube 🙂
I started with the 16Kg kettlebell, and thanks to the previous year I had spent going to the gym, found that it didn’t take two long to get to the point where I needed to move up to the next sized bell which is 24Kg which is a big leap. That 24Kg bell seems very heavy in comparison to the 16. This is where the patience comes in. Strength is a skill. It’s something you have to practice, and you have to practice it a lot. I couldn’t blast my way through the sets with the 24Kg bell, infact at first just getting up to rung 3 in the ladder was all I could achieve. Still, this was to be expected. You just need to keep practising consistently and you’ll get stronger. The program doesn’t promise to be interesting and varied, it promises an increase in strength. So grit your teeth and plough on.
However, I was performing a clean and press one morning back in August and something twinged in my right shoulder. What I should have done was stopped straight away, but I don’t think I did. I didn’t finish the workout but I did force myself through some more reps. Probably shouldn’t have done that. Sad times. Oh well, you live and learn. As it happened, on the following day myself and the rest of the fam were travelling down to Cornwall for a week for a holiday so I figured that would give me a chance to heal up.
It seems I was a bit optimistic in my healing time estimation as it is now the beginning of November and I still have pain in my shoulder. It’s better than it was but it’s still not right. I’m not sure what is wrong with it as the shoulder is very complicated and it could be a number of things, possibly a rotator cuff injury. This has meant that for the past three months I’ve had to hold back on my training. This is where my lack of patience really makes things hard for me. I want to get on with my training and get stronger. I can still do swings, snatches, cleans, renegade rows, but anything that is shoulder centric is not good. This is a shame because the overhead press is an excellent exercise and I miss it. I can press the 16Kg bell fine, but if I try the 24Kg one then my right shoulder starts to hurt and feels unstable, pressing with my left is fine and feels strong so it’s weird being stronger on my left side as opposed to my right.
Anyway, enough is enough and I’ve booked a doctors appointment for a week on Friday. Hopefully I can get some Physio out of it. I’d also like to know exactly what I’ve done. I’ll be disappointed if he just tells me to rest it although I have a suspicion as that is what he’ll do.
In light of my shoulder injury, my workouts have been different. This mornings workout was a ladder with 5 rungs of the double clean, double swing and renegade row with 2 x 20Kg bells. I did that 3 times. That was followed by four minutes of one armed swings with a 20Kg bell.