Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Arnold Madness

A week and a half ago I ventured to the Arnold Fitness Festival in tropical Columbus, Ohio. As you read in my previous post a recurring back injury prevented me from competing so instead I judged the kettlebell sport competition, which turned out to be very enjoyable and not as monotonous as it would seem.

The competition consists of 2 events, the biathlon which is a 10 minute jerk set, followed by a ten minute snatch set, and the clean and jerk (long cycle) event, which is a single 10 minute set.

This is a video of a colleague Londin Winters (on the left in the white tank top), whom I have been coaching for about a month. She stepped up and did a great long cycle set with a 12kg (25lb) bell, hitting 104 reps in 10 minutes with only one hand switch allowed.

Notice the smoothness of movement all the athletes display, which is really what separates good from great performances moreso than strength. The average gym goer or athlete could learn much from this. As I've heard from many collegiate strength coaches the strongest guys in the gym are rarely, if ever, the best players on the field.

Look to improve your movement quality along with other aspects of fitness. It's often more important than strength or endurance when it comes to keeping healthy in the long or short term.

After the competition is when one can really engage in some learning, and this time was no exception. The following is a video of my friend John Wild Buckley hoisting various people overhead with one arm in front of a Mongolian BBQ joint. Needless to say we got some attention from the people inside!

Getting back to movement quality, imagine picking up a 150lb dumbbell and putting it over your head with one arm. Now imagine doing that with something that is off balance and hard to hold onto, such as a person, and you'll have some idea how hard that is. And it's not only strength that makes it possible, but coordination and structural integrity - stability from the foot thru the shoulder.

In other words things people will never develop sitting on a machine, doing curls, or cardio classes. Get on your feet and pick things up.

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