Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why do we lift kettlebells?

By Rod MacMillan
WCKC Team Member

Why do you lift kettlebells? Who would want to do that for 10 minutes? I am often asked questions like that from people who are unfamiliar with the sport. And for good reason. It is a rather odd sport that is shockingly hard. Now that a couple of days have passed since the San Francisco competition where more than 100 (including professional) lifters from around the world competed I have had a chance to think about it and take it all in.

So why do we do this? There are a lot of common reasons that are generally fitness based, but when the context of our little intrepid team comes in, the reasons are more clear. San Francisco represented one moment in a long journey we have all been on. It was a date on the calendar that gave us all a reason to show up to each and every class (and make up the training when we had to miss a class). Knowing that you will be standing up on a platform in front of an audience, not to mention your team and coach, is the motivation that gets you through the pain and frustration that comes with the training.  While the competition was just one day, I can assure you it was a thrill to watch teammates do so well and validate the effort they had invested.

The day started watching Christine Broadhead (above left) and Jenny Chan (above right) side by side on the platform and leaving nothing behind. Both achieved personal bests and won their categories, which is a great accomplishment given it was only Christine's first competition and Jenny's second. I did not get a chance to watch Mike Strangeway's sets as I was warming up at the time but the numbers he put up are clearly shown in the photos and they say it all (well his gold medal does too!). What they don't say is that his training was frustrated by a car accident (like Christine) and surgery.

Then there is Patty (above) who achieved the Candidate Master of Sport rank in her first competition in Long Cycle. For those that don't know what that is, think of it as an Undergraduate Degree. Oh, and she was standing on the platform beside a woman who had competed in Russia and came third, not to mention holding North American records. Wow! On a funny note, it was a good laugh to watch James get coached (yelled at) by a large Russian pro during the jerk relay at the end of the competition. Apparently that was motivating. I will post the video when I can (pic below).

Another key point worth mentioning is that the sport is full of very friendly and supportive people that you can easily learn from. We have each taken away a great deal from that and of course the formal clinic with Russian pros in San Fran was great too. If you have read this far into this ramble then you are likely interested in taking part in the sport. All that I can advise you to do is jump in and start. Our team is continuing to grow and our training program will be advancing as we put the knowledge we have learned into practice. You will be surprised how soon you will get addicted to this demented activity.

Anton Anasenko, Russian honored Master of Sport, attempting to lift Mike Strangeway

In closing, I would like to congratulate and thank my teammates and coach. It has been an honour to train with you all. I can't wait for the next competition at the end of May in Victoria, when we will all, including our new teammates. be crushing it again!

L-R: Coach James Beckerley, Mike Strangeway, Jenny Chan, Christine Broadhead, Patty Marshall, Rod MacMillan

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