Sunday, July 19, 2009

Things Ferrous

Sweat is my friend, and sore muscles are my trusted companions. I don't believe in working out, but I am a huge fan of playing hard. It just so happens that I like to play with large chunks of iron, and I like to play with them in rather non-conventional ways.

Now at the start of this year, I launched on a fitness program called P90X. It's created and marketed by a company called BeachBody (that name just says sooo much, don't it?) and it's a DVD based program that you can do in your own home using basic weights (dumbells), resistance bands, a pullup bar, etc. Pretty old school in a lot of ways. I never really thought I would like working to a DVD, but this program is terrific. I love it. I ran through two 12 week cycles -- although the second cycle was pretty messed up by a demanding work schedule that forced me to train only 3 times a week much of the time. I like to go 6 days a week and use Sunday as a free day/rest day. I won't say a lot more about p90X here, except that if you seriously want to get stronger, faster, and/or thinner, this is a most excellent place to go. If you want to know more, contact me. I actually an an Independent BeachBody Coach and can sell you this program. But...that's another story.

After 6 months in front of the TV, the weather was warming up nicely and it was time to go outside to play, so I returned to an old strength tool of mine that I've been playing with off and on for a couple of years -- the Kettlebell. For those of you unfamiliar with the Kettlebell, it is a large iron ball with a loop shaped handle. Mine is a standard 16 kilogram -- about 36 lbs of solid iron. That's it. It's pretty simple. such things go, the kbell is a fiendishly wonderful device for building strength, stripping fat, getting fit, and just having a ball doing it. Rather than increasing the weight that you lift, the idea is to find creative ways to move the thing around that are in and of themselves increasingly difficult. This forces your body to respond and adapt and become strong and hard. Because the weight is actually centered some 6-8 inches beyond your hand, the force generated to moving or manage the weight is increased. The Kettlebell has been around for many years, used my many of the old time strongmen for their development. It's lineage seems to be Russian -- at least that's is where it has been most commonly used until recently. Many of the movements have a dance-like, fluid quality to them. It's very playful.

The press. The snatch. The clean. The jerk All basic olympic weight lifting movenents. Add to these such fun moves at the Tactical Get Up, the Windmill, The Bent Press, The Circle Clean, The Figure 8 to Hold, and Wood Choppers. I have invented a few of my own including the Good Morning Row, and The Side Swing. I have worked out 5 different sets of exercises for myself that each take about 1/2 hour to do and leave me completely blown out when completed. I don't intend to explain or document the entire workout process here, but I sure am having fun. I regularly prowl the Kettlebell sites and YouTube looking for new ideas on different moves to add to my repetoire. I came across one video that I just had to post here. It is just too terrific. The music alone is makes it totally worthwhile. As one of the commenters posted, this music should be required for every Kbell workout. It stands as a most delightful contrast to most of the workout videos which feature some kind of wall-of-sound metal music. Too much like work. These guys are having fun.

Oh...and that's the other great part of this video. Doesn't that just look like a blast? They are tossing 36 lb iron balls. I can tell you from personal experience that it is indeed fun. I have not reached that level of juggling, but I have managed some of the basic moves they show here. I'm working up to the behind the back toss. I'll let you know when I get it.

I'll also post soon on my forays into barefoot running.

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