"...and tho’ we are not now that strength which in the old days moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are….”
So. Here I am, performing a kettlebell squat* with our 20Kg/44 lb. anchor. The smaller anchor at my feet is our 10Kg/22 lb. stern anchor. Look how shiny. Malö sure makes purty ground tackle, don’t they?
This demonstration of lifting a dangerously asymmetrical weight over my head with one hand may very well be the pinnacle of my physical training. A 20Kg/44lb. lift is considered fairly light in the world of kettlebells, but I have worked very hard to be able to do this and I have 3 MDs, a physical therapist, and 2 rehab trainers** to thank for getting me this far. This here kettlebell lift is classified as Not Bad, for a middle aged hypertensive asthmatic with a bunch of spinal problems & one leg that sometimes doesn’t work right. (Like for 14 months at a time.)
All modesty aside, it took a lot of demanding work to achieve a lift like this. Kettlebell lifts in general are advanced weight training maneuvers, and are very challenging in terms of breath control and form. In other words, fun and gratifying. I encourage every one of you to play around with kettlebell style lifts, but study a little and lift light in the beginning. I’m talking, do a kettlebell squat starting with no heavier than a 5lb. dumbbell. Many people – especially men who fancy themselves real bully-boys – think that if an old broad like me can lift 44lb., so can they. I say: lift heavy at your peril. If anyone out there tries this lift without a full understanding of how to move, and that most of the power comes from your lower abs, obliques, lats, quads and glutes working in harmony, you will most likely tear up your rotator cuff and probably rip up an elbow joint or your erector spinae – and you might also drop the weight on your own head/foot or someone else’s. I do not lie.
I am so happy to be able to do things like this. My advice to all of you: be aggressive in maintaining your good health, all the time, every day. It slips away when you’re not looking.
*Kettlebells are used for kool old-skool full body weight training. Can be performed in a standard gym with standard dumbbells. Hands down the funnest weight lifting tool ever. See, e.g., that nut Pavel Tsatsouline or the crazy-faced fellas at Dolfzine.
**Deborah Klein MD, Stan Herring MD & Ray Baker MD [thanks for the neurotomy; may I have another?]; Jan Schaeffer; Todd Pratt (fmr) & Tim Nausin, Athletic Engineering [those guys are animals].