“Carryover” in Training

I have been training one-arm push-ups in order to press the 24kg (~53lbs) kettlebell for the Iron Maiden Challenge.  Over the course of my training week, I always train get-ups to start out my training session every time I train, varying the repetitions and weight from 16kg (~35lbs) to 20kg (44lbs), but it’s more for a warm up rather than specifically training to get-up a heavier bell.  Once a week on Wednesdays, I do train heavy get-ups with either a 22kg or 24kg or a combination of the two.  However, again, my intent of training heavy get-ups once per week is to become strong enough to press the 24kg kettlebell and sometimes I replace the heavy get-up days with bent press and windmill practice.

On July 17, 2013 I was training heavy get-ups and I wanted to see if I could complete a get-up with the 28kg (~62lbs) kettlebell.  I weigh ~115lbs so 28kg is more than half my bodyweight.  I asked Eric to spot me and even though I needed to work on coming down on the left side, it felt strong.  I wanted to try it one more time in that same session, because I knew that I could do better, but I decided to just leave it alone; that was my PR (personal record) for the day and I could do it again another day.

Back when I used to work at a commercial gym I remember when we received our first order of kettlebells for my kettlebell small group training classes.  One of the kettlebells was a 28kg (~62lbs) kettlebell and I remember having this conversation with the general manager of the gym at the time:

General Manager:  “What is this size kettlebell good for?? A doorstop??”

Me:  “Well for someone my size, probably just dead-lifts and two-handed swings.”

The general manager’s response aside (ahem), the point is that there once was a time that I could not fathom doing anything else with a 28kg bell except for maybe some swings and light dead-lifts.  I never imagined that I might actually be able to put that size kettlebell over my head or perhaps do a weighted pull-up with it and now I can successfully complete single reps of Turkish Get-ups with it… a pull-up is still to be determined :)…

What’s even better is that I was not specifically training to complete a half bodyweight plus get-up but rather I was focused on training for a 24kg press and that training carried over to my strength with get-ups.  Dan John writes about “carryover” in training in his book Intervention:

“I discovered as a high school track coach, we were getting better throwing by having two weekly focused hill-sprint workouts.  The volume was low, often only two sprints, by the carryover was obvious.  You can think of these as explosive on-legged squats if the hill is steep enough.” ~Dan John, Intervention

 As trainers and coaches, one of our goals for our clients is to have carryover from their training sessions with us into their day-to-day lives and other daily activities.  Many times I have had clients tell me that they discovered that they run/bike/triathlon/dance better, stronger, faster as a result of their training with me or, that once lifting their children used to seem heavy but now their children feel light when they lift them and they can carry them for longer periods of time without fatigue.  Just the other day, one of my kettlebell class clients who is 70 years old (yes 70 and going on 71 this fall actually) told me that she noticed this summer that her swimming is stronger as a result of kettlebell training and that she is no longer “afraid to do the crawl in the pool because it may fatigue her excessively.”  One of the most frequent questions that Eric and I asked some of our clients this summer after they returned from their vacations is, “How did those suitcase carries go for you at the airport?  Did they feel easier?”  So far everyone has replied “YES.”

A little over a week after my first 28kg get-up attempt, I felt strong and confident to complete a 28kg get-up on each side, completely by myself. No one spotting me and with no one in the building; below is the video…  this was my second get-up ever with the 28kg kettlebell.

No matter what you are training for, whether it is simply life or a specific challenge or competition, your training should carry over to other areas in your training and in your day-to-day life.  Your strength with other movements should improve and you should feel stronger in your day-to-day life and activities.  If your training program is making you weaker and feel worse rather than stronger and better, it’s time to re-evaluate what you are doing within your training.

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