Deconstructing Tension in Strength

No one is advocating or encouraging anyone else to become Tacticool . . . not you, not me . . . so now that we all agree . . . business awaits. Still, watching this video has some good learning points about tension. The ability to move into & out of states of varying & necessary tension is a great & sufficient definition of Strength. Semper Fortis = Always Strong.

We probably don’t equate guns or range firing with Kettlebell training . . . and really, the gun is just one of any number of tools we could use to enhance our practice of tension.

Pat is using something in the range of a 24kg Kettlebell. A bottoms-up Snatch or Press is difficult enough at most weights, so find your level and work on that. It takes quality grip-strength to keep the bell from flipping over & bouncing off your wrist bone.

Once you have a pretty decent grasp of what the bottoms-up Press or Snatch feels like, start with learning to move with the Kettlebell in the position. A yard works well enough, preferably flat, but don’t be scared off by hills, bumps & ruts. Can we walk evenly & smoothly while in the state of tension required to keep the bell overhead & bottoms-up? If so, try an Overhead Squat with the Kettlebell up there & upside down. Now we’re starting to cook.

This next idea is controversial, but as long as we keep in mind that is is solely for the purpose of training, and not any notion of real-world application, we should do just fine with it.

Back off from the over-head portion of the Kettlebell lift and keep it in the rack position. Now try throwing a punch. A heavy bag or other tangible target helps. This irritates a lot of people who know that a good punch generates from the legs, hips & twisting of the torso . . . not so easy a task with a Kettlebell. Again, we aren’t practicing our punch, so to speak, we are using the upper range of a punch to enhance our movement into & out of tension. When we feel comfortable with shadow punching just from our shoulder (slow, easy & controlled, of course), and once we have the bottoms-up hold under control, we can combine these tools to improve our understanding of tension. The “punch” in this case is going to more-closely resemble a standing, horizontal press without weights, but to condition our minds to the task at hand, think “punch,” even if that is stretching the truth a fair bit.

Negatives for Training

I’d like to thank Pat Mac for his video & the inspiration gleaned from it. There was no exchange of permission between us, so try any of the aforementioned methods at your own risk, based on your own skill & ability.

Semper Fortis
~Lee

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