Guerilla Tactics For Attacking And Defeating A “Heavy”Weight
BY BRETT JONES SR. RKC, CSCS
I f the heaviest weight you lift is the heaviest weight you lift then it will always feel heavy! The weight feels heavy because of your experience and perception.
Have you ever walked over to a box or a suitcase that someone had asked you to move and rip it off the ground and nearly throw it across the room because you had expected it to be heavy? Or just the opposite, you nonchalantly walk over to a small bag or box thinking it is feather light and nearly tear your arm out of the socket. Your perception of the weights was different from reality.
So how do we attack the issue?
We approach it with a combination of head-on and sneaky tactics.
The head-on way to attack it is to use a heavier weight but in a different exercise. Try using a heavier kettlebell for something like one-arm rows, deadlifts, high pulls, or cleans, because you can handle a heavier bell in these drills than in snatches or presses. Perform a set or two of the heavier exercise and immediately go back to your target exercise. The weight that used to always feel heavy should feel much lighter now.
Another head-on tactic is to work the chain…
Set up a row of three kettlebells. The first KB should be your regular working weight, the second kettlebell should be a heavier KB, and the third KB will be even a bit heavier. A row of 12kg, 16kg, and 20kg would be an example of a progressive chain. “But I don’t have a gym full of kettlebells!” you say. Well if you have a 4kg KB your 12kg can become a 16kg or your 16 kg can become a 20kg. Become creative!
Perform sets of two arm swings—10 reps with 12kg, 6 reps with 16kg, and 4 reps with 20kg. The heavier swings do not need to be as high as the lighter ones. Just use perfect form and generate power from the ground up and snap the hips. The
KB will travel as high as it will. But when you get back to the 12kg from the 20kg it will feel like an 8kg KB. And you have taken your first step toward making the 16kg your working weight for swings.
But head-on tactics will not always work. Therefore we must find ways around the issue.
Using Belief and Perception to Fool the Body
Since most people are unfamiliar with kilograms and think that the numbers on the kettlebells are in pounds it is an opportunity to not let their perception short circuit their strength. Note that this technique to be used only by qualified instructors who know their clients and can pick the appropriate weight. Do not think that this is permission to overload and hurt the client.
Have the victim perform a deadlift with a 12kg kettlebell and then, after completion, inform the victim that the weight lifted was 26 pounds and not 12 pounds. The clients’ confidence will soar and they will be impressed with the difference between what they thought they could lift and what they were actually lifting. Their perception is forever changed.
Another sneaky tactic for RKC professionals comes into play during two kettlebell drills. Doubles can provide a boost in the load and the client usually will not take into account the fact that he is lifting twice as much weight. For example, if the 8kg KB feels heavy to the client then doing cleans with two 6kg kettle bells will give her a 12kg load thus making the 8kg feel much lighter.
Since the client is only thinking about the fact that it is a lighter kettlebell than usual and it only has a ‘6’ stamped on it, she will perform the set with confidence. Then inform her that she was moving twice that weight and a good deal more than the old “heavy” weight. When the client goes back to the 8kg it will feel lighter and she is on the path to progressing to the 12kg kettlebell.
Let your perceptions control you—and be weak. Control your perceptions—and be strong.
The choice is yours.
Brett Jones, CSCS is a senior instructor in the RKC program and co-author of the
Kettlebell Basics for Strength Coaches and Personal TrainersDVD set