Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Deadlift Digest: Resources

Pavel Tsatsouline demo'ing the DL in PTTP

Beyond of course Pavel Tsatsouline's Power to the People aka PTTP, here are some of my fave finds for deadlift resources.
Online Refs:
For inspiration:

And this just in, recommended by RKC Fireman Tom:

If you have some fave deadlifting resources of information or inspiration, please shout.

As i learn of more good stuff, i'll update these lists.

Feline Differences: Puma Super and Future Cats (and Free 7)

Get flat shoes!

That's what everyone is told who starts with KB's - at least everyone who goes in through the RKC style training.
Get flat shoes!
is also what you hear in deadlifting a la powerlifting schools, or doing pistols, a la Naked Warrior
Get flat shoes!
is what you hear at the RKC certs.

In each case it's either that (flat shoes) or go bare foot. There probably were one or two brave souls who did the grad workout at the 08 cert in denmark on the sandy stuff barefoot, but most folks want some foot cover.

To this end when i started KB'ing, i took the advice of those in this space who recommended either the default converse chuck conors or the Puma 'cats.

This note is just to articulate why you might want to get the older model and perhaps less fetching super cats rather than the more stylish/slimmer and aptyl named Future cats.

It's all about sole

This is the bottom of the swanky future cat:

And this is the bottom of the speed cat

As you can see, the future cat narrows under the arch. If you look at the super cat, there's more surface area ander the arch. You can see just ahead of the heel towards the arch, in fact there's just a thin strip if material that's really on the ground there.

This narrowing was not an issue to me i thought - doing all my lift work and kb work with these shoes when i had to wear shoes. Indeed, it wasn't a perceived issue until i got to the rkc cert and in really focusing on form in new ways, noticed that my balance was being rocked. It's hard to describe but it did not feel like i had a stable platform under my feet.

I've since gone over to the tried and true speed cat. There is an *immediate* difference in feel. The sole is solid; the rubber is sticky. there's a great sense of GROUND in these shoes.

I mention this comparison at all because in the future cats i thought i was in fine shape and feeling the ground really well, good foot plant etc. It's only (a) in being in a place to feel the lack of full stability that forced me to (b) try something else, i could see the difference.

Take home lesson here:
not all flats are created equal/equally well for lifting/swinging.

I'm not sure why the chuck converse are still so favored by the lifting crowd vs these speedcats: there is even less padding in the speedcat it seems than in the chuck's; the rubber sole also seems thinner, more true ground?

Freedom's just another word for...
While we're at it, the nike free x-trainer seems to have come a long way to be a potential lifting candidate.

I know a lot of folks who swear by the nike 5 runner, while others still disparage it as a squishy shoe, but the trainer/free 7, seems to be very very close to a flat. Unlike the 5, the heel in the 7 is low - not a wedge - or very much reduced; it's not bouncy either.

I'd be keen to know of folks who use this as a lifting or kb'ing shoe - for when shoes are required.

Meanwhile, here's a reply from Pavel Tsatsouline:
Com. mc, I am sure all of the above are fine but training barefoot is best.
And, July 12, 2008, this just in from Mark Reifkind sorta explaining Pavel's epigram:
there are mechanoreceptors( sensors) in your feet that relay critcal information about where your body is in space to your brain that get distrupted by soft cushy shoes.hard soled, flat shoes, or being barefoot allow these sensors to give the body the most accurate information possible.
barefeet also allow for much better "rooting" during your kb practice which is critical for full body efforts, allowing you to create strength and power from the ground up.
Also training barefoot or with thin soled shoes really help strengthen the feet,which are critcal for ankle knee, hip and ultimately, back strength and stability.
Not sure who the quote is from but it's apt:
" the smarter the shoe, the dumber the foot".
We evolved for millions of years barefoot, the design is good if we use it.

Related Posts

Monday, June 23, 2008

Kilts - An Awesome KB garb

At the RKC Denmark Cert, Doup Nepodal demonstrated some KB manouvers while dressed in a kilt (shots by Mark Reifkind).

Very Fetching, oui?

I'm a long time fan of modern kilts for the freedom of the garment and the great pockets for all your STUFF.

If you're interested in walking in kilted footsteps, here's a story of sales experience with Seattle kilt maker Utilikilts (the type Doug is wearing) Edinburgh's own 21st Century Custom Made to Measure re-imagined kilt (shown left, denim pinstripe) by Howie Nicholsbie (his belts are pretty cool/fun, too).

Inspiration: Ruth Kasirye Deadlifting

(If you're interested in deadlifting, you may also be interested in the Deadlift Resources page)
I can't find much information about this gal who seems to be listed as Norway's best female weightlifter, but her style, doing these smooth deadlift repeats is inspiring.

This is an example of an Olympic style deadlift, as called by Mark Reifkind, champion powerlifter and senior kettlebell instructor of Rif's Blog fame.

Over on DragonDoor's forum, Mark Reifkind describes the differences this way (we were talking about when it might be more appropriate to use oly shoes rather than flats for a DL)

OL shoes are great for the deadlift IF you deadlift like an Olympic lifter, i.e shins forward, flat lumbar spine shoulder blades pulled back.A clean grip deadlift which the ol guys use as an assitance move for their cleans and snatch pulling.With the heel you will use more quad and upper back off the floor. rather than the traditional posterior chain of the powerlifter.
however, using them with tradition powerlifting style,i.e shins vertical, hips higher, throacic spine more flexed, scapula more protracted and most important, the load on the posterior chain OFF the floor, would though you forwards and probably mess you up.
Of course EVERY body is different and the best way to tell if it's going to work for you is to try it.I have a very "jon Kuc" style deadlift and they actually helped me off the floor for awhile. harder for me to lockout though. in the end I went back to the wrestling shoes.
hope this helps


Likewise, Rif says of this vid:
"awesome effort...a great example of a flat back clean grip deadlift."

Yup. i'm inspired. But what does "to be inspired" mean?

I remember being at a great intimate concert once featuring a pretty amazing Canadian songwriter, and someone saying to her afterwards "listening to you makes me feel like i could go home and write the best song in the world"

At the time (younger, naive-er, aspiring songwriter [side a] [side b]) i snorted when she told me this, thinking you can't just whip off a song: it takes talent AND practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice: you can't just do it. But she said no, that was great. I think i understand that now.

When i look at Kasirye deadlifting like this, so smooth so easy, in a weight class much down from mine, i think "i can DO this" - any maybe someone would snort, seeing where i'm at right now. The difference is, perhaps, i know how much work this takes, and that may not be where i get to. But seeing this, i know it's possible for a smaller gal than i to do something like this. With apparent ease and grace. To see what is possible is to know it can be done, and that i may well have more potential to be tapped, to get closer to where Kasirye is.

To see what had seemed impossible - where no model had been before - as possible. That's inspiring.

And one more inspiration: last year i saw RKC Angela Craig win the TSC, pulling 264lbs in the DL. That was inspiring, too, for other reasons beyond just the numbers.

I guess the point is, there are great models to make us perceive the impossible as possible. In this case, it's also the grace with which the move is made that inspires, too.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Working Out with the 24: weird magic

It wasn't until the RKC that i had ever attempted picking up a 24k bell, never mind doing any activity with it - like swinging or cleaning it. Lynda Angeles RKCII encouraged me to give it a go. And much to my surprise, swinging two of them for double kb's was awesome. truly awesome.

Over the weekend, i was able to do a lot of swing sets with the 24. all two handed, but they felt great. So did sets of cleans - really focuses the hip action.

The thing that is a mystery to me is that i have a 20kg at work and give it a go during the day just for some GTG work - and it seems always to floor me. And yet the 24 is like a completely different animal. It's exciting. I can hardly wait to work with it. Have no idea why it has that effect, but there it is.

Amazing, and loving it.

Monday, June 16, 2008

PB in the BP with Jerry Nicolas

Great way to end a weekend: unexpected and unplanned for personal best in Bench Press working with Jerry Nicolas. 110. Previous had been 93.5 and i hadn't worked any BP since April. That's just shy of advanced for a 60k woman, and i'm just under that weight, so not bad. great way to end up a great weekend with dl's and kb's.

RKC Denmark 2008 Grad Workout: Digging, Sir

Thank you to Team Lead Will Williams of Team Will for posting these two vids of the RKC Denmark 2008 certification. They likely don't mean much except for the folks who were there, but i'm linking them in as a reference point. I've written about the RKC certification experience and why it's more than the sum of its parts elsewhere.

Words to live by at 6:04 in the first vid above, here.

And, just for the record, this wasn't part of the grad workout, but it was doing a version of the SSST using highpulls instead of snatches

By the way, it's rather all this RKC blogging that inspired this blog:
here's the original header for Begin To Dig:
this blog is a quiet or personal Quality of Life reflection from and
It is inspired by the surrealism of "begin to drill" and the encouragement of "i know it's inside you, you just have to dig it out" from the RKC Denmark 08 grad workout (check vid at 6:05 to 6:14)

Digging, sir.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Deadlifting and Kettlebelling in Mission with Jerry Nicolas

And we're off

Had the privilege to train my deadlift and squat with Jerry Nicolas this weekend. Jerry's situated outside mission, bc, canada. He has a gift: he can look at a person, see what they need and tweak their form to get immediate improvements. Like immediate. That's his guarantee: no improvement, don't pay for the session. I like that straight up approach. That's his gig: looking at tweaking weaknesses to get to better strength performance.

What i immediately liked about his approach is that his focus is to work with your mechanics, rather than try to get you to fit the so called "right" way of doing things. For instance, my left foot needs to pivot out a bit on my dead, but my right is fine straight ahead. Just going with that subtle change has helped get my heels going through the ground on the dead. So yup, immediate improvements: weights that were 90% of max were turning into warm ups - i didn't realize this until we calculated what was on the bar.

Jerry's also helped me improve my one arm push up work, so i'm a pretty happy camper.

I likewise had the privilege to introduce Jerry to kettlebells. Sadly, i couldn't get ahold of my fave Dragon Door bells in time to drive up with me from where i was in the states, so looking for a source in Canada, i was pointed to Canadian Kettlebells. Chris of Canadian Kettlebells not only had the ones i wanted in stock, he hand delivered them from outside Vancouver to Jerry's place in Mission to make sure they'd be there in time for my visit. Awesome.

Like the story with so many businesses, Chris told me he used to get these bells cast locally, but each time he went to do another run, the price went up and the quality wasn't great, so he's had to go the Off Shore route. Even so, Chris finishes the product apparently himself, and it is a good finish. For Cannuck kettlebellers, a highly recommended source.

Now, as for working with a well-experienced lifter/trainer, as a still freshly minted RKC i was sore afeared of what i could show this guy. But it turned out just great: Jerry is hugely into form and breathing, and was keen to get the technique down. We did wall squats, swings and TGU's mainly, with a quick look at the C&P, highpull and the snatch. Jerry was then keen to spend the evening with my ETK vid and today we are (a) both comfortably sore and (b) rocking. What was very cool is that yesterday, the 16 was a righteous workout for Jerry; today the 24, with that improvement in form, was, as predicted, feeling light. Strength is a skill. "That Pavel knows his stuff, eh?" (nous sommes les canadiens, vous savez?) We're kicking it Hard Style

So if you're in the lower mainland and looking to tweak your form in power lifts either for your next competition, or just to get past a sticking point in personal progress, give Jerry a shout. And even if you're not in the lower mainland, his diagnostic skills are worth the trip.


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