Two weeks into Simple & Sinister training, doing daily sessions of one hundred swings and ten getups, I saw that I was getting strong in a new way. I did not learn to control a swinging mass through powerlifting. Nor did I lay on the ground and lift a weight up to standing, guiding my shoulders through all these different frontiers.
When I was two months into it, the daily training got me stronger still in new ways. I formed and tore callouses. I recovered faster from training. My work capacity increased. I became more disciplined.
When I was four months in, I started to feel like I was really getting a handle on the bell. Swings felt easier, more natural. Getups became less of a workout and more of a practice.
Six months in, I realized I was getting even stronger. I was beginning to develop skill and could see between the frames. I saw the inner parts of the movements I thought were seamless and found weakness and hesitation. I didn’t always pull back with my lats on every swing. I sometimes tensed too much and became weak at the top of the float. I found more effective cues and more efficient methods of executing the movement. And on every stage of the getup I felt tiny instabilities, slight immobilities, and ounces of doubt that had built up over time. I began to work on these in-between gaps.
Nine months in now, I wake up and see that there is a stronger familiarity with the kettlebell. What once was just a sphere that I swung and lifted has turned into a more granular entity, with endless bumps and nooks and crannies and irregularities. Every bit of the molded iron has some say in how it will move and challenge me. And I am learning enough of the language now to respond in an elementary way.
I’m finding that it’s better to relax and treat the swing like a game of throwing the bell forward. Better to take on the spirit of a playful dog than that of a charging bull.
I’m also seeing that getups must be done with full intention. There is nothing outside of the goal of pushing that mass up and focusing on it until it’s back on the ground. Everything revolves and builds up to that.
I take up the same kettlebell every morning and find a new lesson prepared in that cold iron each day.