This really hammers home a point that people miss when it comes to their kettlebell training.
When you’re training – regardless if you’re using kettlebells, bodyweight or barbells – you must have an “internal focus”.
That means that we don’t concentrate on what the kettlebell is doing – the external resistance – but on what our body is doing…we shift the focus internally.
The kettlebell will react to how we position our body.
The kettlebell is a feedback tool.
It’s like a computer monitor. All the cool stuff happens on the screen of a computer, but the real work, the “magic”, happens inside the hard drive and the processor.
The kettlebell becomes secondary.
When I teach the swing, I always start by teaching my students how to do the Hardstyle Plank. I do this because it establishes the “root” position – knees locked, glutes squeezed, abs braced, lats fired, face relaxed.
And then after teaching them the hinge and the hike pass, I just say that their goal is to get to the root position to finish every single rep.
Therefore when you swing a kettlebell (or clean it or snatch it), your goal is to GET TO THE ROOT. You shift your focus not on what the kettlebell is doing, but on what your feet, knees, hips, abs & lats are doing.
The kettlebell reacts appropriately by floating.
If your focus is external (ie. if you focus on lifting the kettlebell), you start practicing “ugly style” and turning your swing into a grind by not finishing your hips and using your arms.
Get to the root as quickly and explosively as you can and the kettlebell floats.
When you press, push your body away from the kettlebell with stiff knees, squeezed glutes and braced abs. Doing this will protect your shoulder and allow yourself to use your lat as a shelf from which to press from. Don’t focus on lifting the kettlebell up over your head.
When you deadlift, think about wedging yourself underneath the bar to keep your joints aligned and your back safe. DON’T just pull the bar up off the floor.
When you’re doing your front squats, push the floor away to get up out of the hole. Notice how your spine automatically aligns and straightens up.
BUT, the most prevalent example of this INTERNAL FOCUS is in the Get Up.
Think about this, after the initial floor press, every movement in the Get Up is a position where we move our body around the kettlebell. The kettlebell never moves. It reacts to the various positions that we put our body in to go from lying down to the standing position.
But our focus is internal. It’s on what our body is doing in relation to the kettlebell, NOT on what the kettlebell is doing.
Our only goal with the kettlebell when doing a get up is to crush grip the handle and make sure that our shoulder is packed. Everything else – every movement after that – is internally based on what our body is doing.
Finally, not to get all philosophical, but this is a great life lesson.
Think about all the times that you’ve compared yourself to another person. All the times that you’ve felt envious or jealous because someone has something that you wished you had, or had accomplished something that you wish you did.
How crappy did you feel about yourself?
The problem is that focusing on the external – on being envious or jealous of the other person because of their possessions or accomplishments – only makes YOU feel like crap.
It does nothing to serve you as a person.
This is what materialism and selfishness is built on. It’s the foundation of the advertising industry. Ads psychologically makes you wish you were like the people in the magazines, billboards or commercials – with the new cars, the expensive clothes, the fancy vacations, the big houses – and plays on what you don’t have.
Instead, what if you focused internally? What if you compared yourself to the you from 5 years ago?
What if you just quit playing the “Keeping Up With The Jones” game?
What if you stopped caring so much about what other people think or the things they did and just focused on what you’ve accomplished?
What if you shifted the focus internally?
How much happier would you be?
That’s the lesson for today – focus on the internal.
Express gratitude for the strides that you’ve made to better yourself over the years. Celebrate your victories.
And when you train, let the kettlebell react to your body when you perform your get-ups, swings & presses today and see how much stronger, fluid and athletic you feel.
Focus on what YOU are doing and let the world react accordingly.