I haven't been training exclusively with kettlebells lately.
A few weeks ago, while sitting at my favourite espresso shop a good friend of mine who I haven't seen in about a year, saw me through the window and decided to pull over, park and come in.
We got to talking and catching up sharing personal stories and reminiscing about the days when we both worked at the same swanky personal training company.
Both our careers took a different path – he's now the strength & conditioning coach of one of the major professional sports teams in Toronto; I decided to take my efforts online to spread the gospel of acheiving strength through kettlebell training.
At the end of our conversation he said, “You know, I really miss having a place to lift. A place where we could meet and deadlift once per week”.
If we back track a few years, I remember his deadlift sessions at our old gym. His training partner at the time was pretty strong, as was he. They used to lift off soft gym mats so as not to destroy the $25k hardwood floors at the gym.
They would pile on the plates, grunt and grimace and really push each other hard. It used to make the stay-at-home moms and executives on their lunch break uncomfortable when these guys would consistently pull 300+ pounds off the floor.
I used to watch in admiration. These were 2 guys that were both ridiculously strong and they pushed each other to get stronger.
Here's another confession…
I've never had a true training partner before. I hated the idea of it.
Lifting was MY time. A time for me to close off from being social. A time for me to throw my ear buds on, listen to some hiphop and to stay focused on my goals.
But I know the benefits of training with someone stronger than you are…and Anthony was definitely stronger than me – he holds the unofficial world record for deadlifting in Lululemon pants
But one of the great ways to live life is to make sure you get out of your comfort zone. So when Anthony suggested that we deadlift together, I didn't hesitate to tell him that I go to a gym that has bumper plates, plays metal and hip hop and allows lifting chalk and is right up the street.
So every Thursday now, Anthony and I meet up for a deadlifting session – where he takes the lead – and we both just lift heavy weights off the floor.
Why the deadlift?
Well, in all honesty, it's an essential skill in my opinion.
You have to lift heavy stuff off the ground in real life.
There isn't another exercise where you can safely pile on the weight and strengthen your entire body – hamstrings, hips, glutes, abs, back – like the deadlift.
And to paraphrase Pavel, “After a good deadlfit practice, there isn't much else you can do”. If you have any juice left after your deadlifts, you didn't work hard enough.
After 3 weeks of deadlifing with Anthony thus far, I've already noticed that my back is “meatier”, my wife is grabbing my butt more often than not and that I'm leaner.
My kettlebell practice is still the same – practicing 3-4 times per week with a good mix of all the core drill and lots of presses.
Could it be the deadlfits? Maybe.
P.S. Right around the time that Anthony and I started, Pavel came out with a book called Deadlift Dynamite (a project he co-wrote with 1000lb deadlift champion Andy Bolton). Needless to say, I picked it up and read it cover to cover. If you want to check that book out, here's a link to the page – Pavel's Deadlift Dynamite