They say pain is the best teacher and they say twice-fooled shame on me. Me? I
am far from that smart and I have to learn, repeatedly and the hard way.
I have recently re-discovered the importance of posture and re-learnt to deep-
hinge as the kettlebell travels backward between the legs during the swing. It
was like archery: the farther back the string is drawn (not overdrawn, of course),
the more energy is pent-up, the farther ahead the arrow shoots upon release.
I have found the more I focus on hinging, the better the leg and core muscles
engage, the lighter the 48kg feels. It was a small revelation. It might also have
led to a calvalier attitude.
Swinging up, however, is only half of the story. As the body straightens explosively,
the bell speeds forward and upward, slows down, and finally reaches the top at
about the lower chest level and stops in the air for a split second. Next, the bell
falls and the body switches from a standing plank to hinging at the waist for another
swing. It is at this transition that I tend to make one mistake.
Friday morning, I woke up at 2:30am and unable to return to the land of Nod, lay
in bed until 7:00am. Muddle-headed, I went through my morning routine half
asleep before the swings. Things were fine until the middle of the seventh set
when as usual, I relaxed briefly after the plank and before the bell started to fall.
This time, however, the gear-shifting to hinging was milliseconds late and I felt
instantly the weight at the lower back where the spine joined the sacrum (maybe
the 4th or 5th vertebra of the lumbar).
I dropped the bell right away but completed my circuit with presses and pullups.
Both felt weaker. I tried to run afterward but turned around before the third
block. The back only felt a dull pain but it was enough to cripple every move
involving the core. Even sneezing and lying on bed hurt.
In the past years, I learnt the same thing the same way at least twice and with
So just as I had been rejoicing in my progress over the past seven months, the
beast taught me a lesson. I was not angry or sad. I have no problem with a
lesson whatsoever, as long as it does not kill me. As they say, the impediment
to action advances action and the obstacle in the way becomes the way.