1 Focus For Faster Results

I was traveling down from North Jersey a couple of Thursdays ago along the NJ Turnpike on my way to the Pavel/Dan John seminar, thinking lots of thoughts. (Some of them I’ll keep to myself, thank-you-very-much.) I had spent the afternoon talking shop with my coach, Alfonso, and then stopped in to see Zach Even-esh and grabbed a couple of slices of pizza. (By the way, there is no better pizza in the world than Jersey pizza…)

Both Al and Zach have different methods – much different methods actually, but one things for sure, they both get results with their clients. And so does everything that gets put out by Pavel and the other various Dragon Door authors. But the key is, you really have to use what you have in front of you.

I don’t know about you, but I am, or at least used to be, distracted by bright, shiny things – the latest new workout techniques, rep and set schemes and loading parameters, and especially anything with the words “Russian,” “Soviet,” or “Bulgarian” attached to them. (Know what I mean…?)

But lately, things have been different.

I’ve narrowed my strength training focus. I’m really focused on packing on muscle and strength simultaneously. Yes, I’m still focused on the Olympic lifting, but at a heavier weight with better (and proven) leverage to lift the bigger weights. But in those training sessions, especially with the pulling and the squatting, I’m focused on pretty much one particular area.

My midsection. Or, more particularly, my abs. I used to lock down my thoracic spine and hold the air in my lungs and chest. Not a good strategy for lumbar spine health. But I used to brace my abs hard on all my pulling and squatting. And guess what? I got pretty good and strong from doing it.

I’ve been re-reading Power To The People! lately. (If you don’t have it, shame on you. You’re a bad person and I know you probably kill kittens in your spare time. Really… Kidding…) Just this morning while waiting for an appointment I was reading the entire section on the abdominals and “power breathing” for strength amplification (p.60-67).

It really hit home because, as I mentioned, I’ve really been focusing on this area in my own training. And my numbers have been going up every week on my lifts. Like clockwork. Might be something to that…

So, if you’ve been slogging your way through your kettlebell workouts, but haven’t been seeing any noticeable improvement recently, why don’t you change just one thing – only one.

You might be tempted to change your kettlebell workout altogether. Don’t. Change your focus to your breathing, more specifically, breathing into your abdomen and the connection between your abs, your breathing and your strength. (Don’t know what that connection is, find it on pages 60-67 in Power to the People!)

Then, like me, you’ll start to see your numbers, and more importantly, your results, improve once again.

5 comments… add one
  • Abdiel Rodriguez Oct 7, 2010 @ 13:25

    You hit the nail again Geoff. Most of the time a program fail to work just because of one variable (example: exhausting the adaptative resoruces to one stimuli like rep range). Changing the entire program in such scenario is wrong as it will compromise continuity of progress within the specific contex of your goal.

    The best approach is to find the piece that jammed the machine (so to speak) and replace it or fix it!

    Forgive my english (if errors are seen) is just my second languaje.

  • Billy Meyer Oct 7, 2010 @ 14:54

    This is very relevant to me because this has actually been what I’ve found helps me. I was restricting my breathing on my own and it was inhibiting my abs and power in my hips. I think the connection between breathing and “the core” is one of the most talked about yet misunderstood, hardest to learn (especially if you’ve unlearned it), and yet powerful tools to unlock that we have in our arsenals. Thanks for your keen insight.

    • Abdiel Rodriguez Oct 7, 2010 @ 18:22

      That’s the beauty of what Pavel did to the fitness landscape. Before him, few smart people knew about such things like powerbreathing and hypertension techniques. He- along a lot others in the dragon door community – turned strength into a skill you acquire with practice. And just because strength is the mother of all other fitness capabilities, the opened the door to physical success to all us!

  • Matt Oct 7, 2010 @ 17:08

    I’ve got to get that book!

  • Russ Moon Oct 16, 2010 @ 13:09

    Birthday coming up and “Power to the People” is on my list…it’s how I get cool things for free 🙂

    Time to spend some time with a “friend” (32kg) the in NYC hotel. I guess carrying that thing through the Amtrak station equated to some type of exercise. Good grief that almost became embarrassing, that was a long, long walk. Funny

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