"I'VE RETURNED TO SNATCHING 20KG AFTER 3 YEARS"
Chris has been kettlebell training for over ten years, and has taken part in national and international competitions for the last two. Even though she has won medals and held several British records, she started to feel like something wasn’t working and had considered leaving the sport.
Women’s rules in kettlebell lifting were also changing and she felt that she needed a renewed focus to allow her to be competitive and enter the World Championships.
She said “Ten years ago, I met a trainer who introduced me to kettlebells. I loved them from the start because I discovered I could lift weights and, when working with them, I used both my brain, and my body.
Two years later I was introduced to kettlebell sport and started competing. The benefits of getting involved in a sport are that you develop goals and focus. You also become part of a community which shares your passion.
My kettlebell club closed at the end of 2017. I wanted to continue to compete because I was now representing England and held a number of British records. I was a successful lifter.
I set up a new training team around me. This worked at one level; I was winning gold and silver at international levels, but I was very unhappy. Something wasn’t working and I was starting to want to leave the sport.
I saw Mark present about adapting training to individual need at Body Power in 2017, so I approached M10. Could this team meet my training needs and offer me somewhere friendly and non-judgemental to train?
Changing rules for women in the sport meant that I needed to change from lifting one kettlebell to two. This involved more lifting strength and a different mental outlook (I have to lift for 10 minutes. With one kettlebell you can swap hands halfway through, with two you just have to keep going without putting them down!). To be competitive in my age and weight class I would need to lift double 12kg at least 100 times.
My initial request was to help me win Senior Gold at the World Championships in double 12kg biathlon (snatch and jerk). Anthony Barnes
agreed to work with me. He helped me see that to do this in May was a tight time scale. I needed a little time to gain confidence. So, we agreed I would set this as a goal for 2020. He then spent time understanding my sport and the muscles I need to lift.
I quickly saw gains, recruiting muscles I have not been using properly. He added some supplements and made suggestions about diet.
Anthony has competed in powerlifting; he understands the challenges around making weight and dealing with the mental challenge of competing. I suffer badly from nerves which impacts on my performance at major competitions. We talked about mindset and on the morning of my first main competition he sent me a lovely message which carried me through that lift.
That day I achieved a 15 rep PB in double jerk, 82 reps, which gave me a veteran British record for my weight class. I went on to snatch 216 reps which, added to the jerk score, gave me the British veteran biathlon record for my weight class. A great start!
I also have a new online kettlebell trainer. He and Anthony are pretty much in tune and both decided early on that double 12kg was too light for me. So, I started working on double 14kg and have now moved up to double 16kg. A weight I have never lifted before.
Anthony’s strength work means I am more stable, my legs are stronger, and my upper back and shoulders support the weight more firmly. I have returned to snatching 20kg for the first time in 3 years.
The aim is to build all this over the next year, so I begin competing with heavier weights. When I get to 2020 my world level lift should feel light.
Anthony is enthusiastic and encouraging. I feel more positive and well supported, he goes over and above, messaging me at the weekend to catch up with how my training is going.
M10’s approach is very different to the way I have trained in the past. I have never been taught how to lift traditional weights. I am now learning which muscles to recruit, how to stand and how to breathe.
During my independent sessions, everyone is friendly, I can get on in my own space, no one stares or comments because everyone is lifting weights.
Once you start competing or taking part in events you need the support of a good trainer or coach. Take time to find the right person. This relationship needs to be based on trust. Any trainer can write you a simple program, a good coach gets to know you. They know when to push you and when to hold back. They will hold you to account for meeting your goals but will pick you up when your head goes down. At some point they will challenge you to do something you have never done before, take a leap of faith. If you trust their judgement you’ll go for it.”
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