Plateau Paralysis? Proceed Pragmatically!

girevoy sport kettlebell fitness protocol“Your power is proportional to your ability to relax.”— David Allen

I can’t relax.

As a result, I have no power.

And because I have no power, I can’t relax.

In short, I’m stuck.  Plateaued.

Sort of.

I’ve been working steadily on my longcycle clean and jerk since the Vegas Classic last October.  Starting with five minute sets at six reps per minute and working up to a ten minute set, then dropping back down to five minutes at seven reps per minute and working up to where I am now at seven minutes at seven reps per minute.

And there I sit.  7 @ 7.

My plan for the year was to work longcycle and make rank II, switch to one-arm conditioning with 20 levels of the CincinNasty, and finish the year with rank II in the biathlon, then on to rank I next year.

But I’m stuck at 7 @7.

Or at least I was.

Looking back at my training journal, I found that I was making the age old mistake of failing to cycle my work.  Eternal progress is all but impossible, especially for Master’s level lifters (such as myself), without some sort of cycling.

When I was preparing for the Vegas Classic, I cycled my jerk sessions like mad.  Shorter sets @ faster tempo, longer sets @ slower tempo, medium sets @ medium tempo.  And it worked out great.

But for the first few months of my longcycle practice, I worked steadily on pushing my way from 5 minute sets to 10 minute sets, up until December 20th, when I hit ten minutes at six rpm.  In theory, I should have been o.k. dropping back down to shorter sets at a faster rpm, and progressing back up, but it didn’t work out that way.

And when I was transferred to a different division and 12-hour shifts at my job, I should have backed off and made adjustments.  Instead, I forged ahead.  And there I sat at 7 @ 7.

Until last weekend.

Enter The Ice Chamber

I’m fortunate to live about twenty minutes from one of the best group of GS coaches in the country.  The folks at the Ice Chamber Gym know how to train Girevoy Sport and have a stable of champions to prove it.

Last Saturday they hosted a longcycle clinic that was a great refresher for several reasons.  The first of which is remembering that the goal in competition is to crank reps for ten minutes.  The rules allow us to use the entire ten minutes, so it’s important to make the most of them.  DO NOT freak out over the fact that you’re exercising for ten minutes straight.

Steven and Maya had us practice longcycle for an eight minute set, followed by a ten minute set about an hour later.  Listening to the feedback from the other participants, the common theme was the negative, self-defeating thoughts a lot of us had as we progressed through our sets.  Physically we were capable of doing the work.  Mentally, we hit a wall near the middle of our sets where our internal saboteurs were working overtime in an effort to make us quit.

For others, their saboteur wanted them to quit if they missed a rep or if the rep wasn’t picture perfect.  We were reminded that success in competition comes not just from great technique, but also from proper execution and proper mental focus.

The First Step

I’ve been sitting at 7 @ 7 for…what?  When I work through a practice set, I work it one minute at a time.  Depending on what rpm count I’m using, I focus on that number only as the minute progresses.

For instance, if I’m working with seven reps per minute, I’ll count down from seven as the minute progresses.  the number of reps I have to do decreases.

First step?  Ten minute test just to see where I stand.  Then we’ll formulate a plan.

More on CinCinNasty later…

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