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Kettlebell Sticking to a program

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Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
I have an extremely hard time sticking to a program. No matter how well intentioned I am, I always start messing with things and eventually abandon the program.

I've managed to make progress over the years, but I'm sure I'd be further along if I'd just stick to something. For the last week I've done a hybrid program using strong first principals. I simply do 100 swings then do PtP bench press. I need to stick to this for 12 weeks. I would like some tips on how to stay focused. I'm really sick and tired of jumping around all the time.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Sounds like you could use a little Jocko Willink in your life.

How do I wake up early?
You wake up early

How do I avoid donuts?
Avoid donuts

How do I stick to a program?
You stick to the program

A little facetious yes, but if you have the program.. do the program. Put in on the wall where you work out. Discipline is like a muscle, it needs to be strengthened. Do the work, both mentally and physically.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Did you do any pre-tests? I stay motivated to stick with a plan so I can test when I'm done with the program and compare the before and after. That provides valuable data about what you respond to in training.

A training log can help, too. People will check in and keep you on track.
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I have a ton of respect for him. There's a certain grain of salt you have to take with it. He lives to the extreme, which is great for him. But in my opinion he does a great of job of admitting his lifestyle is not for everyone. But he is succinct and clear of how to improve your own life by following basic principles and having discipline. As far as the old quote from Bruce Lee goes "take what is useful and discard the rest", I take much more from Jocko than I discard.
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
I did test my bench (e1rm), but I hadn't tested my swing yet. I started with a 48, dropped to a 32, but finally had to go down to a 24 to compete my swings close to 5 min. I think now that I know what bell I'm starting with I'll test with a 32k tomorrow.

I should do the log too.
 

maurice197

Level 4 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I share your struggles, and suggest you focus on the reason you have picked your program, if it's a damn good reason, then abandoning it along the way would negate your reasons.

Check out Viktor frankl's "A man's search for meaning" He likes to quote Nietzsche, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” If your reason for the program is strong enough, then you can withstand the urge to mix it up.
 

Papa Georgio

Level 6 Valued Member
They all have really good suggestions.

Don't take this the wrong way. Stay off these Internet forums and quit reading related books until you get your program to a stopping point. If you're like me it's easy to get bombarded with information and you start questioning your program.
 

Smile-n-Nod

Level 5 Valued Member
If someone offers you $50,000,000 for completing the program, could you do it? If your answer is yes, then you can complete the program without the financial incentive if you really want to. It just depends on your priorities.
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
Sounds like you could use a little Jocko Willink in your life.
Discipline is like a muscle, it needs to be strengthened.

Well, discipline is a fine thing, taken in moderation. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do what you have to do. However, I don't really want to live my life on the basis of forcing myself to do things I'd rather not do. And I certainly would not like to live my life with the mindset that every moment and decision is a test that I have to pass by forcing myself to make the less pleasant choice.

It's good to have discipline when you need it, but I'd rather be able to avoid needing it as much as possible.

For instance:
How do I wake up early?
You wake up early

One of my life rules is: "Set the alarm for the time you want to get up and get up when it rings. The snooze button does not exist."

I get up at 3:45 every workday. This is not at all a matter of discipline, and takes zero willpower. I have to be at work early, don't like to feel rushed, and like some quiet time to shower, dress, walk the dog, make and eat breakfast, have coffee, read the newspaper, and mentally prepare for my day. So I get up early enough to do those things. Instead of considering this discipline, I look at it as doing things the way I prefer (as opposed to discipline being forcing yourself to do something you would prefer not to do).

As far as the old quote from Bruce Lee goes "take what is useful and discard the rest", I take much more from Jocko than I discard.

Point taken. I don't post the above to argue with you, or about Jocko Willink, but to lead up to a suggestion for @Matt Piercy:

IMO, the key to sticking with a program is picking a program you can stick with. Make it what you want to do, instead of what you need to force yourself to do, whether it's committing to specific structured program, or designing a framework for more freestyle programming (or anywhere in between).

This takes a bit of honest self-reflection to figure out, but it's a lot easier, and takes a lot less willpower and discipline, to do something you really want to do. Then, once you make the decision, set your mind that there isn't any more decision making from that point forward (or at least for a reasonably long period before you reevaluate). If you have to make a new decision every day to stick to a program, that takes a lot more willpower and discipline than just deciding once. It's very liberating not to have to make a choice.

Maybe this all a semantic game I play with myself, but I think there's actually a substantive difference between having a little person inside your head cracking a whip and yelling, "You HAVE to do this!," and having a little person inside your head saying, "Now you GET to do this!" Partly it's a difference in mindset, but more than that it's figuring out how to make compromises (almost everything in life is a compromise) that are easier to live with rather than harder to live with.

Hope this helps.
 
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Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
They all have really good suggestions.

Don't take this the wrong way. Stay off these Internet forums and quit reading related books until you get your program to a stopping point. If you're like me it's easy to get bombarded with information and you start questioning your program.
I totally get it. I work alone out of my truck all day. I listen to podcasts the whole time. I get easily influenced by them and also things I read here.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I have an extremely hard time sticking to a program. No matter how well intentioned I am, I always start messing with things and eventually abandon the program.

I've managed to make progress over the years, but I'm sure I'd be further along if I'd just stick to something. For the last week I've done a hybrid program using strong first principals. I simply do 100 swings then do PtP bench press. I need to stick to this for 12 weeks. I would like some tips on how to stay focused. I'm really sick and tired of jumping around all the time.
Maybe you're on a "program of no program". If you're getting stronger, then so what? I've found that one kind of exercise leads into the ability to get into another. It is like doing lots of heavy 2 handed swings when I was bastardizing S&S a year ago led into being able to do 1.5 times my bodyweight deadlifts almost immediately. My ring dips are helping my TGUs and swings. All are helping my judo, and in turn my walking for 75 minutes or more helps everything else out.

If you're handling heavy kettlebells like you are - you started with the 48 Lord help us - then you're doing well.

The one basic program is to lift heavier and heavier weights, and it you're doing this, you're on the most universal program there is - says me (more a judo wrestler than anything else though).
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
IMO, the key to sticking with a program is picking a program you can stick with. Make it what you want to do, instead of what you need to force yourself to do.
If it involves swinging, cleaning, or pressing, I'm going to want to do it. My problem isn't doing the movements, it's the programming for those movements. I think that's why I've still made progress. I might not stick to the program, but the movements themselves will get done. At least that is true with the kettlebell lifts. After I got away from barbell lifts they became less fun than kettlebell. However, I discovered the bench press helps my kb press. So the reason is there
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
Maybe you're on a "program of no program". If you're getting stronger, then so what?
That has actually been my excuse for jumping around. :) I want to see what i can do if I stick to it.

If you're handling heavy kettlebells like you are - you started with the 48 Lord help us - then you're doing well

Thanks for the compliment. They were 2h swings though. I did sets of ten and I only got to 50 or 60 (I think) before I had to finish with a 32. It was hard
 

offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
I kind of like what @Kozushi posted. I'll piggyback off that a bit...
@Matt Piercy ...If you don't mind my asking; what are your goals?
If your goal is to complete a programme then that's one thing. But if your goal is to 'get stronger', faster, compete in an event, be healthier, etc, then that's something different. I think one get achieve the latter goals by a variety of means that don't involve 'completing a programme'

Just a thought...
 

Matt Piercy

Level 3 Valued Member
If you don't mind my asking; what are your goals?
I see myself being an old man, but using a 48k as my primary bell. When I think about the future that's what I see. I have things I want to accomplish like being proficient with double kb jerks with 24's and 32's. My program doesn't include them because I pulled some tendons in my foot months ago, and it won't heal. Swings don't seem to aggravate it as much and the benching is to keep my pressing strength up. Other than that, honestly, I'm just playing. I'm just a big 'ol kid playing in his sandbox
 

Nate

Level 6 Valued Member
I've experienced the physical performance benefits of S&S so I know its good, but I also sometimes get bored with routine so I build variety within the S&S routine. Its not word for word but it rhymes. Or I'll miss the old stuff so I'll occcassionally have a variety day that I do Bis/Tris only, or a strongman session or even just simply add 1 arm floor presses into my TGUs. Its not a purist approach but my goals are numerous and one is enjoyment of training so I compromise... But you do need to try things to see what works for your goal. 5/3/1 got my first bodyweight press and almost 2.5x deadlift (hadnt discovered SF yet). Crossfit got all-day conditioning, strongest Olympic lifts for me and my best pullups (43). Bro-split got my best muscle gains. But all had downfalls too so you wont know what works best for you unless you give them an honest run.
 

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Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Matt Piercy, another thought for you - stick to a proven program just to prove to yourself you can do it. With this in the bank, do what you feel like doing - some people do very well with training by feel.

-S-
 
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