I mentioned in one of my Facebook updates this week that I am restricting my reading to sports psychology for the duration of my preparation for the GBO. I’m really enjoying that decision and I highly recommend that if you play competitively at all you check out at least one book on the subject. I just so happen to have a whole list of possibilities already put together for you as part of my disc golf reading list.
The one exception to that is a book called Kettlebell – Simple & Sinister by Pavel Tsatsouline. Pavel is the guy who introduced the kettlebell to North America and is the primary reason you see these cannonballs with handles being swung around so much at your local gym or Crossfit box.
I’ve written a whole series of posts about building a disc golf home gym and disc golf fitness, but I haven’t gotten around to talking about the kettlebells yet. A big part of that is I don’t have a ton of experience with them yet. They are a new implement to me and I never really knew what to do with them. I own a set (you can see them against the wall in the pic below). I’ve used them here and there. But that’s pretty much it.
All that has changed. I’ve been furiously looking for a workout that will get me ready for the GBO. I went back into the gym for a while as I really enjoy the 4 basic barbell lifts (bench press, military press, squat, deadlift). At 44, however, I’m just not recovering from that type of workout like I used to.
Also, while I absolutely believe that strength (NOT size) is paramount to peak disc golf performance, I really didn’t feel that my old barbell workouts were paying any disc golf specific dividends. I’ve been using my sandbag, my rings, some body weight training, and other stuff in my home gym to try to address that, but I just haven’t been totally thrilled with any of it as of late. Enter Tim Ferriss.
I have an hour drive to and from work each day. That means I listen to a ton of podcasts. I wish there were more, but there are only a handful of disc golf podcasts, so I listen to a lot of other types. (If you like disc golf podcasts, I highly recommend the Smashboxx TV podcast, The Disc Golf Show, Final Round Radio, and of course The Disc Golf Answer Man where you can hear me occasionally)
Outside of disc golf, one of my favorites is the Tim Ferris show. You’ve probably heard of Tim as he’s the author of 3 NY Times best selling books (The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Body, and The 4-Hour Chef), all worth reading. I find his podcast eminently entertaining and educational. Recently he had Pavel Tsatsouline on as a guest (check out the episode here), and I was hooked at first listen.
First of all, Pavel has this awesome don’t be a whiny wimp attitude that I love. Excuses are for losers and he is unapologetic about that. More people in this world need to be as honest and transparent as he is. You can really tell that he used to train the Russian special forces just by his attitude.
So, what does training the Russian special forces have to do with training for the GBO and for disc golf? A lot. First and foremost, it’s training for functional strength, not mirror muscles. It’s training your body to move forcefully and effectively and with power. It translates directly to athletic performance in any sport.
Second, it’s minimalist. It’s literally 3 stretches, 2 exercises, and 2 kettle bells. That’s it. One of my challenges in training for the GBO is finding time for everything I want to do. I need things that are effective, yet don’t take up any more time than necessary. This program fits that to a tee.
Third, I can already feel the benefits to my game. The level of stability I have, the core strength, the increase in explosiveness, and the surprising increase in flexibility are all effects that are manifesting much sooner than I thought they would.
Fourth, it’s fun. I can truly say that I genuinely enjoy this training and look forward to doing it every morning. I cannot say that about my trips to the gym. While I enjoyed lifting, it was never something I looked forward to and it was often something I had to drag myself into the gym to do.
It’s kind of weird to think that I’ve stopped using all the stuff I have in my disc golf home gym (except the jump rope, I still love it and do it regularly!) for now. I’m sure I’ll still use it all occasionally (I was just doing some pull ups on my rings yesterday, for example), but I don’t see myself deviating from this kettle bell workout any time soon.
If you are looking for something simple and effective to get you in great overall shape, get you extremely strong, and directly benefit your disc golf game, try out Pavel’s book and try out some kettlebells. If you don’t have kettlebells, you can get them pretty cheap at your local Play it Again Sports. All you need is two for Pavel’s program. If you want something more badass than that, you can get the primal bells shown in the picture from Onnit. I’ve got a pair of those on the way to the house and I can’t wait to start swinging around some monkeys!
This training program is 6 days a week, so that means that over the next 83 days, I’ll get in roughly 66 days of kettlebell training. I am really looking forward to what that will do for my overall strength as well as my overall game. After the GBO is over, and I am writing the wrap up posts I have planned, I’ll be sure to touch on just how effective I think it was and if I’ll be going back to other types of training at that time.
Regardless of whether you try this program out or not, I’m still an ardent supporter of strength (again, NOT size) being beneficial in disc golf. It’s beneficial in ALL other sports, there is no reason disc golf should be treated differently. Everyone can benefit from a strength training program. If you don’t already have one, you should definitely consider trying it out!
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