Last week I wrote about how learning to get strong has changed virtually everything in my life and has made it better. One of the biggest things that has changed for me is my relationship with the floor, or the ground…actually no. It is my relationship with my FEET, and their relationship with the deck (whatever it is that I am standing on). As far back as I can really remember I had pain in my heels and low back when I stood in one place for very long, even as a kid. My low back used to hurt and people told me to “wear shoes with support!” I even went to a well-meaning Chiropractor years back who was happy to fit me with custom orthotics to wear in my super-supportive shoes. I looked for the cushieset, most supportive, walking-on-a-cloud shoes I could spend money on, and you know what?! My back still hurt. My heels still hurt. Shoes were NOT the problem.
One of the very first things that I noticed after beginning my kettlebell practice was that my feet did not hurt as much and my low back did not hurt as much. I found that if I wanted to, I could wear heels without as much nagging pain. I found that with the more I did Single Leg Dead Lifts (I always practice my kettlebell work barefoot) and started wearing “barefoot” shoes outside and on hiking trails (there are many types now to choose from) that not only did I not have pain, I had a new and different relationship with the ground!
One of the basic drills that I “drill” into student’s heads is the Static Stomp. The Static Stomp may seem at first to be a little detail. It is NOT. Strength begins from the “ground up”. To illustrate; we had a family cat, Mr. Kitty, who could, I swear, make himself weigh 4 times his body weight when he did not want me to pick him up out of my chair! That is part of what we are doing. Make yourself heavy. Imagine that your feet are pushing yourself into the floor itself. Seriously tighten ALL the muscles in your body with the intention of pushing with your feet. You have to keep the floor from smashing you against the ceiling…250 MPH winds can NOT blow you over…whatever it takes to feel your static stomp!
Feeling strong as you stand still is a good indicator that you are getting strong. Now, remember to Static Stomp before you engage in ANY kettlebell drill, AND before you lift ANYTHING heavy! I know that for myself and for my students, being strong with kettlebell drills is great, but the reason we are practicing for strength is to be strong in all areas of our lives.
Remember: Strength is a skill. It can be learned. Happiness is a choice. It can be made. Strength makes a whole lot of things a whole lot easier. That is just a fact.