Thursday, June 21, 2007

Excellence is always a choice!

Although this is a "training blog" it's impossible for me to segregate my life into chunks and not integrate all other areas as well, whether it be spiritual, family, professional, etc. The way I see it, training is as much a character and moral challenge as it is a physical one. Where am I going with all of this? I can now see after being in the training profession for over 11 years that one of the most important factors that determines success whether it be in training, my marriage, or even as a strength coach, is my determination and will to be committed to EXCELLENCE. I must admit that after super long days and weeks of training clients sometimes my commitment to excellence in my training takes a back seat as just showing up to do the workout is a success for me. Like Coach Dan John says, most world class champion athletes built their foundation on "punch the clock" workouts. However, that does not take me off the hook. If I am not always committed to excellence that I am in deep weeds.

Having just recently returned from teaching at the RKC certification I am even more convinced of the simplicity of Pavel's take home message of "Strength is a skill."
Because strength truly is a skill we must absolutely ensure that our training is done properly or in an EXCELLENT manner as to develop our skill of whatever it is we are trying to do.

Here is a great quote from one of my favorite Christian authors and teachers Chuck Swindoll:

"Competetive excellence requires 100 percent all of the time. If you doubt that, try maintaining excellence by setting your standards at 92 percent. Or even 95 percent. People figure they're doing fine so long as they get somewhere near it. Excellence gets reduced to acceptable, and before long, acceptable doesn't seem worth the sweat if you can get by with adequate. After that, mediocrity is only a breath away."

The take home message for me from that is to PRACTICE not TRAIN. Instead of doing workouts, perform practice sessions. All it is a change of perspective and to REALLY FOCUS ON TECHNIQUE rather than exercise stimulation. Easier said than done, but it is and must me our focus in whatever we decide to do. For me it means raising the bar and raising my standards in every area of my life. It means doing less things but doing them well. Rather than being a jack of all trades, master of none, I want to be knowledgeable about many things, but master of ONE. You must decide what your ONE thing is.

Thursday / Speed Day at the Track ( I have a track meet on June 30th)
Warm Up

3 x 10 meters (95%)
3 x 20 meters (95%)

A-1 Double Clean and Press
24kgs 5 x 5 sets

B-1 Pistols
Left leg - used Stretch Band 3 x 3 sets
Right leg - 12kg 3 x 3 sets

* The left leg is much weaker as I am not able to perform a pistol at this time. Much practice is needed!

C-1 Weighted Chin Ups
16kg 8, 5, 3 = 16 reps


Pete Diaz, RKC said...

Very introspective, and brutally honest, which is how I like it. Franz, it is so true what you said about being reminded of the truths: strength is a skill, practice, not train, and focus ontechnique. ".

It is always difficult to look at a mirror and examine the flaws. I know I have tried to bite off more than I can chew many times, and with less that desired results. Simplicity in training and simplicity in living seems to bring better results that when I spread myself too thin.

Pistol training! That and the one arm pushup are my GTG goals!. At the TS, Pavel showed this technique of starting the pistol at the bottom position, and then using muscle tension to go up a few inches, then back down. Then do that for several pulses. This was one technique to strengthen the leg for the pistol. Then the hamstring PNF stretch was applied, then attempt the pistol again from the top position. I was almost able to do a pistol without weight as a counterbalance after those two drills! I can do a pistol with a 16kg but now I am close to doing it without any weight. I hope this helps.

Andy Whitney, RKC said...

Franz, good post and great quote. Swindoll's writings are deep with meaning and personal exploration. This is Andy, We spoke a few times at the last RKC.

You and your wife inspired me to get my wife going with the KBs. The good news is she loves them and there is a chance I might get her to an RKC next year.

Charles Swindoll is a favorite author of mine as well so I decided after reading your post to put up my favorite quote of his as well.
Check it out if you have time:

Mabel said...

Hi Franz! Its Mabel, John Vandenbrink's girlfriend :o). I just wanted to offer my congratulations on the wonderful baby news! I posted a comment on Yoana's blog too, hopefully she remembers meeting me *crosses fingers*.

I had a little time this morning and was reading a little bit on your blogs. I must admit I wasn't too keen on the idea of kettlebells because 1) I have weak joints from injuries incurred during my gymnast years and 2) I get really bad blisters fast...LOL Poor excuses *bad Mabel*! That said, I gotta say you guys are soo makes me wanna give kettlebells a second chance :o). John tried to train me with our friends Ron and Maria once but I think my arms were so skinny and weak I needed a lighter kettlebell... Perhaps I should invest in a smaller/lighter one of my own *ponders*.

This is turning into quite the comment...I just wanted to offer an open invitation for you & Yoana to visit with John and I, I would love the chance to get to know you guys better, John has nothing but wonderful things to say about you both and you seem like such a sweet down to earth couple (we need more friends like you in our life). San Diego is still kind of new to me and although we have friends visit from time to time, it'd be nice to make more friends in the area. Given Yoana's current condition, John and I could also come to you if she'd feel more comfortable staying close to home. OK, just wanted to pay you some compliments and make ya'll some offers of friendship :o).

Take care,
Mabel :o)

Franz Snideman said...


Great explanation for the pistol. Thanks. I will do it today! Sounds like the seminar rocked!

Franz Snideman said...


thanks for comments brother. It was great talking to you at the RKC. I hope your wife does the RKC, that will be awesome. And I agree with you about Charles Swindoll, he absolutely is one of the best Christian authors out there with very deep and powerful insights. I will check your blog out for sure!

Franz Snideman said...


thank you so much for your encouragements and kind words. We totally want to get together with you guys, 100%. The challenge is finding time when we can all get together. Weekends seem like the logical choice for all of us. I will contact John and we will make it happen.

And yes, I agree with John, KB's will help you alot as they will grow on you. The more you do them the more results you see, thus the more you want to continue to use them. Talk with you soon!


Guarden said...

Great BLOG Franz.
Hope your toe has recovered from the accident.
Have you ever spent time training the 2-hands anyhow?