Training Scars

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Yesterday, I looked down at my palms and looked at the start of my training scars.

At least, that’s how I opted to look at the blister trying to form on the top of my palm. Calling them “training scars” makes me feel a bit better about what they actually are.

You see, I’ve been doing a whole lot of kettlebell snatches. I’ve gotten moderately competent at them. Good enough, anyway, that I don’t bang my arms when I thrust upward.

These are hotspots more than blisters. They’re not comfortable, but they’re particularly painful just yet. Which is good. After all, I’m still going to be doing snatches.

It’s only on my right hand for some reason, which baffles me, but oh well.

Mostly, I’m thrilled I can actually manage the snatch well enough to use it for training.

But I was also only doing it with an 8 kg kettlebell.

You see, I decided to use the lightest kettlebell mostly so I could work on my technique without worrying about strength. I wanted to focus on the movements alone.

After all, isn’t the snatch a technical lift?

It is, but “technical” isn’t synonymous with easy. It’s a movement meant to develop explosiveness and power. If power is defined as strength displayed quickly–a good enough definition for our purposes–then it clearly needs strength to really pull it off.

I got that reminder after having already done about 50 snatches with each hand after I moved up to a bigger kettlebell, this one a 12 kg bell.

That may or may not have contributed to my training scars.

The thing is, feeling a little philosophical about stuff, I can’t help but think about how training itself really does leave scars.

When you train, you damage your muscle fibers. Your body responds to the stimulus by beefing up the fibers. In a way, our muscles are scar tissue of a sort.

Our “training scars” are there on our very muscles.

But everything should be building up our scars. We need to make our training tough, not just because of the physical aspects. No, we need the mental ones.

Mental toughness is sorely lacking in this day and age. We can fix that. We can “be the change we want to see in the world,” as Gandhi put it.

Everyone should embrace that idea, that attitude. We don’t back down. We don’t roll over. We’re tougher than everyone else because we don’t have a choice.

We’re Barbarians.

That means we need to cultivate our training scars. We need to not just embrace them like we do those sort palms that become calluses, but to seek them out.

I’m speaking for me, who is notorious for not liking to train in the cold. Come fall, I need to seek out those opportunities, to use them to learn more about myself.

We need to seek out hardship in our training so we can seek out new scars.

It will only make us better.

 

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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