My wife knows of my love for the BUP. She shakes her head. Sighs. Shakes her head again and in so many words has accepted my love for the BUP…it wasn’t always like this. I didn’t even meet BUP until a sunny day on the hallowed grounds of the Coyote Point Kettlebell Club . There we were, lined up for a conga-line kettlebell swing dance, with beautiful round spheres of iron. The dancing went well..and then, she appeared — BUP. As a newly minted RKC, I felt intimidated by her lovely movement. She weakened me..and that was not good. Not good at all seeing how I just graduated from the “School of Strength.”
This is BUP on the picture to the left.
No, not Coach Stevo, but the lovely cannonball with a handle in his hand, thrust to the skies..turned upside down. Her formal name..the Bottoms-up Press. It is a challenging movement that demands your total attention, lest ye want a kettlebell in your grill. Grip strength is crucial and I didn’t have enough of it. I struggled with the 16kg on that day. This lit the internal Foley Irish fire to make a change.
In many ways it was the perfect movement as to what was occuring in my work life. I could sense my days in the world of corporate cubicles was coming to an end. I would bring my 16kg bell to work. My colleagues could see the bell rising and lowering at random times throughout the day. I was “greasing the groove,” as Pavel expounds upon in his classic Naked Warrior – “”Your grandmother used to tell you: to get good at something, you must do it often, do it a lot, and do it to the exclusion of other things. Specificity + frequent practice = success. It is so obvious, most people don’t get it. I had a radical thought: if you want to get good at chin-ups, why not try to do… a lot of chin-ups?” Brilliant!
An then, as it always happens when you start to get stronger, strength karma laid down another golden nugget. Easy Strength, by Dan John and Pavel, was delivered to my doorstep. Weren’t these guys already mentioned once in this story? Yeah, they are THAT good. There was a program contained within the book that talked about getting stronger working five different exercises per day for 10 reps and 40 days total. What could be easier? It was the perfect program for allowing me to make slow and steady gains with the BUP. This is how it started on Christmas Day 2011 at the Marina Green in San Francisco.
As I plowed ahead with the program, this is what happened:
Day 6 – 5, 3 and 2 reps with the 20kg
Day 10 – 24kg goes up, right hand
Day 13 – 2×5 with 20kg (both hands)
Day 28 – “Tonic session” 1×10 with 20kg (both hands)
Day 40 – 3×3 with 24kg (both hands)
Easy Strength workshop – two days after finishing 40 day Plan – PR! 28kg went up with right hand!
My working world has also been turned upside down in the process, in a very powerful way. I’m now leading the kettlebell charge at SOL Performance in Oakland CA. Olympians, professional athletes and everyday people train here. Cubicle-land is a distant memory! The moral of the story…get up off your butt and bottoms-up!