Strong Member Spotlight: Patrick Baum

Patrick came to MoveStrong Kettlebells last Spring seeking to increase strength and overall conditioning for the sport of Rowing. Patrick is a member of the Greater Columbus Rowing Association and is a sculler -- so he is used to moving fast.

There are really a lot of similarities between using kettlebells and rowing as I found out when I began talking to Patrick and also when I read a book about the sport that Patrick loaned to me. 

So Patrick began using kettlebells and barbells with us and I would say that the kettlebell swing presented a bit of a challenge for Patrick at first, as it does for many of us. But when he got it, he became pretty excited about the explosive power and strength benefits from it.

Patrick also began to look at how he was eating in an effort to increase his performance. There was a period of months where he was cycling, rowing and swinging kettlebells so it became especially important to fuel properly.

He began eating more whole and natural foods,, and to date, Patrick has lost 66 pounds.

The weight loss was not necessarily his goal ... he wanted to feel better and move better. As I tell people, do the work in the gym, and in the kitchen, and the rest will fall in place with consistency and patience.

Patrick has been swinging the 124 lb. kettlebell for sets of 10 as a recent strength challenge. He had a deadlift personal best of 285 lbs. He has been consistently training 3-4 times a week and his movement quality with squats and lunges has steadily improved.

He recently achieved his first strict pull-up (from a deadhang) and that was very exciting for him and for the entire class.; we revel in each others accomplishments!

I look forward to seeing how Patrick feels when he gets back on the water very soon. I expect he will move as quite a different athlete with nearly a year of strength and movement training behind him.

One of things I enjoy most about coaching Patrick is his openness to cues and corrections. He welcomes them. I also enjoy watching him occasionally smile or chuckle in the middle of the movement. He will feel either something move really well, or not so well. Either way, he will work it out in his body and in his head until he gets it right. He has learned how to be mindful when using kettlebells.

Here are some thoughts about this journey from Patrick in his own words ...

2014 included my third season of masters rowing. I went to sculling camp in Vermont, and was in six seat of an eight boat when sweep rowing. I felt fairly good about my progress, but could not achieve the level of performance I really wanted.

My technique was improving under excellent coaching at the Greater Columbus Rowing Association (GCRA), but I did not have the physical ability to get to the next level. So I made a commitment to become a better rower through improved fitness. But how?

My winter training plan came down to a choice between two philosophies: practice on the rowing machine (erg) primarily, or focus on weight-bearing exercise and body movement for overall conditioning.

I had been “erging” for many months with little improvement. Intuition and logic pointed toward increasing my fitness level; erging occasionally to stay sharp in the off-season; and then improving rowing technique on the water in the spring.

I decided to do more kettlebell workouts because of their ballistic yet rhythmic movement combined with the loading of the weight. On the strength of Lori’s coaching ability, I committed to between 3 and 5 workouts per week at MoveStrong Kettlebells over the winter months.

Now, the ice won’t melt here in Columbus, Ohio for a few weeks yet, and water temperature won’t be safe for rowing until April. So how kettlebell conditioning over the winter will affect my rowing has yet to be seen. But there are hints foretelling of success.

There’s the weight loss; the new awareness of and control over body movement; the endurance of kettlebell workouts (which I find similar to rowing in terms of effort over time); the drastically improved erg times.

In brief, I can’t wait to hit the water in 2015!

One other encouraging note: I am 54 years old and have never been as fit as I am today.

Yes, I row and bicycle – great. Yet I attribute my new sense of health, confidence, and well-being to practicing kettlebells under a great coach and mentor.

If you’re getting older, are feeling out of shape, and your doctor clears you for heavy exercise, kettlebells will deliver for you – if you train with a great coach like Lori Crock. Believe me – you do NOT want to try swinging a 124 lb. kettlebell without a certified trainer (no matter your age)! Plus, it’s really fun. So go for it, if you can.