Monday, May 07, 2007

Injuries, complaining and blogging.

I've been reading some interesting posts on a not to be mentioned site about how it seems I constantly talk more about my injuries than anything else, and how, as a Sr RKC I should be magically and fully healed by the kb, as if I never destroyed a major weight bearing joint 30 plus years ago. Well of course these are people who dont know me, never met me and dont realize how far I've come from whence I started training full time with the kb as 3 years ago.

Let me just say this up front: I probalby should have had my knee replaced 5-10 years ago as was recommended to me by Dr Dillingham, the team Doc of the 49'ers. The knee only bends 90 degrees, and only has bent that much since 1974,which causes as much problems as any other aspect of having no internal ligament structures, no meniscii, no articular cartilage and LOTS of very active arthritis.

Getting the knee to sit straight(er) under these conditions is a full time project and I have to say that most if not all of my detractors would not only not be training as hard as I am( have been) they wouldnt be doing much of anything.The fact is it is getting better all the time and being able to stand and walk for 14-16 hours a day for 4 days straight is as much an accomplishment to me as some of my heaviest lifts. Getting off all prescription meds was a great thing for me as well.Being able to walk 30 minutes straight made me as happy as a 500 plus pound squat used to.
Each day, little by little I decode another piece of this puzzle called physical balance. When joints are truly injured; and I mean really destroyed, as my knee and my shoulder were, it changes things FOREVER, and thats no joke. Physical abilities usually DO NOT get better with age and joints are right at the top.This is another reason I am so adament about kids not training or competing so hard so early. ONce you get hurt for real, you are never the same.

Of course these malcontents who never really put themselves on the line, never really pushed themselves to be the best they could be, never really took any real chances physically but just sat back and did a little of this and a little of that are pretty much just fine now in their middle age dotage.Of course they never really accomplished anything either but who cares now? It's so easy to pretend the COULD HAVE had they really WANTED to. But they know the truth.

The truth is their is a price that has to be paid for greatness, or even attempts at greatness and these costs sometimes have to be paid over a lifetime, when the audience is gone, and the lights fade and their is no glory left. Pain is forever, glory is extremely temporary. Especially when one's peers care not for what you have done, just what have you done for me lately. BUt it doesnt matter because I do what I do, as I have done since I was 14, for myself. You gotta please yourself cause thats who you really live with.

And I blog for myself. When I started this thing 3 plus years ago it was just as an online way of keeping my training log and notes to myself about what I was doing and strategies for getting there. The fact that ANYBODY reads it is great but it is for me more than anything. It has evolved now and I am aware that some people do read it on a regular basis which makes me work harder to NOT change how I approach it.

I write about what is at the forefront of my mind from my training and my goals perspective.Many, many times it is how I going to( God willing) find away to STILL keep training despite the pain and issues brought about from injuries that are old and very serious. I will not quit. I will find a way to get better and stronger.If I get beat down I will get back up, as I have for the last 32 years.Some see it as complaining. ANyone who knows me the last thing I complain about is my injuries or my pain.I picked it, I play it.That doesnt mean I dont think and analyze and observe what I am doing so I can make it better and avoid doing the same thing again. As I said in an earlier post, training is the source for me and I learn many things; not being able to have everything I want for one.

Many of those criticizing me have accomplished absolutely nothing themselves but still feel they can pass judgement. Talk is cheap,especially on the internet.
For those who are bored with reading about my injuries and strategies for finding ways around them I have a simple solution : DONT READ MY BLOG.

There, that was easy.


Rob O'Brien said...


Well said. Your insight on your injuries has helped me greatly and I could be accused of the same thing if someone read my blog. I do it for ME and for others that might be able to pick up something from me relevant to their training and personal situation. Hopefully most people find it helpful and informantive. Screw everyone else.


Geoff Neupert said...

Spot on--talk is cheap. Shut-up and get under the bar, be it Power or Oly.

I was compiling my list of injuries since I've started competing--quite long like yours. But fortunately, I haven't completely blown any joints.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks guys, those never was's tend to really get my goat. especially when I read their training logs and realize they have absolutely NO ROOM to talk about anything.
I consider my injuries battle scars, accumulated honestly and fought through continuously.

and Rob it is especially for people likeyou, who are going through their own issues that I really feel it's important to dring in some details about dealing with either acute or chronic issues. Its' easy to give up and jsut talk shit on the net. Keeping on keeping on isnt.
thanks again.

hawkeye said...


I love reading your blog. Your writing strikes me as genuine and unvarnished, with not the slightest hint of exaggeration about your own accomplishments, nor any attempt to hide the "imperfections" that make us all human.

As I've commented before, your willingness to give straight talk about your successes AND your struggles is what sets your writing apart from much of the hyperbole and "preening" that characterize so many blogs.

Don't change a thing. Your blog is great!

Aaron Friday said...

Ditto for me. Your entries are authentic and interesting.

Mark Reifkind said...

hawkeye,thanks alot man, it was very good to read your comment.It is much appreciated and its good to know that what I am going through and learning is helping others. Thats really my main motivation and has been even when I was a kid.I was always coaching my teammates right from the start.

the sad fact of it is is that I am a better coach than an athlete although I have always wanted it to be the other way around. Oh well, there ya go( in my best north dakota accent).
I also like reading 'real' blogs by real people than thinly disguised marketing sites.

and thanks aaron, it is also greatly appreciated.

Joefitness said...

As a student of yours, I appreciate your reflection, feedback, digging for a better understand approach to training. You have truly made the most out of your situation and you approach has helped many and I can personally testify to this. I know everyday you go out and do your best, bar none and I have never heard you complain, in fact all I see you do is go out there and challenge yourself to be the best you can be!

You are a true man, a true athlete, and we need more people out there willing to explore the human body for the benefit of all, even if it is just one man/persons opinion.

Thank you for all your hard work and due diligence. You have nothing to proof to anyone Rif, I do not know many a person who can stand in your shoes, let alone walk in them.

Mark Reifkind said...

wow joe, I am touched. thank you so much for the very kind words.thanks man.

Aaron Friday said...

Most of Fargo was filmed in Minnesota, with the real funny talkers coming from Brainerd (in lake country, "up nort").

After the film came out, the local news interviewed a bunch of these people, some of whom were not pleased with how they and their neighbors were portrayed.

My favorite was a guy who retorted, "Ve don't reely tok like dat, ya know."

LOL. They talk exactly like that! The North Dakota accent is not as pronounced, but still "kinda gooofy."

Back on topic -- If my karma is good, I'll be able to attempt some of your workouts in another 2 or 3 lifetimes, so I'm glad you're sharing them with us.

Mark Reifkind said...


you crackme up man.

"Ve don't reely tok like dat, ya know."

Franz Snideman said...


Although I have never met you in person, I feel as though I already know you through your blog and our communication through all of our blogs. My experience and oppinion is similar to alot of the people who have alrady posted; you are a battle tested athlete who WALKS THE WALK.

There are not too many people out there that can stand on that truth. I would like to tell you thank you for sticking to your guns and for not giving up on your body when your body was going native on you. The very fact that you are still in the GAME of athletic conditioning is because you desire, focus and DISCIPLINE, something I have already learned from you (and desperately need to learn how to apply).

thanks for your post and for sharing your passion and experience with all of us!

Mark Reifkind said...


I feel the same way about you; that I know you although we have never met in person.

Thank you for the kind words.The only thing I have ever wanted to be was a competitive athlete.Unlocking the secrets and mysteries of the body and human movement and performance have always been what has fueled and motivated me.

I have always wanted to be a pro and live that life.
I learned that first you live like a pro, then you get to be one. Then I realized that once you live like a pro thats all that matters.

The journey is the destination and getting there an 'inch by inch' process.

And having had it taken away from me I know so well how important just being able to do basic things really is and I do my best to appreciate it every day.

thanks again to you and yoanna for living the life as well and setting such great examples.

Royce said...

Yeah Rif speaking for myself as someone who you have treated with the UTMOST kindness and generosity, the forum wars piss me off. I still appreciate the advice that you gave me on rehabing the tendon in my forearm. You as a PAID profesional didn't have to do that. It seems strories like that about you abound.
I used to read Irongarmx and a few other forums, but they degraded into bigotry and name calling. Then you personally got ( and get ) attacked there. It's bullshit.
I have never met you in person but you believe you are the real deal as an athlete and as a human being. Don't let the assholes get to you man!!

Peace out bro.

Mark Reifkind said...

thanks royce,

I just have to remember it's the opinions of guys like you that matter so much more than the negative haters.

thanks again

Royce said...

You are absolutely most welcome man.

Shaf said...

I've walked it and I'll talk it.

A lot of people don't like it when I pick at their scabs. The outside observer often has things to say that the inside folks don't like, maybe he's wrong, that's always possible, or maybe it's just a different perspective.

You don't like what I say, then, don't read what I write. Goes both ways. But, never, ever think you, or anybody else, is above criticism or even a good shit-talking.

I would get a training session in with any of you, and we could go out and have a beer and steak or whatever afterwards and shoot the shit. In fact, any of you guys are welcome to drop by my place if you are in Mid-Michigan. SShafley AT Gmail Dot com is where you can reach me.

One thing about me: I'm here to learn. My mind isn't unchangeable, nor am I immune to the siren call of assholishness, which is distinctly one of my vices. If I cross the line, then I fess up to it and move on.

But I will never be a yes-man or a nutswinger.

Dustin Silveri said...

I have read similar posts... and I have to say, I dont understand it. Most people who have had your past injuries at your age... wouldnt be kettlebelling, or let alone walking!

The fact that you are able to do such movements and make the progress your making is HUGE!

I know many people who have knee problems, my self included. They are not fun and can seriously cripple you if not careful.

Your a perfect example that kettlebells can be a perfect rehab tool and help you get ROM back that wasnt previously there.


Christine Petty said...

Some people aren't happy unless they're trying to make someone else miserable. Sucks to be them. I like reading your blog, I think it's well written, and I occassionally learn a thing or two.

Ok, I learn something practically every time I read this...

Mark Reifkind said...


I am not above criticism and never ever said I was. what pissed me off about your comment, and you are of course alwyas free to have your opinion, is that I am " floundering" as a Sr RKC when you have absolutely nothing to base that on and have absolutely no insight into the situation as it were.
This last cert, of course, was my FIRST cert as a Senior and by all accounts I more than held my own.

I am not "trying to pound round pegs into square holes", instead I am trying to educate the misinformed as to what consitutes one very valid method of KB training.

I am, and have always been a coach and teacher as much as an athlete and that isnt going to change. Because many can't 'get it" doesnt change my approach.

ANd as to who would have been a better choice as to a Sr. I will put my resume and experiences up against anybody. anybody.

ANd of course I care much more about Pavels opinion and resepct than I do yours or any other armchair quarterback.

I agree that if we met we would probably get along just fine,brothers in iron and all that, so I dont understand the rancor even more.
I always try to respect those that I know have accomplished things that I resepct in my field.Never wanted any nutswingers.

as you know from real deal lifting what one does on the platform talks their talk. I've done that and more and am surprised you dont' respect it, that's all.

Mark Reifkind said...


one of my pet peeves is the " what have you done for me lately" attitude. Many many athletic warriors get NAILED in their resepctive sports and have to live very disrupted lives because of it.

The "dont be a pussy, and play through the pain" mentality is at the core of athletic machismo and has been forever.It's called being a man. BUT, when one does that and pays the price I am always amazed when what one has done in the past is NOT resepcted. You see this in powerlifting all the time and it always gets my goat.

People actually have the nerve to give Ed Coan shit for not still being the best in the world after all he has done. He could have quit after his first two years and still been a legend.

Nothing lasts forever, especially when you try to find your "potential". If one seeks their limits they will find them and it's not always pretty.

I always respect those real deal guys( and girls) that walk ( or have walked)their talk on the platform or playing field, regardless of what it did to them.

At least they had the balls to put it all on the line.

People who have never really been injured just dont get it.
Can't wait to meet you at the cert Dustin.

Shaf said...

"Square pegs in round holes"

Insisting that Kenneth Jay's messing about with a force plate under uncontrolled conditions constitutes science. Picking this ball up and running with it and saying that it "proves" kettlebells can develop power.


Well, maybe I was wrong about that Rif, because you seem to be a skilled trainer and are able to help your clients, and perhaps that's what Pavel wanted in his new lineup of SRKCs. Wasn't it just two years ago when you had to mail in your results of the RKC snatch test?

Dustin Silveri said...

your Spot on Mark! see you soon

Samuel said...

Man, people are tards.

Anyway, I can't speak for anyone else, but I read your "this is how I deal with my injuries" posts because they get me off my ass. I'm lucky to not have that kind of joint damage, so I have much less excuse for not working.

Thanks for sharing all your info with us!

Mark Reifkind said...


Using a force plate to determine how much force is provided by a movement is perhaps not 'scientific' enough for you but its no less accurate data than getting on a scale and seeing if one wants to gain or lose weight.
If you can swing or snatch a 24 kg and produce 4 times that in force than that is great data to me.
no less than louie attatching a tendo unit to the bar and measuring how fast one moves with a certain weight and adjusting weights and percentages based on that.
"science" as we both know is usually 5-10 years behind the athletes in accepting much less understanding how to make progress.this is why I chose the 'race track' instead of the ivory tower track in my pursuit of physical culture and performance.

"science" changes it's mind on what it truth every second day. Data is just data. I misspoke then when I labled the post "blinded me with science". It was a tongue and cheek reference to Thomas Dolby.

AS far as mailing in my snatch test I was caught unaware by the switch to the new slippery bells that would not accept chalk and I lost my grip on the transfer and then again on the second test on the next to last rep on the second arm. Never wanted to be a gs guy anyway.

are you insinuating I am not enough of an athlete to be SR RKC. is that the criteria?

Charley Allen said...


The fact that you (i) are active, (ii) have joint issues and have been able to self-rehab old injuries, and (iii) write about all of this free of charge is priceless. I find what you are writing informative and in some cases inspriring.

Who gives a flip what anyone else thinks? It takes time and guts to write what you believe and share what works for you. Is everything you write going to apply to me or am I going to agree with it? Of course not, but does that really matter? The fact that you write what you do, share it for the world to see, and have tangible and life changing results to show for your efforts is inspiring.

I started my blog about 5 months ago to simply log my training in a medium that isn't subject to my hard drive's whims. I'd like to think in 2 or 3 years that it could serve as a roadmap for someone to gradually transition themselves from an overweight, deconditioned desk jockey into a much healthier, much thinner, better conditioned desk jockey who throws kettlebells around for fun, for ridiculously high reps, and free of injury. Will everyone agree with what I am doing and will it work for them? Of course not, but it doesn't matter.

I've always thought on my blog if I share something that inspires people to write hateful, insulting or divisive remarks that I can always shut down the comments for awhile.

Keep doing what you are doing. writing what you are writing, and ignore the internet badasses who have nothing better to do than to belittle, insult, or otherwise obtain satisfaction from telling you that you are wrong.


Mark Reifkind said...


"because you seem to be a skilled trainer and are able to help your clients, and perhaps that's what Pavel wanted in his new lineup of SRKCs."

as opposed to whom?

Mark Reifkind said...


thanks much for the kind words and glad my training and writing is helping you in some small way.

It is part of my coaching and teachers nature to try to convince those who are confused or mislead or simply misunderstand what point I am making. I do tend to bang my head against the wall occasionally (of regularly) but you probably got that if you read my blog,lol.

thanks man, words of encouragment are always appreciated.

Shaf said...

There are a number of folks that I would have considered in line in front of you for the consideration of an SRKC position, based on both their skill in utilizing the kettlebell and the length of time they'd been with the organization.

That wasn't my choice though. I'm sure Pavel made the best choices for his organization.

And, I said what I meant, no mystery or double talk there.

Mark Reifkind said...


I hear you. One thing to remember though, there is a HUGE difference in being a great demonstrator and being a great teacher.Unfortunately, I have seen many with fantatic personal skills with the bell not be able to teach very well at all.

Dave said...

You are spot on. You have been in this business longer than a lot of the guys talking trash have been alive.

Enjoy the criticism, it means you are the guy with the ball.

I really enjoyed meeting you & Tracy in MN. Hope to see you guys again soon.

Mark Reifkind said...

thank you sir, it was such a great pleasure finally meeting you in person and listening to you speak. its excellent to have you as a Team Leader- you are already bringing such good info and energy to the RKC.

The hamstring flex work you did was excellent

take care

Tracy said...

Brilliant freakin' post, as usual!