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On the road again: how "the rockstar's trucker" maintains dynamic strength and beats the long-haul blues with a steady mix of kettlebell grooves

January 18, 2011 10:27 AM

Paul Arnold of Phoenix, AZ isn't a rock star, but he's close. He drives a truck hauling sound and light equipment for several touring rock bands, including legends like the Rolling Stones and Metallica. Paul earned his Russian Kettlebell Challenge certification in June of 2003.

Dragon Door: How did you get into kettlebells?

Paul Arnold: I'd had Pavel's book for a couple of years, and I finally opened it up and looked at it. It talked about work more in the everyday life scene. Weight lifting picks stuff up in straight lines. Spine straight, head straight, looking forward. Pavel teaches you to twist, look in different directions as you lift. I've got so many aches and pains in my elbows, shoulders and hips, and since I've been training, which has only been about five or six weeks, my shoulders are better, my hips feel better. My elbow's been bothering me a little bit, but I feel pretty good.

D.D.: Do you have a strong background in weight lifting?

P.A.: I've been training for about 16 years. I've been certified by a couple different organizations. This is a different sort of certification, though. Here, I feel like I'm earning something. There you go through it, and if you get it sort of right, they say, "Cool," and they give you the diploma. Here, you gotta do it right. They just hammer it in. This is tough.

D.D.: Did you get those other certifications for professional reasons?

P.A.: Nah, I just wanted to learn proper technique and proper mechanics. Some people at the gym saw me, so I started training people on the side.

D.D.: Were those injuries you were talking about earlier from everyday life, or from weight lifting?

P.A. I was in two motorcycle accidents, which injured my shoulder and probably my hip too, my elbow…yeah, probably the motorcycle accidents did most of it, but I also injured myself training with weights a couple of times. Especially shoulders. So it was a combination of training and motorcycle, I guess.

D.D.: Are you ever limited in what you can do at the gym because of these injuries?

P.A.: For years now, maybe one week out of a month I can do shoulder presses. But with Pavel's kettlebell training, I work my shoulders every day, even if it's a couple of light preps. I don't have any problem. Just a little bit of pain occasionally. Joint mobility is coming back, which is unbelievable. I can't believe that in just five weeks of training my shoulder's feeling the way it is.

D.D.: I hear a lot of people say that: that the pain they always thought would be with them is suddenly gone after a few kettlebell sessions.

P.A.: Yeah! Especially because of the way you twist and turn…it's not the way I was taught. It's great. It works.

D.D.: So did you come to this RKC certification just to learn more?

P.A.: Really, I signed up because I didn't know how to lift. I sent for a couple of mid-range kettlebells, and I just banged the hell out of my wrists. I just didn't know how. Then I signed up for this certification five months early, and took off from work because I wanted to do this. I took a leave of absence. Then Mike Mahler came into town in April, and I took a class with him. He taught me the basics and got me lifting. The past five or six weeks I've just been working on my technique, and I'm having it honed here.

D.D.: Do you have any future goals for your kettlebell training?

P.A.: Well, I drive a truck for rock bands. I carry sound and light equipment, and I'll be traveling at least three or four months. But I wanna get off the road, and I'm thinking about doing some training. I've even got people back home who have found out that I'm doing this, and they said, "When you get back, give me a call," so I've got people already who are interested in training. So once I get a little more confident, I might start training people. It's definitely a possibility.

D.D.: So let's talk more about this whole business of driving rock bands and their stuff around in a truck.

P.A.: That's another nice thing about kettlebells: I couldn't always get away to the gym, and I'd be stuck at the venue. Now, all I gotta do is open the door, throw a couple of kettlebells out, and either in a parking lot or by the side of the road, start lifting.

D.D.: What bands have you driven?

P.A.: The last tour I did was with the Rolling Stones. Soon as this is done, I drive to Detroit to pick up Metallica for a five-or six-week tour.

D.D.: Too bad those rocker guys are all so skinny and frail, otherwise you could introduce them to kettlebells.

P.A.: But some of those guys train! I can't remember what band I was with when one of the guys said he wanted to go with me and my buddy to train. He wanted to go the gym with us, but he could just never find the time to get away. With the kettlebells, that wouldn't be an issue.