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The mental strength of kettlebells, Iron Maiden Anna (Sättler) Vietz, RKC

Dragon Door: How did you get started with kettlebells?

Anna Vietz: I got started in 2015, but at the time I actually wasn't very interested in kettlebells. My husband wanted to get a kettlebell, and his sister instead decided to give him entry to an Enter the Kettlebell course instead. So, he met Oliver Velevski (who is my current coach), who told him to have me come with him to the next Enter the Kettlebell course. That’s how everything got started—before the course, I never knew how fascinating kettlebell training could be. But then I tried it and loved it from the very beginning.

Dragon Door: Do you have a sports or athletic background?

Anna Vietz: I always did a little bit of sports, but nothing for a very long time, just typical training, going to the fitness center. The only thing I did regularly was yoga, so I was extremely flexible when I started with kettlebells, but I had zero stability. Adding kettlebells felt great, I could feel that I was getting stronger and better every week. The quick success at the beginning made me a kettlebell addict!

The kettlebell training worked perfectly, and also my coach was just great. Training at Main Fitness was different than just going to a fitness center where no one knows if you’re coming to train or not. My coach was and is interested in making me stronger and that's also what helped me a lot.

Dragon Door: Along with the increases in strength and stability, what other improvements did you notice?

Anna Vietz: Physical strength but also mental strength—I felt stronger in business and conversations with other people. With better posture, I also felt better mentally. I also loved training with the group at Main Fitness, it was great to meet new people and train with them.
Anna Vietz, RKC Instructor with Kettlebell

Dragon Door: Are you now training others as well?

Anna Vietz: Yes, but not full time, my full-time job is in an office. I have a Bachelor of Arts in International Business Communications, so I work in a sales department. I sell floors, so my full-time job is not connected to sports or fitness at all. But, part time, I assist Oliver Velevski from Main Fitness when he leads workshops, or I teach for him when he's traveling or teaching workshops in other towns. Along with kettlebells, we also teach gymnastic ring strength training. We go on tour with a gymnastic ring workshop, too. Ring training is fun and combines well with kettlebell training. I got my HKC certification in 2017 and RKC in 2018.

Dragon Door: What inspired you to go for these certifications?

Anna Vietz: When I went for the HKC, I was just thinking that I wanted to have a sports goal in my life because I’ve never been especially athletic. As a child I wasn't very successful in sports and earning a certification felt like overcoming a big obstacle. Kettlebell training felt great, so I decided to certify and get more knowledge in kettlebells because I wanted to know more about it.

After the HKC, I realized I loved to tell other people about what I learned, and my strength. I love to tell women and help them get stronger because women so often underestimate themselves. Next, I decided to go to the RKC to complete my certification.

Dragon Door: Those are big accomplishments, but then you went on to complete the Iron Maiden Challenge! How did that come about? That’s a big undertaking!

Anna Vietz, RKC InstructorAnna Vietz: Yes, that's right! Towards the end of 2018, I was looking for my next big goal. I like to achieve new things in my training with a big goal every year because it helps me stay focused. At the end of 2018, I was very strong in pullups. I love pullups and my coach (Oliver) told me that I could do the Iron Maiden Challenge. Before this I hadn’t even dared to dream about it. Iron Maiden is such a big deal, and those who have done it are so strong. So, I didn't think I could do it! But he told me that my combination of strengths meant that I'm really balanced in push and pull—and I also have a lot of power in my legs. So, I just decided to go for it!

Dragon Door: How long did you train specifically for the Iron Maiden Challenge?

Anna Vietz: With a real focus on Iron Maiden, I only trained from end of May through June and July. At the end of May was when I finally knew when I could attempt the challenge. When I first decided to train for it, I didn’t know when the next opportunity to do it would be—I only knew I wanted to do it! So, I worked on my overall strength and increasing muscle mass from January to May. I wanted to get even stronger in anticipation of the challenge, then in May I found out that I could attempt it at the RKC Summer Camp in August. Normally we only do the challenge during an RKC Workshop, but when we talked to Master RKC Robert Rimoczi, he agreed that we could do it at the RKC Summer Camp this year. Then, I bought my own pull-up bar because we didn’t know where we would do the pull-ups for the challenge!

Dragon Door: In the Iron Maiden Challenge, we have the 24kg weighted pull-up, the 24kg kettlebell press, and the 24kg kettlebell pistol. Which was the hardest move for you?

Anna Vietz: It changed from time to time. At first, I thought the pistol squat the most difficult. But then I quickly found out that my ankle mobility was the main issue. When I started working on it, I became much more confident about it and the pistol was the first of the three skills that I owned. Ultimately, the press the hardest move for me.
Anna Vietz, RKC 24kg Press Practice

Dragon Door: How did you train for the press?

Anna Vietz: I worked a lot on my sticking points and practiced slow motion presses, and bottom-up kettlebell presses. I worked on my grip strength and many little details. I didn’t just train heavy presses, I really focused on many details. The press also taught me a lot about women and training—I could feel that I could only press very heavy when I have a stable core and a lot of core strength. And my core is extremely different depending on my cycle. That was extremely interesting because I had to concentrate and focus—but on certain weeks I had to just accept that I was not going to have a strong press week. That was extremely interesting to experience and learn.

Dragon Door: How was the pull-up?

Anna Vietz: The pull-up always was fine for me, but the last two kilos were very hard for me. Going from 22kg to 24kg was tough. I even had a complete one-hour training session focused only on grip strength with Oliver. We worked on breaking the bar and getting my grip as strong as possible—and that helped me get those last two kilos!

Dragon Door: What's your advice for people who might want to start training for the Iron Maiden Challenge?

Anna Vietz: My advice is to just not give up! Expect that there will be strong days, but also weak days. You have to accept that it will be hard work, but it's worth it. Don’t make excuses and pass your limits!

Dragon Door: Now that you've accomplished the challenge, what's your next goal?

Anna Vietz: I would like to become an RKC-II instructor because the information will be very interesting. I am hoping to do it in 2020, but I think there's a certification in Germany in 2020 yet, so I may have to travel abroad.

Dragon Door: We're always adding workshops to the calendar as well, definitely keep checking back! Who inspires you in your training?

Anna Vietz: My coach, Oliver Velevski, of course, but also Daniel Kirchmaier. Even though Daniel does not live nearby, he inspired me because last year we also both attended the RKC Summer Camp. At a challenge during the camp last year, he was the strongest man, and I was the strongest woman. After that I noticed his social media posts about preparing for the Beast Tamer challenge, and we got back in contact about training.
Iron Maiden Anna Vietz and Beast Tamer Daniel Kirchmaier
It's not only about the kettlebells, it’s also about the people who lift them with you! It’s also a lot about focus in the training. While I have a lot to do right now, if I set the right priorities it helps a lot in my training and in life. When I focus on the kettlebell, I forget all the stress around me and all the things which may seem like too much at one. At first, I might not think I have time for the training, but as soon as I have the kettlebells in my hands, I just focus on my strength. I can train and just breathe, and everything is ok!

AnnaIronMaidenPullup thumbnailAnna Vietz, RKC, trains small groups and individuals at Main Fitness she can be contacted through their website or email: Follow her on Instagram: anna_vietz and Facebook: Anna Vietz