Kettlebell

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 37: Fixing Your Kettlebell Swing Part 2

In part one of this series, I covered how to properly set-up and perform the kettlebell swing.  You can click here for that post.

Today's post will cover how to correct two swing faults: extending the lower back at the top of the swing, and being over active with the arms.

Check it out!

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Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-up Tuesday Episode 36: Fixing the Kettlebell Swing Part 1

The kettlebell swing can be one of the most effective exercises for building lower body power and endurance.  It is also a great tool to help improve metabolic conditioning and weight loss. 

The effectiveness of this exercise is reliant on proper technique.  The importance of a good hinge position and usage of the legs to drive power can help you improve performance while improving lower back dysfunction.

Check out the video below on how to properly perform kettlebell swings.

Stay tuned for next weeks post where I cover drills to help improve common kettlebell swing errors. 

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Move Well, Stay Strong.

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 13 - The Kettlebell Windmill with Jason Harrell

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 13 - The Kettlebell Windmill with Jason Harrell

Leaning forward in during the kettlebell windmill is one of the most common mistakes I see.  Today, Jason Harrell from Iron Lion Performance joins me to discuss a simple fix to this problem. 

Cueing the Arm Bar

Cueing the Arm Bar

In this post, I talk about how to properly cue the arm bar, and some steps you can take to get more out of this exercise.

4 Exercises To Keep You Feeling Young

When it comes to exercise - there are a few bang-for-your-buck exercises that will bullet proof your body and keep it feeling young for the years to come.  Until modern medicine figures something better out, it's safe to say these are the closest things to the fountain of youth we currently have. 

Here is a list of my top 4 exercises. When added to your program, these can help you build resilient tissues that can withstand whatever you throw their way.

 1) Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs) - Part of the FRC system, CARs are the best thing since slice bread.  

CARs  are active, end range circular motions for a joint.  The reason why they make your body feel great is three fold.  

Quadruped Hip CARs 

  •  Movement is the body's best anti-inflammatory.  By constantly moving joints through all available range of motion, we continue to nourish the joint daily.
  • It allows us to maintain and expand our range of motion at a joint. By constantly taking our joints through full range of motion, we are able to maintain it.  One reason we lose mobility is because we don't spend any time there.  By doing CARs, we ensure that our joints are creating maximal movement - through the biggest circles we can possibly make - allowing us to hold onto our range of motion and even possibly expanding it. 
  •  CARs are a self assessment tool.  I think this is an extremely valuable aspect of CARs as it allows you to assess every joint in the body.  CARs can give you insight into when your joints may start becoming problematic; giving you insight into areas you need to address before pain/dysfunction is present. 

2) Turkish Get-Up - This is one of my favorite exercises because it promotes high levels of stability, mobility and strength and it's packaged into one power packed movement. 

Here are a few of the benefits that TGU's have to offer according to Brandon Hetzler:

  1. Promotes upper body stability
  2. Promotes lower body stability
  3. Promotes reflexive stability of the trunk and extremities
  4. Promotes cross lateralization (getting right brain to work with left side)
  5. Ties the right arm to the left leg, and left arm to the right leg
  6. Gets the upper extremities working reciprocally (legs, too)
  7. Stimulates the vestibular system (one of three senses that contributes to balance)
  8. Stimulates the visual system (second of three senses that contributes to balance)
  9. Stimulates the proprioception system (third sense that contributes to balance)
  10. Promotes spatial awareness
  11. Develops a front/back weight shift
  12. Develops upper body strength, trunks strength, and hip strength

If you aren't sold yet on why the TGU will keep you feeling young into your 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond - take a look at this study by Claudio Gil Araujo from Brazil.  The study said being able to stand up from a seated position on the ground was remarkably predictive of physical strength, flexibility, coordination at a range of ages. 

3) Carries - You have to give an exercise some major thought when Dan John categorizes it as one of the fundamental human movements: push, pull, hinge, squat, loaded carries and the sixth movement. 

When loaded properly farmers carries are an excellent exercise for core strengthening.  It is an easy to learn exercise that challenges your endurance, strength, stability and grip strength.  The ability to carry heavy loads gets our core to create super-stiffness.  Dr. Stuart McGill describes this super-stiffness as - the sum of the forces of all the muscles contracting is greater then what any individual muscle can provide.  This teaches you to build true strength that will aide you for any endeavor you wish to attempt. 

4) KB Swing - This exercise develops power in the hinge position.  Why is power important?  As you age, power decreases - so swinging consistently can help you maintain a power packed punch as you age - not to mention, allow you to improve your overall performance, strength, and endurance. 

What's even better than that?  The kettlebell swing is extremely beneficial for your lower back.  Having a flying bell not directly attached to your body forces your glutes, lats and core to work hard in order to control the bell.  This overall synergy of muscles will help keep your spine strong for years to come, as well as help you rehab from lower back injuries. 

Add these four exercises into your programs on a monthly basis and reap the benefits of better strength and performance; all while keeping pain at bay - even as you age. 

Move Well, Stay Strong.

 

Four Hacks to the Turkish Get Up

The Turkish Get Up (TGU) is a highly technical exercise that requires attention to detail for proper execution.  Last week I wrote about how to properly perform the TGU, you can read that here.  This week I will take this a step further and discuss 4 common technique flaws and how you can fix them. 

 

1) Set Up -

During the set up, we want to have enough space to work with.  I often see people set up with their legs too close together.  This decreases your base of support, making you less stable and increases the difficulty of the first step (see number 2 below). 

2) Leg Kicks Up -

This happens when we do not produce enough tension during the initial step or if you are using too much weight.

3) Misplacing the Moving Leg -

During each stage of the get up, there are optimal places to put your extremities so all your joints are properly aligned.  Often times people put their legs in places that decrease their base of support which makes this exercise harder.

4) Not Hinging From the Hips -

When people are reversing their get up, people often have difficulty with the transition from 1/2 kneeling position to placing the hand on the floor.  People like to bend from their spine and flop to the floor.  You must maintain your core stiffness and push your hips out to the side.  This keeps the spine in a strong position and trains hip mobility in the frontal plane.

Try some of these quick fixes and let me know in the comments section below if they were helpful.   

 

Why Squatting Hurts Your Knees

Your form sucks.

You're trying to lift more weight then you can handle.

               You've injured your knee doing something that was not squatting.

You're a combination of the three scenarios above.

It is unfortunate that the same myth continues to slap me in the face on a daily basis. I feel like I'm surrounded by it day in and day out at the clinic, with a potential client and/or a novice trainee under my guidance.  "My knees hurt when I squat".  My teeth cringe and my blood pressure rises every time I hear this said to me.  

If your knees hurt when you squat, it is time we stop blaming the squats for the pain and start looking into why our knees are bothering us.  We have been squatting since we were babies, why is it that all of a sudden squatting is the culprit behind our pain?

If "squats hurt you", here are a couple of things you might want to look into to figure out why you may be having pain.  

  • You lack full ankle dorsiflexion. 
    • That is the ability to point your foot towards your head.  If you lack dorsiflexion, you will have to compensate at other joints to make up the lack or range.  This often comes from the knees, or the low back (and possibly both).  
  • You lack core stability. 
    • Whether the abdominal wall, the lats or the hip musculature is weak, (all of these make up the core) abnormal forces will be transmitted through joints rather then through contracting muscles and tendons.  This will cause excessive shearing at the knees and even the low back, which overtime can cause pain and dysfunction.
  • Transverse/Frontal plane deviations. 
    • As athletes, gym-goers and sedentary individuals, we train and live mostly in the sagittal-plane (think front and back movement like walking).  Squatting is a sagittal-plane movement. Often time when some one squats, we see them sit more towards one leg than the other or rotate their bodies.  This is common especially when someone is trying to lift a weight that is too heavy for them.  This becomes a sure fire way to cause an angry knee or low back.  

Watch the video below to see how I teach the squat and how it may help you squat pain free. 

Leave some feedback in the comments section and let me know if this helps!

Until Next Time.