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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. 

Tune-Up Tuesday Episode 11 - Move Your Joints Daily, Upper Body CARs Routine

The human body was designed to move, but the human lifestyle is designed around sitting.  

Think about it. In the morning we sit to eat breakfast. Then we sit down as we commute to work. Once you get to work you sit at your desk for most of the day. When heading home, you sit down during your commute. Finally, you finish your day off by sitting down and relaxing after a long, hard day.  

We usually will throw in 1 hour of exercise 3 to 5 days per week, and say that is enough to combat all the repetitive postural demands we put our body through on a daily basis. 

We then question why we have aches and pains, and start blaming our genetics or age for the reason your back is sore when you wake up every morning.

I believe that every day you should be moving your joints through it's entire range of motion. The way I do this is by doing a daily CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) routine.  

There are a myriad of health benefits for doing so such as;

  • Maintaining joint health and range of motion.
  • Learning increased control of each joint.
  • A self assessment tool to help you understand your bodies ability to move.  

They are also time efficient too.  It takes roughly 8-10 minutes to do a full body CARs routine.

And if that is too much time to set aside everyday for movement, you can break it up into an upper body and lower body routine.  Now you have two 4-5 minute blocks of movement each day, allowing for better time management.  

Use this video (and next weeks video) to start a daily habit of moving each joint in your body.  You will be amazed at how much better your body feels and moves after simply moving your joints everyday.

I challenge you to do a minimum of 30 days straight.  Obviously I urge you to do this forever, but start with 30 days. Take notes of how your body feels over this time - and I bet that you will want to continue the routine once you realize the benefits!

If you want to learn more about CARs or mobility training, find an FRCms near you at www.functionalanatomyseminars.com

Questions, Comments or Concerns?  Drop them in the comments down below.

Move Well, Stay Strong.

The One Arm Push-Up

The One Arm Push-Up

In today's post, I discuss how to improve your one arm push-up, as well as some tips and drills that will help you master this body weight exercise. 

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.

Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals: Part 2

Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals: Part 2

In the second edition of Why Aren't You Reaching Your Fitness Goals, I cover some ways to help keep you consistent with your workouts and nutrition. 

Cranky Elbows During Pull-ups?

Cranky Elbows During Pull-ups?

In this post, I go over the mobility pre-requisites for the pull-up.  By making sure everything moves well, we can help decrease the risk of injury, or help those shoulders and elbows from feeling so beat up.  

Clutter: Is It Bogging Down Your Exercise Program

Clutter: Is It Bogging Down Your Exercise Program

After reading the book "On Writing Well" by William Zinsser, I realized that writing and program design have a lot of similarities.  An example of this is clutter.  Clutter is an easy way to decrease the effectiveness of one's writing and one's program.  

Course Review: Optimizing the Big 3

A few weeks ago, I attended a seminar on optimizing the big three (bench press, squat and deadlift) at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, Massachusetts.  Greg Robins and Tony Bonvechhio are two smart dudes and offered a ton of value. 

Greg and Tony's seminar is geared towards the powerlifter but did a great job making this applicable to all walks of life.  I am by no means a powerlifter, yet I love to use the big three in my workouts and in my clients programming.  

The information provided gave me greater insight into the programming and cueing of these exercises.  The best part of the seminar is the hands on portion - in which we actually got to lift and get coached by both Greg, Tony and Miguel.  Getting insight into your bad habits as a lifter, as well as watching them coach several others gives you invaluable education you can't get elsewhere. 

I highly recommend anyone interested in powerlifting or weight training, whether a trainer or someone who is an avid fan of exercises - this is a must course.

Here are some take aways from the seminar:

When it comes to program design for any client, powerlifter or not, you must address the needs of the lifter.  What are the prerequisite movements to be successful at the exercise?  What limitations do the currently have?  What's their training age? etc..

Secondly, when it comes to programming the big three, there are three things we must take into consideration.

  1. They are all saggital plane movements
  2. They are all bilateral movements
  3. They are all extension based movements

Therefore, constant programming of these lifts will create postural and movement changes due to the repetitive nature and loading of these patterns

Greg and Tony talk about a great concept called "covering your basis". Due to the facts above, we address the repetitive nature of these exercises through corrective exercises and our warm-ups.

I have already been a proponent of using the warm-up to address movement concerns of the athlete at hand so this was music to my ears. Having a warm-up designed to prepare the body for the demands of that day is key to owning that session. 

Start from the ground up using a few drills to address movement concerns and prep for the major workouts of the day.  For example, work on scap stability or thoracic extension before bench press.  

Technique is the one thing as coaches that we have control over.  So not learning how to coach and cue is doing a disservice to your clients or yourself. They mention that "crappy technique puts a ceiling on your training."  This is absolutely vital. Poor technique not only puts a ceiling on training, but causes bad habits and increases chance for injury.  Learn how to coach these well, so you can set your clients and yourself up for success in the future. 

  1. Bench 
    • Bar and wrist over elbows 
    • Leg Drive 
      • If you use a flat footed stance, your leg drive is similar to pushing yourself up the bench.
      • If you prefer heels up, then your leg drive is trying to drive your feet into the ground and squeezing the bench with your thighs.
      • The leg drive serves a couple of purposes.  One, to develop more power throughout the entire body.  Two, to assist in maintaining your bar path.
    • Pull your shoulder blades into your back pockets.  This will add more passive stability to the shoulders, but also will help you maintain your thoracic extension - which is crucial to shortening the motion and maintaining bar path. 
  2. Deadlift 
    • Bar lined up over shoe strings
    • Arm pits in front of bar
    • Wedge yourself into the bar
      • What this means is that you are trying to take tension out of bar.  In order to do so you pull the weight of the bar off the floor by dropping your butt and raising your chest.  Once you feel the bars weight in your back, you know you're ready to drive through the floor.  
  3. Squat
    • Greg and Tony used two terms to describe your squat technique:
      • Don't be a stripper
      • And Don't Pop-Lock and Drop - but rather Lock, Drop and Pop
    • What this means is you don't want to arch your back on the decent.  You want to maintain a belt buckle up, ribs down posture throughout the entire set.  So, A - lock in the torso position, B - drop into the bottom of the squat and C - pop back to the top.

Another thing they mention, and I think we all forget this often, is fitness is dependent on the goal/sport at hand.  A golfer and a Cross-fitter require two very different training stimuli to reach their goal.  But does a golfer need to be crushed by a Workout of the Day (WOD) everyday in order to effectively hit a ball 300 yards down a fairway?  No, it can actually hinder their performance.  Point being, know your athlete and find their goals, and as Dan John says "keep the goal the goal."

All in all, this seminar blew away my expectations and I highly recommend you attend.  The work done at CSP is top notch and you can learn a lot from these fine gentlemen. 

Move Well, Stay Strong

 

What is Kinstretch?

Kinstretch is defined as a movement enhancement system that develops maximum body control, flexibility and USABLE ranges of motion.

So what does this mean?

Unlike other common methods of flexibility training such as yoga and passively stretching muscles, Kinstretch focuses on gaining control of your passive flexibility by using our muscles (rather then gravity) to attain improved mobility.  This serves two purposes, improve usable ranges of motion and strengthen in these new ranges. 

Top picture is the before and the bottom picture is the after, they were taken a week apart. 

Top picture is the before and the bottom picture is the after, they were taken a week apart. 

Simply stated, Kinstretch focuses on training your end range of motion with the goal of improving your movement capabilities and decreasing your risk of injury. 

Why end range of motion?

The human body is a highly efficient organism.  Due to the copious amount of biological processes that go on in our bodies, it has learned to become extremely efficient.  

The body's efficiency allows it to take short cuts when possible to allow it to work at full speed.  This is a reason why we develop habits, which are automatic behaviors that we don't have to think about.  It is also why our bodies tend to the path of least resistance when doing things such as skiping a workout, hitting the snooze button or utilizing movement compensations.

These processes allow our bodies to remove pathways from the body that are no longer used. For example, having a skill when you were a kid that you suck at today (whether you want to believe it or not).  This is because the synaptic pathways that created that skill degrade when rarely used.  This gives way for new pathways to connect to allow you to learn new tasks.

The same goes for movement.  If you haven't moved through a particular range of motion, the joint mechanoreceptors don't get stimulated often. Eventually the lack of stimulus will cause atrophy of these mechanoreceptors and cause decreases in range of motion.

There are other factors involved in this, but this plays a role in our lack of movement variability today.  

Our lives today revolve primarily around sitting ( I am sitting now as I write this post).  We tend to be hunched over with arms in front of us and hips flexed.  This typical posture results in the loss of thoracic extension, shoulder flexion (arm over head) and hip extension.  Therefore, the adage of we lose range of motion as we get older is incorrect.  It really should be, because we don't use it that we lose it. 

Returning back to training end ranges of motion.

In Kinstretch we train end ranges of motion to attempt to restore decreased mobility and improve movement capabilities.  Kinstretch is geared towards creating more active range of motion so you can be better at all the things you love to do most. Whether that is deadlifts, swings, running, sporting events, gardening or playing with your kids.  The better you move, the better you can enjoy life regardless of your goals and what you enjoy in life. 

Move Well, Stay Strong.