Warmups are my favourite time to sneak extras in my training, whether it’s extra skill work, accessory work, muscle activation, core work, mobility or stability work. By doing this I am accomplishing two things, warming up my body for training and focusing on little things that are important but often forgotten or neglected in training.
It doesn’t take any extra time to throw some extra movements into your warm ups. Even by just adding one or two extra a day, you will get good core, stability and mobility benefits. Over the course of a week, these smaller accessory movements you do each day will add up and make a difference in your training. Your core will become stronger, your shoulders will feel more stable, which will translate over to better technique and heavier weights lifted. Stability, mobility and core work all play a part in keeping your body and joints healthy and injury free.
I decided to do a little series on my favourite Kettlebell movements that I often add into warm ups. These will be a bit of everything, core movements, shoulder stability movements as well as mobility movements.
This is a simple movement but very effective when done properly. Holding the KB upside down over head like this forces your rotator cuff muscles to fire and rotate upwardly to keep the kettlebell stable, which helps to build stability in an overhead position, while maintaining mobility. It also gives your core a good workout as by holding the weight on one side of your body, you improve your overall strength and balance. When doing this you also have to work to prevent your lower back from excessively arching, as well as prevent any side bending in order to maintain balance, all of which recruits your core!
1) Stand in an athletic stance, with your glutes and core engaged.
2) Hold a kettlebell upside-down in one hand, with that hand in front of your shoulder at chin height. Slowly lift the kettlebell up until your arm is locked out and in line with your ear.
3) Take a step forward and walk for the specified distance
4) Lower the weight, switch hands and repeat
-Use a lighter weight than you would use for normal training. You don’t get extra points for being a hero and going heavy on stability work. Any time you overload a weaker muscle you will get compensation, which means that the smaller muscles that we are targeting (the rotator cuff and scapula) will stop firing, and the other bigger muscles (like your traps) will take over. My rule of thumb is: stay light enough to do it properly, but heavy enough to feel the movement.
-Make sure you are engaging your shoulder muscles (rotator cuff and scapula). This will keep the kettlebell balanced as you walk
-Your core should be engaged; keep it switched on the whole time while you are moving.
-Don’t walk too fast, bounce around or sway from side to side.
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