We will continue to work on our hinge swing this upcoming week in a Kettle Bell Swing to Lunge. Hinges may be one of the most difficult movements we do in the gym. They require our full attention to doing them right as this is a common way we lift in everyday life. When we hinge properly we protect our back and are capable of moving without pain and fear. Adding a swing further intensifies the need to doing these movements properly, helping us build glute and core strength that we use every moment of the day even when just sitting in a chair. This movement is a new twist on a normal kettlebell swing which will hopefully help you continue to connect to your glutes, create power through your legs, and reduce tension through the lower back and shoulders. The grip on this swing will also be different than a normal kettlebell swing as we will hold the kettlebell by the side handles. This will help reduce the range of motion in your swing and allow you to have a little more control in the momentum coming up and down through the movement. The most important goal of the hinge is maintain excellent posture so our core stays stable protecting our low back, while connecting to our glutes to power us through the swing.
As we come up out of our swing we will step forward into a lunge and catch the kettlebell in a row on the same side of our front leg. This will create great thoracic rotation connecting to our obliques and pulling through our lats to hold the kettlebell to reduce tension off the shoulders. When landing in our forward lunge we want to drive our front heal into the ground making connection with our quad and glutes. This is crucial to keeping our knees safe by not pushing through our toes. This will also allow us the power to push back up to our standing position and ready to swing back down into our hinge.
As we complete each swing we will alternate lunges creating a dynamic full body movement. This exercise will work your coordination in trusting your feet as you step through the movement. Along with coordination you're creating power through the back of the body in the hamstrings and glutes as well as the front of the body by pushing through the quads in our lunge. Lastly we will continue working on connecting to our lats and obliques so we can create less tension through our shoulders helping us maintain proper posture and elevation.
7/4 - Kettlebell Swing to Lunge - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Keys to Success:
1. Maintain your best posture
2. Power will come from your lower body
3. Listen to your body and coaches on what you should be feeling
4. Start SLOW and think about the sequence of moves
5. Have fun!
We are going to have a lot of fun with this movement! The Dumbbell Pendulum Hop & Row is a deceivingly cardiovascular movement. It will get your heart pumping AND give you an incredible sense of accomplishment once you get the timing.
The timing is critical to nailing this movement, as is the case with many of the movements that we've been practicing lately. In this movement when you get the timing right the push and pull of your arms will help you lift your body up onto the box, and hop gently off of the box.
Your arms will work like pendulums, so keeping your arms straight is key to creating the momentum that will help you flow on and off of the box. As soon as you bend your elbows you no longer have a full pendulum. When we get this this technique right it takes all of the work out of the arms, shoulder & neck and puts it into the core.
This is a push / pull movement, and it's through this push and pull that your entire body will move. As you swing your arms up give them time to get to shoulder height and then pull into the row. This pull will simultaneously help you pop up onto the box. Conversely, when you punch your arms out in front of your chest your body will push off of the box. Allow gravity to flow with you, letting the dumbbells pendulum back to your sides, pulling you back into your hinge, and setting you up for the next repetition.
The last piece to be thinking about as you work on perfecting this movement is how far your elbows come back in the row. You don't want to have your elbows coming back behind your shoulder joint. Try to keep your elbows in line with your shoulders or even in front of your shoulders when the row stops. This will prevent you from over rowing and losing that connection with your lats.
Be patient with yourself at the beginning of the week & you will nail the timing of this movement. Once you've nailed the timing, you will actually feel your body "floating" up and down off the step. The pendulum will help you achieve this!
6/27 - Dumbbell Pendulum Hop & Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
This week's Move of the Week is the Dumbbell Swing to Step Row to Step Press. This movement is A LOT like last week's movement in that it includes a hinge, to a step row and a press. The difference is that this movement requires us to step forward instead of backwards, it includes TWO steps and the hinge is a swing movement.
This movement will give you the opportunity to build upon the skills that you developed in last week's movement while continuing to master the timing of each step and the corresponding swing, row and press.
When done correctly this movement really flows and is a lot of fun to do. The areas that we'll be focusing on this week include a nice flat back in the hinge swing and not swinging too far between the legs causing us to lose our back posture. We'll also be working on the timing of the step and row, and really connecting to that lat. Next, we want to work on pressing through the lat, taking pressure off of the shoulder, as well as the timing with the step and the press, using the power of the glute in the step.
As always, we'll be breaking down this movement over the course of the week so that you can ease into each of the components of the move. You're also welcome to work on a version that we practiced earlier in the week instead of progressing to each new piece of the movement. Taking time to feel really comfortable with each step (literally) will give you the confidence to put all of the pieces together in time. Once we build up to this movement over the course of the week we'll be able to bring this movement into our training sessions in the weeks to come so that you can keep practicing it, so let us know what you think about this movement. I think you're going to LOVE IT!
Some keys to success are:
1) Set up your split Stance with great posture.
2) Create a strong base with your feet and let your hips guide your swing.
3) Listen to your coaches as they guide you through the timing of the movement.
4) Be mindful of your foot position as you make each step.
5) Have fun!
This week's Move of the Week is The Pitchfork. This is a super fun movement that incorporates a lot of muscle groups and movements that we practice routinely in the gym. Performing compound movements brings a lot of value in a training session - not only are they more fun and provide a full body workout, but they also require us to work in a sequence of movements that help us make brain body connections. Even though we may not realize it, when we move in sequence in our daily life, and moving in sequence in the gym helps us create connections that allow us to move better in daily life.
In the Pitchfork we will work on our split stance, connecting a hinge, a step row, and a press all together.
When setting up our split stance we want to be sure that our feet are in proper length and width position. Remember, everything starts at the feet and it is through our feet that we create stability.
In the hinge we will continue to focus on a flat back, which protects the lumbar spine from injury.
In the step row we will continue to focus on maintaining stability through the feet and connecting to the lat.
The press in this movement is over the shoulder with a slight rotation. The press originates from the lat rather than the shoulder, and requires a strong connection to the core and excellent posture.
This movement will provide you with a lot of opportunity to put together all of these elements that you have been practicing over many weeks or months.
It's a really fun movement, and provides an amazing sense of accomplishment when done well.
6/13- The Pitchfork - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) Stand in a split stance hand opposite your front foot forward.
2) Hinge forward with a flat back, bringing the bungee end of the bar to your front knee with a slight rotation.
3) Step back into your split stance row, connecting to your lat, and rotating slightly over your front foot.
4) Press through your lat over your shoulder.
5) Have fun!
Our June Client of the Month is a woman who is always working on getting better. Kathleen Kelley is such an incredible example of someone who recognizes how the ebb and flow of life’s responsibilities can impact one’s ability to be consistent with health and fitness, but that doesn’t stop her from working on it every day!
As they say, the first step in getting better is to acknowledge the situation, and this is what inspires me about Kathleen. She quickly recognizes when she’s off course and the impact that this has on her ability to live her best life…and for Kathleen her best life is when she can be giving to others. Kathleen cares deeply for her family, and she’s a total giver. She takes care of everyone! Even the Wilcox Trainer Team! Katheen is an amazing baker and cook and she’s often bringing delicious, organic - whole food goodies from her kitchen to share with us. She’s one of the most generous and caring people that I know. And when we give, give, give it’s so easy to lose sight of what we need to do to take care of ourselves so that….we can keep giving.
Kathleen embraces the importance of taking care of herself, even though on some days she may give more to others than she gives to herself, which can tip things temporarily out of balance. When I spoke with Kathleen recently she reflected upon the reality that when she stays on track with her commitment to a healthy lifestyle she has more energy, she’s more positive, and she sleeps better. And of course, when we have more energy, feel more positive, and are fully rested we have so much more of ourselves to give.
Kathleen’s acknowledgement of how her healthy habits benefit her….and how straying off course leads to feeling like crap, sleepless nights, and lack of energy inspires her to get back on track ASAP. Sometimes it may feel like the gap between getting off track and getting back on track feels like a chasm, and that’s because time seems to slow down when we aren’t feeling our best. It can make us feel like we’re not getting back on track fast enough, but what is important is that we dig deep and find the reasons for getting back on track, and do it as soon as possible.
Kathleen consistently shows up to the gym, and with each visit she arrives with a big smile on her face ready to not only give herself that time to take care of herself but also with all of the generosity in her heart that she gives to the others who are in the session with her. Her positive energy is contagious. She works hard and has fun doing it. The more she sweats the more she smiles.
And boy are we glad she did! Every day Kathleen learns something new that will benefit how she feels and how she can live her life feeling her very best, and right alongside her we learn something from Kathleen that inspires us to be our very best too.
We just love working with Kathleen and we couldn’t be more happy to celebrate Kathleen as our client of the month.
This week's Move of the Week is The Squat Rotational Press. This movement builds off the foundational movement of the squat, and adds a rotational element that demands focus on three key areas:
1) Full rotation through the back foot and hips with strong engagement of the feet with the floor.
2) Tall posture with the press going straight up, bicep to ear.
3) Creating power through the glutes & lats.
This movement can be broken down into three smaller components - the squat, the rotation, and the press, or combined into a smooth and fluid movement with a great focus on creating power through the glutes and lats as you press up out of the squat and into the final standing posture with the press.
It's easy to rush through this movement, which leads to several common compensations:
*Not rotating fully through the back foot and hips, which leads to instability and tension on the joints.
*Rotating too early, and while still in the squat, which leads to a loss of posture and control of the movement.
* Not pressing straight up, resulting in weight load being held on the shoulder in a way that causes discomfort and possible injury.
Focus on this movement will provide practice with using our feet to create stability, connecting to our glutes and lats to create a powerful movement, and building awareness around posture and where our body is in space.
6/6 - Squat Rotational Press - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) Holding dumbbells at the shoulders, start with a squat.
2) Once at the top of the squat, rotate fully through the back foot and hips.
3) Press the dumbbell on the same side as the back leg straight up, with the bicep ending next to the ear.
4) Work on connecting these three steps together into one fluid, powerful movement.
5) Have fun!
As we come into the 2nd half of the year we are going to change up the pre-training movements, which you will perform before each of your training sessions!!
Mike Wilcox has recorded a follow-along video of the movements, which play on the big screen in the warm up area, providing guidance around each movement as you learn them.
We will also continue to practice each of these movements in our group training session warm ups the first week of each month in order to help you familiarize yourself with the mechanics of each movement and refine your practice.
June 2022 Pre-Training Warm Up by Allison Hopkins
As always, getting to the gym 10-15 minutes early is important to your overall success. The movements we have chosen are familiar and provide a ton of value when it comes to learning how your body moves! We also designed this version of our Pre-Training Activation Sequence to be super-efficient.
GOOD NEWS: You can get a tremendous amount of benefit from just 3 minutes of quality practice.
Here are the most important aspects of performing these movements:
This week we are going to be working on The Ball Slam as our Move of the Week. The ball slam is a super fun movement that challenges great posture, cardiovascular endurance, and helps to develop the ability to create a power through movement.
Over the course of this week we will explore a variety of ball slam variations. In every variation we will work on maintaining a stable connection with the floor through our feet, creating length through our spine, using our abdominal muscles to help us control the slam in the movement, and using our breath to support a powerful movement.
People love the ball slam. It's a lot of fun, a great way to burn off some steam, and a very effective exercise. I look forward to exploring variations of the ball slam with you over the next week and helping to create power through your movement.
Copy of 5/16 The Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Start with tall posture, and the ball over head.
2. Exhale as you hinge through the hips to slam the ball to the ground.
3. Follow through on the movement, driving the arms past the hips.
4. Catch the ball and repeat with tall posture.
5. Have fun!
This month we are so happy to be celebrating
Julie Wagoner as our Client of the Month!
Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle, so brittle that a fall or even mild stresses such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture, so this is a serious condition. Luckily, lifting weights can help protect your bones and prevent osteoporosis-related fractures. According to WebMD and other sources, studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss -- and may even help build new bone.
The split stance is a movement that we use in the gym to help us connect to our normal gait patterns, and bring awareness to compensations that impact how we move and eventually lead to injuries.
Committing to health and wellness has so many remarkable benefits, and Julie shares how she is recognizing many of these benefits after just 6 months in our training program.
Amazing! We are so happy to be part of this fitness journey with Julie. It’s not just about getting strong in the gym. It’s about the impact that it has on daily life, allowing you to do everything that you want to do in life, free of limitations! That sounds amazing, doesn’t it? I want this for everyone, but I also realize how hard it is to get started in a program. It can feel really intimidating to get started in a fitness program, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. I think you’d be surprised by how many people struggle with making that first step, but I want anyone reading this to know that we’re here to support you every step of the way. Our community is so unbelievably supportive and will help you feel welcome from the second you walk through the door, and our trainer team meets each person where they are, providing individualized guidance and support in the gym so that you can train with confidence.
Julie offered up some encouraging words for anyone who is contemplating this same worry.
"I was nervous to start too. However, I knew that given my osteoporosis, I really had to give my bones a reason to stick around and that meant strengthening my muscles. The nice thing about the Wilcox Wellness model is that each person can adapt to their own fitness level and special considerations. The direct coaching from the trainers helps to improve form and therefore results. I tried the two-week trial to start and that gave me an opportunity to overcome my fear of beginning again".
And we’re glad you did Julie! It’s been such a pleasure working with you, watching your incredible progress, and celebrating all of your accomplishments with you!
We’d love to help you reach your goals too! Join our Free two-week trial just like Julie did. It’s a great way to make that first step with no long term obligation, and I’m confident that you’ll be glad that you did. For more information visit www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/gift.
This week we are going to continue our focus on some foundational movements. We will be working on The Row this week with a few important areas of attention.
The row is an exercise that targets the lat muscle. The lat is a large flat muscle that stretches to your sides on the back and behind the arm. It's an important muscle for movement of the shoulder and also involved in respiration.
When doing a row we want to make sure that we're actually exercising the lats. Our focus as of late is to avoid squeezing the shoulder blades together. This creates unnecessary tension in the middle back and can lead to discomfort, and ultimately doesn't engage the lat muscle in an effective way. We have also been focusing on not over rowing / driving the elbow too far past the torso, because when we do this we lose the connection to the lat and lose the benefits associated with the exercise.
When doing an excellent row our shoulder blades should remain flat. They should not be "chicken winging", which happens when we over row or squeeze our shoulder blades together.
Success in a row is all in the set up. During this week we are going to focus on protracting our shoulder blades, a fancy way of saying that we are going to start of intentionally rounding our shoulders, and then pushing our chest forward to lengthen through the spine into great posture. From there we will focus on keeping the chest and ribs elevated and the spine long while rowing to the point where our elbows come into line with our shoulders. We will also work on feeling the connection to our lats so that we can elevate the types of movements that we use for rowing with success by creating strong brain body connections.
5/16 The Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1) With arms straight, protract the shoulder blades
2) Bring the chest forward to create length through the spine and flatten the back.
3) Elevate the ribs off of the hips and make sure shoulders are down and away from the ears.
4) Bend through the elbows, pulling into the row until your elbow is in line with your shoulders, being careful to not over row.
5) Listen to your body and try to feel the sensation of your lats contracting.
6) Straighten the arms to release the row and reset as needed.
7) Have fun!
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.