Thoracic mobility takes practice from multiple directions. This side to side bend is beneficial to help that full range of motion. When we are more capable of bending through our thoracic spine in all directions we relieve our lower back, shoulders, and neck of unnecessary tension. This type of move also helps us focus on posture and elevation. Helping us to move better and smoother in our every day life while lowering the risk of injury.
Our move of the week is all about our side bend through the thoracic spine. When our lats and core do the work we can create these big powerful movements that feel fluid and natural. This move is easy to rush and make our arms and legs take the brunt of the work. This can result in shoulder and arm fatigue pretty quickly. When our core and lats are there to help, you will notice the work becoming more efficient. We don't always want to be making the move as difficult as possible, but instead work efficiently through our whole body.
We will want to key into the timing of this movement and take our time setting up by creating length through our spine and connecting to our best posture. As we come over head with the ball you will explode up and over the box and into that contraction of the lat and oblique as you slam.
It isn't necessary to reach the arms all the way up overhead resulting in the arms doing the work. We want the ball to stay close to our body where we have the most control and power. As we start to come through the contraction our foot on the stair stepper will push us to the other side as we switch our feet. It should feel like a fluid movement where all body parts are working together to create the slam. As we come down for the slam we want to follow all the way through with our arms, finishing off the contraction through the lats and core, giving you the most power and making sure the ball comes right back up into your hands. Take a second to catch the ball and reset before starting again.
Listen to your body and where you are feeling the tension and work through this movement. Slowing it down to connect to the lat and core will help you to get faster and more explosive later on. The more we can get our ribs elevated and mobility through the thoracic bend we will create long term benefits for us outside of the gym.
8/1 - Side to Side Ball Slam - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Keys to Success:
1. Ball starts over the foot on step this is where your weight is centered
2. Your lats and obliques are doing the work, not your arms
3. As we lengthen one side think about pulling your ribs up as high as you can
4. Contract those lats and obliques as you pull through
5. End with a BIG follow through with your arms
The Lateral Step Lunge to Lateral Step Slam is one of those moves that looks so complicated at first glance, but in reality you have broken these moves down in the gym already.
This week we are going to be putting the emphasis on the core and how we are moving through our thoracic spine. The thoracic spine is the mid back area where we get most of our mobility through the spine allowing us to bend, twist, and flex back and forth. Without this piece of mobility we are more likely to hurt our lower back, and lose range of motion throughout our whole body. This impacts everything from how we sit and stand, our overall posture, and how we walk and move in everyday life.
A big part of this movement is one that you already know! The lateral step ball slam is one that we've worked on in the gym a lot. As you already know through your practice, in this movement the emphasis is creating length through your lats as you raise the ball over head, and contracting through your oblique as you slam the ball to the floor. In this movement we will add on to this familiar movement by putting our focus on using our core muscles to pull us into the lateral step and into the thoracic rotation over the front leg of our lunge before returning to our starting position through a 2nd lateral step and the all too familiar slam.
Breaking this move down into steps will be important for understanding the full sequence and what is happening in our body and where. Remember that all of these moves are foundational moves that you have worked on before and we will be working on adding them all together. Its a great full body exercise that also gives your brain and body a great workout.
Keys to Success:
This week's Move of the Week is the Bosu Paddle Board Row, and it is going to provide us with a fun opportunity to focus on the fundamentals of core stability and balance.
Balance moves can be one of the most frustrating things to practice. It is one of those exercises were we have a hard time controlling our body making us uncomfortable. Balance takes slow, patient progress, allowing us to make those connections so that we can get better over time. I think it is also something people assume they have and are then confused by not being able to accomplish the exercise in front of them. These are all reasonable frustrations when it comes to balance but also why it is SO IMPORTANT to continue to practice our balance and get better at it. Just like any skill, muscle, or even our brain we need to use it in order to keep it strong and healthy.
This week will be all about balance and different ways we can incorporate balance into even simple moves to make them more challenging. When we focus on balancing we want to stay slow, controlled, and really focus on bracing. Bracing starts through the floor and making that connection with our feet. Working our way up posture will help us engage our core and remain strong. Slow movements will help us to not over correct and knock us over. Lastly, having patience with yourself will be key and understanding that our balance may not be great to start but it will get better!
Working our way up to standing on the black side of the bosu with a squat paddle will be our challenge for this week. This movement is so great because it applies to so many of our summer activities that we enjoy so much like paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing. Even if you haven't tried out any of those activities, we use this move in many functional ways that require our stability as we twist and move through life. This prevents us from throwing out our back, keeping up with our mobility, and maintaining strength through or core. All important things that help us live our best lives the way we please.
Our stability on the bosu will start with bracing through our feet and feeling like we are driving our legs apart to create strong engagement through the lower body, so we feel stable and braced. Maintaining our best posture will create stability through our core and help keep us centered. As we squat we will pull the rip trainer into a paddling motion which will create engagement through our obliques and lats and then returning to our standing position. Moving up and down in our squat will create the most imbalance as we change levels from high to low and back again. This is where our legs staying engaged and feet connected to the bosu will help with our stability the most to not feel shaky. Having confidence in yourself and in your trainers will also help maintain your balance as it can be a bit of a mind game when we are unsure of our abilities. If you believe you can do it your body will be much more prepared and willing to try than if you are questioning your abilities and thus setting yourself up for failure before you even begin. There are many benefits to getting a little outside of our comfort zone, and this exercise will provide a safe and controlled opportunity to push ourselves a little past our comfort zone.
As you go through this week be prepared to mess up, be less than perfect, make mistakes, and continue to TRY. It will get better, we promise! Every correction and every success is our body learning and making new connections.
7/18 - Bosu Paddle Board Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Keys to success:
1. Make connection to the floor
2. Small controlled movements
3. Trust yourself and your coach
4. Have fun and laugh a little!
This month we are celebrating our Athlete of the Month - Barbara Piccirillo. Barbara joined the Wilcox Community in February, 2021 and then when she was ready to up the ante with her focus on nutrition she joined the KickStart program in March, 2022.
As she has gained more strength & balance she has increased her confidence in the movements that we do in the gym allowing her to continue to push herself to places that she never expected in her health & fitness.
Earlier this spring Barbara joined the KickStart program. It’s not unusual for people to join our training programs and need to break down each piece of the commitment to their overall health & fitness long term. We talk a lot about the value of making small, incremental improvements over time, setting our clients up for success with long term and sustainable lifestyle change. For Barbara she wanted to focus on getting consistent with her exercise program, attending sessions 3 times a week.
This week's Move of the Week is a Lateral Shuffle Rotational Wall Slam and is a fun way to practice our power and using our whole body to connect to a movement. There is something to say for a slam you feel strong and powerful in and being able to move your body in the way you want it to. I know for a lot of us slams are a great way to get some of our everyday stress released in a healthy way, making us feel so good and relieved when the session is over!
To start us off we want to be in our best athletic stance. Soft bend to the knees making that solid connection to the floor. Elevating and connecting to your core creating stability and lastly using the ball in our hands to push our hands together and create tension through our lats.
Pushing us off with a quick lateral shuffle to work on our agility and being light on our toes. The timing will be important to not take too few or too many steps with the shuffle. As we get to the wall we will pivot/rotate pushing through our back foot to drive us into our full body rotation and release the ball into our slam. Our power will come from the rotation using our obliques and lats into the follow through. We want to feel like we are throwing the ball through the wall! It is important to not throw with our arms and leave the rest of our body behind. This will create fatigue in our arms and reduce our power quickly when the rest of our body should really be doing the work.
This move should be fun! Being able to move a little faster and work the whole body at once. Once you discover how strong your body can be once you connect to all those muscles is an awesome feeling!
7/11 - Shuffle to Rotational Wall Slam - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Keys to success:
1. Connect to your lats before shuffling (connect through posture)
2. Timing in your shuffle steps
3. Strong connection to the floor through your rotation
4. Use the power of your body to slam not just your arms
5. 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.