Pre-Training Activation Series
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 3-5 minutes of quality practice.
Here are the most important aspects of performing these movements:
Coordination comes in many different ways. We use coordination everyday in the smallest of movements sometimes easy and sometimes difficult. The more we can test our coordination the easier those smaller easier movements can feel. This falls right in line with stability, balance and knowing where our body is in space. Sometimes it's hard to trust our feet and know where we are going.
This weeks move is a KB swing to lunge swing where we will have to focus on moving our feet and our KB at the same time. Starting off in a hinge swing we want to drive through our heals and push through our glutes to make the KB come up into a swing in front of us. As we do this we will step back into a lunge. The KB needs to switch to the same hand as the front leg as it swings down. We will drive through our front leg to swing the KB back up and step back into our hinge position catching the KB with both hands as we return to our swing. We will then repeat this on the other side so alternating our hinge to lunge on each leg.
The momentum and power is all going to come from our legs and the natural motion of the movement. We don't want to use our arms as this will create unnecessary shoulder tension and could lead to lower back pain. We want to maintain our best posture and elevate up through our ribs to keep our core engaged.
The challenge of this movement comes from trusting where our feet are going. We want to start off with our feet in a neutral position for our hinge. This will be about shoulder width apart. when we step back into our lunge our feet need to move in closer together to about hip width apart. Then returning to our neutral stance. This seems like a very small detail but can interfere with your swings and momentum if your feet aren't landing in the right place.
The swing will come after the footwork is down and work on creating power through the legs to move the KB. As our whole body moves together in unison we create a fluid, coordinated movement, that works the whole body. Even our brains will get a workout planning out this sequence of steps.
Keys to Success:
We are so excited to celebrate Bill Keleher as our August Athlete of the Month. Bill started training with us in June 2021 and has made remarkable progress over the past 14 months.
While we love hearing how the way that the training program is designed is a factor in the longevity of his commitment, it’s really Bill who is to be credited for his success. Bill decided that it was important for him to find something that would work for him so that he could reach his goal of creating and maintaining a routine, and from the start has worked hard to be consistent.
Over the past 14 months Bill has worked hard in the gym, listening to his coaches, and learning how his body moves. When he first started he experienced low back pain. As he gained more body awareness and understanding around how he was moving in exercises such as squats and deadlifts he quickly improved his form and noticed the benefits that these improvements have had on reducing any pain.
It’s stories like this that inspire us as a trainer team! We are committed to helping our clients move in their daily lives without pain and without limitations. At the end of the day, the results that our clients see are due to their own hard work and commitment, and Bill is no exception.
Way to go Bill! We are so proud of your progress and love working with you in the gym. We look forward to many more years of success stories.
He was aware of how he was moving his body and lifting the fish, pivoting on his feet as he passed them down the line, which resulted in no pain and no need for recovery days.
This week's movement is all about pace and intention behind the movements we do in the gym. This squat slam may look very familiar to you but we want to take it up another level by focusing on the timing.
Focusing on a deep squat over the ball we should feel very braced through our legs. Adding a little bit of flexion through our thoracic spine and contracting our core this protect our back as we start to lift the into a bicep curl. We do not want to cheat ourselves by resting our elbows on our legs or pulling the ball all the way into our chest. Once we are in the curl position we will start to slowly extend through the thoracic spine. Driving through our legs to start lifting us up into a press position over head. We want to do this very slowly and deliberately, you will notice how much your body will need to brace to control this movement in order to stabilize. As we come up overhead we will drive through onto our tiptoes, pressing through the balls of our feet with all toes equally pushing through the ground. Coming over head and slightly behind us to create great thoracic tension and core engagement. This will help with balance as we pause at the top.
Now this should be where we feel a great amount of tension and bracing through our whole body. Muscles are loaded and ready to pull that ball back over head into a slam. As soon as our arms start coming over head we want to think about pulling down through our core in that initial flexion. Simultaneously driving our hips back and allowing our glutes to help pull us down into that slam. This is truly a full body movement where every muscle group is fighting to work hard for you.
We may have a tendency to use our arms and shoulders too much. Remember to use your core and lats are here to help. The more we connect to these muscles the less impact our shoulders take, along with using our glutes and legs to help stabilize and protect our lower back from over use.
This move may be familiar but we want to bring new intention to it. Elevate us to work on timing and muscle connection. Embrace the slow pace and know it will only benefit us in the long run!
Keys to success:
There are so many reasons as to why we practice the split stance walk over and over again day after day. It's because this basic foundational move can be turned into these really complex but fun flows! These types of moves can translate into so many ways of how we move in our every day life even when they seem awkward. The split stance helps us make mind body connections by forcing us to make as many connections through our muscles as possible. It helps us to hold our posture better, become more mobile through our thoracic spine, and make connections in coordination even as simple as walking.
When we learn new sequences like this swing to row it is important to give ourselves grace and be willing to learn. Just like a baby learning to walk and talk, they must mess up, fall down, get back up, and try again and eventually they are connecting steps together and running. This is how you should treat new moves in the gym. Expect to make mistakes, to get frustrated and confused, but know they more you practice the better and easier it will become. The more mind body connections we make the easier time we have making these moves happen faster and more efficiently.
For this movement it is important for us to start in our best split stance, with strong foot work. We are in a walking stride stance and pulling the floor together with our feet, helping us to brace through our legs and make good connection to the floor.
We will set up with our dumbbell in a bicep curl on the same side as our back foot. Staying in our best posture we will swing out in a hinge using our glutes to drive us back while we push thorough our front heel to drive us up out of our hinge like a kettle bell swing. As our hand swings up and comes parallel with the ground we will hop switching our feet and pull the dumbbell into a row with a slight rotation at the same time. This will help us connect to our lat and core to help carry the weight and release any tension on our shoulders.
Quickly pop the dumbbell back out while hopping again to switch our feet in our split stance and returning back into our hinge swing to repeat the movement.
The quicker we are in our footwork and pulling thorough our lat the more we can make this a fun powerful move. The dumbbell should feel weightless in our hand and arm as it comes through the air following the momentum of our movement.
This is a great move to put more action in all of our split stance practice. Making a solid connection to the floor, elevating and focusing on our best posture, while swinging a dumbbell around. Remember each step can be broken down into a simple movement you are already familiar with.
Here's your checklist:
This week's move of the week will work on that brain body connection of multiple parts of the body moving all at once to make a fluid movement. These are the types of moves that can look and seem overwhelming at first, but they are all moves we have done and broken down before. Now we will take all those little moves and combine them into a full body movement. This works our coordination, muscle reactions, and practicing sequences of movement.
Starting us off with a cable in one hand and a dumbbell in another we are focusing on making cross body connection specifically through the back of the body. Our lats and glutes are main movers in this movement and should work in sync with each other across the body. So when we connect to our left lat we should also be making a connection through our right glute. Through this activation we create stability and power helping to keep aches and pains out out of joints and spine.
To start this movement our dumbbell will come down into a squat swing. As the momentum of the dumbbell comes back up we are going to stack this into a row on top of our lat while simultaneously bracing through our legs and driving through our opposite heel to activate our glute. As this connection happens it will help our core to fire and brace in a slight thoracic bend keeping our whole core strong and stable.
From this squat row position we will take a second or so to make sure we are connected as much as we can through our body. Then pulling on the cable over head into our row we will simultaneously push through the opposite leg to continue that cross body activation and press our dumbbell overhead. Now being in a standing position with a row on our cable side and a dumbbell press on the other this creates a push pull through our upper body putting us in a slight thoracic bend. Lifting our rib cage up through our press and pinching down on our lat and oblique through our row.
We will repeat the swing squat from our pressed position and continue the move again. This can be a lot to think about, but it should feel like a fluid movement and natural as possible. All of these muscles will be working in unison and should happen automatically just like when you perform a bicep curl it works your bicep without you thinking about it.
Have confidence in your ability and have fun breaking each piece down. Once your feel those connections being made they can be empowering!
Here's your checklist:
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.