This week we will be continuing our focus in the split stance and specifically the thoracic bend and using our core to help us move. The more mobility we have in our thoracic spine the more mobile we are throughout our whole body. Keeping us safe from pulling out our lower back and also taking the pressure off our shoulders to do the work. Thoracic mobility is a big indicator of our core strength and how able we are to move our thoracic spine using our core muscles and wrapping around to our back muscles. Our thoracic bend will engage our obliques (each side of stomach) and lats (biggest muscle in our back starting right behind the armpits). These muscles are huge but often lack the proper strength and coordination to do the work we need them to do. This results in overuse of shoulder and lower back movement that results in pain and injury.
Our activation training will be a huge help in this weeks move because it helps you make those mind body connection to your core as well as warming up the mobility in your thoracic spine before you even hit the gym floor. The more you become competent in these connections the better you will move and the better you will feel.
Starting off in our best split stance by having our feet properly connected to the floor we will work our way up the body, creating tension to ensure that our glute is firing, holding us stable and ready to push us forward. The glute is extremely important in preventing back pain. A small hinge with an intentional tailbone tuck will help you engage your glute while also pulling your lower core in to help engage and stabilize. Working our way up the body finding your oblique crunch on the side of your front leg you are now ready to push forward through the step using your glute and pulling through the elongated side into our next oblique bend. It should feel like your core is doing most of the work to help propel you forward and stay stable. From here, going into our step press using our chest and thoracic rotation to, yet again, help that glute drive us forward into our final step.
Now it will be all about control through our lats, core, and glutes, to help us walk backwards and return to our starting position. This can be a very challenging area to make a mind body connections. We don't normally think about this movement in our everyday life, but that doesn't mean we aren't using it constantly. When these muscles are strong, your everyday life and movement will also feel strong. You may not even notice it at all because you won't be in pain, questioning your abilities, or turning down opportunities because of fear. You will just move through life the way you want to because you are strong and capable and know your body is ready to take on whatever task at hand big or small.
Here's your checklist:
1. Very best split stance and posture helps connect from the floor all the way through to your glutes and core.
2. Crunch through one side of your oblique pulling your ribcage down towards your hip while the other elongates up to ceiling creating elevation
3. Push through your glute and pull through the opposite (elongated) oblique and lat to step forward
4. Stay out of your shoulders! Don't over press or bend to ensure shoulder safety
5. Connect! Connect! Connect! Have fun and take this opportunity to slow down to find that engagement.
This week is going to put your Pre-Training to the test! It's all the same footwork with a little bit of ✨spice✨. That means getting those steps down in your lateral to forward split stance footwork will be crucial this week to understanding what you are doing in this movement. These are the reasons we want you to continue practicing the pre-training. The more comfortable and connected you are with these movements the easier the more challenging sequences will be.
The footwork is all about creating a strong foundation from the floor up. Making sure we are connecting through our feet creates stability and power. Planting the back foot keeps us steady as the front foot is ready to drive off into that next step. In the lateral step we are looking for that cross body connection pushing through the front foot, and activating the glute as we pull through the opposite oblique and lat into our rotation. The more we can connect to this cross body connection the better our coordination will be and the more power we can create. Each time you step laterally it is crucial to get the back foot intentionally placed under your hip with tension to the floor, creating stability & balance, preparing you for the next step.
The foot switch in the split stance to the slam is all about our thoracic spine moving in all the directions we want it to. By pulling through the rotation to switch our feet, and staying rotated over the front foot, we will be set up to thoracically bend and pull the dynaball overhead through our lat and core into the slam, landing our feet back in its original position and set up to do it all again on the other side.
There is SO MUCH to think about when it comes to a move like this. Just when you think you have the footwork down there are many of other areas to focus on. This is a great opportunity to look for the challenge in each step of the movement.
How are you going to keep challenging yourself and reaching that next opportunity to get better, dig a little deeper, work a little harder?
One step at a time!
Our work will start at our feet, first making sure we are connected to the floor and getting that foundational stance down and then slowly working our way up to the thoracic rotation and bends. After that we can really start honing in on those little details making sure we are working efficiently and correctly through our muscles. Every correct step and connection is a huge accomplishment that we will be celebrating to its fullest. That's what makes us better, stronger, and more capable with every new movement we throw together.
Here's your checklist:
1. Footwork! We've got to get those feet moving the way we want them to in our very best split stance, knowing where our feet are going. Without footwork the rest doesn't matter.
2. Strong posture: making sure we are using our core to help us move. This will give us the best range of motion through our T-spine in rotation and bending.
3. Cross body connection through our lateral hop. Push through the glutes and pull through the opposite lats and obliques.
4. Use the Thoracic bend to engage your lats and core and not raise through your shoulders. Ensuring safety and proper shoulder control.
5. Remember we are always rotating or landing over our front foot in the split stance.
6. One thing at a time, have fun! "Its not a full body workout if it doesn't work the brain as well" 😈😇 -Bree
This week we will be focusing on timing and posture being the big components to this exercise. Posture, just like all the moves we focus on will help us brace and connect to our body allowing us to be strong through the movement especially starting out in the swing. The momentum of the dumbbells will want to rock you around pulling you off your feet if you are not starting in your very best braced posture. Timing will be connected to using the right muscles at the right time to ensure working the correct muscles.
Posture means more than just standing as tall as you can and yanking your shoulders back in space. It start all the way down at our feet and works on making connections all the way up through our body. Do you ever think about your glutes when getting into your best posture? What about if your knees are bent or that you are evenly pushing through your feet? All incredibly important details to understanding and supporting a good posture. We want the correct muscles to be firing and working for us to give us the best support. This is also why we talk about elevation so much because we are constantly working against gravity to pull us down into the ground. We want to lift those ribs up off the hips creating space and connection through the core and up through the spine. Your best posture will keep you in control of this movement as you release the swing from up above your head and letting your arms follow through the flow of momentum, staying braced and tall through your body.
As the swing comes back up in front of us we will continue to maintain an upright posture but come down into a squat catching the weight with our legs. This will be our timing component in waiting to catch the dumbbells but not wait too long so that are arms are doing all of the work. Once we catch the weight another pause in timing to make sure we are braced and in our best squat form, still elevating through the ribs with core engaged. This tension is going to push us back up into a press in our starting position. It should feel like we are launching the dumbbells through the ceiling with our whole body working to lift the weights, especially thorough our glutes. It should feel like light work to the shoulders as our lats and core are helping to hold those weights for us.
This will be a great opportunity to push yourself in getting some heavier weight in your hands. This can help us not rely upon our arms to do the work, which is easy to do when using too light of weight. When we get a little heavier we start to naturally recruit other muscles to help us out. This is where we want the tension from the squat to help us out in lifting that weight up above our head again. As we come back up into our press we should return to our best standing posture to maintain good shoulder control and support through the lower back, and ready to set up again for the next rep. This week will provide a great challenge in connecting to the whole body and working on the timing of swings and letting momentum help us out. Remember to slow it down and work on each individual step to find the flow of the movement.
Here's your checklist:
1. BEST POSTURE: protect the shoulders and lower back, connect to as many muscle groups as possibly especially the glutes and core.
2. Feel the fluidity of the swing. Let the swing do the work for you.
3. Catch the weight with the squat to take pressure off the shoulders.
4. Keep your best elevation and power through the glutes to press. You want to feel like the weight can launch through the ceiling
5. Have fun! Create that power to swing some heavy weight around!
Kathleen initially started training with us through our free trial program in February, 2021, and didn’t join until October of that same year. Kathleen will admit that she didn’t think that she needed the help at first, but after a busy summer filled with family obligations she realized that she could use some extra support and accountability and reached back out to talk about giving it another try, and boy are we glad that she did!
And that’s why it’s so very important to put yourself first even when you want to put everyone else before yourself. If you don’t take time to take care of yourself you just won’t have the energy to give all that you want to give to everyone else, and Kathleen has learned that over the past year that we’ve known her.
Working on those little details in the "simplest" of movements can really make all the difference in how we feel a movement and continue to grow through our strength and mobility. This week will really help you find those lats and make those connections in our TRX row. When we connect to our lats properly this helps us reduce tension inner shoulders, reduce risk of energy, and helps our whole body synchronize and connect as one.
Some of the key focus you usually hear us cue on when doing a TRX row is elevation (to keep chest up and shoulders down), hips slightly hinged (for tailbone tuck, core engagement), and making sure you aren't leading with your hips into the row. These key areas will be made easier to control by getting into this deeper seated position.
The more elevation we can create the better our posture will be. Keeping our head back in space allows our spine to align. Allowing our shoulders to drop and rest, as to not create tension through our traps and neck. This also protects our shoulder joint by keeping our shoulder blades in place. All helping us to engage to those lats better and make our muscles do the work.
When we drop our hips this allows us to tuck our tail bone and create the lower part of our spine to align. As we tuck our tailbone this creates a pelvic tilt that helps us to engage our lower abdominals and feel those muscles fully, helping us stay braced and in position instead of our hips leading us up through the row and thus doing the work instead of the lats.
Getting more into a seated squat position will help enforce proper posture and spine alignment. Helping you connect deep into those lats! As we move on throughout the week we will add a little more power and intensity to this movement to also create some conditioning through the back of the body.
Here's your checklist:
1. Strong posture through elevation and dropping shoulders
2. Hips in a seated position to engage lower core and tuck tailbone
3. Keep shoulders in place as you pull through the lats
4. Keep elbows in line with shoulders
5. Make that connection! 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.