Taking a simple movement and elevating it to make it harder all by putting some intention behind it. That is what this weeks move of the week is all about. We are going to take an up and over on the stair stepper and add a dumbbell rotation. The challenging part about this will be focus on foot work and really trying to connect to our core and pull through our thoracic rotation. Getting a little heavier in weight with this move should help make it a good core burner and really elevate the cardiovascular effort.
We want to time the rotation to be slightly before we move our feet, allowing us to pull ourselves over the stepper with our core, simultaneously pushing off of our lead foot. This is creating a crossbody connection from our lat to opposite glute, along with a pull across our core. We want to be thinking about pulling our ribcage back into space over our lead foot. As we come over the stair stepper we want to land in our split stance and in our rotation at the same time, pulling our feet together to find additional effort in the movement. This will be great practice in keeping the dumbbell right in front of our chest and making our core do the work instead of our shoulders. Creating a timing component of our feet moving slightly faster than our rotation, our whole body will be on fire but the end of this movement.
This will be a great challenge on the mind body connection. The more you connect the more you will feel a full body fatigue faster and faster. Within 20 seconds we want to feel pretty smoked and looking for a break. Remember that shorter bursts of more efficient work will give us better results than slogging through moves with bad quality and form. Test yourself to see how challenging you can make this move!
9/26 - Lateral Run with Slow Torso Rotation - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
1. Posture: Maintain connection through the floor and core
2. Cross body connection: Efficiently pushing and pulling through the lats and glutes
3. This should be intense so find that effort!
4. Take rests when needed! You are working hard when you need to stop sooner.
5. Enjoy the burn!
We are taking all of our split stance foundational moves and making them into one movement. This week will be a great week to test out how strong you are connecting with your split stance and up through your core to your best posture. This is one of those movements that takes all of the ground work you've been focusing on and putting a new challenge onto it.
Over the last quarter of the year we have been focusing on our split stance connection from our feet all the way up to our head. Whether you have been taking the time and initiative to practice the pre-activation warm up before each session or creating that focus in your sessions you have seen these moves over and over again.
This move WILL test our footwork, posture and core stability, and being able to connect to our full body throughout the movement. When we lose the ground work of stability we will find the bungee pulling us around, losing our balance, and the move feeling very clunky and awkward.
This is a great challenge to elevate our split stance that we have been continuing to work on. Focus on one thing at a time and know that you are more than capable of putting all of these pieces together!
Here's your checklist:
1. Footwork: Make sure we are connecting through our feet for stability and muscle engagement
2. Posture: Connecting to our core to maintain elevation and control
3. Watch your row! Where is your elbow in space?
4. Use your whole body to rotate into your press
5. One step at a time (literally) you've got this!
We are so delighted to be celebrating Mary Bouchard as our September Athlete of the Month. Mary has been training with us since the very beginning of the Wilcox Brunswick location back in January 2019 and we have just loved being part of Mary’s journey, and her a part of ours.
Like many of our clients she is a mother, a daughter, and a dedicated employee. She is committed to the people who she loves and to being the best that she can be in all aspects of her life. This means that life can get busy at times, causing her to be a bit less consistent for a week or two, but she always gets right back on track as soon as the other needs of her life are taken care of.
Having the opportunity to work closely with Bree 1:1 each week provides her with the space to push herself a bit further out of her comfort zone and continue to develop new understandings of how she can challenge herself.
This week's move will be focused on an up and over split stance slam to rotational knee drive. Our focus here is to continue working through the thoracic spine in multiple directions while also keeping our hips in place. When we move through our thoracic spine this includes our chest and torso area being the only thing to move. By keeping the hips in place we will create better connections through the obliques and lats, allowing us to create power through the movement. Additionally, we want to create intention about knowing where our hips are in space and making sure we aren't rotating through the lumbar spine (lower back) for safety.
In this movement we will be placing our foot up onto a box creating a position that makes it easier to keep our hips forward so that we can really focus on our rotation over that raised leg, connecting with our obliques. We will then continue to focus on keeping the hips forward as we step that foot to become the backward foot in our split stance, and reversing our rotation over the new front foot.
As we raise the elbow to lengthen through our lat on the opposite side of our rotation we are also contracting through the oblique into the rotation. As we raise the ball up in front of our face we will reverse our split stance one more time as we bring the ball up and over into a slam. From here we are set back up to raise our back foot up onto the box and back into rotation.
This is a fun, fluid movement provides us with a great opportunity to practice some fundamentals of thoracic movement in multiple planes of motion. We are focusing on rotation over our leg without moving the hips, and we are focusing upon lateral thoracic bend, connecting to our lats and obliques. We also have the chance to continue to practice our foot work, understanding where our feet are in space and maintaining a hip width stance, and normal walking stride as we hop our feet, reversing our stance as we work through the movement.
Our core is our main mover of our body. Without it we would be incapable of doing most things. Just about everything we do in life through movement takes effort from our core. When we pair this with thoracic mobility and increasing our range of motion we see huge improvements in all other areas of our body. This can be reducing or eliminating back and shoulder pain. When our core is strong we can move through life the way we please. We continue to strengthen our core by being conscious of our posture and elevation through all movements we do.
9/12 - Step Rotational Ball Slam - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
This week's movement is a great way to add a traditional strength movement and make it into a full body functional movement. When we work more dynamically we form better pathways from our brain to our body, strength in all ranges of motion, and coordination to help us move through everyday life more efficiently. While a bicep curl is a great way to load the biceps and create muscle mass, it is also only working this muscle in one dimension resulting in strength in one dimension. Working it into a more functional movement pattern helps build strength in the muscle and better connections throughout the whole body.
We will start in a split stance with our front foot planted on the same side as our bicep curl with a slight thoracic rotation over the front foot. In our starting stance we are pulling the floor together with our front foot fully planted and the back foot pulling through the ball of our foot with the heel raised. This creates a strong base of support while connecting to the floor. As we work our way up we should have a soft bend to our knees and a slight hinge. This will create more activation through our legs, and the hinge will allow us to engage our glutes, tuck our tail bone, and engage our lower abdominals. Elevating the ribs up off the hips as much as possible will help to contribute to the rest of our core engaging and elongating through our spine, creating our best posture and elevation. Keeping our shoulders down and head back in space we are now ready to step laterally while slightly rotating over our front foot in our bicep curl by pulling our ribcage back and rotating our ribs over our front leg to engage the oblique. These will be one of the most important steps in properly setting up and engaging our muscles to help us do the work efficiently and without aches and pains.
There is a bit of a timing component in this as we want our core to help lead us into the bicep curl and the lateral step. Stepping too early or curling too fast could result in the flow of this movement being messed up. We are bracing through out our whole body as much as we can while we pull into this curl making it a challenge that should leave you fatigued in just a few reps. Have fun getting those curls in and making those mind body connections!
9/4 - Split Stance Lateral Step Bicep Curl - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
Here's your checklist:
Explainer - PreTraining Q3 2022 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 3-5 minutes of quality practice.
Here are the most important aspects of performing these movements:
PreTraining-LIVE by Allison Hopkins
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.
8/28 - KB Swing to Lunge Swing - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
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!
8/22 - Slow Squat Slam - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
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.
8/15 - Split Stance Quick Step Swing to Row - Movement of the Week Explainer by Allison Hopkins
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.