This week we will be continuing to work through our thoracic bend and creating length through the lateral side of our body. We will do this by working through our elevation of our rib cage on one side and crunching through our oblique on the other. We know from this past weeks movement that the thoracic bend can be a difficult movement to connect to with a lot of little pieces to think about. The thoracic bend is so important to our everyday life and being able to move through the thoracic spine freely in all directions. The more mobility we create, the better we will feel and move, along with reduced risk of injury to our shoulders and lower back. When we have strong thoracic mobility this also helps us connect to our posture and core, allowing us to hold ourselves taller and stronger.
Footwork will be a key component in this weeks move as we will need a solid base for stability and being confident with where are feet are going and landing. A soft hinge will be critical for staying connected to our glutes and pulling our feet together to stay grounded and strong all the way through the floor. The front foot is our driving foot where our power from the push off will come, while the back foot helps create stability and continue to hold our engagement.
Starting out in our row and thoracic bend we want to create lots of tension through our lat and core. This will ensure power comes from our side and not through our shoulders. We also have a lot more power from these muscles when we can properly connect to them. Using our lats and core to launch the weight out away from us will create momentum to pull us through our swing. As we swing we will follow the dumbbell across our body using the thoracic bend to lengthen through the swinging arm and crunch the obliques on the other side.
Timing and momentum are working with us as we start to swing back. We want the dumbbell to be almost past us to pull ourselves back through the lateral step and into the row. This will create a fluid momentum where we aren't ever fighting the dumbbell but letting it pull us through space and help us out. Feeling like we are pulling ourselves to the dumbbell and not the dumbbell to us. This will help us with reducing overuse of the shoulder and create efficiency through the whole body by working together in one fluid movement.
When we can really start to nail movements like this it opens our abilities up to do even more. Building onto movement and sequences is important for our body to keep on progressing. Building strength, endurance, and coordination along the way. So this move may feel frustrating and awkward at first, but by starting off slowly with the movement, connecting to each component, we will work together to build that 1% improvement each day, and before you know it you are doing moves that used to be brain breaking and now feel great and powerful, owning the movement and what your body is capable of.
Here's your checklist:
1. Start at the base! Work on the lateral split stance step making a strong connection to the floor, connecting to your glutes and bracing through your legs.
2. Posture is key! When we elevate and have good posture it is much easier to connect to our core and lats helping us with mobility through our t-spine
3. The thoracic bend is where our power will come from connection to your lats and obliques to help push the dumbbell around.
4. Timing will be critical to finding the fluidity of this movement to connect to the right muscles. Staying out of the shoulder to push the dumbbell around
5. Have fun! Get comfortable with the uncomfortable!
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!
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!
This weeks move of the week is all about slinging that sledgehammer around. You will feel like a professional lumberjack ready to chop all the wood by the end of this week. There are many variations of this movement you will be practicing to help you prepare for getting into an alternating split stance slam to finish off the week.
Some of our key steps we will be looking for in this move will closely relate to our pre-training techniques. The more you practice these moves the easier it will be to move that sledgehammer through space. The first one being foot work and being able to move fluidly in and out of your split stance with a strong connection to the floor and up through your legs. Knowing where to rotate and why will help us connect to our core. Maintaining your best posture to stay braced and balanced as the weight swings up and around you.
This will be a great challenge to test your stability through your posture and yield big power coming down into the slam. A strong powerful movement that should feel fluid and effortless on the shoulders and arms as the whole body works with you to move the weight around. There will be challenges to timing and where to find control in the movement, but taking our time to learn and connect to our body will make all the difference.
Have fun swinging that weight around and feel powerful with what your body is capable of!
Here's your checklist:
1. Strong split stance connecting to the floor by feeling the pull through your feet
2. Best posture to connect to your core, finding balance and stability
3. Thoracic rotation will be key to good mobility
4. Movement should feel fluid, listen to your body for sticky spots
5. Become your best lumberjack self! Have fun!
This weeks move on the week is going to test those small connections we are always looking for in the gym. These small corrections may feel tedious and maybe even sometimes unimportant, but they lead to the biggest changes in how we carry ourselves in our everyday life. When we recorrect years of bad habits and bad movement we find ourselves in less pain, moving more freely, and feeling better in every aspect of our life.
Some of the major goals we are working on with this split stance swing is going to be footwork. Making sure we are planting our feet correctly through the hinge to swing. Our stride should be making us feel grounded and strong helping us with stability and able to engage proper muscles. One thing we will be cueing the most is making sure the back heel doesn't hit the ground as we come into our swing. Making sure our front leg is doing the work to drive us forward through our glute to get us to our overhead press standing position. As we step forward we will pull those feet together to help brace and make us stand tall and stable.
Next we will be looking for our best elevation and posture. This helps us move through our full range of motion more fluidly and help protect our joints like our shoulder and back. When we elevate this helps us naturally connect to our core and be able to brace through the swing making sure we are still in control of the movement. Coming into the hinge, elevation means we aren't dropping our chest to the floor. As we step through into the press, elevation will help us stand tall, not flair our ribs, and get a nice clean press overhead without overworking our shoulder. Elevation is key in all movement to be successful in relieving joint pain.
This move also provides a good opportunity to continue working on sequence. We will work on fluid movement through the swing to step press, pause, and then work on our thoracic rotation. Maintaining tall posture, pulling back through space with our rib cage, over the front leg to create a strong core connection before going back into our swing.
This swing will give us a great opportunity to continue practicing something we are familiar with but also add a challenge to finding those small changes and continuing to work on our compensations. Take the time to really engage with this movement and understand what we are feeling, what we should be feeling, and how to make those small changes to find that mind body connection.
Here's your checklist:
1. Start in your best split stance and posture
2. Focus on the front leg in the swing being the main driver
3. Take time at the top to work on your thoracic rotation
4. Feel the momentum of the movement to pull you through the step
5. Have fun learning!
This weeks move we want to focus on sequence. There is a sequence or pattern to every movement that we do both in and out of the gym. Our walk or run is a sequence just as much a sequence as a split stance slam to rotating wall slam or any more complicated move we might think up here in the gym. Sometimes they are more fluid and we flow through each movement seamlessly and sometimes we make them choppy and deliberate. This week is all about breaking each piece down and being deliberate about each move we make. This puts intention behind our movement, creates better brain-body connections, and helps us progress in those more fluid sequences.
When we are creating intention around a movement it's to help us connect to the proper muscles. When we engage properly our muscles learn to respond faster, stronger, and better than before. You may find this example in just learning any movement. The more you practice the better you feel doing it, and this is not because you instantly got stronger in that moment. It's because your body is learning the sequence and how it should be moving, and with those stronger connections our bodies respond more quickly and efficiently, allowing us to flow through the movement with more grace. This is why we put so much emphasis on our split stance and being able to build onto them.
The move this week is going to put great emphasis on our cross body lat to glute connection. As we start to pull across our body expand your chest, hold a strong elevation and find that lat. This will be the most important step as everything after is based on holding that lat strong and maintaining proper posture.
Stepping in and out of our split stance and then pulling into the rotational swipe are all moves we have done before in the gym. In this sequence will create great tension throughout the whole body and recognizing where we need to brace in order to pull through the movement correctly. As we come into the rotational swipe we will focus on the push pull on each side of our body. Maintaining the row and pull through the lat on one side while we push through the chest in our press with the other hand. Each side is working hard to make this movement fluid not allowing other muscles (like our shoulders and lower back) to do the work for us.
The challenge of this movement will come from slowing things down and really creating intention behind what you are feeling and how you are moving. Not every movement needs to be fast and honestly most movement shouldn't be fast until you have the form down and know you are connecting to the right muscle groups. This is a great opportunity to really think about what your body is feeling, know where it is going, and understanding what you are trying to accomplish as you move in an awkward chopped up movement. The more we get muscles to fire correctly the better we will move in our everyday life.
Here's your checklist:
1. Start in a strong split stance finding connection to your glute and core
2. Expand your chest as you elevate helping find the lat as you row
3. ONE step at a time there are 6 steps from beginning position and back
4. Think about your push-pull on each side of your body
5. Slow down and make those connections!
This weeks move of the week is putting our footwork and power to the test! With this lateral step wall slam to rotational floor slam there will be lots to think about. The reason we do more complicated sequences is because this helps the body really process and understand why we are moving the way we are. It forces us to slow things down and recognize the sequence of movements. This type of movement helps us in everyday life by forming those new connections and making the body work a little more cohesively. When we make the body work harder in difficult movements it makes the simple movements even more fluid!
Even though it looks like a lot to think about in this movement it also involves all moves that we have been practicing for months in the gym! It's all about taking those small pieces we have been practicing and putting them together. Remember that the more we can break down each movement the better and more cohesive this movement will feel. This is where slowing the movement down and taking it one step at a time will help you progress faster to being able to get that power into each slam.
Just like every movement we do one of our main focuses will be the split stance and working on our best posture starting. This starts with our feet connecting with the floor and working our way up through elevation of the ribs, creating a strong core engagement. Your core engagement will benefit you in this move, bringing you power and will help you move fluidly. It will also protect you from overuse of your shoulders and keep that lower back pain free. This is a great time to practice and feel the difference between a thoracic rotation where we are rotating around our core like a cylinder pulling through the obliques and pulling the rib cage back into space, and the over head thoracic bend where we are working on the lengthening and contracting of our obliques and lats. Both of these movements work our spine, making it more mobile and strengthening these muscles helps with our posture and moving through everyday life moving our very best and feeling like our best self.
Even though this movement has a big coordination component it is all moves that you have done and seen before. Remember to take a deep breath, set up in your very best split stance, bring your best posture, and take one step at a time! This will be a rewarding powerful movement that will let you get your "slam on" leaving you feeling accomplished with all the work you've been putting into your training!
Keys to success:
1. Footwork: always landing in your split stance, pulling those feet together for stability
2. Posture: Maintain your best posture to let that core do the work for you
3. Slow it down and understand the sequence of movements
4. The more you use your core the more power you will create
5. Like a funky dance have fun learning those steps!
This weeks move of the week is all about momentum. To end the week our goal is to be able to comfortably be able to do a single arm kettlebell swing. When we use momentum in our movements we take pressure off our joints and learn how to properly move our body in space instead of fighting against the weight. Movements that create momentum is an optimal way to practice functional fitness. With momentum we create elevation and lengthening through the body. Helping us to carry ourselves taller, stronger, and create control through our movements. This also creates a great mind body connection of knowing where your body is in space and how to interact with the fluidity of a movement. When using momentum our body should feel fluid and well connected so if we feel awkward, out of control, or feel like we are fighting with the weight we are most likely not moving correctly and need to re-adjust.
With a single arm kettlebell swing we want to create power through our glutes and core to lift the weight up in front of us. This creates momentum to let the kettlebell raise up in front of us, allowing us to switch hands while the kettlebell is in the air, comfortably and with ease. We will start to feel our lower back and shoulder tension when we try to lift with our arms instead of letting the momentum created by our hips and glutes to pull us up through the movement. This type of movement allows us to lift heavier weight than we can comfortably lift because we are creating the force through our whole body instead of just one specific muscle.
This week we will be focusing on many different types of momentum movements helping us create that fluidity through different muscle groups and work on the timing and sequence of exercises. Always starting with good foot work, and working through our best posture to stay tall and elevated with our abdominals activated, will help us be successful with these movements. Remember if it feels like a struggle, awkward, or just not right, that is a good sign something is wrong and we want to reset and try again. This week is going to provide great opportunity to really listen to our bodies and make those connections.
Here's your checklist:
1. Keep feet connected to the floor to create stability - you are a tree growing roots into the ground
2. Always start with our best posture to create a strong baseline connection and activated abdominal muscles.
3. Power in our hinge comes from our glutes and core.
4. Don't fight the movement let it carry you through.
5. Relax and let the weight do the work! 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.