The Way We Move and Kettlebells
How does Kettlebell training tie into functional fitness training? What is functional fitness training? Basically, it can be described as exercises geared towards improving and strengthening the foundation for movement. It does this by working numerous muscle groups at once. An example could be the kettlebell deadlift, which is a hip hinge. It strengthens your entire posterior chain in one movement.
The hip hinge is a movement we already do every day. We also squat, press, pull, push, rotate and do some type of locomotion. By taking these movements, turning them into an exercise and adding resistance, we help strengthen our foundation while building lean muscle and reducing unhealthy body fat. Whatever activities we like doing become easier and more enjoyable with less risk of injury when we build strength. This is how kettlebell training ties into functional fitness.
Here are some examples of functional movement patterns and the exercise movement used to develop strength within these patterns:
Reaching down to pick something up off the floor - HIP HINGE
Getting up from a chair or toilet - SQUAT
Balance, getting out of a car, up from the floor or height changes (curb, incline...) - STEP UPS, LUNGE
Reaching up, placing something on a shelf - PRESS
Opening a door, taking clothes from washer or dryer, gardening, vacuuming - PULL
Going through a revolving door, vacuuming, sliding furniture using your upper body, gardening - PUSH
Getting something from the back seat, looking over your shoulder, sitting down and leaning to the side to pick something up - ROTATE and ANTI-ROTATION
Walking fast through the airport or mall - LOCOMOTION
Here's an efficient kettlebell workout that will address these movements:
10 Kettlebell Swings (hip hinge, pull)
5 Goblet Squats (squat)
5 Push Ups (push)
8R/8L Rack Reverse Lunge (lunge)
5R/5L One Arm Military Press (press)
30 second Suitcase Carry (locomotion, anti-rotation)
Exercise Tip for the Goblet Squat: Stand tall, hold the kettlebell with the handle up. Keeping it close to your body squat down. Pause at the bottom, push the kettlebell out a little. Now lengthen your collar bone by pushing your shoulders back and down. Squeeze your shoulder blades back and down. Open your chest even more while lengthening your spine, push your chest out and get taller. Keep your spine long from neck to tail bone. Don't tuck your tail bone, or stick it out, find your neutral spot. Keep opening up your chest. Pause a few seconds in this position. Push through your feet and stand up while squeezing your butt and keeping the kettlebell close to your body.
What is your goal (aim, purpose)?
It could be to lose weight or run faster. Maybe you want to build lean muscle and get stronger. Or simply walk more to stay healthy.
Whatever it is, it's important to have a goal to move towards.
Goals help keep you motivated and accountable. It doesn't have to be specific, it could be general, as simple as showing up for a workout a few times a week.
Short term goals are very attainable. Think of something you'd like to be better at in three to six months and set your sites on it! Write it down, keep a training log and before you know it you'll be there!
Useful practical information and a workout or two...