If you want to change your body composition, here is what we know:
The number of people (especially you, ladies) who champion cardio as the answer for fat loss still boggles me. Don’t misunderstand me.
Cardio is very important. It creates central (heart) and peripheral (e.g., muscular) adaptations that are instrumental in health, longevity, and recovering from more intense work in the weight room.
Today I want to share what I feel are 10 essential movements that are staples in solid strength training programs.
This is a solid shoulder, hip, and core stabilizing movement. I’m partial to the 1st movement which we call the Get Up To Elbow for strength because is a direct hit to the core and allows the use of heavy kettlebells.
The full TGU is complex and requires lots of practice, but for strength training lovers I think the best utility for it is during the warm-up with moderate weight and higher reps (which is like 3-5 on this exercise)
Kettlebell training is light enough for high reps that drive the cardiorespiratory system and heavy enough that they develop baseline strength.
The 1A Swing requires an explosive hip hinge and great rotary core stability, so as to not get twisted by the torque of the bell. You can load up the weight on the 1A Swing and do hundreds of reps in minimal time.
The BEST benefit in my mind is that it’s a gateway to the KB Snatch. A KB Snatch takes the explosiveness of the 1A Swing and covers more distance with the bell in about the same time. Sure it involves a lighter weight, but it is the coup de gras of conditioning with respect to kettlebells.
Not everyone has the requisite shoulder mobility or mechanics to drive the KB overhead explosively early on, so that is why I’m giving the nod to the 1A KB Swing and classic 2H KB swing.
I have my concerns about this exercise. It’s lat (back) dominant which can facilitate extended postures. I know, I know. Most people think good posture means military posture. Overactive lat muscles are common and this creates a significant amount of head, rib cage, and R-rated pelvic thrusting.
However, they still make the cut. If coached well they are one of the best upper-body exercises. Most people can do them because they don’t require the mobility or strength required for pull-ups. Simply adding chains or a weighted vest can increase the difficulty.
Across the board, folks are poor at hinging through their hips. Sitting affects our access to the posterior hip capsule. Instead of bending with the hips and back, people tend to excessively round their back.
Everyone can benefit from more hamstrings, grip strength, and hip/core control. And the RDL delivers. Mastering this pattern precedes success in the Deadlift and kettlebell movements such as the Swing and Snatch.
Reaching overhead is the hip hinge of the upper body; there is abundant opportunity to compensate. Pressing overhead requires the control through the core and shoulder, while still demonstrating strength. I limit the amount of overhead pressing I have my clients do, but it’s valuable to establish and maintain this pattern.
I like kettlebells becuase they allow for more freedom of the rib cage and thorax to move as you press. When people are locked in a bar or with two kettlebells there’s a propensity to extend the back.
If you’re just getting into overhead presses the kettlebell is the way to go. The offeset center of gravity requires more stabilization and limits loading while providing a challenge.
Tune back in for my top 5.