Tag: kettlebell

Kettlebell front squats for you!

What happens when you only have 15 minutes to workout?  For the majority of us 15 minutes means nothing happens.  A lot of time we get it in our heads that we have to have at least 30, 45, or 60 minutes to get a workout in and anything less wouldn’t be worth the bother.  Well as I can report from my own experience and any of my clients that show up late to a session can attest, a whole lot of good stuff can get done in 30 minutes or less.

One great way to making efficient and productive workouts in a very short amount of time is to:

  • Move quickly
  • Use big muscles
  • Use power exercises
  • Incorporate full body movements
  • Take few rests

One very valuable exercise for any workout but especially for short workouts is the Kettlebell Front Squat.  Here’s how it goes…

 

Kettlebells

Grab one kettlebell (for progression use two kettelbells in rack position), hold it tight to your chest with your hands on the low Kettlebellspart of the handle and maybe slightly on the round part of the bell (see left side picture).  With the bell on your upper chest descend down into a deep squat.  Getting your thighs below parallel should always be the goal (see right side picture).  However, to get to full depth in any squat you need to keep your feet flat, your chest up, your hips under you (not behind you), and to maintain tension in your muscles (not relaxing in the bottom).  This is the easiest with weight on the front of your body as the weight counterbalances your backside.  So not only is the KB Front Squat great for strength it is also a great exercise to help you understand posture in a full depth squat.

 

Why is this squat so darned good?  Front squats are one of the best ways to increase strength in your quads, which in turn increases stability in your knees.  The increase in depth also helps you fire more muscle fibers which will in turn increase your heart rate as well as caloric burn.  Using your big muscles means a lot of effort goes into the movement thus increasing the results of strength from the exercise.

Here is a very basic and fun way to incorporate the front squat with a short and effective workout.  So the next time you only have 15 minutes to workout there should be no excuses!

  • 10 Push-ups
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 10 Bench Tricep Dips
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 10 Ab Crunches on the exercise ball
  • 10 Kettlebell Front Squats
  • 1 Minute “Sprint” on the Elliptical.

Repeat for a total of 3-5 times through.

 

For more information on effective workouts please contact Adriana Brown at abrown@sacdt.com

A Quick Look at Russian Kettlebells

Most people have heard of kettlebells or have at least seen people swinging them around in the gym. I’m sure you are thinking to yourself, “What the heck are those people doing and why in the world would I ever want to?” Here I will try to answer that question. Along with being an explosive power move and total body exercise, the kettlebell swing also works to correct posture while maintaining a neutral spine. By firing the back body (posterior chain) you will start to engage spinal stabilizers, helping to reverse the forward rounding that happens from sitting all day, typing on computers, texting on cell phones, etc. The movement remains grounded throughout, which helps to avoid heavy impact on the knees.

The Kettlebell (or giyra) first appear in Russia around 400 years ago. They were originally used as a handled counterweight for farmers to sell their goods. Eventually they were integrated into modern weightlifting and became Russia’s national sport around 1948. Typically measured in kilograms, kettlebells range from 4kg to 32kg although most people tend to work with 16kg-24kg for daily exercise.

There are three primary exercises performed by Russia lifters include: the swing, the goblet squat, and the Turkish getup.

The Swing- The swing targets the back of the body, focusing on hamstring and glute firing while maintaining a neutral spine. You can do higher rep counts with a lighter weight for more of a cardio workout or lower reps with heavier weights to build muscle mass. The lats remain engaged throughout the swing to maintain control over the movement as you catch the bell in your hips.

The Goblet Squat- With the bell in both hands, the handle facing up, lower down into a squat, touching your elbows to your inner thighs. Be sure to keep the chest up, back tight throughout the entire movement. If you are having issues dropping below parallel, move the bell away from you to allow it to act as a counterbalance which will help you drop lower.

The Turkish Getup- Just one of the ways the Russians like to work on their abs. The Turkish getup is a step by step sequence that moves you from the ground up to standing with the bell on one arm overhead. This will target core stabilizers throughout the entire body, obliques, low abs, rib stabilizers, and back stabilizers.

Once you have these basic principles nailed you can combine them with the workouts you are currently doing or create new workouts focused around the kettlebell!

Here’s an example: Sample Workout:
Men=20kg swings/squats 16kg getups
Women=16kg swings/squats 8kg getups

  • 5 minuntes warmup of dynamic movements (lunges, squats, pushups, high knees, downdog shoulder press, etc.)
  • 5 sets of 10 swings (try to limit the amount of rest between each set)
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 5 sets of 10 swings
  • 2 Turkish getups each side

Repeat X 3

If you are interested in learning more about kettlebells contact Personal Fitness Trainer Thomas Eagen to schedule a 40 minute swing lesson.

Once you are comfortable with the movement feel free to try Kettlebell Blast Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 6:30am to 7:10am! We will work to perfect your kettlebell skills while training your cardiovascular system and having fun all at the same time! Classes are $14.50 per class. Try 1 week for free!

Does fancy make a difference?

Do you ever watch ESPN, see the NFL players training, and think, “Man, my gym really needs a tractor tire and a sledge hammer!” Or do you catch your eyes on the super fit member doing kettlebell swings and think that you really need to buy one of those for home! Or maybe you watch a YouTube video of some amazing new training on nothing but a log and a huge rope and think that you have really been missing out on the magical answer to achieving your goals! Well stop wondering and start reading…

The fitness industry is a million dollar industry, why, because everyone is always looking for the next big thing, the next revolution in health and fitness. If you stay up late enough you’ll probably run across half a dozen infomercials nearly all dedicated to some new piece of equipment that is sure to give you a six pack, a perfect butt, decrease body fat, allow you to enjoy endless hours of amazingly effective cardio. Everything from the Shake Weight, to the Pilates chair, to gizmos and gadgets that help you jump higher, run faster, and lift more. Does it work? Chances are no, chances are its all flash and no results. Some things may work if you stick with them but the “getcha” of equipment for the home is that it’s accessible all the time so you put off using it. Plus there is no one there to push you to do it, to support you, to help you, or to cheer you on. So most of the time you use your equipment at home for a week and then it becomes a clothes hanger (like that treadmill collecting dust in your basement). But in addition to the lack of use, the equipment is mostly smoke. You can lose 10lbs without a Bo-Flex if you got your diet in order and stopped coming to the gym just to use the steam room.

But what about fancy stuff at the gym, it must be worth it right?
Most non traditional equipment at the gym is great if you know how to use it. Here at the SAC we have a Versa Climber (it’s down in cardio next to the Stepmills), and what an awesome machine, if you know how to use it right. Do you need to have a Versa Climber to achieve your goals? Absolutely not. Do you have to know how to use the TRX to improve your flexibility and strength, no. When you see your co-workers working out with a trainer and tossing a sandbag around do you feel like maybe that’s why she looks like a swimsuit model and you don’t? Well the equipment is not the answer. Yes, the equipment we offer here at the SAC is amazing and helpful to training but it WILL NOT MAKE OR BREAK YOUR TRAINING. Just because you don’t know how to use the Quadmill does not mean you cannot strengthen your quads a number of other ways and some of them remarkably similar to the work you get on the Quadmill. Just because you don’t know how to swing a kettlebell doesn’t mean you can’t grab a dumbbell and accomplish a similar exercise with the same principles. While it’s nice and fun to change up your routine and learn something new and cutting edge it’s not magically going to change your workout world. The most important part of changing your workouts is learning proper movement. Understand why you are doing exercises and how they apply them to reaching your goals. If you understand the basics of movement then you can literally workout efficiently anywhere. If you only know how to use a TRX for exercise the next time you find yourself on a 2 week vacation you might not have a clue of how to get in a workout, let alone a good effective one. So equipment is great, but knowledge and understanding how to move your body is the ultimate key.

When you start and master the basics the possibilities are endless. You can learn how to use the fancy stuff but don’t think that learning how to use a strength rope is going to change your body into a professional athlete. When it comes down to it, it’s not about the equipment, it’s about how you move your body without weight, straps, bands, bags, bells, bars, etc. that will make or break your fitness advances. So bottom line, don’t get consumed by the fancy, the new, or the different…rather, be consumed by quality of movement and building a base of knowledge. Then if you feel like swinging a sledgehammer onto a huge tire go for it; but just remember why you are doing it and how it applies to you and your goals!

If you are looking for further ideas on how you can integrate some of these great pieces of exercise equipment in to your workouts, please contact Personal Fitness Trainer, Adriana Brown.

5 Benefits of a Kettlebell Workout

  1. The solution for busy people
    Busy people want the biggest bang for the buck. Kettlebells can be the solution to trying to squeeze cardio, strength AND flexibility training in an already overbooked schedule.
  2. Greater fat loss
    Fat gets the ol’ one-two-three punch. First, there is the extremely high metabolic cost of throwing the weight around. Second, it’s a strength training workout creating dense muscle mass, which burns calories from fat stores all day long while increasing your resting metabolism. There is no better way to burn fat. This is why sprinters have ripped muscles and marathon runners have a skinny look.
  3. It’s enjoyable
    Let’s face it, most exercise is boring. Kettlebell training is quick and enjoyable, which is one of the reasons you’ll stick with it.
  4. Helps low back pain
    The glutes and all the hip muscles are strongly emphasized by KB training. Not only do they get much stronger, they wake up and start participating in your movement. Mechanically, if you’re not firing your glutes when you lift or extend your hip, you are compensating by overusing your lower back muscles. The low back muscles were NOT intended to do the job of your glutes. Your body learns a more correct, much more powerful movement pattern that helps everything you do — and your low back stops complaining.
  5. Develop core strength
    Kettlebells require you to engage the core in almost every lift. Kettlebell’s have a reputation for strengthening backs and abs like nothing else before.

Low Down on the Kettlebell

By now you’ve seen them in the gym, at the park, even sold at Target, what is the deal with Kettlebells? If you haven’t had the pleasure of using them yourself, boy are you missing out! The kettlebell is an amazing tool for increasing power, speed, strength, endurance, and flexibility. It’s like magic! It’s basic enough that nearly anyone can use them, they are small and ideal for small workout spaces (home, outside, your office!), and you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. Needless to say it’s one of the best pieces of equipment to hit mainstream America since the Exercise Ball! But where did it all start?

The kettlebell originated in Russia in the early 1900’s. The bell was first widely used by the Russian police and military. In 1948 Russian held its first kettlebell competition and then later became Russia’s National sport! The traditional Russian kettlebell weighs 1 Pood which is about 35lbs. The sport world saw Russians getting stronger and more explosive and that is when the kettlebell became more widely used in the world. Today they are used by our own military, firefighters, Olympic athletes, all the way to your average gym go-er!

There are many great kettlebell exercises, as many as there are dumbbell exercises! But a few main movements will increase your fitness levels by leaps and bounds.

The best basic exercises to know are;

  1. The basic swing- shoulder height
  2. The basic swing- overhead
  3. Front squats
  4. Cleans
  5. Shoulder presses
  6. Snatches
  7. Lunge chops

There are many many more valuable exercises with the kettlebell but if you perfect these 7 basic moves you will find you will become stronger, leaner, and more powerful faster than you ever imagined!

If you have any questions or would like to learn how to train with the bell please contact Adriana Brown at abrown@sacdt.com or by phone 206-443-1111 Ext. 273.

How to Supercharge a 20 Minute Workout

So, you have 20 minutes and you can’t decide if it’s worth working out. You ask, “Is 20 minutes really enough time to do anything? Is it worth me getting changed and finding my workout socks at the bottom of my bag for?” Let me tell you, it is!

Here are a few ways to make 20 minutes seem like an eternity!

  1. High cardio interval training. Sprint one lap on the track and walk a straight away. Repeat until 20 minutes is up or you die.
  2. Stairs, run them, jump them; carry a med ball over your head, etc. etc. Nothing like moving your body up through space with the biggest muscles in your body to not only burn massive amounts of calories but also increase your strength.
  3. Strength work. Pick a big full range of motion lift, preferable a lower body exercise. Do a quick 5 minute warm-up and then add weight until you get to your heavy weight (as many sets of 3-5 as you can fit in 20 minutes). Front squat (works quads, glutes, hams, and core), back squat (same as front with more emphasis on hams and glutes), single leg front squats, push press, thrusters, or deadlifts. You’ll be amazed at how fast you start sweating when you start adding “real weight” to your major lifts. Not only will you increase strength (and thus increase metabolism), but if you give your self just enough rest to make the next set you’ll also be working on your cardio!
  4. Combine 4 basic movements and do as many as you can until your time is up. Air squats, push-ups, lunges, bench dips. All very basic, all body weight, all can be done ANYWHERE. Do as many air squats as you can, when you have to break or your form becomes less than 100% move to push-ups. Move through all exercises and start all over. To make it fun you can record how many reps you did of each exercise. You’ll be smoked and wishing that you only had 10 minutes to workout!
  5. Find a happy medium. Do 2 minutes of sprinting (all out effort) on any machine, after that move to 3 or more of your favorite exercises. Again, the more weight or the more body parts involved in the exercise the better but as long as you keep moving sky is the limit. Perform 10 perfect reps of each exercise (ab roll-ups, kettlebell swings, long jumps) and then hit up the cardio again. Repeat 3-4 times and enjoy the high caloric burn!

These are just a few ways to make 20 minutes worth the effort of lacing up your gym kicks! If you need more guidance or ideas try a session or two with a personal trainer and see what else the exercise world has to offer!

Lunch Box Express 45 Minute Workout

Last year Personal Fitness Trainer Adriana Brown talked about the benefits of High Intensity Training. Her latest “Get It Done” lunch time workout applies these principles in a quick 45 minutes.

If you are ready to take your lunch workout to the next level contact Adriana today!