Every so often, I get asked as to what the ‘best’ exercise is to do. In many of these hypothetical (or not) situations, time for exercising is in short supply. Other times, It’s just a matter of making some addition to a workout regimen already in place. This can mean that it’s possible for there to be more than one “King” depending upon your specific needs or desires. In general each royal movement will provide benefit for a majority of its subjects.
This month, the Ruler of All Gyms will be, the Goblet Squat, using a kettlebell.
Requirements: The bodyweight of one human person (self)
Squatting is one of the fundamental patterns of movement that we need all our lives. As such, it is important to maintain the ability to squat properly and safely as we develop and age. A primary benefit of good squat form is keeping the knees and hips healthy. Even compromised joints can derive positives from a good set of squats.
The Goblet squat is a great way to add resistance AND flexibility to the body weight squat pattern. By focusing on the specific body position throughout this variation one can improve several facets of their movement competency. Much of the following comes from my Dragon Door HKC manual.
Beginning - The kettlebell is held on the sides of the handle or horns at the chest with both hands.
Move A - You shall maintain a neutral head/neck/spine as you drop the hips towards the floor.
Move B - Noting that the heels and big toes are firmly rooted to the ground, a grunt is expelled forcing exhalation and activating the abdominal wall as explosive force is driven through the feet.
There are many benefits to be derived from this exercise. Hip mobility and a disassociation from the lower back is a good thing. Having hips which move through its designed range of motion limits the amount of wear and tear the lumbar spine has to endure This affects everything from sitting posture to a golf swing.
Carrying the kettlebell creates strength and stability in the shoulders and thoracic cage. This improves and focuses attention on posture for better performance in a variety of activities.
Quadriceps strength and power are improved from the explosive nature of the movement. This challenges the lower extremity to generate forces it may require in a host of activities from walking to running to biking.
Consider the Goblet Squat as the sole exercise of the day. The King has Spoken!!
For info on my 4-40 challenge go here
Valentines day will soon be here so I think it’s a good month to talk about heart health. Cardiovascular fitness is key to staying fit and healthy so getting some longer, harder sessions in is important. Increasing by small increments as the month goes along is a great way to push yourself without going to far. Adding just 5 minutes, an extra block, or a lap around the track can wind up being a pretty significant gain by the end of the month.
My workouts are going pretty well so far. The knee is doing well and I didn’t have any setbacks during January even though some of my workouts were pretty rigorous. For the most part however, I kept weight work at less than 25 minutes as I did not want to push too much.
For February I’m going to up the duration for weight work but not my loads. For now, it’s important for me to focus on form and function. Flexibility work continues to be of primary importance for my left side as it’s still not quite right. There are days when my whole leg from hip to ankle feel tight and stiff. All the more reason not to load up a crooked frame with a lot of weight.
Me and my iPhone:
Kettlebells will make a comeback this month for sure. Certification is still out there but I don’t know when I will be able to do it so I’ve got to be ready. It’s not super strenuous but we all start where we need to. Nothing fancy, just the basics:
2 day workout plan:
Single hand KB swings 10x3sets
Goblet Squats 10x3 sets
TGU 3 minutes
With the lame-o winter here road work may make an earlier than usual appearance.
3 days walk/jog for 20-25 minutes. If my knee doesn’t argue I will take my own advice from above!
iPhone - Nothing new. I need some new music so suggestions are welcome. I've been doing audible books for stuff like folding laundry but I may start listening to that during workouts. FYI currently enjoying the classic sci-fi "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov.
After spending a week in my perfectly air conditioned studio I really crave being out in the sun. It is common to walk into Infinity Fitness on a sunny 100 degree day and find me dressed as if it is the dead of winter. “Hillary are you seriously wearing a fleece!” is a popular summertime greeting.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can keep my studio at a nice 68 degrees all day long. Sometimes even cooler if a client has to return to work.Truth be told I hate air conditioning, it feels unnatural. So, after 5 days of cold air and fleece I am ready to be in the sun. This summer so far has consisted of many weekend hikes and bike rides.
This weekend I felt the need for a good weight workout. So, I grabbed a couple of our kettlebells and my Swiss ball and headed for my backyard. I was accompanied by my 7 year old, Jack, who added another level of intensity with constant questioning or the need to show me something really cool! “Mom! Oh man, look spider eggs are under this rock. So cool!”
As usual, I started with my corrective stretches. My right hip has given me some fits lately with what I think is a strained hip flexor muscle. So, warmed it up and stretched. Much better! On to the workout. I did 3 mini circuits of 8-12 reps of each. With a minute rest before going to the next circuit. I’ve listed them below but you could make your own. Go ahead, get outside and lift some heavy weights! (Not all exercises are pictured. Sorry!)
Kettlebell Goblet Squat
Kettlebell Overhead Press
Swiss ball Jackknife
Walking Lunges (Wow, my backyard is really long! Never realized it until I lunged it:)
Kettlebell Single Arm Bent Over Row
Swiss ball Back Extension with Arms Extended Overhead
Lateral Lunges Hold a Kettlebell at the Chest
Swiss ball Side Flexion (Use the side of the garage for support)
Kettlebell Double Arm Overhead Triceps Extension
I did feel I need a something a little extra so I think this week I am going to invest in a jump rope for home. Adding a minute of jump rope between the circuits would have taken this workout to the next level. However, I did get some lateral shuffles and sprints at the end with Jack. He had negotiated some frisbee playing after my workout and his aim is not that great.