Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Off Season Training: Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press for Shoulder Stability and Strength


by Lindsey Smith, Founder of Moxie Strength & Nutrition


A former libero at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, I am a wellness activist, personal trainer, group fitness enthusiast, clean eating advocate and fanatic of life. I created Moxie Strength & Nutrition as a platform to share my group fitness teaching schedule, but as my passion for health & fitness grew so did Moxie. I am on a mission to partner with small to medium sized corporations to bring uplifting wellness habits to work; creating rejuvenated employees, vibrant work cultures and healthy bottom lines.   



The purpose of this blog is to train outside the standard, straight path overhead press with the kettlebell to increase muscle recruitment, shoulder stability and athleticism. 

Shoulder strengthen exercises are crucial to any athletes training program. However, the conventional overhead pressing movements are not always safe for athletes; especially if the athletes back arches when their arms move overhead which signifies limited external rotation capabilities. 

Think of the shoulder as a spiral, diagonal rotational joint; in other words, it likes to move in rotation and not necessarily fixed into a straight path like a barbell is going to force it to do. This is why I like to introduce the kettlebell for overhead pressing. The kettlebell press, specifically the bottoms up kettlebell press, is unlike a normal barbell or dumbbell press because of the offset nature of the kettlebell. 
Here are two variations of the kettlebell shoulder press that are safe for all athletes – The Bottoms Up Kettlebell Press and The Standard (external rotation) Kettlebell Press.

 

Bottoms Up Kettlebell Shoulder Press:
1.    Assume athletic position, grasp kettlebell by the handle with the round part of the weight pointing upward, or in an inverted position (upside down). Holding the kettlebell in an upside down position forces stabilization of the core musculature to prevent the kettlebell from flopping or changing position.
2.    Hold the handle with a strong grip to prevent the kettlebell from falling to the side. Gripping recruits the rotator cuff and fires up all the shoulders small stabilizing muscles.
3.    Slowly and controlled, press the kettlebell up until your arm is fully extended.
4.    Slowly return to the starting position - that is one rep.

Athletes can perform the bottom up kettlebell press single or double arm, as well as, standing or taking a split stance on one knee. If you want to take this even further you can make it a functional exercise by adding a reverse lung to press.
Think of this as a two-for-one bonus exercise because the athlete is getting a great shoulder stability workout and the rotator cuff has to work overtime to counteract force of the kettlebell. 

Standard (External Rotation) Kettlebell Shoulder Press:
1.    Assume athletic position, grasp kettlebell by the handle with the round part of the weight resting on the forearm.
2.    Hold the handle with a strong grip to prevent the kettlebell from changing positions.
3.    Slowly and controlled, press the kettlebell up until your arm is fully extended, allowing external rotation (or for the palm to face away from the body).
4.    Slowly return to the starting position - that is one rep.

Similar to the bottoms up press, but here you are going to see more of that spiral, diagonal rotation towards the top of the movement. The additional weight of the bell helps produce an external rotation force, which has to be countered by internal rotation force – in other words, the subscapular firing up to keep the humeral head down in the socket where it belongs which is great for injury prevention. 

Perform exercise for desired number of reps and sets that align with goals; I recommend 10 reps per arm x 3 sets. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Seven Tips to get you to the Top of your Recruiting Game in 2015!



by Jon Newman-Gonchar, Assistant Coach at Iowa State University

Believe it or not, recruiting season is upon us. Like it or not, May is four months away...

The concrete floors you all live on are the same ones we will spend between 8-to-32 hours per weekend for the next 16 weekends traveling on, and they are highly anticipating your company. They're ready for you, and the question is are you ready for them?

Here are seven tips to get you ready for the grind! (Editor's note: No companies have paid to be in this blog.)

 1. Stay in the game longer with specially designed orthotics. For some, the grueling days on your feet go unnoticed, and for others, their lower backs start talking to them before mid-morning whistle blows.  Have a look at this alternative.


2. Give your back a break. We all know how long it can take to get used to being on our feet non-stop. This recruiting season take a new approach and mix in some of these great movements to give your back the support it needs!


 3. Roll it out. The long flights, the frustrating delays, and the crammed cab rides all leave us feeling less than perfect. Check this link out of for an awesome way to recover from the perils of travel this recruiting season.





 4. Turn down for what. Let’s face it. We all know how important sleep is, but how many of us are sleeping to allow ourselves the chance to awaken feeling rested and ready to jump out of our hotel beds and back to the concrete for a day in the convention center? Follow this three-step guide to maximizing your Z’s.

5. Prep your feet. It is often the first thing you feel after a long day, and the last thing you take care of. Mix it up and give your feet some attention with this great list of foot exercises to keep you from reaching for the Advil after a long day.

  
6. Be the star of the morning. As you and your colleagues arrive to the gym with coffee and iPad in hand, be the first to greet them with a combination of vitamins and breathe freshening goodness.

  
 7. Stay powered up. We all know the feeling of disaster we get when looking at our phones at the lunch break and realizing the red warning light is on at 14% battery life! Consider making a recruiting investment and picking up a handy portable power supply!


Hope this helps you get ready for opening weekend. See you on the road!