I want to start by asking you two questions—
- Are you currently including productive strength training in your workout program?
- Do all of the exercises you complete serve a purpose and help you push closer to achieving your fitness goals?
No matter your answers, one thing is for sure – exercise selection is crucial, especially when time and/or specific goals are of importance—which for most of us, they are.
Productive strength training refers to choosing exercises that will enable you to progressively get stronger while permitting you to maintain joint stability in an appropriate or ideal range of motion. Depending on the exercise and/or trainer, you may even see an improvement in your capacity to be strong and stable in a greater range of motion.
Another key point of consideration with exercise selection is that certain exercises will enable you to focus more on the quality of your movement—and as a result, have a better carry-over to other movements and aspects of your sport’s performance. Especially if you’re an athlete.
Here are 4 exercises that I recommend that you add to your training program to facilitate your productive strength training endeavours.
4 Kettlebell Exercises That You Need To Do Now
1. The Turkish Get-Up
Although this exercise may look complex, once you learn the steps you’ll be surprised by how quickly your body can adapt to the movement. Not to mention, the ease in which you will be able to perform the unique flow of movements involved with this pattern.
The get-up offers mobility and joint stability, as well as reinforces basic energy transfer patterns that are required for every day function and athletic performance. Get-ups help reinforce many important linkages in the body, while steering the kettlebell through a variety of planes and angles. Making this exercise dynamic mobility and stability at it’s finest.
Here are some key benefits of the Turkish Get-Up:
- They increase core strength and stability
- Improve shoulder mobility and stability
- Work thoracic extension and rotation
- Improve hip and leg mobility and active flexibility
- Strength both rotary and linear stability
- Give you the ability to link movement created in your extremities to the rest of your body
- As well as improve your overhead strength and tolerance
Here is a video that demonstrates how to perform the Turkish Get-Up Properly
When perform this exercise…
You can use get-ups as part of your movement prep or activation routine, as well as load these up to be used as a strength-based exercise once you become proficient with technique.
Get-ups are an exercise that you may not appreciate at first, but the more you practice them the more you’ll learn to love them and see the benefits.
I’ve been including them in my own training regime for just over 5 years now, and love everything that they have to offer. That said, one of the biggest perks I get from the movement is the level of self-assessment they provide me with. If you do Turkish Get-Ups regularly you’ll quickly learn the days you need to spend a little more time on some mobility or activation work based on your performance.
2. The Goblet Squat
Mastering a proficient Goblet Squat makes everything better. I know that‘s a bold statement, but one that any StrongFirst Instructor, or strength coach for that matter, will stand behind. This is because they’ve witnessed the positive affect becoming proficient at a Goblet Squat can have on the body.
Executing a quality Goblet Squat requires you to have all of the following:
- Sufficient mobility in your thoracic spine, hips, and ankles
- Dynamic hip and pelvic stability
- Anterior core stability
- Motor program for a squat, which is a basic/essential human movement
Unlike Front Squats, Back Squats, or any other squat variation, the Goblet Squat enables the trainee to pattern their squat and/or figure out what their limiting factors are without excessively loading the movement. This ultimately cleans up your squat, and can help prevent you from damaging yourself during heavier lifts and other movements, as well as make you more proficient at them.
Here’s a video to show you how to properly perform a Goblet Squat
Need help cleaning up your squat? Read THIS.
When to do this exercise…
All the time.
Like I said, Goblet Squats will fix everything so include them in your warm up, during your conditioning work, or for some these may even be your primary squat strengthener of choice.
3. The Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell Swings (or the KB Swing) are a ballistic movement that offer the following benefits:
- They develop your posterior chain – specifically your calves, hamstrings, glutes, and lats
- Strengthen your core
- Build explosive power and help to increase your overall power output
- Support metabolic conditioning – which can be specifically geared to facilitate fat loss or programmed to target a specific energy system component for athletic development
Not only do you get all of the above listed benefits, but KB Swings will also help build up your strength for deadlift, as well as increase your grip strength and improve your pull up patterns.
KB Swings are all about producing explosive hip drive, which is why they generate huge athletic potential and, as a result, will help an athlete build power, speed, and explosiveness.
Here’s a video to show you how to perform a Kettlebell Swing correctly
When to do this exercise…
All the time, depending on what you want to achieve. KB Swings can be used for patterning, strength endurance, metabolic conditioning, and/or for building explosive power. The biggest difference is your weight choice and set/rep scheme.
4. Weighted Carries
If you’re not currently including a Farmer Carry variation into your training regime you’re definitely missing out. Chad, one of the coaches here at Balance In Motion first wrote about their awesomeness, and you can see him looking good while doing them below. 😉
Here’s a quick recap on why you should be performing Farmer Carries:
- They are a full body exercise that will not only enable you to build strength in your upper back, but also promote your shoulder, hip and core stability
- Unilateral variations help to build rotational and lateral core stability
- They are an excellent way to train and improve your grip strength
- And pretty much anyone can do them
When to do this exercise…
Carries can be included in rehabilitation programs, as well as during conditioning and/or strength circuits. The main thing you want to avoid is pairing these with is any other exercise that requires a lot of grip strength, (like deadlifts, pull ups, heavy rows, etc.) as they may contraindicate each other.
Normally I recommend for people to walk 40-60 feet and complete 2-5 sets.
Here are some variations to try:
1. The Traditional Farmer Carry
There you have it, 4 exercise that require very little equipment that will provide you with a ton of benefit.
If you’re interested in taking your kettlebell training to the next level, I encourage you to sign up to take part in my next 4-Day Kettlebell Workshop, which starts on April 20th. More information about that workshop can be found HERE.
Please reach out to me if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to improving your mobility, strength and stability.