Happy Thursday to you,
What a superb February!
The 30 day squat challenge is coming to a close and I’ve heard some great feedback on how technique has improved, back problems have been alleviated and new exercises have been explored.
Many people contacted me in the first week of the challenge asking for more, “Surely just 1 set of an exercise per day is not enough” they would say.
My usual response is “Please just finish the 30 days, build the habit and then we can progress from there.”
The sad fact is that most people do not finish the 30 days. They want to do lots and lots in the first week but then give up.
“We often overestimate what we can do in a week and underestimate want we can achieve in a month”
Taking your time and allowing your muscles and connective tissue to adapt and strengthen over a slightly longer period is always the most effective way to condition your body.
Talking of progression and adaptation, I’ve simplified my kettlebell programs by dividing them into 3 levels, so beginners, and those more advanced, know exactly what program is right for them.
Check out my new level 1 – 3 programs by clicking here
The 3 Planes of Movement
Do you want to use more muscles, burn more calories and prevent future injuries?
If so then exercising using the 3 planes of movement is for you.
You can divide human movement into 3 basic categories:
- Sagittal (forwards and backwards)
- Frontal (side to side)
- Transverse (rotational)
You can see all 3 of these movements in action if you watch sports or even observe somebody negotiating their way down a busy street.
Now consider how most people exercise in a gym environment:
- Treadmill (sagittal)
- Stepper (sagittal)
- Spin Bike (sagittal)
- Elliptical (sagittal)
- Leg Press or Curl (sagittal)
- Bicep Curls or Tricep Pushdowns (sagittal)
- Crunches or ab roller (sagittal)
I’m sure you can see a pattern here. Although no movement is strictly one dimensional you can see the dominating pattern.
We live and move in a 3-dimensional world but limit our exercise programs to just one movement plane.
Guess what happens when you need to unexpected sidestep or rotate?
Yes, injuries can happen quickly because your body is just not strengthened in those directions.
Watch children play and you can see how they move in all 3 planes of movement, but as we age most of us neglect our movement.
Kettlebell training, if performed correctly, can help reintroduce these 3 planes of movement back into your life 🙂
The Turkish get up, for example, uses all 3 planes of movement in one exercise: forwards and backwards, side to side and rotational.
The one handed swing combines a sagittal plane movement with a rotational movement.
And, the more advanced side lunge and clean, combine all 3 movements too.
When you think about your workouts, how can you blend all 3 planes of movement so as to use more muscles, burn more calories and reduce potential injuries.
Here’s an intermediate workout from my 50 kettlebell circuits
- Windmill (rotational) – 30 seconds each side
- Side Lunge (frontal) – 30 seconds each side
- Clean (sagittal & rotational) – 30 seconds each side
- Racked Squat & Press (sagittal & frontal) – 30 seconds each side
I’ve included this 4-minute kettlebell circuit so you can see the variety of movement you can achieve by using the correct exercises. See how all 3 planes of movement are used maximising muscle activation.
Repeat the circuit for a total of 3 sets, taking 30 – 60 seconds of rest after each circuit.
Are you eating a rainbow?
Next time you stand at the supermarket checkout or open up your refrigerator take a look at the colours of your foods.
The more colours of foods you can eat the better because colour variety means a healthier combination of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals.
You can generally divide fruit and vegetables into 5 categories:
- Purple / Blue
- Brown / White
I’m not going to list out the benefits of each just take it from me that the more variety you can eat the better.
I challenge you to eat a rainbow every day and I’m sure you will notice the benefits.
Want to upgrade your nutrition? Discover what to do here
Competition vs Regular Kettlebells
I get asked questions about what type of kettlebells to purchase on a frequent basis.
One of the easiest ways to start is by understanding the difference between competition kettlebells and regular kettlebells.
- Competition kettlebells have a smaller, rectangular handle designed just for one hand. They are all the same size regardless of the weight.
- Regular kettlebells have a larger and rounder handle that can accommodate two hands. Each kettlebell changes size depending on the weight.
Which one should you choose?
All beginners should start with a regular kettlebell because you will be performing many two handed exercises that are more difficult with a competition kettlebell.
If you are more advanced and perform mostly single handed exercises or are training for kettlebell sport competitions then the competition kettlebell is the obvious choice.
However, not all kettlebells are created equally and poorly made kettlebells will damage your wrists and forearms and seriously reduce the pleasure of your training.
That’s all for today my friend,
P.S. Missed last weeks newsletter? Read it here