Core 4 Functional Movements for Physical Health

When putting together an exercise plan there are thousands of exercises and pieces of equipment to choose from.  The variety tends to be overwhelming for most people especially those who do not have much exposure to functional exercise.

I am a big proponent of teaching people how to move well, move often, and keep it simple.  You do not need expensive pieces of equipment, vast knowledge of strength and conditioning, or 3 hours per day to get a solid workout in.  In fact, the likelihood is that the simpler the movements and routine are the better your results will be.  This is why, apart from using your own bodyweight, I am a big fan of kettlebells. 

The main reasons I love kettlebells is that they are simple, functional, portable, and can be used in many different ways.  In this post, I have featured the first half of my core 4 kettlebell movements for health that you can use to base your training from

  1. The Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is a great developer of hip speed, hamstring, back and glute strength.  This movement uses momentum and is commonly done improperly.

  • Set up the same way you would for a kettlebell deadlift, except place the bell slightly in front of your feet, so you can use some momentum when you pick up the bell.
  • Being sure to be braced tightly through the core, back, and legs, take the bell and drag it backward towards your body. This will create some momentum for you to use to do the swing.
  • Pull the bell between your upper thighs, so that the outside of your hands brush up against your thighs
  • Explosively stand by snapping the hips forward and squeeze your glutes. This will send the bell forwards, so you will need to guide the bell with your arms until you reach eye level. Be sure to keep very rigid in your lats and core throughout this motion to keep the bell controlled.
  • Once the bell reaches eye level you will pull the bell back between your upper thighs by sending your hips backward to load up the hamstrings.
  • As the bell comes back between your thighs be sure to keep a rigid spine, core, and back.
  • Once the kettlebell is re-loaded between your thighs, rinse and repeat.

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  1. The Kettlebell Snatch

This movement is the 2nd of the Core 4, because it tends to be the most difficult and takes more time to master.  Once you figure out the technique this is a great movement for shoulder, back, and hip health.

  • Set up the kettlebell just like you would for a kettlebell swing but this time you will grip the bell with only one hand.
  • Pull the bell back between the upper thighs to load up the hamstrings just like the two-hand swing.
  • This time when you snap the hips open as the kettlebell swings forward you will slightly restrict the forward trajectory by pulling the bell slightly towards you. This will begin to create some rotation in the kettlebell.
  • As the kettlebell is moving upwards overhead and rotating you will forcefully punch your hand upwards causing the kettlebell to rest against your forearm.
  • Be sure to maintain core bracing, keep your ribcage down, tight in your back and set your shoulder blade downwards so the arm is in line with the ear.
  • Return the bell by pulling it back through your upper thighs, rinse and repeat.

Be sure to stay light with these movements at first until you feel like you are doing them perfectly (especially the snatch).  I encourage you to employ a coach to give you some pointers as it is difficult to know if you are doing them correctly or not. 

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I’ll give you time to get a hang of these two movements so you’ll be ready for the rest of the Core 4 next week!

Have fun and get some!

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