The Fatal Flaw In the Kettlebell Swing: The Kettlebell Coaching Series

You’ve probably seen headlines like this before…. kettlebell swings and saving your back OR the one thing you need to fix in your kettlebell swing OR the guide to the most effective kettlebell swing. Yet here you are… you still clicked… Why?

jillian2Teaching the kettlebell swing (a good, safe one) is as hard as teaching Olympic Style Lifts because so many things can go wrong. Plus… there is more bad info out there than good as evidenced by Fit EDU’s “go to resource for kettlebell swings” and celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels. If you haven’t picked up on the sarcasm please try your best to keep up.

Here are a few critical elements of the swing we will assume you know how to teach (if not you can find an link to article on that topic below):

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  1. How to hip hinge through the clients full range of motion
  2. How to brace at the top of the swing 
  3. How to ensure explosiveness (from the bottom to the top)
  4. How to breathe (biomecanical breathing match and diaphragmatic breathing)

 

 

*Note: any of the above can also be fatal flaws, but we are assuming you already know how to address all of the above because you’re an awesome movement coach** Oh by the way… we offer 2 levels of kettlebell seminars. Check them out

Ok… now that we have gotten this far its time to focus on the one thing that separates good kettlebell coaches from great ones. SEQUENCE in the downswing. You can see poor sequencing in the first portion of this video. Liz (sorry Liz!) hip hinges before closing the gap between her body and the kettlebell. In other words, she does a poor job of allowing the kettlebell to get close to her body before hinging.

Here’s another example illustrated by Coach Erik (while he is discussing explosiveness in this video it is still very applicable).

Let’s do a lame/generic review of physics and then apply to the swing.

Center of mass- The point, about which the distribution of these individual weights is symmetrical, is the center of gravity of the body. Thus, if a body has more mass distributed in its upper part, the center of gravity will be closer to the top of the body.

External load- A load (kettlebell in our case)

Ok… so time to apply these terms to kettlebell swings. In the kettlebell swing the further the external load (kettlebell) is from the body and more specifically center of mass to greater the stress on the body. Huh? The further the kettlebell is from our body the harder it is to control and the more likely we are to allow the spine to flex/extend which increases the likelihood of injury.

Now that you can identify bad sequencing in the downswing (if you’re still not sure watch the videos above one more time). We need to make one more point before we talk fixes…

SELF PRESERVATION

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Above all else we have a natural instinct to keep ourselves free of harm. Logical. However, this is to our detriment in the swing. We often hip hinge early because our instincts tell us to… so the kettlebell doesn’t hit us in the crotch (even though it won’t).  We have to fight an instinct that goes back tens of thousands of years so please be patient with your clients. This will take time. The bottom line is they need do the equivalent of “play chicken with your manhood” as Coach Erik so eloquently puts it. He’s a wordsmith. Not truly applicable when training women, but using this cue still works and usually gets a chuckle.

To the fixes:

Medicine Ball Drill

Long Lever Drills: Core Blaster / Rope

We have more… many, many more, but these are a good start. We really like starting with the medicine ball drill as there is immediate feedback. Bad sequence… you hit the med ball. It’s a bit jarring, but doesn’t hurt. It quickly gets the point across. If this doesn’t resolve the sequencing issue then we go the the rope or core blaster. For more info on sequencing and to make “Play chicken with your manhood” actually make sense check out this article.

If you interested in formal education in this area, but don’t want to go broke or feel like you are joining the military check out our Kettlebell Coaching Seminar. We are preapproved for 8 CEUs by all the major certifying bodies and most of the others will accept our curriculum with an appeal.

Have questions? Email us info@fit-edu.com

www.fit-edu.com

The Elsa Method: Let It Go

Sometimes as a coach, you need to be like Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen, and Let It Go! That’s right, just Let It Go.  All the technique flaws your coach’s eye is picking up, you do not need to address them at this time, you and your athlete might do better if you just, Let It Go!  (FYI: We are both Dads to girls under 4… Hence our in-depth knowledge of Frozen… We felt a need to make that clear… just saying) It is OK, and sometimes a must, to let your trainees practice complex fitness exercises with what would be considered poor technique.  Before the internet fitness police come and hunt me down, please let me elaborate.  

Think about youth sports in this country.  There are many kids who play organized sports from a young age.  However, even at their pinnacle as an athlete, very few of these kids will build sports skills that are refined enough to be considered exceptional.  At their age none of them do sports or athletic skills at a high level, and most of them are done poorly.  Go to the park and watch a group of 12-year-old kids play basketball.  While the majority can exhibit the necessary level of skills to play a game, there will be frequent inconsistencies and mistakes.

Image result for kids playing basketball

Check out a high school JV cross-country race and take a look at the running form or go to a high school track and field meet and watch the field events.  The running, jumping and throwing skill you see will be full of errors, due mostly to a small window of experience, but also poor strength and fitness.

But…

Do we make these kids stop playing or competing because they do not perform sports skills well or have the requisite fitness level?  Of course not!  What do coaches of youth and high school sports do if they recognize poor skills being performed?  For the most part, they Let It Go!  They have to let poorly performed jump shots and baseball swings go or they will never be able to play a game.  The entire skill must be performed, as full of holes as it might be, to get better at it. When it comes to youth sports, people generally understand that improvements take a long time to accrue and we faithfully give coaches a lot of leeway to make our young athletes better over time.  We need to understand this happens in the weight room too.file_002

“The Elsa Method” of purposefully letting things go isn’t only for your trainee’s sake, but also for yours.  Don’t put so much pressure on yourself as a coach to make someone perfect in short order. It once took me two years to get an Olympic weightlifter to consistently squat below parallel.  He had some flexibility and strength issues, that eventually resolved over time due to proper cueing, proper intensity, and continued practice.  Some of my other athletes have taken the same amount of time to keep their arms straight on cleans and snatches.  With proper drills, training loads, and well-timed and clearly understood cues, most of them eventually get it. As the coach, it is your job to understand what your trainee responds well to and which drills lead to the most technical improvement for that individual. It’s also your job to make sure ego (both yours and your client) does not overtake their physical capabilities and current skill level.  

Recently, when discussing the idea of letting things go, I received an anecdote from a coaching colleague of mine, that will help illustrate what can happen if you are overreaching a trainee’s skill level.  This coach was having his client deadlift.   The client was doing the deadlifts very well.  The back was neutral and they were successfully loading tension into the body/bar system.  The bar path was on point, the hip hinge was flawless and the sequencing of muscle action was spot on.  But the breafile_001thing…the breathing was not exactly perfect. She was not filling air into her belly optimally. So, instead of just being happy with all that was going right, he tried to coach her into make the breathing pattern more optimal.  This is where the ice castle crumbled to the ground.  The sequencing became choppy, the hinge got worse, the loading of tension into the bar disappeared, and the performance of an exercise that was nearly perfect, became terrible.  

Luckily this coach was seasoned enough to realize the error of his way, and Letfile_004 Go of his attempt change the breathing by telling his client to forget every cue he just gave her, and go back to what she was doing before.  It was outside of the client’s ability to perform the new breathing pattern AND deadlift correctly.  Now the coach knows where her limits are and that he has to introduce the breathing skill separately before adding it to the deadlifts.

Technique errors need to be fixed to the best of your ability, but it can’t be done all at once.  Poor movement skills in beginners is usually just a lack of experience, and it can take a lot of time for someone to learn and master new skills.  We’ve written on the blog before about how the body creates myelin and make physiological changes in the nervous system to literally build skills.  This process takes time, and it is worth it to take the time.  In the next two installments of this three-part coaching series, we will talk about how and when to use coaching cues.  In the meantime, if you come across a new trainee that struggling to pick up a new skill, focus on one piece at a time, and for everything else that is going wrong, be like Elsa, and just Let It Go!

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing (For Your Shoulders) Part 2

In our last post on the Armbar Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Physical Therapy took me (Coach Joe of Fit EDU) through the set up of the unloaded Armbar. Now it’s time to take the next step, but first a follow up to “my shoulder story”. I am still working my way back to 100%  and regularly perform the Armbar months after completing PT. Here’s why I mention my progress… I feel much more stable/packed in all loaded upperbody push/pull work because I am “in touch” with my shoulder stabilizers… particularly immediately after performing the Armbar in my prep work.  I am better able to get and keep the stabilizers active and know this will improve performance and prevent injury long term.

Now back to why you clicked…

Now that you have a basic understanding of what the Armbar is, when/why to implement this exercise, appropriate body position, and how to get into position it’s time to introduce load (from part 1 of this series). Please note it is critical to be conservative with the weight load and to follow each step in this process. Additionally, a kettlebell (not a dumbbell) is our preferred method of loading for a variety of reasons.

When making the transition from unloaded to loaded with the Armbar (assuming correct position) you will immediately feel the stabilizers (posterior cuff and serratus anterior just to name a few) turn on. When watching the video below you will notice quite a bit of shaking when Kathy loads me with just a 12kg kettlebell (55 seconds in). This isn’t a bad thing and is a great opportunity to help your students/patients/clients feel their shoulder stabilizers turn. This has become my “go to” exercise to teach shoulder packing even before loaded carries.

Here Kathy coaches and explains how to perform and coach the loaded Kettlebell Armbar with Shoulder Internal/External Rotation.

Important coaching points to remember:

  1. Ensure proper alignment of the spine, scapula, and arm before introducing load… position is everything
  2. Watch and palpate the scapula, pecs, traps, and lats to minimize compensation
  3. Develop cues that work for you as it relates to describing ideal shoulder blade position (I like “slide your shoulder blade into your back pocket”) and muscle activation
  4. Master the static loaded hold in this position before introducing internal/external rotation

Here’s a recap of the step by step process of the Loaded Kettlebell Armbar:

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  1. Assume a supine position (pic 1)
  2. Grasp a kettlebell with the hand on the “working side” and bend the “working side’s” knee
  3. Placed the other hand behind the head and keep the other leg straight (pic 2)
  4. DSC_0008DSC_0009 Establishing posterior cuff activation {be sure the ribs are down (not splayed) and the spine is neutral} and then press the kettlebell up to the position in pic 2-notice how I closed the gap between the scapula and the ground in the above pics
  5. Ensure proper alignment of the arm and shoulder blade on the working side and centrate the joint (pic 2)
  6. From this position roll the body as one unit onto the “non-working” side while maintaining shoulder joint centration and scapular position (pic 3)
  7. Connect the working side’s knee to the ground (pic 3)
  8. Now that you’re finally in position ensure proper alignment of the spine  and working arm (fist is directly above the shoulder joint) (pic 3)
  9. Activate the posterior cuff and Serratus Anterior in order maintain a depressed and retracted scapula
  10. Slowly perform internal/external rotation of the shoulder joint with an increased emphasis on maximal external rotation (pics 4 and 5)

If it’s already obvious to you, this is an exercise you must practice on your own before implementing into your performance or rehab programs. If you are working alone we recommend videoing from a posterior view and reviewing positioning. However, your best bet is to perform with a colleague present so you can practice performance and coaching. Once again thank you Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Specialized Physical Therapy for great information.

Want to learn more about this or other fitness related topics? Then visit us at www.fit-edu.com for tips on kettlebell and barbell exercises, breathing and postural control, and metabolic conditioning just to name a few topics. We also just so happen to offer 5 (soon to be 6)  live, full-day seminars on a variety of fitness topics.

The Best Exercise You’re Not Doing For Your Shoulders Pt 1

The longer you work in the field of exercise science (really most fields for that matter) the more you realize how much you DON”T know. I am certainly no exception to this rule. Many years ago and after 3 Labral repairs and many rounds of physical therapy from football and basketball injuries I was convinced I had the shoulder all figured out. I knew the anatomy and physiology, understood the movements at the Glenohumeral Joint and Scapula, common injuries, best practices for “rehabbing”, and thought I understood the interplay between the movement at the scapula and the Glenohumeral Joint. Well… as it turns out I was wrong. After all the surgeries and physical therapy I still had atrocious motor control and poor posture which led to re-injury.

Now let’s skip ahead… I was back in physical therapy… this time at Action Potential UnknownSpecialized Physical Therapy in Glen Mills, PA. In one of my first appointments the therapists reintroduced me to the Arm Bar. I knew of this exercise, but rarely performed it, never prescribed it to clients, and never considered it’s potential benefits when “rehabbing the shoulder” . As it turns out, this exercise was absolutely critical to my lateral viewrecovery.  Specifically, performing The Arm Bar under the watch of Kathy and the team of Physical Therapists at Action Potential helped improved my motor control by  teaching me to quiet my Pecs,  Upper Traps and Lats while activating my  Serratus Anterior and “Posterior Cuff”. I tended to default to Lat activation in lieu of Serratus activation which led to a host of motor control problems.

Given my success with the Arm Bar, I thought writing a piece on it made sense. Particularly because most people are scared of this exercise since it looks high risk when holding a kettlebell and many of those who do perform it don’t adhere to some of the most important principles.  Let’s get starting on the Kettlebell Arm Bar…

What exactly is the Arm Bar?

If you don’t normally watch the videos in our blog reconsider on this topic as this is much easier understand by watching. Here Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Physical Therapy explains what the Arm Bar is.

kettlebell-arm-barThe demands the Arm Bar place on the body are unique. The Arm Bar is a mix of rotary stability and active hip extension to get into the position and becomes a combination of rotary stability and thoracic spine rotation while maintaining a packed and centrated shoulder joint. Got all that? Now on top of all those things we need to ensure the correct musculature is active and prime movers don’t jump in to act as stabilizers. When I first began performing this exercise in PT I recruited Lat or a mix of Pec and Anterior Delt which is way wrong.

How to set up the Arm Bar…

As we said earlier, watching while Kathy talks makes learning the set up and mechanics much easier.

The basic steps in setting up/getting into position for the Arm Bar are:

  1. Establishing a supine position with a bent knee on the kettlebell side and the opposite side’s arm placed behind the head
  2. Press the active side up while establishing Serratus Anterior, Lower Trap, and Rhomboid activation
  3. Be sure the ribs are down (not splayed) and the spine is neutral
  4. Ensure proper alignment of the arm on the working side relative to the shoulder and joint centration
  5. From this position roll the body as one unit onto the “non-working” side while maintaining shoulder joint contraption and the same scapular positionkettlebell-arm-bar
  6. Now assume the position in the picture to the right (notice the knee is connected to
    the ground)
  7. Now that you’re finally in position once again ensure proper alignment of the spine, shoulder blade, and working arm.
  8. Finally, activate the posterior cuff and Serratus Anterior (told you this is easier to watch!)

When is it appropriate to prescribe the Arm Bar and what are the benefits?

While the Arm Bar appears to be high risk, it is safe when executed properly and can produce significant benefits including improved shoulder packing, motor control, and when loaded strength.  I now use the Arm Bar to help students and clients understand how to pack/centrate the shoulder and as a prerequisite to the Turkish Get-Up. I even like to use this before getting into heavy carries because it’s great at putting clients/students in touch with their shoulder/scapular stabilizers.

We will leave it there for now, but we’ll be back soon with a second installment on the Arm Bar. After all, we need to add in internal/external rotation while maintaining a stable scapula! Before we let you go we should probably clear up this whole joint centration thing since it is a term regularly used by physical therapists, but not so much in fitness. Joint centration is a fancy was of saying centering the ball in the socket. Yup… it’s pretty much the same as “packing” your shoulder, but this term can be applied to any ball and socket joint (shoulder/hip).

A very big thanks to Kathy Dixon of Action Potential Specialized Physical Therapy for such great information on this topic. If you are local to the Glen Mills, PA Area and you or a client need physical therapy I highly recommend using Action Potential! They are one of the very, very few one to one Physical Therapy Clinics in our area.

Want to learn more about this or other fitness related topics? Then visit us at www.fit-edu.com for greats tips on kettlebell and barbell exercises, breathing and postural control, and metabolic conditioning just to name a few topics.

 

Zumba For Powerlifters, Swings For Athletes

The kettlebell swing and sports performance. These two topics are rarely talked about in the same breath by most in the fitness industry, but should they be?

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Is this like suggesting powerlifter should do Zumba to improve performance? To some the answer is probably a resounding yes. With that said, is there a place for the kettlebell swing in a sports performance setting or is it just for general fitness clients?  

We would argue the kettlebell swing is a fundamental building block for both populations. We would further argue the kettlebell swing should be in sports performance training and if it’s not, a disservice is being done to the client. Read on… we’ll explain why.

Before moving forward, we need to start out with a few definitions from the world of exercise physiology… (Please bare with us for a few paragraphs)

Potential Energy– the energy of a body or system as a result of its position in an electric, magnetic, or gravitational field

Kinetic Energy– energy the body possesses by the virtue of being in motion

SSC- is an active stretch (eccentric contraction) of a muscle followed by an immediate shortening (concentric contraction) of that same muscle.

As stated above, the SSC is activated and utilized when there is an eccentric contraction (lengthening of muscle fibers) promptly followed by a concentric contraction of the same muscle fibers. When the SSC is excited, a concentric contraction has the potential to be more powerful and produce greater force when compared to a concentric contraction not preceded by an eccentric contraction. This is because during a rapid eccentric contraction, potential energy is created and the SSC is excited. If a concentric is then performed immediately following the eccentric contraction, potential energy is converted to kinetic energy, resulting in increased force production. An example would be a traditional vertical jump where the student performs a countermovement (eccentric contraction of the prime movers) and then rapidly transitions to a concentric contraction resulting in a jump.  Slide1

Now to the SSC and kettlebell swings…

The kettlebell swing is a ballistic movement in which a kettlebell is actively pulled back and behind the student as a result of a hip hinge (rapid/forceful hip flexion) and then immediately followed by rapid/forceful hip extension. Please note this should all be done while maintaining a neutral head and spine (see the video below for more). In the kettlebell swing the “down portion” is a rapid and forceful eccentric contraction and there is then a quick transition to the “up portion” which is a concentric contraction. Sounds a lot like plyometrics, huh…???  

 

From the perspective of the exercise physiologist, an ideal kettlebell swing sequence under significant load maximizes the potential energy produced via the eccentric contraction which is then converted to kinetic energy for an explosive hip drive.   This occurs because when the bell “pulls/assists” the student into the bottom position of the swing the posterior chain is loaded with significant force (rapid and forceful eccentric contraction in the prime movers) which produces a greater amount of potential energy. This is the plyometric equivalent of a depth jump. Assuming good mechanics, this potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and results in a more forceful concentric contraction.

The end result of regularly performing kettlebell swings include, improved power in the hip extensors, improved control and coordination of key “core” musculature, an “overspeed” eccentric training effect on the posterior chain, and improved efficiency in the utilization of the SSC (of the involved musculature).   

Improved power/explosiveness without the impact of plyometics

For Strength and Conditioning coaches, the KB swing can be an extremely useful tool when training large groups of athletes, especially those at the high school level.  It is generally easier to teach than other exercises that require rapid extension of the hips, e.g. clean and snatch.  The kettlebell takes up much less room than bars and plates and it is easy to cycle athletes through multiple sets of swings using a, you go, I go pattern and a clock.

I’ve done this with many sports teams that want to train in-season and it works very well.  Kettlebell swings are a great way to go to for in-season athletes, most notably for sports that inherently require a lot of running and jumping to play the game, because it is impact free.  The last thing a track and field athlete needs is more jumping and impact in the training room after a practice of jumping and impact!  They need to get generally stronger in the positions that will benefit them the most.  It just so happens that explosive hip hinging benefits pretty much everyone.  

Sticking with track and field, it is really easy to take a whole team, which includes distance runners, sprinters, throwers and jumpers and put them through a kettlebell workout as a group.  The first thing I have them do is find a kettlebell that fits their strength and a partner of equal strength.  Distance runners and younger guys would grab the lighter kettlebells, sprinters and jumpers the medium kettlebells and throwers would grab the heaviest bells.  Next you would line them up so no one is swinging at each other and tell partner one to grab the kettlebell and get ready.  Setting the clock for 10 minutes, you tell partner one they will do swings for 20 seconds, they will have 10 seconds to switch, and then partner two swings for 20 seconds, then switch again.  In the end, everyone gets 10 sets of 20 seconds.  Lots of volume and lots of practice for the whole group in 10 minutes.  

This method also gives the Strength and Conditioning coach a chance to clean up technique and generally give the group feedback.  For example, if after two minutes of swings you notice a large majority of the group is doing a poor job of keeping the kettlebell above their knees as it passes through their legs, you can stop the clock and teach.  A great way to give feedback and praise to someone who is doing it well, is to ask the student who is keeping the kettlebell in the right path to come in front and demonstrate for the entire group.  As they swing, the coach can point out what they are doing well, give some coaching cues, and ask the partners to watch for this and to coach each other when the clock starts up again.  

In this short span you’ve identified general movement flaws, provided an example of proper technique for the visual learners (while using a student model), gave verbal cues for the auditory learners, and taught the team what to look for so they can coach each other up instead of just you coaching everyone!  To read more about different kinds of learns read one of our old posts here.

If during the course of a season you spend one training day a week swinging kettlebells and using a coaching model where everyone is involved, you can improve strength, fitness, sport specific movement patterns, and team building.  As you can see, the benefits of using the swing for large groups in the Strength and Conditioning setting is valuable, and not just for improving physical qualities.  
In closing, the kettlebell swing is an excellent accessory exercising reaping a wide range of benefits for athletes when appropriately performed. Of all the low-impact options available to improve hip extensor strength and power the kettlebell swing should be at the top of everyone’s list. To be clear, the kettlebell swing should NOT replace plyometrics in a strength and conditioning setting, but instead be treated as an alternative option when in-season and as a way to decrease foot contacts/high impact exercise year-round without losing hip extensor power.

For more information about swings or other kettlebell exercises either visit the others posts on our blog OR consider attending one our of Certified Kettlebell Coach Seminars.

The most fundamental functional exercise

You know breathing is important when it comes to movement and training. We have all been taught exhale on the exertion and inhale on the return (this is a general statement… there are nuances). Ok great… easy enough, but is there more to it? If so, is this out of our scope as fitness professionals? 
To answer the above questions:
YES there is much, much more we should / need to do with our clients and NO it isn’t beyond our scope with a little education and practical experience on the most current science related to breathing assessment and corrective strategies. 

Human-LungBreathing is our first motor program. It’s also the most essential and foundational motor program we have. Unfortunately, we begin to lose optimal function of this pattern early in life. We’ll get into why later. When our breathing is compromised, so is our posture. When this occurs, our deep core muscles (specifically the diaphragm) don’t function properly and our breathing gets even worse.  This can have detrimental implications on movement quality because the diaphragm is the center point of our body. If the diaphragm is faulty, there is a lack of stability that no amount of abdominal or gluteal bracing can compensate for.  

Have you ever tried to improve a movement pattern OR increase ROM in a joint OR improve flexibility OR try to move up in weight in a “big lift” where all the “normal” strategies fail?  Believe it or not, if you’re not assessing and correcting breathing you might find that you get stuck more often than you’d like to admit. 
 Correcting breathing will:
DSC_01121. Improve deep core muscle function
2. Improve length in muscles being forced to assist in breathing because the deep core muscles are under-active
3. Allow joints to return to their optimal position (if they’re being pulled in bad position by overactive “compensatory muscles”)
4.     Improve bracing
5.     Decrease stress and anxiety
6.     Improve endurance
7.     Decrease neck tension
8.     Improve posture 


Whether you are a “function first” fitness professional, strength and conditioning coach, or specialize in fat loss you NEED to better educate yourself in this area and here’s why:
Function First Fitness Professionals:
6752PS2If your client is being pulled into flexion as a result of bad posture there are often significant posterior chain limitations. For my “FMS People”, I’m talking about a poor score on the Active Straight Leg Raise and/or Shoulder Mobility. Additionally, if you’re goal is to train the “core”, but you ignore deep core muscles you’re not training the core in an ideal manner. 
The bottom line is if you can’t breath correctly you aren’t really training the core. At least not the deep core.
Strength and Conditioning Coaches:

DL Rounded spineThis is an easy one. If you want your athletes to lift significant weight you need them to learn how to brace and maintain that brace while moving and applying significant force.  You also need to teach them power breathing. If your athletes lack the ability to perform basic diaphragmatic breathing they can’t correctly perform power breathing. Therefore, you will see bad posture in the head, shoulders, C-Spine, T-or Spine. I think we all know deadlifting heavy weight with bad posture can result in bad things…

 

Here’s how screening for and correcting dysfunctional breathing patterns will help in strength and power training:
Battling Ropes Metabolic ConditioningProfessionals Specializing In Weight Loss:
Your success (in the weight room) is all about getting the metabolism up and keeping it there for hours and days after the session. The better your client breathes, the more work they can perform in a session. If you’re programming the right way this will help your client in the quest for weight loss. 
So… Why do we lose our breathing patterns?

1.     Sitting too much (especially in bad posture)

2.     Too much screen time

3.     Poor posture / postural awareness

4.     Movement dysfunction (increased compensatory strategies)

5.     Early specialization in sports

6.     Improper training methods (Training muscles not movements)

Notice the trend above? The bottom line is spending too much time in flexion (sitting in some form) and poor movement are the primary culprits.
Where and how do breathing assessment and corrective strategies fit into your programming?
There are simple assessment and corrective techniques that can be included in your initial fitness screening and in their training programs. Just like any other exercise, it can be progressed and regressed accordingly. Most importantly, you are teaching them strategies they can integrate into their daily life to not only improve their fitness, but their overall well-being.


If you would like to learn specific strategies to screen for and correct dysfunction breathing patterns attend Breathing and Postural Control by Dr. Missimer on 4/2/16 in Malvern PA! www.fit-edu.com

The FMS and Screening for Dysfunctional Breathing Patterns

If you’re an FMS Practitioner and value the system (as you should) it’s used every day. Having a tool in your belt that exposes movement quality issues in the most fundamental of patterns is so important when it comes time to program corrective and traditional exercises. Knowing what movements are safe and which should be avoided (until the client is ready) was really a game changer for me in my career and maybe yours…?

Unknown-1Now that I’m done putting the FMS on a pedestal let’s talk about what it’s not… IT’S NOT THE WHOLE ANSWER.  Most of “us” also use additional break out test to determine if the issue in a pattern is motor control or a “hardware issue”. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, even when we add breakout testing (measuring dorsiflexion, glute max activation, hip hinge mechanics, etc.) to the process we don’t always come up with a corrective solution that works. 
 

What’s missing? 

BREATHING! 

We NEED to screen for dysfunctional breathing patterns so we have all the information we need to improve movement.
maxresdefaultWhen a client has dysfunctional breathing patterns all the leg raises, rolling drills, and foam rolling in the world won’t fix movement dysfunction. That is… until the breathing pattern is reset. 
DSC_0112Dysfunctional breathing patterns have the potential to wreak havoc on our bodies. Inhibition of respiratory stabilizers such as the diaphragm, TVA, multifidus, and obliques (just to name a few) force the respiratory system to default to the recruitment of muscles not designed to be involved in respiration. While the recruitment of these muscles is inefficient, the body will recruit whatever it needs to keep you alive and breathing. 
 

So what…???

Well… most often, dysfunctional breathing patterns will drive compensation upward and downward into the surrounding musculature of the shoulders and hips. To be more specific, pain and/or stiffness often presents in the Neck/Shoulder Musculature (Pec Minor, Scalenes, SCM)SI Joint/Lumbar Spine, and Anterior Hip Musculature. If significant enough compensations will likely result in mobility, stability, postural, and motor control issues.
Human-Lung
It’s finally time to bring this all together… If we don’t screen for dysfunctional breathing patterns we end up trying to prescribe correctives to address The Active Straight Leg Raise and Shoulder Mobility Screens. The likelihood of correcting movement dysfunction without addressing breathing is VERY UNLIKELY. Therefore, using a systematic method to screen for and correct dysfunctional breathing patterns is critical if we want to get our clients/patients the results they want. 
Now… to develop a systematic way of screening for and correcting dysfunctional breathing patterns. There’s lots of great breathing research out there now, but few systems that can easily be learned and implemented into your practice with ease. 
 

Until now…

Fit EDU and Dr. Arianne Missimer have collaborated to bring you Breathing and Postural Control. 
This course is designed to help you: 
1. Recognize the importance of breathing and postural control for optimal performance in life and sport
2. Develop a better understanding of functional anatomy including the fascial system
 
3. Identify screening methods for postural control and breathing dysfunction
 
4. Learn strategies to correct these deficits
 
5. Integrate screening and corrective strategies into your current fitness and/or corrective program
Seminar Details
SIGN UP & SAVE $100


Save $100 on Breathing and Postural Control when registering by 3/18/16
Use coupon code BREATHE at checkout. 
Limited to the first 5 registrations.

Offer Expires 3/18/16.