Archive for “kettlebell exercises” Tag

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Part 2

 Kettlebell Exercises for Athletes: Heavier Isn’t Always Better

By Pamela MacElree, MS

I hope you were able to test out the arm bar and the high windmill that I went over with you in the previous post on kettlebell shoulder stabilization exercises for athletes. If you were new to these exercises, did you notice the drastic difference in the amount of weight you initially thought you might be able to do the exercise with and the weight you could comfortably control? Don’t worry! After some serious practice, you should be able to start moving up in weights.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #3: The Turkish Get-Up

The next exercise in the series is the all-famous Turkish get-up, one of the most challenging full-body exercises. The Turkish get-up is one of the most challenging shoulder stabilization exercises for athletes as the body moves through multiple planes of motion, requiring coordination and strength between the core and lower body.

For this example, let’s assume you will be doing 1 repetition with the kettlebell in your right hand. To start the Turkish get-up, lay on your right side for the safety of your shoulder. Grip the kettlebell handle underhand with your right hand and overhand with your left, hug it close to your chest, and roll back to your back.

Kettlebell exercises for athletes: Starting Position of the Turkish Get-Up

Once you are laying flat on your back, press the kettlebell up from the floor on one side. It is OK to use both hands to press the kettlebell if needed. Flex your right leg as well. Throughout the remainder of the exercise, your right arm should remain vertical and perpendicular to the floor.

Shoulder Stabilization 2

Keeping the right shin vertical, drive through the right heel and sit up at an angle onto the elbow. Keep the kettlebell directly over the shoulder throughout the exercise.

Shoulder Stabilization 3

Progress to resting your weight on your left hand with a straight arm. Remember to keep the kettlebell directly over the right shoulder.

Shoulder Stabilization 4

Keeping your weight mainly on your right foot and your left hand, pick your hips up from the floor into a bridge.

Shoulder Stabilization 5

Retract the left leg underneath the body and bring the left knee to the ground, close to your left hand. Notice the hips will go from facing the ceiling to facing forward.

Shoulder Stabilization 6

At this point, the kettlebell should sit directly over the right shoulder, the left shoulder, and the left hand, while both shoulders are active. Bring the torso to an upright kneeling position.

Kettlebell exercises for athletes: TGU lunge

Position the body so that it is safe and comfortable to stand from the kneeling position. You can move the right foot and the angle of the left lower leg to be able to stand up with good mechanics.

Kettlebell exercises for athletes: Turkish Get-Up halfway mark

Once you reach the standing position, you have completed half of the exercise. Now, reverse each step. You can watch the video to see the reverse part of the Turkish get-up.

Just as with the arm bar and the high windmill, it is extremely important to keep the arm that is holding the kettlebell vertical and perpendicular to the floor as the body moves underneath it.

There are several ways to do the Turkish get-up, and while all are valid, each must be executed with proper form in order to be both safe and effective. The above explanation is just one variation.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #4: The Gladiator Press

Our last in the series of kettlebell shoulder stabilization exercises for athletes is the gladiator press. You’ll notice in the video and in the photos that the gladiator press starts out very similarly to both the arm bar and the Turkish get-up; in fact, the gladiator press can be done as part of a Turkish get-up.

In the gladiator press, you will perform all of the steps of the Turkish get up exactly as listed above until you get to the hip bridge position. Once you get to the hip bridge position, you will shift your bodyweight to be on the straight leg.

Kettlebell exercises for athletes: Crucial move of the Gladiator Press

Take your time here. Be sure the left hand is sitting directly under the left shoulder to support your torso and the weight of the kettlebell overhead. Gradually move the right (top) leg to rest directly on top of the left (bottom) leg.

Shoulder Stabilization 10

From here, if you can maintain the position, slowly lift the top leg into the air.

Kettlebell exercises for athletes: Gladiator Press extended

Once you have reached this position, you can return to the starting point by simply reversing the steps to get here. You can also return the top leg to the floor to create the hip bridge position and continue on with the Turkish get-up.

For all four of these exercises, it is recommended to start out with a slightly lighter weight or even bodyweight to get comfortable with the complexity of the movement as well as to determine if you have any imbalances in shoulder stabilization from one side to the other.

Keep the repetitions low on these kettlebell exercises for athletes and place them in the beginning of workouts when the mind and body are both fresh. As you progress to heavier weights, it is always safe to use a spotter.

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Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Part 1

Heavier Isn’t Always Better with Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes

By Pamela MacElree, MS

With certain exercises for athletes, heavier isn’t always better.

EEK! Did I really just write that for everyone to see? Coming from someone who constantly talks about picking up more weight, this might seem like a partial shock to you. The truth of it is that some kettlebell exercises are better served with lighter to moderate weight, especially while learning them.

There are 4 really awesome kettlebell exercises for athletes that will help increase shoulder stabilization. The unique thing about these kettlebell exercises is that we’re working on shoulder stabilization while the body is moving through multiple planes of motion. I’ll go over two now and two in another blog post.

Typically, we could put more weight overhead and stabilize it than we could actually press overhead. In the four kettlebell shoulder stabilization exercises I’m going to go over with you, you will likely find that you need to back off the weight and use something a little lighter than you might initially expect as I mentioned earlier. This is why we choose to do several shoulder stabilization exercises that are more complex than just overhead holds or walks.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #1: The Arm Bar

Let’s first take a look at the arm bar.

Always start the arm bar by rolling onto your side. Once on your side, grip the handle of the kettlebell with both hands and hold it close to your chest. Next, roll onto your back and press it overhead.

Beginning of arm bar: Shoulder stabilization exercises for athletes

Once you are lying on your back with the kettlebell pressed overhead, raise the opposite side arm overhead on the floor and flex the hip and knee that are on the same side of the body as the kettlebell.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 2

Keep the knee above the hip and begin to rotate to the side that is opposite of the kettlebell. Keep your focus on the kettlebell.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 3

Once you have rotated enough to touch your knee to the ground, begin to straighten that leg and aim to get the front of the hips close to the floor. When you are stable, you can direct your nose toward the floor.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: Arm Bar 4

You’ll notice in the arm bar that the shoulder must be very stable as the body moves around the tall pillar that is created by the arm. The kettlebell sits nicely in the hand as the weight sits closer to the shoulder than it would with a dumbbell.

Kettlebell Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes #2: The High Windmill

The next excellent shoulder stabilization exercise for athletes is the high windmill. Again, the shoulder is forced to stabilize as the body moves. This particular exercise is also great for strengthening the entire core.

Starting with the kettlebell in the overhead position from standing, shift about 70-80% of your bodyweight onto the same side leg that has the kettlebell overhead. Maintain a vertical line with the arm that holds the kettlebell and the same side leg.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: High Windmill 1

While maintaining the weight shift, fold at the hips (similar to the feel of a good morning) and guide your free hand along the inseam of your leg. You can keep a soft bend in the other leg or keep it straight depending on your flexibility.

Shoulder Stabilization Exercises for Athletes: High Windmill 2

In these 4 shoulder stabilization kettlebell exercises for athletes (remember, I’ll be sharing 2 more in a second post), the arm always maintains a vertical position to the floor above the shoulder, regardless of where the body is. It is important to keep the shoulder retracted and not elevated, or in layman’s terms, always keep the shoulder down and back. If at any point the arm starts to sway and you are unable to hold the weight of the kettlebell directly over the shoulder, you should decrease the weight you are working with.

Think about the shoulder being the base or foundation and the arm being the structure. The arm must stay vertical and perpendicular to the floor. There should be no bend in the elbow or the wrist as you progress through these kettlebell exercises. Think of it like a leaning building: at some point, the foundation will start to give and the structure will begin to fall.

Check back for the other two kettlebell exercises for athletes on increasing shoulder stabilization.

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