Kettlebells, Somatics and Whatnot

Aaaaand, I’m back! After a long fall, spring, and summer semester, I am ready to kick it into full gear this time around on here. Between class, baseball, work and time dedicated to my lovely girlfriend (who isn’t always so lovely!) I didn’t have the time nor motivation to maintain an active blog. I also didn’t have a clue as to what to write about due to a lack of in-depth knowledge in most areas.

My attitude has since completely changed. Thanks to my current internship under Matrix Fitness Club under head trainer Chris Carlsen, my motivation to learn and teach is greater than it’s ever been before. Chris is whipping my ass into shape so that I have no choice to spread the knowledge to all of you anyway! Between what he’s taught me and reading the works of Gray Cook, Thomas Hanna, and Pavel, I’m ready to drop knowledge bombs (hopefully) from the best in the business!

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Since working with Chris, my philosophy on exercise has completely revolved, 100% for the better in my opinion. From a workout standpoint, I scratched everything I was doing previously and started from square one. I’ve stepped far away from the “functional” training bullshit with BOSU balls, tubing, etc. that we’ve all been brainwashed with. My alternative has been hammering my movement patterns through breathing patterns as well as kettlebell training. Both of these fitness cultures, somatics and kettlebell training, have become the main staples of my workout program. I feel healthier, powerful, and like an overall better athlete from the new philosophies I’ve taken from Matrix. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I feel like I’m in much more control of my body compared to traditional weightlifting.

So, what the hell is somatics? As a broad definition, it is the ability to “maintain conscious control of nerves and muscle,” according to Thomas Hanna, Ph.D. Hanna is the founder of the Somatics field, which I am willing to bet on, will become one of the near future movements in the fitness fieldWatch out Crossfit. In general, Somatics is used to mobilize joints specified for mobility, stabilize joints specified for stability, and preventing injury and stiffness by relaxing stress and tension. And believe it or not, the way we breathe is the center of all of this. Lately, I’ve learned that 99.8% of the general population doesn’t have a clue as to how to breathe during exercise. I was part of the majority a month ago, and man has it made a difference. I love the field of Somatics, but my education for it is still very minimal. As my education continues to grow, I’m going to express what I learn with you guys. What I do know now though, is that it’s hard as shit and you feel great after completing it!

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My love for kettlebells, believe it or not, is even greater than the Somatics philosophy. They are definitely my go to weapon when it comes to throwing weight around now. Pavel, the “Michael Jordan of kettlebells,” according to Chris, opened my eyes to why kettlebells should be a part of everyone’s fitness programs. Deadlift Dynamite, by Pavel and Andy Bolton, is a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the kettlebell, as well as the powerlifting exercises. That’s a discussion for another day. Image

Swings, cleans, snatches, presses, arm bars, and windmills are an equation for a complete ass kicking with kettlebells. With proper form, kettlebells are a much safer option that traditional barbell and dumbbell movements. Of course, we still do our squats and deadlifts with the barbell, but kettlebell deadlifts and goblet squats are nice accessory exercises to complete on off days or in warmups.

Why are kettlebells safer? Spinal loading with a kettlebell is greatly reduced compared to your traditional exercises. These movements could be excellent exercises to incorporate during deload periods, because they aren’t as stressful on our neuromuscular system, but they also require great power throughout the movement. This, of course, is only true if you use appropriate weights without shitty form taking over. You must control the bell, it cannot control you!

We’ll keep this short and sweet for now. Can’t wait to keep producing articles for you guys to enjoy and learn. This isn’t only a learning resource for you, but it is for me as well. This will teach me what I have a decent grasp on, as well as what I need to learn. I got a long road to travel to get to where I want to be, but I’m determined to get there for damn sure. In order to be the best, you got to learn from the best, and that’s what I plan on doing!


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