By professional standards great S & C (strength and conditioning) coaches aren’t judged by how strong or fast they can make the athletes. They are judged by how rarely their athletes get injured. This is important to understand because if your goal is to improve your performance (and physique) the first goal is to make your body durable. Some of your standard exercises such as bench press, pull-ups, and deadlifts will make you more resilient and look great at the same time. However, there are a few exercises that stand out among the rest when it comes to enhancing your durability and reducing the chance of injury. These exercises I speak of are the kettlebell windmill and getup.
Injuries while training can happen for various reasons: overuse of the same exercises, lack of variation in movement patterns, restricted mobility, muscle asymmetries, and more. Trying to program exercises or mobility work into a program can be tricky and, quite often, complicated. This is specifically why I program the getup and windmill into my, and my clients, training routines. Two exercises that can highlight issues and help correct them at the same time, all while getting stronger. Why?
The getup and windmill are known as “grinders” in the kettlebell world. You have perform the movement slowly and under control. Done correctly, the getup and windmill should look smooth and almost effortless to the observer. On the inside, you’ll feel like you’re trying to balance a cup of water like Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child (trust me, it’s a good reference). By performing these movements slowly you’ll be more aware of weaknesses in your movement patterns and make adjustments. Also, they are unilateral (1 arm) patterns. Almost all of us have an imbalance of strength and mobility from one side to the other. These unilateral exercises not only point them out but also help fix these imbalances as you do them.
It is important to remember our bodies are meant to move in all directions:
- Sagittal: Moving forward and backwards (i.e. flexion and extension of joints)
- Frontal: Moving side-to-side (i.e. abduction and adduction of limbs)
- Transverse: Rotational movements (i.e. swinging a baseball bat)
Spend too much time training in one plane, in most cases the Sagittal plane, and you’ll get injured. The getup and windmill force you to train in all planes of movement. This is strongly connected to information taught by Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains, and how our bodies have various “lines” of movement. What could be causing left shoulder pain could be the result of what you’ve been doing with your right foot.
Make yourself ‘bulletproof’ by performing the getup and windmill in your warm ups or as an exercise in your workouts. Remember, slow and controlled movements. This isn’t a race.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!