October 31, 2009

Face-the-wall squats a piece of cake?

Now that you can do these without much difficulty, with your toes touching the wall, of course - try them with your arms overhead, sort of a naked overhead face-the-wall squat. :)


October 6, 2009

The Psychology of Posture

From today's Reuters news:

"Sitting up straight isn't only good for your back -- a new study has found it also boosts self-confidence and reinforces positive thoughts." Article linked below.

What does this have to do with kettlebell training? Well, seeing as how hardstyle kettlebell training is everything to do with posture and movement - quite a lot! I can tell you first-hand that the body mechanics you practice and develop with hardstyle training become habitual. And that's a good thing. That means better posture when standing, sitting, walking - because it feels "right." It happened to me.

Yes, bad posture looks bad, we've all seen it. But it's worse than that. Over time, slumped posture will increase the incidence of back and neck pain, and the imbalanced musculature can lead to injury. Shortened anterior muscles will hold you there in that slumped-over posture, and it truly feels like it is your "straight." It soooo isn't. Well, to clarify - it doesn't have to be. You need to work on stretching and re-lengthening those muscles again, and strengthening your posterior muscles, so you can once again have "straight" FEEL like "straight," rather than feeling like you're working really hard to stand tall and pull your shoulders back and down. This is how it can become natural again, and not uncomfortable. This is especially true for anyone who spends a lot of time at a computer. Or someone who does a whole lot of bench presses and other anterior-dominated strength training. It does not take a long time for a consistently forward head, rounded upper back posture to become your "normal," present in everything you do. Seriously, how often do we think about our posture when we're reading, eating, brushing our teeth? Wouldn't it be great to not HAVE to?

Sure, you CAN simply work on having better posture just by thinking about it all the time. And, maybe that will actually work to some degree for some very motivated people. :) Maybe! But when you train with kettlebells according to the RKC system, you FEEL it, and DO it, without having to think about sitting tall or walking straight "just" for its own sake. It is more obvious. You FEEL the difference, you have no choice. How brilliant is that? That is part of what we're talking about when we say the kettlebell is just a tool. It helps us see and feel what's going on with our bodies much more effectively, and that's the important thing. Improved posture becomes a really great side-benefit.

Now this additional side benefit of reinforcing confidence and positive thoughts is interesting, and not surprising! I think we have all felt it, after performing a kick-ass set of hardstyle swings, or getups, or squats, or presses. And when I say hardstyle, I mean "proper," and that means with full attention on a long spine and neutral head position. You feel like a badass. You have control over your body, and that is a powerful thing. It has nothing to do with the number of reps - but HOW you've done them.

Look around the field at any RKC event. Notice the posture of every one of the instructors present. It is not a coincidence! :)

Link: http://in.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idINTRE5951JO20091006