Though Brainsport has suspended its free run clubs, the store is still providing opportunities for people to stay physically active in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. To this end, the store has partnered with Karen Moffatt (aka Kettlebell Karen), who is offering the Brainsport community a free 30-day membership to her on-demand fitness, yoga and kettlebell classes.
This week, Karen has written for the Brainsport Times and blog to share her story and tips for staying active at home.
When you have spent much of your life cultivating a fitness routine inside a gym and outside the home, a request to move your training program to your home can seem like a tall order. Suddenly, you are forced to re-establish a workout routine without the luxury of equipment, space, group interaction or an event in your schedule. Your entire game has been thrown off!
Over the last month, I have witnessed many of my personal training colleagues move quickly to the online world — a move I had made a year ago for other reasons. Who knew I’d be so prepared for something like this? Who knew that one of the most difficult decisions of my life would prepare me for this moment?
I moved my business online for many reasons. I am passionate about home workouts! I like the convenience of home training, the ability to work at my own pace, to pay attention to my own biomechanical needs and the excitement of “greasing the groove” with things like handstands and pull-ups, which improve exponentially when you do them more frequently. Offering home workout has given me freedom in my own life, and freedom for my members! Though a few of them were skeptical at first, they quickly realised that it solved scheduling problems, allowed them to work at their own pace and drastically increased the frequency of their workouts.
During this chaotic time, I have found solace in home workouts. With a lot of panicked confusion out there I have found that strength-based training and intelligent bodyweight movements, based in the seven fundamental human movement patterns, are grounding both myself and my kettlebell and yoga on demand members.
Here are five of my favourite exercises you will see me teaching in kettlebell and yoga on demand:
1. The Turkish Get Up
One of the most efficient, effective, intelligent and satisfying movements I have ever learned and continue to practice. I have 70 year olds doing this move and they keep telling me how strong it makes them feel! You start in a lying position holding a weight above your head (even something as small as a running shoe, as pictured in the photo above), then gradually move to a sitting, kneeling and then standing position, all while keeping that weight above your head. Then you do the movements in reverse to get back on the ground.
In response to the demand for cardiovasular exercises that don’t require equipment, I have found myself bringing back the Spartan burpee. There are many different styles of burpees out there, so if you don’t like burpees, there are friendly variations to choose from! The Spartan burpee involves starting with your chest on the ground, hopping into a frog-like position, and then exploding upward in a jump. I like to emphasize pulling your shoulder blades together at the bottom of the movement to help strengthening the posterior muscles.
A classic, and an essential movement for postural longevity, greatly improved core function, joint health, flexibility and mobility. And this one will get your heart rate up too, when you go into a full range of motion or play with the tempo. There are so many great ways to add interest and inspiration to the squat pattern, and the “prisoner” squat, inspired by a prison cell workout, its my go to.
4. Push Ups
NOT the half push ups I keep seeing on the “see 10 do 10” Instagram challenge! I love progressing someone who was previously unable to do a push up to doing a full range-of-motion push up with intelligent programming. If you are currently doing knee push ups, please STOP! Find yourself a wall, a countertop, a staircase or a table, and get into a firm plank position. Then lower yourself ALL THE WAY DOWN to the surface. Touch your chest to that surface! If you can’t push yourself back up, engage your core, squeeze your legs and use your exhale to improve your chances. If that was not successful, go to a higher surface such as a countertop (truly, the best place for almost everyone to start) and perform your push up successfully through the entire range of motion. Once you can do five successful, consecutive push ups from the surface you are using, go to a lower surface.
Pulling movements tend to get neglected when we don’t have equipment to use. But it is essential to balance out pushing movements with pulling movements to keep balance in our postural strength. In my Kettlebell and Yoga on Demand membership you will find creative ways to pull with your own body weight or possibly a running shoe! Under-the-table rows are one of my bodyweight go tos. Place your legs underneath a table with your hands gripping the top of the table and your arms extended. With your heels firmly pushing towards the floor, pull yourself up toward the table. Squeeze and hold and then return to the starting position with control. Once you can do 10 full range of motion reps of those, you’re ready for a higher table!
For those who have a kettlebell sitting at home, you might consider my Learn to Kettlebell program. Free for 30 days, it’s 10 video sessions that give you a workout while providing you with foundations that will transfer into the rest of your fitness life. Kettlebell skills transition you to sports and outdoor activities beautifully. Prepare for your outdoor fitness season by building your strength at home! It might just be the most powerful thing you do during this chaotic moment in time. Perhaps you can come out of all of this with newfound strength that can tackle any challenge.