Star Wars Workout Episode I The Swing Menace

Star Wars Workout Episode I The Swing Menace

Every saga has a beginning and so does kettlebell training. What better way to start off a Star Wars workout series than with the swing the foundation of all kettlebell training.  In Episode I The Swing Menace you will be constantly dealing with swings over and over again.  This is a challenging full-body workout that will have your glutes and hamstrings feeling it the next day.

 

Workout Details

This is a 30 min workout with a difficulty rating of beginner to intermediate.  Equipment needed is kettlebells and bodyweight.  Fitness capabilities it trains are strength, conditioning, muscular endurance, and intensity.  This workout can be performed anywhere.

 

Workout Instructions

Do 10 push-ups followed by 10 swings.  Next, do 10 Goblet squats followed by 10 swings. Last do 10 bodyweight rows followed by 10 swings.  That is one round see how many rounds you can do in 30 min.  Rest as needed between exercises and sets.  Always use good form and May The Force Be With You!

Star Wars Workout Episode I The Swing Menace

Push Ups – 10 reps

Two-Handed Swings – 10 reps

Goblet Squat – 10 reps

Two-Handed Swings – 10 reps

Bodyweight Rows – 10 reps

Two-Handed Swings – 10 reps

Do as many rounds as you can of each with good form for 30 min rest as needed.

 

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the ultimate kettlebell circuit

The Ultimate Kettlebell Circuit

The circuit was created as a way to train multiple people with different abilities at once.  It’s used primarily as a way to build strength and conditioning at the same time.  A circuit is usually done with limited rest as well which makes it great for fat loss.  

 

What’s great about the kettlebell is that it is a compact tool with hundreds of capabilities.  Which makes it perfect for circuits as they usually only involve minimal equipment or none at all.   

 

I can remember doing countless circuits in the wrestling room with just bodyweight movements, pull up bars, and some dumbbells.  In rugby, we had many gym sessions where we do all bodyweight stuff with just some cones and bands.  They were tough sessions, but they made us better.

 

Now, what does it take to make a great circuit or ultimate for that matter?  It should cover all the basic movements.  It should include a mixture of both strength and power movements.  It should deliver a full-body workout in just a short amount of time.  It should use just a minimal amount of equipment.  

 

This Ultimate Kettlebell Circuit includes all those things plus it has a few different options as well.

 

Workout Instructions

This circuit contains a mixture of doing slow strength-building movements followed by explosive power building movements.  There are circuits for just one kettlebell and two kettlebells.  

 

For the two kettlebells perform each exercise for 30 sec then rest for 30 sec.  For one kettlebell perform each exercise for 20 sec and rest for 20 sec.  Perform 3 rounds for each circuit.  If you want to do more rounds go for it.  I designed these circuits to be close to 30 min, but if you have more time available and want to go longer go for it.

 

You do not have to use the same kettlebell for each exercise.  If you have multiple kettlebells then go ahead and use them to challenge yourself accordingly.  Especially when it comes to the loaded carries you are going to want to use a heavy kettlebell if you have it.  If all you have is one and you know the load is too light for you for the loaded carry then just increase the length of time to 1 min.

 

Ways to make this harder is simply by taking out the rest.  Between rounds, you can take a 3-5 min rest or you can just go straight into next the round without the break.  Another option is to take the rest out completely between the exercises and then rest only between rounds.  You could even shorten the rest between exercises as well.   For the one kettlebell circuit instead of resting between sides on an exercise go straight to the next side and then rest. 

In the 2 kettlebell circuit if you don’t know how to do the double half snatch then go ahead and do the single-arm snatch on both sides.

 

As you can see with this circuit I give you multiple options to keep changing things up and challenging yourself.

 

The Ultimate Kettlebell Circuit with One Kettlebell

Kettlebell Rows – 20 sec each side 

Snatch – 20 sec each side 

Rack Squat – 20 sec each side

Kettlebell Squat Jumps – 20 sec

Clean and Press – 20 sec each side

Push Press – 20 sec each side

One Leg RDL’s – 20 each side

One Arm Swings – 20 sec each side 

One Arm Farmer Carry – 20 sec each side

One Arm Rack Walk – 20 sec each side

(Do 3 rounds of each movement, use the method of 20 sec on 20 sec off, rest as needed between rounds)

The Ultimate Kettlebell Circuit with Two Kettlebells

Renegade Rows – 30 sec

Double  Half Snatch or Snatch each side – 30 sec

Double Front Squat – 30 sec 

Kettlebell Squat Jumps – 30 sec 

Double Clean and Press – 30 sec

Double Push press – 30 sec 

Double One-legged Deadlift – 30 sec each side

Double Swings – 30 sec

Farmers carry – 30 sec 

Rack walk – 30 sec

(Do 3 rounds of each movement, use the method of 30 sec on 30 sec off, rest as needed between rounds)

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How To Program For Your Conditioning

Putting it all together.  Now hopefully you have a better understanding of all the energy systems and why you should train all three.  But you still may have questions on when you train each energy system and how often.  If you have not read the previous articles about conditioning you can check them out here in the following links.

How To Improve Your Alactic System Conditioning

How To Improve Your Lactic System Conditioning

How to Improve Your Aerobic System Conditioning

Rugby Match Simulation Training

 

Every week train each energy system one day a week.  Do your aerobic work on your off day or the day after a rugby match as it will be good for recovery.  One day of the week you will do an alactic training session and another day you will do a lactic training session.  The anaerobic conditioning can be done the same day as strength training or on an off day.

 

Your aerobic sessions will typically last between 20 to 40 minutes.  Your anaerobic sessions will last between 10 to 30 minutes. As a reminder here are the guidelines for training each system.

Alactic system – highest power output, without oxygen, short duration lasting 5-15 sec

Lactic system –  high power output, without oxygen, moderate duration lasting 30 sec to 3 min

Aerobic system – lowest power output, with oxygen, long-duration lasting 3 min or greater  

 

If you notice I do not give you the work to rest ratios.  The reason for this is because everyone is different.  Just remember that the rest should always be longer than the work and not equal or less.  Depending on how long the rest is will greatly depend on the athlete.  They should be fully recovered or close to it before attempting the next work interval.  Remember the power output should be the same for each interval.  If for some reason the athlete cannot repeat and sustain the power output for each interval then rest is too short or the intensity is too high.

 

Here is an example of what a training week would like.  Once again I will use the sport of rugby as an example.

DAY 1
– Strength Training
– Alactic Training
10 x 50 meter sprints with 1 min rest

DAY 2
– Strength Training
– Rugby Practice

DAY 3
– Lactic Training
6 x 1:30 min on the rower with 4 min rest

DAY 4
– Strength Training
– Rugby Practice

DAY 5
– Rest Day (do some yoga or mobility work)

DAY 6
– Rugby Match

DAY 7
– Aerobic Training
30 min run

 

That would be a typical in-season training week for rugby.  Now if wanted you add in the match simulation training you would just replace one of the alactic or lactic training sessions with it.  For the match simulation conditioning, the training sessions will last between 10-30 minutes.

 

When it comes to making progressions in conditioning it’s best to use a linear method.  As long as you can keep hitting the same power output in the training session then keep adding another set.  Once you get 30 min total time including rest then go ahead and change up the distance or work time. If you go several training sessions without making progress then go ahead and change up the distance or work time.  Each person is different in how they progress there is no one right way to train. If something is not working after you have been doing it for a while then go ahead and change it up.

 

Start implementing conditioning training for all energy systems into your programming along with strength training and you will notice a vast improvement in your performance come game day.  

 

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Rugby Match Simulation Training

Here is a little bonus for you and what I call match simulation conditioning.  We mostly condition by doing sprints or doing some type of strength training circuit.  What I have found throughout my years of playing and training others is that what seems to help boost conditioning the most is combining running with exercise.  

 

When you think about what you do in a rugby match you are constantly running and then making a tackle, being tackled, or rucking.  That is why I like to model my conditioning around the idea of running and then doing some sort of demanding exercise. If you are quick to get to the ruck that’s great, but if you fail in the ruck that’s no good.  

 

If you want to be better at constantly being able to sprint and then be powerful in a ruck or tackle then you need to train that way.  We can do a good job of simulating it with the combination of running and exercise.

 

With this type of training, you can get quite creative.  Now don’t think this has to be done with only running. You can use a bike or rower as well.  An example would be doing a 50 meter sprint and then doing 10 burpees at the end. You could reverse that as well and do 10 burpees and then sprint 50 meters.  Sometimes you make a tackle and then need to be in support quickly.

 

The movements you implement with the running should be power-based.  I have never seen someone sprint in a rugby match then start bench pressing.  This is why the movements should be more explosive as they closely simulate a ruck or tackle.  There are no exercise movements that simulate a tackle or ruck, but we can simulate being explosive.  There are quite a bit of different power movements you can do here the ones I prefer the most are using bodyweight, sandbags, or kettlebells.  These tools don’t require much space and very portable.

 

For bodyweight movements burpees, power push-ups, squat jumps are all good choices.  Good choices for sandbags are sandbag shouldering and cleans with a push press. Kettlebell movements that work well are thrusters, swings, snatches, and long cycle.  

 

Outside is always going to best for training this way, but sometimes you may not have access to space.  You can easily do this stuff next to a bike, rower, or even a treadmill in a packed gym. If doing this outside my rest would be a jog back or mobility work.  Using the bike or rower the rest would be a mobility exercise such as doing a lunge with a twist. During the rest we want to be moving and for it to be recuperative and not draining.  

 

Here are 3 different types of match simulation training.

 

 

Different variations you can use are:
-Sprint then do an exercise
-Exercise then sprint
-Sprint do an exercise then sprint back
-Exercise, sprint down, exercise, sprint back

Here are 2 examples.

 

 

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How To Improve Your Aerobic System Conditioning

The aerobic system is anything lasting longer than 3 min.  The aerobic system is oxidative meaning that you need oxygen to perform.  The alactic and lactic are both anaerobic and require no oxygen to perform.  The aerobic system is beneficial for improving increased blood flow and oxygen delivery.  

 

Throughout this article, I will use the sport of rugby as an example.  You can easily apply the principles and strategies here to any sport.  

 

Rugby is an 80-minute match, making the aerobic system vital to train if you want to have the energy to last the whole match.  Training in the aerobic is also good for recovery. Whereas in the anaerobic system the intensity is very high in the aerobic system your intensity is low.

 

Running long distances will teach you how to breathe and how to pace yourself.  One of my coaches would always say “start fast, end fast”. This is a rule you can apply to pretty much anything in life.  You need to learn how to pace yourself to last the entire match. If you are fatigued and are not performing at your optimum level late in the match what good are you to your team?  

 

Any rugby player should be able to run 80 min straight if they had to.  Do I ever train any of my athletes to run that far? The answer is no.  You never need to run that far when training for rugby, but if I programmed an 80 min run in I know they would be able to do it.  The farthest you need to run in my opinion is 40 min just one half of rugby.

 

When training the aerobic system it is best to do it on an off day due to the length of the training.  Usually one day a week is plenty as well. For rugby interval training (anaerobic system) is going to be your bread and butter, but if you want to be more of a well-rounded athlete and have plenty of gas for each phase then you need to train the aerobic system as well.

 

Think of cyclic movements when training for the aerobic system.  These are the movements that you perform while breathing at the same time.  Such as running, biking, rowing, and swimming. Any of these methods are great for training the aerobic system.  Even though you run in rugby you do not need to run all the time to improve your aerobic system unless you are training for a marathon.  Plus for athletes with bad knees or you large fellas, running is not the best option for you. That is why the bike, rower, and swimming are all great alternatives.  

Swimming is a great alternative for aerobic work.  It’s easy on the joints and great for recovery.

 

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How To Improve Your Lactic System Conditioning

The lactic system is long hard sprints lasting from 30 sec – 3 min.  Once again we can break down this system into 2 parts. The first is the time frame of 30 sec – 1 min and the second one 1 min – 3 min.  The reason we can split this up is because of the demand for the intensity. Now a 30 sec sprint is tough, but a 2 min sprint is going to require greater intensity.

 

Just like in the alactic system we want the rest to be longer than the work period in the lactic system.  An example here would be 2 min sprint on the bike with 5 min of rest. Now that rest may seem long to some of you, but 2 min flat out sprint is very demanding and hard.  Your body needs ample time to recover and to repeat itself with the same power output.

 

Remember you want to be able to repeat the same power output over and over again.  That is how you improve your conditioning not by running yourself into the ground. When it comes to training we can vary up which part of the lactic system we want to focus on.  During the training week if the athlete is well rested then go with a higher intensity of 2 min. If they are not fully recovered then going with 30 sec would be a better option.

 

An example of training in the lactic system in the first part would be doing 6 sets of 30 sec sprints on the rower.  Resting anywhere from 1:30 to 3 min. An example of training the lactic system in the second part would be doing 5 sets of 2 min sprints on the bike and then resting anywhere from 4 to 6 min.  

 

You want to make sure you have some kind of benchmark when training for conditioning so you know that you can sustain your power output.  On the bike and rower, you can easily use distance or watts to measure your performance. The goal is to keep hitting that same distance or watts on each set.  If you fail to do so then stop you are done for the day.

 

Here are 3 ways to train the lactic system: bike (preferably an assault bike), rower, and sprints.

The assault bike is easy on the knees and hard on the lungs.

 

The rower combines a lower-body push with an upper-body pull.

 

Sprints the bread and butter of conditioning.

 

Another option for training the lactic system is kettlebells.  Doing swings or snatches for 3 min straight will greatly improve your conditioning as well.   Here is a video explaining how to do the snatch with a kettlebell.

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How To Improve Your Alactic System Conditioning

The Alactic system is short hard sprints lasting from 5 – 15 sec.  The rest is going to always be longer than work. An example would be sprint 10 sec and then rest for 50 sec.  The reason the rest is longer is that we want to be able to produce that same high output repeatedly. That is how you improve your conditioning not by peaking early and having nothing for later.  

 

When doing conditioning work the goal should be to able to produce the same power output for each interval.  If for some reason you can’t continue to keep that same power output throughout your training then that is where you stop for the day.  Then the next time you do that conditioning again you try to reach another interval and then just keep building on that.

 

Here is what it might look like training in the alactic system trying to keep the same power output.  Let’s say the goal is 50-meter sprints in 7 sec and we are going for 10 of them. You start off good as the first few are easy then number 6 you get 7.1 sec.  Next one you get 7.5 sec. You are starting to slip but keep going and on set 8 you get 8 sec. Your power output has stopped so your training is done for the day.  Next week you will try and if you can 7 sets with 7 sec.

 

For example, I will use the sport of rugby.  In rugby, everything is repeatable throughout the match.  That is why it is important when training to actually be able to sustain that power output over and over again.  Because when it comes to match day you will be able to sprint, tackle, and ruck with those high power outputs the whole game.

 

There are many methods you can use for training the alactic system.  You can use the rower, bike, sprinting, swimming, even lifting weights can be used to train this system.  But for more of a carryover to sports, I prefer bipedal movements.  Here are 3 ways I recommend to train in this system: sprints, hill sprints, and sled pushes.

Sprints help build muscle, increase your max heart rate, and improve your metabolism.

 

Hill sprints are the best way to increase lower body power.  There is a reason Walter Payton ran hills every day!

 

Sled pushes will improve both your leg drive and lung capacity.

 

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How to Make a Scooter

Want to learn how to create a great fitness tool that is affordable, easy to do and a lot of fun?  Well, then I give you the scooter! 

I am not talking about the ones with motors people ride around with and leave all over the sidewalks.  I am talking about the ones from gym class when you a kid. That is the scooter that is actually beneficial to use.  It helps you develop a strong core and is also a lot of fun to use.  

I wanted to get a scooter for myself and for the kids to use.  Although when I did a search on amazon all the scooters I saw where you using cheap plastic wheels and had weight limits.  I knew I could build one cheaper than what they were selling for and I could make it a lot stronger.  

That is exactly what I did and I am going to show you how you can make a scooter for about $25.  The only tools you need are a drill, a wrench, and a hack saw. Everything you need you can find at your local hardware store.  

The first thing you need is the base.  The perfect thing for this is a pre-made seat for a stool.  Which means no cutting or sanding. Easy! You can get them in a couple of different sizes.  The size I went with is 15 inches.  

Next, you are going to need some wheels.  You want to make sure they all swivel. Once again the caster wheels come in a lot of different sizes.  The size I went with 2-inch swivel caster wheels. I wanted to be closer to the ground and that is why I choose this option.  As you can see in the picture the wheels are solid rubber and each one has a weight limit of 90 lbs. Yep, that’s right my scooter can handle up to 400 lbs of weight on it. 

Last you need the hardware to hold the wheels to the base.  What you need are some nuts and bolts. I used carriage bolts because of the flat smooth tops they have.  I used lock nuts so that the nuts stay in place and never get loose. The size I used was ¼ inch for both the nuts and bolts.  The length of the bolt I got was 1 ½ inch.  

Now on to the assembly.  You need to find where you are going to place your wheels on the base and then mark the holes.    

Then go ahead and drill your holes.

After that go ahead and attach your wheels to the base with your nuts and bolts.  Make sure the nuts are on the side of the base with the wheels.

Now, this where you should be done or at least I thought, but when I tried to test out my scooter it didn’t move too well.  The reason is that the bolt was rubbing against the wheel not allowing it to freely move. What you need to do is take a hack saw, grinder, or router and cut off the remainder of the bolt sticking out past the nut off.

That’s it now you are finished.  Time to have some fun and test it out!  My favorite thing to do with the scooter is just hand walking with my feet on it.  You can get very creative just like with anything else on what you can do with the scooter.  My kids are always coming up with different ways on how to use them. I hope you enjoy your new scooter and have fun implementing it into your workouts.  Your body and mind will definitely thank you for using it.  

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3 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting Results

You have decided it’s time to get off the couch and start doing something productive for your health.  With no plan in place, you head to the gym hop on a treadmill and then go do some random machines. You got a good sweat and feel good about what you did.  

You keep up the same routine for a couple of weeks then notice that you are not seeing any results.  You feel frustrated that your body has not changed from all the hard work you have been doing. You start to second guess yourself and say what’s the point.  This path eventually leads to skipping workouts and searching for the latest magic pill or gadget.   

More time goes on and you and you still do not have the results you are looking for.  You end up putting your workouts beside because what’s the point you aren’t getting any results anyways.  This ends up leading to you right back on the couch where you started.  

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Before you start training for a better life have a plan in place.  Here are 3 common pitfalls with solutions on how to avoid them so that you can have success with your training and not frustration.  

No consistency – you jump from program to program thinking or hoping that the next one will be better.  You are just looking for a quick fix. When you do not see results right away you look or hear about a new program that people are doing.  

You see the posts people are making about how this is the best program ever so you assume it will work for you as well.  You quit the current program you are on and quickly go sign up for that one. Getting results in training takes time there are no quick-fix solutions.  What you see is just a lot of clever advertising.

Solution – avoid the fancy gimmicks and just stick with just one program.  Be consistent in your training and follow the program you are on for at least 12 weeks.  That will give you enough time to really see if it is working for you or not. Make sure you are moving every day.  If a program has only 3 days of training make sure you are doing something on those off days as well.  

Those off days are probably recovery days so it does not have anything too strenuous, but it should something that gets the blood moving like mobility work or yoga.  If there is something you enjoy doing like running, biking, swimming, rock climbing, etc. do it on your rest days. Movement is life. When you stop moving is when you start having problems.

No clear goals – you start training without any set defined goals.  This is the equivalent of starting a business without a business plan.  I want to lose weight and I want to get in shape are not goals. There are no why’s behind them or measurable standards.  

Without clearly defined goals you will not have any motivation to keep training and will likely get frustrated and stop training.  The two most common goals people have in training that keep them going are training for some type of competition or the doctor basically told them to start training or die.

Solution – set realistic goals that are measurable.  Find your why to those goals. If your goal is to lose weight, then why do you want to lose weight?  Is it to fit into a pair of jeans, is it for health reasons, or is it so that you will feel better about yourself.  

Then ask that same why to your answers.  Why do you want to fit into those jeans? Keep asking those why’s until you find what really is going to get you motivated and not want to quit no matter how hard it gets.  

Make sure you set timelines and ways to measure your goals.  Getting in shape is great, but in shape for what and why? How will you measure getting in shape?  Let’s say you want to get in shape for your kids and live a healthy life. You have to dig deeper why do you want to get in shape for your kids and why do you want to live a healthy life?  

After you still need a way of measuring your goal.  Let’s say use push ups and running to determine your fitness shape.  You test yourself and see how many times you can do 10 push ups and run 20 meters in 10 minutes.  Let’s say you got 4 rounds the first time you do it. You then set a goal of getting 6 rounds in 5 weeks.  Your goal now has it’s deep why and is both realistic and measurable.  

No accountability – you have goals but tell no one about them or you have no goals.  You go to train but have no pre-set training for that day and just do whatever you feel like doing. 

You have no coach or group of people to support and push you. There is no form of progress in your training.  You have nothing to make sure that you keep training and advance toward the results you want.  

Solution – get a coach and tell the world about your goals.  Nothing is going to keep you more accountable than hiring a coach that will tell what to do and why.  The coach’s main responsibility is getting you the results you desire. They will push you to do things outside of your comfort zone.  

The coach is there to guide you and give you motivation.  Without a coach, you are just spinning your wheels doing the same thing over and over again without any results.  Tell people about your goals and write them down. Hang your goals up somewhere you can see them every day.  

You don’t have to post stuff on social media, but when you are talking to family or friends let them know of your goals.  Tell people you just met for the first time about your goals as well. Be proud of your goals and what you are trying to achieve.  The next time you run into your family or friends they will ask you how your goals are going. That’s accountability. That’s what’s going to keep you motivated and progress towards the results you want!

Conclusion

There you have it 3 simple things you can do to help you get the results you are looking for.  Define your goals, stay consistent in your training, and find a coach to help put you on the right path.  Just by doing these 3 things you will see results faster and avoid a lot of heartache and frustration.   

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Rugby Proof Your Shoulders Part 2 (Mobility)

The most often overlooked area for training the shoulders is mobility.  Mobility is not the most glamorous or exciting thing to do, but it is a necessity if you want to have strong healthy shoulders that can take hits and last for years on the rugby pitch. 

It is not common to see people making posts about hitting a PR with their mobility as you would see a deadlift PR and that’s fine. As rugby players, we think about lifting heavy and being explosive.  We don’t walk into a gym saying I am going crush that mobility workout today.  

If doing yoga is the last thing on your mind and it seems pointless.  Then you need to change your mindset about mobility and the importance of it.  Know this, the better the range of motion you have and the more open your joints become the stronger you will become.  When joints can’t move freely they lack their true strength potential.

Mobility work doesn’t take long and should be done every day just like brushing your teeth.  Plus when you start doing mobility work on a daily basis your body just feels better.  

When it comes to the shoulders the reason most people don’t have a full range of motion is due to tightness in the thoracic region which is your upper back.  Part of the reason everyone is tight is because of the daily habits of sitting, driving, computers, and phone. Needless to say this the thoracic area is something that needs attention in order to get full range in your shoulder.

Fix the thoracic area and you are good right?  Well not quite. Remember the shoulder is a very complex joint.  Other areas that need attention are the pectorals and all the many muscles that attach to the shoulder.  Now there are a ton of different things you can do to increase your mobility in these areas and if you did a search on the internet it would be overwhelming.  

When it comes to mobility work I like to work on movements that strengthen at the same time.  It’s that whole idea of getting more bang for your buck. If you have a kettlebell then you have access to a great tool that can really help open your shoulders.  The kettlebell allows you to put your shoulder through many ranges of motion that other tools do not allow.

Two of the best movements with a kettlebell for increasing mobility are the Turkish Get Up and Windmill.  In both of these movements, your shoulder will go through just about every range of motion there is in the shoulder. They not only increase your range of motion but they also help increase the stability of the joint and strengthen it.

Turkish Get Up

Windmill

The turkish get up and windmill pretty much cover everything for mobility in the shoulder, but there are a couple of other movements with the kettlebell that are beneficial as well.  Such as halos and overhead carry.

Joints love circles as it increases blood flow and improves range of motion. This is exactly what halos do. Doing an overhead carry with a kettlebell will help stretch and relax the muscles around the shoulder.  You don’t even need to move just holding a kettlebell overhead will help increase your range of motion, stability, and strength in the shoulder.  

The reason I like the kettlebell so much for increasing the mobility in the shoulder is that it worked for me.  Like I said in the previous article (Rugby Proof Your Shoulders Part 1) I use to get many stingers in football and rugby.  Then I started lifting kettlebells and it forced my shoulder into positions that were uncomfortable for me at the time. Eventually, the range of motion in my shoulder improved and the stingers were no more.  

There are many other things you can do to help increase the range of motion in your shoulder such as yoga, ball, rings, clubs, dowel rod, etc.  Here are a few different things you can do to help increase your mobility in your shoulders.

Don’t think I didn’t forget about the thoracic area here is a great movement to help increase that range of motion in that area.  I call it a thoracic pullover. You place a foam roller underneath your back just below your lats. Your butt is on the ground. You grab a kettlebell and lower it to the ground and stop once your biceps get to your ears.  Hold there for a few and then raise your arms back while pushing your rib cage down.

Thoracic Pullover

Hanging is another great form of increasing mobility in the shoulders.  It also decompresses your spine, improves wrist and forearm strength, and stabilizes the shoulder.  Rolling a ball under your pectorals will also help increase the range of motion in your shoulders. Use something the size of a softball and lay on top it with placing the ball under your pectorals.  Roll the ball around until you find a tender spot. Hold there for a few and then go until you find another tender spot. Just keep repeating the process. After that lift your arm overhead you should feel a difference.  

Two yoga movements that are very good for increasing mobility in the shoulder and back are the down dog and up dog.  Two movements you can do with a dowel rod or a pvc pipe are shoulder dislocations and around the world. Both of these are great for increasing your range of motion in the shoulders.  

Shoulder Dislocations 

Around the World 

When it comes to training the shoulders there is a lot more to it than just doing some presses as you can see.  In rugby, you use your shoulders a lot and need them to be strong and healthy. Especially if you want to keep playing well into your 70’s.  I mean why not? What else are you going to do play bridge? Remember there needs to be a balance between pushing and pulling movements for the shoulder in all directions.  The pulling should always be more than the pushing.  

The best way to incorporate mobility movements into your routine is by putting them in the warm-up.  That way the shoulders will be open and ready for the strength movements that day. Just pick one or two mobility movements to add into your warm-up and that should be good.  Add these mobility exercises into your training along with the strength exercises and your shoulders will be rugby proof!

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