3 Exercises For Kettlebell Flow
Be stable on both sides.
Single sided or ‘unilateral’ training is essential because the environment you live in isn’t symmetrical. Imbalances to some degree are inevitable, especially to do with stability, so training movements on each side are an effective way to ensure that both sides are subjected to similar demands. Kettlebell flows are an engaging way to work both sides.
Note: You can also do this flow with a dumbbell, or even a barbell if you want a good challenge!
Stability isn’t really something you do consciously.
Coordinating your body’s balance is an interesting topic because it’s not like you are consciously making micro adjustments to your muscle activity, turning on each and every individual muscle involved in keeping you balanced through movement. You simply don’t have the time or even the mental capacity for that matter to do that in real time.
Your nervous system is amazing.
We have our eyes and ears that help orient you for balance, but in addition to that we also have sensors in the skin, joints, and muscles that tell you where your body is positioned (this is called ‘proprioception’ or awareness of your body in space).
Your nervous system uses this information to coordinate the activation of your muscles to make adjustments to your body position. This is how you maintain stability and balance. A lot of this information is processed without your full awareness.
You can train your nervous system.
While movement development and training begins with building proprioception and gaining control of your body, it doesn’t translate to function until you can recruit those muscles and be in optimal positions without thinking about it.
The ONI Method:
Control → Context → Challenge
A simple model we use at ONI to develop movement is this:
Build awareness (proprioception) to be able to control and activate muscles for optimal movement.
Use that activation in positions and movements that have a functional context (eg. maintaining proper glute activation in a squat to prevent the knee from falling inwards).
For you to be able to represent that new pattern in the demands of life, it has to have that demand placed on it. You can do that by adding load, changing the environment, adding speed, reducing speed, etc. You can be very creative with this. (As long as you progressively load and challenge appropriately.)
The awareness and proprioception you gain from the initial stages of training have to be put to the test and progressed to higher demands of coordination and load so that there is some context for your body to learn from. There has to be a demand to meet.
Try these exercises in a kettlebell flow to work on your stability on both sides.
1. Switch Row
Start in a bent over row position with a kettlebell on one hand.
Row it up toward your chest and switch hands while the kettlebell reach its peak height.
Ride it down to the bottom as you repeat on the other side.
2. Arm Bar Lunge
Move into an overhead lunge position.
Laterally hinge at the hips and touch the floor next to your knee.
Maintain shoulder position (shoulders away from ear).
Move back into an overhead position under control.
In a lunge position (knee off), move the weight to the level of your face.
Move the weight around your head like a halo while maintaining business.
Give these a go and let us know how you get on! Don't forget to share the love to somebody working on their unilateral stability!
Author: Laurent Pang