Lately I’ve incorporated more kettlebell and strength movements into my workouts. I usually will add some burpees or jump rope to my workout, but since I’m nursing a little plantar fasciitis, jump rope is out while it gets better 🙁
There are other ways to get sweaty and burn calories other than doing HIIT type movements. One of my favorites is metabolic resistance training (like complexes), another is just pure strength training. Many folks make the mistake of discounting the fat burning potential of these options.
I have an article from kettle bell guru and good friend, Chris Lopez. He’s got a really cool idea I want you to check out:
Do This “Strength Hack” by Chris Lopez
RKC Author: The TT Kettlebell Revolution, KettleBellWorkoutsforAbs.com
If you’re doing a major strength exercise today – like a squat, deadlift or a press – then check out this “hack” to get more juice out of it.
Let’s say that you’re squatting today.
Set yourself up the way you would normally set up creating tension before you descend, BUT focus on crush gripping the bar or implement that you’re using with special emphasis on your pinky finger.
No seriously, test it and try it.
Do a set as you normally would of whatever squatting movement you’re doing today, and THEN do another set focusing on crush gripping the handle or bar emphasizing your pinky finger and then tell me what happens.
You should be able to generate more “nerve juice” and the squat should feel easier.
Why does this work?
Well, for one the Law of Irradiation is in play which basically means that you are recruiting more muscles to do the job of squatting (squatting is a whole body exercise, not just a leg exercise).
The more muscles involved, the more tension your create. And, as Pavel (KB guru) would say, “strength is tension and tension is strength”.
But more specifically, the pinky is so important because there is a direct relation between your pinky finger and your lat. This is what’s fondly known in the KB world as “the trigger”.
Pulling the trigger when you press allows you to actively get more juice from your lat to drive heavy things overhead.
“Yeah, but we’re squatting here”, says you.
Same difference. Remember how I said a squat is a full body exercise?
Well, your lats play several roles when you squat…
1. They work synergistically with your abs to help stabilize your spine to keep you upright.
2. If you’re double KB front squatting, they are the shelf for which you are holding your kettlebells in the rack…KEEP THOSE ELBOWS GLUED TO YOUR RIB CAGE.
But most importantly and the least known fact of all…3. Your lat on one side has a direct connection and relationship with your glute on the opposite side through a fascial sling.
It’s what we talk about in Original Strength when we say your body is built like an “X”.
Left lat & right glute, Right lat & left glute.
So if you want more “juice” from your butt – pardon the mental picture, but you get what I mean – crush grip your kettlebells or even the bar while it’s on your back, focusing on your pinky finger, and get your lat really firing and chances are, that squat will feel a lot easier.
BOOM! More muscle activation!
Give it a shot today – and you can use this trick with presses and deadlifts as well – and let me know how much lighter everything feels.
Thanks Chris! He really knows his stuff, I’ve learned so much from this guy.
If you like these “Strength Hacks” then you’ll really enjoy what Chris covers in his Kettlebell Essentials videos. It’s a 16-part online video series that comes as a FREE bonus with his Kettlebell Evolution Advanced Fat Loss Program.
I’ll leave you with a workout I recently did where I implemented this strength hack and my squats felt fantastic! This is a workout that I wanted to go a bit heavier, but also wanted to get my heart rate up. After a good warm up and a few lighter sets, this is what I did:
- Set my timer for 1 minute with 30 seconds recovery
- 8 sets of 3 reps barbell squats FUW (finish up with) KB swings
So basically, I did 3 heavy squats, picked up the KB and did swings for the rest of the minute. Then I rested for 30 seconds and repeated 7 more times.
Good sweaty fun! And the ‘crush grip’ on the bar really helped.
If you need help on your KB swing, you’ll find expert instruction (including a video from Chris) on the kettle bell swing on the blog HERE.
Give that workout a try! Can check out Chris’s videos here.