Hello all! In 2017 I’ve decided to embark on writing again. I had a love affair with writing when I was younger, I was even editor of my high school newspaper. Each day was like being in the movie All The Presidents Men, searching the school for the latest lunchroom scandal and reporting the breaking news of the school removing all the unhealthy treats from the vending machine. Very serious stuff of course, but I loved it. The only problem with my plan to be a reporter, every time I had to have human interaction I basically turned as red as Brock Lesnar does when he’s getting ready to take someone to suplex city.
Actually, it’s possible I could get more red than that. In fact, now that I’m thinking of it, Brock Lesnar had Paul Heyman to talk for him. That’s what I needed, damn!! “Hello, my name is Paul Heyman and I’m an advocate for Shawn Farmer.” If only…..
Well, now that I have exposed myself as a WWE fan, let’s get back to the real subject. I still love to write but lately I find myself getting caught up in the rush of life. Everyday I reach for a piece of paper though to write out workout plans and to make sense of my ideas. We have a whiteboard in the training room filled with jumbled up words that only make sense to my odd working brain but putting pen to paper just makes life better somehow.
So just as the title says, this will be my place to provide you all with a crapload of exercises and write. About what, we’ll find out! And what better way to start then literally with crap!
Yes, I moonlight as specialist in manure management. Ok, I just pick up horse poop at my barn every week, but on this particular week I’m doing it everyday. And of course our farm car had to break down which means I’m doing it the old fashion way.
A wheelbarrow, bucket and shovel just happen to be great workout tools though, so here are a few of my best moves at the barn with a some of my favorite moves in the gym that help accomplish the same goals!
The Farmer Walk
This first one is named after me! Ok, it’s not, just a coincidence that it’s called a Farmer Carry. There are a lot of great variations on this one, but basically the concept is to pick up something heavy and carry it with good posture. If you ever wondered what weight lifting actually is, do this! Today I had to pick up a heavy bucket around 40lbs so I am demoing doing the same carry with a Kettlebell (not ball), just marching in place. By loading it asymmetrically, it challenges your balance and forces your body into making corrections as you switch feet. It’s a great way to help your nervous system adapt to changing environments. Stay tall, shoulders blades down and back, focusing on using you lower abs to pull your leg up. An added bonus, it also challenges ankle eversion and inversion. Try it in your barefeet and it only gets more challenging!
Bottoms Up Squat
Picking up 6 horses worth of manure weighs a lot, thankfully the wheelbarrow is set up perfectly to do a squat and then either a sled pull or push. One of my favorite exercises right now to work on posture and lower body strength is a Bottoms Up Squat. By holding the kettlebell upside down, it forces your posterior chain to activate and keeps you in better posture. One of the keys with this is range of motion though. It is so so so so so so so so important (did I mention how important it is?), to make sure you are not loading a faulty movement pattern. When people complain about how lifting weights makes them tight, it’s because they are loading shortened patterns and enforcing the smaller range. Own your squat before you load, I can’t say it enough!! If one more person posts a video of themselves squatting 400lbs with knee valgus and only making it a few degrees into the move I’m going to scream! There is no shame in getting back to body weight and rebuilding your form with proper activation and range. Then you can do cool stuff like this Bottoms Up Squat with lots of weight and get the most out of it.
Half Kneeling KB Chop to Press
This last one is a variation on a chop. When using a pitch fork you end up working on many of the same patterns required for a golf swing. Separation, lower body stability, t spine mobility and mental toughness! Try picking manure in 20 degree weather! The kettlebell variation I use to work on these patterns is an over the shoulder swing. Definitely make sure you are proficient in the swing pattern here, it is challenging to load your shoulder this way so having adequate range of motion is a must. I let the weight of the kettlebell help rotate me, brace through my lower body and then make sure the weight is set before transitioning into the press. I am also keeping my pelvis in a posterior tilt and squeezing my glutes to help lock down my lower body.
The moral of all these exercises? When you here someone say the word functional, this is it. Think about what you do in your daily life and then ask yourself if the exercises you do in the gym are helping. That doesn’t mean you have to mimic the exact motions of your sport, in fact many times you want to do the exact opposite. But there are so many basic human movements such as push, pull, squat, hinge, crawling, rolling, being able to reach an itch on your upper back that all add up to a healthy body. I do ask one favor though, please under no circumstance do not grab a band or cable machine and start taking golf swings with it! (I will elaborate on this later)