Posted: December 26, 2012

Hello, and Happy Holidays!

With the snow falling heavily and the roads getting slippery, are you strong enough to prevent injuries? Can you be sure that you will not get injured while shoveling? If your car gets stuck, do you have the functional strength to push it out?

My husband is a firefighter. Right now there are 5 people off work due to injuries from lifting patients! I know that most people are surprised that they don’t have to be in top shape to have that job, but truth be told, they don’t! With the weight of patients climbing, and a “lift assist” becoming more prominent, I am happy that my husband is strong, and will most likely not end up injured. He has prepared his body do to be able to tolerate strenuous work.

There is a difference between going to the gym and doing chest presses, bicep curls, and leg machines, vs. good old fashioned functional strength training. Functional strength is being able to perform daily tasks like lifting, pushing, pulling, and moving objects, let alone your own body weight! Don’t worry, you will look just as good doing this type of workout, so don’t be fooled by the gym rats in front of the mirrors. By learning how to do these type of movements in a controlled manner, you will be able to prevent injuries, while developing a better functioning AND great looking physique. We all have seen the person bending over at the waist with an object far from them, trying to lift it without bending their knees! We also most likely know someone, or have had ourselves, an injury resulting from lifting and twisting something. A gallon of milk from the car, a grandchild? How do we prevent this from happening? By learning  the proper way to lift things.

My husband and I are the owners of Michigan Kettlebells Strength & Training Center, in Troy, Michigan. Check out our website at Michigan Kettlebells My husband teaches bootcamp style classes nightly and I train women in a personal, buddy or bootcamp style class during the week, and on Sunday’s. We teach people the proper way to get stronger. Stronger means fitter. Stronger means leaner, with the ability to exert more power. The body functions better when it is fit and strong. Studies have shown numerous times that you sleep better, have a slower resting heart rate, a higher lung capacity, better endurance, and even a better sex life! Who doesn’t want those?

Don’t get injured. Don’t get fat. Don’t let your body age without strength. If you do not plan on getting stronger, and place challenges on your body, it will get weaker. This is a fact. That ol “use it or lose it” line means something. I am not talking about the guys in the gym that can’t tie their own shoes, or put on their own shirts. I am talking about men and women, whether 16 or 70, learning how to have a life of injury prevention with functional strength. There are proper ways to bend over and pick up an object. There are certain ways to lift something and turn. Just as there are proper ways to be on the floor, and get up off of it! Whether you sit at a desk, are retired, or are in a physically demanding job, you need to prepare your body for the future. You need to prepare your body to take on challenges. Don’t kid yourself, I bet you are not considering that a “challenge” could be lifting a bag of groceries, or shoveling the sidewalk. You have to implement a plan that challenges your body in a controlled fashion, while it is getting stronger. Everyones  muscles adapt to challenges. What you have to do is change, and challenge the patterns, so that the muscles can adapt and get stronger.

 If you are already going to a gym, add in some functional strength moves like squats, deadlifts and pull ups. Do walking lunges with a medicine ball, kettlbell or free weight being held in front of you. Forget sit ups on the floor. Balance on a stability ball and do crunches. Sandbags are a great addition to any workout plan. You can lift, pull, and carry sandbags. Movements like these engage many muscles at the same time. Even the smallest muscles are engaged to keep balance and stability,while the bigger ones do the main work. The core is held stable while the power is generated from the hips and glutes in Kettlebell swings. Get off of the machines, and onto the floor. Use your own bodyweight, then progress to adding a challenge with free weights, kettlebells, steps, and ropes. Challenge your body to something new.

Plan to prevent injury.
Plan to get stronger.
Plan for speed, and better endurance.
Use functional strength movements.

In health, and strength in the New Year!


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