From the Trainer – April
Welcome back to another edition of From the Trainer! April is my favorite month for a number of reasons. My mom, grandma, aunt, uncle, a few close friends, and I were born this month which calls for many celebrations. April also means that spring is here! I don’t want to jinx anything, especially the way winter has misbehaved, but we should be able to count on more sunshine and warmer breezes. This is the perfect time to add a variety of outdoor activities to your fitness lifestyle.
This month’s exercise is called the Renegade Row. This is an advanced exercise designed to improve core strength, however, it also challenges the shoulders and legs. I used a pair of kettlebells, but dumbbells work just fine. The start position is shown in Figure 1. Place the feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, arms straight, palms facing each other, and kettlebells directly underneath the shoulders. The exercise starts before you even lift anything from the floor. First, tighten up the abdominals and then shift your bodyweight onto the left hand. Next, lift the right kettlebell off the floor by pulling or “rowing” it to your side (Fig 2). This sounds easy enough but several things have to happen to keep this position.
Balance will be a major issue if your feet aren’t set wide enough. Also, if your bodyweight isn’t shifted to the opposite arm, you might fall to the floor! Notice how the hips, abdominals, and chest are still facing the floor. It’s a common mistake to rotate the hips when trying to lift the kettlebell. If you find yourself doing this, the kettlebells are too heavy. Core strength is tested to the max because without it, the row part wouldn’t happen.
Slowly lower the kettlebell to the floor while keeping your position, but don’t let it slam back down. This counts as one repetition. Perform another row with the opposite arm (left in this example). The same things need to happen except this time shift your bodyweight to the right arm (Fig 3). Breathing is another important aspect to mention. Inhale before lifting the kettlebell, hold your breath while lifting and lowering, exhale once you set it down on the floor. Try at least one set of ten reps to start, then progress to multiple sets of twenty reps with a thirty second rest break in between. Enjoy!
Written by: Ryan Unverzagt