Kettlebell Arm bar

hanley —  November 11, 2014 — Leave a comment


By now you’ve noticed we’ve been doing Kettlebell Arm Bars in class the past few weeks. What gives? This is why:

1. Shoulder Stabilization 2. Thoracic Mobility 3. Shoulder Strength

  • Shoulder Stabilization: why does this movement help create shoulder stabilization? The weight of the KB is not in your hand but instead on the outside of your hand. Which if held in the correct place over your shoulder it will require your shoulder muscles to increase activation/stabilization. Without the activation your shoulder couldn’t hold the weight when it gets heavy. This increase in activation is not only a great warm up for the shoulder but also a great preventative/rehabilitation exercise.
  • Thoracic Mobility: thoracic, thor… what? Briefly, the thoracic region in your back are the vertebrae that help to support the weight of the upper body and protect the spinal cord. (Picture of the thoracic vertebrae, click here.) There is also the thoracic cavity which is in your chest.
    • Unfortunately, many of us, as contributing members of society drive to work and sit at a desk in a bad hunched over position. It’s not your fault because it’s really easy to do. I’m even doing it right now as I type this. Exercises like this help mitigate issues arising from sitting all day – sitting all day is a recipe for an immobile thoracic region. This is where the “stretch” part comes to play.
    • Lack of thoracic mobility contributes to not being able to hold weight overhead without hyper extension (overarching). This is why we have been doing the KB Arm Bar movement. Mobility is extremely important for preventing injury and your overall recovery.
  • Shoulder Strength: plain and simple. This exercise helps teach motor control of the shoulder and subsequently teaches activation of the lats and rotator cuff. By retracting your shoulder and fighting for shoulder stabilization through this movement you are improving strength and overall stabilization. The shoulder is a confusing place on the body where the most sophisticated joints reside and have the most adept range of motion. Let’s keep them healthy.

“Don’t be a safety violator”

“No running by the pool!”

I don’t want to be the fun sponge, but I have some safety tips for this movement because as we progress some of us might need to increase the weight in order to benefit the most from this movement.

  • You’ve heard me say this time and time again. Two hands up and two hands down. This is important because as the weight gets heavier you can’t just one handed muscle the weight into position. This could cause injury and then you can’t train and bring your beautiful face to the gym.
  • Keep your eyes on the kettlebell. The KB will without a doubt drift. Sometimes you can get away with a lighter KB drifting, but a 32kg kettlebell will destroy your shoulder because there is no recovering from it once it takes off.
  • Lastly, go slow and controlled. This is for mobility and strength not time.

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