Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with consuming your favorite Paleo Protein or Kombucha in rapid succession. What this post will talk about is bottoms up training, particularly through the use of kettlebells. This kind of training can be utilized in an accessory fashion to increase your shoulder stability and mobility, as well as teach you proper bracing the the midline and glutes.
As CrossFitters our shoulders are put under a lot of stress due to the large variety of movements we use on a day to day basis. Whether its kipping pull ups, snatches, or any pressing variation, our shoulders get put through a lot of different movements. You have probably heard us talk a lot about having proper shoulder MOBILITY, but something that often gets overlooked is shoulder STABILITY. While we need the shoulder to have adequate range of motion while doing a variety of movements in CrossFit, we also need it to be stable during these movements as well. If we have a lack of stability in the shoulder the chance for injury is increased. This is why it is important that we not only work on our shoulder mobility, but also out shoulder stability.
One way to work on shoulder stability (and mobility simultaneously) is bottoms up kettlebell training. To do bottoms up training you simply flip the bottom of the kettlebell to sit above the handle. In addition to the kettelbell placement you need to make sure your midline is in a stable position by keeping your ribs tucked and glutes squeezed. Once you are int he proper position, one of your options is to simply do a hold and just stay in place working on keeping the kettlebell as stable as possible. It is easiest to start in the half kneeling stance (see below) before moving to a standing position. If the first option is not challenging enough, you can also perform a bottoms up walk (just walking with a KB in the bottoms up position). If that STILL isn’t challenging enough you can also do a bottoms up press (from a half kneeling stance) where you keep the KB in a bottoms up position as you press the KB overhead. I would suggest starting with a hold in a half kneeling stance before moving on to the walk, and then getting comfortable with the walk before moving on to the press.
As said before this type of training can help with primarily shoulder stability, as well as shoulder mobility. In addition to the above benefits, it can also help teach proper pressing patterns and proper bracing for any heavy lifting. Lastly, if you have experienced elbow pain (as I had last summer), performing bottoms up training is a great alternative to barbell pressing as it puts a lot less pressure on the shoulder. Don’t wait till you have an injury or restriction to start improving you shoulder, get started on it today! Since it is considered accessory work you want to keep these on the light side and always focus on technique and control, not speed and reps. I would advise 3 sets of a 30 sec hold (or walk) on each side to start. If you want to do the presses keep it at 10-12 reps each side.
Check out this article I found on bottoms up training if you want a further explanation on its benefits and execution. If you have any questions on what variation, technique, or loading you should use just ask myself or any of the other coaches to help you out!