It has been a little while since we had an exercise of the week so today we are going to discuss a popular exercise at IFAST – the kettlebell (KB) pullover. We utilize this exercise a lot because it is a great tool to challenge someone’s core musculature as well as their breathing mechanics. And, who doesn’t need to work on these two areas? 🙂
How to Perform:
Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent at 90 degrees. Next, grab a KB with both arms and hold it straight above your head. Next, lock in your abs by crushing your low back toward the floor and simply lower the kettlebell behind you – going as far as you can without losing your low back position.
We will typically hold the KB overhead for 3-5 breaths and repeat that for 3-5 reps total.
To perform the exercise correctly you must keep your “ribs down”, your “zipper pulled up”, and your low back crushed to the floor.
We also look for a good breathing pattern when the KB is overhead, which means you should be pushing your air as low into your stomach as possible on your inhalation (you should also feel your back being pushed into the floor as your breathe in), and fully exhaling. Many times I will have clients hold the exhalation for 1-2 seconds because it is really important to breathe all of your air out.
The reason this exercise is challenging is for two reasons. First, any time we try to raise our arms overhead we often arch our back. This could be due to a poor movement pattern and/or due to stiff/short lats. Second, it can be challenging, initially, to take a breath without arching the low/mid back and keeping the ribs down. Therefore, this exercise strengthens and teaches you to use your abs, which keep your ribs down, to battle these two challenges of pulling the ribs up.
If you find the exercise is too easy you can make it more challenging by placing the feet flat on the floor. If that is also easy then try reaching each leg out as in THIS VIDEO when the KB is overhead. This will challenge your ability to keep your ribs down even more.
So if you are looking for a great exercise to challenge your abs and/or breathing give this exercise a shot.
Have a good week!