This month’s installment of Metabolic Stability will give you ideas how to maximize speed of movement, leverage, and accomplishing many movement patterns one training session.

Most coaches have begun to heavily lean upon predominately fast movements for metabolic training and slow tempos for corrective exercise. The reality is that the idea of tempo manipulation can be used for optimizing strength, hypertrophy, and fat loss. A study Christopher Scott showed that slower tempos actually produced a higher caloric expenditure and EPOC measures(1). Does this mean all training should be slow? Of course not, mixing tempos is important to optimally train the higher threshold muscle fibers and fully train the individual for functional hypertrophy. This month we will show an easy and effective means to utilizing several tempo schemes within a singular training session. This will achieve the goals above as well as help facilitate the combination exercises shown. You will find the slower movement helps enhance the faster drill.

Unfortunately, leverage is not really planned like many other training variables. We see leverage applied typically in body weight training to make exercises more difficult. This is extremely effective as it allows us to make the most incremental changes to perceived load in body weight exercises. However, we can use this concept to also strategically place the weight upon our body to make the same load feel heavier or lighter. Simply manipulating leverage can change levels of stability as well making it a very valuable tool for coaches especially in group settings.
Multi-Movement Patterns

Seeing exercises as a general human movement is not new. However, we often miss the more subtle movement patterns that are involved with the primary movement focus. For example, you will be seeing an Ultimate Sandbag Power Snatch today. While the dominant movement is the “hip hinge”, we also have elements of anti-flexion/extension as well as vertical pushing. When we appreciate the entire movements in an exercise we can build more complete and balanced programs.
What to Expect in February’s Video

• Introduction

• Exercise 1 – USB Lateral Bag Drag-Squat Thrust-Power Snatch
Programming USB Lateral Bag Drag-Squat Thrust-Power Snatch

• Exercise 2 – KB Goblet Lateral Lunge-Lateral High Pulls
Programming KB Goblet Lateral Lunge-Lateral High Pulls

• Exercise 3 – TRX Hip Press-Squat Jumps
Programming TRX Hip Press-Squat Jumps

• Exercise 4 – KB Bottom’s Up Downs-USB Push Press
Programming KB Bottom’s Up Downs-USB Push Press

• The Workout!
3-4 Rounds
30-60 seconds of rest between exercises
Perform circuit style
Metabolic Stability
USB (Ultimate Sandbag) Lateral Bag Drag to Squat Thrust to Power Snatch

Complexes such as those shown this month are a important for helping the coach be more efficient with their training sessions. It is crucial to recognize that all the movements shown in today’s have many regressions and progressions. In group settings this is important in building a positive training atmosphere.

The USB complex takes advantage of many movement patterns at once, where the Lateral Bag Drag teaches the integration of the entire body. The inability to perform the Lateral Bag Drag tells the coach that we may see holes in the other aspects of the complex. The Lateral Bag Drag shows the client proper shoulder alignment and tension, how to use the trunk to prevent extension, flexion, and rotation, finally, how to create tension in the lower body and hips which will be important in both the catch and initial phase of the snatch.

The very popular squat thrust is used not only as a transitional movement, but provides feedback upon hip mobility. A client that is not able to bring their feet and hands close together is going to lack the proper hip mobility to perform more dynamic and complex hip hinging movements.

Finally, the Power Snatch is a great expression of acceleration and the ability of the client to “turn on and off” the right segments of the body. Because of the dynamic nature of the Power Snatch, tension alternates quickly through the different phases of the pull. This is far more of a functional activity then simply relying exclusively on high tension throughout all training exercises. Lastly, we can use the Power Snatch to gage thoracic, shoulder, and hip mobility. Other progressions are shown in the video above if the drill is quickly contraindicated for the client.
Kettlebell Goblet Lateral Lunge to Lateral High Pull

We can change the leverage of a movement by the plane of motion we train the client. Moving in the frontal plane is very helpful in identifying problems in movement integration in other functional actions such as lateral stability. Working in the frontal plane will also enhance the use of specific muscles such as the glute medius that assist in developing pelvic stability and lowering low back issues. Because few people are initially comfortable in the frontal plane exercises, the KB goblet squat helps to counterbalance the individual while offering some loading.

The lateral high pull offers us an opportunity to teach more accelerative techniques outside of the dominant sagittal plane. The stepping action back and forth from the lateral high pull creates acceleration and deceleration on both hips. If moving to the right, the right hip must first decelerate the load of both the kb and the individual, reverse the force, and create acceleration back to the starting position. Upon arriving back at the starting position the left hip must again decelerate the kb and body weight. Again, if the client is not prepared, alternatives are provided.
TRX Hip Press to Squat Jump

These slower tempo movements are particularly helpful if we are trying to gage how well one can integrate very specific segments of the body. In the case of this complex, we are trying to first identify the client’s ability to extend the hips without knee extension, or increased lumbar lordosis. If the client can not perform this movement, the Squat Jump may be change to an alternative exercise such as an assisted squat or any number of proper regressions. For those that are able to properly perform the hip press, this exercise can “awaken” many of the same muscles that are going to be responsible for both acceleration and deceleration in the following movement.

One of the greatest challenges in utilizing very fast lifts is finding incremental ways of introducing clients to these drills. Since some movements are completely reliant upon moving quickly, we can use equipment like the TRX to provide some level of support to add an important level of progression. Teaching how to apply proper strap tension is important as it will provide valuable information to the alignment of the client during the exercise. This is a simple and effective means in teaching force absorption and reinforcing proper squat patterning.
KB Bottom’s Up Downs – USB Push Press

The bottom’s up position immediately calls upon the “core” of the body to brace to help balance the position. We also see that the ability to balance the kb in the bottom’s up requires proper shoulder placement and tension through the lats. These are important concepts for when the client presses any implement overhead and helps teach these concepts before we place such demands on the client.

The Up Down added to the exercise really creates a whole new dimension. As the client is moving up and down the level of stability changes requiring the tension that the client is producing to subtly change. In most functional activities we do not see constant tension, rather the ability to gradiate tension. Finally, the Up Down gives us important feedback upon the client’s hip mobility and single stability/strength.

The USB Push Press is a great compliment to the KB position Up Downs. Now that the client understands the value of lat tension, core alignment/strength, we can add a more dynamic exercise in the overhead position. Going overhead obviously strengthens the upper body, but the leverage it provides also makes for a powerful anti-flexion/extension drill. Even though we have a more stable body position, we can add instability through the USB itself, as well as the speed of the movement itself. A great way to increase the perceived intensity of the exercise is to have the implement to be more unstable as we are in more stable body positions.

1. Scott, Christopher. The Effect of Time Under Tension and Weight Lifting Cadence on aerobic, Anaerobic, and Recovery Energy expenditures. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2012. 37(2), 252-256.