Neighborhood Workout Group: The Pacerby Jen Sinkler
Yesterday was a quieter group, or quieter as a whole, anyway. There’s a difference, and I’ve noticed that when it gets to be too much of a difference, the group starts to change. State of health shows up all kinds of ways, including (and maybe especially) community dynamics.
It helps to pay attention, as with every other thing. Same questions, same answers.
Those of us who do work relating to fitness talked more about what we like about B-stance, or kickstand lifts, if you missed that Tuesday. Generally speaking, that combination of challenge + security takes the elation cake. (As does the extra muscle you build.) Also, it was fun seeing your kickstand squats on the socials!
Oooh, and I forgot to mention kickstand swings! Let’s do those soon, too. (After deadlifts.) <3
It was Emily’s first day, but we know each other from various intersecting points and times of life: rugby, gyms, and other shared connections (hi, Erica Smith! <–hugely recommend following for sex ed, lols, and beyond). We talked about how interesting and common it is for exactly what you need to appear (or appear again) exactly when you need it.
Whether you knew you needed it or not.
If you’re paying attention.
In this case, she was talking about Cardigan Mark’s presence in her life again via his Sunday newsletter, “The Neighborhood.” His wisdom and the healthful way he fosters community (or neighborhood) among people and even among all the people that you are, provided, again, she said, a sense of grounding.
For me, he always has, too, and I know several people started distance coaching with him last week. Oftentimes, he asks his questions via movement. Julie (of Muscles to the Masses and Team Unapologetically Strong!), who is working with him, wrote about the emotions that keep coming up for her during certain movements or workouts. He’s serious about being ready to be ruthless about living (or at least lifting) your most honest life. That’s what it looks like sometimes.
We can do that for ourselves, of course. Ask and explore, yourself.
One-and-a-Half Squats, Or Whatever
Phil said the name of the One-and-a-Half Squat (1.5 Squats) was inaccurate and made a bid for the exercise being called double squats because you’re doing double the work.
We talked about his reasoning, sorted through it some more, and eventually he said actually oops you were right, one-and-a-half is accurate because a squat is down all the way and up all the way and this micro squat-within-a-squat does not equal a double squat, only half of one.
I’ve been giving this some more attention today, and I think that if you really wanted to, you could make a case for them being double squats in a couple ways:
1) If you calculate the increase of the feeling UGH THIS IS HARD that the partial rep in the middle adds (i.e., the suckitude), that’s about double, I would say.
Simply put, it’s a longer rep, and more time under tension builds more strength. And, depending how you perform the rep, it can take approximately twice as long.
2) A squat doesn’t necessarily have to be all the way down and all the way up. A qualifier of some type (of equipment, at least) is required regardless of squat type. So, technically speaking, you are performing two squats.
Still, you get into a pickle immediately once you go looking for precision.
What type of squats are we doing?
One of the reps in a One-and-a-Half Squat is easy enough to account for: No one will argue with all the way down (for you) and all the way back up equaling a squat. (Oh, who am I kidding, people love to argue about squat depth, too, but you get my point. Generally, we can agree on that rep from the outset.)
But what about that second squat, which isn’t just a partial rep but also originates from the bottom position?
A squat that originates from the bottom is called an Anderson Squat.
But…this isn’t really an Anderson Squat, or even an Anderson Quarter Squat or an Anderson Half Squat, because Anderson Squats start from still, and ideally, you settle between reps.
With them, you’re intentionally not training what’s called the stretch-pause reflex: that rubber-band-like workings of muscles that create a rebound effect at the bottom of a lift and spring you back upward. Anderson Squats build sheer strength because you remove that spring-back effect. In the One-and-a-Half Squat, you arrive still moving, so it’s automatically not Anderson.
There are good reasons for training your muscles to spring sometimes, by the way: namely, more power and athleticism.
And good reasons not to, too: If you’re hypermobile, or extra flexy-bendy, it will likely very often be more beneficial for you to go sloooow and steady and build maximum control.
So, how hot you come in is a matter of choice and the goal, your body, background, and futurescape: Are you working on changing directions rapidly? Or are you going for more of an Anderson vibe, where you’re more focused on muscle strength and noting areas of the lift that feel less strong right now?
Lastly, the actual, literal fraction of the distance you cover during this mini-micro-squat-within-a-squat depends on how far you want to go: Are you trying to practice powering through your usual sticking point, and then having to do that again right away? Fun! Rise a little higher. Or, are you working the lower portion of the lift and strengthening the range that creates that sticking point to begin with? A different kind of fun. Try that, too.
Anyway, I’m going back to calling this Squat With Pulse.
I like the word “gams.”
And appreciate precision.
Julie and I have been talking a lot about windmills lately.
Travis did his first double windmill, and it was glorious.
“Whoa,” he said afterward. “Intense.”
“Feels like they twist you right open, don’t they?” (They do. This is a compliment.)
When it comes to windmills, double is definitely not where I’d start. I’d start at the bottom, rather.
As you will in this workout. Onto it…
Set your timer to a 30:15 work-to-rest ratio. This applies to both circuits.
During this workout, you’re not holding back so much as you’re strategizing exactly how you will make it through all 30 seconds of work with crispy clear form, then be able to do it again after so little rest. All I can say is pick your weights carefully, and make adjustments (heavier or lighter) if need be.
We did three rounds of each, and rested to completion between circuits.
//Strength endurance is the name of today’s game, and the body-vibe is that of those squats with a pulse, and also my description of squats with a pulse above: a little…long, you know? But get into it, hunker down, find a way through. There is satisfaction in enduring, too.//
Kettlebell Goblet Kickstand Squat (With or Without Rotation)
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, a kettlebell on the floor between the balls of your feet.
- Keeping your chest up, push your butt backward and bend your knees just far enough that you can secure a sturdy grip on the handle.
- Stand quickly and, using the power of your hips, legs and butt, launch the kettlebell straight up as if it’s in an elevator rocketing upward — the kettlebell should feel weightless. (This means you really need to make it pop with your legs!)
- Use your arms to keep it close to your body as it floats up.
- When it reaches about chest height, slide your hands down around the handle and snap your elbows around the kettlebell to catch and cradle its weight to your chest, potentially using forearm support as well.
- Stagger your feet so that they are approximately hip-width distance apart, back foot positioned comfortably behind you, back toes potentially angled outward slightly. (Whichever angle you choose, make sure the knee tracks in the same direction as the toes.)
- Shift your weight into your front foot, bending the other knee slightly. This is your starting position.
- Maintaining a mostly upright torso, initiate the movement at the hips and knees simultaneously and sink your hips downward as far you are comfortably able without letting your back round.
- Keeping your knees tracking in line with the toes of each foot, press through your whole front foot and reverse the movement to stand up. Repeat.
- If you wish to add even more of a thoracic mobility component to this lift, turn through your ribcage toward your front leg. Don’t force range of motion — simply turn slowly, under control as you descend.
Kettlebell Plank Row (video demo on my IG)
- Assume a straight-armed plank position with one hand elevated on a bench, kettlebell in your other hand.
- Without shifting your hips or body position, row the kettlebell up and back toward your rib cage, keeping your elbow no more than 30 degrees away from your body.
- Lower the weight back to the ground, then repeat with the opposite arm. Keep your midsection braced and glutes squeezed. If you need more stability, widen the distance between your feet.
Bodyweight Tent Pushup
- Start facing the floor in a straight-arm plank position with your body elevated between your hands and toes.
- Line your hands up directly under your shoulders, just wider than your ribcage.
- Hinge your hips back and up into air while dropping your head through your arms.
- While holding this “tented” position, lower your head toward the floor as far as you can control, angling your elbows out to no more than 45 degrees.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions while holding this hinged-hip position.
Kettlebell Goblet Squat With Pulse
- Stand holding a kettlebell at your chest by the outer handles (the horns), and support some of its weight with your forearms and chest.
- Initiate the squat by pushing your butt backward and bending your knees.
- Keeping your torso upright and your knees in line with your toes, lower yourself as far as you are comfortably able. (If it’s not very far, adjust your foot position and try turning your toes slightly outward, but don’t force anything.)
- From the bottom position, return approximately one-third to one-half of the way back up to the standing position.
- Again lower your hips back down as far as you are comfortably able.
- Once you reach the bottom position for a second time, return completely to the starting position and repeat.
Kettlebell Unilateral Farmer Carry
- Stand to one side of a single kettlebell, feet close together.
- Keeping your chest up, push your butt backward and bend your legs until you can grasp the kettlebell handle.
- Staying square, spine neutral, stand up with the weight.
- Walk forward in a straight line. Avoid rocking from side to side by exaggerating a heel-to-toe walk so your shoulders stay level the entire distance. (Make the kettlebell look light, even if it doesn’t.)
- When you run out of space to walk, avoid rotating and turning around while holding the kettlebell. Instead, simply lower the weight down, let go, turn around, and suitcase deadlift the kettlebell back up to your side to make your return trip. Complete the desired distance and repeat on the other side.
Kettlebell Bottom-Loaded Windmill
- Start by deadlifting a single kettlebell with one hand so that it hangs down in front of you. Turn your palm so that it faces forward. The other hand will remain unloaded until you switch sides.
- Turn both feet so that they are pointing toward the hand holding the kettlebell. If the kettlebell is in your left hand, your right foot should be at about 30 degrees, while your left foot should be about 30 to 45 degrees, depending on comfort.
- Raise your unloaded arm to an overhead position. Look up at your empty hand. Keep looking at it throughout the entire working set.
- With the vast majority of your weight in your right leg (about 90 percent), push your hips back and away, tracking in line with your right foot. Keep your right leg and right arm straight, with your right hand pointed toward the sky.
- As you continue to hinge backward with your hips, keep your left (loaded) arm in close with the inside of your left leg, reaching toward the floor. Depending on your hip mobility, you may be able to descend only slightly; or, conversely, the kettlebell may touch the floor.
- Reverse the movement and return to an upright position. Repeat.
Here’s to hoping that a little too long is just right for you today.