The Movement Pyramid
Think of each exercise movement as the top of a pyramid. There are several fundamental skills and strength, the pyramid’s building blocks, that can be trained and developed before the movement at the top is mastered.
Taking apart the movement, brick by brick, is essentially what an exercise regression seeks to do. The goal is to develop the baseline skills and strength needed to get all the way to the top and summit the movement.
What is an Exercise Regression?
Simply put, an exercise regression is the process of making a movement easier for yourself. If you are a beginner, you can regress exercises to adapt to your own level of skill and fitness.
- Modifying resistance or position
- Building baseline skills
1. Modifying Resistance or Position
For bodyweight, let’s use the Push-Up as an example.
How to Do a Push-Up
Perform the movement on your knees with your hands on the ground.
Perform the movement on your knees with your hands on an elevated platform, such as a chair, bench, couch, etc…
Stand and perform with your hands on an elevated platform.
For the kettlebell, we will use the Kettlebell Goblet Squat as an example.
How to Do a Kettlebell Goblet Squat
- Use a lighter weight.
- Lower your repetition count.
- Bring the kettlebell closer to your chest.
2. Building Baseline Skills
For bodyweight, let’s use the Burpee as an example.
How to Do a Burpee
- Perform the Burpee without a jump at the top of the movement.
- Perform the Burpee without a push-up at the bottom of the movement.
For the kettlebell, let’s use the Kettlebell Snatch as an example.
How to Do a Kettlebell Snatch
Start as if you were going to do a one-hand kettlebell swing. The kettlebell should be about 6-12 inches in front of you. Stand with your feet forward, placed a little more than shoulder width apart. As you inhale, “deadlift down” by bending at your hips, with your knees are slightly bent, until you are in a deadlift position with your right hand on the kettlebell horn. Get low and get ready to use your core, legs, and hips to power the bell up.
Hike the bell back between your legs as you inhale. As you exhale, power up with your hips and core, and pull your right elbow up and back to your side. As the kettlebell is suspended in this pull, “punch” up and through the handle with your right hand. This punching movement prevents the kettlebell from slamming your wrist. At the top of the movement, extend your arms like you were at the top of the Press.
To descend, inhale and pull your hand and elbow back at the top of the movement so that the kettlebell falls over your hand. Allow the momentum of the bell to fall and pull you back down into the start of the swing position. Repeat, or repeat with the other hand.
- At the top of the movement, instead of allowing the kettlebell to fall over your hand, you can return the kettlebell to the upper racked position as if you were doing a Kettlebell Press.
- Learn How to Do a Kettlebell High Pull, which is the basic building block for learning the Snatch.
Give it a try!
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