View Full Version : That last topic and CB "Hip-snap"
03-01-2004, 06:49 AM
The Thought -
Cecilís last post and my reply to it got me thinking about hip extension, more popularly known as hip-snap, used in various clubbell lifts. My initial thoughts on the subject were of course the hip extension isnít trained as much as it using other kettlebell lifts and barbell Olympic and power lifts. The nature of the clubbellís off-center mass effects the arms, shoulders, and trunk for the most part, but it really doesnít translate to great hip extensor activation. The reason for this is simple, and we must look at why clubbells do work effectively for the other upper-body muscle groups.
Clubbells and Tension: A Marriage Made in Heaven -
Besides the fact that clubbells can be used rather uniquely, the reason why clubbells are effective in training more conventional ways in comparison with other implements that are much heavier is because of tension. Your muscles donít know the difference between using a barbell, sandbag, your own bodyweight, or anything else for that matter. All that matters to your muscles is the how hard and how long they have to contract to get the job done. In a simpler term, all they know is tension.
The constant balancing act occurring during clubbell exercise causes all the muscles of the arm, shoulder, and trunk to flex in order to keep the weight stable and brace against injury. Unfortunately, none or very little of this is transferred to the legs. This is especially true during the hip extensor movement of clubbell lifts because of the position the clubbell is in, which negates much of the leverage disadvantage. This should be important to athletes because of the crossover that hip extensor activation has to running, jumping, and other explosive activities with the legs, which comprise a large variety of sports. At first, I was ready to let the issue die with that. The greater the weight, the greater the hip extensor activation and thatís that. Case closed.
That didnít sit well with me though. If constant stabilization makes clubbell lifting so effective for the upper body, then how could I transfer that to the lower body as well? Not only is the answer simple, but it allows you to utilize the unique ways that clubbells can be used.
The Solution -
This weekend I decided to explore various ways to maximize hip extensor activation while working out with clubbells, and I was impressed with the results.
03-01-2004, 06:49 AM
Exercise 1: 4-Corner Balance Drill Ė
I thought this was the most obvious place to start my search since I could integrate two things originating from the same source, and I wasnít disappointed. While this doesnít directly target hip extension, it was a great workout for my legs. What I did was:
1) Start in beginning position of drill with clubbells in order
2) Perform headcast x 1, iron cross x 1, armpit cast x 1
3) Hold clubbells in order and move to position 2
4) Repeat step #2
5) This is where it got tricky. Hold clubbells in order and move to position 3. (leg in back)
6) While holding this position alternating inward pendulums x 3 (you may have to modify the movement slightly to prevent banging clubs on floor)
7) Hold clubbells in order and move leg back to position 1.
8) Repeat step #2
9) Hold clubbells in order and go to final position. (leg crossed)
10) Repeat step #2
This was a great starter. I started first using a single clubbell and then I moved to the doubles. I was surprised that I was actually sweating while remaining almost completely stationary. The wobble of the clubs whose effect usually stopped in my shoulder girdle or trunk went all the way down to feet. My planted foot was burning from the stabilization exertion and my leg was feeling it too.
Exercise 2: One-legged Lift Variations -
I decided to experiment with one-legged versions of the snatch and the swipe. While stabilization was difficult, I didnít think this was very effective. The initial problem of the light weight and the negation of the leverage disadvantage were again a problem here. Not only that, but the clubbells uniqueness really was harnessed as I could do one-legged lifts with any other implement much to the same effect and most likely a greater effect due to the other implementsí greater weight. This forced me to go further, and Iím almost sorry that I did.
Exercise 3: Pistol Variations -
I like the Cossack exercise, but I felt the thing that made clubbells unique were negated from it. Sure itís hard to keep the clubbells steady while squatting down, but I wanted to bring it up a notch. I tried a few different variations.
The first variation was doing a pistol while holding the clubbells in order. Trying to keep the clubbells under control forced me to stay extremely tight from my finger tips to my toes or else Iíd lose my balance. It happened quite a bit before I grooved the movement.
The second variation was doing a pistol while doing a head cast at the same time. Iíd hold the clubs behind my back while standing up and bring them over head while I squatted down. The head cast helped keep my balance from going to far back, but again stabilization was extremely difficult. My legs and my trunk felt this to an incredible degree. Without a stable base to support it, my trunk had to work overtime to keep me steady which in turn forced my legs to work that much harder.
The third variation was approached with extreme caution. Not only was I getting burned out from the previous exercises, but I knew this was going to be difficult. The object was to perform an iron cross while doing a pistol at the same time. Again Iíd perform the cross on the way down and retract on the way up. In a word, nearly impossible. OK. That was two words, but you get the point. The weight always being behind me almost tipped me over in every attempt and it took an extreme abdominal tension to keep me upright. This also took quite a bit of flexibility in the bottom position.
These pistols absolutely amazed me. Perhaps there has been an article written about similar methods before, but I havenít seen it. It only makes sense to take advantage of the clubbells unique properties to do this exercise because of the extreme stabilization this requires, and this extreme stabilization leads to an extreme amount of tension over the entire body. Another bonus for this exercise is that not only are the prime movers of the hip extension used, but all the small stabilization muscles were used to their fullest too. A more stable hip extension means a lot less likelihood of injury while exploding into action in the real world or in any format of competition.
The thing that struck me the most useful about these pistols were that I was training very strenuous and nearly independent activities with all four of my limbs. One of the hardest parts about performing these was concentrating on what each limb was doing. The movements themselves may not have direct carry over to an athletic activity, but the coordination and concentration certainly do.
03-01-2004, 06:51 AM
Iím not trying to come off like a superman. What I did in this post took nearly an entire day of trying one thing, resting and enjoying the beautiful weather, and then trying another. Not only that, but it took many attempts in order to do these movements. That being said, I think there are some very valid ways here to take advantage of the clubbellís properties and transfer that to giving yourself a brutal leg workout.
If this is rehashing some old information, then I apologize because I havenít been a member of this board very long and I havenít read all the CST Mag issues. I was going to wait a few weeks to write this up, so I could have some pictures to accompany this, but I was too excited about the results to wait. Another pistol variation that came to mind was explosively jumping up and switching legs after each rep. I wasnít about to try it though.
It's always fun rejuvinating my training with new and challenging things. Any comments or suggestions would be welcome.
03-01-2004, 06:54 AM
A brilliant essay! Submit some photos, & we'll publish this in the next CST Magazine issue.
03-01-2004, 09:07 AM
Alright. Will do. I'll re-write for a format more suitable for a mag. If the weather holds, me and the old lady will head out this weekend to take pictures. I'm getting her a pair of 5 lbs clubs soon to add to her kettlebell. I'm trying to get her into fighting shape. She's one of those lucky ones that could sit on the couch eating candy all day and still weigh 115 lbs.
03-01-2004, 10:18 AM
Innovative applications Paul! Looking forward to the article/photos/layout.
I've worked Clubbells with 115# women... both 5s and 10s... and they found the challenge of 10s a lot more satisfying... they could "bully" the 5s, which shortchanges the neurological sophistication required to handle a mass you can't bully. I've had 10s for a month and already pining for 15s (budget be damned :twisted: ). Just throwing that in... Doug told me to get the heavier one than I thought I could handle, and work it two-handed for a month... he was right (surprise :shock: )... although I still needed 10s for my students... it only took them 3 weekly tries to do swipes, which they'd initially declared "impossible".
03-01-2004, 11:45 AM
Being a relative newbie who's just now getting a number of movements to groove properly, I am impressed and a little dismayed by Paul's work. :shock:
It sounds terrific, but it's way beyond my current Beginner's capabilities. All the same, I really like the ideas he had about increasing the workload for lower body, hips, and legs. I figured right away that there must be some elementary alternatives that anyone could try. :idea:
In the spirit of expanding training options for newbies, I will try out some of the ideas that popped into my head as I read Paul's article and post the results here in a day or two.
I promise not to hurt myself. :wink:
03-02-2004, 12:52 PM
Armpit Cast with Squat - 1x6, RT 6 - This was challenging, especially when moving to Back Position while dropping down. It was hard not to bump my back. Coming up I felt lots more hip snap, abs, and glutes on the Cast. I like this a lot and will have to work with it more later.
4CBD with Full Parry Cast - 1x2 each position, RT 5 - Tough, for me! I'm not so good at 4CBD without the Clubbellsģ, so this was a very educational lesson.
I thought of playing with some Pistols too, but soon realized that I can't yet do a Pistol without the Clubbellsģ, so gave it up for now. I will work on other variations later, until I can do Pistols too.
03-03-2004, 04:22 AM
Whew. I just talked to my gym and tried those lifts again last night, I think I may have been a little over-ambitious with the time frame I gave to get this done. First of all, the gym won't allow me to take pictures because it would be distracting to other members and some may not want to be posted on the internet. Secondly, these lifts are damn hard! I was able able to get the pistols while holding 2 clubs in order again no problem. Then I burnt myself out getting the pistol with head cast.
I'll wait a month or so. That way the weather will be warm and agreeable for photo's outside and I can practice these lifts, so the photo's will take 15 minutes to get rather than 15 hours. The wife loves me and all, but I have a sneaking suspicion she won't spend an entire Saturday watching me try to get these lifts down. haha!
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