I love this exercise, in particular, because it is great at activating the posterior chain, or the muscles in your back. You’ll feel this one in the legs and glutes, primarily. You’ll also feel it in your core, as well as your lower and upper back. Last but not least, you’ll feel it in the back of your shoulders. However, with any exercise, the goal is to activate the entire body with balance, integrating the movement of everything in your entire body together as a single, collective unit.
As with all of my magical exercises, this one is designed to make you more powerful and longer lasting at the same time. This is made possible by the use of core rotation, in addition to fluid, rhythmic, and non-stop movement. Any type of movement or exercise that doesn’t contain these qualities is going to decrease mobility, which can make you either reduce your ability to move dynamically and sustainably.
For this reason, all movements that you perform should be focused on the efficient movement and rotation, of the core.
In this exercise, notice how my core rotates as my arms and legs move in concert. Coordinating the movement of your core, arms, and legs is very important in the practice of martial arts, as well as sports and life. Coordinated, synchronized motion increases the power you’re able to produce, but it also reduces stress on the joints, making this the most awesome exercise ever! (not really (but seriously though))
This exercise can be performed with a sandbell, a kettlebell, or anything else that can be easily passed from one hand to the other. A gallon of milk, a 10 pound weight, or a plastic bag full of rocks are all good substitutes for the sandbell in this exercise. If you want to get a sandbell of your own, use this link, and I’ll get a 10% sales commission.
To perform this exercise, start by holding the sandbell in your left hand, then rotate your core to the left while touching (not slamming) your right hand and knee to the ground. Swing the sandbell as far as you can to the left, lifting it as high as you can.
Keep the sandbell in motion at all times, immediately moving the sandbell back towards the right side. Lift the right knee and hand off the ground as the sandbell returns to the middle of your body
As the sandbell crosses the midline of your body, pass it to your right hand without stopping. With the sandbell now in your right hand, touch your left hand and knee to the ground, swinging the sandbell as far as you can to the right, lifting it as high as you can.
Remember that we shouldn’t pause at any point in this movement. So, as you switch hands with the sandbell, keep everything moving. People have the tendency to pause after each rep when they perform an exercise. This causes you to be less fluid and efficient, but it also makes you slower and less dynamic.
You never want to pause during a fight, nor should you pause during exercise. You’ll develop bad habits and you will make yourself less fluid and more robotic. If you can’t do this exercise without pausing, then do it with a lighter weight, or without weight at all.
You should also make sure you don’t slam your knee or your hand down. The idea is to have control and to move fluidly, and smashing your body into the ground isn’t fluid or controlled. If you’re working out to be healthier, you should know that getting out of control and damaging your joints is going to make you less healthy. If you’re working out to increase stamina, power, and coordination, slamming your hand or knee to the ground will have the opposite effect, as will pausing during the workout.
Slamming also makes it difficult to change directions, meaning it makes you slow, sticky, and inefficient. Putting too much energy into anything, especially putting too much energy into the ground, is just a poor use of your energy. It’s plain wasteful.
Take caution, especially when you’re learning the movement. Start slow, and explore your range of motion gradually. After you feel more comfortable with the movement, try to perform as many as you can in 90 seconds, with control and efficiency.
Remember, you should feel this exercise throughout the entire body. If you start to feel the burn in your quads, try to put more of your weight in your heels, to activate your hamstrings and glutes. Try to relax as much as you can, while also moving the sandbell as much as possible. The idea is to strike a balance between activation and relaxation to produce powerful, sustainable movement.