Easy as 1-2-3

By Diane Vives, M.S., C.S.C.S., N.S.C.A.-C.P.T., F.M.S. – April 1, 2016
photos by Brian Fitzsimmons

1/ Front Squat

Purpose

Train the squat movement with an anterior load. As the upper leg lowers below horizontal, work to maintain a more upright torso to effectively handle the resistance with good posture.   

Start with a shoulder-width stance and toes rotated slightly outward.  Hold the barbell or kettlebells in a front rack position in contact with the anterior, meaty part of the shoulder.  

Elbows should be pointing forward for barbell loading and to avoid the bar rolling out of position. 

Imagine you are standing over a bucket and lower your hips into the bucket by flexing at the hips, knees and ankles.  

Squat maintaining an upright torso and front rack with barbell in position. The wrist should be relaxed with fingers simply holding barbell placement.  

This should be a smooth controlled movement with a short pause showing control at the bottom.  Then, push your heels through the floor to extend the lower body and return to the start position. 

Tweak

A dowel rod or lighter body bar may be used while learning the movement. Movement quality is the priority to build efficiency and safety in the Wall Ball Test.

The physical ability to gain movement efficiency and build work capacity are key for completing the Wall Ball Test and hitting your personal record of reps in one minute. Don’t forget to reach out to your local personal trainers or strength coaches to assist in your technique and training for this year’s AFM FITTEST! 

 

 

 

2/ Push Press

Purpose 

This movement requires a dip and drive movement that engages the vertical momentum with a power position in the lower body, then uses that momentum to finish the overhead press. This transfer of the load from the front rack position to overhead is key in the wall ball movement.  

Start with a shoulder-width stance and toes rotated slightly outward.  Hold the barbell or kettlebells in a front rack position in contact with the anterior, meaty part of the shoulder.  

Elbows should be pointing forward for barbell loading and to avoid the bar rolling out of position. 

Be sure to keep eyes forward, head vertical with chin tucked.  This will allow the bar to travel close but not contact the face.  

Using quick flexion of the lower body into the power position, also considered a quarter squat, to start the “dipping motion” that loads the lower body.  

Quickly extend the lower body to “drive” the load from the bottom up using the whole body to lift the weight off the front rack. Follow the momentum of the bar upward until the elbows are fully extended, arms in line with the ears on each side of the head, and weight comes to a controlled stop in the catch position. 

Lower the weight down under control, back to the front squat position. 

The physical ability to gain movement efficiency and build work capacity are key for completing the Wall Ball Test and hitting your personal record of reps in one minute. Don’t forget to reach out to your local personal trainers or strength coaches to assist in your technique and training for this year’s AFM FITTEST! 

 

3/ Plank with Leg Lift

Purpose

The Plank exercise trains the torso or “core” to act as a conduit that transfers force from the lower body to the upper body. The compressive force between forearms and feet assist in reflexive stability of the kinetic chain. This takes establishing a strong posture where the rib cage stacks over the pelvis to create good inter-abdominal pressure and tightness that protects the spine and creates the stiffness needed for the conduit transfer.  

Start in a plank position with elbows under the shoulders, fore arms flat and in line with the torso, and feet hip-width apart.  

Make sure torso is parallel with ground and there is a straight line through the shoulders, hips and knees. 

Slowly and under control, extend one hip, lifting the foot just off the ground. Then, hold for a count of five. Then lower the leg back to start. 

Continue to alternate legs for the desired number of repetitions. 

Tweak

Focus on the plank without flexing the hip.

The physical ability to gain movement efficiency and build work capacity are key for completing the Wall Ball Test and hitting your personal record of reps in one minute. Don’t forget to reach out to your local personal trainers or strength coaches to assist in your technique and training for this year’s AFM FITTEST! 

 

 
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