Metabolic Conditioning

Everyone’s Favorite: The Box Jump

THE BOX JUMP

Don’t deny it, you know you love them. The box jump is a metabolic conditioning exercise where the athlete stands in front of a box and then proceeds to jump on top of the box with both feet at the same time. Once standing fully upright on the box with hips open, the athlete then jumps down to complete the rep. The box jump can be scaled down using a box step-up and is a great exercise for engaging the butt, front of legs, and back of legs.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Feet Hip-Width Apart: To set up properly for the box jump, start by standing with your feet directly under your hips. You do not want your feet too narrow or too wide, as these stances do not create the best position for jumping efficiently, and they do not create the same amount of power for your jump as you will get by standing with your feet hip-width apart.

  2. Stand Back: Don’t stand with your toes touching the box, as you will not be able to jump on top of the box without falling over. Stand about eight to ten inches back from the box so that you have enough distance to clear the box with your feet when jumping up. Keep in mind that the higher the box, the further away you will want to stand so that you have enough distance for clearing the box without tripping.

  3. Keep Torso Upright: When bending your knees and preparing to jump onto the box, do not lean too far over the box with your torso. Focus on keeping your torso slightly bent but still primarily in an upright position so that you can fully extend your hips once you land on top of the box and achieve a softer landing. If you are bent too far forward, it will be difficult to fully open your hips once you land and you will land much harder on your feet.

  4. Scale Height: Depending on your mobility and strength, you can scale the height of the box you use for the box jump. Be sure to consider the type of workout you’re doing and whether the goal is increased strength or speed. This should inform your decision on box height so that you can complete the workout while still working toward greater results in your ability to perform the movement.

Rebounding for Efficiency: If you are looking for a great way to quickly achieve box jumps in succession without a long pause at the bottom, use a rebounding method to gain momentum and achieve box jumps at a faster pace. Rebounding is not recommended for anyone who has planters or leg issues, as this method causes significant strain on the ankles, calves and feet; however, if you have good ankle, calf and foot mobility and want to increase your box jump speed, use a rebounding method. To achieve rebounding, create a rhythm in your head and think about doing a double hop on top of the box or once you are on the ground. This double hop motion creates great momentum to propel you back up onto the box and down again in a more fluid manner.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Burning Legs with the Box Step-Up

THE BOX STEP-UP

The box step-up is a lower body exercise where the athlete stands in front of a box and then proceeds to step up onto the box one leg at a time. Once standing fully upright on the box with hips open, the athlete then steps down one foot at a time to complete the rep. The box step up is often used as a scaled version for completing a box jump and is a great exercise that will engage the butt, front of legs, and back of legs as it is completed.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Stand Up Fully: Often the box step-up is incorporated into various workouts where speed is of the essence, and sometimes athletes will therefore rush the movement and not complete a proper box step-up. To complete the box step-up, you must stand fully upright on top of the box. So, slow down and focus on fully opening the hips once you’re on top of the box before you step back down onto the ground.

  2. Create a Rhythm: It can become tedious and easy to lose count of your reps when you’re stepping up and down repetitively. It can also be quite easy to trip or get a toe caught as you are stepping up and down. Think about creating a rhythm in your head for you to follow with each step so that you not only create a more smooth transition between reps, but you also alternate legs properly so that both legs are getting a workout with the movement.

  3. Scale Height: Depending on your mobility and strength, you can scale the height of the box you use for the box step-up. Be sure to consider the type of workout you’re doing and whether the goal is increased strength or speed. This should inform your decision on box height so that you can complete the workout while still working toward greater results in your ability to perform the movement.

  4. Weighted Variation: Weighted box step-ups are also used in various workouts and require you to hold onto a kettle bell or another form of weight as you complete the step-up. This extra weight will make it harder to move smoothly up and down from the box and often causes the athlete to hunch forward. Focus on keeping your torso upright and fully opening your hips at the top to prevent back injury.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Killer Engine with the Kettlebell Swing

THE KETTLEBELL SWING

The kettlebell swing is a great exercise to build strength in the legs and core muscles. To perform the kettlebell swing, the athlete stands with feet about hip width apart while reaching down to grab the kettlebell off the ground. Once holding onto the kettlebell, the athlete pushes the kettlebell back between the legs and then throws his / her hips forward to swing the kettlebell to swing back up in front of the body while keeping the arms straight. The motion of the kettlebell should appear like an arc or rainbow motion from between the legs to in front (the Russian Kettlebell Swing) or straight above the head (the American Kettlebell Swing). Athletes should feel the back, butt, and hamstring muscles engaged during the movement.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Set Up in Deadlift Position: Rather than standing far behind the kettlebell while it is on the ground, set up in more of a deadlift position with your body almost directly above the kettlebell as it sits on the ground. Feet should be equally spaced on either side of the kettlebell about the same distance as you use for a squat. As you reach down to grab the kettlebell, focus on keeping your back straight and your core tight while you stick your butt back. You should feel tension in the back of the legs, just as with a deadlift.

  2. Throw Hips Forward: To engage the swing, grab onto the kettlebell and push it back between your legs with your arms straight and torso still straight. Once the kettlebell swings backward, throw your hips forward to initiate the forward swing of the kettlebell up into the air. Remember that your legs are doing the work with this movement, so throwing your hips forward allows you to leverage the most strength from your leg muscles and generate an efficient kettlebell swing.

  3. Keep Torso Stable: As the kettlebell swings back between your legs, the momentum will try to drop your torso down over the kettlebell. Try to keep your torso stable throughout the movement by squeezing your butt and keeping your shoulders back while you tighten your core muscle. This will prevent arching or curving in the back as the kettlebell swings back down and will ensure you are properly engaging your leg muscles versus your arm muscles, which is the focus of the movement.

  4. Weight in the Heels: With the momentum of the kettlebell moving up and down, it is easy to allow yourself to tip forward and put your body weight into your toes. However, this creates instability for you as you perform the kettlebell swing. Keep the weight back in your heels and keep your feet flat to counteract the forward pull of the kettlebell swing.

  5. Variations: With the Russian kettlebell swing, you will swing the kettlebell from between your legs and raise it up to eye level while keeping your arms straight out in front of your body. The American variation of the kettlebell swing requires you to raise the kettlebell even higher until your arms are straight above your head. Normally people who are new to performing the movement, or those who struggle with shoulder mobility, will start with the Russian variation of the kettlebell swing. As your strength and mobility increase, you will find it easier to perform the American variation with the kettlebell fully overhead.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Raw Conditioning with Rowing

ROWING

Rowing is a fantastic metabolic conditioning exercise where the athlete simulates rowing in a water craft on a rowing machine. The proper rowing motion consists of the athlete starting in a tucked position with knees bent toward the chest, the back upright, and hands holding onto the handle. The athlete then pulls the handle as he/she pushes and extends the legs straight and completes the movement by  returning back into a tucked position with legs bent and the handle close to the starting point. This is a full-body exercise that provides a great workout.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Proper Foot Positioning: Before rowing can occur, you want to set up correctly with your feet in the right position. The rower has a foot pad that allows you to secure your feet with a heel and toe strap, which enable you to adjust the fit according to your foot size. When adjusting the straps, be sure that the ball of your foot is toward the base of the upward slope area of the foot pad and that your straps are tight, as this will allow for a better push position with your feet.

  2. Don’t Get Caught: One of the most difficult things when learning to row is how to quickly and efficiently get your feet out of the rower so you can swiftly move to the next exercise in a workout. As simple as it sounds, people quite frequently get their feet caught in the straps and stumble out of the rowers, wasting valuable time in workouts. To easily get out of the rower, pull on the toe straps to loosen the tension and then slide your foot upward before pulling your foot out. If you pull your foot out right away, your toe will still be caught in the heel strap; however, by sliding the foot up and then out, you will be able to avoid catching your foot on the heel strap altogether.

  3. Get a Solid Grip: When gripping the handle, place hands at the outer edges of the handle rather than close to the center. Often people take too narrow of a grip, causing their back and shoulder to crunch up as they pull. Keeping a wider grip ensures room for your elbows to fluidly move back and forward with each pull while keeping your torso stable and shoulders down. Also, if feasible, try to keep your knees in between your arms rather than outside your arms, as this will help you have a more efficient pull on the rower.

  4. Stay Flat: Keep your back straight and in a flat position while also keeping your feet flat against the foot pads throughout the entire row movement.

  5. Push then Pull: To initiative the first half of the row movement, engage your legs and push yourself away from the rower. Just after you push with your legs, begin to pull with your arms, bringing the handle to your ribcage. This sequence allows you to leverage your leg strength to get the maximum distance or work from each row.

  6. Reverse the Sequence: To complete the second half of the row movement and get back to a proper starting position for your next rowing rep, do the opposite sequence as you did when pulling. Allow your arms, then chest, then your legs to come forward toward the rower until you are back in a starting position. Remember that you do not need to hunch forward with your hands all the way to the rower itself, but focus instead on keeping your arms straight and your torso slightly forward while your legs are bent. This position provides the maximum opportunity for utilizing your strength as you pull.

Tips & Tricks:

  1. Keep Proper Order: Often athletes will rush to bring their legs forward on the way back from the row, creating a sequence of their knees going up first, then their hands having to move around their knees to get back into a starting position. This improper sequence also causes the heels to lift from the foot pads and then the athlete pushes through their toes rather their heels on the next row. Always remember to lead with arms, chest, and then legs.

  2. Engage the Legs: Focus on keeping the heels down and maintaining the proper pull sequence to ensure you are activating your glutes and hamstrings to get the most strength from each pull. The legs contain some of the strongest muscles in the body, so we want to use that strength to get as much from each pull as possible, rather than only using our arms.

  3. Long, Steady Pulls: Try to not rush your rowing reps, but instead take long and steady pulls. This will help you keep proper form throughout the rowing movement while also allowing the rowing machine itself to maximize the distance you row with each pull.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.

Whip Into Shape with the Wall Ball

THE WALL BALL

The wall ball is a compound movement where the athlete holds a medicine ball while performing a front squat, and then as the athlete comes out of the front squat position, he/she uses a push press motion to throw the medicine ball overhead and subsequently hit a target up on the wall. Similar to the thruster, the wall ball requires great core stability and focus on technique to ensure the movement is completed efficiently and safely. Athletes should feel the upper body and lower body activated as they complete the wall ball.

Watch the video clip below for a full explanation of technique, tips and tricks for performing the movement with efficiency, as well as precautions for staying safe.

MOVEMENT BASICS:

  1. Set Up Arm’s Width from the Wall: To maintain proper form throughout the movement and also create efficiency and ease of motion while performing the wall ball, set up by standing about arm’s width away from the wall. If you are too close or too far, you will find it much harder to accurately perform the wall ball while maintaining correct form, and it will be much harder to hit your target.

  2. Remember the Basics: As you perform the wall ball, keep the basics of the air squat in mind: keep your feet about hips’ width apart; ensure toes are straight forward or possibly slightly angled out, depending on your mobility; keep your weight in the heels with your butt back; stay focused on moving the knees directly out over the feet; and maintain an upright chest. All of these are essential to perform the squat without injury.

  3. Place Ball in Front Rack Position: Whenever you do a wall ball, you want to start the movement by holding the ball a front-rack position, meaning the ball is held in your hands, with hands staying up and in front of your shoulders. Focus on holding onto the ball with your hands below the ball versus holding onto the sides, as this will create the best possible pressing or throwing position with your arms. Keeping the hands below the ball and your elbows in toward your body also ensures better accuracy while attempting to hit your target on the wall.

  4. Use Hips to Get the Ball Up: Just as with the push press or thruster, use the upward momentum from your squat and energy in the hips to help you throw the ball in the air with greater speed. Focus on accelerating from the bottom of your squat and popping your hips, almost like you’re jumping, and as you do so, throw the ball upward into the air.

  5. Smooth Singular Motion: When starting out, many athletes attempt the wall ball as a combination of two separate movements, a front squat followed by a push press. However, you should feel as if you are performing a singular smooth motion, transitioning from movement into the next without pausing at the top of the squat before pushing the ball upward. As you move from one rep into the next, you will feel yourself moving downward into the squat at the same time as you catch the ball and hold it in a proper front rack position. This may take coordination and practice to link reps together.

SCALING: Sometimes our mobility or lack of strength can hinder us as we attempt to perform the wall ball with proper form.  Remember: Scaling isn’t a negative thing! It will help you gain strength while staying in a safe position until ultimately you can perform the movement in its entirety. Stay encouraged that as you continue on your fitness journey, you will find that you won’t have to scale as significantly or as often.

  1. Different Weights and Heights: Depending on your strength and ability, you may use a different weight of ball than someone else, and you may use a different height for your target. Target heights are eight, nine, or ten feet up on the wall, and balls differ between 10, 14, and 20 pounds. Use the proper height and weight to ensure you can complete a series of wall balls as outlined in the workout, and to prevent injury.

  2. Focus on Coordination First: Although wall balls are often performed in workouts to achieve maximum speed, it is more important to focus on proper form and coordination versus pushing quickly through a set of wall balls with improper mechanics. Always ensure your form is correct, and if you find yourself catching the wall ball off-center, stop, get back into the right position, and then complete a proper rep.

QUESTIONS: Ready to get started, or curious to learn more about how Fierce Play can help you meet your health and wellness goals? Contact us for more information. Also feel free to check out more of our videos series to learn how to perform the basics with solid form and efficiency.

METABOLIC CONDITIONING SERIES: Technique at Every Stage

Fierce Play’s Metabolic Conditioning Series focuses on proper technique, as well as tips & tricks, to master some of the foundational movements that will be integrated into many of the workouts you will perform. Start your next workout with the confidence and skills to do the movement safely and effectively.