I’m all about balance; I put a lot of effort into ensuring that my workouts involve all kinds of balance. Single sided movements, single leg movements, instability and having a balance between pushing and pulling movements all have made a permanent home in my exercise bag. Now I realize that this isn’t a ground breaking concept and may seem overly simplistic to some, but I’m in love with it. The exercises you choose don’t have to be complicated or complex but there must be a balance. My new favorite movements to pair together are kettlebell swings and medicine ball throw downs. They’re perfect complementary movements to each other.
The Kettle bell swing is a great full body conditioning movement, it closely mimics the flexion and extension of the hips during activities like running; it engages the whole core; challenges coordination and balance. There aren’t very many compact, dynamic movements that are better than a Kettle bell swing for overall conditioning. They can be done by nearly every healthy participant, with the alternative movement being a dead lift with a high pull, similar movement pattern just less ballistic.
Pair that with a medicine ball throw down and you have a great workout. The throw down again takes an everyday movement pattern, picking something up and putting it down, and makes it dynamic and ballistic, think chopping wood and you’ve got the right idea. Like the KB swing, it challenges you to focus on maintaining a tight core; it requires coordination and balance, and works cardiovascular endurance. Throw downs are best done with large, soft med. balls. Dynamax makes a great one that comes in many different weights. One contraindication would be limited shoulder ROM, adjusting the movement to stay in pain free ROM is an option.
The powerful concentric action of the glutes during hip extension while KB swinging combined with the explosive flexion of the hips and torso when throwing down is what makes these two movements so fantastic. They play off each other so well and flow together just like the sweat dripping off your nose while doing them. Whether you build them in as superset within a workout; put them in a larger circuit; or just use them paired together on their own you really can’t go wrong. Next time you want something dynamic, ballistic, low impact/low risk, fun, not to mention satisfying (I tell people that if they can break my Med Ball, I’ll give them $10, talk about stress relief), try adding in these two awesome movements.