How to "Tie" Your Body Together

"The shoulders and the hips tie the arms and the legs to your body, this is obvious. But to take the knot analogy further, in order to function properly a knot cannot be too loose - it comes undone and your shoe comes off, or it's too tight, in which case you cannot untie it and you cannot ever remove your shoe. In order to have a functioning knot you must have a perfect balance of strength and flexibility. You must be like flexible steel. Flexible steel bends, but does not break." Jon Engum Flexible Steel

So just how do we achive this at Got Your Back Total Health? We focus on hips, shoulders and thoracic spine or upper back. We will accomplish this by focusing on 4 movements the arm bar, the pullover, the hinge , the goblet squat and the hip matrix

Performed on their own, in the morning, as a recharge or "reset" these movements check a lot of boxes. You will impove your strength, stability and mobility simultaneously. 

Straight from the mouth of Flexibility Expert and Master Kettlebell Instructor Jon Engum of Flexible Steel :

Start with the Kettlebell Goblet Squat for 2-3 sets of 5 reps. Take a deep breath and 

We have found that a month or two of practicing this form of squatting has a dramatic opening effect on the hips and T-spine.

Progress to the The Hinge, either with no weight of with a light Kettlebell, 2-3 sets of 5 Reps 

Next we will move to the ground for the Hip Matrix

 Quick Tips:

Finally we will move to the Upper Body and focus on the Shoulder and T-Spine with the Arm Bar. The effect on the "shoulders, T-spine and all around posture is apparent as soon as you perform the movement. You can instantly feel a dramatic improvement and an opening throughout your entire body."-Engum

The Kettlebell Pullover is another powerful posture changer. 

  1. Grab a light kettlebell with both hands; hook your thumbs through the handle in such a way that allows the body of the bell to rest on the insides of your forearms.
  2. Press the bell straight up over your chest - kind of like a bench press.
  3. Engage your lats and lock your elbows. They must stay locked and your lats must stay on throughout the maneuver.
  4. Now slowly lower the Kettlebell back and down in an arc so it winds up above your head on the ground.
  5. Take a breath contract and reverse the arc to "pullover” and end up above your chest. Repeat for between 5 and 10 reps.

 

Note: If you cannot make it all the way to the ground without your shoulders coming unpacked or without bending your elbows then go only as far as you can and do some contract/relax stretching letting the weight of the bell take you down several inches with each relaxation. Be conservative. You may go deeper on each consecution set. With time you will be able to handle the pullover proper.


Sources:

Engum, Jon. “Untying the 4 Knots: Jon Engum's 4 Weeks to Flexible Steel Program.”Breaking Muscle, 26 Nov. 2017, breakingmuscle.com/fitness/untying-the-4-knots-jon-engums-4-weeks-to-flexible-steel-program.

Engum, Jon. Flexible Steel: an Insider's Guide to Ultimate Flexibility. Dragon Door Publications, 2013.

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