Winning at LIIT

By | Movement

By Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

When I gave birth to my first child in 2005, I was looking at different options on how to lose weight. It happened to be around the time that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts were becoming increasingly popular. So I spent 20-40 minutes doing HIIT workouts three times a week. I ended up losing 60 lbs. in six months! It was a game changer. I found something where I didn’t have to spend hours in the gym, but could still burn a crazy number of calories. I now try to incorporate HIIT into my group and private fitness classes as much as I can.

HIIT continues to be one of the most effective training styles used by individuals, personal trainers, and in group fitness programs all over the world. It can be incorporated in a spin class, using a rowing machine, using weights (like dumbbells or kettlebells), or by simply exercising without any equipment at all.

There’s a stigma that HIIT is all about cardio, but it also helps to add muscle and eliminate stubborn fat. The base formula is the harder you work (the higher the intensity) = the higher your oxygen intake = the higher the number of calories you burn. The combination of short bursts of high intensity exercises of 20-90 seconds with rest periods of 10-60 seconds in between help burn more calories both during your workout, but even better, for a period of time after your workout is complete.

For most good things, there’s always a “but” not far behind. As efficient as HIIT is, most of the exercises are usually high impact and include a variety of jumping. This can cause wear and tear on the body, leading to injuries in the muscles and joints. The general rule is “everything in moderation”. That also goes for HIIT. Using my background in Kinesiology and personal training, I have modified HIIT in my classes and training to minimize the risk for external pounding or jarring on the joints. This makes my classes more accessible to clients of all different levels, providing everyone the benefits of boosting their endurance and increasing fat loss. Clients get to grow at their own pace and choose the level their body can manage that day.

The modifications I’ve incorporated include low impact exercises or LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training), which has been proven to have a positive effect on clients. Don’t underestimate the acronym. These exercises can still achieve a high calorie burn workout. Examples of low impact exercises I use include the inchworm, modified power jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, and knee drives. Clients often associate low impact training as a “light day”, which is far from the truth. You can still reap the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting benefits of a HIIT workout with low impact exercises. If the intensity of your work-to-rest ratio is right, and the intensity of your workout is high enough, you can burn an equal number of calories. Just keep moving!

I believe part of the responsibility about being a personal trainer is to bring all possible solutions and methods to our clients, educating them and breaking stigmas. This includes meeting them where they are and leading them through their own path of progress, not to perfection.

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve included a quick 20-minute LIIT workout you can share with your clients or try for yourself.

Instructions: Do each exercise listed below, performing each move at maximum intensity for 45 seconds and follow with 15 seconds of rest by stepping side-to-side or walking around the room to catch your breath. Complete four total rounds.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at sides.
  2. Hinge forward from your hips and place palms on the mat, bending knees as needed to reach hands to the floor.
  3. Walk hands forward to a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  4. Walk hands back to feet and hinge from hips back up to stand.

Modified Standing Jacks

  1. Stand straight with feet together, hands at sides.
  2. Step to the right and bring both hands above the head.
  3. Bring right leg in, lower arms and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the left leg, alternating sides.

Modified Mountain Climbers

  1. Start in a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  2. Step left knee in towards chest then step it back.
  3. Repeat with right knee, alternating back and forth.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides.
  2. Step back with left leg into a diagonal lunge.
  3. For added momentum, swing left arm in front of front knee.
  4. Come back to start position, repeating on the other side.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward.
  2. Keep weight in heels and hinge at the hips, bend the knees, and sit down and back, keep head and chest up.
  3. Push through heels to come back to the start position.

About Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

Adenike (Nike) Charles is the owner of JUST2SWEAT studio where faith and fitness transform lives! She holds a BSc in Kinesiology and a Minor in Sports Medicine and is a canfitpro PTS. Nike thrives on seeing people living healthy and active lives. Connect with her @just2sweat on all social media platforms.

Movement of the Month: Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

It’s no secret that COVID has caused much stress, put many into mental states of “fight or flight”, affecting our breathing patterns and our health. So, in light of this, I thought it would be appropriate to offer up something this month that could assist everyone with their health and wellness.

What is Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing? Simply put, using your diaphragm to breathe, not your chest (more details in the video).  And, as the name suggests, it’s performed in a supine position.

Why perform it? Where do I even begin!  I could take you down a long crazy rabbit hole, but that wouldn’t accomplish anything, so I’m going to give you an analogy to put things into perspective. Please note that this does not apply to high intensity exercise. Why? Because we expect to see the chest moving to assist with breathing during recovery after high intensity exercise.

Consider this; breathing from our mouth or chest breathing is more indicative of being in “fight or flight”, or more representative of hyperventilating. In this state, the body – your nervous system more specifically – has one purpose, to protect you, PERIOD! What’s the issue? The issue is that in “fight or flight” your body will NOT heal, systemically or physically. Ever wonder why an injury or illness never seems to get better? Consider their state. Consider how you breathe. Consider what part of the nervous system it’s in.

And, just to pique your interest, when we’re in fight or flight our gut also stops producing HCL- hydrochloric acid. Why does this matter? You won’t be able to properly digest your food, which can lead to digestion and gut issues. We have a nerve called the Vagus nerve that runs from your gut (hence that “gut feeling” we get, it’s real) to our brain.


STEP #1: In order to provide you with the best possible execution for Supine Diaphragmatic Breathing, I’ve given full instructions in the video provided.

KEY POINTS: Diaphragmatic Breathing can be executed anywhere, but I highly recommend it’s done in a quite place with minimal noise and eyes closed. Visualization, concentration, and focus are KEY factors in making this as affective as possible. Remember, just going through the motions does not work. VISUALIZE, CONCENTRATE, AND FOCUS.


Supine Diaphragmatic breathing is performed for approximately one minute, but of course can be performed for up to 2-3 minutes. Each breath is 11 seconds in length. We perform a 5 second inhale, 1 second pause, and finally a 5 second release. Five rounds of breath are about one minute.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how? Connect with me at:

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one-on- one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops, and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy.

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year Award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute. and


Producing Results with Resistance Bands

By | Movement

By Sam Hurley

Are you looking for a fun, safe, and accessible way to produce phenomenal results for your personal training clients? Adding resistance bands to your arsenal is exactly what you need to give their training program a big boost.

In this post, you’re going to learn how to correctly add resistance bands to your workouts so you can produce astonishing results for your clients and add value to your training programs.

Do Resistance Band Workouts Really Work?

You may be wondering whether or not resistance bands are useful for building muscle. It’s okay to be skeptical because how can a few oversized rubber bands do this? The truth is, resistance bands are not only great for improving athletic performance and aesthetics, but they also help with rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Resistance bands are lightweight, multifunctional, and suitable for beginners. People suffering from muscle injuries tend to use resistance bands to regain strength without causing more damage.

Since they are light and easy to carry around, resistance bands are perfect for home and gym workouts. By adding resistance bands to your training program, your clients will have a more diverse workout routine and ultimately get better results.

Choosing the Right Resistance Band

Adding resistance band workouts to your training routine is surprisingly simple. There are a few different kinds of bands, which all have their uses and benefits. For therapy, you’ll want to choose a simple, flat band. If you’re using resistance bands for your strength program, go with ones with handles, as they are more user-friendly.

After deciding which kind of bands are right for your clients, choose a set with various tension levels. Typically, companies sort their resistance bands by color. Darker colors usually have higher tension than light, but make sure to check the band itself.

The right tension depends on the workout. For example, if you’re having your client do a chest press, they’ll need more tension than for a bicep curl. Too much tension isn’t ideal because it limits their range of motion. The goal is to challenge your clients without sacrificing good form.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common resistance bands.

Loop Bands

Power resistance bands, or loop bands, are one of the most versatile bands you’ll find. These bands are especially great for bodyweight exercises such as dips, pull-ups, etc. You can also use them for full-body circuits and physical therapy.

Key benefits of loop bands:

  • Low impact
  • Increased mobility
  • Hypertrophy
  • Agility and coordination
  • Explosiveness
  • Muscular strength and endurance

Tube Bands with Handles

Colorful resistance bands isolated on the white background.

If free weight exercises dominate your training program and you want to spice it up, tube bands are the way to go. One fantastic feature of tube bands is you can practically hit every muscle group. If your clients don’t have access to a full gym or want to train at home, these are the ideal bands to go with.

Key benefits of tube bands with handles:

  • Hypertrophy
  • Muscular strength and endurance
  • Burning fat
  • Increased range of motion
  • Low impact

Mini Bands

Like loop bands, mini resistance bands are thin, flat, and carry a lot of resistance. Mini bands do great work for the lower body. You can use them for a plethora of leg workouts, including lateral band walks, clamshells, standing glute kicks, etc.

If your clients want to improve their calisthenics, mini bands work well for assisting with things like push-ups, handstands, and muscle-ups.

Key benefits of mini bands:

  • Toning legs
  • Balance and stability
  • Hip activation
  • Flexibility
  • Low impact

Are Resistance Bands Better Than Weights?

Any good trainer knows that it’s all about diversity. While both free weights and resistance bands have their advantages, incorporating them both into your training program will maximize your client’s results.

If your clients are completely new to exercise or have any injuries, perhaps resistance bands are a better way to start. However, even advanced athletes can benefit from resistance bands.

Final Thoughts

Resistance bands are a safe and inexpensive tool for improving your clients’ strength, mobility, and aesthetics. Whether it’s a pull up band or booty band, getting your clients to burn some rubber is going to make you a better trainer.

About Sam Hurley

Sam Hurley is a fitness writer, personal trainer, and marketer based in Boston, Massachusetts.

7 Tips to Avoid Injury When Returning to Exercise

By | Movement

By Claudiu Popa, PTS

After a period of inactivity, or simply when following an entirely different routine, the absolute last thing you want to do is to invite injury by being too ambitious. As with anything else, planning matters:

  1. Give it time.
    Plan to give yourself six workouts (or a week) to get back into the groove. That way you spread out your ‘comeback tour’ and defuse all that pent up ambition.
  2. Jot it down.
    Whether doing it for yourself or creating a program for others, sketch it. Write down the story arc of your next two weeks of workouts and distribute the progressive intensity across that span of time.
  3. Manage expectations.
    Whether you plan your workout the night before or immediately preceding an exercise, visualization is an important tool in seeing yourself ‘do the thing’. The only difference is that instead of the traditional imagery that helps to ‘pump you up’, this is intended to keep you thinking about form, breathing, and careful execution.
  4. Just go through the motions.
    Do the opposite. That careful execution is your spatial awareness of muscles and joints, contraction and extension, balance and imbalance.
  5. Check your status.
    As you progress through a workout, stretch key body parts and recover between sets, keeping an eye on your pain levels and any tightness you might be experiencing. A quick self-check can help prevent the need for a lengthy recovery.
  6. Add tension and intensity.
    Set your sights low, but aim high. Gradually ramp up your performance as you warm up and regain confidence. Just take it easy.
  7. Stick to the compound exercises.
    We won’t be going for our one-rep max anytime soon, but that’s no reason not to recruit as many friendly muscles as you can muster. Avoid isolation exercises, at least for the first couple of workouts.

Keeping these simple tips in mind will help you to successfully regain your strength, free of injuries and preventable setbacks.

For more tips, check out my article on managing a safe return to the gym, planning and performance.

About Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS

Claudiu Popa, PTS, OAS, enjoys strength training and fitness conditioning, specializes in older adult fitness, appreciates working with exceptional clients and collaborating with outstanding professionals. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at  Be sure to follow him at and on

Creating Fitness Spaces that Support Gender Inclusion and Gender Inclusive Language

By | Movement

By Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed.

Over the years, I have worked with PT clients who shared some of the challenges they navigate when entering fitness spaces. Individuals who are Transgender* or Non-Binary** have shared challenges accessing gendered*** spaces, like change rooms or washrooms. There is also frustration when fitness professionals use gendered language, more specifically, when instructors and trainers default to using masculine language like “guys” as a term to refer to mixed gendered groups.

Our society can make this process of gendering seem normal, primarily for individuals that fit, or closely resemble traditional gender norms. For those that do not, or choose not to fit traditional gender norms, the process of gendering people, places, and things can be alienating. The process of gendering also perpetuates gender stereotypes and biases, which in turn can lead to gender discrimination and harassment.

Society’s perceptions on gender are always shifting. More recently, these shifting perceptions have resulted in a movement – first away from the use of masculine terminology as a universal descriptor, to the inclusion of masculine and feminine terms; and more recently away from binary masculine and feminine terms towards the use of gender inclusive language.

According to the United Nations, “gender inclusive language” means “speaking and writing in a way that does not discriminate against a particular sex, social gender or gender identity, and does not perpetuate gender stereotypes. Given the key role of language in shaping cultural and social attitudes, using gender-inclusive language is a powerful way to promote gender equality and eradicate gender bias.”

Many are aware that gender inclusion includes respecting chosen pronouns. The concept of gender inclusion also envisions environments where individuals are free to express their gender without prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. In Canada, the Federal Government and all provinces recognize Gender Identity as a protected social category. Gender inclusion also requires fitness professions to deconstruct the ways in which they view gender and how these biases are communicated.

Check your gender bias and say what you mean

I facilitate a workshop activity where participants are invited to share the words and thoughts that come to mind when they think of the words “masculine” and “feminine”. Some of the words participants share (like masculine = home; feminine = strong) consciously challenge traditional ideas of masculine and feminine. However, other words (masculine = strong, tough, aggressive; women = soft, delicate, gentle) reveal how unconscious gender bias has invaded our thoughts.

Unconscious gender biases also filter into how we work as fitness professionals. We use gendered language to describe objects – for example, we may encourage a female client to grab one of the “women kettlebells”. Or, we gender gym equipment – for example, viewing the hip adductors or glute machine as being “for women” and the bench press as being “for men”. We modify our expectations based on gender – for example, pushing men to lift heavier weights while providing modifications to women. This type of thinking is a disservice to our clients, by limiting potential and increasing risk.

These types of actions also reinforce stereotypical gender biases (men = strong, women = delicate). These types of gender biases also exclude gender diverse individuals by reinforcing a rigid male/female binary. Fitness professionals that are unaware of the experiences of gender diverse people can unconsciously say or do things that could be considered harassment on the basis of gender identity and/or gender expression.

Some possible suggestions include:

  • Instead of assuming someone’s abilities based on gender, try checking in with the individual
  • Instead of providing options by gender (“Men should be using XX weight and women should be using YY weight), try providing options by other criteria – by the participants’ weight, by intensity level, by experience level, etc.).
  • Instead of using pictures and videos of men demonstrating exercises, use images/videos featuring individuals from all genders.

Language matters to individuals that are transgender or gender non-binary; but it also matters to women, men, and other individuals. Using Gender inclusive language and becoming gender inclusive benefits everyone.

Focus on using the language that reflects the ability level of the individuals and expanding your gender framework, and you have taken an important first step towards becoming more gender inclusive.

Key terms

*Transgender describes individuals who are not comfortable with, or who reject, in whole or in part, their birth assigned gender identities. The word transgender is generally viewed as an umbrella term that unifies people who identify as transsexual, transgenderist, intersex, transvestite or as a cross-dresser.

** Non-binary is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or exclusively feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary. Non-binary people may identify as having two or more genders (being bigender or trigender); having no gender (agender, nongendered, genderless, genderfree or neutrois); moving between genders or having a fluctuating gender identity (genderfluid); being third gender or other-gendered (a category that includes those who do not place a name to their gender).

***Gendering is the assigning or attributing of a gender to someone or something; division, classification, or differentiation according to gender.

About Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed.

Adam Benn, M.A, M.Ed., is an experienced facilitator, educator, and certified personal trainer. Adam has over 10 years of experience in personal training, education, and community healthcare. Adam has wide and ranging experience working with diverse populations with unique needs, and supporting individuals and groups to create inclusive environments.


Movement of the Month: Lateral Push-Up

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

There is a saying that I am sure most of us have heard: Necessity is the Mother of invention.  If you have not heard it before, it simply suggests that when something becomes necessary we find a way to adapt. We find a way to create new patterns, methods, and tools in order to fit our needs. Pretty smart!

For example, if we look at the change in the fitness industry since March, clubs, personal trainers, group-x instructors, suppliers, and consumers have had to change, pivot, and adapt to the current situation. No gyms, no studios, social distancing, etc. We have all had to figure out new ways to train our clients and ourselves.

And truth be told, I think it’s a great thing! It has forced EVERYONE to become uncomfortable and really find better ways to accommodate clients.  The industry, you, and I have had to become EXTRA creative due to the limited resources and world circumstances.

This leads me into our Movement of the Month: the LATERAL Push-Up. Why? It is remarkably effective, it is DIFFERENT, and it is easy to perform anywhere – indoor and outdoor – and it offers core benefits because of the constant isometric contraction held while shifting.  We all know that proximal stability offers distal mobility. If we are stable in the center, then our bodies and our nervous system allows us greater freedom with our range of motion. It also means we can put more force through the body…greater strength gains, better endurance gains, better weight loss outcomes, and decreased chances of injury.

Enjoy the LATERAL Push-Up in the provided video.


STEP #1: Position yourself by lying prone, long neutral spine, hands in a wide stance push-up position, legs hip width apart, and your toes dorsiflexed into the ground. From a birds eye view you would look like a “CROSS” or a “T”.

STEP #2: Begin by lifting your body about one inch off the ground, and once that position is reached, you can now start shifting side to side in your lateral push-up. Be sure to maintain the same distance from the ground as you shift side to side and maintain your breathing – do not hold your breath.


Repetitions: 3 to 10 repetitions per side depending on your goal outcome and physical abilities.

Time based: Begin with 15 seconds and work your way up to 30-60 seconds total.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how?  With this movement consider the following: coupling time, strength bands, advanced toners, weighted vests, unstable surfaces, and pause holds.  Need more help? Connect with me at:

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry, with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one-on- one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops, and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy.

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach, and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year Award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates’ Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute. and


Must-Do Stretches to Avoid Workout Boredom

By | Movement

By Kathleen Trotter, PTS

In this video, Kathleen Trotter gives some stretch ideas for pre- and post-workouts.

About Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter holds a masters in Exercise Science, is the author of two books including the new book Your Fittest Future Self, and is a Personal trainer, Nutritionist, Pilates Specialist and Life Coach. Visit her at

Twitter: @FITbyKathleenT

Instagram: @fitbykathleent

Facebook:  FIT by Kathleen Trotter

7 Social Benefits of Exercise for Children

By | Movement

By Ashley Halsey

Exercise helps children build the social skills that they need to get through life’s ups and downs. And, the more active that they are, the better those skills!

For starters, parents need to teach the importance of exercise to children, even if there’s a promise of a reward at the end. When exercise is taught now, then social skills will improve and children will learn to handle situations – good or bad.

Here are seven ways that exercise can develop strong social skills in children, besides transforming their physical wellbeing.

Improves Mental Health

“A healthy mind is considered part of a healthy body,” says Tonia Zimmerman, a physical education teacher at Writinity and Last Minute Writing. “When children do exercises every single day, it flushes out the negative energy and stress, and has them feel uplifted afterwards; and it helps them get a grip on their mental health. In this way, they’ll know how to manage stress and stay on track in their lives.” This is especially important during the pandemic.

Helps Gain More Confidence

Taking on the world requires a lot of confidence; and children need confidence to succeed in the world.

Exercising is a great way for children to step outside their comfort zone (or at least step outside the boundaries of their house and school) early on in their lives. Not only does this prepare them mentally for anything that comes their way in the future, but it also helps them do well around peers, crowds, and or public events and errands.

It’s important to keep up this confidence. These days, everyone’s talking about what they’re going to do after the pandemic. Deciding to work towards a goal that will get you out of your comfort zone, like going on an extended hike or signing up for a charity walk/run when this is all over will help motivate you to keep working towards it until things get back to normal.

Allows Self-Authority to Flourish

Self-authority allows children to explore their intellect and abilities. And, when a child exercises, it promotes self-authority to where creative freedom is abundant. Although you shouldn’t leave your child unattended to let them explore the world and their skills on their own, you as the parent should still be there to respond to any questions or concerns that they might have about something.

If you do a form of exercise like yoga together, let your child think about what makes sense and choose the next move. Let them choose which sport you will do today. Encourage them to listen to their body and work on a muscle group they feel needs to be worked on, or a form of exercise that hasn’t been done in a while.  Let them suggest creative ways to keep fit.

Helps Them Stay Strong and Empathetic

Children with strong leadership and empathy toward others are more likely to care about other people’s health and wellbeing than those who lack both.

When your child exercises, it promotes these kinds of growth and can make them more empowered, and eventually, inspire others around them to be the same way. This is an especially great way for children to make a difference, when they’re strong and healthy in leadership and empathy.

Builds a Sense of Belonging

Children want to belong to something and not be left out on anything. Some children just want to work and or play independently, while others want to be able to make friends with everyone around them.

When children participate in sports, for example, they get a sense of belonging because they feel like they’re part of a team and they can contribute something to that team. Building on their sense of belonging will help them in similar situations later in life, such as working for a company and doing their part in a team environment, or when doing a group project for school.

Better Communication

“In life, you have to communicate with people,” says Matthew Reed, a fitness blogger at Draft Beyond and Researchpapersuk. “The same is true for any sports team because team players have to communicate with each other to get to a certain goal and win the game. Regardless of any skill level or age, children have to practice good communication skills by doing athletic activities like sports.”

No doubt you are spending more time together than ever before during the pandemic. This is a great time to work on communication in general and in sports. For example, try asking your child to pass the ball to you in different ways when you’re playing together. You can even try playing without any communication to show why it is so important.

Better Cooperation

Every sport has a set of rules. In soccer, you are not allowed to touch the ball with your hands. In basketball, a player who has the ball must dribble if they are moving their feet. If you are looking to teach your child obedience, signing them up for a sports team may be a great move. It is also worth mentioning that all sports have a set of unwritten rules that are primarily in regards to fair play. An excellent example of this would be in soccer when a player on the field gets injured, you are supposed to kick the ball out of bounds.

If your child usually participates in a sport at school, it’s likely they can’t do this at the moment. But, perhaps your child’s team could meet up online. Whether or not your child is currently involved on a team, take this opportunity to form a team with them. Whether you’re playing with them or doing some chores, try making some rules and sticking to them, like tidying up the books before the toys, or obeying the rules of a workout or board game.


Although further research is needed to get a better understanding of how social skills and behaviors are benefited by exercise, there is already clear evidence that points to such results. Not only does exercise give children healthy bodies, but it also gives them the best social skills possible that will benefit them in the long-run.

About Ashley Halsey

Ashley Halsey writes and edits for Assignment Writer and GumEssays. As a professional writer, she has led many major writing projects throughout the country. In her spare time, she likes giving talks in business training courses and traveling with her two children.


Kettlebell Functional Training

By | Movement

By Jodi Barrett

We all want to move pain free in our daily lives, though we often forget that the best way to accomplish this is training through functional movement. Training functional movements is to apply basic training of movements that mimic day-to-day living that allows your body to work efficiently as one unit. We do not walk without using our upper body or only rotate on one singular plane the whole day, so we should not train that way to be functionally efficient. Using compound exercises allows you to train multi-movements and muscles on different planes which will allow you to increase balance, strength, mobility, and body awareness that will undoubtedly help you avoid unnecessary injuries. An example may be if you are putting away groceries in a high cabinet and you do not have the strength or mobility to complete this task without pain or you are unable to complete the task at all. Implementing my favorite training tool, the kettlebell (KB), we can train an overhead press to work on the strength. As you progress, we would implement rotation with the press to mimic an individual putting their groceries up in a high corner cabinet, possibly twisting as they reach.

We look at functional movements such as getting up and down from the floor or simply getting out of bed in the morning. There is an exercise that we use in our training program that basically enlightens clients and opens their eyes and minds to functional training. The exercise is to get up and down off the floor alternating from your stomach and then on to your back. The exercise sounds simple, but after 60 seconds people become very aware of how challenging this may be.

Whether or not training has been a part of your life, movement is definitely a part of your life. We all move. We walk, jump, crawl, twist, and enjoy what our bodies are capable of. When we sit for long periods of time and become tired in our daily lives, we often forget that our bodies were created to move! I believe functional training has become much more important because our lives are more sedentary than our parents’ and our grandparents’ lives were. Even to this day, looking back at how active my parents were compared to people today is quite different. In school settings, by the time our children reach high school, they no longer have mandatory physical activity classes. Thus, the importance or awareness, above all, is that we need to take action to train our bodies functionally! Since longevity is often overlooked in trendy, high intensity routines, it is important to circle your training back to what matters most—building, strengthening, and preserving the body – not breaking it down. By following this guideline, we can maintain a healthy, physically abled body.

Kettlebells for Functional Movement

When training with the KB, the first thing people need to understand is that you must “link your body” together into one strong chain of action. This principle ensures that you will not be placing any stress or pressure on any single joint or muscle, which goes back to our definition of exercise – injury prevention and performance enhancement. Additionally, it will secure the total-body principles kettlebells are built on: linking your body by applying proper form, engaging alignment and center of gravity, and executing each move with a flow of motion.

Let’s revisit getting out of bed in the morning and break it right down. First, you roll onto your side, maybe press your hand into your mattress, flip your legs out, and sit up. The Turkish Get-Up is one way to train this. You roll to your shoulder, to your elbow then onto your wrist, working your way up using your core to help you complete the exercise from bottom to top, then top to bottom in a controlled manner. Now, your clients may only be able to perform the first three steps, and that is okay, as that is their starting point. As you teach, it is your job to not only help get them stronger, but to make that connection of the importance of the movement so they can see the benefit that lies beneath the exercise. The benefits of training KB with mobility allows you to have a solid strength and conditioning routine that builds fundamental movement patterns, enhancing the functionality of each set of moves and workout as you progress.

Basic Kettlebell Exercises for Functional Training

  1. Full Mobility Swing

The hip hinge should be trained! Learning how to properly train the posterior chain  will benefit a person’s daily movements.

How to train it:

  • Lean over the KB and grab it by the handle.
  • Push your hips back and pull your shoulders back.
  • Drive/swing the kettlebell back above and behind your knees.
  • Thrust your hips forward, squeeze your glutes, and stand up straight. Do not backward bend at the top of the motion! Be sure to create a non-stop fluid motion as you swing – with the KB going behind the knees, then up to shoulder level.
  • At the top of the swing, the KB should go no higher than chest level. Do not raise the KB with your arms. Your arms – as well as the KB – should remain weightless through the entire motion.

Note: The hinge remains a constant even though everyone swings a bit differently.

  1. Kettlebell Press (with and without rotational press)

Think about how many times you lift something overhead or reach with rotation.

How to train it:

  • From the rack position, squeeze the KB handle (the handle should lie across the hand with the lower part of the handle on the heel of the hand).
  • As the KB is pressed, the elbow rotates slightly out.
  • The forearm should remain vertical throughout the lift.
  • At the top, the arm should be fully extended.
  • The latissimus dorsi is engaged, the shoulder remains in the socket. If the latissimus  dorsi is engaged there should be a gap between the shoulder and the neck.
  • During the lift, the core is engaged and glutes are tight.
  • The feet grip the ground.
  • During the lowering portion of the lift, pull the KB down with tension back to the rack position.
  • Repeat on the other side, adding in rotation once ready to progress.
  1. Turkish Get Up 

Getting off the floor (or out of bed) we roll to the side, we use our hands to push up to standing.

How to train it:

  • Start by lying down with the KB in your right hand, right leg bent, left leg extended at a  45 degree angle.
  • Push yourself up to your left elbow.
  • Push yourself up to your left hand.
  • Lift your body up by pushing your hips up to the sky.
  • Swivel your left leg under your body and bend it so that you are now supported by your left knee, right foot and left hand.
  • Come to a kneeling position by pushing off your left hand.
  • Come to a standing position with the KB secure overhead in right hand.

Note: Your TGU is not complete until you go down the same way you came up!

  1. Kettlebell Squat

Think how many times you sit and stand. You should know the standard squat form first before adding weight or performing the different variations. In a standard squat there is your dominant level change, the knee bend.

How to train it:

  • Start with your legs slightly wider than hip width apart, push your hips back while keeping your chest up and shoulders back, as if you were going to sit in a chair.
  • Keep both heels on the ground as you ideally sit to where the line of your hips goes below your knees. Depending on flexibility, skill, and body mechanics, different people will go to various depths in their squat.
  • As you come up, push through your heels and keep your upper body in line with your lower legs, finishing at the top with your hips forward, squeezing your glutes and standing straight up, making sure not to over arch your back.
  • Add in the kettlebell when you can successfully perform a squat, hold it in a mid-rack position (bending at the elbows, holding elbows by your sides and grabbing the kettlebell by the horns).

I challenge you to be mindful of your motion today and consider how functional training can be beneficial.  We ultimately want to train for quality of life, and at the end of the day our goal is to move pain free by functionally training!

About Jodi Barrett

After 13 years of being a stay at home mom, Jodi Barrett found Kettlebell Kickboxing!  That journey took her to complete her KBIA-Master Level and MKC Certifications. Jodi teaches classes and certifies trainers across Canada. Connect with Jodi at or on Instagram at @kettlebellkickboxingcanada


Movement of the Month: Flow from Home or Outdoors

By | Movement

By Coach Kennedy

July is here, summer is well on its way, and we are now some four plus months into our “new reality”, if you will, since COVID hit back in mid-March.

This month I wanted to once again offer up something that we could easily perform indoors as well as outdoors, and most importantly, benefit your fitness and health.

I’ll be performing a series of three movements, animal flow based, and then I’ll show you how to combine them for some really fun, effective, purposeful animal flows!  I’ll be performing:

  1. Static Beast
  2. Crab
  3. Side Kick through
  4. A flow combining all three movements.

The benefits of these movements and flow include functional strength, muscular endurance, stability, core strength, body awareness (proprioception), inter and intra muscular coordination, connects the right and left brain, nervous system activation, myofascial tone and last, but not least, it’s a ton of fun when you start to flow them together!


Due to the complexity of each movement and the flow in this section, I have provided complete videos for your ease of use and instruction.

Static Beast:


Side Kick Through:

Flow combining 3 movements:


Each movement can be used on its’ own for prepping or as part of the exercise program. You can perform 6-8 reps per side or use a timed approach, 10 to 30 seconds. Perform 1-4 sets depending on its intent.

ALWAYS regress and progress as required. Not sure how?  With this movement consider the following: coupling time, strength bands, advanced toners, weighted vests, unstable surfaces, and pause holds.  Need more help? Connect with me at:

Catch more Coach Kennedy at the canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series!
Register now.

About Coach Kennedy

Coach Kennedy (Kennedy Lodato) is a 29-year advocate of health and a 14-year veteran of the fitness industry with a thirst for knowledge and a passion for teaching and running his own one on one coaching programs, consulting, live education, workshops and lectures. Coach Kennedy is also an educator for canfitpro and EBFA- the Evidence Based Fitness Academy (

Before pursuing his true felt passion for mentoring trainers and coaches, he occupied the positions of Personal Trainer, Sport Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer Manager.  Kennedy is a three-time recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the year award as well as the 2019 Canadian Delegates Choice Presenter of the Year Award.  Coach Kennedy is also a cofounder of QHI- Quantum Health Institute. and