Kinstretch - hips, knees, and ankles
I wasn’t scared away last week, so I came back for a second Kinstretch class. I’m writing this Saturday afternoon right after the class (hopefully before the soreness sets in - I’ve been warned about that!). I feel amazing again. I just walked up and down the (full) length of Pearl Street in the heat with Illy on my back and I still fill really strong. Even just sitting here on the couch with my laptop, my posture is better, and my hips feel much more in proper alignment than they ever have. It feels like all of my joints are open and free to move - even the ones we didn’t target in class. I don't know how to describe it, but my joints feel more like they're part of me rather than just some abstract idea of a joint.
This week we concentrated on the lower body - hips, ankles, and knees. I never thought I could get so tired with so little movement involved! The work we did was a perfect complement to the high-tension kettlebell work that I teach all week long.
Just like Randy always says “keep it close” or “get under it faster” when coaching the weightlifters, I find my self always saying “more tension!”.
The kettlebell swing ends in a high-tension vertical plane. Before pressing the bell, you need to make yourself stiff like a tree. Before deadlifting, you have to find a way to create full body tension and then coil down to the bar without losing the tension. Tension is good. It protects you and it makes you stronger. But all of the tension that I teach is extension. You’re trying to be as stiff as a board so that you can strong in an explosive way.
But what about the reverse? What about tension that pulls you together? I never need that in anything we do, so I haven’t been teaching that. Kinstretch makes up for that. Every movement we did was “under tension.” I’m good at generating tension, and I’m good at exploding through tension, but I’m terrible at moving through tension or compressing myself with tension.
Imagine getting into a heavy Romanian deadlift. Your hamstrings are on fire! And while you’re bent over with the weight you push one of your feet into the ground as hard as you can, and then without moving anything else you try to pick that foot off the ground? Your shifting the tension around the hip joint, while in an active position. You’re not moving much, but you’re putting a ton of effort into trying to move. All of this magically opens up your joints and makes you feel better.
Try out a Kinstretch class soon! It’s a great way to explore movement that we don’t get to in a normal class.