Improve your balance with skipping

Improve your balance with skipping

At the end of our RAMP (Range of Motion, Activation, Movement Prep…fancy way of saying warm up) we have some movements that improve your balance through locomotion.  These movements are basic play ground exercises like skipping, side shuffling, cross over, 360 runs, etc.  It’s amazing how many people can’t skip!  We do this to help our members improve their balance (among other things).  Prevent falling is one of the more common goals we hear from our older members.

Locomotion is simply moving from one point to another point, i.e. running.

Falling is a real fear as you age.  Falling is also a real fear if your weak.  I have VERY good balance from years of wrestling, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.  When I was going through chemo, I would often lose my balance JUST WALKING DOWN STAIRS.  If you want to feel what it will be like when you get older with no exercise…go through 2 months of chemo.  Eye opener.

Why do we fall?  Simple – because we lose our balance!  However, WHAT causes us to lose our balance?  Well…that doesn’t really matter.  That’s the wrong question to ask, the right question is – how do I prevent myself from falling.  That one is simple – improve your dynamic and static balance.  And getting stronger, that tends to help with everything.

Static and Dynamic Balance

True story!  As you age, you get weaker if your not working on getting stronger, that’s just a natural thing that occurs.  Well, as your muscle mass/strength decreases, so does your ability to hold your self up right on one leg – static balance.  Now for most people static balance isn’t the issue because it’s rare that someone just falls over from losing their balance standing still.  That’s called passing out…and we can’t really train you to prevent that.

Chris working on his dynamic balance with some lateral skips.

Dynamic balance is the issue.  How many times have you heard – “I was walking and lost my balance, fell and hurt my arm/knee/hip/back, etc.” from a friend or older family member?  A lot i bet!  That’s dynamic balance – as you move from one leg to the other are you able to keep your center of gravity and mass between your legs and not outside your base of support.

Falling is an uncontrolled run, because all running is a controlled fall.  Try it.  Try to run with out leaning forward, you don’t really go very far.  You must lose your balance ever so slightly, catch your self and then continue that…it’s just a series of falls.  Now, running it’s self won’t improve balance because people tend to fall when they CAN’T RECOVER FROM LOSING THEIR BALANCE.  Remember – walking is a controlled fall.  We can fall great, but its when we can’t recover that we actually cause an injury to our self.

That’s where things like skipping, side shuffling, backwards running, etc. all come into play.  By practicing those movements we haven’t done since we were kids we improve our dynamic balance, help ward against fall related injuries AND get to practice a skill we haven’t used in a while which helps the brain stay young.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun!  I dare you to skip with out smiling!

So…check out this short video on WHY we locomote after our RAMP and to hear a little bit more on dynamic balance.

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Its not a secret that we love Kettlebells at KDR. But why?

Its not a secret that we love Kettlebells at KDR. But why?

When people first come to KDR they are usually (this is based off on our experience and the clientele that comes in) de-conditioned and not as strong as they could be.  Plus, they are generally intimidated!  Coming into a weight room full of equipment you don’t know how to use or have never seen before can be very overwhelming.  So, we need a tool that isn’t intimidating, can help bring up someone’s conditioning level fast and that also helps to build strength quickly.
Kettlebells are a great way we can accomplish these goals, i.e. improve your aerobic fitness and get you stronger at the same time.  PLUS!  Thanks to social media and TV, KB’s are a piece of gym equipment most people have seen before so for beginners, KB’s aren’t that intimidating.  After all…it’s just a ball with a handle.

According to a recent study by American Council of Exercise demonstrated that Kettlebell training significantly boosts aerobic capacity, while also improving strength and dynamic balance.
“Kettlebell training increases strength, which you’d expect, but you also get these other benefits,” says Porcari. “You don’t really do resistance training expecting to get an aerobic capacity benefit, and you don’t do resistance training and expect to improve your core strength unless of course, you’re specifically doing core-strengthening exercises. But with kettlebells, you’re able to get a wide variety of benefits with one pretty intense workout.”
My training is heavily influenced by kettlebells as well as most of our members. Here are just a few things I have witnessed due to training with KBs:
  • Increased ability to go longer during runs – without running.
  • Increased ability to go faster during runs – without running.
  • Increased strength in core, glutes, hamstrings AND back.
  • Decreased back pain.
  • Decreased knee pain.
  • Better posture.
  • More power and explosiveness.
Link below for your research pleasure.
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30 days of Glutes!

30 days of Glutes!

kettlebell fitness coach butt sculpting

  Those glutes weren’t given to her. They were earned!

Not that long ago, glutes were thought to be one of those muscle groups you couldn’t train effectively.  However, (THANK GOD!) we now know that’s not true!  They are a muscle just like any other muscle and can respond to exercise the same way other muscles respond, they can get stronger, with more tone and you can even SCULPT your booty (arguably) better then other body parts.  

A strong butt will help protect the back and knees from injury AND is imperative if you want to be the best athlete you can be.  Glutes are THE prime mover in hip extension (pushing your foot behind your hip) during sprinting, skating, etc.

                                    Looking at that booty! You don’t get that by running slow.

That’s great if you want a better looking butt!  Check out our 30 days of glutes challenge and start rocking a tighter butt that:

  • Will help protect your lower back from injuries.
  • Help you in almost all sporting events.
  • Will fill out your jeans better!  No one wants a desk ass.

Don’t forget to squeeze your glutes at the top of every motion!


Do you want a stronger and more sculpted butt?  Sign up for our 6 week Stronger You program!


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Exercise Technique Tip – KB SA Rack Post Lunge

Exercise Technique Tip – KB SA Rack Post Lunge

Exercise Technique Tip – KB Single Arm Rack Post Lunge 

Lunges are unilateral exercises, meaning that they train one side of your body independently from the other. Training one side at a time improves your balance and coordination. Lunges are great for improving Quad strength as well as increase hip flexor flexibility. 

This exercise will also work that CORE.  The main job of the core is to prevent movement (twisting, bending and flexing). One way to facilitate that is by using a KB in a rack position while lunging. 


KB SA Rack Post Lunge steps:

Clean the KB to the rack position.

Take a big step backwards.

Pushing your knee into the floor.

Keep the KB in the rack position and torso upright.

Reverse position.

Repeat with other leg.

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Are you a runner?  Then you need to do these exercises!

Are you a runner? Then you need to do these exercises!

Are you a runner?  Do these three exercises before and after your next run for pain free hamstrings and faster foot turn over.

Ben Dearman, owner KDR Fitness

It’s 70 out and that means people are itching to start running.  And that means the typical running injuries of – tight/pulled hamstrings, knee pain and shin splints are just around the corner for most of you.

Incorporate these 3 basic movements into your pre and post running routine to help combat those nagging injuries.

We call this the Triple Threat!  Start with only a few reps of each movement pre and post run.  Go for the burn, as soon as you feel your muscles start to burn stop.  Also, think controlled and slow for this movement.

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Do you “Silly Run”?

Do you “Silly Run”?

Are you “Silly Running”?

Ben Dearman

KDR Fitness


I hate running, but I do love to locomote.  At KDR we define locomoting (not to be confused with motor boating…totally different topic.) as doing any activity that moves you from point A to point B.  Basic examples are – jogging, skipping, side shuffling, etc.  Basically all the movements you used to do when you were younger that put a smile on your face!

MotorboatingyourdoingitwrongNot to be confused with Locomoting.

I first started using locomotion training when I worked with the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS with Gary Gray.  In fact, during our Operator Physical Evaluation Courses we would take the SEALS and have them do what I called at the time “silly runs”.  They would line up across from each other, one pair would start with a movement, maybe forward running while throwing punches, skipping, etc. then every one would file in after them in pairs doing the same thing they did.  Then the next pair goes and so on and so forth.

ranger group picSide Note –  It looked ridiculous to have these trained men who had millions of dollars invested in them moving down a line side shuffling playing patty cake.

BUT!  As someone who has worked with this population can attest to – they are beat up.  Some of them couldn’t run with out pain.  They were “operationally functional” but in pain.  And when you’re the top of the top military bad ass, you need to be able to run with out pain…or at least suck it up enough to get the hell out of dodge!  NO ONE commented on ANY pain during these 30-minute work outs we did with the guys.  And they were “running” the entire time, but not in a straight line and not in a traditional run pattern.  We managed to fix their injuries and still work on their cardio in a fairly specific way as it related to what gave them pain while getting these guys to do something that would cause some of them pain, but didn’t during the actual activity.  IT WAS CRAZY! favorite loco drill was side shuffles “lightly” tapping your partner in the face.  With an open hand.

That’s when I knew that the average population could benefit from doing the simple things that we did with America’s Elite.  If it’s good enough for Army Rangers and Navy SEALS – then it’s good enough for you!

We often get told “I don’t like to run” or, “I feel silly doing this!”.  Well first off all, this isn’t running, this is locomoting!  And…you should feel silly doing this, after all “feeling silly” usually makes you laugh, and laugher is the best medicine.  So stop being such a Grinch and do something that makes you feel silly.

Why do we force our members to move around for a few minutes after their warm up?  Locomoting accomplishes a few HUGE goals in a very short amount of time.

  1. Basic Agility and fall prevention – we can also refer to basic agility as balance work.  We define balance as your ability to keep your center of mass controlled while moving.  And if your doing 360 degree skips, believe me – your balance improves a lot!

Carioca-1If you can do this with out falling over, changes are, your balance is probably pretty good.

Over the age of 60 and concerned about falling?  Then you better be skipping!  According to world renowned physical therapist Gary Gray, any kind of locomotion is a controlled fall.  So what better way to get better at controlling your balance and preventing falls then practicing a controlled fall in a lot of different directions.

  1. Slow aging, specifically as it relates to the brain– as we age we lose brain cells which is reflected in our cognitive decline. Science is now showing something that we in the fitness world have known for a long time – doing physical activities, specifically new physical activities or challenging physical activities forces your brain to build new motor pathways and ultimately slows the loss of brain cells.  The brain and body are just one big feed back loop, most of the brain is wired to control movement and interact with our outside environment.  When movement starts to decline – so does gray matter.
  1. Light plyometrics – plyometrics, or “plyo’s” are just a fancy way of saying moving. Every time you move, your muscles store and release kinetic/elastic energy.  This process is called the “stretch-shortening cycle”.  Working on plyo’s are essentially done to help to improve that cycle.  By improving that cycle, we are able to produce more force, control more force and ultimately help prevent tears/strains in our muscles, ligaments and tendons, among other benefits.
  1. Coordination – we operate in a contra-lateral fashion. All that means is that when our right leg moves forward, our left arm moves forward (contra = opposite, lateral = side).  Every person does this.  But, through disuse we lose that ability as we age, not so much with walking or running, but with any task outside of those two activities.  Don’t believe me?  Get on the ground and crawl like a baby.  Do you go left leg and right arm, or do you go left leg and left arm?  Crawling is part of locomoting.  Most people can perform contra-laterally when they only have their feet on the ground, but when they go hands and feet, it’s a different story.  Also, performing a 360 jog requires you to know where your feet are and where your center of mass is (balance) but also requires you to get your own feet out of the way of each other (coordination!).

bear crawlingCrawling is also a form of locomoting!

  1. It’s silly- and silly equals fun. Stop taking your self so serious!


  1. Weight loss! Any activity that encourages movement is good for weight loss.  Don’t like to run?  Probably not the best kind of thing for you to do to lose weight.  Don’t like to lift weights…ditto.  But, if you are having fun doing an activity then you are more likely to repeat that activity.  Plus, locomoting or “silly running” is a great way to get some activity in with your kids.

Parents-playing-with-kidsNow get out there and locomote like you did when you were 10!

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