There are a million ways to go about gaining strength and tackling our fitness goals or routines. If you are reading this blog you probably already know that we love using and teaching others how to use kettlebells to meet a lot of these goals. There is, however, another tool that we all use and sometimes underuse daily, our bodies.

Bodyweight exercises can help us listen a bit closer to what we are doing. I like to think about my bodyweight exercises as a lie detector. I may be able to press a heavier weight than I should by shifting and moving in ways that allow me to ‘cheat’ the bell up. Ever tried to cheat your way into a pull up, a pistol squat, crow pose? Not very effective. Your body will call you out every time. At Catalyst we will often program different body weight movements into our kettlebell training. We do this not only to build more strength but as a way to determine what areas may need to be further developed so that you can lift, run, and move in a safer manner. If you are unable to fire your core reflexively in a plank or bird dog you may be at risk for injury when intensity increases with weight or more advanced exercises. Addressing these issues in a safe manner using bodyweight can set you up for success!

Your body can teach you how much strength you actually have. While working on achieving a one-arm push for my Bodyweight Certification from StrongFirst, I had to drop a lot of my other training to focus on this movement. I spent many hours of training learning out to create tension standing at a wall, holding a plank, or on my back in a hollowed out position ( Learning how to listen to my body and tense it from head to toe and relax in the same manner helped me understand where I am in space and how to move more efficiently. After about a solid year of training I got that one arm push up. My kettlebell work had become ancillary to my goal. After I accomplished the push up, I thought it might be fun to try my press out again. To be honest, I wanted to see how much I had lost in my press, as this has always been the hardest exercise for me. Needless to say I was shocked when I pressed a bell that I had never even thought to attempt in the past. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the strength before to press that bell, it was that I didn’t know how to use my entire body to get it overhead. Spending time learning how my body worked helped me improve its performance in other areas.

We take our continuing education pretty serious at Catalyst. We feel that it is our responsibility to have as much information as possible to help our students learn about themselves so that they can develop their and meet their own fitness goals. Even though all of us at Catalyst started in one way or another with kettlebells, it has been the exploration and education that we have all pursed to better understand how to best program for you to get you to your goals, recover from injury, and to use movement for meditation and relaxation. We are very excited to dive deeper into this with our current members and the community during the month of April by sharing the information our instructors have learned through certifications with StrongFirst, Original Strength, Functional Movement Systems, and 200 Hour RYT.

We will explore two different types of yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays,and our Friday Restore class will further develop mobility and strength using a combination of Original Strength ( and yoga.

Our Saturday classes (8 – 9am) will be dedicated to learning different bodyweight exercises more in depth. Join us April 7th for an introduction to our April Saturday workshops — and get a workout in the process! The best part? This intro class is open and free to members and non-members alike. Space is limited. Sign up today!

author: Cara Flynn