Schedule an Appointment Purchase a Gift Certificate Download Intake Form
Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

The Kettlebell Halo

Stretch and strengthen your entire upper body!

By now, you guys know that I'm pretty obsessed with strength training. Although I do have a weight bench and barbells, my favorite tools for resistance training are actually kettlebells. Since you're often standing and moving them in different positions, they challenge more muscle groups than machines or simple barbells do.

The "Halo"is one of my favorite upper body strengtheners, because it engages most of the muscles in the upper body. It challenges your coordination and core balance, and that unintentional gentle wobbling might even help you realize how your posture could be improved.

Anatomy Lesson:

Technically, the halo works both the bicep and tricep muscles, as you hold the weight in front of yourself and rotate it behind yourself. But it's actually not the best way to train these muscles. In my opinion, the best use of the halo is for scauplar (shoulderblade) mobility.

In our everyday lives, we tend to mostly keep our arms in front of ourselves. While this isn't inherently bad, it means that the backs of our arms rotate our shoulderblades forward. Because of this tendency, it's important to rotate them back; this not only creates strength in the muscles themselves, but improves posture over time. And it feels great!

The muscles impacted by this movement include the rhomboids, trapezius (traps), deltoids, pectoralis group, biceps and triceps. It's the use of the rhomboids and traps that really impress me; these muscles usually don't get moved in such a complete way. When I perform this exercise, I imagine my shoulderblades rotating completely in a circle, and I LOVE the way that feels!

The Kettlebell Halo:

Start holding your kettlebell (or you can substitute a dumbbell) out in front of yourself, at about the level of your collarbone. Hold it far enough away that you won't hit yourself with it. Maintain the same angle bend in your elbows as you rotate your arms to your left, bringing the weight around your head, as if you were drawing a "halo". The motion should be fluid but not extremely quick; you should feel like you're in control of the weight the entire time. Don't pause anywhere in the back, just imagine drawing a circle around your head with the weight. Start and stop in the same position in front of your collarbone. You should keep your elbows close to your ears the entire time - if you kick them out, you're not going to engage your upper back muscles as much, and the exercise just becomes about your biceps and triceps. Repeat the halo in the opposite direction, going back and forth, circling around your head.

I'll do 15 reps of the halo in each direction (30 total) with a 15 or 20 pound kettlebell. But you can start at any weight you prefer - remember that having correct form is always more important than the amount of weight lifted. You may even find that 5 pounds are difficult with this movement- there's no shame in just using a small water bottle at first.

You should start to feel some increased range of motion right away, and with enough practice, you'll likely feel your upper back and shoulderblade muscles strengthen. This is one of my favorite moves if I feel like I'm starting to hunch over too much - it really helps me stand up straighter!

Remember that any training routine is always best complimented with massage therapy. I can help you keep your muscles functioning optimally for your next sweat session or competitive event. I'll see you in my Westport office!

© 2017 Diana Remaley Massage Therapy. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Pebble 2.6.4 | Login
Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT