You can use the Kettle bell Halo as a simple warm up exercise before starting your kettle bell workout or as an active recovery movement in between exercises. The kettle bell halo is also a great strengthening exercise for seniors to use for the shoulders.
Keep the elbows tucked in and nice and close to the body all the way around the head. Ensure that the kettle bell stays as close to the base of the neck as possible.
The closer you can keep the kettle bell to your neck the more you will work on improving your shoulder mobility. The halo especially works your shoulders, triceps, and upper back and is a great mobility warm up exercise.
Take your time and rotate it slowly, constantly disciplining yourself to keep your abs tight and squeeze your shoulder blades as the weight progresses around. The tighter you make the halo around your head, the more you're challenging your overhead shoulder mobility.
If it ever does, either stop doing halos for a bit, or widen the circle just slightly to accommodate for your own range of motion. Whether with heavy or light weight, you'll be honing shoulder mobility, and we can always train our abs to aid in rib cage containment.
Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience.
The kettle bell halo works the deltoid in the shoulders and the pectorals in the chest, the muscles that lift the arms, notes online fitness instructor Ray Fleet. Your triceps, the muscle at the back of the upper arms, obviously play a role in controlling the heavy weight behind your head.
The trapezium, the muscles of the back and shoulder girdle, brings the bell up past your ears and forward to the start position. Memo to your midsection: The core muscles have got their work cut out for them to keep the body stable as the heavy bell moves in ways that seem geared to put you slightly off balance.
Select a bell that is light enough to control easily and that permits you to complete the deceptively challenging halo for two minutes. Maxwell recommends one minute of clockwise motion and one of counterclockwise as part of a warm-up that also includes the around-the-body pass and figure 8s.
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“Grip it and rip it” might be a common saying for golf, dead lifts, and other activities, but in the kettle bell swing it can set you up for issues with calluses and blisters. With its thick handle and offset center of gravity, the kettle bell provides grip benefits not found in more traditional implements.
This may feel like a solid grip, but this placement will pinch the palm at the base of the fingers and result in calluses and blisters. Also, keep in mind that a strong grip is not necessarily a “death grip.” Over-gripping the handle can be the cause of many issues especially when you progress to snatches, where the kettle bell has to be able to move in the hand.
Guiding the arm back to the ribs with the lat(s) and hinging once you are reconnected will keep you in sync during the eccentric portion of the swing. Have the patience to stay in sync with the rhythmically repetitive nature of the swing.
Adjust the range and height of the kettle bell to stay within your movement ability. The range of the halo can extend so the kettle bell drops behind the head and down the back to open the shoulders.
For this article, I would like to dive into a few training observations I have made in my recent practice. Simple & Sinister, Pavel Tsatsouline’s new book, is eloquent in its simplicity.
He is also a Certified Athletic Trainer and Strength and Conditioning Specialist based in Pittsburgh, PA. Mr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine from High Point University, a Master of Science in Rehabilitative Sciences from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSS) from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSA). With over twenty years of experience, Brett has been sought out to consult with professional teams and athletes, as well as present throughout the United States and internationally. As an athletic trainer who has transitioned into the fitness industry, Brett has taught kettle bell techniques and principles since 2003.
He has taught for Functional Movement Systems (FMS) since 2006, and has created multiple DVDs and manuals with world-renowned physical therapist Gray Cook, including the widely-praised “Secrets of…” series. Brett continues to evolve his approach to training and teaching, and is passionate about improving the quality of education for the fitness industry.
With a background as a former orthopedic physical therapist, I’ve treated many shoulder injuries throughout my career. We need to balance the extensive network of shoulder complex muscles effectively in order to minimize our risk for injury.
The rotator cuff (RTC) muscles are vital for the normal joint mechanics of the shoulder. What these four muscles essentially do is maintain the humeral head (ball) in the glenoid (socket) during arm movements.
Let me repeat, the RTC keeps the ball in the socket and is a major contributor to optimizing the joint mechanics, when healthy and strong. If there is muscle weakness, imbalance, or dysfunction of the RTC, the mobility and stability of the shoulder joint will be compromised.
And, finally, there are the important scapular (shoulder blade) muscles, which include the serrated anterior, trapezium, rhomboids, PEC minor, and elevator scapulae. Many shoulder injuries are preventable by strengthening the RTC and scapular musculature, while maintaining joint mobility and stability.
But it’s important to perform the right types of exercises and avoid poor technique faults and training methods. The majority of shoulder problems in athletes and the general population are related to rotator cuff dysfunction.
Other contributing causes are degenerative changes to the RTC (which is inevitable as we age) and also an abnormal pathology of the acromial (structural defect). This occurs when the shoulder joint deviates out of its normal position (the humeral head moves out of the glenoid).
This can be a minor shift in movement, which is called a subluxation, or can result in a more severe dislocation in the shoulder. Individuals suffering from an instability problem will experience pain with active elevation of the arm and may feel as if the shoulder is slipping or moving out of place.
Many of these will help to improve or restore mobility, stability, and optimize RTC strength, as well as the entire shoulder complex. Listed below each exercise will be a recommended rep scheme to use as a preworkout mobility program or warm up.
The TGU and its component parts are what I consider to be the staple for maximizing shoulder joint health and function. Not only does it fire the RTC the entire time, but the weight-bearing positions are outstanding for scapular stability and strength.
The important thing is to get this exercise right and not rush it as you’re moving through each transition in a slow, controlled motion. Performing the kettle bell windmill requires a dynamic range of motion, mobility, and stability.
While it’s also great for the hip and spine strength and stability, I include it on this list for the same reason as the TGU. As you move throughout the windmill, the RTC must constantly fire and stabilize the humeral head through the wide range of motion.
The shoulder mobility is not as dynamic as with the TGU and windmill, but the stability and proprioceptive benefits (knowing where your arm is in space) are outstanding. The kettle bell military press is excellent for total shoulder strength, but has the mobility and stability elements to it, as well.
The entire time you are swinging the kettle bell, the RTC is firing to stabilize the shoulder joint and maintain the humoral head in the glenoid. From a standpoint of strengthening the RTC, the kettle bell swing is an excellent exercise to optimize shoulder health, even though we don’t typically think of it that way.
The halo is a very effective mobility exercise for the shoulder (GH joint) and the thoracic spine. There can be no argument that the snatch is an extremely powerful and dynamic exercise for the shoulder complex when properly performed.
2-3 sets of 5 reps per arm with a light to medium-sized kettle bell prior to a training session is an excellent way to prime the shoulders. To maximize shoulder health, we could also add more scapular stabilization work in addition the exercises above.
To minimize our risk for injury, we need to keep our RTC and all of our shoulder stabilizers strong and healthy. If you had to pick one, I would consider the TGU as the mother of all shoulder exercises because of the unique benefits it offers, in terms of mobility, stability, and strength.
I have a somewhat good mobility in my shoulder area and was just today trying to go little heavier in the kettlebellhalos. Is there a particular reason for it? I would imagine when done in moderation heavy halos can do wonders in your mobility and upper torso strength.
The risk you may consider is a weak muscle on base of your neck. I took that to mean he felt my form would be good but you must, of course, work up gradually.
I consider halos a mobility and warm up drill. Please, recount your experiences on heavy halos and the benefits gained in doing so.
Level 6 Valued Member Elite Certified Instructor I remember in some thread a long while back, Pavel said for SAS there's no need to go heavier than a 16 kg for halos.
He did say to match your goblet squats in SAS to your one hand swing weight, though. I remember in some thread a long while back, Pavel said for SAS there's no need to go heavier than a 16 kg for halos.
He did say to match your goblet squats in SAS to your one hand swing weight, though. I have been wondering what the “correct” weight should be for goblets in an SAS style warm up.
Currently, I am swinging 32 kg and doing goblets with a 24, and I stopped doing halos about a month ago in favor of shoulder dislocates but perhaps I'll put the halos back in just with a heavier weight. Currently, I am swinging 32 kg and doing goblets with a 24, and I stopped doing halos about a month ago in favor of shoulder dislocates but perhaps I'll put the halos back in just with a heavier weight.
Shoulder dislocates and halos are great combination. They hit different aspects of shoulder function and thoracic extension.
The search function works great... Look for “halo” and “posted by” Pavel. Also found this though... interesting... he says, “The goblet squat must stay.
Rotate PVC pipe behind back and extend thoracic spine. Every few reps move your hands closer together. You can also do them lying face down on a bench, glute ham, or back extension.
I am just starting out with SAS but I have used a Gaza more than once, my question is does the 10 to 2 or the 360 work the same muscles as a halo. Rotate PVC pipe behind back and extend thoracic spine.
The halo is a great mobility exercise that can be adapted for strengthening the muscles of the upper chest, back, and shoulders complex but should be done so with care and caution. Your rep count of 20, to me would be over doing, stick to 5 and 5 with something that heavy making circular motion over head and do them occasionally.