Add The Kettle Bell Swing To Your Workout.
When the kettle bell first started to make its debut here in the U.S., it was clouded in mystery as some Russian secret. At the time, weight training was taught as controlled movements and the ballistics associated with the kettle bell were something that most fitness professionals were taught to stay away from since the swinging or use of momentum was somehow cheating or was going to generate forces that would injure the body.
The reality is this...THE TWO HANDED KETTLE BELL SWING IS A GAME CHANGER
But it's not for everyone. How do you know if you're ready to do this movement?
Here is how you test if you're ready to Kettle Bell Swing?
1. Do You Have Functioning Gluteals?
When you currently do your leg work, can you feel yourself driving through you hips? Do you get a sore rump from squats and lunges? If you answered yes then your gluteals are working when they are supposed to. If not, and it's only your thighs that feel the work, you may have some dysfunction that needs to be fixed first.
2. Do You Have Functioning Core?
Crunches and planks are a great start, but they don't lay enough foundation for a healthy core. I love training the obliques, they are a better representation of the strength you need for life and sports. Can you hold a side plank for one minute per side? Do you feel it on the sides of the body?
3. Do You Have Good Body Awareness?
Do you have good technique in squats and dead lifts? Have you practiced forward hinging at the hip and are able to maintain a flat back while using resistance in exercises such as Good Mornings or Romanian Dead Lifts?
How To Swing Correctly:
Most people, when they begin to swing a kettle bell, are using too much of the upper body. In fact, they are doing two different movements, a squat and then a front raise. The most important feature of learning this movement is that the weight moves because you bring the “hips to the party”. Much like hiking a football, the kettle bell must start between the legs, and back slightly behind the hips. Imagine there is a ten-foot wall behind you and visualize trying to throw the kettle bell over the wall. You want to be explosive and use the hips to move the kettle bell.
Alignment of the spine is critical and many individuals are under the misunderstanding that using the muscles of the low back will lead to back pain or spasm. If you have an existing low back issue, I suggest first starting with light squats and deadlifts to learn proper back posture and then ease into light kettle bell work. If you look and the pictures I've provided, you'll notice that I'm leaning forward but my back isn’t rounded. The back is held in a position which stacks up the vertebrae from the neck to the tailbone, limiting the amount of pressure on the discs. Holding that neutral spine is key to conditioning the muscles of the posterior chain (low back, glutes, hamstrings, and lower leg).
3. Chest and Shoulders
The alignment of the chest and shoulders is the same as the majority of upper body movements. The chest is out, shoulders are back, and shoulder blades are pulled together. Maintaining this upper body posture also helps the spine stay in position. The navel is pulled to spine to protect the back. The feet are shoulder width apart and pointing forward.
For more info on kettle bell movements listen to my podcast Best Kettlebell Workouts, I go over the easiest exercises to start with using Kettle Bells. By using these simple progressions, you can save time, prevent injury, and get results. Kettle Bell exercises should be a part of everyone's programs because they are an effective way to strengthen the body and create explosive power. Find out which movements are most important to learn and why. In twenty years of programming Victor knows what works and gives you some gems. Kettle bells can be intimidating, but you only need to know a few movements to get the benefits.
When you are ready, try this kettle bell workout