Are you are looking for an exercise that gives you a full body workout, incorporating both cardio and muscle building? Then the Kettlebell Swing is something you must consider adding to your workout routine.
The Kettlebell Swing is an exercise that provides perfect care for your frame while helping improve your posture and toning your body. It also effectively strengthens the posterior chain which helps combat, and reverse, the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Swinging with a kettlebell can help you lose weight faster and keep your heart healthy and strong. It is also a high energy exercise that helps you build core strength.
Like I said earlier, there are a lot of benefits you can get from the Kettlebell swing. What’s more, it’s quite easy to learn and perfect and needs very little space to perform.
Need more information? Read on…
The Kettlebell Swing
When executed well, the kettlebell swing is a great alternative for people who struggle to do traditional posterior chain exercises because of the shear that can occur at the L4, L5 levels.
If you’ve suffered a lumbar injury, you know that strengthening the posterior chain is important.
But loading can further exacerbate the problem. The kettlebell swing provides a viable solution without the worry about the shear forces.
The swing is a ballistic, dynamic exercise.
What this means is that a quick forced acceleration from the hips will cruise the swing into a shoulder height position.
This exercise does not require the kettlebell to be pushed/pulled into position. Due to the ballistic nature of this exercise, and the force coming from the hips and glutes, it reduces any discomfort of the lumbar spine.
It is a great cardio fitness workout. This exercise, once perfected, can be almost "effortless" in its execution.
The reason is it only requires forces from the hips to get it started. Once started, the momentum does the rest of the "work".
In fact, you can do a number of repetitions with a relatively low load going through your body. This gives you a fairly highly intensive workout and a good cardio training.
One Arm Kettlebell
1. Grab the bell from the floor & swing it between your legs to begin generating momentum.
2. With your arm fully extended, the momentum gets generated from the lower position. Then swing the bell up to shoulder height level.
3. Once it reaches your shoulder level, allow the kettle bell to come back down between your legs.
4. Keep repeating the action. Remember, the arm holding the kettle bell should stay extended throughout this movement.
5. As you lower the kettle bell between your legs, move into a partial squat position. The upward momentum gets generated by an upward phase of this squat position, in combination with your shoulder extending and 'throwing' the bell away from your body.
6. Ensure that your knees stay soft or 'unlocked' right through the movement. Also make sure that you maintain an abdominal brace that will help keep your spine locked right in a neutral position.
Two Arm Kettlebell
Once you have learned to perform a one-armed kettle bell swing safely, you can then progress to the two-armed swing.
This is more or less similar to the one-arm swing. The only major difference is that you can use heavier kettle bells to help generate much more power as you will be using both your arms instead of just one.
You can add more weights as you go along.
Now let’s look at the correct way to do this exercise:
1. You begin the movement by grasping the kettle bell's handle with both hands & lowering your body into a squat/deadlift position - backside sticking out.
2. Now push your hips back out into a standing upright position and move the kettle bell out in front of your body.
3. The momentum will be generated with the combined actions of pushing back up to an erect standing position even as you swing or throw the kettle bell away from your body.
4. Keep your arms extended right through the movement.
5. A quick note - There isn't any benefit in swinging the bell above the head and the ideal end-position is where the kettle bell reaches your shoulder height. In fact, taking the bell higher than your shoulder height extends your back out and can harm you if you’ve had a lumbar injury.
6. From this particular position just pull back the kettle bell down into your body and then complete the repetition.
Just as with the one-arm swing, you should always take extra care to ensure that you brace your abdominal muscles throughout the movement, and keep your spine locked in the neutral position.
Point to Keep in Mind to Get the Best Results
Regardless of whether you are performing a single or double arm swing, the basics of the right form are typically the same.
However, to get the most out of this exercise, there are a few key technical points and best practices that you should focus on.
Aim for full-range flexion & extension or hip-hinging
It's important that you don't squat; however, be active with an optimal backward hip flexion. This should be followed by an explosive forward hip extension movement. Use a small dip to activate the hips- this will help you swing the bell better.
Maintain a neutral spine position
Make and maintain a straight line right from the lumbar up to your cervical spine. Try to keep your shoulders back and avoid any excess lumbar extension.
The important thing is to keep your arms fully extended to avoid any flexing at your elbows (sometimes, when fatigue sets in, it's common for this to occur).
Drive the hips & contract your glutes
From a hips-flexed position, you should drive forward and extend your hips by contracting the glutes very explosively; squeeze will maximise the swing. As your hips near a complete extension, your quadriceps & calves will continue the now upward-directed force.
Before you start your Kettlebell Swing
By now, I’m sure you agree that the Kettle bell Swing is a very powerful exercise.
It will be a great exercise to utilise within your HIIT routine. However, as with all other serious fitness programs, it’s a good idea to talk to a health or fitness professional first before you take it up.
While there is no question about the effectiveness of kettle bell swings, only a trained professional will be able to advice you if it is the right exercise for you – based on your physical and health conditions.
Give us a call at (02) 9719 2060 and we will be happy to help you.