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Swing in your New Year!

Kettlebell kick off!

Kick off the new year with the kettlebell swings! Now these are some of the most common mistakes in kettlebell training made even with the most advance users. You are about to change how you have been lifting and even if not there’s still something to learn from tweaking how you lift as every individual reacts differently to something new. There will be instances that I skipped and so on. Some might not even be in order, keep in mind that this article is to help you decide how to use these tweaks to your advantage to help you perform better.

Let’s start with the king of kettlebell exercises, the KETTLEBELL SWING.

What: The swing is an exercise that dominantly works the posterior chain eg.(hamstrings, glutes and erector spinae, followed by core and forearms. The swings are mainly the core or main exercise movement that is invovled during the circuit as it the basic skills to aqcuire to move on to much more complex movements or it can be used to be a stand alone exercise. It has two parts of movement which must be acknowleged properly, first phase(concentric) is the “up-swing” phase of the movement where you are using the hips to help drive the foreams and kettlebell into the air closely to the shoulder height. Second phase(eccentric loading) is the kettlebell coming down from the “up-swing” and into the groin area. while having the kettlebell travelling past the hips on the eccentric loading phase where the load will be taken by the (posterior chain) lower back, glutes and hamstrings mainly. This swinging movement can be closely eyed for two dominant movement, that is, knee dominant or hip dominant movement. while many argue that we shouldnt squat or bend the knees, it is essentially safe for the knees to bend slightly(especially people with tight hamstrings, glutes or hips mobility issue). To avoid bad biomechanics(long leverage arm/ line of  travelling force), try not to be too knee dominant as the swing is best maximised with hips dominancy due to us trying to have maximum or ballistic forward force production

How: The initial set up will be straddling the kettlebell from the arc of the feet to the sides of the kettlebell, now have your feet spread shoulder width or jus about wide enough for the kettlebell to pass. Start by squatting down towards the kettlebell with both hands, inhale on the way down and exhale upon standing or full extension of the lower extremities. Now that your standing straight up, start by working the height of the swings slowly by driving the hips into the forearms to achieve efficiency of power and force production from the hips to not tire the arms instead. Relax the forearms while swinging the kettlebells as you don’t want to tire the forearms out before anything. Don’t swing any higher than eye level and breathe to whichever techniques works best with your body’s feel.

Why: these are the few reasons that you can find as to why and how training with kettlebells are being sought after.

– this is a very important factor to know that as you are able to work both cardiovascular and muscular systems simulateneously.

-With all things in life for example, from as simple as walking and to as complex as sprinting, and throwing someone or a punch involves the hips and hamstrings(lower extremities) to a great deal.

-You would be able to get a great amount of work since mist of the exercises are very ballistic and explosive thus the call for shorter training periods, which will help with more recovery time and have more EPOC in the post process of work out(oxygen debt).

– the kettlebell swing is used to help with force production forward in most cases. So in any case that you need to have force put forward eg, walking,sprinting, rugby sprawl, throwing punch/ kick, jumping, judo, BJJ(Brazilian Jiu Jitsu etc. Thus the high transfer or carry over from training with a single tool.
-You can expect to be very safely guided with the weight of the kettlebell as they are always pulling you off your centre of gravity making you work harder with less weight and thus, less need to load up extra heavy weight and increase the chances of  injuries.
-A more resilient body and tougher mentality.
– Your metabolic and muscular system can be quickly conditioned due to short intense and more regular workouts!( more fat loss!!)

-Due to the ergonomically friendly nature Of the kettlebells, you can easily master power movements like olympic lifts such as snatches, cleans and jerks.
-Trains the body to recover quickly for future intense session and helps with resynthesizing the ATP cycle.
-In short, we can look forward to having some of these mentioned below worked and having better performance in and off the fields:

Force production
Higher/more CNS recruitment
Stronger grip
Stronger posterior chain
Increased cardiovascular endurance
Increased v02 max
Increased muscular endurance

Will be continued on the next article – TGU..

About Jab

Delusionally Optimistic Personal Trainer and Manual Therapist. Lifetime foodie advocate.


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