5 Reasons You Should Do Kettlebell Swings

Posted: May 4, 2015 by dannytwoguns in Articles

We’ve talked about some details of the Kettlebell Swing in past blog posts here…

Basics of the Kettlebell Swing

And a shorter one here…

How To and How Not to Kettlebell Swing

I recommend reading those before this one.

But we never talked too specifically about WHY you should Kettlebell Swing and since they are a major tool in the way we get results at Twoguns Training Systems, I figured it would be worthwhile to give some insight as to why they are.

Before we get into details and fun though, a quick pre-cursor (for those that didnt click the previous links, I know who you are… :p ) is that the Kettlebell Swing is an advanced exercise and generally is not for the beginner and that is okay because the best exercise for you, is, always has been and always will be, the one that meets you at your ability level, not the advanced one you perform poorly. So if you’ve never done a Kettlebell Swing before, the goal is to find a competent professional who can teach you safely and effectively, if it is right for your ability level.

You can find a list of all of the kettlebell certified instructors in the Erie area, HERE. (That link is kind of tongue in cheek because there is only one…)

If you are not in the Erie area, reach out to me and I can put you in touch with someone in your area.

Last side note – friends dont let friends swing overhead. If you dont know what that means, dont worry about this part and if you do know what that means it is a humorous way of saving that a Kettlebell Swing does not go over your head, it is inefficient, ineffective, defeats the purpose of the exercise and is dangerous, both for the potential of dropping a bell on your head but for your shoulders, neck and lower back as well because only the extreme outliers have the ability and mobility to perform it, otherwise it looks like this…

American Swing

Ouch. Neck jacked up (extreme forward head posture), shoulders jacked up (not enough mobility to put hands together overhead), lower back jacked up (way too much extension/arc of the spine), nothing in line or positioned well. And when I have 27-70+ pounds over my head, I damn sure want to be in a good position.

It should look like this…

KB Swing Top

The kettlebell comes to a position that your shoulders are neutral and straight out in front of you and the bell never goes higher than your chin/nose/eyes.

On to five reasons why you should do it or work up to doing it…

What Muscle Does That Work?

The answer of course, is Yes.

Kettlebell Swings are a total body exercise with emphasis on the posterior chain aka all the muscles on the backside of your body. The emphasis is on the glutes and hamstrings but the whole body has to stabilize and drive the movement, leaving no muscle group untouched.

The more muscles you can hit at once, the more potential for being a great fat burning exercise it has.

Extraordinary “Bang For Your Buck”

Swings get you stronger as a great strength exercise and they get you leaner as a great fat burning aka metabolic aka “cardio” exercise. They are a huge bang for your buck exercise. There arent many other exercises (the only other is the Ultimate Sandbag Clean and Press) that can combine strength, power and endurance all at once, it does it all.

Genuine “Functional Training”

For a while the fitness profession got caught up in exercises like sit ups, crunches and machine based things that actually made people move worse in real life and decreased their functional capabilities as a human being, the Kettlebell Swing is the opposite of that. Dynamic hip extension and core strength relative to how you actually move in real life. This is why they are known for making runners better at running, deadlifters stronger at deadlifts, swimmers better at swimming, better at picking up a child, lugging a suitcase around the airport etc etc.

Reduce Back Pain/Injuries

One of the myths about the Kettlebell Swing is that it is bad for the lower back. I always get instantly irritated when I see a post on Facebook of someone doing a Kettlebell Swing that actually looks pretty good and somebody’s overweight aunt or uncle always comments – “My back hurts just watching this.” Complete ignorance. I’ve written and deleted 4-5 sassy comments to follow up on this so Im just moving on…

The reality is that not only is the Kettlebell Swing not bad for lower backs but they are actually the complete opposite and great at strengthening lower backs and minimizing, alleviating and even eliminating lower back pain in people who can perform them safely.

Dont forget the key there though… “In people who can perform them correctly”. I’ve never seen someone who was physically capable and competent in swings hurt their back doing so, but I have seen and heard of a few who had no business doing them physically hurt themselves doing so. But that wasnt the Kettlebell Swings fault, it was the practitioner and their lack of ability’s fault.

The Kettlebell Swing strengthens the core and lower back dynamically and statically at the same time, while bearing an appreciable amountof weight safely, which makes them a great lower back strengthener. Plus if they are recommended by Stuart McGill, the leading lower back and spine specialist in the world, which they are, then you should listen.

Dr. Stuart McGill

Plus … mustache.

Kettlebooty and a Fat Loss Monster

They are one of the best and most effective exercises when it comes to fat loss for all of the reasons mentioned above. Hits all major muscle groups and is a rare combination of strength, endurance, power and everything in between.

But one of the other benefits is what my kettlebell brother, Pat Flynn calls the “kettlebooty.” It is a great exercise for shaping the backside. Both for the women who want them perkier, better shaped or even smaller and the women who want them perkier and bigger.

Mandi Top of Swing

And for the rare case study who is completely content with their backside, there is still benefit because a strong, functioning backside, literally helps every goal from fat loss to move better to feel better to perform better and sports performance.

It literally does it all, which is why our next challenge is based around the Kettlebell Swing and aptly named “Swing Into Spring”, because Erie in May, Spring is trying to come around but we could still be hit with snow at any moment so we have to swing our way there.

It starts a week from today, May 11th. Stayed tuned for details that will be posted tomorrow.

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