Whether consciously or unconsciously, we spend most of our days in doing activities with terrible posture. At work, we crouch over keyboards as our hips shorten and chests cave in from sitting. While driving, our arms are right in front of us, and our hip flexors are shortened by the sitting. As the body adjusts into this bad posture, it becomes very difficult to undo it.
The good news is that kettlebell swing can help you correct your posture and prevent overuse of muscles. People who are not doing this exercise are destined to stay tight, weak, and fat for the most of their lives.
Kettlebell swings when done properly work your posterior chain muscles which include the hamstrings, butt, abs, and back and combat all the ill effects of your body posture. The following verbal cues sum up the kettlebell CrossFit workout.
When swinging a kettlebell, every rep counts. From rep one all the way to rep 20, you should look as powerful and fluid. It is at this point that the hike pass is essential. The hike pass allows you to pre-stretch your lats. The lats are a powerful muscle found in your upper body and have a direct relationship with your glutes.
For the hike, set your kettlebell at a distance of about 12 to 18 inches right in front of you. Then, push your hips back as you bend your knees slightly and keep your butt high. Grip the kettlebell using both hands and pull your shoulders into their sockets as you fire your lats.
The hinge movement, unlike a squat, is dominated by the hips. As you push your hips back and keep your butt high and shins vertical, you are basically hingeing. The advantage with hingeing is that it overloads your glute and hamstring muscles thereby creating a natural balance between back and front. This, in turn, helps in preventing hip and knee issues.
The hinge is fondly referred to as the foundation of the kettlebell swing. If you experience difficulties in hingeing, even swinging will be a problem. By the fact that the hinge loads the hamstrings, it is billed as one of the most powerful movement.
This movement can best be summed as a standing plank where each of your muscles is tightened from shoulders downwards. Try to imagine you are growing roots through your feet, and the entire foot grabs the ground. Then, pull your kneecaps all the way up into your crotch. This flexes your quads. Then, squeeze your glutes and pull your shoulders as far as you can away from your ears. This is the true definition of root position. The kettlebell swing is basically a series of roots and hinges.
When you swing the kettlebell during CrossFit training, the float is what results. The advantage of this movement is that it ensures all your energies are focused not on trying to muscle the kettlebell to a given height, but on your glutes.
As you go from the hinge movement to root, the kettlebell will float higher as you contract your glutes harder.
Regardless of your CrossFit workout goal, mastering the kettlebell swing is the best thing that can ever happen to you. It will not only give you strength but also help you add pounds to your squat and deadlift.