As the author, Simon Sinek has taught us, it's always important that we start with why. Why should we swing kettlebells? Well for starters, the kettlebell swing and its related, less dynamic, classic strength training move, the deadlift, is all about forcefully extending the hips. What's the big deal with that? Well, if we think about the one thing that so many of us do way too much, day in and day out, from one location to the next as we go from one task to the next, it's sitting, and more specifically, sitting in chairs. There's a good chance that you're on your butt right now reading this with your head drooping forward as if this screen is sucking you into itself. This position we're so often finding ourselves in is a perpetual state of hip flexion and poor posture that even I, your humble health and wellness correspondent, is fixed in right now as I compose this entry. Some health and wellness publications even go as far as to say that sitting is the new smoking due to its links to everything from sciatica and back pain to obesity and heart disease. So if we can all agree that remaining in hip flexion with a poor spinal alignment and low energy for hours on end is a bad thing, then by reverse engineering that state of being, or lack thereof, we should all be able to also agree that forcefully executing the extension of the hips into a tall, energetic standing position on a regular basis is a great thing that we all need to get on board with. This just so happens to be what a kettlebell swing is and does. It helps reverse the negative health and movement degrading effects of chronic sitting by reinforcing refined repetitions of explosive hip extension. And what is the main muscle responsible for hip extension? The GLUTES. And who out there doesn't want nicer glutes? I know I do.
Another wildly valuable aspect of the kettlebell swing and the deadlift is how these movements, when done correctly, teaches one how to effectively load and explode from the hips or even load and merely lift from the hips. In order for this to happen, the core must be stable, or in other words, the lever of the lumbar spine stays still while the large muscles of the glutes, hamstrings and quads can generate the force necessary through the hip joint and the femur to facilitate something like a bound across a field or the picking up of a heavy Amazon package from the floor. Deadlifts and/or swings done on a regular basis can help create an improved level of function for your day-to-day activities. Hence the term "functional training". Any type of training that leads to adaptations that improve your biomechanical efficiency can be deemed as "functional", while any type of behavior regularly that makes one move less efficiently and perhaps even dangerously can maybe be coined "dysfunctional". Which side of that equation do you want be on?
So to circle back to the original question: Why Swing Kettlebells?
Well, that's easy... Because what's good for the glutes, is good for the gander.