Fitness for Busy Folk

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Benefits of Kettlebell Swings

The kettlebell swing is a much under-used and extremely underrated exercise. It’s the most basic of all the kettlebells exercises, and it’s imperative that you learn how to do it correctly, before attempting more complex moves like snatches and cleans. However, just because it’s basic doesn’t mean that it’s easy, unimportant, or without benefit. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of swinging.

Posterior Chain

The posterior chain is the collective term for your hamstrings, glutes and lower back muscles. Many people try to target these areas individually – you’ll often see people in gyms doing leg curls for their hamstrings, butt kicks and leg lifts for their glutes, and back extensions to target the erector spinae muscles of the lower back. While there’s nothing wrong with these exercises, the posterior chain really does work better as a unit.

The kettlebell swing, and more specifically, the split second where the bell changes from descending to ascending, as you powerfully snap your hips forward, is fantastic for hitting your entire posterior chain, and is far more effective and time efficient than trying to target the muscles individually.

Increased Total Body Strength

You may not realise this, but increased posterior chain strength translates into increased total body strength. Whenever you perform a free-weight or body-weight leg exercise, you posterior chain muscles have to work to either create movement, or provide stabilization. Even many upper body lifts, such as bench presses, overhead presses and rows require your posterior chain to do some work. Think of a powerlifter performing a bench press, or Olympic lifter jerking a weight overhead – they have to get their whole bodies, including their legs, glutes and lower backs, as tight as possible. A stronger posterior chain equals a stronger you.


The kettlebell swing is an extremely quick move. You should always aim to emphasise the hip “snap” when performing it, and aim to launch the bell up on every rep. This increased speed and power can be enormously beneficial if you need to get quicker. Sprinters, wrestlers, football players and many other athletes will include kettlebell swings in their training to help improve their hip drive, and increase speed.


When you think of what muscles the kettlebell swing works, your core muscles may not immediately spring to mind, but your core is just as important as your hamstrings, glutes and back when swinging. In order to maintain a neutral spine, your abdominals have to work very hard to prevent your lower back from rounding, and keep your head and chest high.

Unlike sit ups and crunches, which emphasize spinal movement, swings train the core for what it’s designed to do – stabilization. There aren’t many exercises that will work your core harder than heavy kettlebell swings will.

Reduced Lower Back Pain

This links back to increased posterior chain strength. Often, lower back pain can be attributed to weak glute muscles, and tight hamstrings. As we’ve already discussed, swings will take care of your weak glutes, but they can also be used as an assessment tool. If you have tight hamstrings, you will find it very difficult to sit back into the correct position for a swing. Therefore, not only will swings reduce lower back pain by strengthening any weak muscles, they can also be used to identify any which are tight, and may need stretching.

Hopefully that’s enough to convince you that you need kettlebell swings in your training. Now, get swinging.

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5 Kick Ass Kettlebell Coaches

I fell in love with Kettlebells over 5 years ago, and have been using them along side my Bodyweight workouts for extra calorie burning, a boost of strength, and overall challenging workouts. I’ve since tried a multitude of workouts written by variety authors and Kettlebel coaches. The following are 8 of my favorite fitness professionals out there who are just as in love with Kettlebells as I am:

1 – Chris Lopez

Chris Lopez has 5 kids. That in itself should shock you. I mean, who has 5 kids these days? (I want 5 kids, but I don’t think my girlfriend feels the same way). Anyways, not only does he have 5 kids, but he’s also super lean. How does he do it? He uses Kettlebells! Chris Lopez is one of most influential Kettlebell coaches because he gives new meaning to a busy lifestyle.

Interesting Tips, Advice, and Shares:

  • How Often Should You Train with Kettlebells?
  • Short Intense Workouts with Kettlebells Burns More Fat
  • 3 Major Kettlebell Mistakes

2 – Forest Vance

Forest is a RKC certified Kettlebell trainer and owns a gym in Sacramento, California. He also has an extensive athletic background and has played Football at the college and pro level. His best-selling book on Amazion – No Gym? No Excuses! – teaches people how to workout even if they have not access to a gym (which is EXACTLY what this website is about!). His greatest accomplishment is when he lost 64 pounds in 7 months!

Interesting Tips, Advice, and Shares:

  • Kettlebell Fat Loss Plan for Beginners
  • The Kettlebell Swing
  • Perfecting your Swings: Kettlebell Training Basics

3 – Josh Hillis

Josh Hillis is another superstar Kettlebell trainer. He specializes in combining celebrity-style Kettlebell workouts with solid diet programs to help you achieve your goals. In fact, his blog is full of celebrity workouts. That’s all he talks about! Whenever a new movie comes out, and if the actor is using Kettlebells, Josh will know about it, and he’ll write about. I get most of my celebrity workout news from him.

Interesting Tips, Advice, and Shares:

  • Are You Waisting your Time in the Gym?
  • Kettlebell Training burns 1200 Calories per Hour
  • The Advanced Kettlebell Swing

4 – Scott Sonnon

Scott Sonnon is a character. Many people love to hate him because he talks so weird. But, he delivers results and that’s what matters! He is the way he is because he’s had to fight for everything he has. Growing up, he had physical and learning disabilities which prevented him from doing many things. Now, he has a bustling business, is a world class trainer, and has abs of steel!

Interesting Tips, Advice, and Shares:

  • Never Give Up. Never Give In. Always Get Up. Always Get Going.
  • You can Be a Winner Once, but a Champion Only Always
  • Your Body Knows More than your Mind Thinks

5 – Josh Henkin

Josh Henkin has a number of certifications to his name, and world-renowned coaches such as Charles Poliquin love his training style. What’s his training style? It’s absolutely fat burning metldown. His workouts push your body to the max, and then some. So if you’re looking for some brutal workouts to add to your regimen, then Josh Henkin is the man to follow.

Interesting Tips, Advice, and Shares:

  • Fighting Strength: Combining Sandbags and Kettlebells
  • TRX & Kettlebells: Functional Movement Drills
  • Sandbags or Kettlebells

Your Favorites

These were my favorite Kettlebell coaches. There are many other incredible coaches that approach Kettlebell workouts in a variety different ways.

  • Who are your favorites?
  • Who would you like to add and why?
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