Why The Kettlebell Swing Is Good For You Back
Experience has taught me that the Kettlebell Swing is one of the most beneficial all-round exercises for the general population.
The ballistic movement of the Kettlebell Swing is unique, in that it builds strength as well as endurance. What I want to point out in this blog is why I’ve also found it has helped so many of my clients who once suffered with lower back pain.
The Kettlebell Swing Wakes Up the Glutes
Czech Republic’s Dr Vladimir Janda is renowned for drawing our attention to the rise in “gluteal amnesia”. This common problem is a typical side effect of too much sitting and basically means that the backside muscles have got so used to not working that they have permanently fallen asleep. To quickly get an understanding of how the gluteal muscles help your core, try leaning backwards from a standing position. Now try leaning back again while strongly clenching your butt cheeks as if trying to crack as walnut. You will easily feel the stability your backside muscles give you.
It’s common knowledge that the most effective way to reawaken the glutes is through correct exercise. However, leading sports therapist to the Navy Seals and NFL teams, Gray Cook comments:
“You can go to parallel in the squat without fully activating the glutes, however a Kettlebell Swing done with correct form will quickly light them up”.
Exercise physiologist Bret Contreras’ has also found that the Kettlebell Swing far exceeds the glute activation of a squat.
The Kettlebell Swing Stretches the Hip Flexors
Another side effect from too much sitting is tight hip flexors. This often goes hand in with “gluteal amnesia”. At the top of a Kettlebell Swing the body should be straight and tall with tight glutes. This is perfect to open the muscles at the front of the hips, helping posture and taking the strain off the lower back.
The Kettlebell Swing Builds Back Endurance
Prof. Stuart McGill is considered the World’s number 1 leading authority on back care. He has found that muscular strength isn’t anywhere as near as important as lower back endurance. High rep Kettlebell Swings are the perfect answer to this.
“Bracing” beats “Hollowing” for Spinal Stability
Prof. Stuart McGill has found that learning to brace the core is more effective for spinal health and longevity than the classic “hollowing” or pulling navel to spine. He defines “bracing” as symmetrical stiffening of all the muscles surrounding the spine. This is exactly how you should be holding your torso during the Kettlebell Swing.
To make sure you are getting the most from your Kettlebell Swing for a strong lower back you can watch the video tutorial below.