| Article written on April 2nd, 2015 at 12:15pm | Follow Garrett on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram |
The gluteals are truly powerhouse muscles and need to be trained effectively. Not only do they need to be properly activated and strong to enhance performance, but they must also be able to pre-load and explode just as in many athletic situations. From a general population standpoint, many people do place focus on strengthening this muscle group, but little do so from a power perspective. The kettlebell swing is the power version of the straight leg deadlift and can really enhance the driving force behind the hips. Lately, I’ve worked with SO many clients who complain of hamstring pain just in the last few months. After a thorough evaluation it is quite evident that the hamstring is getting picked on because the glutes aren’t functioning effectively. I often recommend the forearm hip extension, cook hip lift, and then progress to the single leg deadlift, and finally kettlebell swings. This trains the glutes to perform hip extension, while sparing the hamstrings and lower back. If this movement is new to you, I recommend progressing to it properly with the exercises mentioned above.
Here’s how to properly execute this exercise:
- Place the kettlebell at a reaching arms length in front of the body
- While keeping the back flat, hinge from the hips and grab onto the handle with both hands
- Slowly lean the kettlebell onto it’s edge and make sure the body is in a flat back position with minimal bending at the knees
- Pull the kettlebell towards the body with straight arms and let the momentum carry it between the legs
- The shoulders, arms, and hands on the kettlebell should form an upside down triangle at all times
- Drive the hips forward using the glutes and shoot the kettlebell forward
- Don’t worry about using any arms as the hips should sufficiently create momentum to get the kettlebell moving
- Engage the glutes the whole way as the hips drive forward
- Once the kettlebell hits the top of its arch, allow the hips to bend and the body to come forward allowing the kettlebell to return between the legs
- Repeat for the desired reptitions
Note: The knees are only unlocked through this exercise as the movement is focused around the hips. Remember, this is a hip dominant, not knee dominant exercise, so there is no squatting involved. There are additional versions of the kettlebell swing, but for this one don’t even use the arms besides to control the kettlebell. As the kettlebell lowers between the legs, think of the hips explosively driving forward to shoot the arms and kettlebell away form the body.
By: Garrett McLaughlin, MS, ATC, CSCS, ART