Kettlebell Exercises: How To Chose The Best One
By Chris Lopez
Being in the fitness game for 13 years, I often get asked the question, "What are the best kettlebell exercises?".
My answer is always the same whether I am choosing kettlebell exercises or exercises that involve dumbbells, barbells or even just bodyweight.
The best kettlebell exercises incorporate every muscle of the body.
Unlike any other exercise tool, kettlebell exercises are meant to use the body as a complete unit. A network of muscles, joints, bones and nerves that work together to train the body
When it comes to choosing the best kettlebell exercises, there are few that compare to the most foundational kettlebell exercise, The Swing.
The Swing is the kettlebell exercise that ALL ballistic kettlebell exercises are derived from. Dissecting the swing, you will notice two very distinct elements...
First, is the hip hinge. The hinge is often the most misunderstood element of this simple, but not easy, kettlebell exercise. If you look at novices perform the swing for the first time, you'll notice - more often than not - a deep knee bend and the exerciser turning the swing into a sumo squat type of kettlebell exercise.
This is not the proper way to execute the kettlebell swing. Instead of the deep knee bend, the exerciser should be flexing at the hip - with only a slight knee bend - and keeping their back arched. The essence of this incredible kettlebell exercise comes from the exerciser's ability to recruit and load their glutes and hamstrings. This can only be acheived by through the over-emphasized hip hinge.
The second important element in the most foundational of kettlebell exercises is the rooting. The rooting or the finishing stance of the swing is where the exerciser's abdominal stability and ability to fire the glutes come into play.
A proper rooting stance is where the exerciser is able to both maintain tension and be relaxed at the same time.
That means that when performing the swing, or any ballistic kettlebell exercises for that matter, the exerciser must be able to squeeze and fire their glutes, maintain tension in their core and at the same time keep their shoulders relaxed. It's a difficult task to master as, more often than not, people who attempt this kettlebell exercise "the right way" will mistaken rooting for leaning back and excessively extend their spine by leaning back.
This is natural as you start to learn how to recruit your glutes properly, but something that should be consciously avoided as you start to practice this essential kettlebell exercise.
After understanding the elements of the kettlebell swing, it will be much easier to familiarize yourself with the other ballistic kettlebell exercises like the snatch, clean and high pull which all involve the hip hinge and the rooting stance.
This is why, when starting out with ANY kettlebell exercises, it's important to be under the watchful eye of a qualified kettlebell exercise instructor.
With proper guidance and instruction from an instructor who is qualified to teach kettlebell exercises - like an RKC - you'll accelerate your ability to become competent in swinging a kettlebell. Learn more about kettlebell exercises here.