This is the time of year in Norway when the sheep come out of the mountain pastures and get slaughtered for market. Much like the latest fad, kettlbells. I just finished watching 40 minutes of some top expert teaching the kettlebell swing. All through the videos I kept asking myself, what is the point? Then it actually hit me. There is no point. People who are hooked on kettlebells are like a herd of sheep. why, The experts ( self proclaimed) follow the latest fad, use some big words, write some articles, throw in a few videos and PUFF we have a new faster way to waste your time.
So, what are my issues with kettlebells.
1. Any idiot can see this swinging motion has to be the worst thing for your lower back. Even with the instructors standing next to them the user once they get started almost immediately breaks this perfect form they were taught and the lower back form breaks . I even saw one famous guy trying to do the swing, but used his lower back to start the movement rather than the hips. Sorry man, watch your video.
2. Keep in mind once you begin this swing thing with your arms straight to change direction the body has to decelerate the swing. Now this is where you really ask for trouble. You have this 50 kilo weight in your outstretched arms , get the movement going and then tell your body to SLAM on the breaks and go in the opposite direction. OUCH.
3. To continue with this deceleration issue, What about all the muscle in your neck and rear shoulder stabilizers. Those are the small muscles around your scapula. Your outstretched arms just add a long arm to the force that is created from this swing……………………. Stop…………………. blast off in the other direction.
4. As for the muscle that this swing works. We know a muscle works the hardest from a stop and the start where you have the nerve impulses firing at there maximum. Isn’t that why we are told to do perfect form. Not here, once the swing starts and the momentum builds up, it is actually the momentum of the swing and the weight doing the movements. The individual muscles in the movement never really get a chance to fire through their range due to this momentum.
5. Power. I love the way every new fad that comes on the market is going to increase your power. If power defined in a simple way is Force x Speed , using power cleans as an example is the force you create pulling the bar off the ground x the speed you can get it up. 😉 Well where does this momentum swing bring this into play. Please don’t say when you change directions becasue it looks to me like the momentum is taking care of that. A true snap at the end of the swing would probably rip your lower back, hamstrings and shoulders off.
6. Now comes the big laugh I have with this whole kettlebell thing. The fact I own a gym and have so for 30 years, personally trained athletes and fitness people leads to:
Where do you put this exercise in the workout? Do you take out the bench, the squat, shoulder exercises or how about the abs? Speaking of abs, I got to believe someone is going to write an article on the fastest way to get a six-pack and ripped at the same time is do reverse kettlebell swings.
So what do you actually have? A movement where you hold a molded thing in your hands, called a kettlebell. Use the heaviest you can , so your friends are impressed, swing it up and down hoping you don’t break apart. Sorry sheep, next year when you come down from the pasture there will be a new fad waiting.