I’ve talked about the awesomeness of the swing before here: http://irontamerblog.com/the-month-of-the-swing/
Here are few more thoughts based on a question NKB member Will Gant asked recently.
Why is the swing so effective?
I have mentioned it before, but it is worth repeating. Alan Calvert, author of the book Super Strength (published in 1924), said the following about the kettlebell swing: “The best exercise for strengthening the back and legs and for teaching them to work together. It takes considerable effort to master it, but it is worth all the trouble because it is one of the fundamentals of super strength. Here are a few of the things you will gain from this exercise: You will learn to instinctively keep your back flat when making a great exertion; you will get a much firmer grip on the ground with your feet; you will learn how to ‘time’ moving a heavy object; you will increase the gripping power of the hands and increase development of the front part of the shoulder muscles.”
A dramatic amount of work can be done safely, effectively and short period of time. A 16kg swung for 200 reps equals 7200lbs moved. A relatively new trainee can do this. Obviously more weight, more total reps or a combination in both increases the workload. There aren’t very many other activities that allow this kind of output. Doing that amount of work, especially if the rest periods are short has a tremendous effect on both strength and endurance. The swing is an all in one strength/cardio/metabolic superstar.
The techniques we teach in the RKC for generating tension allows the person swinging to increase or decrease the amount of force being generated. Master RKC Mark Reifkind refers to this as a “Force magnifier”. In one force plate study we saw that the weight of the kb at the point where it changes directions on the backswing was several times greater than the actual weight of the kettlebell. Think of dropping the kettlebell vs. setting it on the ground. There is more force as a result of the movement. Because of this, our 16kg/7200lb example increases based on this virtual force.
The swing teaches the body to work as a single interconnected and coordinated unit and helps you learn the skill of distributing a heavy workload across the entire body.
Combined with good eating habits, swings are an excellent tool for fatloss. In fact, I have not found anything better than swings (and their first cousin, snatches) for body composition changes. Ask the folks at Nashville Kettlebell.
Better movement, more strength, better body composition. Let’s swing.