Kettlebells are pretty much now a staple in the workout world, and the first movement most people learn when they start using them are swings. There are several advantages of kettlebell swings including movement pattern development, improvements in explosiveness, and power conditioning. Five advantages of kettlebell swings are discussed below, showing you why you should add them into your routine.
One of the biggest advantages of kettlebell swings is that they heavily transfer over onto other movements. This is because other kettlebelle exercises like high pulls and snatches are rooted in the swing. In addition, the hip, hamstring, and glute development you build with swings carries over quite a bit to deadlifts and squatting. Adding swings into your program is an easy way to improve several other exercises all at once.
Because swings are a fairly “large” exercise that require a lot of movement and motion just to execute, they utilize a lot of energy and can impact your cardio quite readily. At the same time, swings are best performed for volume, meaning they usually add a fairly significant workload to your routine.
Whenever you do an exercise that gets you breathing hard and you do a lot of it, improved conditioning and work capacity is going to result. In fact, this doesn’t even have to be the reason you added swings to your program in the first place. Better cardio is simply a by product of doing them in the first place.
While swings are generally considered a posterior chain exercise, they do also make quite an impact on the traps and upper back. This is because you utilize both to help reverse momentum at the bottom of the movement, and start pulling the kettlebell back upwards. In fact, after doing swings for a while, it’s not uncommon for powerlifters to see their deadlift lockout increase due to improved upper back and traps development/strength.
One of the most obvious advantages of kettlebell swings is the ability to be more explosive. Swings are ballistic by nature, which will improve explosiveness in general. At the same time, because they focus so heavily on hip drive, many other real world activities done quickly (such as running, jumping, etc) are all improved.
In the past, unless you were a grip training aficionado or a powerlifter who had to be able to hold a heavy bar while deadlifting, you likely didn’t train your hands or forearms that much. But now that swings (and kettlebells in general) are now so popular, many trainees are improving their grip without even trying.
This is because movements like kettlebell swings are a sort of “perfect storm” of grip training necessities. A kettlebell’s handle has a much larger diameter than a traditional dumbbell or kettlebell, which will work the hand much more. Swings are very ballistic, meaning you have to keep a good hold of a the kettlebell to keep it from flying away.
Most kettlebells have simple steel handles at best, a slick coating at worst, and unlike most barbells, never have knurling. This means taxing the grip even more to keep ahold of the kettlebell. And because kettlebell work is done for volume (as has been mentioned), you need your grip to last for an extended period of time instead of just a couple heavy reps.
All in all, kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise that provide many benefits. Simply adding them to your routine a couple times per week can improve your explosiveness, up your deadlift 1RM, make you more athletic, increase your conditioning, and even give you a better grip. Put them in your program today and you should be experiencing multiple different benefits in short order.