The Kettlebell is a common piece of fitness equipment that you’ll find in just about every gym. Although it is easy to find, it might as well be an alien artifact as far as most gym-goers are concerned.
The “Girya,” as it is known in the Russian language, is one of the most misunderstood tools in the fitness world today. That’s because although they’ve been around since the 18th century (in Russia) they really didn’t become popular in the United States until the early 2000’s.
When utilized properly, kettlebells are extremely effective at helping you burn fat, sculpt and tone muscles, and improving overall conditioning. When they are used incorrectly, injury can occur.
One of the most common reasons for using kettlebells is to melt away fat. You can achieve this by learning a movement that you’ve probably seen utilized before, the famous kettlebell “swing.”
Not only is the swing one of the best exercises for rapid fat loss, but it is also effective at building up your hips and posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, and quads). Here are some tips for developing the perfect swing.
The most important thing is how you set up your swing. Don’t just grab the kettlebell; learn to set up your hike for a focused, powerful swing. Sit your hips down and back into a hinge with the kettlebell in front of you and between your feet. Grasp it tightly in your hands (overhand), engage your lats (not shoulders), and hike the bell back through your legs.
This hike position sets up a powerful swing.
Each kettlebell swing is not a deadlift, nor a squat with a front raise. It’s meant to be a hinge. A hinge is when you cock your hips back by stretching your hamstrings while keeping your back straight.
This loads up your hips, glutes, and hamstrings just like a bow getting ready to fire an arrow.
When you’ve fully extended your kettlebell swing, you want to utilize full hip extension as well. This means that you want your knees locked and feet firmly on the ground (not on your toes or heels). You also want to ensure that your glutes are squeezed and your core muscles are tight.
The lock is very important for generating full explosive power during the top part of the swing.
It’s crucial that you learn how to breathe properly with each swing of a kettlebell, to ensure maximum fat-loss and conditioning. When you drive your hips forward, extending them so that your body is in an upright position, exhale with vigor. Pretend that you are blowing out candles on a cake.
While swinging back down, inhale and fill up your midsection with air by breathing through your nose. It may seem simple, but learning how to properly breathe during each swing takes a lot of practice.
Remember, each swing of a kettlebell is a lift, so treat it like one. Be sure that your practice as much as you can with lighter weights to get the proper form down. Be patient, and with enough practice you’ll be swinging that fat away in no time.
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