When it comes to power training, it’s generally been accepted for years that olympic lifts are the OG. They’reawesome for strength and conditioning.
However, evidence is emerging that shows that a kettlebell swing might actually be a better power move.
How true is this? Beast Gear takes a look.
Your hip is crucial to how much power you can generate whenever you sprint, throw a punch or swing a tennis racquet (just ask poor old Andy Murray). A full hip extension is a lower body movement when you reach and approach fully erect.
When you perform olympic lifts, you need to catch the bar. The problem for beginners is that, before they manage a full hip extension, they’re prepping to dip in order to catch the bar.
With a kettlebell swing, on the other hand, even beginners can manage a full extension.
Ever torn a hamstring? It’s not nice. But it happens. In fact, it’s one of the most common injuries among athletes, especially footballers and sprinters. The good news is that you can reduce your risk of pulling a hammy by developing stronger hamstrings.
Youcould go with olympic lifting, but it just doesn’t have the same benefits as a simple kettlebell swing. With a kettlebell swing, the kettlebell comes back to the point where you can decelerate it and complete the catch phase in such a position where you’re stretching your hamstrings.
As they’re getting stretched, you’re able to strengthen and lengthen them - two things that will help to reduce your risk of injury.
Kettlebell swings are more horizontal than olympic lifts. When you swing a kettlebell, you drive it forward and away from you with power. You can’t do this with olympic lifts. You couldtry but you wouldn’t catch the bar.
Why is this horizontal manoeuvre important? It’s great for improving your strength and conditioning, and works the same way that a full hip extension does. Both horizontal and vertical movements will maximise your strength.
Kettlebells still require good technique, of course, but they’re much easier to master than an olympic lift. When you first attempt an olympic lift, it may take you quite a while to nail the technique.
Whilst some will relish the challenge, the fact that an olympic lift takes so long for many of us to master negates its strength and conditioning impact.
A kettlebell, on the other hand, is much simpler and hits you with the benefits straight away.
Olympic lifts are physically demanding and come with a heightened risk of injury. Even a simple movement can endanger your wrists, for example.
And whilst any workoutcan cause injury, most exercises are designed in such a way that the risks are acknowledged but seen as necessary if the athlete wants to improve. This isn’t the case with Olympic lifts.
Kettlebells, conversely, don’t put you at risk. They load your hamstrings and they definitely don’t target your risks.
To wrap up, it’s clear that Beast Gear is a big fan of the simple, humble kettlebell swings. They’re easy to learn, don’t increase your risk of injury, and come with plenty of strength and conditioning benefits.