I wanted to revisit a topic I blogged about last year… lifting your quad to get the most out of your swings.
Two-Handed Swings and Single-Handed Swings are core Kettlebell exercises, and if your technique is perfect, it will do just about everything you would want to strengthen your body for everyday life.
But first… a question: Why do you work out? Most people would say for the physique. But another important reason we strength train is to ensure that our physical fitness will protect us from injuries, and we can continue being active and do the things we love! Skiing? Look at Warren Miller… he’s closing in on 90 and still carving up the slopes… and I hope I am at his age!
But even more than enjoying the athletic activities in our lives, let’s take a look at some of the things we do everyday without even thinking about it: Working in the yard, lifting groceries, loading stuff onto the roof of your car, moving a couch, hauling dirt (or a screaming 3-year old), bringing in firewood, shlepping luggage at the airport… you name it, I could go on and on… but these are all examples of movements we do everyday and yet most of us don’t think about how we might better train in the gym to do them without pulling a muscle or tweaking something. One wrong move, and we could be out of commission for a week or more, and those of you who have done this know what I’m talking about!
Strengthening your core will protect you from injury in these everyday movements.
The reason I am such a kettlebell fanatic is that I have gone from a state of injury after two separate skiing accidents and losing both ACL’s, my leg muscles atrophied and I lost all muscle tone… to then discovering kettlebells and getting back into the best shape of my life. I now have a base-line fitness level that allows me to take on practically any new activity without questioning if I’m up for it. Kettlebells have given me the confidence to say YES! Yes, I will run that race, go on that trail run, tackle that hike, etc… you get the idea… it’s all thanks to kettlebells and that’s why I do them nearly everyday.
But I digress (as usual!) …try out this tweak next time you do swings:
Lift the Quad!
Yes, that’s it… that’s the simple tweak! Make sure when you snap up to standing that you lock knees and pull up on your quads and keep your heels flat on the ground. In the beginning, you’ll have to focus on really lifting your quad muscle, but you’ll get the hang of it to where it’s second nature and your swings will become much more effective.