Ever wondered what exactly happens during a kettlebell swing?
What muscles do what, and why? Following is the analyses of a double arm kettlebell swing with an insert.
From back swing to up phase
- Gluteus Maximus pulls the top of pelvis up
- Hamstrings pull on bottom of the pelvis
- Quads extend the knee
Prevent ankle flexion (Plantar flexion)
- Calfs pull to stop the knees from coming forward
- Spinal erectors stop the spine from falling into flexion, and keep it erect
- Latissimus dorsi pull the ball into the socket to protect the shoulders
Pull shoulders back
- Middle and lower trapezius retract and pull the shoulders back
- Rhomboids major and minor retract the scapula
- Triceps keep the elbow extended
Whether you need to keep the elbows extended depends on the trajectory of the kettlebell, out or up?
- Muscles in the anterior compartment of the forearm keep the fingers flexed to maintain a hold on the kettlebell handle
A tight grip that does not relax at the top of the swing will create tight forearms, or injury with high and repetitive volume.
From floating phase to back swing
- The hip flexors pull the pelvis down
Note, that saying hip flexors is just an easy way to avoid naming all the muscles that are within this large muscle group: Psoas major, Iliacus muscle, Rectus femoris, Sartorius, Tensor fasciae latae, Pectineus, Adductor longus, Adductor brevis, Gracilis.
- The hamstrings flex the knee joint
Note, there are more knee flexors, two of them are located at the front.
- The hamstrings pull the hips further back and down to create an insert
The insert is the opposite of letting a pendulum complete, which is common cause for kettlebell bobbing with beginners.
All other points from the up phase apply, like: shoulder protection, arm extension etcetera. This is just the basics, take our online course, or buy our books to get the nitty gritty on the kettlebell swing.
Expand your mind, don’t get stuck with one swing, one way of doing things, know your goals, learn what’s safe, and use whatever you need to reach your goals. Take our online course today, or buy the book in electronic format, or paperback on Amazon.
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Why even care about muscles used?
- Know what muscles should be recruited and when
- One trains to reach goals; knowing what muscles are worked, allows programming towards reaching goals
- Prevent injury
- Provide correct cues to athletes