By: Laura Wilson, Director of Programming, CPT - NASM
We live in a fast paced, forward looking society; literally! We more often than not neglect the muscles on the back side of the body due to our sedentary lifestyles that have us sitting at desks all day long. The posterior kinetic chain, or back side of the body, is often undertrained leading to poor posture, weak core muscles, and overall weakness in our ability to function in day to day activities.
Let’s first define the posterior kinetic chain and its importance. The hamstring complex, glutes, muscles of the back, triceps, and deltoids are several of the muscle groups involved. These muscles are responsible for pulling movements, as well as deceleration of the body in all our forward movement. This means we cannot accelerate properly or develop power on the anterior, front side, of our body without strengthening the posterior chain since the body will only accelerate or generate power that the backside can decelerate. This is a protection mechanism that is built into the human body. Knowing this the importance of strengthening these oft neglected muscles becomes even more paramount.
The good news is that there are several exercises which can target almost the entire posterior chain, kettlebell swings being one of the most effective and safest. When looking to train the backside we often think deadlifts, good mornings, or clean & press. While these are all excellent exercises for the backside of the body, they also create a significant load on the low back, while swings are significantly less straining. Swings can also be much more effective with lighter loads than what are typical with other more traditional exercises. Secondarily, swings require no ballistic movement and yet still raise the heart rate significantly leading to other training benefits as well.
So grab your kettlebell from its spot as your doorstop and start swinging!