Olympic lifting and plyometric exercises are important for building speed, strength and power. But the more you perform them, the more you run the risk of overuse injuries like patellar or Achilles tendinitis. The Kettlebell Swing is a good alternative because it enhances vertical jump power and continues your training routine without excessive impact on the patellar or Achilles tendons.
How the Kettlebell Swing Can Help
Let's look at the mechanics of a Vertical Jump.
Now let's compare the mechanics of the Kettlebell Swing.
Note the similarities! A Kettlebell Swing and a Vertical Jump follow identical movement patterns.
The Kettlebell Swing is performed explosively, much like jumping, with force generation coming directly from the glutes, low back and hamstrings as well as the stretch shortening cycle (SSC).
When athletes with patellar or Achilles tendinitis jump, they feel most pain on the landing. During the Kettlebell Swing, athletes stay rooted to the ground and minimize the eccentric loading on tendons, sparing them from pain and injury.
Kettlebell Swing and Variations
Here are a few Kettlebell Swing exercises you can implement in your training program.
Kettlebell Swings are the fundamental kettlebell movement. It's important to hinge at your hips and drive through your glutes, and not pull the kettlebell up with your arms. For vertical jump training, choose a weight you can swing explosively for about 5 reps. Too often, people use kettlebells that are more appropriate for conditioning/muscular endurance than power development.
Double Kettlebell Swing
The Double Swing is a progression of the traditional Swing. You use two kettlebells, which allows you to load more weight, especially if your gym has a limited selection of heavy kettlebells. Take a slightly wider stance so the two kettlebells can pass through your legs.
Banded Kettlebell Swing
This variation involves attaching a band to a kettlebell and around your feet. This adds resistance and further works your glutes, which are the main drivers of the Jump. It also pulls the weight down faster, forcing you to control the speed and training your lower back muscles and hamstrings.
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