*Coach Helder may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post
I often harp on how proper mechanics are missing from our Physical Training instruction in the United States Marine Corps. If we recruit the proper movement patterns during PT, this info gets adapted into EVERYTHING that we do, regardless of our MOS.
Movement is Movement. And when not addressed properly, we Leak.
When we Leak, we either accomplish our mission less effectively and/or we get hurt. Either scenario does not bode well for a U.S. Marine. Would you fair better on the rifle range with or without proper site alignment? Well then, swap out the rifle in that example with your body and you GET what I’m trying to convey to you here.
To become proficient with your kettlebell practice you need to focus on mechanics. Things such as Shoulder Pack, Core Activation and Proper Alignment are a must if you are going to OWN the kettlebell swing as well as other kettlebell exercises.
OKAY… Hold on.. If swinging a kettlebell PROPERLY drives home the mechanics of Shoulder Pack, Core Activation and Alignment then wouldn’t this have helped prevent all the anguish that I went through in the Marines?
If I knew then what I know now would things have gone differently? I MUST answer with an Emphatic, YES!
There are countless reasons to learn how to perform the Kettlebell Swing properly. Right now, I will Give you 5.
1:) Core Activation: We should move from our core. We hear this often but how do we recruit that pattern effectively? A proper Kettlebell Swing requires you to activate and fully engage your core. The more that you Swing, the more practice you get engaging your core and applying the proper mechanics. This movement pattern will then be conveyed to a host of other movements — push-ups, sit-ups and running, to name a few.
2:) Spinal Alignment: We Run and HUMP all the time in the Marines. Alignment is usually shit at the get-go, and deteriorates further as we fatigue. There are many undesired issues that will occur with improper alignment. For the purpose of this post I will stick to the problems that we experience with knee and lower back issues.
As we run with full kits and add other resistance, such as packs and weapons, our alignment is challenged. If we do not practice recruiting proper alignment common Marine ailments such as those listed below will occur:
- ACL and other ligament damage to the knees
- Herniated discs in the spine
- Shin Splints
- Foot Pain
3:) Packing Your Shoulders: If I knew how to keep my shoulders in their proper position by “packing” them correctly, I would have fared much better in my boxing match that led to my shoulder injury in boot camp. If I understood how to integrate my shoulders with the rest of my body, I could have done “correct” push-ups. By performing countless push-ups and other “work” without maintaining shoulder pack, I contributed to the structural damage that weakened my shoulder throughout boot camp and beyond. The swing WILL teach you where your proper shoulder position needs to be.
4:) Save Time: Our Mission as Marines is a vast one. There are so many skills that we need to hone and very little time to get all of that work in. The kettlebell swing will not only efficiently ingrain the mechanics listed above, but it can also cut down on all of the time that you devote to extra physical training in order to become a more proficient Marine. We need to build Strength and Endurance in order to maintain our body weight, increase and/ or maintain PT scores, and to perform at our best while on active duty. The kettlebell swing will reduce that training time while giving you all of the benefits that you need to operate — thus, increasing your much needed Down time! 🙂
5:) Convenience: whether we are deployed in the desert, waiting for a CG inspection at the barracks, or on the fantail of a ship, the kettlebell is one convenient tool to have. You do not have to worry about it breaking, there is no maintenance, and you can even cook a steak on solid cast iron kettlebell in a pinch! 😉
The kettlebell has a plethora of uses, but I can promise that making you a Better Marine is certainly at the top of it’s list.
I am passionate about helping my fellow Brothers and Sisters for one main reason:
I wish that I had someone to convey this knowledge to me… all of those years ago.