The top five reasons hard style Kettlebell training is great for your back

There are a lot of opinions of weight training out there, don't do this, never do this, always do this.  Kettlebell training has a lot of those opinions as well, the main opinion being, I have a bad back...I shouldn't use kettlebells.  Well, this article in Pavel's 2006 Enter the Kettlebell speaks to the opposite.  Obviously, there are many variables we want to ensure before starting a strength training routine with kettlebells (which is why we FMS screen all incoming clients) but once your body is ready to use kettlebells, they might just be the best thing you ever do for your back!  

The Top Five Extremely Boring Reasons RKC Kettlebell Training is Great for Your Back - Pavel 

1. Kettlebell Exercises strengthen the glutes.  - Vladmir Janda, MD form the Czech Republic observed that people with low back dysfunction often exhibit "gluteal amnesia".  And if not overcome with proper recruitment pattern practice (if glute muscle activation is not restored), it is likely to lead to more back problems, since the back has to take over the lifting (a task usually done by the powerful glutes).  The glutes are strongly emphasized in kettlebell training.

2. Kettlebell exercises stretch the hip flexors. - In Janda's research, weak glutes were associated with tight hip flexors.  The kettlebell training (RKC style) is second to non in promoting hip flexor flexibility.

3. Kettlebells develop back extensor endurance. - Professor Stuart McGill, PhD, the number one spine biomechanist in the world, concluded that while lower back strength surprisingly does not appear to reduce the odds of back problems, muscular endurance does (Luoto et al, 1995).  I dare you to find a better developer of the back extensors' endurance than the high repetition swing or snatch.

4. Bracing is superior to hollowing for spinal stability. - Misinterpreted research has lead to the currently popular recommendations to "pull your navel in toward your spine" to protect your back.  Dr. McGill has demonstrated  that bracing the abdominal wall is the superior technique.  The RKC hard-style system of kettlebell training teaches many innovative techniques to improve your bracing skill. 

5. Sensible ballistic loading appears to reduce the odds of arthritis. - Repetitive ballistic loading of kettlebell swings and other quick lifts like cleans appears to be highly beneficial to your joints (provided you don't overdo it). Drs Yuri Verkhoshansky and Mel Siff found: Joint cartilage subjected to regular repetitive loading remains healthy and copes very well with impulsive loads, whereas cartilage  that is heavily loaded infrequently softens... the collagen network loses its cohesion and the cartilage deteriorates. 



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