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 EmphaticYES!
There are countless reasons to learn how to perform the Kettlebell Swing properly. Right now, I will Give you my Top 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, which 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 issues 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 ACL and other ligament damage in the knees, and herniated discs in the spine, will continue to flourish. These injuries will be drastically reduced when the proper spinal alignment patterns are recruited. You will get plenty of proper alignment practice as you develop a GREAT kettlebell swing.
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 and wouldn’t have caused the injury to my shoulder in boot camp. If I knew how to “pack” my shoulders while I was in the Corps, I could have done “correct” push-ups. By performing push-ups and other “work” without maintaining shoulder pack, I contributed to the structural damage that weakened my shoulder throughout my boot camp process 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 afford you the mechanics listed above, but it can also cut down on all of the time that you devote to extra training in order to become a more proficient Marine. We need Strength and Endurance, to maintain body weight, increase and or maintain PT scores 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. You do not have to worry about it breaking, there is no maintenance, and you can even cook a steak on it in a pinch! The kettlebell has tons 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 have helped me all of those years ago.
It is a bitter-sweet thought- If I didn’t go through the experiences that I did I wouldn’t be able to play a pivotal role in the personal development of Marines.
Would I be able to Lead the Way?
I would think NOT.
**CALLING ALL Active Duty Devil Dogs** Would You Like a FREE Copy of Our Kettlebell Fundamentals GUIDE: the SWING?
No Strings Attached, GUARANTEED!