Kettlebells vs. Sprints

small-chris16 Reasons Why I Stopped Running Sprints and Started Swinging a Kettlebell

By: Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT

You’ve probably never heard this before, but…

I dumped sprints and took up kettlebell swings for my post-weight training, fat loss interval work.

Here are 6 reasons why…

1. It takes up too much time.

With my regular training sessions, after I lifted weights, I used to head out to the track to do my intervals.  That usually took up an extra 30 to 40 minutes to get the right shoes on (I’d switch from my Converse All-Stars to my Nike Frees), walk over to the track, get a good warm-up in and then run.

Sometimes, even though my workouts were efficient, it would take me 1.5 hours to get a full workout in (warm-up, weights, warm-up, intervals, cool-down, stretch).  Not good when you have a wife & 5 kids at home and 2 businesses to run.

With swings, I hop on them right after my last set of weights and go to town.  I can do Tabatas, I can do 30s on – 30s off, or I can work hard for 45s, do a plank while I’m resting and pick that KB up for another round right after.  It shaves my workout time by at least 15 minutes.

2. I get hurt.

Sprinting on a track, as cool as it looks, is a little risky for a guy like me.

If you don’t sprint on a track on a regular basis, then the unfamiliar range of motion of sprinting “all out” could leave you hobbled.  I can remember a couple of times when I’ve pulled a hamstring or strained a quad because of sprinting.

My body just wasn’t used to high leg turn over and the extended range of motion that sprinting presents.  Hill sprinting (as an alternative), I find, is a lot safer because of the reduced range of motion.  But again, you need access to a hill and if you don’t have a lot of time (see above), then getting to one may be out of the question.

3. It takes up too much room.double-swings1

To do sprints, you need about 100 to 200m of open space.  I can do KB Swings in an 8 x 8 elevator.

4. You use the RIGHT muscles.

Everyone is obsessed about what they see in the mirror.  People say they workout for health, which I’m sure is true, but at the end of the day most of us workout to look better.

The problem is that on a subconscious level, we’re always trying to improve what we see in the mirror – our abs, chest & arms.  However, what most don’t realize is that our most important muscles – the ones that give us balance, posture, power & strength – are located behind us.

Our posterior chain (our upper & lower back, glutes, hamstrings & calves), although we can’t see it, is our most critical group of muscles.  KB swings work our posterior chain like no exercise can.

5. KB Swings are – dare I say it – “FUNCTIONAL”.

Think about the motion when you swing a kettlebell – your back is straight, your hips are pushed back, your abs are tight and then in one forceful motion, you thrust your hips forward, your body goes upright and you explode up.

Doing this “triple extension” – the explosive extension of your hips, knees & ankles – is a movement that’s used in every sport, in any physical activity that involves picking something up off the ground or lifting something from a low to high position (like throwing your kid up in the air).

6. Sprinting on a treadmill sucks.

I tried sprinting on a treadmill and came to the realization that I’m only getting 50% of a workout.  Why?  Because the treadmill pulls me along.  All I have to do is lift my leg.

When you sprint, you lift a leg, plant it on the ground and then pull yourself forward and then you repeat with the other leg.

When you sprint on a treadmill, the machine/belt does the pulling for you thus making a treadmill sprint a full quad-dominant exercise.  You only get 1/2 of the motion, the treadmill does the other 1/2.  No wonder people who use treadmills have underdeveloped butts & hamstrings.

KB Swings, as I said above in point #4, works all those muscles neglected with treadmill sprinting and if done right, will relieve your over-developed and tight quads & hip-flexors.kb-swing-small

Get ready for the TT Kettlebell Workout Revolution,

Chris Lopez, CSCS, CTT