The Kettlebell Swing: Often to referred to as the “Mother of All Kettlebell Exercises” and is the root of all Kettlebell Training. The Kettlebell Swing is not only the basis but one of the biggest differentiators between Kettlebell Training and other strength and conditioning systems. The Kettlebell Swing “reverse engineers” the practitioner’s hips by the development of the hip hinge, hamstring and glute recruitment through the pop and lock required to execute the movement properly. In addition, the incredible rooting effect for power transference through the body is applicable to improved performance in virtually all sports and strength performance.
The Kettlebell Swing has so many benefits, yet many go untapped through poor execution. I’ve had people walk into my studio claiming “I love to swing, I do tons of them all of the time.” Then I watch them swing – Ooof! I don’t know where the heck they learned to “swing”, but now I know why they thought that swings were easy! No eccentric/concentric motion, shoulder’s not packed, no rooting, legs bent at the top and to much at the bottom, chicken necking so much that I thought was I hanging with Frank Perdue, lats not engaged, power leaks all over!
Now that we’ve looked at the poor examples, how do we execute the swing? Step one, find a quality instructor or at least purchase some DVDs or get your hands on a video program from one of the top flight RKC Instructors. I will mention, no matter how good a video is, nothing replaces working under the scrutiny of a qualified Kettlebell Instructor.
Starting from the ground up, let’s consider our feet. First make certain that your feet are the correct width apart. If they are too close, you’ll never be able to swing the bell between your legs. If they are too far apart, you won’t be able to completely fire your gluteus, thus leaking power. Additionally, you will tax your hip flexors more which could result in injury. Rooting with the floor is key. Take advantage of the feedback from your feet with the floor. Establishing that that intimate contact with the floor creates a map of you body’s nervous system and helps facilitate feedback and feedforward of movement. Draw your kneecaps up into your quadriceps as you lock out your knees. This should happen simultaneously to the driving of your coccyx to your naval and the contraction of your gluteus. While all of this in occurring, you need to shorten your abdominals by “zipping up” and exhaling a short, hard purposeful breath. Pack your shoulders and engage the lats as the power of the swing travels from the ground, through your feet, into your legs and through you hips and gluteus, up into your lats, passing through your arms and shoots out of the bottom of the Kettlebell. When you are swinging, think of “hips and grips”. It’s also very important that you go between full relaxation and full tension. This is how to develop incredibly useful strength!
There are quite a few swing variations. There are the two hand swings, the one hand swing, hopping lateral swing, hand to hand swing, dual bell swing, dead start swing, walking swings and the much maligned bottoms up swing, to name a few. All of the same principles apply to all of the swing variations, however there are certain unique benefits to each variation. Check out the accompanying video demonstrating some of the variations of the swing.
Now its time to get off of the computer and start swinging!
More Fit & Fifty!
If you have about 27 minutes today, try the Marine Pyramid. Our Boxing Coach Joe Rubino brought it in last night. I hadn’t seen it in quite some time. GREAT STUFF!
Marine Corps Pyramid Routine
Chin Ups Dips Push Ups Sit Ups Squats
4 6 15 25 15
6 8 20 30 20
8 10 25 35 25
10 12 30 40 30
12 14 35 45 35
10 12 30 40 30
8 10 25 35 25
6 8 20 30 20
4 6 15 25 15
Totals: 68 86 215 305 215
No rest between sets
30 seconds rest between exercises
Martial Arts & Kettlebell Master, Phil Ross becomes a Certified Bodyweight Specialist. In the first ever Bodyweight Strength certification conducted by Master of Sport Pavel Tsatsouline (the man responsible for bringing Kettlebell Training to the US), held in St. Paul Minnesota October 13th and 14th, some 60 participants were in attendance. The students were training in the progressions of mastery of the Bodyweight Strength Development and Master Phil Ross was one of the 15 participants to pass the exam and receive certification upon the course completion, earning the title of Bodyweight Strength Specialist. Master Ross, getting set to celebrate his 50th Birthday this October, was the only participant over the age of 40 to receive certification. He will be launching his “Fit and Fifty” program and posting YouTube clips adding more training tips to his active Phil Ross channel
Below is a write up regarding some training benefits from the training:
Naked Warrior Certification/Workshop: Phil Ross, RKC Team Leader, 8th Degree Black Belt
The workshop consisted of an incredible amount of extremely useful strength and balance developing techniques as well as strategies. The progressions to the specific tasks were particularly relevant because you are gaining useable, practical, applicable strength while you are learning strength skills. Some people may never be able to execute a one arm push-up, pistol, an L-sit pull-up or handstand push-up, but they will achieve significant strength gains and improve their lives through their strength practice.
People may think that if they can’t do a one-arm push-up, there’s no need to train in this fashion. That would be akin to telling a runner not to run, because they will never be able to run a sub 10 second 100 meter sprint. Nonsense, incredible strength and body linkage is developed with body weight training and that results in improved performance in strength, kettlebell training, weight lifting, sport, martial arts and daily life. If a student is able to perform a pull up and 20 two-legged squats, they will certainly be able to carry a bag of groceries up a flight of stairs.
Results are achieved by consistent, intelligent training patterns. Exercise discipline in your training. Build slowly and do not skip any level of the progression. That may result in “gaps” in your strength and prevent you from attaining the highest level of proficiency. Achieving real strength does not occur overnight, it’s a process. Quick gains lead to injury and rob one of their potential. Strength is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a long process, but the results can last a lifetime!