Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Breakdown of the Swing-Pt. 2: Progressions

This is part two of our guest poster Devan Weis breaking down the Kettlebell swing.  In part one Devan started off with getting the swing initiated with the deadlift and in case you missed it you can find that post HERE.  In this post Devan moves on to the next steps of the swing and the progressions to get it moving.  Check it out and make sure you're utilizing the videos to get your practice in.

Breakdown of the Swing Pt. II: Progressions

By: Devan Weis

“But… WHY progressions? Can’t I just hop into a swing?”

Sorry. Nope, not sorry--- You may not just hop into a swing. 

If you’ve never done a kettlebell swing before (or, if you have but have never been taught these progressions) chances are you will not do it correctly without these steps and cues to guide you. This is reality, folks.

Now, WHY is it so important to progress into a kettlebell swing and do it properly? I kid you not, I’ve been asked this before: “But, if I just ‘kind of’ do it right, won’t I still get results?”

My response: “Yes, probably. And, you’ll probably also have a slew of other things that come with those results cough, cough [back pain] cough .”

So, let me tell you the steps of progression [since I know none of us want a hurting low back]. No worries, I’m attaching a video so you can see and practice them all as well!

·        Kettlebell Deadlift: We went over this last week. Please see previous article for set up. Before you can move onto any of the steps below, you MUST master the kettlebell deadlift. If you can’t properly hinge for your deadlift, you will not properly swing. I promise.

·        Hike passes: The set up for this is slightly different than the deadlift. You’ll be a step or two back from your [much lighter] bell to start. I recommend using something “medium” (12 or 16kg for women/ 20 or 24kg for men). Here are your set-up steps for the hike pass:

o   Find your bottom hinge position first, then reach for your bell (eyes should be fixed about 3 to 4 feet in front of you at this point).

o   Tilt your bell towards you. This puts it in a position that is ready for the ‘back swing’ part of your kettlebell swing. Don’t worry, we’re getting closer!

o   Just like in the deadlift, pull down through your lats (pulling your shoulders away from your ears). This should leave your arms touching your inner thighs.

o   Without moving your backside, your legs, or anything through your spine, powerfully “hike” the kettlebell back through your legs (it should clear your knees on the back swing) and let it float back to where it started in front of you.

o   Stand up. Shake it out. Do it again (try 5 at a time to get used to the motion).

·        Dead stop swings: Since we are focusing on progressions here, you hopefully already know that this move builds on the last two (deadlift, hike pass). So, set up like you are going to perform a hike pass. That is your first step. Here are your next steps:

o   This sounds simple, so try and keep it that way: From the hike pass, immediately move to a ‘tall standing’ position. Do NOT think about the kettlebell. Your core should be fully engaged as if you were doing a plank. Be sure not to hyperextend your low back. Cough ouch cough

o   If you’ve done the ‘tall stand’ correctly, the bell should ‘float’ at the top of the swing for a split second. This is your rest with tension. (By that all I mean is you’re not lifting the bell. Your core should still be completely engaged and your glutes should be firing like mad.)

o   From here, the bell descends to the hike position. You should not release tension in your glutes and resort to your hip hinge until the last possible second (when your forearms get close to your tummy).

o    Lastly, you get to guide the kettlebell back to the starting position on the floor in front of you.

o   Do sets of 5 reps of these at a time. Again, get used to the motion. Next week, we will address continuous swings and a short little [sweaty] workout. Come ready!

Strong on! Let me know how these progressions are going for you [and even send me a video for review and feedback, if you’d like! at . I look forward to hearing from you!

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