Swing Biomechanics

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by schurgerdc, Jan 11, 2017 at 1:39 PM.

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  1. schurgerdc

    schurgerdc Regular on the StrongFirst Forum

    I've been searching the threads & the S&S book for more on this thought, but figured I'd post anyway to see if I have myself straight on this. Thanks in advance if it's been answered elsewhere!!

    I've been working thru the S&S routine again, really getting my swing basics down again with the 24kg bell, and I suspect fatigue (and a subluxation of my neck causing overall biomechanical asymmetry) led me to a minor quad lumborum strain recently. After a couple of weeks off (and a great correction) I'm back at it, but I've noticed an aspect of the swing that I have yet to seen fully described yet.

    Pavel describes the cramping of the glutes right until the very last instant that the arms make contact with the legs on the down swing. Would it be accurate to say that from explosion to propel the bell, that the glutes would be cramped, and at the very last moment, you end up "catching" the bell with the glutes into the hip hinge? This feels so much better, and does not seem to involve the QL in the way I think I was doing.

    Thanks for input on this.
     
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  2. pet'

    pet' In the 1k club

  3. Steve W.

    Steve W. Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    I would say that there are a lot of subtle form and timing tweaks in the swing that can reduce and smooth out the forces on the back and grip. A few of the biggest:
    --Sitting back deeply enough in the hinge.
    --Delaying the hinge so the bell stays above your knees, your weight doesn't shift forward, and you get better force transfer to the hips.
    --Being patient in letting the back swing fully complete before driving the hips forward.
    --Hips, knees and shoulders should start and finish together. If your hips keep flexing/torso keeps inclining forward after your knees have finished and your hips have finished moving backward, it tends to put a lot of extra force on your back.

    In many cases, subtle adjustments that might not even be visible to an observer can make a big difference in the feel and power of the swing.

    I would not focus too much on "cramping the glutes," except briefly as your hips fully extend and the bell floats up. The swing should be fluid, with a smooth rhythm of tightness and looseness where and when necessary, without too much spurious tension. I think being overly fixated on maintaining cramped glutes might tend to lead to a stiff, mechanical swing, rather than a smooth and fluid one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017 at 11:11 AM
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  4. pet'

    pet' In the 1k club

    Hello,

    @schurgerdc
    Plus, some weights can also be too light or too heavy to find the right spot and then do a move with good form.

    Do you have the same feeling with a lighter bell ?

    Kind regards,

    Pet'
     
  5. schurgerdc

    schurgerdc Regular on the StrongFirst Forum

    I find 24kg easy enough to do, and really notice it on the 32kg. I'll have to dig a little on the links you sent and study those. But I was able to do all 100 swings with the 32kg today (double handed) with no issues, form feeling good throughout. It may be as @Steve W. said, it may vary from weight to weight.
     
  6. Eric Addis

    Eric Addis New to StrongFirst Forum

    This is a cue that I have used in my own practice but it is just that, a cue.
     
  7. Steve W.

    Steve W. Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    I'd also suggest that, especially with heavier bells, it helps to counterbalance the bell a bit by leaning back against the force of the bell while maintaining a straight, planked up alignment (not leaning back by extending the lower back).

    This keeps the center of mass of the bell/lifter system more over the base of support (the feet). It also smooths out the force of the drop. If you just let the bell drop, standing straight up without counterbalancing, all the force of the drop catches up with you at once, puts a greater impulse on the grip and, if the center of mass is too far in front, also on the spine. Again, this really becomes more of an issue with heavier bells, relative to bodyweight.
     
  8. schurgerdc

    schurgerdc Regular on the StrongFirst Forum

    I don't think this is my concern at this time yet. While my 32kg feels heavy currently, it doesn't feel over the top to cause a lean when standing. I suspect I'll find that lean when I move up in weight, as I'm 188# right now.
     
  9. Steve W.

    Steve W. Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    I'm about the same BW, and I do use the counterbalance technique with 32kg. However, at that level it's more of a subtle weight shift that an observer might not even notice, rather than an obvious lean. And by weight shift, I don't really mean shifting my weight back onto my heels. I mean a subtle adjustment so that the weight of the system (me + KB) is balanced evenly over my feet throughout the swing.

    If you feel a very strong tug on your grip at the bottom of the swing, working with this technique may allow you to smooth out the force significantly. This can make a big different in the one arm swing, where grip security is more an issue and can inhibit your ability to express your full hip power. It may also help reduce shear force on the spine.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017 at 1:30 PM
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  10. Anna C

    Anna C In the 2k club Certified Instructor

    Here's a video with a VERY heavy bell... does this illustrate what you're talking about, @Steve W.?

    I agree, the same lean would occur with the 32kg, just not as pronounced.
     
  11. Steve W.

    Steve W. Experienced and Respected on the Forum

    Affirmative.
     
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  12. Rayhzel

    Rayhzel Strong Presence on the StrongFirst Forum

    The wife was looking over my shoulder, she was impressed with that swing. (as was I)
     
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  13. Anna C

    Anna C In the 2k club Certified Instructor

    Maybe someday I'll be able to swing it to chest-height. :)
     
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  14. Kettlebelephant

    Kettlebelephant Robust Participant on the StrongFirst Forum

    Impressive!
    10lbs less than BW :eek: for me that would mean swinging the 92Kg KB...
     
  15. pet'

    pet' In the 1k club

    Hello,

    @Anna C
    Swinging at almost bodyweight...I wish I had that level ! I love dreaming so...maybe someday

    Do you frequently do it or is it sometimes "just for fun" ? Does not it burn you out ?

    Kind regards,

    Pet'
     
  16. Anna C

    Anna C In the 2k club Certified Instructor

    Yes, just for fun, only infrequently. I do deadlift that bell regularly, though, such as warming up for barbell deadlifts or just getting in a few quick deadlifts sets. The 48kg is probably my best "heavy" 2H swing bell. We're lucky to have a great variety available at the military base gym that I train in: 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 56, and 68s... and pairs available of all of these. One guy does farmer's carries with a 68kg in each hand!
     
  17. schurgerdc

    schurgerdc Regular on the StrongFirst Forum

    I will have to video myself with the 32kg and see what it looks like from the side to see if I have a lean. As @Anna C 's video shows, it's all at the ankle for any lean (very impressive swing on that too!)

    I find it interesting to see your comment about the grip issue on the bottom of the swing. This is something I have not noticed, but I also use Iron Mind Grippers all day, every day to keep my hands strong. For that I close a #1, 5 reps/hand throughout the day. Probably need a 1.5 before I can close the two that sits on my desk at the office!! In general, I've not had problems with grip on my bells strength wise in a long time. Give me a 48kg, and it may be different story. My biggest issues with grip tend to be around the Perform Better bell handle of my 32kg, compared to the Mbody strength bells I have, which have a slightly wider & thicker handle. I find the PB bell is a slight too narrow for a 2-handed swing, and I've blown callouses with it, compared to the Mbody bells.
     
  18. natewhite39

    natewhite39 Experienced and Respected on the Forum Certified Instructor

    @schurgerdc If you haven't already, my suggestion is to simply add more anterior chain abdominal work to your routine. Very often QL issues are rooted in anterior chain inhibition and weakness leading to disfunction of the psoas (deep abs) and hip flexors. Give these a try:

    * Farmer Carries
    * Rack Carries
    * Getups
    * Goblet Squat
    * Double KB Front Squat
    * SFG plank
    * McGill Side plank
    * Hollow position holds (lying or hanging)
     
  19. schurgerdc

    schurgerdc Regular on the StrongFirst Forum

    Thanks @natewhite39!! I'm doing S&S, so get-ups & prying goblet squats are part of that plan, but I may add some more of these.

    A colleague of mine pointed out that the QL has an antagonist of the contralateral hip adductor. Sure enough, when the QL was tight & achy, the adductor was quiet until I put it on a roller! Often times psoas feels tight (and very well is), but is overshadowed by the adductor.
     
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  20. natewhite39

    natewhite39 Experienced and Respected on the Forum Certified Instructor

    Put a yoga block or towel between your legs and squeeze hard when you practice planks. This will activate your adductors and ease off the hip flexors after a few sets.
     

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