Subsequently, while re-reading Simple and Sinister I got to thinking that two handed shadow swings with light kettlebells could be a 'close enough' alternative if heavier KBs are unavailable wherever I happen to be.
These work great for that ( from Al Ciampa's Deployment Prep article):
SwingsOne-hand swings should be performed as described in Simple & Sinister
. Two-hand swings have to be overspeed. But here’s my version, an excerpt from my training manual:
“A proper swing is a tug-of-war between the opposing body lines: posterior v. anterior. The glutes, hamstrings, and quads forcefully catapult the bell forward, while the lats, abdominals, and hip flexors catch it and throw it back—compress the posterior spring, fire the spring, compress the anterior spring, fire that spring, then do it again. Both the hinge and plank position are maximally tight—maximum feed-forward tension—for the time the bell spends flying out, one is “relaxed- tight”.
Throw the bell from the coiled spring of the hinge into the tight plank—stay connected to the bell—”catch” it in the plank and throw it back down. Recoil the spring and snap back to plank. Repeat for a set of 10. Check your heart rate. Wow.
Most people have a lot of trouble with this when they first start swinging—just get the basic pattern down and be patient
. Use an appropriate load. My progression to this very violent overspeed swing is to train a floater swing first—the default swing of the StrongFirst community. Floater swings consist of driving the hips explosively, throwing the bell into a tight plank, however, the bells ascent is not arrested but is allowed to “float” momentarily at the top of the arch. The bell should then be guided back down into the hinge without too much effort. These swings concentrate on hip extension power.
It is important to train this initial version of the swing before you begin to overspeed them—train them until you’ve burnt the motor program into your brain, perhaps about 3-6 months. Hear this: if you include over-speed swings into your training too early, that is, before you can float swings gracefully and powerfully, without much thought, you will degrade the mechanics of both swing types and get no where at best, injury at worst. Be patient, put your hours in on the floaters, then include a few overspeed swings as you progress.
A word on sit-ups here: I don’t advocate training sit-ups regularly, in fact you should only perform them on test day. If folks performed sit-ups properly, then there is a possibility that they wouldn‘t cause problems. However, most do not perform them correctly, especially under testing situations, and so even a short stint in the Military can lead to life-long low-back pain. Sit-ups place the lumbar spine against the ground to be used as a fulcrum to fold the body in half over—something it did not evolve to support. If you do sit-ups properly—that is, keep the midline open and lead the action from the chest, only flexing only at the hip—then the most you’ll probably get is a sore tailbone. But that technique costs a lot of energy and requires a lot of strength, so most members I monitor perform them in trunk flexion followed by hip flexion—and there’s where the problem exists. Do your heavy-ish swings to improve your sit-up numbers.
Use the swings in the Simple & Sinister
fashion with a twist: 10 x overspeeds, 10 x right, 10 x left, for 3-4 total rounds (90-120 total swings). Do these 3-5 times per week. I even like this swing session after a long ruck.