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Kettlebell Double KB Swings vs Single KB 2H Swings

mvikred

Level 2 Valued Member
I recently incorporated Double KB swings into my workouts. Following the KB Strong’s One program as a finisher after my main workout. Of course while doing it I started thinking why I haven’t done this for so long, i.e. Double KB Swings. Often I find many folks doing heavier single KB swings rather than a Double KB swing, i.e. swinging using a 56 kg KB rather than a double 28s. Is technical proficiency the only reason for why folks gravitate towards a single KB? And I’ve seen that my hip drive is improving once I started doing double KB swings .. and I think it is primarily because now I am swinging 40kg rather than 32 kg (the heaviest single KB I have). Am I missing something here?
 

Kev

Level 4 Valued Member
I recently incorporated Double KB swings into my workouts. Following the KB Strong’s One program as a finisher after my main workout. Of course while doing it I started thinking why I haven’t done this for so long, i.e. Double KB Swings. Often I find many folks doing heavier single KB swings rather than a Double KB swing, i.e. swinging using a 56 kg KB rather than a double 28s. Is technical proficiency the only reason for why folks gravitate towards a single KB? And I’ve seen that my hip drive is improving once I started doing double KB swings .. and I think it is primarily because now I am swinging 40kg rather than 32 kg (the heaviest single KB I have). Am I missing something here?
Not doubling up my kbs was a tactical error on my part. I now own 2x32kg, 2x25kg, 2x20kg, 2x16kg and a 40kg a 48kg and a 56kg respectively. As to why folk gravitate to one bell isn’t something I think much about. I love double kettlebell work but will use a single bell also. I’ve always had a personal philosophy to kb training which I always related to my limited time training Filipino Martial Arts and in a sense I look at the kettlebells as “weapons”. So if a 56kg is a horse killing implement and a 16kg is a fast short sword and I want to be complete I try to be proficient using all of my “weapons”. Mental but it’s how I’ve always looked at it. Yeah double c+j with 2x32kg is a bear but sometimes I just need to do single c+j with a 25kg or whatever. It all feeds into completeness I think. So I do both. That’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth. Just keep hammering the bells.
 

Bauer

Level 7 Valued Member
There was an interesting thread on this topic awhile ago.

Here is a great differentiation by @Anna C

2H swing
  • Pro
    • Easiest to learn
    • Easiest to progress in load; bigger load means more eccentric loading, hip power, tension
    • Best for power projection
  • Con
    • Doesn't challenge asymmetrical stabilization
    • Usually doesn't challenge the grip to its limit
1H swing
  • Pro
    • Asymmetrical stabilization
    • Challenges the grip
  • Con
    • Lots of people do it less than optimally, leading to issues or less than optimal results (solution: see an SFG instructor or post a form check here on the forum)
    • Grip or other limitations limit how much you can load or challenge the hips and rest of the body
Doubles
  • Pro
    • Heavy loading
    • Additional challenge to use a lot of power, yet maintain good control of both bells. Technique must be good!
    • Works well as part of a complex or chain
      • Doubles complex example: 5 swings + 5 cleans
      • Doubles chain example: swing, clean, press, swing, clean, squat
  • Con
    • Wider stance, often wider than comfortable for knees
    • Power projection sometimes limited by ability to control the kettlebells
Watchnerd added some points to the double swing portion:
I'm going to add:

  • Glute medius activation & strengthening
  • Hip abductor activation & strengthening
  • Improved split stance stability at greater depths
  • Improved overhead squat / snatch stability at greater depths for longer time
  • Deeper cossack squats
  • VMO hypertrophy
  • Side-butt hypertrophy
I also like this part from Marc
-double swings: these are very hard and I feel they tax the quads, glutes and abs a lot. Heavier than 2H swings with 1KB, i.e. 2x24 double swings is harder than 48 single 2H swings but easier than 1H swings with 48. They feel a lot like a vertical jump. Great for low reps (even 3) and moderate to moderate-higher reps. However probably not too great for super high reps (15+) because they are technically demanding. Also you really have to push through the heels in order not to tip over. Probably not too good for dead-stops due to the slightly awkward starting position.
I think Pavel wrote somewhere that once a gent can confortably swing 2x32 for 10x10 posterior chain developement is no longer his nr.1 priority.

-1H swings: great anti-rotation exercise. Feels a lot like a one arm plank in the top position. Best rep range probably in the neighbourhood of 5-15. Feels more like a broad jump. Also suited well for dead-stop reps.

-2H swings with one KB: great for both lower reps and very high reps (5-100). Easiest variation and therefore well suited to be done with high reps. Also well suited for dead-stop reps. Very hamstring-based and broad jump alike.
 

Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't particularly like the double swing. Personally, double swings feel awkward and slow; I would much rather do double cleans, which feel fast and athletic. I don't think you're missing something, it sounds like you found something you like and that works well for you - which is great! I think folks develop preferences based on experience, skill, anatomical structure, and tool availability.
 

mvikred

Level 2 Valued Member
I don't think you're missing something, it sounds like you found something you like and that works well for you - which is great! I think folks develop preferences based on experience, skill, anatomical structure, and tool availability.
I like what you are saying here. And I agree that different things work for different body types and something seems to make it work for me. But having read the post @Bauer posted above, I feel that both types have advantages and are also a factor of body type, availability of different weights, and technical capability.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
To add to what's quoted from @Anna C above, one way to look at it would be: 1h swings have the greatest stabilization requirement, double bell swings have less, and 2h swings even less. The less stabilization one is required to do, the more potential exists for expressing power. One might then ask whether there is purpose in the double bell swing, and I think the answer is "Yes." There is purpose because the double bell swing allows more power to be expressed than a 1h but less than a 2h. If that middle location is useful to you, then by all means, swing double bells.

Speaking for myself, I like the 2h swing as an assistance to my barbell deadlift. I was swinging my new 64 kg bell with 2 hands yesterday - not terrible high, but it was a first try since bringing the bell home and I enjoyed the challenge.

At the other side of things, I feel like, if I had to choose a single exercise to do and only that one exercise, it would be the 1h kettlebell swing - I think it's combination of stabilization requirement and power expression is the sweet spot for most people and purposes.

I haven't found a reason to swing double bells on a regular basis as, between the two options with a single kettlebell, I feel like I'm addressing everything I want to address in my training.

-S-
 

mvikred

Level 2 Valued Member
I realise now that the title might be a little misleading. In my head I thought double Kb swings would be comparable to single Kb 2h swings but it seems to have caused a bit of confusion. So I edited the title of the post to make that clear.
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
I realise now that the title might be a little misleading. In my head I thought double Kb swings would be comparable to single Kb 2h swings but it seems to have caused a bit of confusion. So I edited the title of the post to make that clear.
Any Dbl. snatches in your regimen ?
 

mvikred

Level 2 Valued Member
Connected to this same topic, I am facing a dilemma in getting my next bell. I already have a 28kg and a 32kg KB. I am wondering if I should get another 28kg and make it a double 28kg or get a 40kg bell. The only reason I gravitate towards 40kg is so I can press it, but I do know that I still have a lot that I need to get out of that 32kg KB (in terms of pressing). Curious what others thing reg. this topic. Didn't feel like starting another topic to try address this !! So tagging some of the folks who have responded here @Kev @Bauer @Don Fairbanks @Steve Freides @Coyotl
 

Kev

Level 4 Valued Member
You could always buy the 40kg and do double kb work with so called off centre training. Which is just different weights in each hand. I owned 16kg, 20kg, 25kg, 32kg and a 40kg before I began doubling up my bells. It didn’t hinder me any.
 

PeterLuffman

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I recently incorporated Double KB swings into my workouts. Following the KB Strong’s One program as a finisher after my main workout. Of course while doing it I started thinking why I haven’t done this for so long, i.e. Double KB Swings. Often I find many folks doing heavier single KB swings rather than a Double KB swing, i.e. swinging using a 56 kg KB rather than a double 28s. Is technical proficiency the only reason for why folks gravitate towards a single KB? And I’ve seen that my hip drive is improving once I started doing double KB swings .. and I think it is primarily because now I am swinging 40kg rather than 32 kg (the heaviest single KB I have). Am I missing something here?
Folks gravitate towards the 2HS simply because it easier. The wide stance that the double puts you into, for many is a weak position and therefore the ego gets dented ;-)
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Connected to this same topic, I am facing a dilemma in getting my next bell. I already have a 28kg and a 32kg KB. I am wondering if I should get another 28kg and make it a double 28kg or get a 40kg bell. The only reason I gravitate towards 40kg is so I can press it, but I do know that I still have a lot that I need to get out of that 32kg KB (in terms of pressing). Curious what others thing reg. this topic. Didn't feel like starting another topic to try address this !! So tagging some of the folks who have responded here @Kev @Bauer @Don Fairbanks @Steve Freides @Coyotl
Think of your choices as not what to get but when - you'll have both eventually. In your place, I'd keep moving forward on heavy presses and heavy, 2h-1-bell swings first, and then circle back and get doubles. My personal collection of bells includes doubles up to and including 32 kg, and then singles after that.

-S-
 

Don Fairbanks

SFG II
Certified Instructor
Connected to this same topic, I am facing a dilemma in getting my next bell. I already have a 28kg and a 32kg KB. I am wondering if I should get another 28kg and make it a double 28kg or get a 40kg bell. The only reason I gravitate towards 40kg is so I can press it, but I do know that I still have a lot that I need to get out of that 32kg KB (in terms of pressing). Curious what others thing reg. this topic. Didn't feel like starting another topic to try address this !! So tagging some of the folks who have responded here @Kev @Bauer @Don Fairbanks @Steve Freides @Coyotl
I'd get a 28. Nice to have a pair around. You could press the 32 for reps, or add weight to it
 

mvikred

Level 2 Valued Member
ok .. pulled the trigger on the 2nd 28kg. I want to build a strong base before I progress to heavier weight. Once I can achieve ROP standards with the 32kg KB, then I think I am good to bring in the heavier bells into my life. But in the mean time I would love to increase my squat strength and GPP levels. I think double 28s will serve good for that ! thanks for all the inputs everyone !
 
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Coyotl

Level 6 Valued Member
Connected to this same topic, I am facing a dilemma in getting my next bell. I already have a 28kg and a 32kg KB. I am wondering if I should get another 28kg and make it a double 28kg or get a 40kg bell. The only reason I gravitate towards 40kg is so I can press it, but I do know that I still have a lot that I need to get out of that 32kg KB (in terms of pressing). Curious what others thing reg. this topic. Didn't feel like starting another topic to try address this !! So tagging some of the folks who have responded here @Kev @Bauer @Don Fairbanks @Steve Freides @Coyotl
ok .. pulled the trigger on the 2nd 28kg. I want to build a strong base before I progress to heavier weight. Once I can achieve ROP standards with the 32kg KB, then I think I am good to bring in the heavier bells into my life. But in the mean time I would love to increase my squat strength and GPP levels. I think double 28s will serve good for that ! thanks for all the inputs everyone !
You ultimately did what I would've suggested. I went 28-32 and then, trying to save money, went to 40 instead of of 36. That was fine for swings and goblet squats, but too much for cleans, get ups, presses, double front squats, etc. I circled back around and get a second 28 and for a long time double 28s was my bread and butter before I then got a second 32. It took a lot of work to do get ups with the 40kg, starting with partials and slowly getting those partials a little less partial. Still working on pressing it, but I nailed pressing the 36 so its only a matter of time. I think if I had progressed to the 36kg and then the 40kg I wouldn't've gotten derailed and probably would've stuck to doing singles for a longer time.

Just my opinion from my experience with myself. I also think if I started working with a trainer who told me what to do I could've been more consistent and cut my time getting anywhere in half.
 
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