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Kettlebell Drills to activate back muscles to lock everything in place during 1-arm swings?

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I want to get back into more advanced kettlebell work (1-arm swings, snatches, cleans, , squats, presses, etc.) again after a few years of just doing TGUs and 2-arm swings. I've got a different body now, one that has functional scapula.

Today I did 1-arm swings and the more I fired my lats to lock my shoulder in place the more force I was able to impart on the bell. It felt good. I was starting to feel really powerful, compacted as a unit. BUT I could also feel that I was capable of so much more if I could just teach my back to fire even harder. I don't think just doing more swings is the answer; based on my past experience, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to specifically teach my back what to do here. I've learned a lot about how my body learns things.

Do you have any exercises or resources for this? (I'm especially interested if anyone has Original Strength drills, but I'm open to anything that doesn't involve a barbell.)

I went through some of my old books like ETK and I wasn't seeing any drills specifically for this aspect of the swing. I guess it's supposed to just get picked up as you build strength in the 2-arm swing.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I can't say I know what you mean to be honest. Do you have a video of your form for 1 arm swings?

I don't want to put a video of myself on the internet, but I found this video and he's talking about the exact thing I'm talking about. I'll add his band work to my warm-ups.

 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
Mobility get-up is great for warm-up for those back muscles and everything else.

I learned this version from Al Ciampa.

Basically a light weight get-up done as warm-up. Differences from a standard get-up are:
  1. shoulder rotations at lying and elbow position
  2. head turns at elbow position
  3. high hip bridge
  4. skip the low sweep, tripod, kneeling, and standing
  5. arm bar after lowering back down
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Elite Certified Instructor
Today I did 1-arm swings and the more I fired my lats to lock my shoulder in place the more force I was able to impart on the bell. It felt good. I was starting to feel really powerful, compacted as a unit.
Congratulations - progress!

BUT I could also feel that I was capable of so much more if I could just teach my back to fire even harder.
Enjoy your progress. You found your lats, just keep finding them. Better is better is better.

-S-
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Mobility get-up is great for warm-up for those back muscles and everything else.

I learned this version from Al Ciampa.

Basically a light weight get-up done as warm-up. Differences from a standard get-up are:
  1. shoulder rotations at lying and elbow position
  2. head turns at elbow position
  3. high hip bridge
  4. skip the low sweep, tripod, kneeling, and standing
  5. arm bar after lowering back down

Whoa, those look very useful. I've been hearing good things about Al Ciampa. I should check out his book one day.
 

grouchyjarhead

Level 5 Valued Member
Mobility get-up is great for warm-up for those back muscles and everything else.

I learned this version from Al Ciampa.

Basically a light weight get-up done as warm-up. Differences from a standard get-up are:
  1. shoulder rotations at lying and elbow position
  2. head turns at elbow position
  3. high hip bridge
  4. skip the low sweep, tripod, kneeling, and standing
  5. arm bar after lowering back down
This is actually a great tool to have, this helps unlock my shoulder and back more than the vast majority of things I do.
 

Pavel.Kosenkov

Level 2 Valued Member
I don't get it. Wasn't that the whole point of kettlebells? You swing and do the get ups. You get good posture, strong midsection and good lat activation, and shoulder stability? If it is not so - what is the point of doing them? This is at least what Pavel promised in S&S.
In general, what is the point of doing an exercise in order to perform an exercise, unless you are a competitive athlete and you need to do it?

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the deal was:
We do: get ups, swings (2 and 1 hand), presses, cleans and snatches. Goblet squats.
We get: better body, less injuries, extra conditioning, better flexibility and strength. Maybe some hypertrophy.

We all have history, and some exercises can be troublesome. Some can be removed or substituted.
But: if this is not the case, if we need to walk an extra mile to do the kettebell lifts (which are supposed to be easier than olympic ballistics, and barbell clean is not that hard :) ) than we are doing kettlebells for the sake of doing kettebells.
I do not know about others - but this is not my goal.
 

Kev

Level 6 Valued Member
I want to get back into more advanced kettlebell work (1-arm swings, snatches, cleans, , squats, presses, etc.) again after a few years of just doing TGUs and 2-arm swings. I've got a different body now, one that has functional scapula.

Today I did 1-arm swings and the more I fired my lats to lock my shoulder in place the more force I was able to impart on the bell. It felt good. I was starting to feel really powerful, compacted as a unit. BUT I could also feel that I was capable of so much more if I could just teach my back to fire even harder. I don't think just doing more swings is the answer; based on my past experience, I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to specifically teach my back what to do here. I've learned a lot about how my body learns things.

Do you have any exercises or resources for this? (I'm especially interested if anyone has Original Strength drills, but I'm open to anything that doesn't involve a barbell.)

I went through some of my old books like ETK and I wasn't seeing any drills specifically for this aspect of the swing. I guess it's supposed to just get picked up as you build strength in the 2-arm swing.
I’m pretty sure in 1 book, Pavel recommends a couple of pull-ups before a kb lift for this very reason. It might be way back in the Russian Kettlebell challenge book but I definitely read it in a Pavel book.
 

Ege

Level 5 Valued Member
I don't get it. Wasn't that the whole point of kettlebells? You swing and do the get ups. You get good posture, strong midsection and good lat activation, and shoulder stability? If it is not so - what is the point of doing them? This is at least what Pavel promised in S&S.
In general, what is the point of doing an exercise in order to perform an exercise, unless you are a competitive athlete and you need to do it?

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the deal was:
We do: get ups, swings (2 and 1 hand), presses, cleans and snatches. Goblet squats.
We get: better body, less injuries, extra conditioning, better flexibility and strength. Maybe some hypertrophy.

We all have history, and some exercises can be troublesome. Some can be removed or substituted.
But: if this is not the case, if we need to walk an extra mile to do the kettebell lifts (which are supposed to be easier than olympic ballistics, and barbell clean is not that hard :) ) than we are doing kettlebells for the sake of doing kettebells.
I do not know about others - but this is not my goal.
Hi Pavel;

I believe I understand how you feel. When I have first discovered S&S, I was very happy. Learn these two moves and you are fit and healthy ! Sort of relief. But then when I have seen the amount of information, forms, styles techniques, I said it is not for me. I will quit this endeavor.

But later on I have kind of learned how to filter the content here. Let me give an example from Ann’s video.

1) I have shoulder over head mobility issue. So I can’t do proper TGU. I have tried to fix my reach issue but the improvement is very slow. So I have started to do 8kg TGUs. Very light to be a useful strength move for a man with my build. (Average man). But I use it as mobility drill and trying to grease the groove. Ann’s video, gives me hints and tips to use in my light TGU journey. So it is not an extra on top of a TGU for me. It is a regression of proper TGU for me, to bridge the gap of not being able to do a TGU and a proper TGU.

2) For some more advanced people, the same video might be categorized as extra if they want to do extra. As a warm up while greasing the TgU groove. If they want to do extra.

These videos and information are super helpful when they cover your needs or desires. If not they serve as fun and motivation. Some of the videos from very advanced athletes is similar to watch a sports event. It is just fun.

I hope this approach will help some. We don’t have to do more than fundamentals, to be fit and strong, but there are many people who need or want more.

Best;

Ege
 
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3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I don't get it. Wasn't that the whole point of kettlebells? You swing and do the get ups. You get good posture, strong midsection and good lat activation, and shoulder stability? If it is not so - what is the point of doing them? This is at least what Pavel promised in S&S.
In general, what is the point of doing an exercise in order to perform an exercise, unless you are a competitive athlete and you need to do it?

Please correct me if I am wrong, but the deal was:
We do: get ups, swings (2 and 1 hand), presses, cleans and snatches. Goblet squats.
We get: better body, less injuries, extra conditioning, better flexibility and strength. Maybe some hypertrophy.

We all have history, and some exercises can be troublesome. Some can be removed or substituted.
But: if this is not the case, if we need to walk an extra mile to do the kettebell lifts (which are supposed to be easier than olympic ballistics, and barbell clean is not that hard :) ) than we are doing kettlebells for the sake of doing kettebells.
I do not know about others - but this is not my goal.

My back muscles (and entire body) are absolutely rock solid during TGUs and 2-handed swings which means, for the swings, I can focus on maximum power to get the most out of them. My strength and conditioning has gone up, which carries over to every other exercise I do. My lats, rhomboids, traps et al fire very powerfully during 2-handed swings and the movement feels very solid and powerful to me. The promised results have been delivered.

Unfortunately, I've always struggled with scapular amnesia. When I introduce a new exercise that involves my problem areas, they don't always rise to the challenge. Even though I know they are more than strong enough from the other exercises i do, they sometimes want to drop out and allow other areas to compensate, so I have to integrate them into the exercise.

If you don't have these issues, then it's not something you need to worry about.
 
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North Coast Miller

Level 8 Valued Member
…Isometric pulls from the lowest point. In case of swing, might be possible to pass a towel through the handle and stand on it.

As an example, I used to think my shoulders were well packed at the bottom of my DL. Not even close. Is possible to brace in the bottom and systematically pull, within seconds you will feel the actively working muscles get hot (half of all ATP force production is lost as heat). The difference between highly activated and phoning it in becomes readily apparent.

Caveat, you will likely only be able to do this from the bottom. Trying to pull at other angles in the ROM will just pull you over.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
I’m pretty sure in 1 book, Pavel recommends a couple of pull-ups before a kb lift for this very reason. It might be way back in the Russian Kettlebell challenge book but I definitely read it in a Pavel book.

That makes complete sense to me! One of the things I like about the SF bodyweight program is the way it integrates these types of assistance movements into the workouts, so I'm going to try to do that here with pull-ups.
 
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3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Another good exercise to use, when you have a solid 2H swing but are struggling to bring all those good qualities to the 1H swing, is hand-to-hand swings.

I really like this idea. I think if I alternate these with Reifkind power swings I can get something good happening.
 

Pavel.Kosenkov

Level 2 Valued Member
Actually, there is no need to exclude me from the "1H swing trouble club".
Mine agrivate my old AC joint injury - and eventually my right AC joint starts to hurt.
So far I was quite successful doing 2 hand swings. I can see the benifits of the exersise.
I just wonder - is it worth to persue the exersise that gives trouble at all. Maybe it's better to get what is possible from what is working, and move on...
 
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