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Old Forum Experiment with Swings

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rwgood

Level 2 Valued Member
While on vacation with only my 45lb bell I did some of Dan's workouts, the 20 swing and 15 push up one where you count down push ups from the top of each minute and the ladder of swings and goblet squats to 10. In addition to excellent cardio the improvement in my ability to swing the 40kg bell back at the gym has gone up a ton. It seems to me unlike any other type of weight training I've done that the lack of hypertrophy despite gaining strength is amazing.
 

MontySFG

First Post
Considering that the answer to most questions in life is 'Do more heavy swings', I am curious, how do you all define heavy swings for women? I know heavy is a relative term ... just want to have an idea of what to aim for.

I really enjoy swinging a 40kg for a few sets of low reps, but maybe I should look at doing high reps with a 28/32?

My goal is to get stronger. :)

 
 

Dan John

Level 5 Valued Member
The plan is five days a week, but it can be four or six. I was going to keep popping for more days, but it didn't work out with our schedule.

For women, I have seen Alise swinging the 36, but certainly the 24 is big and the 16 is fine.
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Certified Instructor
Dan, I am looking forward to hearing your insights in the end of this program.
 

Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
If I may ask more about this insight Dan or others :

 

"Today, I came away with the insight that the swing really does stretch the hip flexors, bind the abs, and work the glutes."

 

I have just started a new strength program - used to do powerlifting lifts, 5x5, with weighted dips, chins.  Then I had 6months of kayaking, some core work, good mornings, and the weighted dips/chins to try and fix some asymmetric strength issues (as mentioned in another post) - last week I began a new program (amazing how my strength dropped off) with heavy deads, weighted chins, weighted dips, good mornings,  and now kettlebells - swings, goblets, and single leg deads (and still kayaking 1hour day).  I love the kettlebells, and they've knackered me which is fine.  Wish I had been using them years ago!  I only do a 5x5 with the deadlies, and 3 days, 200-250 reps all up for the swings (2okg kettlebell).

The thing I found is that my dodgy hipflexor (possibly pre-fatigued) and the insertion to the upper leg (adductor region) seems tight/fatigued - I'm hoping it gets loosed liked your insight suggests.  (The swings definitely bind the abs too, and works the glutes.)  Wondering if you had any further  insights on the loosing of the hipflexor?
 

Dan John

Level 5 Valued Member
500 swings with the 48 was insightful. I think the heavier bells make it really easier to swing better. My abs connect so much easier with the multiple heavy swings. I guess I have the "time" to squeeze the butt, drive the hips forward and lock the abs....and that is where the "stretch" comes from, Matt.

I guess, anyway.

One thing that really helps on swings (and this isn't Zero Sum, so don't go down that road) is to think about the throwing the weight forward. Just don't let go. Seriously, striving to pretend to toss it forward like a throw for distance makes you squeeze the glutes, bind the abs, drive tall (not more back...or whatever) and makes the hinge much more snappy.

If, as I have been told, swings are the king of prep, doing them for a lot of reps with a heavy load is a worthy idea. I think it has been working.
 

Jeff

Level 6 Valued Member
Dan,

That  is interesting.  I would almost think that imagining throwing the bell forward would make it tempting to muscle the bell with the arms and shoulders, but I guess using a heavy bell negates that?
 

crash123

Level 3 Valued Member
I have found that armbars work great for lengthening the hip flexors. I mix them into my TGU's.
 

Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
Thanks Dan for your further insights.  I understand what you mean and will experiment with your ideas when I do some more tomorrow.

I've wondered a few times what would happen if I let go...  slippery hands and ooops.

Heavy for me too, just starting out, is about 20 - 24kg.  I have a 32 I could also use in the future.

Thanks again.  Cheers.
 

Dan John

Level 5 Valued Member
I waited a full 24 hours to respond about the fear of the flying bell. I swear, I hope you are joking.

Of all the clues I have used personally, this is the one that works best for me.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
One thing that really helps on swings (and this isn’t Zero Sum, so don’t go down that road) is to think about the throwing the weight forward. Just don’t let go. Seriously, striving to pretend to toss it forward like a throw for distance makes you squeeze the glutes, bind the abs, drive tall (not more back…or whatever) and makes the hinge much more snappy.
Love this. Dan - I have always taught the swing this way. My usual instruction is pretty much exactly what you've said, to swing like you're trying to throw the weight forward across the room but hang onto the handle, and the weight will come up somewhat instead of going completely forward.

This is also, IMHO, the missing piece from what I see in so many self-taught (or poorly taught) kettlebell users - they do what amounts to a hang swing, pausing at the bottom without storing energy and with their knees forward, then shrugging and standing up rather than driving the bell forward.

Or I could have been less verbose and just said "+1, Dan."

-S-
 

Pavel

Founder and Chairman
Certified Instructor
Dan, an excellent cue! we used to drill forward KB throws as a continuation of the swing at certs. The goal was not to maximize the distance (as this would require releasing the bell at a 45 degree angle up) but releasing it straight in front of the solar plexus as a ram.
 

Dan John

Level 5 Valued Member
As a Ram...yes, that would be the idea. I have thrown the Ultraweights (up to 300 pounds...enjoy) and you have to finish with soft legs to get the "up" in a throw. That is NOT what I am saying. Today...and Easy Day with 300 swings with the 20 and Olympic barbell snatches...I noticed that I had to be focused on this idea to keep the intensity.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Pavel, Dan, thank you for this "ram" cue - a subtle but important distinction that will help me and those I teach.

-S-
 

Matt

Level 3 Valued Member
I was joking Dan about letting go... sort of.  Yet, today I realised if I relax my grip - well the thumb/underside part of my grip (two handed swing) then it seems to  help keep the shoulders out of the swing and keep it all hip-power.  Might seem to make it easier to let go... but it doesn't.

The thing I am tweaking/learning, is how to keep it a hip hinge, not a quick kettlebell good-morning.  The Ram cue is a big help for that.  Thanks (Dan/Pavel).
 
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