Form check: 2-handed swing

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Shawn Crespi, the video you posted can't be seen. It's flagged on YouTube as private. Please make it public so that we can see it. Thank you.

-S-
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Looks good, @Shawn Crespi ! Your stance is good, hinge and plank are basically good, timing is about right, I hear your breathing is correct (inhale on the backswing, exhale on the upswing). Nice explosive upswing.

Bring your hips a little lower in your start position, like a shortstop position. Feel the loading of your hamstrings. Then, same thing on the backswing, sit back into it and feel your hamstrings tight and loaded.

Add a little more tightness to the plank position -- tight legs, braced abs, tight glutes.

Once you get the deeper hinge and more tension, you're definitely ready for a heavier weight.
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks, Anna!

I will work on that. I was using a 24 kg bell, but I had to go back to the 16 to fix some bad habits.

To get my hips lower, I will need to squat more with more flexion at the knee joint, correct? I have a hard time keeping my shins (near) vertical when I squat more. My knees tend to pop forward, perhaps due to hip/hamstring flexibility issues, and then pop back again on the upswing. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for this.
 
Last edited:

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
To get my guipa lower, I will need to squat more with more flexion at the knee joint, correct? I have a hard time keeping my shins (near) vertical when I squat more. My knees tend to pop forward, perhaps due to hip/hamstring flexibility issues, and then pop back again on the upswing. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for this.
Yes, more knee bend. It's OK if the shins aren't vertical or near, just make sure you're loading the glutes and hamstrings (sitting back) in the backswing.

The best way to pattern a smooth movement (i.e. get rid of knees scooping forward on the upswing and such) is with a kettlebell deadlift. Then try to bring that same pattern to the swing.
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
Yes, more knee bend. It's OK if the shins aren't vertical or near, just make sure you're loading the glutes and hamstrings (sitting back) in the backswing.

The best way to pattern a smooth movement (i.e. get rid of knees scooping forward on the upswing and such) is with a kettlebell deadlift. Then try to bring that same pattern to the swing.
Even with the textbooks, my knees come forward a lot. Is my form ok here?
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Even with the textbooks, my knees come forward a lot. Is my form ok here?
Knees: Yes, I think the knees are fine there.

Low back: You have some flexion in your low back -- you might be able to correct it by cuing yourself to arch your back (you don't literally want to arch it, but use the cue to move it towards neutral), or point your butt at the wall behind you in the hinge position. If you can't do this then you can elevate the kettlebell to a height that you can get down to without rounding the lower back. It may improve with practice and you can reduce the elevation as it does.

Shoulders: You start to pack your shoulders on reps 4 and 8, but you don't really hold it on those reps and on the rest of the reps I don't see it at all. To pack the shoulders, pull them down away from your ears and towards your hips. The lats tighten up. Think of putting your shoulder blades in the opposite back pockets. Tight, hard contraction. This connects your arms and the load of the kettlebell firmly to your torso to move the weight, and will become more important in a swing (and even more important in a heavy swing).

Your standing plank position looks good.
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
I didn’t see the sticky on the top of the forum right away, so I want to take the chance to introduce myself. I’m 32 years old, 6’2”, and 181 lbs. I bought Pavel’s S+S book six months ago, and got to where I could do the 24 kg within simple standard time. However, I realized my form was far from optimal, so that brings me here. I really enjoyed the benefits the program brought (resting heart rate down to 50, gained about 15 pounds in mostly muscle), and now I want to get my form dialed in. I would like to reach Simple, and then perhaps onto QnD or Sinister. I am grateful for any and all help!
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
Knees: Yes, I think the knees are fine there.

Low back: You have some flexion in your low back -- you might be able to correct it by cuing yourself to arch your back (you don't literally want to arch it, but use the cue to move it towards neutral), or point your butt at the wall behind you in the hinge position. If you can't do this then you can elevate the kettlebell to a height that you can get down to without rounding the lower back. It may improve with practice and you can reduce the elevation as it does.

Shoulders: You start to pack your shoulders on reps 4 and 8, but you don't really hold it on those reps and on the rest of the reps I don't see it at all. To pack the shoulders, pull them down away from your ears and towards your hips. The lats tighten up. Think of putting your shoulder blades in the opposite back pockets. Tight, hard contraction. This connects your arms and the load of the kettlebell firmly to your torso to move the weight, and will become more important in a swing (and even more important in a heavy swing).

Your standing plank position looks good.
Thank you!

I have been doing this exercise. I realize my lower back is rounded here, but otherwise, is this what i want the bottom of the swing to look like?


Here is my deadlift. I worked on packing the shoulders and preventing the lower back from rounding.

 

Colby

Level 1 Valued Member

I would put a little more focus on the beginning “hike” portion of the lift. Remember that sometimes how you start also determines how you finish. I agree with Anna , I would def start a bit lower . Make sure your back is flat(neutral) similarly if you were deadlifting. I see a lot of people just swing the bell to get it up but remember it’s a ballistic excersise, so put that emphasis on power out of the hole into that strong “plank” lockout position at the top. Great work, keep it up!
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I have been doing this exercise. I realize my lower back is rounded here, but otherwise, is this what i want the bottom of the swing to look like?
That's a good drill. As to looking like the bottom of the swing: Legs, chest, and head -- yes. Pelvis and lower back -- no. But that is as you said already. Try it bracing your abs as you do it. This helps keep the torso stiff and spine neutral.

Here is my deadlift. I worked on packing the shoulders and preventing the lower back from rounding.
Looks good!

Here's the next thing to add to the deadlift -- As you lower the bell, push it back so that it's between your heels. "Guide it back with your lats -- "swim" it back." (S&S page 25). This helps keep the load connected to your torso.
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
So are the abs contracted and the shoulders packed for the entire duration of the swing and the deadlift?

When I swim the kettlebell back with my lats, am I simply contracting my lats? That’s confusing because I am already contracting my lats to pack my shoulders.
 

Steve W.

Level 7 Valued Member
When I swim the kettlebell back with my lats, am I simply contracting my lats? That’s confusing because I am already contracting my lats to pack my shoulders.
Just focus on keeping your arms connected to your torso and lowering the bell to a spot further back between your heels.

Your DL looks good overall. When you lower the bell the timing between your hips shoulders and knees is good, which is something a lot of people struggle with. They tend to sit back first and then continue to fold forward with the shoulders to reach for the ground.

I recommend slowing down your DL a little (no need to go super slow) and doing sets of 20, which I find really helps to groove the pattern.

Your first swing video is very straight-legged, where you are not getting your hips back and you are just folding forward. Use your good DL form as a pattern for your swing.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
So are the abs contracted and the shoulders packed for the entire duration of the swing and the deadlift?
Yes. You should feel the contraction of both intensify as you come into the standing plank position, but they are both active the whole time.

When I swim the kettlebell back with my lats, am I simply contracting my lats? That’s confusing because I am already contracting my lats to pack my shoulders.
It brings a few other muscles into play. Try this -- sitting at a table or desk, put your hands on the table. Pack your shoulders. The pressure between your hands and the desk didn't change by packing your shoulders, right? If you just pulled them down away from your ears and towards your hips, which is the usual emphasis of shoulder packing. Now, push down with your hands. Lats are more involved, as are other muscles. Whatever muscles did this, those are the ones you'll be using to "swim" the kettlebell back.
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
Here’s today’s deadlift practicing shoulder packing, preventing lower back rounding, and swimming back the kettlebell to my heels. Aside from a little lower back rounding does this form look ok? Will the lower back rounding improve as I work on hamstring/hip flexibility? Thanks!

Also, I have been working on my 4 part kettlebell swing without the kettlebell. Does this look like useful exercise, and is my form ok here? Thanks again!
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Deadlift looks good! Can you get your hips just a little bit higher in the bottom position? It may feel tight and uncomfortable, but that's OK... "more hinge, less squat" if you can. Your back looks great. Setup and stance is good. Your neck is hyperextended in the bottom position which can be problematic for the swing, so practice looking up through your eyebrows at the horizon to keep it more neutral.

In the swing practice (yes I think it's useful!) you actually do reset the neck position, and everything looks good... you reset the shoulder packing at the bottom, too... see if you can arrive at the bottom position with your shoulders packed and neck neutral.

Good work, keep it up!
 

Shawn Crespi

Level 1 Valued Member
Deadlift looks good! Can you get your hips just a little bit higher in the bottom position? It may feel tight and uncomfortable, but that's OK... "more hinge, less squat" if you can. Your back looks great. Setup and stance is good. Your neck is hyperextended in the bottom position which can be problematic for the swing, so practice looking up through your eyebrows at the horizon to keep it more neutral.

In the swing practice (yes I think it's useful!) you actually do reset the neck position, and everything looks good... you reset the shoulder packing at the bottom, too... see if you can arrive at the bottom position with your shoulders packed and neck neutral.

Good work, keep it up!
It seems like there is a Goldilocks zone of just the right amount of squat and hip-hinge that seems to be elusive for me. Do I have about the right amounts of each in the swing exercise? Is my bottom position where I want it to be?

Thanks for all your help!
 
Top Bottom