Form Check: 2x24KG & 28KG Swings

vincec9999

First Post
Demographic: 35 Male, 195 lb
Injury History: Partial tears in tendons in both knees, but fully recovered. Occasional lower back pain from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Movement History: No issues.
Sports: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, cycling, running.

Looking for some help on my kettlebell swings, both single and double. I just completed an "Easy Strength" by Dan John variation with the following setup:

Warmup was usually 25 arm circles each direction, 25 arm flys, 5x halos in each direction with 35 lb kettlebell, then the hip opening stretches Pavel recommended in book with some light squats, last warm up is 15-25 swings with 45 lb bell.

EMOM: Double Kettlebell Swings, Double Kettlebell Front Squats, Double kettlebell overhead press (3x3x3 on press, 5x3x2 on swings/squats used 2x 24kg kettlebells for all 3 exercises). The next 8 rounds I would alternate between two hand kettlebell swings (28kg x 15 reps) and suitcase carries (2x24kg kettlebells about 50').

I would then end each workout with 15-20 minutes of stretching.

I did this program for 8 weeks 5x per week without any issue, and had visible improvements in physique and noticeable improvements in strength. I was never sore or too tired to finish.

Last week I wanted to add more load, so I changed from 5x3x2, to 5x4x4x3 (swings, squats) and 3x3x3x3 (press). After the 2nd day I could feel the slightest discomfort in my lower back.

After recording and watching myself execute double kettlebell swings in slow motion I do worry my form is suboptimal. I can see myself sitting back to brace for the downswing. I'm not entirely sure how to correct this, or if it is just too much weight. The other observation I had is that my arms seem to be very bent, not sure if this is bad or not.

Any feedback would be much appreciated on my form, thanks.

2x24KG Slow Motion YouTube Video
2x24KG YouTube Video
1x28KG YouTube Video
 

RadFox

Level 1 Valued Member
Ok let's work on one thing at a time..

Notice your arms are bent at the topic the swing?? Can you keep them straight??

Let's address this first then let's work on the next step
I see what your recommending, can you tell me why this is important? Trying to learn the reasons for form.
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I see what your recommending, can you tell me why this is important? Trying to learn the reasons for form.
Apart from what is mentioned above:

The greater the bend, the path changes and it is no longer an expression of power in a forward motion but rather an upward motion..

If we want to project force upward, a wiser choice would be the snatch.
 

Brett Jones

StrongFirst Director of Education
Master Certified Instructor
Beast Tamer
Can you film some KB DLs?

You need to extend up to a standing plank (straight line from ear to ankle) and wait for the arms to reconnect before hinging out of the top.

For your hinge you need to bend the knees more—I think looking at and adjusting your KB DL will help.
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Hi @vincec9999 , congrats on your progress! By your kettlebell collection it looks like you have found a style of training that you like, and you're doing well with it so far.

Agree with above, your swing has a lot of arm effort involved in lifting the kettlebells, and we generally steer away from that. So, I too would have you let the arms be straight, like ropes, with the effort directed at throwing the kettlebell out in front (project power forward). Going along with that, let your palms face down at the top of the swing, stand tall at the top of the swing (you're a little short of full hip extension, especially with the doubles) and hold that standing plank a little longer, keep the gaze out on the horizon.

For your hinge you need to bend the knees more

Good catch... Here's my take on what that would look like (the blue line) -- bending the knees a bit more would bring the hips a bit lower, involving more muscles (more quad power with extension), and you won't need to fold over so far with the torso. You could even let the knees come forward a bit more, although near-vertical shins are always a good thing to aim for.

1623327658820.png

All that said, your setup looks good, basic rhythm and timing is good, you're breathing correctly. Strong work!

I see what your recommending, can you tell me why this is important? Trying to learn the reasons for form.

Fair question... I'll give you my thoughts, because I always found this a bit confusing myself as a newbie. Which things are important for safety, or performance, or is it just style? How much individual variation is expected? How much will get better with practice without intentional change? I like to try to address these questions along with corrections and give the "why".

There are different styles of swing, and I don't actually think there's any huge problem with his style. I mean, it's building strength, resiliency, conditioning, power, and giving good results, right? So why change? I could say that he might eventually have some elbow/tendon problems from his current style, but I don't know that for sure. I just know that the StrongFirst style of swings works fine, steers clear of a lot of problems, and builds a foundation for increased performance -- swinging more volume and heavier as you progress. So that's why the "corrections" would move someone towards our style of swing.

On the bent arm thing specifically, it's about where the power comes from to lift the weight. You can actually get quite a bit of "lift" from a little pull from the arms at the top -- and that basically lets the legs and hips do less work to get the weight up. Since the posterior chain is what we're trying to develop (why we're lifting the bell repeatedly by swinging it), removing the arm bend makes for a more effective exercise.
 

RadFox

Level 1 Valued Member
@Anna C @Mark Limbaga @Mo04
Thanks for the explanation, @vincec9999 apologies for crashing your question.

Whilst I learnt my swing from ETK thus straight as you have just coached, I do notice that my arms bend at times. Usually at the back end of a session when more tired, and sometimes when exaggerating the weightless moment at the top. I have always rationalized that I'm getting the work done and something must be getting stronger, even though my nice hardstyle swing is morphing into some sort of high-pull hybrid. I guess my 'bent arm swings' have been working the traps more than they should.
Your explanations have been helpful in understanding that its how and where the work is getting done.
 

Gypsyplumber

Level 1 Valued Member
If I could make any suggestion to any kettlebell newbie, it’s to go on StrongFirst site and find a certified instructor. It’s totally worth a few sessions! You’re form looks decent you’re not far off but a good coach can get you locked in, and with Kb training the details matter. It’s the difference between strengthening and training your back, or injuring it. It might be a good idea to put a pause on the 2KB swings until you’ve completely mastered the single kb swing. Then progress to the single arm swing. That IG video is a perfect example of how to swing, imagine you’re going from a hinge to a standing plank with the bell…driving the heels into the ground, firing open the hips driving the bell out. I went through a lot of back pain when I was teaching myself to swing, especially one handed swings. Once I went to a coach everything changed. My back has never felt better and this is coming from someone with a back that has 15 years of construction work on it lol. Good luck! And keep swinging!
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@Anna C @Mark Limbaga @Mo04
Thanks for the explanation, @vincec9999 apologies for crashing your question.

Whilst I learnt my swing from ETK thus straight as you have just coached, I do notice that my arms bend at times. Usually at the back end of a session when more tired, and sometimes when exaggerating the weightless moment at the top. I have always rationalized that I'm getting the work done and something must be getting stronger, even though my nice hardstyle swing is morphing into some sort of high-pull hybrid. I guess my 'bent arm swings' have been working the traps more than they should.
Your explanations have been helpful in understanding that its how and where the work is getting done.
Some elbow bend happens especially when the bell gets heavy both in absolute weight and relation to your bodyweight.. we want to avoid the trex arms swings if that makes sense
 
Top Bottom