In this video, I noticed that when he does the swing his knees are moving a lot. They are moving forward as if it were a squat, then back and straight (locking). Isn’t the kettlebell swing a hip hinge where the knees do not move? When I do them, I hinge at my hips and my knees are softly bent and do not move at all. My hips and hamstrings will move back, but my knees do not move that much. Is this a mistake by me? Is the guy in the video using poor hinge mechanics and squatting his hinge? or should my knees move like his?
His knees don't actually move forward much at all. His knees do bend
, as he sits back in the hinge. If the knees are too straight, you can't get your hips back (so you get less hip power) and you don't get any quad power into your swing (it's not just
a posterior chain exercise).
You don't want your hinge to just be folding forward at the hip crease. You want to sit back into it, and the only way to do that is to bend the knees. But don't get fixated on the degree of knee bend; focus on sitting back and let the knees bend as a consequence of that.
Two great ways to groove a good hinge pattern are the touch the wall drill and KB deadlifts.
For the touch the wall drill:
--Stand facing away from a wall with your heels a foot or so from the wall.
--Sit back into your hinge and touch your butt to the wall.
--Move a little further away from the wall and repeat.
As you move away from the wall, if you sink your hips straight down (squat) you won't reach back to the wall. If keep your legs too straight, you also won't reach back to the wall.
For the KB DL:
Note: I learned to lift KBs when Pavel first (re)introduced them and DD first started selling them. I had developed a pretty decent barbell DL from following PTTP before that, so I had a good base for my hinge pattern. At the time, I would have laughed at the KB DL as pointlessly light, and I never really practiced them. However, when I was recovering from a shoulder surgery, I did a LOT of KB deadlifts because I could do them long before I could do ballistics, and I developed a new appreciation for them. I found that they were actually very valuable in helping refine my hinge pattern, even after deadlifting and doing KB ballistics for decades.
Here are some things I learned/experienced/recommend:
--Do sets of 20. You can use one bell or two, and one or two arms on one bell, but do sets of 20. I found that the second 10 in a 20 rep set is where my brain and body really started to feel things and figure things out, but you have to do the first 10 to get there.
--Start with the bell(s) back between your feet toward your heels, keep the arms in tight to the body and try to lower the weight to the same spot. The bells will want to drift forward, so you will have to really sit back and keep your arms in tight. Avoid any tendency to get squatty to keep the bell back. Do it by sitting back -- your hips will move down as well as back, but keep the hips above the knees and the shins relatively vertical.
--Focus on your timing. The tendency is to start lowering the bells by sitting back as far as possible and THEN continue to fold forward and bend the knees to reach the floor. So it ends up being a two-part movement. See if you can adjust your timing so that your hips, knees, shoulders, and the bell all start and finish together. This tends to happen naturally on the positive part of the movement, so see if you can reverse engineer the timing of the positive and apply it to lowering the bell.
--Focus on your rooting. Keep your weight evenly balanced over your whole foot and try to maintain that same weight distribution throughout the range of motion. I visualize the soles of my feet extending straight down into the ground, as if I were wearing tall flat platform shoes that are sunk below the surface of the ground.
--Get a feel for the endpoints of the lift (the zipped up standing plank and the deep hinge) and use those as targets in your swing. I found this had a lot of carry over to my KB ballistics when I returned to them. By grooving the pattern at slow speed, I could naturally and smoothly transition from plank to hinge and back at ballistic speed, with everything starting and finishing together.