T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
On the 12/27/2018 StrongFirst podcast, Dr. McGill explains (41:45-42:06) that not everyone can do swings. He said some people need to "build [a] stiffened foundation first." Have any of you worked with students who you realized had to do other training before starting swings? If so, what training did you implement to 'stiffen the foundation' so that they could eventually do swings?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@T.o.m., welcome to the StrongFirst forum.

I'm moving your question to our Training -> Other forum

We teach the deadlift, with a kettlebell, before we teach the swing, and we do this because the good deadlift is where one should be before attempting the swing.

-S-
 

wespom9

Level 6 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I love starting almost all individuals with a dead bug variation. This teaches the anterior core how to create tension and prevent extension.
A bridge can then be used for low load hinging patterns, while maintaining that tension.
From there, pattern the deadlift and work to increasing weight with the DL
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
Thank Steve and wespom9!

So, to be specific about programming, let's say an average strength gentleman needs to be prepared for Simple and Sinister. Since S&S recommends that a beginner start with a 24kg kettlebell for swings, would 24kg also be a logical goal for the student to achieve with deadlifts before moving on to swings? If so, what set/rep goal for the 24kg deadlift would be a good indicator of readiness for swings? Perhaps the same as the S&S swing programming--10 sets of 10?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@T.o.m., deadlift training begins with where one is, so how long I'd spend on the deadlift, and how, will vary by the individual trainee. If the goal is to get into working S&S, one needs only have the deadlift pattern to be solid - but, that said, deadlifting 24 kg shouldn't be difficult, and once the movement is working correctly, I've had small students with zero deadlifting experience deadlifting almost their bodyweight within a few sessions - one the DL pattern is good, a heavy kettlebell should be reasonably easy to achieve. Whether or not you choose to include that as a milestone on the way to a swing is up to you.

To summarize, for the swing, the deadlift is a drill and the swing is the skill. You do the drill in order to be able to progress to the skill.

-S-
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
@T.o.m., deadlift training begins with where one is, so how long I'd spend on the deadlift, and how, will vary by the individual trainee. If the goal is to get into working S&S, one needs only have the deadlift pattern to be solid - but, that said, deadlifting 24 kg shouldn't be difficult, and once the movement is working correctly, I've had small students with zero deadlifting experience deadlifting almost their bodyweight within a few sessions - one the DL pattern is good, a heavy kettlebell should be reasonably easy to achieve. Whether or not you choose to include that as a milestone on the way to a swing is up to you.

To summarize, for the swing, the deadlift is a drill and the swing is the skill. You do the drill in order to be able to progress to the skill.

-S-
Drill or not, wouldn't it be safe to say that, if we are trying to assure that a trainee has the "stiffened foundation" McGill recommends prior to swings, a person should be able to do 10x10 deadlifts at 24kg before attempting to move the same weight ballistically?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Drill or not, wouldn't it be safe to say that, if we are trying to assure that a trainee has the "stiffened foundation" McGill recommends prior to swings, a person should be able to do 10x10 deadlifts at 24kg before attempting to move the same weight ballistically?
@T.o.m., it is not necessary.

The drill as compared to skill thing is important. The goal is not to deadlift a kettlebell but to swing it. The deadlift is our tool to pattern the hip hinge. Once the pattern has been satisfactorily established, the trainee can start to learn the swing. Better, if you want to work on the deadlift more, to have them deadlift more weight.

It's also worth mentioning that we generally keep strength training reps to 5 and under at StrongFirst, hence things like the Rite of Passage work up to 5's, but swings for 10's. (And I'll note that swings for 5 with a heavier weight can be awesome, too.)

Learn a pattern, train pattern with increasing weight, volume, intensity, etc. That's the order. For the kettlebell deadlift, just learn the pattern, the move on to learning the swing pattern. This isn't the only way, of course, but it's the straightest route to learning and practicing the swing. More isn't necessarily better for teaching drills.

-S-
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
@T.o.m., it is not necessary.

The drill as compared to skill thing is important. The goal is not to deadlift a kettlebell but to swing it. The deadlift is our tool to pattern the hip hinge. Once the pattern has been satisfactorily established, the trainee can start to learn the swing. Better, if you want to work on the deadlift more, to have them deadlift more weight.

It's also worth mentioning that we generally keep strength training reps to 5 and under at StrongFirst, hence things like the Rite of Passage work up to 5's, but swings for 10's. (And I'll note that swings for 5 with a heavier weight can be awesome, too.)

Learn a pattern, train pattern with increasing weight, volume, intensity, etc. That's the order. For the kettlebell deadlift, just learn the pattern, the move on to learning the swing pattern. This isn't the only way, of course, but it's the straightest route to learning and practicing the swing. More isn't necessarily better for teaching drills.

-S-
Thank you, Steve! That makes perfect sense.
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
So I guess, in summary, when Stuart McGill said to make sure a student's back is ready for swings, what he meant to say was simply that as long as the student has deadlift patterning down, he can immediately start swinging?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@T.o.m., yes, but once a student _can_ swing doesn't mean they should immediately start doing 100 heavy swings every day. The purpose of the drill is to be sure they are _ready_ to start training their swing, but it's the swing training that will build on itself and increase that stiffness. And don't forget that we start with 2-hand swings, which don't require the same thing as 1h-swings - there is a sensible progression in their, and I personally don't mind people dropping to a lower weight for their 1h swings.

-S-
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
For students (average strength gentlemen) who have never done swings in their life, is a 24kg bell appropriate for their very first training session in learning the swing? Or would a lighter bell (e.g. 8kg) be better to start with to make sure the student has proven that they can pack the shoulders, snap the hip, etc., before throwing 53 pounds of iron up in the air?
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
@T.o.m. If you could upload a video of your kettlebell deadlift that would help us guide you. There's a lot of individual variation in how "ready" someone is for swings! Generally, if you know how to get tight and brace, and follow the progressions in S&S, a man is OK to swing 24kg, and a woman 16kg, even to start with. That said, not everyone fits within that description - sometimes by frailty or weakness, other times by lack of body awareness. If you really feel hesitant, sure, deadlift it to build your confidence. And although I'm not fond of "in between" movements, you can even swing/pendulum the kettlebell with just a tiny bit of momentum once you've deadlifted it up to begin to get a feel for the swing.

If you can get some in-person instruction from an SFG that would really be ideal. Have you checked the Instructor listing to search near your location?
 

T.o.m.

Level 1 Valued Member
Thanks Anna. Yes I think in-person training is exactly what I need. I injured my shoulder trying to teach myself. Now that it's healed I'm ready to go for it again.


@T.o.m. If you could upload a video of your kettlebell deadlift that would help us guide you. There's a lot of individual variation in how "ready" someone is for swings! Generally, if you know how to get tight and brace, and follow the progressions in S&S, a man is OK to swing 24kg, and a woman 16kg, even to start with. That said, not everyone fits within that description - sometimes by frailty or weakness, other times by lack of body awareness. If you really feel hesitant, sure, deadlift it to build your confidence. And although I'm not fond of "in between" movements, you can even swing/pendulum the kettlebell with just a tiny bit of momentum once you've deadlifted it up to begin to get a feel for the swing.

If you can get some in-person instruction from an SFG that would really be ideal. Have you checked the Instructor listing to search near your location?
 
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