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Kettlebell Pros and Cons of Different Swing-Types?

Brookes

Level 5 Valued Member
It is always a thin line to feed my curiosity but still staying close to S&S :)

This exactly!

For this reason I still follow S+S exactly by the book, but add a little skills session before or after my S+S. At the end of the week I do one workout where I squeeze in all the varieties I want to try and can also exhaust me in total by trying new variations. I know myself. If I would allow me to alter S+S only a little, there will be nothing left of it by the end of the month. :p

For me the one hand swing is the prefered variant, where I feel the most benefits for GPP. 2H used rarely and only in combination/switch with the 1H to grease the groove of the 1H swing after introducing a new bell size.

Working with doubles is so much fun, since you can put serious load (and stress) to your body and CNS. And as Sauli wrote, never underestimate the "manly" effect! (y) My first double 24 complex was a serious shock to the system. ROFL

I would rarely use doubles for a pure swing session, but in complexes with high C&P or squat ratio they are my weapon of choice to save time and enable a higher load for the body in total compared to doing one side after another.

Maybe we can do a session together in summer, since we are not so far apart to each other. :)
 

Jevgenij

Level 6 Valued Member
I have kettlebells in 4kg steps from 8 to 32 and two 28's. I can do swings and cleans with double 28s (they don't feel awkward to me, just hard), one hand swings with 32 and snatches with 24 and even 28. What would you buy next if money would be the most relevant factor? And if you don't have any specific goals?

First option are heavier bells - buy a 40 bell and later maybe other sizes. On the long run it means going towards heavy unilateral stuff - swings, TGUs, jerks, presses. Cons: heavy bells are very expensive and in worst case I will need more of these.

Second option are double bells. With double 20s, 24s, 28s and 32s you can do a lot of stuff. I don't think I will ever need to go heavier than double swings with 32s or single snatches with a 32. For the price of a single 40 bell I can buy a 32 and a 24 bell. Cons: double ballistics are not as good and heavy TGU's are not possible.

Third option: barbell. I have a barbell, but no weights. For a price of single 40 bell I can buy 100kg plates and start deadlifting and squatting. I never did this, so 100 kg will be enough for some time. Cons: training outside is somewhat important to me and with a barbell it's a problem.

The fourth option would be to buy everything and to look for a good divorce lawyer o_O
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
Here is my take:

-double swings: these are very hard and I feel they tax the quads, glutes and abs a lot. Heavier than 2H swings with 1KB, i.e. 2x24 double swings is harder than 48 single 2H swings but easier than 1H swings with 48. They feel a lot like a vertical jump. Great for low reps (even 3) and moderate to moderate-higher reps. However probably not too great for super high reps (15+) because they are technically demanding. Also you really have to push through the heels in order not to tip over. Probably not too good for dead-stops due to the slightly awkward starting position.
I think Pavel wrote somewhere that once a gent can confortably swing 2x32 for 10x10 posterior chain developement is no longer his nr.1 priority.

-1H swings: great anti-rotation exercise. Feels a lot like a one arm plank in the top position. Best rep range probably in the neighbourhood of 5-15. Feels more like a broad jump. Also suited well for dead-stop reps.

-2H swings with one KB: great for both lower reps and very high reps (5-100). Easiest variation and therefore well suited to be done with high reps. Also well suited for dead-stop reps. Very hamstring-based and broad jump alike.
 

schurgerdc

Level 6 Valued Member
They are all good.. :)

Double swings make me feel very manly. Dbl snatch has same effect, but I have to go much lighter. Dbl swings allows me to use bigger weights. I have never done them heavier than Dbl 24kg, but I think I try Dbl 32kg soon.

Actually Dbl swing and Dbl press could be pretty good program for overall manliness. :)

I have done lots of Dbl presses, jerks, cleans and squats, but basically only Dbl swing makes that ”man”-effect. Maybe it’s the power, maybe something else...

Dbl bell work is the foundation of Geoff Nupert's KB Muscle programs. They truly rock!
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
@Anna C has a good list of pros and cons. I cannot stand swings with 2 KBs. I am short with short legs so it always feels awkward. Instead I use a T handle that I can load up to 200 lbs. if I needed that much weight (as yet I do not).

If you're going to swing one-handed you might as well do a snatch. o_O The one-hand swing is my favorite and that is somewhat due to my body type. The other downside of being short and stocky is that two-hand swings on one KB are awkward. My chest and gut get in the way. Another reason why I like the T handle - the handle is wider and gives me more "room."
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
I noticed in this Sport Swing, I am not familiar with Kettlebell Sport, the athlete using Double Knee Bend to add projection and elevation to the Bell like an Olympic Weightlifter. The scoop changes much of the horizontal hinge momentum to vertical momentum. The Hardsyle Swing is purely a hinge where as the Sport Swing is more like a jump.

Your observation is generally correct. For GS you want the path of the KB as close to vertical as possible. Here is a good explanation of the differences in the two techniques:

Hardstyle vs Girevoy Sport Kettlebell Swing: Which One Should You Use? - BarBend
 

Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
A couple of additions:
--Two-hand swings con:
Hands may be cramped for space on the handle/fingers may chafe on the sides of the handle (whether pinkies in or out), and it may be difficult for large people to use such a narrow grip.

--Several people have mentioned that double swings are awkward. I agree, but find that double CLEANS feel very natural. When I want to go heavy on a ballistic hinge, I almost always go with double cleans instead of two-handed swings with one bell.
+1
Double cleans are my go to power move, love doing them
 

schurgerdc

Level 6 Valued Member
OK, so my search on this thread is going to have me ask the question here before starting a new thread: where do outside knee double kb swings fit into the mix? @MikeTheBear points out the short leg issues with double kb's, which is actually fixed by doing swings outside the knees. I came across this idea years ago with Mike Mahler, but more recently on a YouTube channel that I'm drawing a blank on. The biomechanics are a little different, but all elements of the swing are present.

In fact, outside knee swings seem to engage the upper traps A LOT (mine are burning today from experimenting yesterday with a pair of 20's). Also, there's an added hip/glute stabilization involved, as I was noticing my right knee was drifting inward. I threw on a HipCircle to counter the weakness and remind myself that it wasn't engaging. (The one time the bell came into contact with the right knee also wasn't pleasant, but that's a form issue which I immediately corrected). I appreciate thoughts as to where this has been addressed elsewhere on the forums. Thanks as always!
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
--Several people have mentioned that double swings are awkward. I agree, but find that double CLEANS feel very natural. When I want to go heavy on a ballistic hinge, I almost always go with double cleans instead of two-handed swings with one bell.

I also agree. I don't find double cleans to be that awkward and I generally like the lift.
 

MikeTheBear

Level 7 Valued Member
Interesting thread here on outside the leg swings: outside the LEG KETTLEBELL SWING what are they good for? (pavel? MARK REIFKIND?)

Apparently Mark Toomey doesn't like them. For me it's a risk/reward thing. I am in constant fear that I will hit my knees. I think I tried these once and felt that I had to keep my legs too close together, which made the movement awkward but it was the "opposite awkward" of standard double KB swings.

At the risk of sounding like an arrogant Olympic lifter, I think that if someone wants to chase heavier weights for swings, at some point this person should learn how to do a power clean. Weightlifting has exploded in popularity over the last few years and it is much easier to find a good coach than it was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. Yes, it is worth it to spend the money on a coach. Let's look at your options. If you want to work up to a 96 kgs swing you'll need two 48 kg KBs. Very pricey. Unless you're over 6' swinging two 48s will be awkward. I would argue that outside the legs is not a good option with two 48s since they are much fatter than even the 32s (assuming you get cast iron KBs). A T handle can get you to 96 kgs. This is probably the least expensive option, but you'll likely need to buy some 45 lbs. plates to load on the handle. But even T handles have limits as to how many plates they can hold. Barbells don't have limits, at least not for us mere mortals (although even among the elite heavyweights, a 600 lbs. C&J has yet to be accomplished). A 96 kgs power clean is very attainable for those chasing power development and solves the awkwardness problems encountered with swings.
 

Bret S.

Level 7 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
I would argue that outside the legs is not a good option with two 48s since they are much fatter than even the 32s
I have the 48's but even if I could swing them outside the legs (which I can't) they would smash my knees to bits. The only way for me is between the legs (which I can't do either)
A friend of mine prefers outside double snatch, me not so much
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I found heavy doubles improved my barbell deadlift. :)

Do you lift sumo or conventional?

In general, anyone who has improved a serious deadlift through swings, how have you experienced the stance and single vs double kettlebells to influence the matter?
 

Gary Music

Level 6 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Do you lift sumo or conventional?

In general, anyone who has improved a serious deadlift through swings, how have you experienced the stance and single vs double kettlebells to influence the matter?

I did heavy doubles. I DL conventional. I hit my PR by hitting heavy swings and practicing conventional DL.
 

Waffles03

Level 4 Valued Member
@Marc , from your experience, do you feel that you can put more force behind a single kettle bell swing opposed to a double kettle bell swing? I've never done a double kettle bell swing, but I would assume you can swing a single 40 kg kettle bell harder than swinging two 20 kg kettle bells.
 

Waffles03

Level 4 Valued Member
I think that if someone wants to chase heavier weights for swings, at some point this person should learn how to do a power clean

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't a kettle bell swing more of a horizontal force production and a power clean is more of a vertical force production.
 

Kettlebelephant

Level 6 Valued Member
i.e. 2x24 double swings is harder than 48 single 2H swings
For me it's the opposite.
Swinging two KBs of the same total weight like one single heavy KB always feels easier for me and I'm one of those guys who stopped double swings, because they feel super akward for me.
Maybe it's the greater involvement of the quads as my quads seem to be one of my naturally strong muscles.

Forgive my ignorance, but isn't a kettle bell swing more of a horizontal force production and a power clean is more of a vertical force production.
True, but it's still the same explosive hip movement and you can load up that movement a lot heavier during barbell cleans.

from your experience, do you feel that you can put more force behind a single kettle bell swing opposed to a double kettle bell swing? I've never done a double kettle bell swing, but I would assume you can swing a single 40 kg kettle bell harder than swinging two 20 kg kettle bells.
Not @Marc , but I can definitely put more force into one KB compared to two. I think it's because I have a greater ROM during 2H-Swings. During Dbl-Swings I have to use such a wide stance that I can't sit back as far as during 2HS or 1HS.
 

Marc

Level 6 Valued Member
@Marc , from your experience, do you feel that you can put more force behind a single kettle bell swing opposed to a double kettle bell swing? I've never done a double kettle bell swing, but I would assume you can swing a single 40 kg kettle bell harder than swinging two 20 kg kettle bells.

Interesting point!
Double swings are due to the set up position more quad dominant.
Talking from the standpoint of pure power production that factor has to be considered. Doubles are more "vertical" and singles more "horizontal" so I'd say it depends.
 
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