Swings for an ex-swimmer: One-hand or Two-hand?

Ivan Roško

First Timer
Hi everyone!

I recently started with S&S with a 16 kg bell. I reached timeless and timed standard without much problem, and wanted to move on to 20 or 24-kilo bell, but there's an issue.

I'm a 6,2, 26 years old, and spent of my youth and most of the puberty swimming and playing water polo (de facto south-Croatia's national sport). It left me with a wide back, shoulders, chest, and long torso, but comparably skinny arms and legs.

TGU is a breeze for me, but two-hands swings leave my lower back feeling funky, and one-arm swings do not. I had lower back issues years back, so I am afraid two-hands swings a heavier bell would bring them back, yet I am not confident to move to instantly to heavier one-arm swings.

I know Pavel mentioned in Joe Rogan Podcast, and I found in some interviews, that mister Mark Reifkind does only OH swings cuz of his lower back, and recommends it to taller people, with long torsos. Would you agree that's a better way to go? Should I ditch the TW swing?

Thank you for any advice!
 

masa

More than 2500 posts
Interesting topic. Can't wait what the party will say. I'm an ex-swimmer myself, same height and loaded with lower back problems too.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Interesting... I don't know the answer, but I'd say going with 1H swings only is OK if it works for you. A video would be insightful, if you'd like to share one.

You could also do 2H deadlift with the 24kg or heavier, and see how your back likes that. Generally if it can tolerate the deadlift, and if you can stay tight during the swing and use the same movement pattern, you should be OK with 2H swings also.
 

Boris Bachmann

Double-Digit Post Count
I'm guessing you either aren't hinging properly or it's just too heavy when you go to 2 bells. There's more leeway for less than perfect technique and mobility w. a one-arm swing or snatch, but two-arm has to be dead on or you're going to suffer.

Edit: And yes, a longer torso isn't doing you any favors, but we work with what we got.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I have quite a long torso and find the opposite, that 2 handed swings are easier on my back. Go figure. I've been doing 1 handed almost exclusively for a very long time and just experimented w/ 2 hands; I was quite surprised at the amount of difference in power I could generate with 2 hands compared to 1 hand but still easier to maintain proper hinge/back alignment. Different bodies, different quirks.
 

Boris Bachmann

Double-Digit Post Count
I have quite a long torso and find the opposite, that 2 handed swings are easier on my back. Go figure. I've been doing 1 handed almost exclusively for a very long time and just experimented w/ 2 hands; I was quite surprised at the amount of difference in power I could generate with 2 hands compared to 1 hand but still easier to maintain proper hinge/back alignment. Different bodies, different quirks.
Sure. If you have a long torso, short arms and legs, you'll struggle. Doesn't mean you can't be strong - just that it's harder.
 

GeoffreyLevens

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Sure. If you have a long torso, short arms and legs, you'll struggle. Doesn't mean you can't be strong - just that it's harder.
More than any "struggle" I just notice almost a circuit breaker in my nervous system and turns on a governor my power output. Particularly noticeable when doing a set of one followed by set of another or even more when do a few reps one way then switch mid-set. Grip is not the issue with weights I am using but I just can't seem to be as powerfully explosive with one hand as compared to with two hands.
 

Boris Bachmann

Double-Digit Post Count
Positioning of the hips and active involvement of the upper body on one-arm vs. two is a consideration with what you are referring to. Imagine trying to do a vertical jump test with only one arm doing any real work.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
More than any "struggle" I just notice almost a circuit breaker in my nervous system and turns on a governor my power output. Particularly noticeable when doing a set of one followed by set of another or even more when do a few reps one way then switch mid-set. Grip is not the issue with weights I am using but I just can't seem to be as powerfully explosive with one hand as compared to with two hands.
I wouldn't be sure it wasn't grip. I've often had the same feeling, that I could express my power as well in the one-arm swing but that grip wasn't an issue. To test this, I summoned my powers of imagination and told myself to swing with one hand just as I would with two - I even put other arm out front to simulate the position of a two-arm swing. Want to guess what happened? After only a few reps, the bell flew out of my hand, which surprised me then but, now that I think about it, the whole thing makes sense to me.

Just my experience; your mileage may vary.

-S-
 
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