Working on one handed swings, progression suggestions?

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by George Shelton, Aug 21, 2018.

  1. George Shelton

    George Shelton Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    57 year old retired sailor. 6 feet 180. I am working through S&S, coming back to training after some orthopedic issues that are now well resolved.

    I am 2H swinging the 32KG bell for my sets but am only capable at this time of one hand swings with the 1 pood. Looking for progression suggestions.
    Bret S. likes this.
  2. Bro Mo

    Bro Mo Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Master Chief,
    This is from a good SFG prep article.

    Two-arm swings x 10 reps x 10 minutes:
    • Perform reps at the top of each minute—rest till next minute
    • Weight—32-40kg kettlebell (ladies 20-24kg)
    • Add a rep each week until you reach 20 reps per minute
    • At that point start working on (one-arm swings 5+5 and finishing the 20 reps with two-arm swings) with your heavy kettlebell adding reps each week until 10+10 for 10 minutes
    • (Reduce the two-arm swings as you add reps to the one arm swings – i.e. 5+5 one arm + 10 two arm then 6+6 one arm + 8 two arm, etc.)

    I would also offer that even being able to perform 1H swings, I still prefer 2H swings in order to really accelerate and explode with the hips even more. Maybe some people can grip with one hand as well as they can with two but I even have a hard time holding on to the forces of the bell with two hands when I am using the perfect weight that allows a fast enough acceleration.
  3. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    You could try as follows, worked well for me progressing to 1HS with the 32.

    - 8x10 2HS with 32 kg + 4x5 1HS with the 24

    if it works well, you can eventually add more sets of 5 with the 24, and eventually do sets of 7. one progression could be:

    - 6x10 2HS with 32 + 6x7 1HS with 24.

    This way you keep the number of sets at 12, so the session is not long, and you slowly progress to 10x10 with 24.
  4. Tim Randolph

    Tim Randolph Double-Digit Post Count

    How many explosive 1H swings can you do with say the 24?

    Cutting reps (to 7 in my case) and increasing sets really worked for me. Make sure that every swing is explosive and give yourself plenty of rest between sets. In any case be patient. Even with half steps there are just four steps from the 16 to the 32. Keep swinging.
  5. crazycanuck

    crazycanuck Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Working on getting more sets of 10 of the 24kg one handed into my working into Simple. That's not been too bad, the hard part was getting to the 10 reps in a single set.

    I tried a number of things in the name of experimentation, and it took me about a good 4-5 months to get a good strong set of 10 on each side where I could snap the bell to chest height and feel confident in my grip throughout a set. What ended up in the end working well (for me, at least, your case may be different), was to swing the 24kg two handed for all 10 sets, to the point I felt fatigue /breathing was not as much a limiting factor with this new weight, and I could generate some power (that took several weeks). I then endeavored to add one handed swings by starting the first two or even three reps of a single set two handed , to get the groove and feeling (and confidence) and then take my hand off the bell at the top, allow the backswing (one handed) bring the bell back up to the top (one handed) and get free hand back on the bell, a swing (complete back and up swing two handed), at the top take the other hand off and do a swing one handed, and so on.

    At first I was only able to do one rep per side (especially my left, I am right handed and even though have had a right hand injury), then eventually two or three at a time, etc. I did work with trying some pre planning in that I was going to bump up to "x" reps per hand with each set/session, but the in the end what felt better was to take an overall more fluid organic approach and literally take it analyzing rep by rep in a practice with no preplanning from workout to workout...if I felt my grip was weakening or I was shoulder shrugging or muscling with my arm, I would do a few two handed and switch to the other hand (provided my hip snap or lungs were still good). I liked this way too as it felt like I could get some lighter days in there...some days were stronger than others depending on recovery and I was not forcing myself to do a set of 6 on each side one handed in my set of 10 when I really may not have had full capacity that day, I could work with my fatigue, recovery levels, etc.

    Eventually I was able to get full sets of 10 and have kept the use of the 24 at that, although I am using the 20kg for some sets as well at the moment and adding a set of the 24 every couple sessions.

    Like others have said, it's a process. Be patient, you can do this.

    Show that bell you are the boss of it! ;) :D
    Bauer, Anna C and George Shelton like this.
  6. Jan

    Jan More than 500 posts

  7. Brett Jones

    Brett Jones StrongFirst Director of Education Staff Member Master Instructor

    Where are you located?
    There may be a local SFG that can help you out.
  8. George Shelton

    George Shelton Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    Western Washington State. I have a SFII here at the local community college. We are trying to de-conflict our schedules to get me a FMS and some hands-on help.
    Brett Jones likes this.
  9. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    I think the stock answer to this question is to just go back to the 1 pood (24kg) and keep pushing the rest time so that you're eventually doing the full 100 swings in 5 minutes.

    1 hand and 2 hand swings are different animals. It's like pushing someone in a sumo match or punching them. The movements are actually quite different.

    Both are certainly very important. However, the way S&S is designed, the 1 hand swings are meant to cover a lot of muscles and anti-twist stuff that the 2 hand swings cannot. Therefore, if you have your heart set on always doing 100 2 handed swings instead of 1 handed swings, you'd likely need to add an exercise into the mix in order to fill in the missing gaps -- if you're trying for similar benefits to what Pavel has designed for us in the program.

    I've felt exactly this same frustration as you, and I also see things in the 2 handed swing that are not in the 1 handed swings, particularly regarding power production and intensity, as does Pavel. The advice given me again and again here was to swallow my pride and go back to the lighter bell, and persevere with the 1 handed swings.

    Now, I can and have done all 100 swings 1 handed with the 40kg bell, and the "norm" for me now is to do them all 1 handed with the 32kg bell.

    In any case, doing S&S as 2h swings only and TGUs is missing a lot of what S&S is for, so it's not S&S anymore. Doing the swings 2 handed from time to time, even every second day for S&S though, is fine and fits the program as described in the book.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2018
    Bauer likes this.
  10. Bauer

    Bauer More than 500 posts

    Following what @Kozushi said: Another variant would be like a new phase of a linear periodization plan: Start S+S over with one pood (actually 16 kg) and work yourself up to 1H 32 kg just the way you did with the 2H swings. You could of course still keep 1 or 2 days per week with 2H swings, just for fun.

    This way some parts of the body need to work harder (grip, QL, anti-rotation) but others can rest a bit (ecpecially hips and legs) - which will probably help regeneration and make you progress faster.
    Kozushi likes this.
  11. Shawn90

    Shawn90 More than 500 posts

    Steve Freides and Bauer like this.
  12. Brett Jones

    Brett Jones StrongFirst Director of Education Staff Member Master Instructor

    Excellent - keep us posted
  13. George Shelton

    George Shelton Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    All good info. Last night I tried 10T x 5 with the 32 (to save my grip a bit), parked it, rested 2 minutes then proceeded to the 24 for 10T, 5L, 5R, 10T with 45 second RIs then finished with 10T x 2. The one handers are certainly lacking the snap of the two handers.
    I believe it is in my best interest to keep the 24KG, one hander volume low and work on power production. When my technique is more solid and I am getting the requisite snap/float, I'll start adding additional one hand volume. Thank you for the suggestions.
    Tim Randolph and Kozushi like this.
  14. Kozushi

    Kozushi More than 2500 posts

    This makes sense.
  15. Waryrenn

    Waryrenn Triple-Digit Post Count

    Over the last week I've introduced 1/h swing ladders into my training practice.
    1-2-3-4-4-3-2-1 gives 20 swings (10 each hand if you swap hands between rungs - ie every time you park the bell). Since you don't swing for more than 4 in a row it has helped me self correct and keep focus on explosive technique.
    Allow yourself one recovery breath per swing between rungs (or less)
    NB I'm only just starting out with KB practice though!
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2018
  16. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    @George Shelton, what is the limitation with one hand swings? is it the grip? My limitation is the grip, and I have found that when I dont feel confident with the grip it screws up my technique. I cant fully use the hip power. Using chalk has helped me a lot for grip, and I eventually got used to it and dont need chalk any more.
    Karl likes this.
  17. George Shelton

    George Shelton Still New to StrongFirst Forum

    I don't feel like I am transferring the power from the hips to the bell. The grip is not the issue. I'm leaking somewhere technique wise. Have the local SFGII look me over will hopefully shorten the process. I believe a little coaching and keeping the volume low, practicing perfect 1H swings and gradually increasing the volume will cure it.
    Jan and Steve Freides like this.
  18. J Cox

    J Cox Double-Digit Post Count

    What's interesting is when I started with my 32, I could feel the grip being challenged, and god forbid any sweat get in the mix. I realized, though, while trying to keep a hook grip, I wasn't keeping a firm hook grip. I don't mean to say I put a death grip on it, but I really brought the grip to bear more. The bell fits firmly in there on the swings but not to the point of causing damage to my hands. This is rather difficult to explain, but just give yourself permission to get a little better grip. Again, not a death grip, but certainly a little something snugger. You will know it and your confidence in 1-arm swings will skyrocket.
  19. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides StrongFirst Director of Community Engagement Staff Member Senior Instructor

    I think this can be tough to spot in one's self, @George Shelton. @Oscar asked a good question. Try going outside and really driving your hips, and be prepared to lose your grip on the bell.

    Another suggestion - try some grip work, e.g., farmers carries with a 32 kg in one hand or one in each hand for up to about 2 minutes while you walk. Or barbell deadlift something heavy.

    Bauer and Oscar like this.
  20. Anth

    Anth Double-Digit Post Count

    Sorry to bring up an old thread, but lurking on these forums is how I get a lot of my information (this place is awesome!), and I wanted to ask you about this.

    I am in a similar situation: 32kg 2-hand swings feel great (I love the cardio I get and strength I feel from these), but 1-hand are difficult for me even with the 24.

    I was thinking of going 3 days a week "heavy," that is 3 days where I do 100 2-handed swings with the 32, and work on my TGU progression (right now I'm at 24, 24, 32, 24, 24 for my workout), and 2-days a week "deload" with 100 1-handed swings and 5x1 TGU'S, so probably 16 or 20 for both exercises. I plan on trying to slowly progress my 1-handed swings on the "deload" days and my TGU's on the "heavy" days.

    This plus some other martial arts workouts.

    3-days a week working only with the 32 but 2-handed swings
    2-days a week working with a lighter bell for everything, but 1-handed swings.

    Is this a good plan? Might it be better to switch the light and heavy days around?


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