Before I start I just want to say that I will have the next installment of “How to Get Started Lifting Weights” up very soon. I am very excited about this series. There are not a lot of resources on this topic and I hope to fill that gap.
I still have a few videos to shoot so be on the lookout for it sometime next week.
Now onto my awesome trick for getting someone out of a “squatty” Kettlebell (KB) Swing. I will first cover some basics and then demonstrate this effective tool.
As a full time strength coach working with clients 6 days a week I see every compensation pattern and technique mistake in the book. There are many things to look for when coaching a lift, and as I have stated in the past HERE, it is good to always have your top three cues for each lift. This way you are not overwhelmed by looking at a bunch of different things.
Today, I want to go over how to properly perform a Kettlebell (KB) Swing. The KB Swing a very popular exercise these days, and therefore, gets quite a bit of attention. Even the famous Jillian Michaels came out with her own DVD on the movement. This may seem like a good thing that a good movement is getting a lot of attention, but this is not the case.
The reason I am not happy about the widespread publicity of the movement is due to how often I see it performed and taught incorrectly.
Therefore, today, I want to go over how to perform the KB swing correctly.
How To Perform the KB Swing:
KB placed in front of you
Feet just outside shoulder width with toes pointed out slightly
Hamstrings loaded and tight
Tight grip on the KB
Initiating the movement:
Pull KB toward your “zipper” (close to your crotch)
Keep lat tightness
Once KB is pulled to “zipper” and you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, keep spine long and drive hips through with hamstrings
Keep arms relaxed at all times except at the top of the swing when you pull the KB down
Top of Movement (KB is usually no higher than the shoulders):
Finish with stomach, glutes, and thighs tight – this will ensure an upright finish position
After you finish tall pull KB back down to “zipper” by using your lats
Minimal knee bend on the way back down
Fold over at the waist (movement should largely come from the hips)
Besides a poor back position, one of the biggest problems for people learning the swing is that they turn it into a “squatty” swing – upright torso and knees forward over the toes – instead of a hip hinge.
One of the best tools I have found to eliminate this is to place a couple of boxes or pads in between a person’s feet. You will have to play around with the height but you want it high enough that the person has to really keep the KB close to the zipper or they will hit the box. This forces the person to move from the hips and eliminates excessive knee bend.
I have yet to see a client hit the boxes or pads, and therefore, it cleans up the swing very easily. Try it out and let me know what you think!