In my free little eBook I described, in major detail, how to do a kettlebell swing. I provided, straight though, all the worthwhile progressions, regressions, and corrective drills to make it so that anybody who reads it, including an idiot, cannot possibly put it down again without having learned something on how to better their kettlebell swing. As well, in my free little eBook, I set forth clear, concise, compact, and fluent directions on what never to do when swinging a kettlebell, so that everybody who indulges in the literature will have their technique instantly and smartly improved.
Apparently, nobody read my free little eBook.
I’m sorry, I mean nobody but YOU has read my free little eBook. You, as my reader, are learned; you are practiced; and your swing is swift, righteous, and fierce. You have overcome this cumbrous exercise, and now you work it with all the ease and comfort of a duck paddling around the pond.
But you are uncommon. And with the aggressive but delightful growth of my 300 Swings a Day Kettlebell Challenge, I have seen rank and objectionable kettlebell swing technique become the thing of everyday.
Now as for me, I have swung so much in the past eight years that I have become saturated in convictions as to the right and the wrong way to swing a kettlebell. Many of these convictions are firmly unshakable and absolute, others relative and contextual. And I understand, deeply, the limitations a person faces when learning to swing a kettlebell on their own, to what they can and cannot do, and that not all persons can afford the luxury of a qualified coach, and that not all coaches are qualified, but instead, are somehow very stupid.
So these mistakes that I lay out for you, intelligent reader, will be but a short series of gentle instructions—no, reminders. If you seek to do the world a kindness, please pass them on to your neighbor.
Mistake #1: Swinging Overhead
Observe, swinging overhead is about as useful as a barometer, that brilliant device a person uses to figure out what sort of weather he is currently experiencing in lieu of looking out a window.
Now that is the kindest, gentlest thing I have to say about it. But largely speaking, I have seen countless samples of what is purported to be an “overhead swing” in the past eight years, and I am intensely convinced by circumstantial evidence that the movement, by and large, is a silly waste of time, potentially injurious, and appreciably dilutes the good to be had from a kettlebell.
To set it, uh, succinctly, the problems with overhead swings are this: squatty-swings (we all know that the swing is a hinge, surely we know this by now), and that: poor overhead mechanics.
If one strongly desires to go overhead, simply, he should snatch. This way, limited shoulder and thoracic mobility is not a major constraint and likely won’t trickle down and mar spinal alignment. That is, a loss of stability at the T-L junction, a flaring of the rib cage, and a protruding of the head. Chicken-necking, is what we call it.
The Fix: Get some float and swing to about eye level, but don’t go overhead.
Mistake #2: Swinging Too Light
The chief feature of the kettlebell swing—force production, well it is a hard thing to get after if swinging a teensy weensy bird egg. One should at least use the weight equivalent of a fat and unwieldy rock, if that is how we are going to measure things.
People swing too light at the most wrong time to do it, which is to say, in the beginning. I respect judiciousness, and hold the character of being a somewhat judicious fellow myself. But to learn the kettlebell swing one must learn to use their hips, and a too light kettlebell does not require the use of the hips to get it swinging.
What we see almost invariably when a beginner acquires a peanut to do his swings with is that they are not swings at all. They are delt raises, or some other spectacle altogether, but never swings.
The Fix: Go Heavier.
I do not claim that a heavier weight will always be the answer. I only claim that sometimes a heavier weight is the answer. If your swing lacks power, if it lacks oomph, if it lacks crispness, then use a heavier bell and get your hips into it.
Find a weight that challenges you, but one you can be successful with
Mistake #3: Too Much Rotation (One-Arm Swing)
The one-arm swing, for our purposes, is an anti-rotational movement, and is, ideally but never fully realizably the exact same as the two arm swing, with only the obvious exception that it is done with one arm and not two.
What I mean is that the shoulders are to stay square, or to rise and fall at the same rate.
Now, as a rule, there will be some rotation and a minor variance if the person is swinging a kettlebell of a respectable weight. Simply, I ask you to fight that rotation as far as practicable.
The Fix: Tap The Kettlebell at the Top with Your Free Hand
This is a quick “form check”. If at the top of your one arm swing you reach out and are able to tap the handle with your free hand, likely you are squared up. If your reach is short, likely you are not.
If you are swinging a respectable weight, there will always be SOME rotation. B
The 300 Swings a Day Kettlebell Challenge
These mistakes were a selection of the more common and somewhat hellish offenses seen over the past 30 days in the 300 Swings group. Other trifling offenses occur here and there, and a few major and significant ones too, like rounding the back, leaning back at the top, dipping the shoulders below the hips, or whatever.
The next round of 300 Swings a Day Challenge is coming soon—April 1st, actually. I want you to be a part of it, and I want to help you get your swing form faultless. Because the benefits, if you do your swings right, are simple and enormous. Blast fat, boost muscle, build “kettlebooty”, strength the back, and right on down the long line.
And yes, you can totally do it again, surely I am.
There are only two requirements to join:
- CLICK HERE, download my free little eBook, and devour it. Practice, practice, practice.
- Join The 300 Swings Facebook group HERE, become a part of the community, get active, post your daily swing routine, and other questions you may have.
If you have any questions, regarding the challenge or kettlebell swing technique, drop them in the comments.