Friday, July 20, 2007


The foundational movement of kettlebell training, is the swing. It often gets bypassed as athletes move towards more advanced movements like the snatch. The problem is you are progressing without your foundation in place. (This is a basic Crossfit concept to master the basics before wasting efforts with the advanced) Learning to swing properly will make your snatches and all your other kettlebell drills better. So here are three easy to implement tips that will accelerate your progress on the swings.

Tip #1 — Connect the arms to the body.

Stand straight and tall like you have just finished the swing and hold your arms out in front of you — now bring the arms down to connect to the body — you will find your arms pinned to your rib cage (tight to the body on the ribs not the chest). Leave your arms there and push the hips back like you are catching the kettlebell at the bottom of the swing. Then extend your hips but leave the arms connected until the hips finish — then allow the hips to bump the kettlebell off the body. Then repeat the sequence.

Tip #2 — You hike the kettlebell at the bottom of the swing.

If you have connected the arms to the body then hiking the kettlebell will come very naturally. On the descent with the kettlebell do not let it pull out away from you — connect the arm(s) to the body and "hike" the kettlebell behind you high and tight in the groin (don't over do it for obvious reasons).

Tip #3 — The hips lead the race.

Once you have connected the arms to the body and hike passed the kettlebell, you begin the swing again by extending the hips. Obvious right? However, you should finish the hip snap long before the kettlebell reaches the top of its swing. Once the kettlebell is descending again and you are reconnecting the arms to the body it is the hips that push back first. The knees do not bend down first. Push the hips back first — the knees will bend as a result of the hips moving. So the hips lead the race to the top of the swing and they lead the race to the catch at the bottom of the swing.

Implement these tips on two-arm and one arm swings and you will gain noticeable power and coordination with the swing. Then after practicing the swing use these same tips on your snatches and you will find the kettlebell floating to the top easier than ever.

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