Perfecting Your Swings: Kettlebell Training Basics

by admin on February 5, 2010

Perfect swing form builds the foundation of more advanced kettlebell work.  Perfecting your swings should be a continual process in your kettlebell training.

A recent email from Dan, a faithful reader of kettlebellbasics.net , provided some great feedback re: a recent training session we did.  I’d like to share (with Dan’s permission, of course) a little of what he had to say with you today – these three tips will help a lot if you’re having trouble with your swing form:

“Btw, for your clients that are struggling with unlocking the hips (this is a key to being efficient with your swings) … these (three things have been the most helpful):

1. The Wall Squats. You told me to do two sets of ten and I have been doing those before the 15 minutes of swings on swing day. I have not even started picking up a ‘bell yet but the process of really pushing how low I can get without banging my face into the wall, my knees or failing backwards over my heels has helped a TON. It acts as a stretch too for that lower back/hip area.”

The wall squat is performed by facing a wall with your toes touching it, or least getting them as close as you can, and doing a squat. The key is to stay square, to make sure you don’t twist your body in any way, and to take care that your knees don’t shoot out and bang into the wall.

“2. The visualization of having the bottom of the ‘bell point straight behind you at the lowest point of the swing. Really helps get momentum for the upward swing.”

Think about getting the bottom of the kettlebell to face the wall behind you as you hike pass it back. This will also help you keep the ‘bell closer to the body throughout the movement, which makes for a more efficient and safer movement.

“3. The back definitely has to go forward, but it is straight and not rounded. I don’t look like this, but you should make sure your clients see something like this to help them visualize. With the stressing that the butt goes back and hips bend, its easy to forget that the back has to go forward at an angle. It was weird to watch you do your swings up close because it seemed so violent and quick. When the back is locked and pivots over at 45 degrees and back, it’s a quick violent motion. Definitely was eye opening.”

The main point here is don’t be afraid to let your body come forward; just don’t confuse a straight back with a flat back. In my experience, when people think ‘straight’, they think their body has to be straight up and down. Flat simply means this:

image001

(Thanks for the screenshot from YouTube, Dan)

Just for a refresher, here’s a video I posted a while back about how to do a swing – take note of the things we’re talking about in this post happening during the exercise:

Keep working on your swing technique – it’s the foundation that much future training will be based upon.  I hope these tips help accelerate your progress!

Want even more great tips and tricks like these to improve your kettlebell training technique? Pick up a copy of the KettlebellBasics.net Quick Start Guide – today’s your last chance to grab a copy at 50% off! Click here to order today.

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