When I attended my first training course on the use of kettlebells, I was introduced to the Swing as the KING of all the exercises that can be performed with this tool.
Beyond the desire to learn and the beautiful athletic gesture, I still didn’t understand why I should have included the Kettlebell Swing in my workouts. Not a fan of ballistic exercises and having spent years under the barbells, with slow and controlled execution, I was reluctant to spend time flying an iron ball between my legs.
I changed my mind when the trainer talked about the benefits of Swing in the Hardstyle version, particularly when he said the word “transfer”. There I learned how the practice of this exercise transferred incredible benefits to the athletic performance of many sports, which I had not even imagined before.
What is Kettlebell Swing?
The Kettlebell Swing Hardstyle is a movement centered on the hip extensor chain and requires explosive execution. If performed with flawless technique and with an adequate load for the athlete, it strengthens the hip strike more than any other exercise.
While it requires a high degree of technical skill, it is a relatively simple ballistic exercise when compared to a Clean or Snatch, performed with a kettlebell or barbell. This makes it accessible to everyone, which is why it is so used in athletic training, sports where the athletic gesture requires a hip extension.
Improve performance in sports such as running, from a hundred meters to marathons; in the high jump, in the long jump; in combat sports, such as judo, karate, boxing; in team sports, such as football, basketball, volleyball, rugby; in weightlifting, such as powerlifting or weightlifting, but also in tennis, golf, softball, padel, etc.
In short, if you are an athlete or an amateur player of any sport and you want to improve your performance, you definitely need to train the Kettlebell Swing Hardstyle.
The Swing Technique
Now we will analyze the steps to be carried out for the execution of a technically correct Swing.
Stand in front of the Kettlebell with your feet approximately shoulder-width apart, at a distance that allows you to create an equilateral triangle between your feet and the tool.
Perform hip hinge, flex your hips back, unlock your knees, continue pushing your hips back until you reach the starting position of a Deadlift. If you have done everything correctly, you will end up with:
- Feet totally resting on the floor;
- Tibias is almost vertical;
- The knees trace the direction of the toes;
- Hips at a height between that of the knees and that of the shoulders;
- Here the back preserves all the physiological curves and the neutral or slightly extended cervical.
Hook the handle of the kettlebell with both hands, using a hooked grip, do not squeeze the handle. Tilt it until it becomes an extension of your arm and connect your shoulders, pushing them away from your ears, against your lats.
Activate the abdomen and perform a hike pass, as rugby players throw the oval ball back between the legs, but without opening their hands. Throw the kettlebell with all the strength you have in the lats, it must pass over the knees and let the forearm sink against your inner thigh, the stronger the hike pass, the more powerful your swing will be.
During this phase, the position of the body must remain unchanged, stay contracted!
When the kettlebell has dulled the kinetic energy, perform a hip snap, a quick hip strike, faster than it would be comfortable to do. Push your feet against the floor, fully extend your knees, contract your quadriceps, fully extend your hips, contract your buttocks.
This explosive movement will make the kettlebell fly.
You are in the position of a vertical plank, like any self-respecting plank, the abdomen, lats, and buttocks must remain active.
This will help keep your back neutral and keep your balls connected. Only the arms and neck are relaxed.
When the kettlebell is flying. If the hip snap has been correct it is explosive the kettlebell will always be an extension of your arm. Once the energy given by your hips is exhausted it will float in a correct Swing at the height of your chest.
Enjoy the float, but stay tight!
Now the descent phase will begin, remain in the vertical plank, while guiding the kettlebell back between your legs with your lats. Remain motionless and contracted until your arms hit your ribs. Now is the right time to do another hip hinge.
You will find yourself, in the position of the second step covered in the execution, performing the hip snap again and all the following steps, for each of your Swings.
For each repetition use power breathing, a power breathing, take air from the nose and send it into the belly, in the lower part of each Swing, exhale strongly from the mouth in a decisive way, passing only a breath of air, each time fully extend your hips. Power breathing will give you strength and stabilize your core.
Pay attention to each step, before and during the practice of this exercise. For each series, I advise you to concentrate well on only one point, in order to perfect, slowly, the technique of your Kettlebell Swing Hardstyle.
Quoting “Pavel Tsatsouline”, founder and president of StrongFirst, I recommend a volume of at least 100 Swings for effective training.
Take a medium to long steals between sets, make sure all your swings are technical, and that the hip strike is always fast and snappy.
Practicing Swing Hardstyle with this method will improve your explosive strength, aerobic endurance, and lactate resistance. In addition, it is a great metabolic workout, therefore, it will not only have a positive effect on your performance but also on your aesthetics, improving your body composition.