5 Mistakes You’re Making with The Kettlebell Swing
Yo, sup dude! Welcome back. In today's post we're kicking off our newest series on the blog. The "common mistakes series." And today we're gonna crack open the 5 mistakes you're making with the kettlebell swing.
Check it out...
5 Mistakes You're Making with the Kettlebell Swing
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For your reading pleasure, I've broken down the 5 mistakes with the kettlebell swing below.
Mistake #1: Rushing Your Setup
I know, not the sexiest of answers (and you're probably already thinking, "yeah, I know that already") but this set up is a little different.
Traditionally when you set up for the swing, you position the bell in the middle of your feet -- creating a triangle from the bell to both of your feet -- for two handed swings (2HSW).
Many keep this set up for the 1HSW too but it's not optimal.
Aligning the kettlebell in the center and starting from the same position as 2HSWs.
Pulls you out of alignment.
... you could "force" yourself to square up but it's kinda like jammin' a square peg into a round hole.
Making it near impossible to have a solid swing, and it leads you to mistake #5 -- which we'll get to in a sec.
What's behind secret door #3 is a much option for ya.
Instead, align the kettlebell to the same side you're holding it.
This aligns the shoulders, hips, and knees.
Keeping you symmetrical from the word, "GO!" For more details on the set up from the ground up, check out the Viking Push-Press Master Class.
Mistake #2: Lifting the bell into the Back Swing
This is a big one I see especially when it comes to moving heavier kettlebells around. Since the bell is bigger and heavier, the tendency is to lift the bell into the back swing versus...
... using your body and shifting your weight to gain the most leverage over the bell to power the hike pass. This alters the setup and again.
Puts you out of position. Leaving strength on the table.
Remember the general rule of strength training?
The body should dictated how the kettlebell, barbell, etc. responds.
Not the other way around. It's shouldn't require a heavier load to get into the right position.
Instead, we want to put our body in particular positions to get the external load -- kettlebell, barbell, dumbbell -- to respond accordingly.
Mistake #3: Breaking Your "3 Point Structure"
Your 3 Point Structure is the proper alignment of your hips, knees, and ankles to produce optimal power.
By putting your hamstrings AND GLUTES on stretch. Is kinda like a rubber band.
Barely stretching it back gives it little to no pop coming forward. Compared to putting the band on FULL stretch... maximizing it's elastic energy. Harnessing and soon generating more power.
Your muscles possess the same elastic energy. Want them to fire so you can get the most of your efforts in your workout? Put'em on stretch by NOT breaking your 3 Point Structure.
Breaking this structure leaves strength -- especially power -- on the table.
From here you're hamstrings dominant as a result of getting less power from the glutes because they're not "on stretch." And the optimal way to get a muscle to fire... is to stretch it.
Your focus is to maintain as much of the 3 Point Structure possible during the hike pass.
Maximizing the elastic energy in your hamstrings, glutes, and calves by keeping them under tension.
So focus on your set up.
Drag your hips back to gain leverage over the bell, and hike the moment you're about to lose your balance and watch your swings fly.
Mistake #4: "Scooping" Your Swing
If you're breaking your 3 Point Structure then it's likely your next mistake is.
"Scooping" your swing. This is common in the world of "GS" -- Girevoy Sport (Competition kettlebell lifting). This makes you squad dominant.
And I'm not knocking GS -- those guys are mutants -- but it's not what we want to focus on in the context of the "Hardstyle Swing." We want max power and requirement.
During the concentric phase of the swing. Your knees lead the way instead of all 3 points -- hips, glutes, calves.
The result is quad dominance. Which is cool if you're a distance runner or GS athlete. If distance and time are the main concern then conserving energy is #1 priority.
It's kinda like distance runner vs. sprinter. One is based on efficiency. The other is max effort, speed, and power -- like chopping wood.
If you're looking for a leaner, more muscular body -- that turns heads -- stop scooping your swings.
Mistake #5: Not Staying "Connected"
And common mistake #5 is not staying connected at the top of the swing. This comes in a coupe of different forms.
One is allowing the bell to pull you out of position and rotating your shoulders across your hips.
Not only will this keep you off balanced... robbing you of your ability to create a strong and capable body.
It's also bad for the Ol' back.
The second form of disconnection is losing your "plank" and breaking the 4 Point Structure of the upper body.
Your neck, shoulders, hips, and knees -- looks like "alignment" is pretty dang important, huh?
All the top of your swing is, is a "standing plank."
At the top of the swing.
We want to replicate a "standing plank." Neck, shoulders, hips, and knees are in alignment.
And abs are braced -- as if you're about to get punched in the gut.
Exactly as if you were planking on the floor.
There you have it, 5 mistakes you're making with the kettlebell swing.
Put these into practice and let me know how it turns out for ya by leaving something in the comments. Hope this was helpful for ya.
P.S. - If you're looking for a program around the kettlebell swing so you can put into action what you've learned from this post.
Check out, "Kettlebell Workout Snacks" below. I recommend the "Back to Basics Series" on pg. 9 & 10.