Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Interesting Observation about Swings

Over the past few months, I've come to the realization that my body has become incredibly efficient at performing the kettlebell swing.... almost too efficient.  What say you?? Too efficient?? How can this be?!?

Let me be very clear about my statement. I did NOT say that the kettlebell swing is by any means easy or ineffective.  I simply said that after many years of swinging, my body has become used to the movement and very efficient at performing it.  I do not feel the key activation in my posterior chain as much as I used to. 

My efficiency with the swing really became prevalent to me when I was watching Skogg 101 - the instructional DVD of the Skogg System (yes, I do like to revisit basics time and time) and again when I taught a kettlebell orientation to my newest group of clients about 2 months ago.  My training partner also commented that she could tell that I was used to high rep swings and snatches, which is true.  I also recall an old AOS Minute of Strenth video (#162 - embedded below) that addressed this very issue.  I actually perform my swings much like Collin demonstrates in the first part of the video. 

I don't have a Bulldog Collar (shown in the video) to help make my body overcome the complacency in the movement.  However, I do have a simple solution that I've been practicing on my own, and I find that it's working for me (and, like Anthony says, using a heavier bell hasn't always been the answer for this one). 

My Solution: I am actually bending my knees a more and forcing ("football hiking") the bell back farther through my legs. BUT, there is a marked difference between bending my knees more to perform the swing and squatting. I am not squatting at all (nor should you).  I am placing the emphasis on loading my hamstrings, using a powerful hip drive/snap, and creating the crease/fold at the top of my hips to execute the swing.  Thus far, increasing the bend in my knees is accomplishing several things for me during my swing:
1) I am re-loading my hamstrings more with each repetition
2) my hip snap is powerful and more pronounced
3) my heart rate is getting up higher and feeling more like it did when I picked up the bell the very first time (and was sucking wind when I tried to do a 2 consecutive minutes of - memories!)

I'll keep practicing, with variations of swings and kettlebell sizes, and see if this helps my body see the swing as a new exercise again.
Anyway, those are my thoughts for today.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the Moms out there!


The break down continued from art of strength on Vimeo.

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