Nov 172010

The Kettlebell Swing is a great exercise that we use. Originally, it was used solely as a substitute for olympic lifts with players who may not be able to olympic lift due to wrist or hand issues. Now, it is more of a staple exercise for everyone. Unlike the explosive nature of Olympic lifts, the swing allows us to get the recruitment of the posterior chain muscles in a rhythmic-like fashion. What I also like about the swing is that it is a great in-season lift. In-season, I think there needs to be an emphasis on posterior chain strengthening due to the demands on the anterior chain in the sport of hockey. Sets and reps will be done in the 15-20 range. Unlike the Olympic lifts where sets of 5 reps max are done, the swings are more continuous, and can be done for longer periods of time when proper technique is established. We are not looking for a conditioning effect with swings, but we don’t want the bell to be too heavy either.

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  6 Responses to “Kettlebell Swings”

  1. I like your blog. Just playing devils advocate, would you not feel that RDL’s are more effective in developing posterior chain both bi & unilaterally? Plus they help the learning curve of the 2nd pull of the Olympic lifts. There is no right or wrong, I like seeing different points of view so I hope you don’t take this the wrong way.

    I think the kettle bell swing is the best of the KB version of Olympic lifts. I personally wouldn’t use a KB clean as I feel traditional hang/power cleans are more effective when power output is the goal.

    Be nice to hear your thoughts,


    • Richard- We do Rdl’s/SLDl’s as well. Don’t know if they were more effective though. They would help with getting into the proper second pull position of power clean or start of the hang clean (more effective for us). I don’t take it the wrong way. Thanks for reading and commenting.
      I wouldn’t use a kettlebell clean either. Tough to teach to a large group and I really wouldn’t consider it a bang for your buck exercise. I like swings better.

      • We don’t use KB cleans or snatches because the learning curve involves bruising to the forearms and wrists – not on my list for hockey players.

        The swing has an overspeed eccentric that is a great complement to a “starting strength” lift like deadlift, snatch, etc. Truth be told, I think doing either one helps the other, kind of a synergistic effect.

        I’ve used a hip circuit for some of our guys with asymmetries and SI issues: leg lowering (ASLR correction), kneeling lift, SLDL, KB swing. It flows very nicely.

  2. Sean, Charlie Weingroff has a fantastic post on packing the neck and posterior loading. It’s in-depth but very interesting and goes back to my feelings on how the eyes play a vital role in the initiation of movement.

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