I really wanted to do this with some video….but since my flight is delayed and I’m fighting the olfactory overloading from this fresh bread behind me and trying no to go eat it and subsequently crap myself, I figured I’d turn on this overly dramatic sounding new mumford and sons album and try to sound smarter than i am and post about how I like to make swings more better, IMO.
THE CLASSIC SWING
The classic swing is a hell of an exercise. This is not a swing bashing piece. Getting someone to swing very nicely can be huge for back health, glute development, power, endurance, and sweet hip thrust dance moves. However, it is NOT that athletic.
YOU ARE PUSHING THROUGH YOUR F’ING HEELS!
Please tell me what ATHLETIC endeavor pushes through your heels? cue crickets…..
“don’t get caught on your heels!” “stay on your toes!”…these are not coaching mainstays for silly reasons….it’s because you’ll get beat on the field if you get caught on your heels.
Now , I’m not saying the swing won’t help people with athleticism-if that’s what youve read you’re reading comprehension sucks. I’m being exaggerative on purpose.
So….the swing isn’t all that athletic, by itself. Especially, IMO, if you are tense and hardstyle the entire time. It should be tense at the top, and tense at the bottom, with relative relaxation during the ‘moving’ aspects of the swing. That’s athletic, being able to switch gears. Seeing the hardstyle practiced in presses, deadlifts, squats, cleans so frequently ends up showing people being hardstyle in EVERYTHING that they do. They simply contract and overly muscle through all their movements….I have to imagine that hardstylers are the WORST dancers ever.
**an important note: at RKC/SF events, relaxation and fast and loose is emphasized….yet MOST candidates seem to glaze over this aspect for the sexy big press numbers. Don’t, not if you want to move well and athletically.
Learning the hip hinge sequence is the most important part of the swing for people, because it’s true that many cannot load into the hips adequately and the inability to do so may place people at an increased potential for knee/back injuries. So I’m NOT saying don’t swing. It is the foundation for the next couple drills I’ll describe below, and the drills shouldn’t be done UNTIL the traditional swing is money.
Swings w/triple extension
In this swing, you will finish at the top of the swing on your toes, aka triple extension. The swing already sorta looked like a jump, and now it does so even more. For added excitement do it on a slight incline with toes above heels, or put toes on a firm surface an inch or two above your heels. Stolen from Gray Cook via Jeff O’Connor.
This has two options. 1. As you swing up, step with one leg WHILE the bell is rising, then bring the other leg up also. 2. Swing the bell and at the peak, quickly step 1,2 and be ready for the next back swing. Not stolen from anyone, although LOTS of people do these I think. Start with small steps, but once you focus on powerful long steps, it really hits the lead leg glute noticeably.
One handed step back swings
Also has two options. 1. On the backswing of a one handed swing, swing to the outside of the leg that doesn’t step back (so step back left and swing back right handed outside right leg). 2. On the backswing of a 2 handed swing, swing on the inside of the leg that doesn’t step back. Haven’t seen people do these, but I’m sure other people are.
Why do I think these are more athletic?
1. Athletes must be able to move, reestablish a solid base in which to be athletic from, and then explode. The traditional swing never changes base of support, and that is NOT athletic. Each of the above methods cause you to demonstrate quickness, timing, and the ability to move the base of support and then reestablish that athletic stance before generating the power portion of the drill (the swing).
2. #2&3 have a rotational element to them, and that’s a good thing. That’s all.
So I spent 40 days where I averaged 200 swings a day (as high as 500 as low as 100). After 3 weeks of that, swings weren’t tiring in the legs/glutes….just the forearms. I managed 75 continuous swings with the 44kg, and 125 with the 32kg before forearms just couldn’t take it anymore. BUT, I started doing walking swings, and 20 reps would have me breathing hard and get my glutes fired up again, this is a cool thing. My GF, who we are turning into a kettlebell princess, had the same experience.
So, in summation, since my plane is boarding….if you are really efficient at swings…make them more interesting, and I don’t just mean heavier or more.