View Full Version : Kettlebell swing (modified)

Frank Menendez
01-15-2006, 11:50 AM
Are my arms supposed to be straight? I just realized they were bent... hmm...

This is a modified kettlebell swing using a dumbbell...


Frank Menendez
01-18-2006, 04:32 PM
Am I correct when i say the biggest problem is simply the bent arms?

Lincoln Brigham
01-18-2006, 04:45 PM
I'm no kettlebell expert, but I'd say there wasn't nearly enough pop! in your hips. Extend them violently.

Rene Renteria
01-19-2006, 11:53 AM
Same issue as with the SDLHPs. As Lincoln and Jerry said, pop or explode those hips. Yes, straight arms. Your arms are like cables to which the weight is attached; the drive to get the weight up comes from your legs. With different amounts of hip drive, you can get the weight up to different heights, depending on where you want it to go (belly, eye level, 45 deg, overhead). To speed them up (like in Helen), you can drive the weight back down with your shoulders, if you're fit enough. (I'm not and can't keep that up for 21 swings--yet!)

Maybe do some medicine ball overhead throws for distance?

You seem to be controlling or limiting the weight's upward progress or momentum in both lifts. Tending toward static/slow instead of dynamic/speed/fast. What you want is to provide "upward momentum to the barbell", as Coach Burgener puts it in his videos, with your legs, "jumping" the bar or DB up (with drive "from the heels" (i.e., posterior chain) and not from the toes, of course).

Check out the first set of (very strong) thrusters in Anthony B.'s "Fran" video on this board. His feet move because both he and the weight are getting "weightless" as he jumps up. Most of the upward progress of the bar is from leg drive (the "push" part of "push-press") and not from pressing it.

Good job keeping your head and chest up. As people tire (including myself), they tend to droop, dropping their chins and rounding the back--not good! Keep the squat form tight and right.

Nice work!
Usual caveats--I'm no coach and a punter at most lifts.

Frank Menendez
01-19-2006, 12:27 PM
I've having some difficulty understand this "hip" concept..driving with my hips...

Rene Renteria
01-19-2006, 12:46 PM
Dimas is not doing this with his arms. Look at his speed:
(Also see the very end where he nonchalantly pops the 400+ lbs. off of his shoulders.)

Check these (and the whole site) out, too:
http://www.mikesgym.org/gallery/gallery.php?show=gallery&type=Image&gallery=grea t%20positions%20and%20or%20extensions (http://www.mikesgym.org/gallery/gallery.php?show=gallery&type=Image&gallery=great%20positions%20and%20or%20extensions)

Start doing the Burgener warmup in your warmups. (See the Mike's Gym site, above.) Try it with an Oly bar, trying to get the bar to move without "using your arms" (other than as an attachment to the bar).

Jump. Now jump with weights. But be mindful of your back, head, and chest postion to protect your back. Do some box jumps, landing in a correct squat postion.

Again, I'm pretty bad at this stuff myself.

Have fun!

Frank Menendez
01-19-2006, 01:44 PM
in that Dimas video i see how the arms are used as a track... the force of the lift comes from the force and the momentum! is that what i want? create a force that will drive the weight up withough "pulling" or using the arms to move the weight anywhere?

I just tried it and noticed the only way to create such drive is indeed extending the back and driving with the hips!! is this the idea?

Lincoln Brigham
01-19-2006, 02:43 PM

The muscles of the hips and legs are the biggest, most powerful in the body. Use them. Use them to put energy into the weight.

Once you have exhausted the tremendous power of the hips and legs (by completely extending them) THEN you may continue pulling by using what you have left in reserve - namely your arms. Not a moment before.

Frank Menendez
01-19-2006, 04:49 PM
I understand much better now... but you DO use the arms, but more as a guiding mechanism than a force one.

Lincoln Brigham
01-19-2006, 05:33 PM
It's a timing thing. Too soon and the arms suck up the power generated by the legs.

Rene Renteria
01-19-2006, 05:35 PM
Well, certainly you need to bend your arms to allow your body to get underneath. But the "3rd pull", as I think Coach B. refers to it, is more of a way to get yourself under the bar as opposed to getting the bar up higher. To get the bar up higher, you would have to support yourself with your legs while pulling. This would prevent you from diving under the bar for the catch. So yes, it's a guiding mechanism, but I think it's useful to think of it as pulling the body under rather than lifting the weight up that final bit.

I just got back from trying Elizabeth with 125 lbs, the heaviest cleans I've done. (Like I said, I'm weak at this!) I was having serious trouble finishing the second pull and getting under the bar fast. Instead, I was still pulling up for the "3rd pull" and doing power cleans. That transition from second pull to the catch needs to be fast, BOOM! Whatever it takes to get that speed is useful--thinking of whipping your elbows around, pulling yourself under, the jump-stomp, etc. Try them all to get that image or feeling of speed. I hope this works, anyway, b/c it's what I'm going to try.

(Which is not to say that the 3rd pull is where the speed is; it's in the second, main pull, the "jump". Just that you need to stay fast until you've caught it., if that makes sense.)

Good luck,

Skipp Benzing
01-19-2006, 06:28 PM
I would recommend starting with your shoulders more even with the D.B. or slightly in front of the D.B.. You will be able to generate more power from that position then from a position where your shoulders are behind the D.B. notice the position an oly lifter gets into befors extending their hips http://www.mikesgym.org/gallery/gallery.php?show=image&image_ID=168. I think this might hekp a little bit. In your vid you will notice that your shoulders are way behind your knees and I prefer to have my shoulders more even with my knees because I feel much more powerful from there and it also helps to keep the movement similar to my oly lifting.

Tim Weaver
01-20-2006, 01:05 PM
"I've having some difficulty understand this "hip" concept..driving with my hips..."


When you come up, pretend you are smashing a penny between your butt-cheeks, and do it fast. Squeezing your glutes together will help drive the hips forward, I have found.

Caveat: I am not a trainer, don't play one on TV, or anything like that.

Joshua Murphy
01-31-2006, 08:22 PM
Same idea as Skipp - different wording:

You seem to be squating, when I swing it is more like a deadlift position - butt back, not down. Hence shoulder infront of knees, not behind. This will help you get the "pop", otherwise the db/kb is too high in the movement range.

hope this helps

Tom Corrigan
02-01-2006, 07:38 PM
you need lots more POP when your hips fire off. You should just focus on violently straightning out your legs as the hip snap happens. You don't have to stick your *** way back - if you feel more comfortable with an Oly-style squat, fine. That's how Dave Werner does it.

At the top, DON'T arch your back! Keep it neutral, by tightening your glutes and abs hard. Try to "stop" the weight slightly before it hits 12 o'clock high (overhead). A little elbow bend is OK, but having a slight bend in your knees and arching slightly won't let you stop the weight as strongly - a strong stop will allow you to quickly redirect the DB back down, so you can do more reps per minute. Ever done the "Hollow Rock"? That position is how to be at the top of the swing.

Are you going to the cert this month? I'll show you there if you are.


Chris Cypert
02-11-2006, 02:07 PM
As far as "popping" your hips, I believe it would be correct to say that it is almost a jumping motion. When you do burpees or kipping pullups you use this violent hip movement without even thinking about it (my O-lifts have gotten so much better since I began kipping). For example, when I do 55#dbl swings (or less) my heels/feet actually leave the ground. I try to lift every weight with the same amount of explosiveness (as if it were a 75#dbl). So don't worry so much about thrusting your hips forward. Worry about exploding upward so hard that your heels leave the ground at just below the apex of the swing. If you do this, the explosive hip extension should take care of itself. Hope this helps.