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Old 03-01-2011, 01:21 PM   #1
Vickie Ellickson
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KB Swing Advice

Hey folks, quick question...

I must be a bit twisted, b/c after watching vids of KB swings I thought they looked pretty cool. I watched instructional vids and then tried them out at my gym. I did somewhere in the realm of 3-4 sets of 12 with a weight that felt comfortable (the actual number had rubbed off, but I'm guessing about 10-12lb).

I really tried to focus on form and to push forward with my hips and keep my chest up. After I was done, I had some tightness in my upper back and a bit of discomfort between my shoulder blades. Lower back was fine. I had a friendly tennis match immediately following the gym and after tennis my shoulders were fine.

Does it sound indicative of poor technique or is some soreness between the shoulders normal for KB swings?

I don't have a camera ready, but if/when I can get it up and rolling I'll post a video.

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2011, 06:41 PM   #2
Meghan Reid
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Re: KB Swing Advice

The power should come from your hips, but if it's a new movement or pretty heavy there's always going to be some upper body fatigue, if for no other reason but the fact that you're holding something heavy in an awkward grip. Also, I really have to focus on keeping my shoulders down and back, and if you're not used to doing that, I'd expect some fatigue there as well.
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:27 PM   #3
CJ Kim
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Re: KB Swing Advice

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Originally Posted by Vickie Ellickson View Post
I really tried to focus on form and to push forward with my hips and keep my chest up. After I was done, I had some tightness in my upper back and a bit of discomfort between my shoulder blades.
There is a good article on swings in the Journal (http://library.crossfit.com/free/pdf...bell_swing.pdf) (safe).

Are you doing the full-range American/Crossfit style swings or the half-range Russian style swing? (Full is completely overhead, half is to about eye or shoulder level). As Coach points out, "the Russian kettlebell swing becomes too heavy before it approaches the power of our preferred American kettlebell swing." So following that reasoning, if you are doing half swings, it's possible you are going to heavy and using your shoulders to muscle it up.
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:29 AM   #4
Vickie Ellickson
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Re: KB Swing Advice

Thank you both for your replies.

I was doing the full swing, with the kb upward swing ending when the kb was over my head. Those looked like the most fun.

Thanks for the link...I've been procrastinating on getting the journal subscription...need to get on that.
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Old 03-03-2011, 09:43 AM   #5
Eric Montgomery
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Re: KB Swing Advice

The CFJ is worth it for the K-Star and Burgener videos alone. Everything else that's on there makes it definitely worth it.

Don't worry about going all the way overhead when you're learning. Check out some of the Jeff Martone KB videos, he typically teaches the Russian-style swing (to eye level) before he teaches going overhead with an American-style swing. CF competitions normally require American-style, but you'll get the same benefits of training dynamic hip/knee extension with a Russian-style swing without as much risk of anything going wrong.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:25 AM   #6
Aushion Chatman
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Re: KB Swing Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vickie Ellickson View Post
Hey folks, quick question...

I must be a bit twisted, b/c after watching vids of KB swings I thought they looked pretty cool. I watched instructional vids and then tried them out at my gym. I did somewhere in the realm of 3-4 sets of 12 with a weight that felt comfortable (the actual number had rubbed off, but I'm guessing about 10-12lb).

I really tried to focus on form and to push forward with my hips and keep my chest up. After I was done, I had some tightness in my upper back and a bit of discomfort between my shoulder blades. Lower back was fine. I had a friendly tennis match immediately following the gym and after tennis my shoulders were fine.

Does it sound indicative of poor technique or is some soreness between the shoulders normal for KB swings?

I don't have a camera ready, but if/when I can get it up and rolling I'll post a video.

Thanks!
It's very hard to determine form without video...As Meghan said you need to keep your shoulders back and down which means your trapezius and rhomboids are going to be firing.

So the fact that that area is sore is PROBABLY (guessing w/o video) a sign that you were doing something right.

My guess is you have a slight imbalance between your anterior chest/delts being stronger than your posterior traps/rhoms...

How is your posture? Do your shoulders round forward? Do you sit hunched over a computer or paperwork most of the day?
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:30 AM   #7
Vickie Ellickson
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Re: KB Swing Advice

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Originally Posted by Aushion Chatman View Post
My guess is you have a slight imbalance between your anterior chest/delts being stronger than your posterior traps/rhoms...

How is your posture? Do your shoulders round forward? Do you sit hunched over a computer or paperwork most of the day?
Posture is not great. Shoulders do roll, and I am in front of a computer all. day. long. (except for when I run at lunch) Great question... I never considered the effect of my existing posture on the swing.
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Old 03-03-2011, 11:35 AM   #8
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Re: KB Swing Advice

Pay attn to your posture whenever it crosses your mind..(If one of these emoticons could do hypnosis I would do it)

But just throughout the day when you think about it (like now), pull your shoulders back and down.

Make sure you are doing some form of mobility training such as: K-star's Mobility WOD (WFS)
At the same time do some exercises that strengthen your back, ring rows, Reverse Plank holds, Scapula Push-ups, etc...

edit: Take a look at the vid Kelly just posted on Mar 1st...absolutely perfect!
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Last edited by Aushion Chatman : 03-03-2011 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:42 PM   #9
Meghan Reid
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Re: KB Swing Advice

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Originally Posted by Vickie Ellickson View Post
Posture is not great. Shoulders do roll, and I am in front of a computer all. day. long. (except for when I run at lunch) Great question... I never considered the effect of my existing posture on the swing.
I have the exact same issue. It SUCKS.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:10 PM   #10
Boris Bachmann
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Re: KB Swing Advice

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Originally Posted by Eric Montgomery View Post
Don't worry about going all the way overhead when you're learning. Check out some of the Jeff Martone KB videos, he typically teaches the Russian-style swing (to eye level) before he teaches going overhead with an American-style swing.
This is good advice. What many call an "American swing" is simply a two-handed kb snatch without fixation at the top. There's a tendency for "American swingers" to shrug with the traps, disengage the lats, and "hollow out" as the bell passes shoulder height - not saying everyone does it, just that it's pretty common. IMO, it would be in your best interest to learn how to properly hip-hinge and drive with a smaller trajectory first than bang away to overhead.

IMHO, Greg's Glassman's article is not going to help you learn to properly swing at all to any height.
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