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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 06-10-2006, 06:19 AM   #1
Bobby A. Smith
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On the upward swing should you stop at parallel or swing up over head?

What is the benefit of either?
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Old 06-10-2006, 08:22 AM   #2
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overhead. greater range of motion = more work.
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Old 06-10-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
Bobby A. Smith
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That's true. Good observation.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:47 PM   #4
Ross Hunt
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Going overhead seems to require more hamstring and glute drive, too; when people do KB snatches to head or chest height for reps, they tend to shoot the hips up and lift with the back.
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Old 06-10-2006, 05:57 PM   #5
Catherine Imes
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In my opinion, it should be where the swing goes. You can project it overhead, but realize that you must snap the hips that powerfully to drive the bell that high(Hamstring/Glute drive). I guess I'm trying to say, don't pull with the arms or lift with the back (as Ross said).....When I'm teaching swings, I really try to get the individual to not worry about how high the bell goes initially and to focus on the mechanics...otherwise bad form and back pain can tend to happen.

I find that if I can easily get a bell overhead (say a 16kg or 24kg), it's better for me to just up the weight.(I realize that's not an option for everyone)

CI
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Old 06-10-2006, 10:16 PM   #6
Tom Corrigan
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The technique of the swing has been addressed many times before on the msg board, and the greatest misconception is thinking ONLY of the total work done, and not the technique implications of doing it wrong. All you have to do is watch the CF clip of the KB swing to see the WRONG way to finish the overhead swing. You do not ARCH the back as the KB is overhead. You keep your back neutral at the top, which is accomplished by squeezing your cheeks together very hard. This protects your lowback. You arch your back at the bottom of the swing, never at the top. You can also see another bad technique example in the CF Journal dedicated to the "American Swing", which is to have the knees bent slightly at the top. When you do this (and also arching) you turn your lowback into the fulcrum, absorbing the force of the KB.

Going overhead is fine, but you must do it correctly to avoid straining your lowback. The overhead swing also can prematurely tax the grip, since you have to squeeze the handle at the top and the bottom. This needs to be taken into account, because if your grip fails at the top, the handle can wrench you wrists, elbows and/or shoulders if it falls behind you, and it call fall and hit your ankles. My advice is to stop your swing just before it goes vertical (5 degrees less)and swing it back farther between your legs. The CF KB swing video shows the person going from their feet to overhead. You get better posterior chain loading if you let it come back farther, letting the bell go about 6" behind the ankles and 6" off the ground.

Leg drive happens when you bend the legs, and glute drive happens when you fully extend the hips, and the hamstrings work hard as long as the heels stay on the ground.

Swings can been done in two major styles - PL style, in which there is less leg bend, and the butt goes mainly back, and the upperbody leans more forward. Then there is a more Olympic style - more upright posture, hips go down and back, legs bend more. Both versions are fine. As long as you keep the arms straight, swing the KB forcefully, andextend the legs and knees, then it's a good swing.

Overhead swings should be used only after you can consistently get the bell to forehead level, and you learn how to lock your glutes at the top of the swing.

CFers who only swing 53# kbs would learn better hip and leg drive if they started swinging heavier KBs. Guys should practice with 70# and 88#. The extra weight will not allow for sloppy technique and/or half-contracted glutes/legs. This is something that can be done for a few sets of low reps before their WODs. I would still advice using 53#s for your WODs, unless you are well over 200#, then eventually you should think about the 70# KB.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:03 AM   #7
Richard Paul Ham-Williams
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I attended a kettlebell course with work on wednesday last week (8 hours intensively kettlebell work - so very tiring:-)
Our coach was trained by Pavel himself which was pretty cool.

We were advised to only swing to paralell so that in the fully extended position the arms and body create a right angle - this way the body is far more solid and braced.

Just thought I would put in my part :-)
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Old 06-11-2006, 03:54 PM   #8
Ross Hunt
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Good post, Tom.

re. Taking the bell overhead--one thing that seems to me to help me crank out more reps and not have to worry about dropping the bell is to 'poke the head through' at the top of the swing and keep the shoulders high, like you would at top of a snatch or press. This lets the shoulders work more at the top position, making it more secure and giving the grip a bit of a break. Then you 'pop the head back out' as the bell comes down.

Most of the times I've seen somebody lose a bell back from swinging it overhead, it's because they, as it were, cannot decide whether they're pulling or pushing at the top--they try to pause and straighten up with the bell just over the head rather than behind it, and with shoulders still slumped down.
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Old 06-11-2006, 05:11 PM   #9
Michael Stehle
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BTW, Tom has a great article on the swing, I've read it several times and has some great points. I prefer going hip to chest high and focusing hard on the hip snap. The arms should be considered chains with hooks to hold the kb remaining relaxed during the exercise. If you want to make more work for yourself, use a heavier kb or use two kb's. If I want to go overhead I'll do kb snatches. JMO
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Old 06-11-2006, 07:21 PM   #10
Tom Corrigan
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Ross,
thanks for the feedback, and yes, the head poke at the top is a good way to counteract the force of the bell overhead.

Another (related) trick I use is the "chin down, chin up". When the bell locks out overhead, I think "chin down" which helps me "tuck my tail" back to nuetral (as I sqeeze my glutes). Then as the bell comes down and my butt goes back and body leans forward I think "chin out", which helps to put a nice arch in my lowback. If you look at me from the side, what this does is keep my head looking straight forward as my upperbody goes from inclined to vertical and back.

Mike,

thanks for your comments about my swing article! I really appreciate it, and it means a lot coming from a guy who knows a HELL of a lot about KBs! Your website is excellent, and I really enjoy all the training clips you have on there. I highly recommnend that CFers go there to see really "crisp" swings. Have you used my progression with any of your clients? If so, how did it work?

Thanks again,

Tom
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