Lets begin by making it clear that kettlebell swing is GOOD for your back. Bad form however, is not! Kettlebell swing is like the center of kettlebell universe. You need to learn how to this first before you any other kettlebell movements. Working on so many ways, kettlebell swing is a power generation exercise. What is that mean? It means with power, comes strength…. and responsibility.
Today we will be focusing on two main movements.
- The kettlebell swing,
- Kettlebell Turkish get up
Let’s pick a kettlebell. Not that heavy, pick a lightweight to practice with first. Place both of your hands holding the handle of the kettle bell. Keep your back neutral, neck slightly extended or neutral on the bottom of the swing. Start swinging with your feet at slightly wider than shoulder with apart. Heels, toes and ball of your feet must be planted on the ground throughout the movement. Remember that you knees must track the toes and shoulders are packed. Packed shoulder is when there is retraction at the head of the humerus and retraction and depression of the scapula. Kettlebell handle must pass above the knees during the back swing and arms straight. Don’t let the knees to fall forward. This will prevent from any dorsiflexion on the ankles that can cause a weight shift to the front. At the top, make sure that the body forms a straight line with hips and knees extended and neutral spine. Now the kettlebell should forms an extension on the arm at the top of the swing (although slight bend on the elbows are acceptable). Like other exercises, biomechanical breathing has to match the movement. Breath out at the top of the swing and let the kettlebell floats momentarily.
There you go! You’re swinging! Congrats.
1) Neutral back position.
It is really important to keep your back as neutral as possible. Failure to do so will risk back pain or even worse.
2) Hinge back
Imagine doing a RDL (Romanian dead lift), you need to hinge your back to get a maximum thrust from your glutes and hips. This will help you to put force to your swing.
3) Feet planted to the ground.
Minimize any dorsiflexion on your feet. By keeping both of your feet on the ground throughout the movement. An extra tip, practice this without your shoes.
KB TGU (Turkish Get Up)
Kettlebell Turkish get up (TGU) is one of the best exercise that support shoulder stability and mobility! Why do you need shoulder stability and mobility? So you can lift over-head and look cool. TGU teaches our body in how to stabilize the weight over-head as our body moves through multiple positions (now that is cool). This will then provide you with the amazing mechanics to get you stronger! And if there is one main objective you want to get, is to become stronger. TGU will strengthen your core and stabilize your t-spine. To go deeper, it helps your hip extension (gluteus) and your gleno-humeral (shoulder) to stabilize and mobilize these muscles. Also it will help our body to be more aware and improves proprioception.
Lets do this. First lets begin how to grab it off the ground. Use both hands to lift the KB off the ground to the starting position of the floor press and to return in back to the ground. Wrist on the KB side remains neutral. The elbow on the KB side is locked and the shoulder is packed. (Retraction head of the humerus and retraction and depression of the scapula). The shoulder of the free arm does not shrug up. The heel of the foot on the KB side stays planted during the low sweep, the lunge up to standing and the reverse of the actions. The knee touches the deck silently on the descent into the half-kneeling position. The arm holding the KB is vertical or almost vertical. Eyes on the KB. The neck is neutral for the top half of the movement, from the lunge up. (Look at the horizon, and stop looking at the KB at this point). In the top position the knees are locked and the lower back does not hyperextend. Never drag your KB across your face when switching sides, even if you have impressive dental insurance!
KB TGU 3 POINTERS
1: Kettlebell weight.
You want to make sure that you use a light kettlebell to begin with. In some case even without the kettlebell and practice is until you feel comfortable. Most of people I’ve seen start with too heavy of a weight. This is very dangerous and it will slow down your progression.
Turkish get up is a slow movement exercise. You want to make sure while you are practicing it, you will do it in a control and slow movement. NEVER RUSH YOUR MOVEMENT!
Practice, practice and practice. The more you practice, it will become easy and easier. Everything we do, we need to be patience and consistence. Never stop learning and practicing
When done right the kettlebell swing is beneficial, when done wrong it is detrimental to your training. If you are doing it right, high fives for you, if you are doing it wrong, click below to register for your free two week trial at your closest RBT.