Hardstyle Kettlebell Swings are an extremely beneficial exercise when performed with proper technique. They develop powerful hips, strong posterior chain, and a solid core. As an added bonus, while building amazing strength and explosiveness, they are also one of the top exercises for burning fat, as they utilize your entire body and are very metabolically demanding.
The kettlebell swings that my colleagues and I see in most gyms across the country make us cringe. So this article will be a tutorial to break down the hardstyle swing.
In each video I will coach my new student through step-by-step drills that will teach her the swing technique.
First it is important to understand how your breathing plays a role in the tension and relaxation that should take place during each swing. In StrongFirst, we use a tension breath which is a “TSS” sound with your tongue against your teeth. When done properly you will feel a contraction in your core.
The second step is a drill we use to teach proper full body tension, called the Hardstyle Plank. Many people do planks, but you will know when you have done a HS plank. This isn’t a plank that you will do for minutes on end. This plank will be full body tension for 10-15 seconds. The video below will demonstrate the difference in a standard plank that you might have seen in your gym and the SFG Hardstyle Plank.
The next step is very important. It's the “Hike Position,” or "Hike Stance," which should mirror the deadlift stance. Many people try to squat or have a very wide stance when they perform swings. This will decrease your power and can also be unsafe. This video will demonstrate this stance set up and a wall drill to reinforce the hinge. Remember the HS Swing is a HINGE not a SQUAT!
One step that is often missed or left out is the actual “Hike Pass”. We often see people just pick up the bell and start swinging rather than hike. So to dial in the Hike and show the importance of the hip drive, we practice the “Hike Pass” from set up, to pendulum to power swings. This video will demonstrate each of these steps. Each step should be practiced before moving on to Step 5.
We can now move on to the final Step which is the two handed swing. There are other swings that you can progress to after you have perfected the two hang swing (i.e. Single Hand Swings, Transfer Swings, and Double Bell Swing), but don’t rush to these other swings until you have a solid foundation.
In this last video I will discuss some of the common errors that my colleagues and I see regularly while training our students or instructing at the StrongFirst SFG Kettlebell Certification.
The swing is just one of many kettlebell skills. However, it is the foundation to all the other skills.
It is very important to groove good HS swing technique. Don’t rush through each step. Have patience to get to a nice safe swing. We are always striving for the perfect swing. If you are looking to instruct others, I highly recommend that you hire a certified instructor to prepare you for the SFG certification.
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