One of the foundational movements that we use at Iron Warrior Fitness is the Two-Hand Kettlebell Swing. For those of you wondering whether I am talking about the American or Russian swing, I am talking about the Russian hardstyle swing. The difference between the two is, in the American Swing, the bell travels overhead to a vertical position above the head on the upswing. In the Russian swing, the bell travels to the horizontal position between the navel and chest on the upswing. The two-hand Russian KB swing is a dynamic movement that has the ability to improve one’s personal fitness and sports performance. This is why we use it frequently in our practice and in our workouts.
The key to having a strong swing, a good swing, is letting the hips do the work. The power is generated from the ballistic movement of the hips. The kettlebell swing is a hip-hinge. This means that the hips are hinging creating power and force. One of the common errors in the swing is trying to muscle the kettlebell with the arms on the upswing. This often can be caused by the individual having an abbreviated or truncated backswing. In other words, because the backswing is shortened, insufficient force and power are generated by the hips and in order to compensate for the lack of power and force generation in the hips, the individual incorporates the arms and shoulders to “muscle” the bell to the proper height.
How can you correct this and improve your swing? The standard for the backswing states that the handle of the bell must pass above the knees and that the arms are straight. The upper arms contact the ribs and the forearms make contact with the upper inner thigh. To visualize this position and thus improve your backswing, imagine a target is placed about a foot or so behind you at the level above your knees. Your objective, on the backswing, is to hit that target with the kettlebell. If you imagine hitting that target each time you perform the backswing it will correct the truncated backswing and give you more power and force in your kettlebell swing. If you need more tactile reinforcement, you can have a training partner hold a clipboard as that target and you must hit the clipboard each time on the backswing.
When you improve your swing, you are able to improve your strength and you are able to improve your fitness level.