Kettlebell Variations

David Lawrence
• Thursday, 17 December, 2020
• 7 min read

Explosive movements like barbell cleans, high pulls and snatches all require an explosive pull and fast hips, but are typically dropped at the apex of the movement and require much more time for mastery. With the swing you get to play with maximum output synced with the deceleration of a ballistic load.

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This creates a weight that feels much heavier on the body due to acceleration and allows for multiple repetitions. Not only are you building a strong posterior with the swing you’ll also get the added benefits of increasing your grip strength, building work capacity, reinforcing the subtle balance of tension and fluidity that carries over into just about every athletic arena, and even has the potential to increase hamstring flexibility (assuming you’re not too squat).

Every client I ever had that started doing kettle bell swings praised the movement for building a stronger back and looser mammies. It helps you feel the movement throughout glutes, hamstrings, back and core while teaching tension.

Since you can dictate the speed you can teach the loaded hinge with a pause and break the movement up into two different pieces until they can seamlessly flow together. Context is everything and realizing that even though the bilateral stance allows for maximum drive it also puts the most stress on the lumbar spine.

Even with this one movement there’s variation based on how much tension you apply, whether you allow the bell to float or pull it down, and how high you go. I first tried this from Pavel back in the ROC days and still incorporate it occasionally to intensify lighter loads.

There is no weightlessness at the peak of the movement so as soon as you get to your end point you immediately pull back into the downswing as hard as you can. Typically, when a trainee complains about back pain while swinging it’s a lack of tension so this has the ability to teach them where to engage and when.

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(Source: www.cavemantraining.com)

The idea here is to pause just before the initial back swing and hip drive and then hit that landmark each time. The alternating swing is going to require some timing which gets us into one of my favorite benefits of ballistic kettle bell work which is coordination and awareness.

While you can simply keep one hand on the bell at all times, to get the best results I employ a catch and release tactic. Your gaze will be slightly altered as you downswing since you’ll want to keep a neutral neck position.

As you downswing you’ll create a natural rotation through your hips and torso, but it’s important to keep the bell in front of you on the way up. With this movement it will feel easy to round through your shoulders and mid-back on the downswing so maintain that extension through your upper back with lat engagement as much as possible.

Balance issues can come into play so that’s why it’s important to start with lighter weight at first. As you receive the bell you’ll rotate toward the planted leg creating more stress through the adductors that will help you build more stability through your limbo pelvic hip complex.

You can make it as varied as you want changing foot positions laterally or keeping your heel high off the ground of your non-dominant leg. Most swing movements keep the bell in between the legs in a wider stance, but for some clients this can pose too big of an issue on their back.

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(Source: www.vahvafitness.com)

The reason I don’t like to start with this variation is that most new trainees will simply swing their arms taking the hinge out of the equation. Performing this variation will require a narrow stance to avoid taking out your knee, but will engage your trunk significantly more on the opposing side particularly through your oblique, glute and hip.

The double swing allows you to increase the load of the movement while also widening your foot placement. As the width increases it’s easy to lose the tracking of your knees and toes so be mindful of excessive external hip rotation.

Maintaining a narrow stance, you’ll also find that this variation will allow you to go heavier which will load your traps and upper back more. You’ll be loading this contra laterally again (plant the knee of the opposite hand holding the kettle bell).

This is another great variation for those that need help reinforcing the hinge since you reduce the distance the bell has to travel. You’ll feel this movement throughout your entire core, but predominantly through your glutes, back, obliques, and lats.

With a narrow stance you’ll be pulling and changing direction of the movement quickly while maintaining a strong hinge position. With only one hand you’ll finish the movement in full hip extension bringing the kettle bell laterally.

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(Source: www.youtube.com)

It’s important to keep as straight a back as possible since this movement will challenge you from multiple levels while trying to pull you over. With this variation you’ll be moving, rotating, hinging, and changing foot positions each rep.

Coordinating hip drive with the step and moving through the weightlessness of the bell is what makes this movement so dynamic and challenging. Similar to the staggered swing the movement will be more or less challenging depending on how much pressure you put on the back foot.

This will create strength and power on each leg while adding a coordination benefit as you alternate foot positions. It’s important to remember that regardless of what the high priests of kettle bell have said there is more than one way to swing a bell.

As your training evolves I strongly recommend learning from a number of coaches and experimenting with yourself and your athletes based on different needs and areas of your programming. I always encourage a “flow and play” day (or two) where your training is based on feel without a specific rep or set scheme.

This gives you some freedom to experiment with multiple types of swings (or any movement for that matter) and gives some much-needed unstructured play into an otherwise incredible linear training world. With that said, it’s also important to understand the fundamentals before getting too “out there.” Have a good handle on the basics and then push yourself just outside your comfort zone.

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(Source: www.yahoo.com)

They have a similar aerobic and metabolic impact to running for the same period of time. And they work the often-neglected but big calorie-burning muscles that run along the backside of your body like your glutes and hamstrings.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. Primal Soldier) is all about utilizing kettle bells to enhance your workouts.

The kettle bell swing is a super-effective exercise that can help you to build size, strength, and hone explosive power through your posterior chain. Rather than cycling through multiple reps of the exercise, you'll return the weight to the ground and reset between each.

Tip: move your non-working arm in tandem to stay balanced. Otherwise, your feet should be just as wide as in the standard single-arm swing, and your mechanics should stay consistent.

Start at a staggered stance, then shift your feet as you switch your working arm on each swing. Think about the motion like this: swing up, step forward to neutral stance, let the weight fall back in the hole, step back to staggered stance.

snatch kettlebell variations cavemantraining kettlebells caveman unconventional
(Source: www.cavemantraining.com)

Perform a standard swing, then take two small steps forward as the weight reaches its peak. Perform a standard swing, then take two small steps to the side as the weight reaches its peak.

Check out his Kettle hell program on the Men's Health All Out Studio streaming platform. Emily Shiffer is a former digital web producer for Men’s Health and Prevention, and is currently a freelancer writer specializing in health, weight loss, and fitness.

Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses.

Six different kettle bell swing variations to build strong and powerful hips! Kettle bell swings are as old school as it gets: they have been utilized for centuries by Chinese (In China they call them “stone locks”) and by Russians where the “girl” originates from.

Speed and power are not just about producing huge amounts of dead-stop force. A great deal of power comes from acceleration and this is where the kettle bell is amazing.

squat kettlebell variations
(Source: www.youtube.com)

In this video and article we'll go through 6 great kettle bell swing variations to develop power and strength to your hips. The uneven distribution of the weight allows the dumbbell to swing better and it's more comfortable for your wrists.

In this variation you just bring the kettle bell to your chest and point it upwards. This variation is more vertical and works more the quads while also developing shoulder mobility.

You can do these kettle bell swings as a part of your lower body workout. Moreover, if you use too much weight, your posture will be compromised and you won't be able to properly stabilize the scapula and core.

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