Archive For: kettlebell

The Russian and American Kettlebell Swing

There are loads of articles out there that argue the benefit, cost effectiveness, efficiency and safety between the American and Russian Swings. I do not want to add to those arguments. I simply to clarify a bit what might be reasons for you, at you current athletic level, may choose one or the other for their workouts.

Jared kettlebell russian swing
Russian-style kettlebell swing

Photo May 07, 2 36 35 PMAmerican-style kettlebell swing

The Russian swing is unarguably the safer method. Without the need for going overhead and or risk of compromising the shoulder joints this style is a great place to start. You can also go heavier. The American Swing probably is an advanced technique but not because of strength but because of mobility. If you were lucky, as a child you spent a significant amount of time on the jungle gym, climbing trees, doing sports and wrestling around. Did you still hang from things as you got older? Did you still climb? Even through high school and college? How about as an adult. Point is many people no longer have the required mobility and strength in the shoulder to perform overhead movements. Even if you can perform a proper overhead press with two kettle bells or a barbell doesn’t mean you have the ability to lock out both arms while gripping one kettlebell. It’s just a really narrow grip.

Scaling the American swing:

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bent-arms (considered scaling- improve your mobility!)

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetthe preferred American-style swing for those with mobility issues, scaled to as high as you can safely

Here are examples of incorrect form:

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over-extended in the lower back

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over-extended and over-powered

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kettlebell not perfectly-vertical aka “limp” aka “droopy” aka “droopy bell syndrome”

Either way, you must master the Russian Swing first. Mastery of the foundational movements will improve your athleticism.

Range of motion is one of them and arguable one of the most important. Get on it.

Below is a simple test to find out if you have the mobility to execute the overhead swing. Lay with your back to the ground and put your arms in front of you locked out with thumbs touching. Slowly move them towards your head and allow them, if possible, to touch the ground above your head. If your back arches up and off the ground or if you hold your back position and your arms cannot touch the floor then your range of motion is compromised.

Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 presetCannot put locked out arms on the floor without arching and allowing the back to leave the ground

If this is you come to Kettlebell Class or Mobility class. We will correct your range-of-motion limitations. This is a priority for athletic performance as well as injury prevention.

Kettlebell Arm Bar “Stretch”

The Arm Bar is a great exercise and stretch for the shoulder which works well for shoulder-injury prevention and rehabilitation of past injuries. They are a static hold that makes the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder girdle fire off and stretch the chest and delts. Often when you hear the word ‘stretch’ you have assumptions on what it’s going to feel like. Instead, think of this as a strength movement: you are trying to stabilize an object that you are holding- control is the priority instead of load.

When performing this exercise keep it light. Ignore that voice in your head that tells you to go big or go home. Think of it as part of your warm-up or cool down. If you come into class early you can do a few.

kettlebell arm bar
Come to the light. Do arm bars.

If you require better strength and mobility for snatches, overhead squats, presses, push presses, jerks, bench pressing, dips, and handstands you NEED this. Watch the video above then have a trainer check you out! Better yet, come to class on Monday where we’ll show you in person.

Coming Soon: Kettlebell class

We are adding a kettlebell class and they will be as challenging and fun as the CrossFit classes that you love.

Many of you have come to respect (see: fear) the mighty kettlebell. Those of you who love it are getting more and those that are intimidated by it have an opportunity to improve your skills. Kettlebells are also an excellent implement to help with CrossFit training, specifically with shoulder girdle strength and mobility and grip. Not to mention all the other areas in the core and posterior chain that we can target.

Jared kettlebell russian swing

Having trouble stabilizing in the bottom of your snatch? Falling off the pull up bar because your hands are fatigued? Kettles develop the strength and skill.

Photo May 07, 2 36 35 PM

Try this out for a month and you will feel the difference.

Classes will begin sometime in June so stay tuned!