Do you find yourself making awful faces when drills get tough in your training? Do you get overly tense in your neck and shoulders when stuck in traffic or working on an important assignment for the day job? If so, be conscious of that and purposefully relax your face, neck and shoulders.
We noticed that a good many comrades were extremely tense throughout their entire body in their swings. So the question seemed to be “How ‘hard’ is ‘Hardstyle” in relation to the kettlebell swing?” “Hardstyle” doesn’t mean tense up every muscle in your entire body as hard as you can. There should be a balance of tension and relaxation. If you find yourself swinging with every muscle in your arms, neck, shoulder, and face tightened, you may have an overactive startle reflex. At the top of your swing you’re driving force into the ground with quads and hamstrings tight, glutes tight to lock your hips, abs tight to not leak power and to protect your back. But then what? Your shoulders are connected in to the sockets acting as the pivot point. Connected, but not squeezing so tight to be as tense as possible to the point of inhibiting the movement. Your arms are like ropes and your hands like hooks—not crush gripping the handle. Now check your neck and face. Your spine should be neutral, not allowing your neck to jut out like a chicken or pull back to give you a triple chin and your face should be relaxed, not squished up in what looks like agonizing pain. Losing that balance of tension and relaxation is the first step on the pathway to inefficiency. Once that balance is gone you’ll begin to lose your synchronized breathing, then your posture goes. What are you left with then? Really bad form… And since you get good at what you practice doing, you are getting good at doing really bad swings. Catch the problem on the first step and correct it. By being conscious of tensing when and where necessary and relaxing at the right place and time, your swings will be still tough and effective and you
should feel “ready to battle a kingdom” (not ready to fall over dead) at the end of your training session.
The kettlebell swing is one of the most important of all the kettlebell exercises, yet only a precious few know how to take advantage of its endless benefits. Here is a component of the swing to explore.
Pace. Does it matter how fast, or how slow you swing a kettlebell? You bet it does. Changing the intensity of your workloads is determined by a number of factors, and speed is one of them. Compare how you swing to sprinting versus running a marathon. If your goals are short explosive power, muscular development and athletic speed, then training the swing in 10-30 sec intervals will help you develop these qualities. If you want more endurance, leaner muscles and to train your body to burn fat instead of muscle sugar then 30 sec – 2 minute sets will get you there, while still including a strong muscular component.
The Kettlebell Swing doesn’t discriminate; the Kettlebell Swing is the great equalizer! It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done anything physical in your whole life, or if you’re an accomplished athlete. It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, how old you are, male or female. The Kettlebell Swing is the people’s exercise.