When I was with StrongFirst, I was torn. When I do kettlebells swings, I routinely do about 10-15 variations off of the traditional 1 arm and 2 arm swings. Why? Because I get bored and I train athletes whose goal isn’t solely force production. I was torn because there are SO many swing variations out there that can elicit several adaptations that we want our athletes to get. But, in the StrongFirst world there is only the 1 arm swing and 2 arm swing. I was torn between what I did everyday, and what I taught/stood for with my position at StrongFirst.
Many people reference some of my early work that got me recognized in the kettlebell communities. That work was based on data from a force plate. What I found was how much force we can create with a swing and several other basic kettlebell drills (snatch, push press, jerk, deadlift, squat, etc). The swing IS a great way to create force, and it is a great way to do safely. I can teach someone to swing a kettlebell safely and proficiently in 10 minutes. To teach other ballistic drills isn’t so quick. The swing is a great way to get into ballistics very quickly.
But, limiting the swing to just force production is like saying you can only use your smart phone as a phone. The phone feature is what the original intent of the smart phone was, but there is so much potential in your hands that it is overwhelming. The same holds true with the swing. I’m finalizing Volume 3 in our e-book series. It focuses on asymmetrical work. We show 5 swing variations (2 that likely haven’t been seen anywhere outside of our work). Each has a specific outcome we want to obtain when training athletes. Dissociation. Medial-Lateral weight shifts. Training reciprocally. All are important attributes for athletes.
Don’t get me wrong, force production is important. But it isn’t the only thing we can get from swinging kettlebells. Anyone interested in a resource on just the swing variations we use on a routine basis? If so raise your hand.