I want to be explosive.
I want you to be explosive.
People often have no idea how to be explosive.
For numerous years in the gym, and in training, societal rules dictated that “slow and controlled” was the way to achieve success in the gym. Super slow, time under tension ruled the world of muscular development.
I have a question though. Why are you training? Are you a bodybuilder? Then by all means follow slow and controlled all the time, you need the tension to cause the changes at maximal efficiency.
The every day person I am going to guess wants to look good on the beach and rip away some fat.
My athletes want to dominate their sports and crush everything they do (as well as look great on the beach!).
Adding explosive movements to these trainees will enable the fastest alterations in performance and body composition.
Now – I am not going to get into an article on Olympic lifting (yet…) and I have already talked a bit about plyometrics in another post. Here I am going to be talking a bit about the kettlebell, and more specifically the kettlebell swing.
The reason I am choosing the swing is multi-tiered.
- It teaches the hip hinge: Get into a deadlift, a squat, an athletic position, jump vertically at an optimal hip load and you are going to be doing a hip hinge.
2. It teaches loading of the hips: Driving back on the hips with the kettlebell pulling you posteriorly will teach athletes and trainees alike how to load their hips and hamstrings (the posterior chain) with tension. The ability to due this has tremendous carryover to power development, as it sets the stage for our next kettlebell advantage.
3. It teaches explosive extension of the hip: When do we ever explosively extend the hip? Hmmm
Check time marker :17, :44, :51 and :54. In each marker, notice the hips pushed back accepting load to be explosively released
Now, some of these jumps the “form” is terrible and I would NEVER coach an athlete or client to jump or land like this. The reality is that this kid is super explosive and it goes to how well he loads the hips for extension.
4. Kettebell technique is easier than Olympic Lifts: This isn’t to say it is more beneficial, but it is my belief that if I can teach an explosive kettlebell swing, with a limited number of cues in comparison to the Olympic lifts, I can teach development of fundamental movement patterns that will present themselves in more advanced training techniques.
With these 4 reasons why let me get into the how:
I could write 1000 words on the swing and how to teach and learn its use but I am only got to give a small sample. If you want to learn the kettlebell from one of the greatest coaches in the world, just hit play on the link below: (13:58 of gold)
For those who want the quicker lesson:
- Grasp the kettlebell with both hands (we aren’t going to progress to single arm or dual kettlebells here today)
- Stand vertically with your core and butt squeezed tight and your arms hanging loosely in a V shape to your hips
- Drive your hips back into the hip hinge motion discussed above
- Once you feel tightness in you hamstrings and glutes (your butt) squeeze your butt as tight as you can and drive your hips forward.
- The arms and kettlebell should swing up due to momentum NOT BECAUSE YOU FRONT RAISE THE WEIGHT.
- Squeeze your back and pull the weight back down into another hip hinge and begin the process again.
Now the reason I am not teaching it from the floor is simple because seeing is a better way to learn this movement, and me explaining from the floor would cause confusion. Play with either start position and find the one you are most comfortable with.
Billy, how do we use the kettlebell in our program?
You can implement the kettlebell in the beginning of your workout as a power developer (low reps, medium weight, high speed)
You can use it as a lower body pull exercise for a variable number of reps for hypertrophy (Medium Reps, Medium weight) or strength (Low Reps, High Weight)
You can use it as a finisher at the end of your workout (Medium weight, 20-50 reps or as many as possible)
Lastly – you can use it as its own workout for fat loss (Intervals, 10 sets of 20-30 with a light to medium weight, for either time or high reps)
While this is a simple explanation of programming the biggest thing I can say is try out the kettlebell and see how you like it. If it seems like something you would benefit from and want to learn more, find a trainer available who can teach you the basics and go crush it.
I love the kettlebell as a tool, and for these jobs, it is one of the best you can use.
Bill Rom is the top strength and conditioning coach on Long Island.