Strength: Backsquat 7 sets of 2 reps @ 80-85% your 1RM
40 Kettlebell Swings (55/35)
10 Box Jumps (20 inches)
30 Kettlebell Swings
20 Box Jumps
20 Kettlebell Swings
30 Box Jumps
10 Kettlebell Swings
40 Box Jumps
Sweet Kettlebell Swings. So let's explore the two types of Kettlebell swings
There are currently two popular methods for teaching the Kettlebell (KB)
Swing, American (AS) or Russian (RS) style.
Exploring the Differences
It is easy to tell the difference between the RS and AS, just look at the arc of the swing. The RS starts just below the groin and is swung to chest or at most, eye level. The movement is short, brisk and compact. The AS begins level to the knees and moves upward to full arm extension over the head. Its motion is longer and smoother than its Russian counterpart. The height of the arc of the AS may be twice that of the RS.
The subtler difference is the bend of the knees. The Russian style looks similar to a stiff-legged deadlift. Most of the movement is in the hips and the knees bend slightly, almost as an afterthought. The American swing is more like a squat as the knees bend to a much greater degree. Each method requires a different body alignment for correct performance.
The primary focus of the Russian swing is to utilize extension of the hips to drive the lifter’s center of gravity forward and up. This movement results in a very efficient application of force. You may test this concept by doing a vertical jump. Sit back quickly into quarter squat depth and immediately jump upward. Do this several times and note how high you jump. Now drop down into a deeper squatting movement and jump. Most people will find that they will not jump as high in the lower squatting position.
The American Swing
has its own unique advantages. Its greater range of motion requires
much more work and effort than the Russian Swing. Test this by doing
quarter squats while raising your arm to chest height when you return to
standing position for a half of minute. You could probably do this all
day without breaking a sweat. Now do deeper squats for the same amount
of time and raise your arm fully over head as you stand. Not so easy
is it? Notice the greater range of motion gets your heart pumping and
increases your breathing. This makes the American Swing an excellent
exercise for building work capacity and overall fitness. Bringing the
KB overhead will also increase shoulder girdle flexibility, endurance,
balance, coordination and strength.
Which Swing is Best?
The answer is both and neither. Is the hammer better than a screwdriver? It is the goal that will determine which tool to use. If you need to pound in nails, you want the hammer. But it won’t be as useful if you are working with screws. It is important to understand that the RS and AS, like the hammer and screwdriver, are tools to be used for specific purposes. It is the lifter’s intent and goals that decide which swing is best.
The Russian Swing is the foundation of almost all ballistic kettlebell movements. Mastering and strengthening this swing will have a positive impact on such key kettlebell lifts as the KB snatch or KB Cleans. The short, compact stroke will allow the Kettlebeller to conserve energy that will allow for greater repetitions in the competitive kettlebell lifts (1 KB Snatch and 2 KB Jerk). For the person who training is predominately focused on KB training, the RS would be a better choice.
The CrossFitter, however, has different needs. He or she must excel at a much wider range of exercises than the KB lifter. The AS will have a much better transfer to kipping pull-ups, thrusters and many other CrossFit movements. The improvements to flexibility, balance and coordination will greatly benefit the Gymnastic, Weightlifting and Barbell exercises found in CrossFit training. The added effort and work of the American Swing will help the CrossFitter develop the fitness needed to survive intense “WOD's”. When you consider the needs of the CrossFitter, it is easy to understand the advantages of using the American Swing.
So there you go......the difference between the two types of kettlebell swings and the reasons we use one over the other. Exciting I know :-) I will discuss this further in a blog post next week. I know I know, you can hardly wait.
Dan P. sent me this video. This is when Crossfit overlaps with off-road racing .