The overhead kettlebell swing is used a lot in WOD’s and after seeing many video’s on youtube of CrossFitter’s with terrible swing technique I decided to put this article and video together.
Before we get started I would just like to say that I am not your typical CrossFit basher. I work out of a CrossFit gym here in Spain. I really like and use a lot of the same sort of training principles (E.D.T) with myself and clients and have been doing CrossFit for a while now as a supplement to my kettlebell training.
The Kettlebell Swing for CrossFit
It is really important to master the traditional Russian swing before trying the overhead swing. I see a lot of squatty swings in CrossFit which is largely due to not spending enough time learning correct technique in the normal swing.
It is easier to keep something in motion than it is to start and stop it. Squatty swings start and stop the kettlebell very aggressively which takes a lot of effort as opposed to the more flowing hamstring dominant swing which uses a smooth curve at the bottom of the movement, redirecting the force of the bell back instead of straight down. The flowier hamstring dominant swing also puts less stress on the grip and saves the quads for the other exercises you have in the WOD.
Use your legs man!
You need to make good use of the power of the legs to get that bell overhead. I see a lot of people yanking it overhead with their arms; this is (once again) because they haven’t spent enough time training the traditional swing. With the over head swing you want to give the bell a blast of power to get it to balance overhead with your arms locked out before dropping it and redirecting back and behind for another rep. You shouldn’t really use your arms at all to move the bell, they should just follow.
Better WOD times
You can greatly improve on your WOD times by working on your swing technique. Better technique will mean that you have more power left in the arms and legs for the other exercises and you can use the KB swing as the “rest” in your WOD.
Helen is a good example of a classic WOD that you can greatly improve your time by practicing the swing. If you do the swings properly you will have a lot more power left in your arms and grip for the pull ups and your quads will be fresh for the 400m run.
Check out the video for more in depth tips and correctional drills to improve your swings for CrossFit!