Allow me to introduce you to one of the safest and most powerful exercises you’ve never experienced: The Hardstyle Swing.
The Hardstyle Swing is the foundation of effective Kettlebell training. It burns calories at a high rate, develops phenomenal cardio with no impact, develops a powerful midsection, explosive hip drive, resilient hamstrings and a strong back. These benefits have lead to the hardstyle swing establishing a well documented track record of improving the performance of people of all abilities including elite athletes in nearly every athletic endeavor.
The Kettlebell swing looks simple enough on paper.
“Swing a kettlebell back between your legs and then in front of you up to chest level for reps.”
As a result of this deceptively simple explanation many people including well intentioned trainers get the idea that simply reading a magazine article or watching a youtube clip
will arm them with all the information necessary to get spectacular results. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, such simple instruction is just enough to get most people injured and derail their journey to improved health, temporarily or permanently.
As world class strength coach Marty Gallagher and author of the “Purposeful Primitive” says “the swing is an inch wide and a mile deep”. Having the courage to view your exercise as “a mile deep” means taking the time to learn and perfect the details that make this deceptively simple movement a powerful tool for physical transformation and athletic development.
Keep in mind that the Hardstyle swing is not a slow overhead drag from a deep squat as seen in infomercials, most Crossfit boxes, Biggest Loser highlight reels, fitness magazines and your local gym… not even close. The Hardstyle swing is a fluid, athletic, crisp and powerful movement that more closely resembles a cross between a ballerina’s streamlined take-off and karate master’s deadly punch. Performed properly you’ll experience a full body blast that will leave your chest pounding, lungs burning, forearms bulging, abs, lats, glutes and hamstring screaming in the kind of sweet agony that promises a stronger and more athletic you than you have ever known.
“This one goes to eleven”
– Nigel Tufnel, lead guitarist of the rock band “Spinal Tap”
11 Tips for Performing the Hardstyle Swing
Why not ten? While most lists go to ten, I figure you deserve at least one better.
- Maintain a flat back.
- Keep the heels planted.
- Knees track the toes at all times.
- Arms are straight in the bottom of the “hike-pass” position
- The kettlebell handle stays above the knees during the hike-pass.
- There is NO forward knee movement on the upswing.
- The body forms straight line from heels to head on the top the of the swing.
- The kettlebell forms an extension of the straight arm at the top of the swing.
- Forcefully exhale at the top of each rep and inhale during the “hike pass”.
- Forcefully and visibly contract both the abs and glutes at the top of each swing.
- Stay relaxed from the neck up, keeping the shoulders down and back.
The list above was not meant as “How-to”, but rather a check list to give you a taste of the kind of detail it takes to unlock the swing’s potential and to do so safely. If you decide to give it a try you’ll find that it looks easier on paper than it is in reality. You may even get frustrated and figure it’s too difficult. Let me reassure you that you can do it. In fact, every single client I’ve ever trained has learned to swing the kettlebell effectively and safely, but that’s the key… they were trained by an RKC.
As an RKC Certified Instructor, RKC level II and CK-FMS Functional Movement Specialist I represent the RKC School of Strength: the world’s first and most highly respected Kettlebell Instructor Certification course. Although the RKC’s tool of choice is the kettlebell, an RKC instructor is far more than a kettlebell instructor. An RKC is a strength coach that can teach you how improve your safety and performance in any athletic endeavor or mode of exercise and the kettlebell swing just happens to be one of the best exercises for improving performance in most activities.
The RKC School of Strength is home to such internationally sought after and respected trainers as Pavel Tsatsouline, Brett Jones, Daniel John, Gray Cook, Jon Engum, Geoff Nupert, David Whitley, Mark Reifkind, Andrea DuCane, Mark Cheng and too many to mention by name. These are the same people that the world’s elite athletes turn to when they want to get even more out of their already high performing physiques.
At the center of the RKC Universe is the Kettlebell Swing. Learn this movement from an RKC instructor like myself and your understanding of exercise will be forever changed.
I invite you to be my guest and learn the Hardstyle Swing and improve the way you train.
Email RKC.Scott.Stevens@gmail.com to schedule your intro.
No Book or DVD will ever replace the immediate feedback, corrective drills and personalized instruction a qualified instructor (RKC) can provide.
The most efficient path to unlocking the potential of the kettlebell is qualified instruction. The next best option is excellent instructional material. With that caveat below you’ll find what I consider to be the best resources on the market for getting the most out of the hardstyle swing.