Kettlebells: Weights and Progression Part 2 (Swings)

This post is similar to my original that focused on presses, rows, and cleans CLICK but now we are discussing the swing.

Let me begin by re-emphasizing my non-certified, non-expert, sample-of-one status regarding physical fitness.  The content of this post has worked for me thus far.  If something changes I will update this post as appropriate.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Adding weight before you are ready may cause injury which necessitates a pause, recovery, weakness, and wasting time as you cover the same ground again.  The below process is SLOW but I have had no issues with injuries and I am currently working through it with a goal of swinging double 40kg kettlebells.

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Kettlebell swing progression requires an appropriate balance of overall weight being moved with weight in each hand.  If you move forward too quickly in either weight category you risk injury.  I have found that once I can perform three sets of twenty swings with a 2-3 minute break between sets I am ready to progress.

Question: 

Should I do kettlebell swings inside or outside the legs?

Answer:

Do whatever feels safe.

Question:

How high should I swing the kettlebell?

Answer:

Swing the kettlebell somewhere between chest level and eye level.

Follow-Up Question:

How do you feel about the Crossfit-style kettlebell swing that goes above the head?

Answer:

I agree with Adam T. Glass in this article CLICK who said “The overhead swing is dumb. I have fixed far too many CFers who came to me pretty jacked up from doing it- I don’t get it. Want to put the KB overhead? Snatch it. What to move it to get you out of breath? Swing it to chest level quickly, or clean and jerk it for reps. Still easy? Go find a heavier bell.”

Below is a spreadsheet outlining a progression scheme for kettlebell swings.  Feel free to mix and match the data based upon the kettlebells you have available.

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