Featured Assistance Movement of the Week #2: The Kettlebell Swing

By: Brian Carroll

I’ll be covering an obscure or special assistance movement each week that I feel is important and should potentially be considered as an addition to your programming in some capacity.

One Arm Kettlebell Swing:

This is an exercise Dr. McGill personally worked with me on while I was visiting for a follow up for my back in October 2013. He was showing me the best way to improve my back strength, and overall core development, while minimizing injury. The video below with the good doctor is the first time that I have ever worked with a KB.

Before visiting Dr. McGill, I never attempted any kind of real KB work, especially a swing. If someone were to ask me to try it before this day; there is a very good chance I would have laughed at them or brushed it off entirely. I was mistaken.

This movement is the exact movement that you should be starting every single squat with, as well as picking up anything from the floor, i.e. a deadlift. It is a simple hip hinge.

Break at the hips, then the knees. Sit back first and then open your knees up. This is the definition of a hip hinge and it will save your back. Contrary to what I did the first 10 years of my lifting career.

You use one hand a time and you push your hips back. This is not a squat but more like the pull-through exercise you would do with a cable or band. The swing is much better. Keep a stiff and rigid core; you don’t use momentum to swing the bell, focus on using only your core. You do not squat the weight up like you see in so many YouTube videos, you swing under control and while staying tight.

You want to start off with a very light KB and iron the form down. Once your form is solid; slowly progress in weight. I suggest 8-12 reps and 3-4 sets to start.

These are a fantastic warm-up to start your training session to get a sweat going, and a cool down movement that you can do to finish off your day. You can eventually do these for time, high reps, added conditioning or as an accessory exercise. Keep your form solid, swing from the core, hinge your hips and… did I mention good form?




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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.

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