Does This Set Up Position REALLY Matter On Swings? [CONTROVERSIAL]

I was working with one of my long time clients this
morning and we were doing Swings. (Of course.)

I went back to something I’d tried in the past with her
and always use on myself.

You may have seen it/tried it before, especially if
you’ve been reading my stuff for awhile or been to
any of my seminars.

Before I get into it, let me just say that I know it’s
it’s controversial in some circles.

And because of that, I think it merits discussion
and examination.

Foot position.

I know it’s never going to make the cover of “People”
magazine, but it’s controversial in some circles.

And because of that, I think it merits discussion
and examination.

So here’s a question for you – does foot position
REALLY matter on your KB ballistics?

Should your feet be slightly turned out – so that
your legs are externally rotated in your hip sockets
or…

… should your feet be pointed straight ahead, like
your on a pair of skis?

And equally important, does it really matter?

Let me answer the first question.

I usually let people start with a comfortable stance to
get them started. For most, that’s feet turned out slightly.

Then, after some ninja mobility work, which isn’t
really mobility work, I’ll get those feet pointed forward.

I honestly think that’s the *best* position, assuming
that there are no hip issues or whatever (and why it
matters).

Why is it the *best* position?

For several reasons:

1. When the feet are pointed straight ahead and you
hinge at the hips, the hip external rotators are stretched,
or “pre-loaded” if you will.

This will contribute to a more powerful Swing.

This also allows for what I believe to be greater stability
within the hip joint for mechanisms which are beyond the
scope of an email.

2. The hip extensors – your big ol’ butt – gluteus to the
maximus – are stretched, especially the lower fibers that
insert on the femur.

They’re shortened when your feet are externally rotated.

This decreases range of motion of the hip hinge, thus
decreasing the mechanical work, and therefore potential
power output.

3. Maintains structural integrity of the arch of the foot.

Huh?

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but I sure have,
primarily because I did it – but when you externally rotate
your feet and then load them with during a Squat or Deadlft,
the arch of the foot tends to collapse.

(Not with everybody, but with a lot of people.)

And a collapsed arch is bad.

That internally rotates your lower leg, increases torque on
your knees, internally rotates the upper leg inside the hip,
which can tear up your hip, and anteriorly tilts your pelvis,
shutting down your abs and increasing the strain on your
lower back.

Not good.

So you obviously don’t want to be doing high power
movements like Swings and Snatches with your arches
collapsed if you shouldn’t be doing slower lifts like the
Squat or DL.

What then should you do?

Here’s a quick checklist:

1. Do some foot, ankle, and hip mobility work.

2. Strengthen your feet with “old school” exercises like
calf raises or just walking barefoot.

3. Take your time and adjust your stance to parallel with
lighter loads.

Play around with foot positions in your ballistics and see if
you notice a difference.

My client did today. She had more power – her 16kg just
flew. And she was breathing harder – from a deeper hip
hinge and therefore more work.

Talk soon.

Geoff

P.S. You might also want to practice your new foot position
with shorter workouts, the the “Swing Seasons” found in
“Kettlebell Express!” .

http://kettlebellsecrets.com/quickworkouts

It’s a really good way to get some high quality work – and
therefore results – in less time than you thought possible or
necessary.

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