I get it.
Everyone is in love with the swing.
And the get up.
Both are phenomenal exercises.
But, durn it, my man!
They’re BEGINNER exercises!
They’re entry level exercises designed to be an “on ramp”
to more advanced, more powerful KB exercises.
And don’t give me that “Mastery” argument about how I
need to do more swings or get ups to go “an inch wide
and a mile deep.”
I’ve done my time and paid my dues with both.
(I can still do a 1/2 bodyweight GU without practicing.)
What I’m talking about is taking the training wheels off
and dumping your learner’s permit.
You know why?
Because you’re never going to receive the benefits
from the more “advanced” KB exercises if all you do
is stick with the basics.
(And there are benefits – many benefits – that you will
receive from the “advanced” exercises that you will
NEVER get from just the basics.)
For example, no matter how many GUs you do they’re
never going to fully prepare you for jerks.
Because you have to test your jerk technique to find
your actual limitations in the jerk – whether it’s understanding
the actual technique or finding your mobility restrictions,
The fact is we give the swing and the get up TOO MUCH
Sure, everyone needs to spend time doing both before
moving on to the more advanced lifts.
(CAVEAT: The only population this doesn’t apply to is
Olympic lifters, who already do the advanced KB lifts in
a more advanced manner – with a barbell.)
Need and example?
I have a friend who weighs about 185lb and can do a GU
with a 56kg KB, on each side, yet he still struggles with
the double KB jerk.
What’s the deal?
He has some mobility limitations and all the heavy GUs in
the world aren’t helping him.
And I don’t want to hear how the swing and the GU are the
only KB exercises you NEED to do.
Forget “need to do.”
How ’bout WANT to do??
You want to REALLY strip off some body fat?
Stop doing swings and invest your time in learning to jerk
or push press, then do long cycle (higher rep) clean +
jerks or clean + push presses.
– Your grip strength will increase from holding your bells
longer through larger ranges of motion.
– Your abdominal strength will increase from learning how
to pressurize in the rack and absorb forces from the drop
of the KBs back into the rack.
– Your conditioning will increase due to those longer ranges
of motion you’re moving your KB through AND from the
breathing restrictions caused by the rack
All that means you’ll be doing more work – WAY more work
then just doing your one bazillion swing challenge and your
body will respond in kind –
New ranges of motion = new challenges for your muscles
New challenges = more and varied work
More and varied work = less body fat and a more muscular,
better conditioned you.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Learn how to perform the clean + jerk properly.
Avoid the common C+J mistakes.
Eliminate common C+J weaknesses and mobility limitations.
It’s all covered in great detail inside “Kettlebell STRONG!”.
P.S. By the way, after you’ve spent some time doing
clean + jerks, when you go back to the swing and GU
you’ll be amazed at how much easier they are –
Much easier than if all you did was practice them ad
Because the C+J (even the clean + push press) make
your body incredibly strong – all over strong actually.