THE KETTLEBELL SWING PROGRESSION LADDER

Unlike most of the ladders here, there are no different moves to this one, all you gotta do is master good Kettlebell Swing mechanics, then go as heavy as you can. We don't use much equipment on this programme, but if you are going to invest in some equipment, getting a decent kettlebell or two is a damn good idea!

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I try to keep the vast majority of this programme equipment-free, but I couldn’t resist using this magic exercise. Kettlebell Swings are much easier to learn for average Joes than traditional barbell squats and deadlifts, yet drive a powerful glute, hamstring and low back stimulus making them the perfect compliment to all the single-leg squat work we do on The Strength Sessions Programme. That said, please learn carefully and cautiously, these are a wonderful exercise when done correctly; but terribly risky if done poorly. Be patient, get perfect mechanics, then work your way up the ladder slowly.

THE CRITERIA FOR A GOOD SWING

CRITERIA: 

–> Spine must remain in neutral throughout
–> Glutes must be rock-hard at top
–> Bell must travel to just above belly button height
–> Hips must be locked out but spine NOT over-extended at the top
–> One must have control of ones head. It must not look like participant is attempting to give him/herself a whiplash injury.
–> Kettlebell must not fly across the room in the middle of the set
–> You must start the set with the active pull technique

PROGRESSIONS

As discussed, this ladder is unlike the others. Have good technique, move up rung-to-rung by increasing reps and weight. Hence, there’s only one set of criteria.

Kettlebells are designed to have 4kg increments. So there are not that many different ‘progressions’. It’s supposed to be a big deal every time you move up in weight.

Also note that you might well have to stop and master the art of swinging with two bells at once when you get strong enough. Often the heavier kettlebells are more expensive and not used that much (even though they should be) so you may not find them in many gyms.

THE PROGRESSIONS

PROGRESSION 1 – GET THE BASIC TECHNIQUE DOWN

PROGRESSION 2 – MASTER PROPER STARTING MECHANICS

PROGRESSION 3 – HEAVIER — Get throuugh all the rep levels on a kettlebell two down from your weight suggested target weight (as laid out below)

PROGRESSION 4 – HEAVIER — Get through all the rep levels on a weight one down from your suggested target weight

PROGRESSION 5 – MASTER YOUR SUGGESTED TARGET BELL SIZE

PROGRESSION 7 – MASTER THE NEXT BELL UP

HOW MANY REPS?

For kettlebells, I like you to aim at slightly higher reps. So targets for each strength zone are as follows:

8 reps for pure strength
12 reps for mid-strength
16 reps for strength endurance

HOW HEAVY DO I HAVE TO GO?

You can consider your ladder mastered when you can do all the reps on the bell that corresponds to your weight level. These certainly aren’t elite numbers, that’s for sure — but they are ‘pretty decent’ and for our purposes, they will ensure a fabulous buttock area, decent overall strength and a sturdy lumbar region:

If you weigh 40-50k, then 32kg bell
If you weigh 50-60k, then 36kg bell
If you weigh 60-70k, then 40kg bell
If you weigh 70-80k, then 2 x 24kg bells
If you weigh >80k, then two x 28kg kettle bells

Also note: should you wish to use two kettlebells instead of one at any point of the ladder, that will be deemed acceptable. It might be cheaper, more practical and more versatile than owning one of these massively dense 36k or 40k things.

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