Farewell America and hello Russia

10 Apr

For the next few weeks we will be restricting all kettlebell swings to one standard. You will no longer have the option of taking the kettlebell overhead (American) style, it will be Russian (eye-level) all the way.

There are two reasons for this.

Hip drive

By using a shorter range and focusing the effort on correct use of the hips, will we see an improvement across all hip-driven movements.

Also this shorter range will mean beginners and novices will be able to better appreciate the role of the hips for the majority of our movements.

Mobility and strength

Hands up if you have issues with your shoulders or find thoracic mobility restricted?

Let me simplify that.

Do you struggle with wall squats, front squats, overhead squats, snatching?

If your answer was yes then get your mobility balls out. In relationship to the swing it means that when swinging a kettlebell overhead you lose integrity of your lower back and hips, which results in back ache and poor form.

Below shows a quick mobility test for the swing. The middle picture demonstrates how mobility does not allow for the overhead swing. The bottom pictures shows the correct position, should the American swing ever be used.

photo (6)

So in the pursuit of better form and superior hip extension the swing standard for CrossFit London is shoulder height and no more. Feel that Russian is too easy? Then perhaps it’s time to go heavier.


7 thoughts on “Farewell America and hello Russia

  1. Are you suggesting – in a subtle way – that Coach Chris is a bit…gimpy?

  2. Good article and great shot of Chris & Sally, it really makes sense when you see that –  a picture is worth a thousand words.
    I’d be happy for Crossfit to sack off the American swing and the SDHP

  3. I agree, I ‘graduated’ to doing heavier american kb swings after using heavier russian swings. Really does teach you to use the hips more…
    Also agree with the scrapping SDHP as well, never really liked it from the beginning and after reading Chris’ link a while back it made sense why I didn’t like it!

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