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Are You Ready for Kettlebell Swings?!

sandbag exercises

It might sounds like an odd question coming from the guy known for “sandbag training”. As I’ve written in the past, one of the main inspirations of our DVRT program though was my foundation having worked with kettlebells. Yea, back in 2002 I got into kettlebells and become certified in 2003. So, besides admitting I am getting old, it also means I have made A LOT of mistakes.

One of those was jumping in too fast sometimes with kettlebell swings. I know, THE kettlebell exercise that everyone wants to do, but privately, a lot of people struggle implementing successfully.

kettlebell swings

I know, you want to walk me through the 15 steps of teaching a kettlebell swing (ironically, we went through a much shorter system back in the day), but the real issue isn’t one of technique.

The real issue is what causes me time and time again to help people who look like they have good form on their kettlebell swings, but keep having low back pain when they do them. I know weird right?! Aren’t kettlebell swings suppose to HELP your low back?

Yes, but as with any complex and power based drill, the foundation of the body has to be right. In a lot of people, they become so excited about kettlebells that they jump right into kettlebell swings without having this ONE thing cemented.

What is it?

Pelvic control!! I know, there isn’t a special Russian saying about pelvic control, but every exercise requires it. Especially the greater the power and the need to absorb high levels of force like what happen during kettlebell swings.

In fact, I would venture to say the lack of pelvic control in a lot of people is what prevents them from absorbing the downward force of the kettlebell swing correctly and loading parts of their body (mostly low back) in ways that cause them serious issues.

That is because the downward phase of kettlebell swings actually causes more force upon the body that the upward swing. It becomes essential to have core and pelvic control to maintain alignment and brace properly to absorb such loads. Sadly, time and time again working with people they don’t seem to possess this very fundamental ability.

So, what do we do? In our DVRT system we work A LOT on pelvic control (it is a big section in our DVRT Restoration program HERE) because it is essential for everything. However, we have to progress it and we work from VERY stable environments to more unstable ones.

That means working from our back to more challenging body positions over time. You would be SHOCKED at how people that are use to training with big weights (who also have a lot of pain) are unable to perform even the most fundamental levels of these pelvic control exercises.

How do we go about fixing it? First level is using some DVRT Dead Bugs to gain a foundational level of understanding of pelvic control. Then you will see from the following videos how we continue to add layers to movement.

Jessica shows how we can progress the Dead Bug with proper core tension through a series of levels and moving into Bird Dogs which are more demanding pelvic control exercises. 

Once we get standing though things change dramatically! One of the toughest parts of the nailing kettlebell swings is learning the right way to absorb weight on the way down. That’s one of the tough parts of getting good kettlebell swings is you can’t slow down the movement. So, how do you get people to learn the proper skills of great kettlebell swings? DVRT Master, Cory Cripe nails why THIS DVRT drill is the perfect fit!

Check out how we build better movement and save 25% off our best selling Ultimate Sandbags HERE or programs like DVRT Master, Cory Cripe HERE with coupon code “save”.