The Strongman Swing
I recently rediscovered Mark H. Berry’s Illustration Chart Third Course In Weight Lifting Technique while searching though some unpacked boxes. I noticed a sequence which is described as a swing. It’s actually an interesting variation of a one-handed dumbbell swing (see photo). Unfortunately, no exercise descriptions accompanied Mr. Berry’s wall chart. I searched for a written explanation of this drill, but came up empty.
Based on the picture sequences, I decided to give it a try. I experimented with a kettlebell, made a few minor tweaks in form, and discovered a fun and challenging drill. Please keep in mind that this was on Mark Berry’s 3rd Course In Weightlifting. In other words, this is an exercise for the experience KB lifter. This is not an exercise for beginners.
This drill is a combination of the traditional KB swing followed by a snatch and front squat. In addition to the general conditioning benefits, the Strongman Swing develops great shoulder and hip flexibility and stability.
- Perform a one-hand kettlebell Swing (photo A), be sure to drive hard with the hips to get full hip/knee extension.
- Allow the kettlebell to swing back between the legs (photo B).
- Drive hips for second swing, as soon as hips reach full extension (photo A) and KB is about chest height, pull it into a snatch. Simultaneously, dropping down into a one arm over-head squat (photos C, D).
- Stand up with KB over head.
- Lower KB from head height similar to lowering a snatch.
- Repeat this two part drill for desired reps. (keep reps low 1-5 until
- Switch hands continue the drill.
Note: Unlike the photo, keep your non-KB hand off your knee for all movements.
The arm movement for the second part of the Strongman Swing is identical to a KB swing snatch.
Pick 3 kettlebells of different weights.
- Begin with the lightest kettelbell; perform 5 strongman swings with each arm
- Pick up the medium kettlebell; perform 3 strongman swings with each arm
- Pick up the heaviest kettlebell: perform 1 strongman swing with each arm
- Repeat for time or sets. Be sure to terminate exercise before your form deteriorates.
Train Hard – Stay Safe,
by Jeff Martone, owner of Tactical Athlete
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