CrossFit Corner: Burn it Up with the American Kettlebell Swing

Put your next metabolic circuit into overdrive by going overhead with this explosive move..

Kettlebell Swing
Exercises 6
Equipment Yes

Anyone who has ever handled a kettlebell under the supervision of a good coach knows that these primitive-looking weights can be invaluable training tools for building explosiveness, burning fat, and improving posterior chain strength and stability.

But there’s more than one way to swing a ’bell. In CrossFit, we like to rock the American version, which differs from the popular Russian version in that the ’bell travels much closer to your body on its way to a fully extended, overhead finish. The drive comes from the hips, but because the arms stay closer to the body, it can be more demanding on your shoulders than the Russian swing. Constant practice is the only way to negate that uptick in difficulty. Master it and you can count on hobbling away with smoked glutes, shoulders, and forearms.

Do It Right

Master form, then try these brutal WODs.

The Move

Make sure to keep your core tight. Hinge at the hips, bending with your knees while keeping your back flat. Squeeze your butt when your hips extend and lock your arms out overhead while pushing your head forward. Keep the kettlebell close to your body. It should be halfway between an upright row and the full extension of a Russian swing, with all the power coming from your hips.

Safety First

Keep the ’bell cocked slightly forward; this makes it easier to keep the weight in front of you and under control.

The Workouts

Building the American swing into MetCons is the best way to reap the benefits. Try one of these:

Circuit Workout 1

Exercise 1

Running Sprint
Sprinter Workout thumbnail
-- sets
-- reps
Run 200 meters rest

Exercise 2

American Kettlebell Swing
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-- sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Toes-To-Bar
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-- sets
15 reps
-- rest

Circuit Workout 2

Exercise 1

Double Under You'll need: Jump Rope How to
Double Under thumbnail
-- sets
25 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

American Kettlebell Swing
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-- sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Clean You'll need: Barbell How to
Clean thumbnail
-- sets
-- reps
-- rest
135 lbs.
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