Duty Swings: Tips for Mastering the Swing

Duty Swings: Tips for Mastering the Swing

The Duty Swings Challenge Starts Now

For the entire month of June, complete 1 set of 10 kettlebell swings for every hour that you are on duty.

  • 8 Hour Shift = 8 Sets of 10 Swings
  • 10 Hour Shift = 10 Sets of 10 Swings
  • 12 Hour Shift = 12 Sets of 10 Swings

I recommend starting the challenge with half of your required sets of Duty Swings before your shift and then completing the rest of your swings after your shift. Later in the month you can do all of your swings in one session once your body gets used to the work load.


Don’t Know How to Swing?

If you don’t know how to swing, there are many How-to-swing guides available online. Some are high quality and some are terrible. Here are some of the best ones:

Tips to improve your kettlebell swing form

If you do know how to swing, chances are your form can be improved a little bit. Here are some tips to keep in mind while you complete your Duty Swings all month long.

  • The Swing is a Hinge movement

Set up your swings by moving your but back, back, back. You will have a deep bend in your hips and your knees will only be slightly bent. Setting up with a proper hinge will allow you to load your hamstrings and glutes to power the movement. The picture below illustrates setting up the hinge position.



  • Hip Drive Powers the Swing

The swing is powered by a violent forward explosion of the hips. Your glutes and hamstrings drive your hips forward and propel the bell outward. The goal is to swing the bell out, not up. The bell only moves up because it is attached to your arms. If you let go of the bell after your hip thrust, it would not fly up in the air, it would fly forward away from you.


  • Keep Your Back Flat Throughout The Entire Swing

Protect your spine and lower back by keeping your back flat throughout the entire movement. Whether you are at the bottom of the swing or the top, your back should be flat. Don’t arch your back at the bottom of the swing and don’t bend your back at the top of the swing. Maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.


  • Keep Your Feet Flat on the Ground

Keep your feet flat on the ground and your weight evenly distributed throughout your foot. Your feet root your center of gravity and help you maintain balance. Don’t rock forward onto your toes at the top of the swing, or back onto your heels at the bottom of the swing. Cushy running shoes with air or give in the heels makes this difficult. Other sports that place a premium on balance, such as gymnastics, martial arts, and ballet, train barefoot or with minimal shoes. Barefoot training translates well to kettlebell swings. Try swinging in your socks or barefoot. If that’s not an option, use shoes with flat stable bottoms, such as Chuck Taylors.


  • The Top of the Swing is a Vertical Plank

After you complete the hip thrust, flex your quads and glutes and brace your abs to form a vertical plank. You will only maintain this plank for a split second, during the time where the bell is weightless as it transitions from it’s upswing back to it’s down swing. The vertical plank protects your spine and gives you added power as it incorporates your quads and abs into the movement. The vertical plank looks like the image below.


  • Master Your Breathing

Breathe in as you hike the bell back between your legs and forcefully exhale during your hip thrust. Timing your breathing with your swings will give you more power on your hip drive. Matching your breath with your swing will also help your endurance as fatigue sets in.


Duty Swings Starts Now

If you worked a shift today go knock out your required swings and get started with the challenge. There will be more articles on improving your swing and addressing common errors through out the month of June, so check back soon.


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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, dietitian, or personal trainer. Consult your doctor before starting any fitness or nutrition plan.