Get A Crisper, Stronger, More Explosive Kettlebell Swing With These Bodyweight Exercises

I’ve got a little secret to let you in on.

My Swing, the Center of the Kettlebell Universe – always felt a little out of orbit, so-to-speak. It just never really felt right.

Not until recently.

It always just felt a little bit – well, “off.”

Like I just couldn’t get that final hip lockout position.

Sure, I could Double Swing a pair of Beasts with ease, but they never felt right.

As you probably know, I’ve been on a bodyweight kick for the last 6 months or so. And because of that time spent on some bodyweight mastery and coordination exercises, I’m happy to report that my Swing feels virtually effortless now. Like it should.

I can finally achieve the crisp hip lockout position.

And I must say that it feels great!

The primary exercise I used was the L-Sit and variations of it.

Here’s a pic –

"L-Sit for Six Pack Abs"

Classic L-Sit - An Abdominal Killer

The other staple in my training was the L-Sit Chin Up.

(Pictured below.)

"L-Sit Chin Ups"

The L-Sit Chin Up - Another Ab Killer

These were massively powerful for my body. This is primarily because it was the exact opposite motions that my body was used to. I spent almost all my work moving from flexion to extension. So doing the opposite – moving from extension to flexion really helped me out tremendously. (More so than any joint mobility work I’ve ever done.)

The last exercise I spent a lot of time on was the Parallel Dip, again, most of the time performed with and L-Sit, which makes these monsters particularly demanding for me. Especially since I’ve got a tricky right shoulder, so I needed to get these just right.

So How Do You Incorporate These Bodyweight Exercises?

Really simple – I’d just alternate lower reps sets of moderate sized kettlebell Swings with one of the L-Sit exercises of choice.

Example:

A1. L-Sit Chins x5

A2. 2H Swings x10

Repeat 3-6 sets.

Rest as needed, where needed.

Another Good Kettlebell/Bodyweight Combo Variation To Try

Another good exercise to alternate your Swings with is any form of “Plank” – whether it’s a Yoga Plank (Push Up position), An RKC Plank, or even a Push Up.

Give one of those a shot if the L-Sit exercises seem a little too daunting.

Example:

A. Yoga Plank x 30s

B. 2H Swings x 30s

Rest 1-2 minutes.

Repeat 5-10 sets.

Why This Works

There’s a very simple reason why these bodyweight exercises work to improve your Kettlebell Swing- They activate your abdominals.

Trunk and hip flexion controlled and/or facilitated by the abs is still very freshly imprinted in your CNS, so performing a set of Swings afterwards helps integrate the “new” pattern – using your abs isometrically to tilt your pelvis “up” and “back”. (Quasi-posteriorly.)

This is what is known as “complex training” (Not to be confused with “complexes”). It’s where you insert or pair different skills together in your training session so one feeds the other. In this case, the stronger abdominal activation/recruitment helps make the Swing stronger.

So give one or two of these a shot and let me know what you think.

They make for quick but effective workouts, especially this time of year. And you’ll be making your Swing even better, which of course makes the rest of the kettlebell ballistic work even better too.

Here are some other quick and effective 15-20 minute workouts you can do this time of year too. (And the rest of the year too.)

6 comments… add one
  • Paul Straw Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:41

    Hey Geoff,

    I notice in doing both of these moves that they have toes pointed. Do you have any input on toes flexed or pointed?

    Thanks,
    Paul

    • GEOFFN Dec 31, 2011 @ 2:16

      Paul — play with each and see which works better for you.

  • Doug Descant Dec 29, 2011 @ 16:58

    thanks for sharing that geoff. i’ve been doing Easy Strength 40 Day plan for 1 wk now and have been incorporating push ups and their variations with my swing sets. it’s amazing how effortless a one handed 32kg swing feels after you remind your body what core engagement feels like. i’ll throw the l sits in next week and let you know how it pans out. thanks again. happy new year.

    KB Express is brilliant btw. I’ll be jumping into it full force once my ES goals are accomplished. it is the perfect compliment to my busy week of being a daddy among other things.

    • GEOFFN Dec 31, 2011 @ 2:17

      Cool Doug. Glad u like “Kettlebell Express” too. Look forward to hearing how it’s helped you out.

  • Billy Meyer Dec 31, 2011 @ 20:54

    Cool stuff Geoff. Works nice. I’ve been ignoring the anterior stuff and this is working nicely for me. Also the PWLS is great too!! Thanks and I hope you have a happy New Year with your family.

  • Billy Meyer Feb 18, 2012 @ 12:56

    The L-sit is no joke. Awesome, and extremely functionally effective exercise. It requires a lot of recruitment of stabilizers in the forearm and screwing your hands into the ground in addition to the abdominal work. This one did me in with a forearm strain. I would recommend treading lightly with this and testing your ROM in your wrist as well prior to doing these.

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