3 Tips for a Better Kettlebell Swing
The kettlebell swing is perhaps one of the best bang-for-your-buck kettlebell exercises you can do. Whether you’re looking to build strength, increase your power and athleticism, or lose weight, the swing gives you all the tools you need to succeed one rep at a time.
Today I wanted to share 3 tips on how you can improve your kettlebell swing – but with no physical exercises or cuing, tricky tricky….
Regardless of whether you’re trying to:
Enhance your kettlebell swing
- Be a great parent
- Hit your deadline at work
- Change your eating habits
- Or, achieve your New Year’s resolution,
You likely have one common denominator: self-criticism.
We LOVE to beat ourselves up, hold ourselves to incredibly high standards, and allow negative self-talk to drive our decisions and actions. It’s like we can’t help it.
Think of the ways you use self-criticism as a motivator and which personal traits you attack because you think it will help you change.
For example, maybe you call yourself “lazy” because you don’t workout enough, or maybe you call yourself “weak” to motivate yourself to workout harder.
When you do that, how does that work for you?
Do you feel good? Do you feel bad, LESS motivated?
Fortunately there’s a better, more productive way to motivate, inspire, and be more productive – and yes it will help you improve your kettlebell swing.
It’s called self-compassion.
No, not the “oh, poor me” type of compassion, but instead rather the, “Hey, it’s OK to make mistakes, everyone makes mistakes.” Or “hey, you’re not alone, many people go through the same obstacles you do.”
My goal today is to help show you how to notice and name your self-criticism and turn it into increased productivity, motivation, and yes, a better kettlebell swing.
Kettlebell Swing tip #1 – Notice
To recognize self-criticism you have to first be aware, mindful; you have to NOTICE that you’re actually criticizing yourself.
You’re doing a set of swings and accidentally forget to breathe, “Tsss!” at the top of your lockout. “Damn it!” I forgot to breathe at the top of my lockout!”
I see it often with new kettlebell users. There’s a lot to digest in the beginning, it’s completely normal to let a few techniques slip through the cracks.
The first step is to be mindful that you’re self-criticizing.
Kettlebell Swing tip #2 – Name
Congratulations! You’re aware that you’re beating yourself up. It may not seem like it but that’s a HUGE step in reprogramming your mindset (soon to come) and enhancing your kettlebell swing.
After you notice, NAME what it is you’re beating yourself up about.
A common example I see: A new student trying to put together every single detail of every cue I’ve ever given them – at the same time! They hit on 3 and miss one, “That’s awesome!” I think. While they say, “Ah man! I totally forgot to do ____! Let me try again! Let me try again!”
They’re so caught up in what they’re doing wrong, they completely miss out on the many things they’re doing right!
Does that sounds familiar?
This is not only destructive to your motivation and mindset, but also to your kettlebell swing. Self-talk influences your thoughts, your thoughts influence your emotions, your emotions influence your mindset – strength is a state of mind.
After you’ve “noticed”, “Name” by saying something like “Hey you know what, I’m probably not going to get this perfect on the first try. In fact, many people have problems picking up everything on the first try.”
Play around with it. Think back on a time you were critical about yourself and flip the script. Go ahead…
Kettlebell Swing time #3 – Rewire
How did it feel after you were a little more kind to yourself?
Did you feel lighter, happier, a little bit more energized?
Funny how that works, huh…
As neuroplasticity shows us, you’re brain is not permanent. And in fact, having noticed and named some behaviors you’d like to change, you’re now at a great place to rewire your brain.
You’re mindful about a self-destructive tendency; you’ve applied self-kindness and common humanity (you’re not the only one who struggles with this), now speak to yourself as if you were one of your mentors or close friends. What would they say to you?
The self-talk you often hear in your head has to tone of a bully, a nagging version of yourself that never seems to shut up. But your mentors or close friends on the other hand tend have a more positive tone, a more supportive tone.
Application to your Kettlebell Swing
While self-criticism may or may not be a problem with your kettlebell swing, you can certainly apply these tips:
And many other aspects of your life.
With regards to your kettlebell swing:
Be patient with yourself – be mindful when you’re using self-criticism as a motivator.
Be kind to yourself – remember the feeling you had when you flipped the script and applied a sense of common humanity? “Hey, you’re not alone, everyone has bad days.”
Think of your mentor or close friend – Your mentor wouldn’t put you down or beat up on you for making a mistake, why should you? This practice can help increase your productivity and also contribute to more consistency with your kettlebell swing.
Notice – Name – Rewire – Be STRONG!
Looking for specific cues on your swing? Check out my post on Making the Transition from 2-Handed Swings to 1-Handed Swings and The Most Important Part of any Lift.