Optimizing The Kettlebell Swing Part 3: The Kettlebell Deadlift & Static Stomp Deadlift
Welcome back to Part 3 of our 10-part series on Optimizing The Kettlebell Swing!
Last week we got into the foundation of the swing when we introduced to you the Reaching Hinge.
In that post we talked about the importance of your hip hinge and how crucial learning and mastering the hip hinge is, not only for your Kettlebell Swing, but for your 1-Hand Swing, Clean, and Kettlebell Snatch as well.
For many people the hip hinge is a foreign movement, which makes swinging a kettlebell awfully difficult at first.
For this reason we always teach students how to hinge their hips without weight (the Reaching Hinge), prior to loading them with weight (the Kettlebell Deadlift and/or Kettlebell Swing).
If you happened to miss last weeks post we’d highly recommend you go back and check it out.
Assuming you’ve practiced your Reaching Hinge and feel comfortable to move on, you’re ready for today’s post.
The Kettlebell Deadlift and Static Stomp Deadlift are two great tools you can use to help prepare yourself for a strong, safe, and incredibly effective swing.
Throughout today’s post we’ll talk about:
What each of these lifts are
Why you’d want to learn and train them
And how to do each of them properly
Lastly we’ll give you some programming tips to help you insert these two helpful exercises into your day-to-day training routines.
The Kettlebell Deadlift & Static Stomp Deadlift
As we mentioned earlier, learning how to hinge your hips is difficult for most people. Add speed to the equation and it becomes even more difficult.
Generally speaking the Kettlebell Swing is a little faster than you’re comfortable with.
Keeping that in mind, when you’re ready to start loading your hip hinge the Kettlebell Deadlift and the Static Stomp Deadlift are both safe places to begin.
Again, jumping right into an aggressive, hip-dominant exercise such as the Kettlebell Swing without properly learning how to hinge your hips is a recipe for aches and pains to follow…
So, what are these two hip-dominant strength movements?
The Kettlebell Deadlift is simple:
Stand over a weight
Hinge down to grab the weight
Stand up with the weight
Put the weight back on the floor
Often times when we progress members to this step they completely throw out the skills they’ve just recently learned and trained with the Reaching Hinge.
We’ll breakdown how to make sure you don’t make this mistake later in the post. For now all you need to know is the Kettlebell Deadlift is an exercise where you pick a bell up off the floor and put it back down.
If the Kettlebell Deadlift is simple, than the Static Stomp Deadlift is simpler yet.
While with the Kettlebell Deadlift you’ll perform anywhere from 1 to 3, 5, 7, 10… however many reps you’d like, in the Static Stomp Deadlift you’ll perform one single deadlift and hold the top position for a brief period of time.
One you do for reps, while the other you simply hold at the top.
Why Train The Kettlebell Deadlift & Static Stomp Deadlift?
Both lifts are extremely similar to your 2-Handed Kettlebell Swing.
They’re both hip-dominant
They both work the postural stabilizers of the hips, shoulders, and back
And they both develop strength and power in the hips and legs
As we touched on in Part 1 of the series, you’d want to train these lifts if you’re looking to:
Develop total body strength
Train a hip-dominant pattern
And/or fine-tune your Kettlebell Swing
The Kettlebell Deadlift and Static Stomp Deadlift both are slow, grinding movements.
And this is where they’re similar but different from a Kettlebell Swing...
As we said earlier, the swing is faster than your comfortable with, meaning you have little time to adjust on the fly.
The grinding nature of the Kettlebell Deadlift and Static Stomp Deadlift are similar to that of the Getup; a slower lift you can adjust on the fly, essentially always making sure you’re in the position you want to be in.
This allows you to continuously focus on technique and learn and Train in a safer environment.
The Kettlebell Deadlift: How To Do It?
Remember, Kettlebell skills are built much like a pyramid; your hip hinge is the foundation to everything you do ballistically with a Kettlebell.
Picking up where we left off last week, grab a bell and follow these steps to do your deadlift.
Place a Kettlebell under your body and assume a “swing stance”; feet roughly shoulder width or a little wider depending on your hip hinge preference.
From here it’s very important you forget the bell is underneath you…
Do a set of 10 Reaching Hinges over the bell
On the 10th rep, without looking at the bell, hold the bottom position of your Reaching Hinge and bring your arms down in an effort to grab the bell.
If you can’t reach the handle of the bell you can allow your knees to track forward slightly but don’t lose tension in the hamstrings by doing so.
Once you have the handle in your hands, crush it!
Crush the handle so hard that tension radiates up your arms, into your shoulders, armpits, upper back, and core.
Now, begin to drive your feet into the floor so that the bell begins to lift off the ground.
Continue to drive your feet into the floor until you’ve stood all the way up and have locked out your deadlift.
At your lockout you should feel tight everywhere; the front of your legs, back of your legs, glutes, hands, forearms, arms, shoulders, back, and core.
Hold this lockout for a split second, then retrace your hip hinge back down to the floor.
Congratulations, you just did your first deadlift!
One specific point to expand on here with your Kettlebell Deadlift technique…
You’re DRIVING the bell off the ground by driving your feet into the floor. You’re not trying to lift the bell off the floor.
When you do that - even without a weight - you should feel the backs of your legs, hips, and front of your thighs all fire.
That “fire” is tension and that tension is what will allow you to perform a safe, strong, effective deadlift.
One of the most common mistakes we see as coaches with both the Kettlebell Deadlift and the Barbell Deadlift is when members try to create momentum and “jerk” the bell or bar off the ground.
Not only is this inefficient, it’s a great way to injure yourself and develop poor patterns that will carry over to your Kettlebell Swing.
Instead fight tension with tension, drive your feet into the floor so that you’re in control throughout the entire lift...
… and the Static Stomp Deadlift is great drill to help you learn how to create tension.
The Static Stomp Deadlift: How To Do It?
As we said earlier, the Static Stomp Deadlift is simpler yet compared to the Kettlebell Deadlift.
Here’s how it’s done:
Repeat all the steps above of your Kettlebell Deadlift.
Once you’ve stood up with the bell hold your lockout.
Here’s where the Static Stomp nature begins…
Continue to hold your lockout while now seeking to create more tension throughout your body.
Drive your feet into the floor harder
Squeeze the front of your legs harder
Squeeze your glutes harder
Squeeze your core tighter, imagine someone’s going to come up and punch you in the gut…
Allow your rib cage to drop while your head stays tall, as if someone has a string on top of your head they’re pulling up on lightly.
Crush the handle of the bell harder
Squeeze your arms harder
Drive your armpits down into the floor…
As you hold, continue to create more and more tension as you scan your body for roughly 10-15 seconds - we’ve done as long as 30 seconds in a class setting and seen it work very well.
This is your Static Stomp Deadlift.
This is also the top of your Deadlift, Squat, Swing, Clean, and Snatch.
You can imagine the carryover into these other lifts…
Strength is a skill, and like so many skills it can (and should) be learned and practiced.
Many of our members come to us with little to no strength training experience. In the members who have strength trained before and have some Kettlebell experience, even they have a difficult time creating tension throughout their entire body.
The Static Stomp Deadlift is an exercise that allows you to explore how to create maximal tension throughout your entire body.
While the top of the lockout will transfer directly to your Deadlift, Squat, Swing, Clean, and Snatch, the tension you learn to create throughout your body you can apply to ANY exercise you train.
Even lifts such as the Pull-up, Push-up, Military Press, and row variations.
The Kettlebell Deadlift & Static Stomp Deadlift: Putting Them To Practice
You’ve learned how to safely execute both lifts, you know the impact both will have for you in learning and mastering the Kettlebell Swing, so how do you insert them into your training routine?
There are a number of different ways you can use these two lifts.
You can use them as warm-up and “priming” lifts to be done before you start your swing session.
You can use the Kettlebell Deadlift as a stand alone lift and train it for maximal strength - as so many people do (as we do at Evolution).
You can sandwich the two around sets of Kettlebell Swings to reinforce technique of driving through the floor and staying tight in your lockout - which you’ll see later is a key aspect to a strong, tight swing.
You really are only limited to your creativity… But Here are our favorites.
For the Deadlift we like the following reps schemes to use on separate training days:
2 sets of 5
1 set of 5, 1 set of 3, and 1 set of 2
3 sets of 3
5 sets of 2
And 6 sets of 1
As we mentioned earlier, we will use the Kettlebell Deadlift for a warm-up, as a lift we prioritize and train, and as a movement we will come back to in the middle of a session to remind members what their swing should feel like from a hip-dominant perspective.
For the Static Stomp Deadlift we like to use it for the following:
“Prime Time” aka Warm-up
In between sets of Swings, Cleans, Snatches, etc.
And as a go-to reminder when needed during a training session (ie//just grab a bell and do 1 rep as a reminder for what you’re trying to achieve at the top of your Swing, Clean, Snatch, etc.)
What To Look For Next Week
Make sure you check back next week when we go into Part 4 of the series: Creating and Mastering Your “Pre-Flight Checklist.”
Regardless of the lift you’re training, the setup is the absolute most important part.
In this post we’ll breakdown the areas you want to focus on before you “take flight” with the Kettlebell Swing.
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