The Kettlebell Swing and Kettle-Jitsu Variations

JoJo swing

If there is one exercise in the fitness industry that is the most talked about and argued over, it has to be the kettlebell swing! I have honestly never seen anything like it.  It amazes me how opinionated and close minded people are on this very exercise. For the most part we know that kettlebell training was developed in Russia. But what most people don’t know, is that the kettlebell was not invented to be an exercise tool. It was used for weighing things. Then, someone decided to use it in lifting competitions in village games. From there on, kettlebell techniques were developed and refined by Russians and it is now a sport as well.  Does this mean that we have to do all kettlebell exercises like the Russians? I think not.

  Nowadays, everyone is picking up kettlebells and swinging.  There are numerous kettlebell organizations using different methods. You have hard style swings, GS style swings, American swings, combat swings etc…  Whose style is the best? For me, fitness is an expression of ones personality.  I believe you have to choose the fitness system that suits you.  I don’t believe one person’s method is better than the other.  But what I do believe, that you must have a solid foundation in fitness before you pick up the bell and start swinging. 

  There are some key elements you must have before attempting the swing.  Regardless if you are doing a traditional swing or a crossfit style swing, if you are not warmed up properly, chances are you are going to injure yourself.  Almost every variation of the swing involves your lower back. So it is important to thoroughly prepare your core before using a kb.  Another factor is the neutral spine.  This is also a universal factor regardless which style of swing you do.  Keeping a neutral spine while swinging is important. 

  I use the swing that is pretty much standard in the kettlebell industry.  It involves the folding of the hips, with a slight bend of the knees. I found this method to be one of the best overall core developing exercises. It is also extremely functional for what I do.  I am a former mma fighter and and international bjj competitor.  In every aspect of fighting, you are using your core.  I believe mastering the swing gives you great control of your hips. It helps tremendously with your sprawl. The sprawl is a defense to numerous types of take downs.  You will most likely find the sprawl in every mma and bjj competition you see.  So that is why I love the swing and different variations of it. 

  Over the years, I have developed numerous variations of the swing.  On my first dvd, Combat Kettlebell Systems, I introduced to the world my “combat swings.”  This variation uses the same mechanics of the regular swing, but only from a fighting(staggered) stance.  This variation adds a whole different effect to this exercise. It will hit your core entirely different than a traditional swing.  But, before attempting combat swings or other variations, I do believe you should master the 2 hand swing. 

  So that is a brief explanations of my philosophy of the swing and why I do what I do.  Check out the attached video to see some of my Kettle-Jitsu variations.  I included a side angle of the exercises to show the folding and hinging of my hips while I do them.  Make sure you are warm before attempting them! Click here to purchase the new Kettle-Jitsu Revolution double dvd and start learning how to swing!