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The Kettlebell Sportstyle Swing is always done with one arm, never with two arms like you see used with the swing that most people are used to, the conventional kettlebell swing. There is a very valid reason why Sport Athletes don’t do the sportstyle swing with two arms, and that reason is; it doesn’t transfer to anything in the sport, i.e. Snatch, Clean or Jerk. Every kettlebell exercise used in competition is performed with one arm, hence there is no reason to do the sportstyle swing with two arms.
But none of this means it’s not possible to do and that it shouldn’t be done. It’s possible to do the sportstyle kettlebell swing with two arms, and you should incorporate it in your kettlebell training, but you should know why you’re doing it and be able to explain so, as you’ll be getting strange looks for sure. You’ll be getting close minded trainers who are stuck in their ways laughing at you, talking about you and putting you down. Stuff them, they’ll catch up at some stage.
I made the following video to demonstrate that one can do the sport style swing with double arms, I also demonstrate the conventional kettlebell swing, and give you an awesome tip: the longer you wait with breaking at the hips, the less core work required, this is demonstrated towards the end of the conventional swing demo.
The sportstyle swing has more push with the hips, staying longer connected with the arms, more hip extension, leaning back, knees coming forward, quarter squat, less core work required, where as the conventional kettlebell swing is a lot of core and glute work, pushing the heels into the ground, and a more explosive movement. Just like with the kettlebell training swing, within the sportstyle there are also many differences, so don’t get to caught up on the above explanation.
You have to remember that within kettlebell sport it’s all about removing resistance and going with the flow as much as possible, where as in kettlebell training it’s about resistance, hence it falls under resistance training. That doesn’t mean there is no resistance from the weight within the sport, it simply means your goal is to get as little resistance, because you want to last as long as possible (10 minutes) and get out as many reps as possible. Where as in kettlebell training you generally want as much resistance as you can to increase your strength.
By the way, when I refer to the conventional kettlebell swing, truth be told, the sportstyle one arm swing is much older, but for us kettlebell enthusiasts the double-arm kettlebell swing is more common, hence I refer to it as conventional.
So, if you’re not training for power, but you’re training for endurance, then swing that bell with two arms sportstyle if you want! If you want to remove the focus from the posterior chain muscles and move them to the anterior chain, then again, swing that baby with two arms sportstyle. As a matter of fact, just do it no matter what, have a go at it, sometimes changing things up is also good for the mind.
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2 thoughts on “Double Arm Kettlebell Sportstyle Swing”
Thank you for the article and the video!
I got certified with the WKC in 2011. I chose them because I had the fortunate advantage of being friends with Catherine Imes. I knew that Catherine was a big deal, but I didn’t know enough about the bells to know the difference between hard and sport style. I just wanted to learn an effective tool for myself, and my personal training clients. My biggest surprise since entering the kettlebell world, is how divisive it is. RKC people acting as if the sport style swing was an affront to God, and WKC people acting as if squatting with a bell in the rack position was as dangerous as bull riding. What I found as a trainer who works with regular folks, is that regular folks don’t care about loyalty to styles. They just want an effective workout. Also, I noticed that people usually acclimate to one style or another. So I just began teaching whichever one that they leaned towards. And many of them, do an effective and safe hybrid of the two. Which, looks a lot like the double arm sport swing. I really appreciate seeing leaders in the fitness and KB community being openminded enough to incorporate any KB movement that is safe and effective !
Thanks for your comment Matt. I simply don’t deal with closed minded people, there is so much to learn from everyone. I fully understand the sport people with their decisions though, they’re doing something right, just look at the amount and reps they lift, but to me that doesn’t give anyone the right to slack other exercises or styles off, it simply is not for them, and for a reason. The same goes vice versa. I’m in between, I like everything, I know I won’t reach full potential through not focussing on just several exercises, but that’s just me.