Benefits– a terrific explosive movement for the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings). As a society, we spend waaay too much time sitting on our back sides and not enough time working them. The swing is a very dynamic exercise that really challenges your posterior muscles.
Execution– the form on swings is a bit tricky, but here are some coaching cues that work.
There is no level change on swings. Meaning, your hips should travel front to back and not up and down like a squat. The bell should nearly hit you in the butt with each swing. Deep swinging is a sure fire way to an unhappy spine!
You must keep your glutes active by “squeezing” your way to the top position. Pretend there is a wall in front of your hips so that you cannot pass the neutral hip position and into lumbar extension. Slam your hips into the imaginary wall and tighten your glutes to create the momentum of the swing.
One sure way to know if you are not swinging with enough “pop”- a sagging bell. This happens when you lift the bell with your arms instead of the momentum from your hips. The bell becomes lifeless and hangs down at the top position. The bottom of the bell faces the floor and not away from you. Limp is bad- stiff is good, but we know that already!
Progressions– If you cannot dead lift correctly, do not swing!!! The swing is a dynamic exercise and you must master the lower levels of this movement before you start swinging stuff around. Once you have a good grasp on the basic swing, you can add single arm swings (great core exercise), hand 2 hand swings, double swings or simply increase the load. In the video, Santa Nikki is swinging the 32kg (70 lbs for the math challenged) like it is a baby rattle!
Especially good for– Sir Mix A Lot. Do I really need to explain why? Oh, and anyone looking for an explosive dead lift variation.