Happy Monday SGW readers! Ready for a new challenge? Give 1-arm swings a try.
Why I like ‘em:
1. They’re swings. I love swings in any form.
2. You have to use a lighter weight than a 2-arm swing which is a good way to get in the conditioning aspect of swings but it spares any achy joints. For example, my hand is a little cranky from swinging Natasha (our 28 K bell) so utilizing the 1-arm swing, I can still train the movement but with a more favorable hand position.
3. It challenges the opposite side (the side not holding the bell) glute/midsection. The body has to stabilize and resist rotation from the off-set load. So you get an extra challenge to your glutes and abs. You’ll also realize which side lags behind the other. I can tell my left glute doesn’t fire as fast or as powerfully as my right side, so this is a good way to even out my imbalance. By bringing up the lagging side, that makes you a stronger, more powerful and efficient lifter (annnd, less prone to injuries).
4. You can really whip your hips through because of the lighter weight. It’s akin to doing speed work (moving a lighter weight as fast as you can) for one of the big lifts. So, fast twitch muscles can have two functions: move heavy weight slowly or move lighter weight quickly. (the differences between power, speed and strength are a whole post on their own, so for now, we’ll stick with this.) Speed work trains the “quick” aspect of fast twitch muscles, teaching them to produce force more quickly. Keep this in the back of your brain and we’ll revisit in another post in the future. Bottom line: when programmed appropriately, speed work will make you stronger.
5. Their a good first step in learning how to do a KB clean and a snatch.
6. Did I mention I love swings?
- Just like a normal swing, only you have to think a little bit more on cracking the walnut between your butt cheeks and keeping your abs tight at the top. (in the video, I don’t push my hips back enough, sorry. Shove dem hips back!)
- Your hand can either be pronated (palm down) or neutral (palm facing the inside of your opposite leg). Because our bells have HUGE handles, I keep a neutral grip so the handle doesn’t whack my leg. It’s up to you, but no matter your hand position, maintain a tight upper back. What do I mean? Shove your shoulder blade in your back pocket and keep you shoulder down away from your ear. You should feel your lats contracting hard on your bell-holding side.
Ta-daa! Try a couple of sets of 8-12 swings per side to practice. Then, incorporate into your work out for a couple of weeks and reap the benefits!