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To squat or not - using a hip dominant action for kettlebell swings

Emily Friedel

There are basically two ways you can swing while maintaining a neutral spine position (which is of course vital for safety): using a knee dominant (squatting type) action or a hip dominant (Romanian deadlift type) action.

The hip dominant swing is preferable if you are aiming to target the posterior chain. It is also a far more efficient swing.  Efficiency of movement will translate directly to the load that is able to be moved in terms of a single repetition or over the course of a set or training session.  Take Olympic lifting, any power leaks (for example any deviation of the bar path from vertical) in a lift will result in reduced efficiency of the movement, which results in a reduced capacity to move a heavy weight.  At the other end of the spectrum, an inefficient running gait in a distance runner will result in premature fatigue and reduced pace.  So whatever your goals, efficiency is paramount.


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