The kettlebell swing has always intrigued me. Probably because I don't have kettlebells (aside from my girlfriend's 10 and 15 pounder) and can't “legitimately” do them.
I used to string a towel through 25 pound plates to use as my “kettlebell” for makeshift swings. Oh I'm sure kettlbell purists would crucify me for this. Whatever.
I'm at the point in my training life where I'm eliminating rather than accumulating. I'm not sure I'd use kettlebells even if they were delivered to my doorstep. (I say that now, but I'm sure my curious conscious would tell me otherwise.) Nevertheless, I don't think a truck-o-kettlebells will make the stop anytime soon, but I still realize the power of the swing.
The swing is a great metabolic exercise and it also is the purest standing hip hinge exercise you can get. The kettlebell doesn't get in the way so the torso has more freedom to enable to full hinge.
But my interest in the swing has always been on the metabolic side rather than the hinge side. I know how to hinge just fine thanks my knee pain woes. The winter months make it tough for low intensity metabolic. Training is a cold garage is enough for me, and you definitely won't find me running around when the snow is falling. No worries. I make due with my athletic-aesthetic aerobic circuits and have mucho fun in the process.
But I know not everyone wants to
have near death experiences in their garage roll around like I do. (Even though they probably should. Seriously.) And I've caught myself saying that the swing is the perfect exercise for anyone that trains at home that wants to boost their heart rate.
No kettlebell, no swing.
This “barbell swing” exercise is a fine alternative to the swing from a strict heart rate standpoint. There are a few downsides though:
- The upper body takes the majority of the stress, not the glutes.
- You kinda have to conform your body to the barbell in order for it to land in the “sweet spot” to make this lift effective. The sweet spot is the crease of the hip. When the barbell sits there, the hips can hinge back as far as they want — just as they would in a swing.
- If you aren't strong enough, you won't be able to do this exercise for the metabolic hit.
Keep in mind that this isn't supposed to be a snatch or any kind of Olympic lift substitute. You want the barbell to travel in an arc. Not a straight line.
It's not a squat either. The knees don't bend. It's all hips moving back and forth.
So it's not a power exercise. It's just something to do if you have limited space and want to get the heart rate kicking with a swing-like exercise.
To be honest, I don't really use it. I'm content with my AAA circuits. But its great for people that want to get some aerobic training in with different methods. And especially good for those without kettlebells or confined spaces. A lot of people in the beta group for The Skinny-Fat Solution were looking for some indoor alternatives to aerobic work, so it's something to consider.
I guess it would work for HIIT too…if you're into that sort of thing. (Unlike me. Sign-up for my newsletter to get The Myth of HIIT and find out why.)
So take it for what it's worth.
Whatever it's worth.