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American Swing?

Hurlburt85-89

New member
Ok since I was banned on the CrossFit boards for asking this with no sarcasm or profanity, I will ask you guys. What is the point of an "American" swing? I don't get why you would teach people a lazy, poorly performed snatch.
 

Huskie

New member
In my opinion there's no point - you may as well just snatch it. And properly.

Crossfit reckon that the American swing is 'neurologically complete' due to the 'full' range of motion, and that the Russian swing is somehow incomplete.

I believe that this argument is akin to telling Olympic lifters that they shouldn't be doing deadlifts or snatch pulls.
 

selfcritical

New member
If you phrased it that way, I'm not terribly suprised you got banned.

The arguement is that the wider range of motion= more work. This may very well be true PER REP. However, I feel the last third of the arc is significantly slower than the rest, so your ability to do work PER TIME is dimished.

For example, my Pekiti Tirsia instructor is starting to get heavily into Crossfit. He is in significantly better shape than me as far as metabolic conditioning. If we both swing the standard 35lb'r, he does about 10 swings in 20 seconds. I do 15 in the same period, and I am smaller and have inferior metabolic attributes. Clearly since the difference is not my attributes, it's got to be the way we're swinging. I feel the RKC method maximizes the amount of time we work on the hip motion for any given interval.

I also have some reservations about the range of motion at the top for your shoulder, and how it would interfere with learning a skill progression(using the swing to teach snatches, cleans, and high pulls), but don't feel qualified to speak to that. I would note that in crossfit Oly lifts are taking the place of the more advanced kettlebell lifts, so maybe the need for a planned kettlebell skill progression is percieved as less?
 
There is no such thing as full range of motion in exercise, only full exercise ROM. For example the biceps contracts from a stretch position with the upper arm behind the body, continues until the elbow joint can go no further then contracts further as the elbow is raised over the head in deltoid flexion. You would need an elaborate device to train just the biceps through a full range of motion with productive load at all points. Now imagine that for a full body lift. Its a bad argument. How about full snatches and swings on an elevation like in the first RKC text? A great exercise! However should we only do them that way? Should we only bench with cambered bars? Deadlift on blocks? Weak.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 

Hurlburt85-89

New member
If you phrased it that way, I'm not terribly suprised you got banned.

I asked why they are comparing their overhead swing to what we do instead of a snatch. I was not rude. I've never been banned for asking a question on any board. except for CrossFit... today.

But you are welcome to say that I deserved it. Although I'm not sure what the heck you are thinking.
 
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truckie16

New member
In my opinion crossfit does the american swing because they then do not have to teach the snatch. Which is a much more technical lift. It's just a lot easier to teach.
 

Hurlburt85-89

New member
In my opinion crossfit does the american swing because they then do not have to teach the snatch .

Which is fine in itself but don't proclaim you suddenly know more than 300 years of experience with kettlebells and proclaim a big sloppy swing is the ultimate. You are dumbing it down for the masses.
 

selfcritical

New member
Yeah I think it's a consequence of the way that the swing is an abberation for them, rather than fitting into a needed skill for a wide range of lifts. You can tell that to them the KB swing is a random exercise, rather than being continous with the olympic lifts they're teaching. Some of the exercise progressions seems like they don't view them as a unified whole. As I said, I obviously prefer the RKC version, and expect to be having this discussion often with my martial arts instructor.

Didn't they have an article addressing the subject too? I can't recall.
 

Hurlburt85-89

New member
In my opinion crossfit does the american swing because they then do not have to teach the snatch. Which is a much more technical lift. It's just a lot easier to teach.

Fine.. I have no problem with that but they claim other things. Like they know more and we haven't explored their glorious range of motion. Even though we snatch.
 

Ideal Paradigm

New member
Ok since I was banned on the CrossFit boards for asking this with no sarcasm or profanity, I will ask you guys. What is the point of an "American" swing? I don't get why you would teach people a lazy, poorly performed snatch.

Being banned for asking a legitimate question seems a bit harsh, but I suppose Crossfit in general may be getting a little more defensive as it gets larger. They are receiving more criticism because of their publicity, it comes hand in hand.

There was a very large thread about this about a month or two ago, here it is:

http://kbforum.dragondoor.com/kettlebells-strength-conditioning-forum/136602-crossfit-swings.html

Check it out and look at the debate and decide for yourself.
 

jpd28

New member
I do not understand why so many people on this forum have a problem with overhead swings.
Swinging a KB of a given weight higher than chest height requires a stronger pull so that might be justification enough if your heaviest kb is now light for you.
In Pavel's original KB book, he said you could swing them to any height including overhead.
KJ says that snatches work better than swings for mvo2 so maybe overhead swings would give you the mvo2 advantage of snatch without the hand issues.
 
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greg57

New member
I
In Pavel's original KB book, he said you could swing them to any height including overhead.

Yup, seen it with my own 2 eyes in the RKC DVD. Pavel doing a swing way overhead. These American swing threads make my head want to explode.

Which is fine in itself but don't proclaim you suddenly know more than 300 years of experience with kettlebells and proclaim a big sloppy swing is the ultimate. You are dumbing it down for the masses.
How about less than 10 years of history, the Russian did them first.

We may no longer teach swings this way, but they were a part of the RKC system not that long ago, get over yourselves.
 

Snakebite

Banned
I do not understand why so many people on this forum have a problem with overhead swings.

One of the reasons might be the whole lat-firing thing. It's supposed to be crusial in a "hard-style" swing. And if you're "firing your lat" properly - your arm simply won't go much higher than chest/head level.

Wether or not that makes one or another kind of swing "superior" is quite a childish debate. It's a different excercise. Whats a better excercise: squat or a deadlift? :)
 
P

Pavel Tsatsouline

Guest
Comrades, overhead swings have been around and are occasionally done by weightlifters in Eastern Europe. I have mentioned this exercise in the Russian Kettlebell Challenge book. You may do them if:

1. You have mastered a lower swing.
2. You have no thoracic and shoulder restrictions and you do not hyperextend your back or jam your shoulders on the top.
3. Your body is skinny enough not to get in the way.

Com. Brett Jones has pointed that "The snatch is an exercise in elevating the energy, the swing is an exercise in projecting the energy forward. If we want to elevate—we will snatch."

Why would you want to project your force forward rather than up?—Because, unlike weigthtlifting and some Highland throwing, many sports (boxing, martial arts, football, shot put, etc.) demand it. And when you project your force forward your abs and lats act as the sights of a gun. The arms pointing forward and the abs being short bring the "sights" in line. "Spreading the sights" weakens the punch. Try an experiment: throw a few punches against a chest level target, then punch a target overhead, and compare your power.

Read up on Prof. McGill's concepts of "superstiffness" and "leakage".
 
Awesome explanation, Chief Instructor.

As an aside, although I am not a fan of Crossfit's form over over intensity I have know many that do snatch and some with RKC form. I dont think it is fair to say that some many of them do it cuz they cant snatch or dont want to teach it-i think they are just being handed a model by those that train them.

I also wanted to mention that the idea of collecting a lot of loaded movement patterns is a good idea I just think that their program intensity, form and exertion are skewed in the wrong direction. I do think the majority are just looking for a good fitness model and a community of practice like we have here. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
 

Ideal Paradigm

New member
KJ says that snatches work better than swings for mvo2 so maybe overhead swings would give you the mvo2 advantage of snatch without the hand issues.

You only get hand issues if you have technique issues. If you use the drop and catch method properly, you won't have hand issues.

For instance, when I started ETK about a year ago, I had some hand issues with the skin being pushed up towards the base of the fingers because I was not using the drop and catch method (those who have done this will understand what I am saying). Eventually, I figured out a way to prevent this because it was quite uncomfortable. I intuitively started using something similar to the drop and catch method, not exactly the same but very similar. Then I watched Mr. Vezina's drop and catch video and altered my snatch form and I have yet to tear my hands at all.

As for the overhead swing being equivalent to the snatch, in order to actually discover whether or not it is actually effective, you would have to scientifically test it. As Kenneth Jay has also said before, and many notable fitness instructors, just because you get smoked by a workout doesn't mean that it was effective.

We may no longer teach swings this way, but they were a part of the RKC system not that long ago, get over yourselves.

The RKC is a constantly evolving philosophy/training methodology. Just because something was done in the past doesn't mean that it's correct or still encouraged. Now I'm not saying the overhead swing is wrong, but it's not a staple of the RKC system any longer.

Pavel himself has stated in this thread that if you have certain conditions, you may do overhead swings as you desire. Either way, it's been argued, why don't you just do the snatch instead?
 
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