Jeremy ‘Dave’ Davies is the Store Manager at Sportsmart Kilsyth, but he has also been an infantry soldier, boxing instructor, personal trainer and Australian Kettlebell Instructor. Apart from basketball, he competes in Girevoy Sport Weightlifting – the traditional Eastern European/Russian sport of kettlebell lifting. You can visit his website  for more information and training tips. He has taken the time to provide some information and training tips on strength bags.

Once you’re confident with your deadlift posture, your spine remains neutral throughout and you’re getting a nice fluid and full range of movement, it’s safe to move on to one of the most fundamental and beneficial ballistic kettlebell lifts: the swing.

There is no better single exercise that combines calorie crunching cardio, core strengthening, power development and metabolic-rate-spiking resistance training all in one.

To make the transition we begin with Pendulum Swings.

Start from the bottom of the deadlift action, with the kettlebell still on the ground and your hands on the handle. Lift using the normal deadlift upward motion, but stop about ten centremeters off the ground.

Pause and make sure your back alignment remains neutral: if it doesn’t, put the kettlebell down and start again.

Now comes the tricky part: keeping your eyes up, pull the kettlebell back between your legs (maintain that neutral spine posture!) and let the kettlebell swing back without applying any pressure yourself. Let the kettlebell have its way. Then pull it back again.

Don’t look down at the kettlebell. It’s not going anywhere.

Repeat this for around 30 seconds or so and then have a rest.

Once this basic pendulum swing feels comfortable, prepare to swing for real. Every four or five pendulum swings, as the kettlebell is swinging forward under its own momentum, stand up straight, keeping both your arms straight.

Don’t worry yet about how high you swing it, just make sure you’re not pulling it up.

As the kettlebell begins to swing back, drop down again into the lowered deadlift position and do a few more pendulum swings.

Once again, do this for around 30s before resting again.

As you confidence grows, lessen the amount of pendulum repetitions between full swings.  As you develop toward swinging the bell without pendulums, start to squeeze your abdominals as the kettlebell swings up. Imagine you are about to be hit in the stomach each time.

Never lean back as the kettlebell swings up: you are going from your low deadlift position (as the kettlebell swings back through your legs) to ramrod-straight, like a pole in cement. The quicker you do this, the easier the lift will be, and the more weight you will be able to swing. You re not lifting with your shoulders: but with your hips.

If at any time in a set of swings you are so fatigued that you can no longer brace your abdominals, take a short rest.

Once again, any further questions regarding kettlebell training, why not drop in for a chat with me at Sportsmart Kilsyth!

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