Nicolas Rithner offers a twist on the traditional kettlebell swing with the goal of increasing explosiveness and torque in athletes playing contact sports.
Kettlebell lifting is a great way to develop strength endurance, but it also has the advantage of allowing multi-planar loading. At Glendale Rugby, we use kettlebells for conditioning in addition to barbell training.
We use the rotational swing often because it’s a challenging, non-stop movement that targets the whole body—armpits down—and replicates the unilateral hip-knee extension seen in tackling. In addition, it’s a “two-speed exercise” that requires explosiveness and complexity. The rotational swing offers great benefits for sports involving unilateral hip explosiveness and torque, such as hockey, lacrosse and tackling sports such as rugby and football.
This is an advanced exercise that must only be approached after the one-hand swing has been mastered to the point that there is no lower-back soreness after training, even when working with a challenging weight. I consider the rotational swing an important core exercise. Adding it to your routine will help you increase torque, resulting in improved performance on the field.