In Kettlebells, Sports Applications

October 05, 2009

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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.

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7 Comments on “Rugby and the Rotational Kettlebell Swing”


wrote …

That is awesome! I can't believe I never thought of that before...


wrote …

I realize that it probably wouldn't happen, but does anyone foresee nasty knee collisions (potentially VERY nasty)?


wrote …

Video Please! Otherwise, great contribution to the KB lexicon in the CF Journal.


wrote …

Great article Nicolas! It's nice to see some more examples of sport-specific KB drills.

Erik, the rotational drill seems pretty similar to a Jeff Martone uppercut drill shown in one of his videos (either on mainsite or in the journal, I don't recall), with the difference being that the bell is caught in front, at arm's length, rather than close to the chest. The figure-8 to hold seems to be pretty similar to the uppercut drill. You may be able to view Jeff's video and then apply it to these drills.

I think the key differences between the uppercut drill and both of the drills in this article are the intent or purpose of the drills listed in the bullet points.


wrote …

Right on, Bryan--thanks for the navigation!


wrote …

In my opinion as a strength coach, I would not consider this a uni-lateral movement at all. Can you please explain why you think this is?

The Strength Syndicate


wrote …

Bryan- This exercise is a lot different than the uppercut shown by Jeff. Erik is right, it would be nice to have a video. And Clinton, there are possibilities for all kinds of injuries with kettlebells, the answer is...use a weight you can handle and don't hit your knees.

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