Kettlebell swings (KBS) are a great exercise for the posterior chain targeting the hamstrings, lower and upper back extensors, midline, and glutes! They are a challenging exercise in themselves; however, if you need to take them to the next level, you can do them banded.
BENEFITS OF BANDED KBS
Banded KBS add another level of resistance to the exercise increasing the demand on all of the musculature involved. This will increase the intensity of the exercise and bring on greater results.
Beyond that, banded KBS also add an eccentric challenge which even further challenges the musculature involved. When you are returning the weight from the overhead to the swing position, the tension on the band is going to want to whip you forward; as a result, you have to CONTROL the descent utilizing your back muscles, hamstrings and glutes in an eccentric fashion. This will demand more force production from the muscle and allow for greater strength gains than the typical concentric exercise (although both eccentric and concentric exercises play their role!).
Implementing an eccentric component to an exercise can also help to slow the movement down for control purposes and encourage better positioning/awareness of positioning.
POINTS OF PERFORMANCE
The set up of the banded KBS looks like this. Just make sure you feet are stepping on the middle of the band so tension is equally distributed between the two sides of the band.
The other points of performance for a banded KBS do not differ from your unbanded KBS:
1) Feet shoulder be about shoulder width apart or just slightly wider.
2) Full grip with both hands on the handle of the KB and the KB should be hanging in between your legs.
During the swing back phase:
3) You HINGE your hips BACK and maintain your shoulders stacked over your knees.
4) Maintain a neutral lumbar spine and do not allow it to round.
5) Keep your knees stacked over your so your shins are vertical to the ground.
As you approach the upswing phase:
6) Your hips and knees extend forcefully to produce the torque needed to get the weight to swing overhead.
7) Maintain distribution of your weight through your midfoot and the heels in contact with the ground (until the end of the swing phase where someone people pop up onto their toes a little bit, especially as the weight gets heavier and thats ok)
The overhead position:
8) As you swing the weight into the overhead position, the arms lock out and you achieve a fully extended overhead position with a visual of your ears in order for the rep to count. The KB should be fully bottom up at this time. (This is the USA KBS; the Russian KBS versions stops the weight at eye level).
During the downswing:
9) Your hips hinge back again as your return the weight into the first hanging position to initiate the next rep.
Make sure you have these points of performance mastered in the UNbanded KBS before you move on to the banded KBS!
Written by: Marissa Oxenford, PT, DPT, CMFA-cert, CF-L1 Trainer, CPT