Kettle bell swings


Heh - I just remembered something else about when I was training to attempt a 48kg get up…

As I mentioned in my earlier post, doing them with a 40kg bell was scary. It wouldn’t be good to lose control and drop that much weight. It could land on a foot or some other body part.

I was entertaining the thought of tying one of our climbing ropes to the handle and having my wife belay the bell (both up and down) as I did the movement. However, the overhead anchor that I have (which is used for a pair of underused gymnastic rings) isn’t in an ideal location to do this though.

Still, something along those lines seem like the safest option. If I ever get serious about doing heavy TGUs again, I’ll probably do something like this.


I found a pair of photos that I had my daughter take of me back in 2013. I had posted these to another forum to demonstrate the wrong and right way to hold a kettlebell overhead, e.g. at the top of a snatch, press, or TGU. Holding the bell in this fashion becomes more important as the bells get heavier.

In the first - “wrong” - photo, I’m gripping the handle near the center. My wrist ends up being cocked backward and it takes an effort (using forearm muscles) to prevent it from being bent even further back.

In this second - “right” - photo, I’m gripping the bell at the corner of the handle and the outside of my wrist is making contact against the other side of the handle. When gripped in this fashion, it is easy to maintain a straight, neutral wrist position. I have my fingers extended here, though they don’t need to be. In fact, gripping the bell tightly may be of benefit when doing heavy presses and other movements.

(Bob) #23

That’s a heckuva cannonball hanging over your noggin there!

(David) #24

Tim Ferris had a superb interview with the author of Simple and Sinister a couple of years ago. Absolutely worth a listen.

In the book, didn’t he say something like, “if you are a normal person, you need a kettlebell weighing X lbs. If you are a strong person you need a kettlebell weighing Y lbs. If you have to ask yourself if you are a strong person, you are not.”


I think you’re referring to Pavel Tsatsouline. I’ve read Enter the Kettlebell, but I haven’t yet looked at Kettlebell Simple & Sinister.

With regard to kettlebell weights, the usual recommendation for men is 16kg (35lb) for beginners, though 20kg (44lb) and 24kg (53lb) bells may be used as starting weights for better trained individuals.

For women, 8kg (18lb) is often recommended as a good starting weight, with 12kg and 16kg being options for women already engaged in other types of weight training.

This is not a hard and fast rule, however. Tracy Reifkind has a nice video on choosing a kettlebell weight for doing the swing…

(GINA ) #26

I like the idea of kettlebells, but I have gotten a case of tendonitis in my elbow right about each time I have tried to start using them. First on my left elbow, then a year or so later in my right. I have done videos mostly, so there were a variety of ‘moves’ (the Bob Harper one that came with my first KB, and another one later that I don’t remember the details about).

Is there a particular swing that could be causing it? A particular form mistake? Maybe it was a all a coincidence and the KBs aren’t to blame. My right elbow is just about cleared up and I have been thinking about starting gain, but I don’t want anymore elbow pain.

(Garrell Herndon) #27

I am looking to get some feedback from a qualified trainer. I like what I see from the “Strong First” videos and Simple and Sinister book. It is Pavel’s work. Take care of your joints! It could be some small adjustments in you shoulder or lat, might help with your elbow.

(Garrell Herndon) #28

Good video!


I don’t find two handed swings to be especially ergonomic. I have trouble fitting both of my moderately large hands together in the kettlebell handle and, when I do so, my wrists often end up being cocked at an unnatural angle.

I do one-handed swings instead. One handed swings allow me to keep my both my elbow and wrist straight.

It might be worth trying one-handed swings to see if you find them to be more elbow friendly.

It occurs to me too that your volume (number of repetitions) might be too high. I don’t work out to videos, but am under the impression that they’re fairly high in volume often with fairly light weights. You might consider increasing the weight of the kettlebell that you’re using, but drastically lowering the total number of reps. (Or, if you’re starting out again, just use your existing kettlebell until you get back into it.)

Something else to look at is foam rolling / myofascial release / trigger point therapy of tissue near the elbow. For this area, a LaCrosse ball is often a better implement to use than a foam roller. If you find the right spot to massage, this will often fix your elbow pain. The book that I recommend for Trigger Point Therapy is The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief by Clair and Amber Davies. Elbow pain can also be treated with a technique called “Voodoo Flossing” which is described in Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Dr Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza.


Ok, wish I’d seen this before I bought my kettlebell, but it did confirm I bought the right weight for me, so that’s nice.


depends on what you want to get…i started with 35lb kettlebell and it came out to $55 after shipping. this is enough for me to get a good workout in