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Kettlebells, Particularly EMOM Swings

Hello Dr. Darden. Due to your article “Gold School,Triceps So Big” I recovered the works of Arthur Jones for the first time. Immediately recognizing the rightness of his concepts in his nautalis bulletins 1 and 2, I compleatly restructured my training to be in line with his ideas. Since then I’ve read your book Killing Fat and just ordered [The New Bodybuilding for Old-School Results].

Now to my question. I love my kettlebells. Love them. Before I read Arthur Jones I was close to completing 25 swings every min on the min for 20 min with a 40 lb KB. Is there a way to keep working with my kettlbell and still achieve the results from following yours and Mr. Jones’s advice?

It seems as if there is no place for kettlebell traning because it seems that it is nothing more than over Training. Would love to here your thoughts. I want optimal results and if that means no more kettlebell, that would make me sad. I just bought a new 24kg:(

I did 25 EMOM with a 50 during the 10,000 kettlebell swing workout - I lost an insane amount of fat during those 30 days while getting bigger glutes and hams. As long as you’re not doing the same thing for months at a time, kettlebells are great and plenty of strong people use them without overtraining.

I’m not a fan of kettlebells. Perhaps there are one or two KB exercises that are more efficient than similar dumbbell exercises. But I can’t see an advantage to using them in most exercises.

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Thanks for the quick replies. I use dumbbells and barbells for most exercises. I want to give lower volume higher intensity a serious try, for at least 6 weeks. Then I’ll see if I can fit the swing back into my weekly routine.

I would try 30-10-30 or 30-30-30 on your kettlebell swings

A superslow swing protocol with a heavy kettlelbell should work just as well and still keeping things HIT

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A kettlebell swing with a 30 second ANYTHING is not a kettlebell swing. It’s a front raise negative/concentric. A kettlebell swing is a hip hinge, and a hip snap, and it’s the hips that generate the force to propel the kettlebell upwards - the shoulders should barely come into it if the snap is generated properly. A 30 second negative or concentric on a kettlebell swing is just shoulders. You’re trying to mash up two things that have no place going together. Kettlebell swings are great for grip work and conditioning. You could do slow turkish get-ups with a KB maybe, or a slow KB press, but overall, this doesn’t make any sense.


flappinit …
First of all … what are your goals?

read “Return of the Kettlebell” and read Pavel’s recent blog on his web site about the Swing Sandwich. You’ll find a lot in common between them, and that should give you plenty to work with. Look also at Geoff Neupert’s programs.

Just read the swing sandwich post. Explain to me where you got from that, or anything else, that using 100% shoulders in a hip-dominant explosive movement is a proper substitution, or how it would be anything different from using a plate or a dumbbell to do a front raise with.

I’m not saying you can’t do a kettlebell movement super slow, I’m saying you literally cannot perform a kettlebell swing that slowly and have it be a kettlebell swing. It’s just a front raise at that point.

Doing KB swings as a quick 20 minute workout can be beyond brutal, so I’m not doubting that it has parallels to HIT, either. Like I said before - if someone could start standing and do a 30-30-30 Turkish get-up, they’d have themselves an insane workout right there. But you can’t do that with a kettlebell swing.

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The kettlebell doesn’t move like a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. Those pieces just move in a single plane. Kettlebells move up and down, but also in and out, and many exercises have a strong anti-rotational component to them, too. Trying to learn kettlebells off YouTube is about as successful for most people as trying to learn martial arts the same way.

A much smarter first step would be to book a few private training sessions with an RKC or SFG or to attend one of the one-day courses developed to teach people how to use kettlebells the right way.

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A kettlebell swing moves out in front of the body. The end point has you straight up with your arms STRAIGHT OUT in front of you. The only way to get from the end point - arms out straight - to the bottom point - hips hinged, KB between legs - would be to do a negative front raise for at least the first 15-20 seconds of said 30 seconds.

The fact that kettlebells move in a different motion than plates or DBs is actually a testament to my point that performing a really slow kettlebell swing completely eliminates any and all advantages that a kettlebell has, PLUS any advantages that a SWING has.

It’s rich that you keep referring me to learning resources about kettlebells after suggesting one of the only variations of a kB swing that would render it completely ineffective. Combine that with the fact that you haven’t actually addressed any of my concerns with the mechanical setbacks of the technique you suggested (in this instance), and I’m going to have to back out of this - you seem far more concerned with throwing words at me than you are actually discussing why doing a 30 second negative, a 30 second positive, and a 30 second negative kettlebell swing would be anything other than a front raise.

Later, dude. Also, if you didn’t realize, I’m
Not the OP who asked about KBs.

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Damn, you two make feel like an invalid … 25 swings on the minute for 20 minutes with 40 and 50 lb kettlebells ? !!

I started doing KB swings on my off days from my BB workouts for additional conditioning with a 44 lb bell but eventually those three KB days were reduced to two , than one … and all I was shooting for was three or four hundred a week and couldn’t keep it up. Can’t imagine 500 in 20 non-stop minutes !! All I was doing was 100 swings in blocks of 40,30,20,10 and that took less than five minutes and couldn’t keep it up more than a few weeks.

Can you give me an idea of how you progressed to that point without hitting the wall ??

Thank you :+1:

This will be an unpopular opinion, but given that the challenge is 500 KB swings with a 50# KB (for men) per day, 3-on-1-off, for 20 workouts, and you’re often doing a strength movement for a couple reps in between (more for maintenance of strength in those areas than building it) every set, I hit the wall pretty quickly, I just eventually ran through it. My grip adapted, my legs and back and lungs adapted - I started over 40 minutes, but there are people who have had sub-20 minute, even 15-minute times for a workout. For clarification, the traditional set-time is 10-15-25-50 for 5 clusters of 100. The 50 reppers are a true test of will, especially with my walmart kettlebell that is so thick I can’t fit my pinky’s inside of it. But the writer has allowed for all sorts of different rep schemes, and EMOM is the most effective way to get the lowest time, IMO.

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My goal to progress was to try and work up to 100 swings non stop.

I started with resting as many seconds as swings I did ; 40 swings/40 seconds , 30 swings/30 seconds , etc. until I hit 100. Wasn’t bad at all , even to start.

So I’d increase a swing or two each block every week and thought eventually I’d get 100 in two blocks and then finally one.

One day I decided to pass the 50 mark where I was currently and try as many as possible in the first block and did 65 swings. Afterwards I thought I’d never catch my breath … couldn’t get enough air into my lungs fast enough ! Kind of like drowning but without the water !

I didn’t pass out or anything and survived but that was the beginning of the end of my KB workouts. Never saw them as fun after that ! Closest I ever came to taking my own life with a kettlebell, LOL.

I want to start again which is why I asked about your progression methods. Thanks for the info.

I bought pavel’s enter the kettlebell and another book by him called the naked warrior back in 2008 when I was in Iraq. Love his books. My goal is two fold. I fell backwards 30 feet did three full flips before hitting the ground and the Docs told me only reason I survived was my high level of physical fitness. I want to be able to survive another 30 foot fall if I have too and I also want to put on weight. So survivability and asthetics are my goals.

Mostly I want to know how the swing fits into a less volume higher intensity work out. I’m experimenting with Arthur Jones views of lifting and he believed more was not better, that it retarded growth and that you should ideally keep work outs under 4 hours per week with less than 50 sets per week. Swings are high in number, I often do 500 in a 15 25 35 25 repeat till 500.

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Kettlebell HIT protocols are superb preventing unexpected falls!
Power to you!

Currently I am working on a Mike Mentzer consolidated type of routine using only Kettlebells. Swings and presses every 4-7 days to prevent inroad and help with recovery ability


How much time are you taking between your groups of reps ( 15, 25, 35, 25 ) and how much time between those blocks of 100 ?

Geez … repeating blocks of 100 five times !

Saw an interview with Pavel and was surprised that though having an ass kicking reputation as far as training goes , he does not advocate training to failure and only going ‘all out’ occasionally .