Friday, January 06, 2006
Sandbag Workout (part 2)
Kettlebell swings challenge your whole body, with an emphasis on hamstrings, hips and glutes. Your back and shoulders don’t get off easy, either. And doing high reps will have you panting as if sprinting uphill. Trust me.
I tried the “kettlebell” swing using a 50-lb sandbag and it worked pretty well. If it's your first time doing swings, be sure to start with a weight you can handle with proper form. Going heavy before learning proper technique is a good way to hurt yourself. There will be plenty of time later to increase your sandbag's weight or reps.
Here is how to go about it: Place the sandbag on the ground and between your feet, with legs spread a little wider than shoulder width. Reach down and grip the bag. Keep your arms straight. Your posture should the same as if you were going to do a standing long jump (see the first photo): knees bent, butt extended back, straight spine, head up. Now, with straight arms, swing the bag back and forth a little to get some momentum going. Inhale as the bag swings backward. Exhale as it goes forward.
Once you have momentum, from the start position (first photo), straighten your legs while snapping your hips forward, swinging the bag up to eye level or a little higher (see the second photo). Keep a solid base and your abs tight throughout.
Then let the bag fall, with control, retracing the arc, back between your legs. That is one rep. Now, swing the bag up again, and then back. That's two reps. Do it again. Keep going. Concentrate on your form and establish a rhythm. Remember to exhale as the bag rises. Inhale as it falls.
Proper technique is everything. When your form starts to break down, stop. Getting sloppy is when people hurt themselves. Get it right before challenging yourself.
"It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing . . ."