Swings and Get-Ups Are NOT Enough

Master RKC Max Shank performs a kettlebell Get Up
One of the major misconceptions with regard to kettlebell training over the past several years has been the idea that swings and get-ups will fix/cure/heal anything and be a well-rounded training program.

This is absolutely not the case. This is more a case of "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

When you get right down to it, swings and get-ups are EXCELLENT exercises, but only doing them is massively shortsighted.

When it comes to programming, simple is often better, but too simple can be just as bad as too complicated.

With kettlebell training there is a tendency to have a hyper-focus on kettlebell-specific exercises, while disregarding tried and true basic truths of general strength and athleticism training.

Because it makes the most sense to train full-body workouts for non-bodybuilders, let's look at what a potential training session could look like:

1 Get-up per side, 10 swings. Repeat 10 times. Go home.

Simple? Yes. Burn some calories? Sure. Enhance general movement? Yeah that too. But to call it well-rounded is a huge mistake.
Master RKC Max Shank Kettlebell Swing

Learning to categorize exercises is an important skill when it comes to programming training sessions. The meat and potatoes of movements are:

Upper Push
Upper Pull*

Lower Push
Lower Pull*


*These areas are most critical for improved posture relative to our sitting-in-a-chair dominant culture. Any lack in these areas is going to compound movement dysfunction and increase injury risk.

Here's a great way to improve your swings and get-ups workout session:

1A) Get-Up x 1/side (upper push)
1B) Swing x 10 (lower pull)
1C) Hip Flexor Stretch x 10 breaths/side (mobility)
Repeat 5 times
Master RKC Max Shank Kettlebell Row

2A) Row x 8 (upper pull)
2B) Reverse Lunge x5/side (lower push)
2C) Thoracic Bridge (mobility)
Repeat 5 times

By adding these extra movements and dialing back on the swings and get-ups, you are going to have a much more well-rounded training session.

No extra time investment, just smarter planning and more bang for your buck.

Don't make things too complicated, but don't make them too simple either; make a training session checklist and make sure you are hitting all of the above categories--you'll be stronger, more flexible, and stay injury-free.

Small Book Cover Master The KettlebellMaster RKC Instructor Max Shank is the owner of Ambition Athletics in Encintas, California. He is very active in martial arts, competes in the Highland Games, and promotes a holistic approach to overall fitness. For more information about Max please visit www.ambitionathletics.com.
Max Shank is also the author of Master the Kettlebell, now available in ebook and paperback format.