Russian or American Kettlebell Swings?

Had a great workout recently:

5 rounds of:

  • 50 Russian kettlebell swings @ 53 lbs.
  • 25 double-unders or 75 single-unders
  • 10 right + 10 left kettlebell snatches @ 53 lbs.

My time (doing the single unders) was 17:40.  I love this WOD because it simulates the number of strokes in a 2K race with the 250 kettlebell swings, and the total work time simulates the length of a 5K race in an eight or quad.

After the WOD I was talking to my coach about the difference between doing Russian and American kettlebell swings.  Call me a pinko, but I much prefer the Russian version for rowing training.  Why?

  • The cadence is much closer to rowing.
  • The ability to establish a rhythm is better – shifting the bodyweight of the torso, etc.
  • The timing of the “snap” becomes much more pronounced when doing high reps at a high cadence – puts a premium on explosiveness in the hips since you can’t cheat and use your arms to get it overhead.
  • The level of the bell at the top of the swing is about the same level as at the catch in the sculling stroke, meaning that you are putting tension across the torso at a rowing-specific level in order to keep the bell from flying away.  Great for the lats and especially the grip.  I get the same blisters as I do when rowing with sweaty handles, which tells me this is highly specific and is also helping to train grip strength for sculling.  Doing them one-handed is even better!

Appreciate anyone else’s opinion on this….

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