Been getting tons of questions. And just tons of feedback in general. In fact, out of everything I've ever written, this is the the e-book where I've gotten the most feedback from you. It's amazing, and I really appreciate it. Y'all are too good to me.
By the way, growing up in California if you'd ever told me I'd say y'all, I never would have believed you. Crazy Denver mid-west folks got me speakin' all cowboy!
Anyway, I'm getting SO MANY questions that I thought I'd answer 'em in a public place, 'cause it'll help out everyone all at once.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Should I do the chest high or head high RKC Swing, or should I do the full overhead CrossFit Swing?
A: Definitely chest/head high. When people go full overhead, all kinds of horrible things happen:
1.) Shoulders come up
2.) Head comes forward
3.) They don't get full hip extension
4.) The stress moves from the butt and hamstrings to the low back
Now, you could say that none of this *has to happen*, but a quick trip around the internet (lookup CrossFit Swing or full overhead swing), you'll see almost every picture or video of someone swinging full overhead has their head forward, shoulders up, pulling with their arms, lack of full hip extension. Almost every single one.
By the same token, look up RKC swing or Hard-Style swing and you'll see shoulders back and down, full hip extension, and head in line with the spine. This is the safe, healthy, and powerful position.
The CrossFit argument that full overhead is "full range of motion" is drastically flawed: The movement is about taking the hip joint from flexion to neutral – it's a hip-joint, butt-and-hamstring-muscle exercise. It isn't a shoulder joint delt/low back muscle exercise. If you make it a shoulder exercise, you're going to strain your low back sooner or later, period.
While rare, it is possible to do a full overhead swing with correct form, but that is NOT part of the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge.
Q: Can I add XYZ workout on top of this program?
A: If you are advanced enough to add to the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge, you don't have to ask permission or have me tell you how.
For most people, with a heavy enough kettlebell, this program will be a really impressive amount of work, all by itself.
Q: I'm a super beginner, and the beginner program is too hard. What do I do?
A: There is no rule that says you have to "fill up" each time interval. You do as many swings as you can in the time frame.
For some people, that might be 5-10 swings in a 30 second interval. In other words, it's ok to stop early.
I'd rather you do everything with perfect form than fill up the time with bad form swings. If it's bad form, it doesn't count. If it makes your lower back more sore than your butt and hamstrings, you're doing it wrong and you need to do both less reps and better form.
Q: I'm not sure my form is correct, what should I do?
A: Re-watch both the videos, re-read the description of swing form. Make sure you *DO* all of the learning exercises in the video.
If you have to do all your swings as towel swings in the beginning, that's ok.
If you need to add face away from the wall swing drill to your warm up every day to train sitting your butt back, do that.
If you really feel like you aren't getting it – seek out instruction from an RKC Certified Instructor.
Q: Why did you use kettlebell swings instead of kettlebell snatches?
A: Three reasons I didn't use snatches in the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge:
1.) Snatches about four times harder to learn than swings.
2.) Even for experienced kettlebell lifters, snatches can really tear up a person's hands.
3.) Snatches have no extra fat loss benefit over swings.
Q: How many kettlebells do I need?
A: The 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge was designed to be done with one kettlebell only.
That being said, if you already have more than one kettlebell, you can do drop sets and other cool stuff.
Q: It's workout number number 10, and I'm starting to get really sore and run down, what do I do?
A: Do less reps per interval, or drop down to a lighter kettlebell.
There is no reason you have to "fill up" each interval with swing reps. Likewise, there is no rule that says that you have to use the same kettlebell for the whole program.
Days you feel great, feel free to rock it and fill up all the intervals or rock out with a heavier kettlebell. Days you feel tired and sore, do less reps per interval or drop down to a lighter kettlebell.
-Josh Hillis, RKC2, CPT, PES, ZMIS
author of 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge
featured in USA Today and The Denver Post,
and quoted in the Los Angeles Times.