By Nick Nilsson
Author of Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss
The Swing is a classic movement that targets almost every major muscle group in your body, though most specifically on the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, lower back).
It's one of the single best exercises you can do in the gym.
This exercise is often done using kettlebells, though you can also use dumbbells very effectively as well, if you don't have access to kettlebells, which is the version I'm going to focus on here...especially since it's not often you find enough kettlebells in one place to really do a style of set like this. Dumbbells, absolutely.
First, you'll need to get your dumbbells lined up and ready to go (I'll explain proper swing form as we go through these here).
I'm using a 105 lb, 85 lb, 65 lb, 45 lb and a 25 lb dumbbell for a 5 part drop set. If you're starting with smaller weights, you can do 10 lb drops in the weight.
The concept is simple...do a set of swings with the heaviest dumbbell, roll it out of the way then grab the next one and do a set. Roll it out of the way and keep repeating this until you've gone though all the dumbbell drops.
The real key is to stop and drop to the next dumbbell when you start to feel your form break down a little. DO NOT start using terrible form in order to keep doing reps. That's not what we're looking for.
You want to keep doing swings with good form, reducing the weight in order to allow yourself to continue doing swings.
By the time you've competed all the drops, your posterior chain will be WORKED.
So grab your first dumbbell. Set it on end, set your feet out wide (so the dumbbell has room to pass between your legs on the downswing) then grasp underneath the top set of plates.
Take a short backswing then SNAP your hips forward to swing the weight up. The movement originates at the hips...it's not an arm swing.
Do reps until you feel your form about start breaking down (e.g. you're using a jerky motion or you're not getting the dumbbell very high up).
Grab the next dumbbell and continue.
Rep out with that then drop again.
Rep out then drop.
And finally, rep out with your lightest dumbbell. This will feel a little strange to be huffing and puffing with a light weight like this but it's still very effective training. Even though it's an explosive swing, because the weight is light, this will actually be hitting the slow-twitch endurance fibers effectively.
Set the dumbbell down and you're done.
This is GREAT posterior chain training....you'll be hitting the explosive muscle fibers with the heavier weights, then as you move to the lighter weights, you'll be focusing more on strength-endurance.
You will be challenging your cardiovascular system strongly with this one as well, making it great for fat-loss training.
I like to perform 2 to 3 drop sets in this fashion, with each run-through counting as one set. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each drop set.
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