Why Russian Style KB Swings?

by Neil Anderson

Our GPP Exercise Mandate is: "Perform only those exercises which are most efficient and effective for attaining our goals of optimal health." 

Anything more and we are wasting effort that could be better used elsewhere.  Anything less and we are also wasting intention and/or effort. 

Because of the reasons above, GPP chooses the Russian style (RS) kettlebell swing.  RS swings differ from the American style at the top of the movement.  The top of a RS swing goes to just above eye level.  American style goes completely overhead to the point where it almost goes over backwards. 

RS swings are at the foundation of most ballistic movements and lifts.  These include, snatches, cleans, clean and jerks, jumping, bounding, leaping and yes, the American style kettlebell swing. 

The shorter more compact stroke of the RS swing keeps the user in the "meat" of the lift for longer periods.  This allows for more strokes and less wasted effort.  Although technically American style swings move a load longer distances these distances are not linear; therefore the work performed at the top of the stroke (eyeballs up) is much less than work performed from eyeballs down.  This makes the effort from eyeballs up less than effective and therefore inefficient at accomplishing the GPP Exercise Mandate.