Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Proper Hip Drive for the Olympic Lifts

Kettlebell swings are sooo much fun, right?! Right! However, they are not the answer to ALL of life’s problems. Kettlebell swings are an excellent exercise that we incorporate into many workouts (and are proven to make one’s butt look ghettofabulous), but this doesn’t mean that the mechanics of a kettlebell swing should transfer over to all the other movements we do in the gym . . . especially Olympic lifting.

Lately, I’ve had the sense that many people believe the hip drive on kettlebell swing (which is horizontal) is the same as the hip drive on the snatch and clean and jerk (which is vertical). We know that a horizontal hip thrust with a kettlebell gets momentum moving on the weight, but it doesn’t work that way with the Olympic movements. If you want the bar to travel fast over your head, it needs to move vertically. Why? Because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line (and that really IS physics) and we want that barbell over our head in the least amount of time possible. Who wants to be lifting a million kilos over their head for 47 hours?! No one!

On the other hand, kicking the hips forward will cause the bar to bang off your body, which then causes it to swing around you and you’ll either miss the bar out in front of you or it will go flying so far back and around your head that you won’t be able to hold onto it anymore.

Our goal is to maintain control of the barbell by keeping it close to our body through the whole entire movement. The only way to accomplish this is by moving the hips straight up and straight down and LIGHTLY brushing the barbell off your hips . . . NOT banging it . . . EVER.

Remember, the bar does what your hips do. Move them vertically so the bar will move vertically. Do it . . . you won’t . . . .

and to see the most perfect video ever that shows exactly what I'm talking about. Watch this...


    1. But where is the amazing video demo?

    2. LOVE the video M!!!!

    3. OMG - perfect timing. This morning we had Kettlebells in the WOD at CrossFit Las Vegas. I remembered hips forward (horizontal) during my set - I think it really helped me. When I watched a couple of the guys during the last round I noticed they were moving vertical, just like O lift (you could see the body weight shift to the balls of their feet & off their heels). We reviewed forward vs up afterwards. Real eye opener. Thanks for posting (even the fun stuff has merit).

    4. This post makes sense on why the bar should just brush your thighs; not hit them.

    5. Hey Sage - Just discovered your site. Huge fan of your dad and love your snatch crossfit video. Looking forward to learning more about olifts from you!


      ps - mental toughness blog was excellent!

    6. Been meaning to write about how much I enjoy your blog! It inspired me to start my own blog-entitled "Panties in a WOD"-in January. I can relate to many of your posts and always learn something new. I also like the way you refer to your brothers in your posts-from one little sister to another-please keep blogging! This is a great site and you have a unique way of getting your message across to the reader. Thanks so much!!