Advanced Swing Techniques: Locking Down the Lats

As I’ve mentioned before the kettlebell swing is as close as you can come to a hard trail ride without throwing your leg over a bike. The movement patterns, the types of tension being used and the cardio benefits are all extremely helpful on the trail.

However, it is also an exercise with a lot of advanced techniques that you can incorporate as you get better at it. One of these advanced techniques is to learn how to “lock down the lats” at the top of the swing. A lot of riders who use the swing focus a lot on the hips – which they should – but tend to let their shoulders get pulled forward a bit at the top.

This movement habit is not only bad for the shoulders during the swing but it also sets you up for bad manualing technique. If you don’t know how to “lock down the lats” when doing this movement on the trail you can end up with inconsistent manuals and elbow pain.

In this video I explain how to use this advanced technique of “locking down the lats” to get more out of your swings and to help you manual better on the trail.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Mike says:

    Good tip James. I’ll definitely need to add that to the mental checklist when my swings and when doing a manual. I’ve been trying to do a manual ever since you posted your instructional video 2 months ago, but I have to admit that I’m still not quite getting it. Only about 25% of the time I happen to get it right. The front wheel seems to come off the ground with ease, and the feeling of being able to do that is just awesome! But it happens so quickly that I don’t have a chance to figure out what it was that I did right. Any further tips or words of encouragement you have would be greatly appreciated. For the record, I have been doing your follow along workouts for 2 months now.

    Reply • December 14 at 8:11 am
    • bikejames bikejames says:

      Not sure if it is encouraging or just putting it into perspective but it takes about 10,000 reps of something to get it down so you probably have a lot of swing reps and manual attempts between you and 10,000. Patience and perseverance overcome just about anything…

      Reply • December 14 at 2:39 pm
  2. Maybe this is why you teach to not go above shoulder height?

    Reply • January 29 at 7:06 pm
  3. Neil B says:

    Hey James


    I think this is the video I was hoping for to teach serratus activation and keep the shoulder blades in control. .
    I’ve been looking for a cue to aid that since I got diagnosed with golfers elbow, which, in my case, seems to come from over activation of my traps, mainly in seated pedal ups. .
    (Its that shoulders “hunched” position so many riders (Inc me) default(ed) to).
    That elbow position cue really helps switch the serratus on, I think.
    So, although you didn’t mention the serratus, I hope I’m right. I am pretty sure I can feel it there.

    Thanks lots for another really useful tip to get us less thoughtful riders doing it right with a few well targeted positional queues.
    Practicing it in the swing will help me big time I’m sure of that.
    Maybe I’ll get the manual dialled at last too.

    Again thanks

    Reply • July 21 at 8:44 am

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