I love training with kettlebells. It doesn’t take long poking around on my site to figure that out and anyone who has been to my facility knows that I have more kettlebells than dumbbells.

The unique benefits you get from them and the training methods used with them has really helped my riding and, through my MTB Kettlebell Conditioning Program, hundreds of other riders as well.

Problems arise, though, when you have mountain bikers following programs that are created by trainers who don’t understand the movements behind the exercises and instead simply use kettlebell training to burn calories. You end up becoming “fitter” in the gym (i.e. better at the workouts) but not much faster on the trail, which isn’t the point of training.

As a mountain biker you need to make sure that you are doing each exercise in a way that will maximally transfer over to the movement patterns you need on your bike. Knowing what movements you are trying to train and how they are going to help you is the real key to lasting improvements. You need a program that addresses these movement needs in a systematic manner so that you can ride faster, longer and with more confidence on the trail.

In my experience, nothing exemplifies this more than using a “squatty” swing. The swing, when used correctly, is one of the most valuable exercises you can do as a rider…but only if you understand and practice how it applies to the bike.

On the bike proper body position hinges on your ability to minimize how much the knees bend and maximize the bend at the hips. In other words, instead of moving your center of gravity (a.k.a. your butt) up and down you need to learn how to move it forwards and backwards. This forward-backward movement and projection of energy keeps you balanced on the bike and sets you up better to bunny hop and manual your bike.

This is important to know because the swing should train this forward-backward movement, not an up-down movement commonly being passed off as a swing. If you “squat” your swings then you are simply reinforcing that movement habit and it is what you will apply to your bike as well.

How you ride is simply an extension of how you train and how you want to move on the bike needs to be the focus of your training, not “work capacity”…whatever the hell that means anyways.

In this video I show you some of the common mistakes I see riders make, including the infamous “Crossfit Swing”, and explain why doing your kettlebell swings that way will ultimately hold you back on the trail. I’ll then show you a couple of swing fixes you can use to dial your swing in so it will give you maximum transfer to the trail.

If you have any thoughts or questions about this video please feel free to post them below, I always love to hear what you guys think. And if you liked this post please click one of the Like or Share buttons below to help spread the word and maybe save a fellow rider from the Crossfit Swing.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

One thought on “Why you want to avoid the “Crossfit Swing” if you want to be a better mountain biker.

  1. Betsy says:

    A “CrossFit swing” isn’t the appropriate term…there are two different kettlebell swings—American KB swing and Russian KB swing..both used in CrossFit and if done appropriately both use the hip hinge you are talking about for mtn bikers. The American KB swing goes overhead, the Russian Kb swing stops at shoulder height. Both involve the hip hinge if done appropriately.

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