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 dumbells 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 drop style of set like this. Dumbells, absolutely.
First, you’ll need to get your dumbells 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 dumbell 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 dumbell, 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 untill you’ve gone though all the dumbell drops.
The real key is to stop and drop to the next dumbell 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 dumbell. Set it on end, set your feet out wide (so the dumbell 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 dumbell very high up).
Grab the next dumbell and continue.
Rep out with that then drop again.
Rep out then drop.
And finally, rep out with your lightest dumbell. 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 dumbell down and you’re done.
Bottom line, 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 (believe me!), making it great for fat-loss training.
I like to perform 2 to 3 drop sets in this fashion, with each runthrough counting as one set. Rest 60 to 90 seconds between each drop set.
Nick Nilsson is known in the fitness industry as the “Mad Scientist of Muscle,” and for good reason! For more than 28 years, Nick has been creating unique, new exercises and training techniques and putting together some of the most innovative muscle-building and fat-loss programs available anywhere.