The Perfect Posterior: Kettlebell Swings and Cheap Alternatives 862 Comments
In The 4-Hour Body, I profiled Tracy R., a mother of two who lost more than 100 pounds.
The secret wasn’t marathon aerobics sessions, nor was it severe caloric restriction. It was the Russian kettlebell swing, twice a week for an average of 15–20 minutes. Her peak session length was 35 minutes.
This post will explain how to perform the two-handed kettlebell swing, and it will offer a cheap $10 alternative.
Beyond fat loss, this movement will help build a superhuman posterior chain, which includes all the muscles from the base of your skull to your Achilles tendons. For maximum strength and sex appeal in minimal time, the posterior chain is where you should focus. From “violent hips” for power sports, to the perfect ass for aesthetics, I suggest one starting point:
Reps and Sets – Less is More
Long before I met Tracy, I met “The Kiwi” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In early 2006, he happened to be taking a private Spanish lesson in the same café where I was finishing the manuscript for The 4-Hour Workweek, and we quickly became close friends. He had competed in elite-level rugby in New Zealand but was equally proud, I soon learned, of applying his BSE in exercise physiology to perfecting the female posterior.
He told me the story over a bottle of Catena Malbec. His obsession started when he saw a professional samba dancer in Brazil balance tequila shots on top of each butt cheek in a dance club. Lamenting the lack of similar scenes in his own country, he set off on a mission to isolate the best exercises for creating buttocks worthy of tequila shots.
By 2000 he had refined his approach to a science. In four weeks, he took his then-girlfriend, an ethnic Chinese with a surfboardlike profile, to being voted one of the top-10 sexiest girls out of 39,000 students at the University of Auckland. Total time: four weeks. Other female students constantly asked her how she’d lifted her glutes so high up her hamstrings.
If The Kiwi could have answered for her, he would have said, “Add reps and weights to the swings.”
In 2005, my interest in kettlebells reinvigorated, I returned to the United States from Argentina and purchased one 53-pound kettlebell. I did nothing more than one set of 75 swings one hour after a light, protein-rich breakfast, twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. In the beginning, I couldn’t complete 75 consecutive repetitions, so I did multiple sets with 60 seconds between until I totaled 75. Total swing time for the entire week was 10–20 minutes.
I wasn’t trying to balance tequila shots on my butt cheeks. I wanted clear six-pack abs. In six weeks, I was at my lowest bodyfat percentage since 1999, and l’d reached my goal. I’ve since worked up to 50+ reps with the 106-lb. “beast” (video), which has directly transferred to 100-lb.+ gains in the deadlift.
The king of exercises—the two-handed kettlebell swing—is all you need for dramatic changes.
Here are a few guidelines:
• Stand with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.
• Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.
• The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting- down movement.
• Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.
• Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more. If your dog’s head gets in the way, it should be lights out for Fido.
75 total reps, 2-3 times a week, is the recipe.
Odds and Ends: An Appeal
George Bush 691 vs. 4-Hour Body 427 –
Since the book came out, I’ve fantasized about having more Amazon reviews than George Bush. Now, it’s actually possible! The ask: If you’ve enjoyed the 4-Hour Body, could you pretty please take 30 seconds to leave a short Amazon review here?
I’ll toast some wine and do a thank-you video this weekend if I crush The Decider. Thanks in advance — it’s been an exciting few weeks, and this would really be the icing on the cake.
Much more to come soon…
Posted on January 8th, 2011