Methods to Do the Kettlebell Swing for Explosive Energy, Energy, and Conditioning

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Kettlebells are a unbelievable instrument that had a resurgence within the lifting world over the past 20 years, after effectively over a century of use world wide. They’re versatile and can be utilized to get stronger, placed on measurement, enhance athletic efficiency, and even develop iron-clad conditioning.

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The kettlebell swing is probably going probably the most well-known kettlebell train — and for motive. It is a wonderful motion to enhance energy; it’s an environment friendly method to construct endurance and burn fats; and it’s a terrific educating instrument to study the hip hinge sample (strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and decrease again). Right here’s carry out an ideal kettlebell swing and the whole lot you’ll want to learn about this train.

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Kettlebell Swing Tutorial Video

Coach Justin Lind shares a particularly detailed rationalization and demonstration of the kettlebell swing. Watch the video in its entirety earlier than, or after, studying the complete article to see the motion put into motion and spotlight the main points of its efficiency.

[Related: Why You Should Be Greasing The Groove During Your Workouts]

Methods to Do the Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is a dynamic motion that develops decrease physique energy. As a result of it requires explosive output, you must all the time take note of correct method to keep away from accidents and reap the meant advantages.

Step 1 — Get Into the Beginning Stance

two people in gym performing kettlebell exercise
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Place a kettlebell on the bottom and stand in entrance of it with a barely wider-than-shoulder-width stance. Hinge on the hips whereas maintaining your knees barely bent. Your again ought to be flat together with your torso nearly parallel to the bottom.

Hold your hips comparatively excessive with out dropping right into a squatting place. There shouldn’t be lots of bend in your knees. Shift your weight onto your heels. Seize the highest deal with of the kettlebell firmly with each fingers in a palms-down grip.

Type tip: While you’re hinging on the hips, the kettlebell ought to be nearly instantly beneath your eyes. If it’s too near your physique’s centerline, you gained’t be capable to get it transferring effectively to start the primary repetition.

Step 2 — Pull the Weight Behind Your Legs

shirtless person in gym performing kettlebell swing
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Flex your lats (again muscle tissue) and forcefully pull the kettlebell again between your legs in a dynamic trend whereas maintaining your elbows barely bent. Attempt to really feel pressure in your hamstrings and glutes as they stretch within the hinged place.

Hold your torso bent ahead. Enable the load to achieve behind your legs. At its farthest place, the load ought to be underneath or previous your glutes.

Type tip: The kettlebell swing is a hinge, not a squat. There ought to be extra horizontal motion than vertical. Achieved correctly, the train recruits your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and decrease again) for maximal energy.

Step 3 — Drive Up Explosively

two people in gym performing kettlebell swing
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Concurrently contract your glutes whereas extending your hips and knees to drive the load ahead and up. Preserve straight or barely bent arms all through the rep. Within the high place, your physique ought to be straight and tall, with the load stopping naturally round shoulder-level or barely beneath.

Grip the load onerous, brace your core, and flex your quads to keep up steadiness and management on the high of the motion. Don’t permit the load to tug you ahead.

Type tip: The burden ought to be lifted by the driving drive of your glutes and hips, not by actively lifting together with your arms. Consider your arms as “ropes” holding the kettlebell — they’re primarily used to information the load on its path upwards, to not help the raise.

Step 4 — Enable the Weight to “Fall” Beneath Management

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Credit score: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Let gravity do the work and permit the kettlebell to return to its place behind your legs. Hold your arms unfastened and your grip tight. Preserve a impartial backbone as you hinge ahead whereas the load is falling. The burden ought to find yourself close to your glutes.

From this stretched place, you’ll be able to transition into the subsequent repetition by repeating step three and utilizing the momentum gathered through the fall of the kettlebell.

Type tip: Make sure you hinge with a impartial backbone as the load returns to the underside place, as this can correctly load the highly effective goal muscle tissue. Don’t squat down as a result of stress will shift to your shoulders, arms, and quadriceps.

Kettlebell Swing Errors to Keep away from

This motion requires a cocktail of pace, steadiness, and coordination, so it’s straightforward to make a mistake. Whether or not you’re skilled with swings otherwise you’re a whole newbie, overview these frequent issues to be sure you’re not doing them.

Squatting As a substitute of Hinging

Some individuals have issue separating “hinge on the hips” from “attain down and contact your toes.” These are two very totally different actions. Some lifters are additionally naturally extra dominant within the anterior chain (the quadriceps). When lifters’ hips transfer up and down relatively than entrance to again, it negatively impacts muscle recruitment.

two people performing kettlebell squats
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This can be a downside as a result of “squatty swings” is not going to solely shift the workload away from the hamstrings and glutes, however may also end in lifters utilizing their comparatively weaker arms and shoulders to raise the kettlebell.

Keep away from it: Don’t be afraid of bending ahead whereas maintaining a impartial backbone. Hold a slight bend in your knees and consider your hips transferring horizontally and never vertically, such as you’re making an attempt to the touch the wall behind you together with your butt.

Overextending Your Decrease Again

The swing naturally entails the decrease again muscle tissue as a result of they assist prolong the hips, particularly to realize an upright standing place.

person grimacing while doing kettlebell swing
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Nevertheless, overextending on the high of the motion (leaning too far backwards when standing) places lots of pointless stress in your decrease again. Your whole backbone ought to stay impartial with none bending through the raise.

Keep away from it: Squeeze your glutes as a lot as attainable on the high of the motion. They’re the prime transferring muscle and specializing in their activation will stop you from shifting the workload onto the decrease again. Brace your core by flexing your abs as a lot as you’ll be able to.

Driving Up With the Arms

When individuals pay an excessive amount of consideration to “lifting the kettlebell,” they often begin utilizing their arms and shoulders earlier than their hips have absolutely prolonged. This can be a downside as a result of it sacrifices decrease physique energy. It additionally places pointless stress on the shoulder joint by counting on smaller shoulder stabilizers as a substitute of a lot stronger glute muscle tissue.

shirtless bodybuilder lifting kettlebell in gym
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This situation may also happen when utilizing lighter kettlebells that are “simpler” to raise incorrectly (with the arms) or when individuals carry out swings slowly, which defeats the aim of the train as a result of it’s all the time meant to be finished explosively.

Keep away from it: Ensure you are appropriately performing an explosive hip hinge and correctly partaking your glutes and hamstrings. Don’t over-focus on ensuring the kettlebell reaches shoulder-level, let it happen naturally.

Advantages of the Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing appears primary, perhaps even “straightforward,” however this straight-forward motion packs lots of advantages it doesn’t matter what your objective is.

person straining while performing kettlebell exercise
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Whether or not you’re a performance-focused lifter, a aggressive athlete, or trying to construct your physique, the swing delivers outcomes.

Explosive Energy and Energy

Energy is seen in sports activities when accelerating in a dash, leaping, and throwing implements. Many kinds of athletic actions contain a hip hinge, which is optimized by coaching the swing. Swings additionally enhance the explosive energy of your decrease physique muscle tissue. (1

The swing has additionally been proven to be as efficient at constructing energy as different coaching strategies. (2) Positive, you utilize much less weight than with a deadlift or a squat, however the dynamic efficiency of the swing improves intermuscular connection, steady muscular recruitment and acceleration, in addition to contraction pace. All of these elements assist your nervous system turn into extra environment friendly at utilizing your muscle tissue, so you find yourself turning into stronger.

Conditioning and Fats Loss

This train could be an environment friendly instrument for enhancing cardio-respiratory health and has been proven to be as efficient as different kinds of cardio train. (3) As a result of the kettlebell swing have to be finished explosively and can’t be carried out at a low depth, it’s best used as a part of a coaching circuit or for HIIT (high-intensity interval coaching). Swings are additionally very low impression and gained’t irritate your knees when finished correctly.

Muscle Mass

The swing isn’t the primary train that pops in our head after we consider hypertrophy, however its explosive nature — which means nice muscle recruitment — coupled with the possibly very long time underneath pressure make it candidate for constructing muscle mass. If you wish to maximize hypertrophy, be sure that to steadily improve the load you utilize over weeks and months, however don’t go too heavy otherwise you’ll lose the explosive mechanics.(4)

Grip Energy

The handles of most kettlebells are comparatively thick and typically clean, each of which problem your grip energy as you apply explosive motion to the load. A very good swing exercise could go away your forearms sore briefly, however you’ll finally develop a stronger grip and extra muscular arms.

Muscle mass Labored By the Kettlebell Swing

The swing is a whole train that may recruit almost each muscle in your physique in some capability. Nonetheless, its principal goal is to enhance the posterior chain.

person in gym training with kettlebell
Credit score: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Correct swings require robust contractions of your glutes, hamstrings, and core all through every repetition.

Glutes

Like every hip hinge, the glutes are closely concerned within the swing. The gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus are a bunch of three massive muscle tissue that govern hip motion. Within the swing, their principal function is to increase the hips — carry the physique from a bent-over place to an upright posture.

Attempt to squeeze your glutes as a lot as attainable on the high of every repetition. This can shift the workload away out of your decrease again, promote maximal hypertrophy, and permit most energy output.

Hamstrings

Your hamstrings are a collection of posterior muscle tissue that flex or bend the knees. The hamstrings additionally assist prolong the hips along with the glutes. Within the swing, your hamstrings help the glutes in driving the load up from the underside place by extending the hips.

When you’ve got bother feeling your hamstrings working through the train, concentrate on driving by your heels when elevating the load. Shifting onto your toes can cut back your hamstring recruitment.

Erector Spinae

Typically referred to as the spinal erectors, that is thought-about the “decrease again,” when it’s truly a size of muscle that goes from the pelvis as much as the bottom of the cranium. This postural muscle helps preserve the backbone in place and in addition contributes to hip extension. It’s going to work quite a bit to stabilize your higher physique within the swing.

In case your again rounds over through the swing, you set the erector spinae right into a extra lively function and improve the danger of harm. You don’t need to use them because the train’s prime mover.

Abdominals

The abdominals work along with the erector spinae to type the “core” and supply a steady higher physique. The abs management torso rotation and flexion (bending ahead), in addition to resisting extension (leaning backward).

Throughout the swing, your abs are extremely lively to keep up a impartial backbone place, notably within the backside place when the load pulls again between your legs. In case your abs aren’t absolutely engaged, you’re extra prone to comply with the load again, down, and thru your legs.

Again

Despite the fact that you’re not pulling together with your higher physique, the opposite again muscle tissue contribute to the raise. The latissimus dorsi (lats), the largest again muscle, might be engaged to make sure spinal stability and preserve a powerful arm place.

Throughout your higher again, the traps, rhomboids, and rear deltoids all work in conjunction to guard your shoulder joints and information the kettlebell alongside its path.

Forearms

Your forearm muscle tissue (wrist flexors and wrist extensors) are accountable for your grip energy, which is a giant a part of the kettlebell swing. Kettlebells sometimes have thicker handles than barbells or dumbbells, which challenges the grip extra considerably.

The explosive nature of the swing additionally requires a powerful grip to regulate the load within the high place and stop the kettlebell from flying away just like the “cannonball with a deal with” it seems to be.

Who Ought to Do the Kettlebell Swing

Anybody can do that train so long as they’ll carry out it appropriately — which is the overwhelming majority of lifters. If you wish to get stronger, fitter, and extra muscular, discover room in your program for the swing.

Purposeful Health Followers

Whether or not you’re a CrossFit athlete or somebody that desires to be a jack of all trades, the kettlebell swing is a good addition to construct a number of bodily qualities on the similar time. It’s going to enhance total-body energy, grip energy, energy, conditioning, and construct some muscle as effectively.

The swing is a good instrument for those who want selection of their coaching as a result of it may be programmed in many alternative methods. It may also be finished just about anyplace and any time, so if you happen to simply need to squeeze in a fast exercise, swings are the proper repair.

Energy Athletes

Aggressive powerlifters and strongmen/strongwomen can profit from an improved conditioning and restoration, in addition to elevated energy and energy. The swing trains the hip hinge sample, which carries over to many aggressive occasions and builds stronger, extra explosive hips.

Energy athletes don’t want to have the ability to run for miles, however withstanding a minute-long set or having improved conditioning to raised recuperate between units will definitely assist in their coaching.

Newcomers

For those who’ve simply began your health journey, the kettlebell swing is a good instrument to apply and grasp the hip hinge, which carries over to numerous workouts. The swing can be an environment friendly method to pack muscle onto your body, whereas rising your energy, energy, conditioning, and coordination — all on the similar time.

Endurance Athletes

Opposite to fashionable perception, endurance athletes need to do extra than simply working, biking, or swimming in the event that they need to carry out effectively and stay injury-free. The swing is a good energy train for endurance athletes, like marathon runners or triathletes.

The swing requires posterior chain mobility and energy, which is vital to being snug in energy positions on a motorcycle. It is usually a terrific train to recruit and develop the glutes for a extra balanced physique, as runners and cyclists typically have anterior chain (quadriceps) dominance which places them in danger for knee ache.

Methods to Program the Kettlebell Swing

As a result of it’s a dynamic energy motion, you can not go too heavy with the swing otherwise you change the mechanics of the train. With excessively heavy weights, the vary of movement is compromised and the load can’t be accelerated as rapidly. It’s best used with moderate-to-high rep schemes.

Heavy Weight, Reasonable Repetitions

That is the very best rep vary if you wish to concentrate on a steadiness of energy and measurement. Three to 5 units of 5 to 10 repetitions, near technical failure, will do the trick.

Understand that “heavy weight” doesn’t imply super-heavy. You continue to have to have the ability to speed up the kettlebell with pace. In case your vary of movement turns into restricted, you’ve gone too heavy. 

Reasonable Weight, Reasonable Repetitions

This strategy focuses on pace and explosive energy. 5 to eight units of 5 to 10 repetitions is a wonderful scheme for energy, however you should keep away from muscular failure in any respect prices.

You need to be exert most pace with every rep — the final rep of the set ought to really feel as fast and snappy as the primary. Use comparatively lighter weights and preserve some fuel within the tank.

Reasonable-to-Mild Weight, Excessive Repetitions

This kind of plan is for individuals who actually need to enhance conditioning. And, if you happen to strategy failure, you’ll be able to set off some muscle development as effectively. Start with three to 5 units of 10 to 30 repetitions.

Finally, get loopy with a lot increased reps and even prepare for time as a substitute of repetitions. As an example, do 5 units of most repetitions in a single minute. One efficient method to prepare for time is to make use of an equal work-to-rest ratio. For those who carry out reps for one minute, take one minute relaxation between units. Or 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off, and so forth.

The ten,000 Swing Exercise

If you need a problem well-beyond your consolation zone, strive the ten,000 swing exercise. Created by legendary energy and conditioning coach Dan John, this four-week plan will make you leaner, stronger, extra muscular, and a usually more durable human.

Every coaching day could have you do 500 swings in addition to a primary energy train. It follows a “two days on, someday off” schedule all through the week, which finally ends up at a complete of 10,000 swings unfold throughout 4 weeks. Each exercise, carry out a complete of 500 swings with this plan:

  • Set 1: 10 reps
  • Set 2: 15 reps
  • Set 3: 25 reps
  • Set 4: 50 reps

That’s 100 complete swings in a spherical. Repeat 4 extra occasions for a complete of 500 swings per exercise. Relaxation 30 to 60 seconds between units and as much as three minutes between rounds.

One energy train is carried out after every set of swings utilizing low repetitions and comparatively heavy weight. Carry out three units utilizing a 1, 2, 3 or 2, 3, 5 repetition scheme with primary, multi-joint workouts just like the overhead press, dip, goblet squat, or chin-up. Single-joint workouts like curls or chest flyes are comparatively simpler and aren’t as efficient. So one full spherical of the exercise may seem like:

  • Set 1: 10 swings, 1 press, relaxation 30 seconds.
  • Set 2: 15 swings, 2 presses, relaxation 30 seconds.
  • Set 3: 25 swings, 3 presses, relaxation 60 seconds.
  • Set 4: 50 swings, relaxation three minutes.

The advisable weight is a 24-kilogram (53-pound) kettlebell for males and a 16-kilogram (35-pound) kettlebell for girls. For development, push your self to finish the exercise quicker every week as a substitute of including reps or utilizing heavier weight.

Kettlebell Swing Variations

There are a number of methods to tweak the swing to concentrate on sure advantages of the raise. While you really feel like the normal swing has no secrets and techniques for you anymore, strive one among these variations. 

Double Kettlebell Swing

That is just about an ordinary swing, besides that you simply maintain a kettlebell in every hand. You may must widen your stance just a little bit to stay protected when the weights go between your legs. If you wish to prepare heavy however don’t have entry to heavy kettlebells, that is the best way to go.

This train is a good instrument for energy improvement and grip coaching as a result of you’ll be able to go twice as heavy. It additionally requires extra core and again bracing energy to stabilize every shoulder and arm as a result of the pair of weights are transferring independently.

Banded Kettlebell Swing

Because the title implies, this variation requires a resistance band. Loop it across the kettlebell and safe the ends underneath your toes to type a triangle. The added resistance of the band requires you to drive more durable by your hips to construct the pace and energy wanted to get the load close to chest-level.

It’s additionally a great way to induce extra hypertrophy as a result of the band truly pulls the kettlebell again through the descent, leading to an accentuated eccentric section (when the load comes down). This eccentric stress may end up in extra muscular hypertrophy, particularly within the hamstrings, that are a muscle group notably receptive to eccentric contractions. (5)(6)

Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing

By holding the kettlebell in just one hand, you add a unilateral element to the train. This forces the again, shoulder, and arm to work extra on the aspect that’s holding the load. The only weight requires your physique to battle towards rotation and flexing to the aspect.

This can be a nice motion for focusing on your core and decrease again stability. The only-sided problem additionally recruits the indirect muscle tissue of your core.

Kettlebell Swing Alternate options

For those who don’t have a kettlebell, you’ll be able to nonetheless prepare your explosive hip hinging and work your posterior chain. Listed below are some kettlebell-free alternate options.

Dumbbell Swing

Typically you actually need to swing, however there aren’t any kettlebells. Simply seize a stable dumbbell by the top and begin swinging. Watch out as a result of the load distribution of the dumbbell is totally different and its head is extra awkward to seize because you’ll be utilizing your fingers greater than your whole hand.

As a substitute, tou may use each fingers to carry the deal with of the dumbbell. The burden might be extra evenly balanced, in comparison with a kettlebell’s heart of gravity being farther out of your fingers, which makes the train comparatively simpler. This methodology could also be uncomfortable if the dumbbell deal with is simply too small to suit each fingers. 

Broad Soar

Nothing beats the simplicity of body weight plyometrics for creating energy and pace. You don’t even want tools. With the broad leap, make sure to emphasize a ahead leap for distance, not an upward leap for peak.

While you carry out this train, take into consideration rep high quality, not amount. Hold your repetitions low and your relaxation durations lengthy, so that every collection is pristine. 

Romanian Deadlift

This leg train is a staple for creating measurement and energy within the glutes, hamstrings, and again. Performing it with heavy-to-moderate weights for low-to reasonable repetitions is a wonderful substitution for the swing.

To take the power-building up one other notch, loop a resistance band across the barbell and anchor it together with your toes. Carry out every repetition with maximal pace and keep away from reaching muscular fatigue. This kind of band coaching develops the pace element much more. (7)

FAQs

I fear in regards to the kettlebell hitting between my legs and performing some critical harm. Any recommendation?

The secret’s to be sure that your hips are driving the motion. Lifting together with your again may trigger your backbone to be hyperextended, which is able to trigger the kettlebell to finish up increased in your thighs.

Preserve a impartial again and don’t be afraid of bending ahead on the hips to let the load go behind you. On the lowest level of the swing, your forearms ought to keep up a correspondence together with your interior thighs. Use this cue to swing safely.

What weight ought to I exploit?

When studying any new train, you must all the time use a lightweight weight so that you simply get the texture of the train and develop correct method. As a dynamic train, swinging a kettlebell that’s too gentle gained’t permit that correct exertion of drive and energy manufacturing. It’s one motive why you’ll be able to’t throw a snowball so far as you’ll be able to throw a baseball.

For those who’re a newbie, purpose to start out with round 10% of your one-rep max deadlift. While you really feel you have got mastered the train and might do 15 good repetitions with good type, you’ll be able to strive going heavier.

Is it regular that my decrease again hurts when doing kettlebell swings?

Again ache isn’t regular. Some again soreness, nonetheless, ought to be anticipated because of the stretched place and explosive motion. Soreness ought to dissipate in a matter of days, whereas critical ache can last more. Soreness is usually boring, whereas ache could be felt in sharp bursts from sudden actions.

For those who’re positive you have got ache and never muscle soreness, double-check that your type is pristine after which test with a medical practitioner for any underlying situation. In any other case, it might be due to a easy technical flaw. Hyperextending your again on the high will end in extra stress on the lumbar backbone.

The identical is true if you happen to lead together with your again popping out of the underside stretch, which makes use of your erectors as prime movers as a substitute of as core-bracers. It’s important to guarantee a correct hip hinge by squeezing your glutes as a lot as attainable and maintaining a flat again. Consider the decrease again as a “bracing” muscle to maintain your higher physique steady.

Bought Bell, Should Swing

The kettlebell swing isn’t simply one of the crucial basic and customarily helpful kettlebell workouts. It’s one of the crucial basic and customarily helpful workouts of all time. You definitely don’t should be a kettlebell specialist or compete in any energy sport to learn from the swing, it delivers advantages for any lifter. Discover a place in your coaching plan, program it correctly, and begin constructing a strong posterior.

References

  1. Lake, Jason P.; Lauder, Mike A. Kettlebell Swing Coaching Improves Maximal and Explosive Energy, Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: August 2012 – Quantity 26 – Subject 8 – p 2228-2233doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31825c2c9b
  2. Maulit, Matthew & Archer, David & Leyva, Whitney & Munger, Cameron & Wong, Megan & Brown, Lee & Coburn, Jared & Galpin, Andrew. (2017). Results of Kettlebell Swing vs. Explosive Deadlift Coaching on Energy and Energy. Worldwide Journal of Kinesiology and Sports activities Science. 5. 1-7. 10.7575/aiac.ijkss.v.5n.1p.1.
  3. Hulsey CR, Soto DT, Koch AJ, Mayhew JL. Comparability of kettlebell swings and treadmill working at equal score of perceived exertion values. J Energy Cond Res. 2012 Might;26(5):1203-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182510629. PMID: 22395274.
  4. Rønnestad BR, Egeland W, Kvamme NH, Refsnes PE, Kadi F, Raastad T. Dissimilar results of one- and three-set energy coaching on energy and muscle mass beneficial properties in higher and decrease physique in untrained topics. J Energy Cond Res. 2007 Feb;21(1):157-63. doi: 10.1519/00124278-200702000-00028. PMID: 17313291.
  5. Schoenfeld BJ, Ogborn DI, Vigotsky AD, Franchi MV, Krieger JW. Hypertrophic Results of Concentric vs. Eccentric Muscle Actions: A Systematic Evaluate and Meta-analysis. J Energy Cond Res. 2017 Sep;31(9):2599-2608. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001983. PMID: 28486337.
  6. Kaminski TW, Wabbersen CV, Murphy RM. Concentric versus enhanced eccentric hamstring energy coaching: scientific implications. J Athl Prepare. 1998 Jul;33(3):216-21. PMID: 16558513; PMCID: PMC1320426.
  7. Ataee J, Koozehchian MS, Kreider RB, Zuo L. Effectiveness of lodging and fixed resistance coaching on maximal energy and energy in skilled athletes. PeerJ. 2014 Jun 17;2:e441. doi: 10.7717/peerj.441. PMID: 25024910; PMCID: PMC4081144.

Featured Picture: SeventyFour / Shutterstock



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