back home


Description: Swings (sumo deadlift plus a hip pop) Crucial feature here is that there is no bicep involved and minimal shoulder at best. Do all of the lifting of the weight with your initial movement, then use the hip pop to make it rise. The height of the weight is a measure of how well you are doing this. Attempting to just yank up the weight to shoulder height using your upper body is a sure fire way to rip a lower back or shoulder muscle.

Motions trained:Lifting with the legs, torso flexion

Main muscles used: Hamstrings, abs
   Other muscles:

How to do it:

Spread your legs so the weight hangs between
them. Drive off the floor with through your heels
forcefully. This sets the weight in motion.
Your forearm should come into contact with
your hip. Drive the hip forward to propel the arm upwards.
Do not use any force other than your hips to do this.

How to work up to it: Start with a really low weight, just enough resistance to feel where things are.

Ramping it up: Do a 'clean'. The only change here is that once you get the weight so you can get it up to about shoulder height, you pull it towards you like starting a lawnmower. Brace your torso for the impact by stacking yourself over that hip. This is called a 'clean' since this all should occur in one clean motion. Doing cleans allows you to practice receiving shock to your torso without high impact training.

Do it plyometrically, so rather than pausing at the bottom, reverse direction before the lower part of the swing is done. I'd get comfortable doing it plyometrically before upping the weight. Using two dumbbells raises it to a whole new level as well.

Do's and don'ts: Do not ever try to use your arms to lift the weight. All the power comes from the initial upward motion in the legs (so the hamstrings start it) and then from rotating your navel towards to ceiling, transmitting the force through your forearm. Think about it, even the burliest powerlifter can't get more than a smallish poundage on a front deltoid raise. The limiting factor here is that the upper body needs to use the lower back for a base and the torque is just too extreme. If you have lousy form this will be indicated by not getting the weight up.

Also, don't have your arm straight, but a little bent. This is a matter of form since once you get higher weights you won't sprain your elbow.

Comments: Probably the single most important dumbbell exercise we do. If you omit everything else, keep these. They get you to use your core with real power very fast.