Olympic Dumbbell Swing

by Roger LaPointe

Chad Ullom performing a 150 Right Arm Dumbbell Swing at the 2012 USAWA Club Challenge in Ambridge, PA. Chad has the best Dumbbell Swing of ALL TIME in the USAWA.

As a competitive lift, the dumbbell swing has not been part of the Olympics since the first one, or maybe it was the second modern Olympics? I don’t know and the records are a least a little sketchy. So why do it?

Dumbbell Swings are simply AWESOME for your grip work.

Leading up to our last All-Round Weightlifting Meet, I hadn’t done any traditional deadlifting and hardly any clean pulls. Instead, I did a lot of stone lifting, snatches, cleans and the three lifts in that competition: the crucifix hold, one arm deadlift and thick bar Jefferson lift. I was doing the stone lifting because I was training Casey Pelton for the German American Festival Steinstossen event and because I just love summer outdoor stone lifting.

“Wow! Isn’t that actually over training you back?” exclaimed my Dad.

The quick answer, is “Yes… and No.” The volume of back training was pretty big, but most importantly, the volume of grip training was really high. I needed to hit my grip and single arm work, in a genuinely periodized fashion. I really needed to hit some lighter weights, with super high intensity. I felt like the dumbbell swing might just fit the bill.

There is no way to do a serious dumbbell swing being highly intense about it. Without intending to create this dichotomy, it also happens to be a nearly perfect lift to balance out the crucifix hold. Nice.

If you want to see the dumbbell I use to train the Dumbbell Swing, check out this shot. It is a very nice Olympic Plate Loading Rotating Dumbbell. The handle diameter and knurling is about as perfect as you could hope for and my York weights were not sloppy, like on the old one I was previously using. It was a wonderful upgrade.

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