It’s the idea that when an athlete jumps at a new movement at low levels and is immediately successful, he should make the same jump again, but in a controlled way (to mimic the effect of “natural variation”) at low levels, so that he will have his feet set as his hands are set and his footwork as his body is set.
The concept would certainly explain why a great many athletes can perform very successful, even spectacular, high-volume lifts all in the same workout (like a barbell snatch).
Swing Low Swing High is a common technique for lifting weights and is popular because it can work wonders as an intermediate-level program and can produce high-level results quickly for lifters who are new to the lift, as is the case with most athletes who jump at a variation of a weight.
The Problem With Swing Low Swing High
In some ways, swing low-stance high-lift is the perfect way to train the lift in most cases, since it leaves the athlete at the edge of his range of motion with his hips forward and his torso high.
As athletes progress in the lifting world, they will be better and better at incorporating variations of their lifts into their lifts. Thus, it is no surprise that most people who move a lot of weight get into their swing low-stance high lift routine on the spot (and make a lot of progress!).
The problem with Swing Low Swing High is that it can create what I call “The Ball Is in Your Court” problem (the high-volume, very high-impact lift at the expense of the rest of a workout).
The high-impact lift causes the athlete (and sometimes his coaches) to jump higher and longer than necessary. This results in unnecessary work on the hips (and sometimes the ankles), in addition to the high-impact lift itself.
In many cases, players tend to jump as high or even higher than they think necessary in order to get the high-volume and extremely high-impact lift. The result is usually an inability to land on the right weight in the squat or deadlift because the player has jumped at too high a range of motion.
The Ball Is in Your Court
The swing high-lift, especially for bodybuilders who jump high from day one of lifting, can lead to low-level gains when a lifter jumps at a low jump at the start of the lift. That’s because they often jump at a great range of
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