Let’s talk about the swing. Specifically, let’s talk about the seven. Perhaps one of the more difficult and most often misunderstood parts of the swing, the seven is a fantastic example of how the swing is, ultimately, a whole body activity.
Whole body, you say? When you first start to learn the swing, one of your Instructors usually tells you about how learning and developing your swing will be a lengthy (perhaps, life-long) journey. Over the course of that journey, your swing will evolve. In the beginning, we start with kicks. You kick backward, then forward and extend your body to flat. You hold that flat position as you fall and then you kick forward, backward and forward again.
In the beginning, you do a forward kick because it is not really possible to truly ‘seven’. The seven requires more height and momentum.
Over time—and with practice—the calls and the movements change. Your backward kick becomes a sweep, your first forward kick turns into the initial drive for your forceout, and the next forward kick becomes a hollow. The hollow could be thought of as a collapsing of your chest as you pull your belly in while your legs and hips remain together and straight. From there, you sweep again, and this leads you into your seven.
As you learn to seven, you learn that it is still a forward kick but now, it is a whole-body movement that you lead with your toes. What this means is after you sweep, you snap your feet/legs/hips forward all as one unit. If you are keeping your head up as you sweep, you will find that your chest and head are already in the right position.
One place where many people get confused is that they try to lead their seven with their hips…or they try to bring their hips forward after they have done their seven. Remember: it started as a forward kick for a reason. Initiate the movement with your feet/legs…just make sure to bring your hips with you.
Here’s an exercise you can do at home to practice connecting your feet, legs, hips and torso:
- Lie down with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, legs together
- Contract the muscles of your core. Imagine your bottom ribs moving closer together from your chest down through your abdomen, like the teeth on a zipper (referred to as zipping your ribs together)
- Press your lower back into the floor.
- Straighten your legs while maintaining the zipped ribs and lower back pressed into the floor.
- Flex your quads and your butt muscles.
- Gradually lower your legs while trying to keep your lower back pressed flat into the floor.
- Hold this for up to 30 seconds at a time. Aim to get your body almost straight with your lower back still pressed into the floor.
Want to know how you can take this exercise to the next level? Come to one of our Conditioning Classes to find out how!