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Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes Mistake 1: Lowering into a Squat. The Kettlebell Swing is a hip-dominant exercise. Although your knees bend a bit, they’re just along for the ride.

Kettlebell swing workout #1. EMOM-20 minutes. Every minute on the minute, perform 10-15 kettlebell swings. Rest for the remainder of the minute. Repeat until you have done 20 rounds.

Kettlebell swing workout # 2. Kettlebell swings from hell. On the first minute of this workout, you will perform one kettlebell swing and rest for the remainder of the minute. Hold the kettlebell in two hands, keeping your arms straight and your shoulders pulled back. Swing the kettlebell slightly behind your legs, then extend the knees and hips to accelerate the kettlebell upward.

Keep your arms straight while you project the kettlebell up and away from the body. Walking is far more enjoyable than lightweight kettlebell swings.) 3. It is a better core exercise than a sit-up. When done properly, the kettlebell swing teaches you how to brace and forces you to do many short interval planks. 4. It works your whole posterior chain, specifically targeting your hamstrings and glutes, but it even gets your lats. The kettlebell swing we do today is a variation of the traditional Russian kettlebell swing, which is shorter—but it’s still just as awesome as it was hundreds of years ago.

Note: You can get kettlebells for fairly cheap at nearly any sporting goods store, but not all kettlebells are created equal. Kettlebell swings are often discussed as an alternative to the ever so dreaded running or jogging. This question is, in my opinion, easier to answer than “Can kettlebell swings replace deadlifts” as we have a different target group in front of us to which the question of running or kettlebell swinging applies.

Swing kettlebell between legs, as if trying to hit yourself in the butt (2), keeping weight in heels. Thrust hips forward, straighten knees, and squeeze glutes to swing kettlebell through legs and. 5 offset kettlebell snatches, 5-7 offset kettlebell military press, 3-5 explosive pull-ups, shake it off. When all 8x7 military press can be achieved, next time add load. Part C: Light load.

Set timer to bleep every 90 seconds, 6 times. Go on the bleep: 8-10 offset kettlebell military press, 3-5 explosive chin-ups (supinated grip), shake it off. make ya look better naked; Dumbbells present a different challenge for swings though because the handle is in the center of the weight as opposed to atop the weight.

So it’s better to swing a dumbbell by the end plate than by the actual handle. I’ve put together a quick video to show you how to swing your dumbbells from the end plate. Week 1: 5 swings EMOTM (every minute on the minute) x 6 min. Week 2: 5 swings EMOTM x 8 min.

Week 3: 6 swings EMOTM x 6 min. Week 4: 6 Swings EMOTM x 8 min. Week 5: start over at week 1 with increased weight.

This is a simple linear approach to power training that will result in a heavy swing.

List of related literature:

THIRD SET: Add more weight to bring the failure point down to 8 to 10 repetitions.

“The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis” by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
from The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revis
by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Dobbins
Simon & Schuster, 2012

Divided into three separate drills, stationary swings are excellent for honing the full swing and extension.

“Coaching Track & Field Successfully” by Mark Guthrie
from Coaching Track & Field Successfully
by Mark Guthrie
Human Kinetics, 2003

One is to plug your deadlifts into your kettlebell sessions and make them play by the same ten rules as long as you keep your reps to five and under.

“The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades” by Pavel Tsatsouline
from The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades
by Pavel Tsatsouline
Dragon Door Publications, 2001

Avoid these common mistakes: using a grip that is too narrow, letting the elbows Squeeze intoo closetothebody instead of flaring out, finishing the exercise with the upper body above parallel to the floor, not arching the low back, and locking the knees.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

Step 6: Have the subject slowly raise the meterstick as high as possible while maintaining chin contact with the floor and keeping the elbows extended.

“Laboratory Manual for Exercise Physiology” by Greg Haff, Charles Dumke
from Laboratory Manual for Exercise Physiology
by Greg Haff, Charles Dumke
Human Kinetics, 2012

In part 2, I highlight common faults associated with specific training movements.

“Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
from Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2015

Suggested arm lines for variation include: • natural (walking or running arms) • breaststroke (thumbs up or thumbs down) • pendulum swing • forward or backward swing • reach and pull

“The Essential Guide to Fitness” by Rosemary Marchese, Julie Taylor, Kirsten Fagan
from The Essential Guide to Fitness
by Rosemary Marchese, Julie Taylor, Kirsten Fagan
Cengage Learning Australia, 2019

For instance, if you’re swinging a heavy kettlebell, your arms will bend on the upward motion, and the kettlebell may go only as high as your belly button, which is fine.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

Spoons, it’s essential that you remember to increase intensity selectively— jack up the speed but not the resistance/tension for all lower-body exercises.

“Escape Your Shape: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder” by Edward Jackowski
from Escape Your Shape: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder
by Edward Jackowski
Atria Books, 2001

For example, the bar can be grasped with an overhand or underhand grip.

“NSCA's Guide to Tests and Assessments” by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Todd A. Miller
from NSCA’s Guide to Tests and Assessments
by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association, Todd A. Miller
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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73 comments

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  • Disagree about arm bend and the amplitude. Try doing swings with one hand while keeping an arm bent. And one-hand swings is a legit exercise as well as kettlebell snatches: and I do not think that low swings help you preparing for snatches if you know what I mean. So it not only looks lazy but also keeps you progressing to more advanced and intense exercises!

  • Man kettlebell swing improves your sex life incredibly. 2 weeks swinging and tonight i had super power with the wife. This is the best kept secret of this swings. Is good to go.

  • Second day of crossfit and a kettlebell swing bulged a disc in my back causing intense sciatic pain. Slow, controlled movements are far better for strength. Do cardio for cardio. You don’t have to do only one exercise.

  • Thank you for clearing up the form. This is written in a program I have started and I haven’t done it because I’ve been nervous about messing up the form. This was so informative.

  • nice one, I was doing it wrong for a long time.
    just gave it a go and you can Instantly feel it more in the glutes, and like you said you can rep for longer.

    Thanks

  • This am I did swings the way you did them/taught here and for the first time when I finished 3 sets of 30 sec I actually felt it in my glutes and lats more than my lower back. Thanks brotha!
    Do you have any posts on doing a kb over head press?

  • thanks Pavel Macek. Your video really helped. I admit I was actually doing the 2 count movement. Glad you made this video. Text vs video are a world of a difference. thanks!

  • I appreciate your explanation of the hinge method but the squat motion that you demonstrated is not the squat motion that Pavel teaches. Do you have a video on the pros and cons of the Pavel method vs the hinge?

  • Great exercise. But I believe that one arm dumbbell swing provides a slightly larger range of motion and is safer for your wrists.

  • Comrade! Thanks to this video we can all have the work capacity of an Android and the pain tolerance of an immortal! Power to you!

  • Good video. Avoiding back pain is important to me so I’ll do it your way. But interesting when you see Pavel who made it famous doing a lot of squat and also arm raise in his version. https://youtu.be/-KqxcDijOyA

  • Holy crap!!! I see everybody at the gym doing it with the arms fully extended and letting it drop alllll the way back with the stress on the back.

  • But if you wanted to work out your lower back, wouldn’t doing it that way be a good idea? you could strengthen your lower back right?

  • This is one of the worse videos on technique. WTF is going on with this guy’s shoulders/neck? The only thing I took away from this video is to keep the bell close to your body, which is frankly kind of obvious. Give us something more.

  • I never do two arm swings with such a small kettlebell. I can’t justify the $ for one of the 48kg bells so have my own adjustable T-bar kettlebell made plumbing pipe and 10 pound weights with 1” holes. The center pope is long enough to load 12 plates so it naturally puts it farther away from your body.. I don’t see that as an issue as long as you use good form.

  • The single best exercise ever is the push up. If you’re gonna do one excercise in your life, do 50 push ups every day. Preferably variations (standard, knuckle, diamonds, etc.) No gear required, no space required, limitless. It’s the absolute whole body workout. Kettlebel swings I’d avoid for the back injury potential alone.

  • Yeah buddy. Injury prevention is incredibly important. Thr video.
    I did on this same subject is one of my most popular.
    good to see other trainers looking out for people. Joe

  • I have a long torso, this video helped my swing a lot. Keeping the bell closer by using my lats to “brake” the system actually helped take a lot of stress off of my lower back.

  • Well kbs are great functional tool.but in terms of estetic they are not that good..barbell is way to go..however kbs are great if u wanna lose fat,get that muscular endurance,conditioning and overall functional strength..

  • This guy has it all wrong. Crossfit million reps no matter how it gets done as long as there is some sort of swing has it right lol

  • Sorry. This is just not true, as much as some might like it to be. Kettlebells are fun, useful, and fashionable. But the misinformation is harmful as it might steer those that are interested in the best bang for the buck in the direction of your bias. The barbell squat is the king if you have only one to choose.

  • Big believer in kettlebells. I would add though that even a “seemingly simple” move with a kettlebell, like the swing, is actually more complicated than it looks. I really suggest that if you’re just learning that you have someone teach you in person and review your form/technique. There are many great videos on the internet teaching these maneuvers but there are some pretty terrible ones as well.

  • Kettle Ball swinging ROFL are you actually serious? I watch people do this movement and its almost comical. They actually think using momentum and swinging a ball is actually working?

  • I’m not sold on this as the “correct” way. The movement he’s teaching looks unnatural. Stanford or not….his homeboy looks like he is stopping the kettlebell with his forearms mashing his nuts ��.

  • Would someone else help me with the transcription of what is said from minute 1:00 to 2:10? I’m from Brazil and I can understand almost everything except a few words in between! This exercise is very important 4 me to fix my Timing! Thanks!

  • Cory Schlesinger. Pretty sure this is the Nebraska fullback from the mid-90s. He showed up big against Miami in the 94′-95′ National Championship Game.

  • This is MANDATORY viewing, and not just once! Deceptively simple lesson and perfectly instructed. I learned the hard way and did not follow these principles and severely injured my lower back, just like you warned. Thank you so much for this very important lesson and the clear teaching technique. I will be sure to keep this in mind when swinging next time and will share this with many others!

  • “Stay upright and do not release the glutes until your forearms almost hit your stomach. At the very last instant, hinge your hips and get out of the way. Play chicken with the kettlebell.” This video is really the absolute perfect demonstration of what Pavel T. says in the book. As a beginner, I always try to have the last sentence in mind. By the way, how many Pavels are there over at SF 😉

  • I’m 70 years old and my nuts keep getting in the way when I swing the kettlebell.. So I’ve decided to just swing my nuts instead.. Great cardio ����

  • Thanks Alex… this really put a few things into prospective.

    After ripping a rotator cuff over ten years ago, and having much treatment to help the healing process, about seven years, (can’t Believe, that a fall on some ice, could’ve messed up my shoulder so much, straightened my arm out to break by fall as I went backwards, my legs flew up in the air, wrist was the first part of my body to hit the floor, felt the pain travel right from my wrist to my shoulder, out of action for years).

    I’ve started doing more functional training now, Kettlebells, I find don’t put as much strain on the shoulder, plus I’m a few years older, and I think training with conventional weights is probably not for me anymore.

    Any chance we could have some good, basic, individual kettlebell exercises, for each body part… Please 😉 I’ve had a look around some of the other guys on YT, who teach kettle bell, but they don’t really seem to know what they’re doing….. and they are not as engaging either.

    Hoping you can help,
    Steve:-) ��

  • I got the 4 steps as he could have scripted a presentation;nonetheless his demonstration clearly showed the pattern and timing of the movement.

  • You just fixed my swing thank you brother! Doing 10k swings… Was getting back pain at higher repetitions now I know why! Appreciate it ��

  • The best advice out there! But i just watched a video of pavel doing swings. Is he always going in so deep squat position during the swing? All of RKC and very good Kettlebell Trainer and the guys of StronFirst are not bending their knees that much like Pavel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KqxcDijOyA And in this video he is not following your advices. He drops his arms together with his back. The whole swing movement looks not so strong as yours. I’m very confused now because everybody says different things of how to swing.

  • Should the two handed method forcing the hands close together at the top of the swing be a concern for folks with shoulder issues? Seems like one armed with lower weight might be a more natural movement provided your hips and shoulders remain square. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Thank you for this video. I have just recently gotten into the kettlebell swing and the first day I did it, my back was tight. After watching this instructional video, I believe I am now properly swinging my ‘bell.

  • I’ve been using kettlebells for several years, and this totally clicked for me, never know what will, I guess. I’m right in the middle of Dan John’s 10,000 kettlebell swings in 30 days protocol, and I finally get what “hard style” means after this video. Transformed my swing!

  • The Kettlebell Swing is the most useless exercise done in a weight room. When you compare it to dumbbell anterior raises for the front delts, it fails. When you compare it to squats or half squats, it fails again. As a whole, the kettlebell is a worthless POS that can easily be replaced by dumb bells. Additionally, they are responsible for numerous numbers of injuries as they are extremely awkward to use. Laughable.

  • This is the most helpful video on the kettlebell swing. I have lower back problems and after watching this tutorial I finally managed to do this exercise the proper way and without any pain!!! This 4-step way is a perfectly new experience and my swing became much more dynamic as well. THANK YOU!!!

  • 1000 rep kettlebell swings FTW!..done 1000 in 70 minutes with 24 kg kettlebell…because treadmills are for old people and the weak

  • This is one of the better videos on this topic (many are downright sad and will get people hurt). However, your range of motion during the hinge seems really low. Like, your hips are staying put and your knees go forward. I thought that the knees are supposed be kept back (vertical shins are one of the cues) during posterior chain movements which would make your hips naturally go backward. If you watch Olympic lifters snatching, for example, their shins are vertical just after the barbell passes the knees, after which the hips come forward. In your video it looks like you are not exactly squatting, but you do still have some mild elements of the squat in your movement.

  • Tracy Reifkind lost the first 45lbs in 12 weeks by walking. It was only later that her husband Mark taught her the kettlebell swing. Please get your facts right!

  • i think the barbell squat is the best exercise
    however considering how cheap, easy and convenient the kettlebell is, i think it’s unbeatable
    it doesnt require a lot of mobility, it’s a lot cheaper than a full squat rack with plates and a barbell
    it’s easy to learn and you can put under your bed after you’re done
    you’re working your core,posterior chain and cardio…all you need it’s some pull ups or bench press and you have done a full body workout

  • You do realize if the kettle bell was not invented, YOU CAN STILL ACHIEVE ALL THE RESULTS WITHOUT IT..:/ people just gotta stop being lazy excuses F&&k$ AND MOVE!

  • I am on treatment for my kidneys and I purchased and workout with 20 and 35 lb kettlebells. I am toning very nicely and my treatments are much less stressful on my body because of them. Highly recommended!

  • Such a stupid exercise. You’re not even lifting. You’re using momentum and usually crappy form. Efficiency is zero. Risk of injury is high. Joke. And u don’t lose weight by exercise only. In fact exercise to lose weight is a waste of time.

  • That’s it, i’m committing to doing kettle bell swing workouts 2-3 times a week. My main goal right now is fat loss and maintaining all of my lean muscle (adding a little as a bonus) and simplifying my workout routine is probably “just what the doctor ordered” I’m always stressing about trying to get every body part in each week, I need to focus on the fat loss, get in get out the gym type workouts

  • what ever those women were doing in the beginning..not sure what that was, but that was NOT a proper kettlebell swing. If anyone is interested in learning about form, check out anything by Strong Firts.

  • It’s not the best it’s one of the best, but why? Big full body multi-joint movement. So similar results can be gotten w/ squats, dead lift, cleans, clean and presses, squat thrust, mt climber, 8 count body builders, squat presses, DB renegade row/clean and press. Also it’s not the kettlebell. It’s the movements and style of training. The same thing can be done w/ many other cheaper easier to master tools like dumbbells.

  • I’m 62. My strength and conditioning training for the last two years has been exclusively with kettlebells. Swings great but kettlebells are so much more versatile than that. I do swings, squats, lunges, cleans, curls, presses, rows, deadlifts, turkish get ups and so on. All with kettlebells.

    I do these workouts three days a week and run between 50-60km in total over the other three days ( one rest day). I’m 5’9″ and 73kg with 7% body fat. I swear by my kettlebell routines.

  • Very helpful; I can already feel an improvement in the feel of my swing. This and your 56kg single arm swing video, which shows your technique under a heavy load, have created a bit of a light bulb moment for me. Děkuju!

  • I take Burpees over any other exercise anytime, not only works most mayor muscles and name me another compound exercise that you can perform almost anywhere without equipment.

  • I agree with the “KB swing”…as it is sued by many…amateur or pro athletes. But the “snatch”?..when the KB swings over the hand…would it not always hit the back of the wrist?:)

    I will later incorporate the KB Swing…need a heavier KB t heavier than 15-lbs.:)

  • I like the comments from meatheads. Meatheads cannot link so they cannot understand how this exercise will increase their squat and deadlift. Say your a meathead who is obese, like many powerlifters in the upperweight classes are, you can use a kettlebell to lose weight and maintain your Strenght. Get a polar heart rate monitor. Using your target heart rate, which is 220-your age. Say you are 20, 200 is your max target heart rate. Set your polar heart rate monitor to 80% (160) and 90% (180). Start performing kettlebell swing until the 90% alarm goes off. Stop, rest tell the 80% alarm goes off, then start swinging. Set a clock for 30 minutes. Record the number of times you can do 80 to 90 in the 30 minutes. As your anaerobic conditioning goes up you will be able to complete more rounds of 80 to 90. Your V02 max will increase the oxygen levels in your blood thus your muscles will get more oxygen levels. You will recover faster and you will be leaner.

  • I use to always go to shoulder height but now I really feel the part where you say it gets to far away from you. I tried your shorter stroke method and I feel a big difference. I feel that the way I have been doing it was how I tweaked my back..thanks

  • Ahh I use Kettlebells in doing my HIIT training at least once a week. WEEKLY ROUTINE: I will do 1 full body workout at the gym with no kettlebells just machines, free weights and bodyweight combined. (1 to 2) 45 to 60 minute steady state cardio exercises sessions(treadmill, elliptical or brisk walking outside). 4 to 5 Core/Ab workouts weekly. 1 to 2 HIIT Full Body workouts including Kettlebells and some bodyweight exercise. Usually I will do 25 to 30 minute HIIT with 15 seconds in between each exercise and then take a 30 second break every 5 to 6 exercises for 25 to 30 minutes. 1 day of active rest that includes a outdoor walk for 30 minutes at a regular pace and 15 minutes of stretching and 1 day off not doing any exercises of any kind. 7 to 9 hrs of sleep every night, drink a gallon of water per day and use 16/8 intermittent fasting. Every 3 weeks I will take of at least 2 days off back to back doing no exercise to allow my body a little more time to recover since I am a little older now.

  • Not even bothering to watch video. Title alone is enough to call it out as crap. First, just because it’s kettlebells and they’re a bunch of fitness nonsense. They’re more about building momentum than building muscle, that’s even when you use them “right”. Second, because if it’s any exercise at all cleans and press/push jerk/jerk would be just one of many that is much better. Third, because of the assumption that there is a best exercise. All exercises and fitness itself is a compromise. When you build one ability, you interfere with another. Therefore, you first have to decide what kind of fitness you want, before you can decide what exercise is best. And that’s before understanding that people are different, and there is no one size fits all, and the best exercise is the one that you will actually do.

  • I’m in my tenth year of KB Training and have never been injured. I used to mix the KB with running every other workout but my 55yo toes don’t like running anymore. With the KB I can still do all exercises and am never bored. YT offers plenty of exercises to keep you busy. I additionally use an Indian Club Bell. I used to also have a Bulgarian Bag. These tools all allow a full body workout and you can kick your butt pretty good in only 20 minutes if you train properly. I can well recommend all three. Ever since I started backaches are history.

  • Been doing these for about 2 months now and I can feel my cardiovascular getting stronger. I started with a 35lb for 30reps × 6. Then I eventually got up to 40 reps × 8. I’m about to buy a 45lb since the 35 has become too light

  • Great information and easy to understand! I really like the cue of imagining there are two buttons on the torso waiting to be pressed by the downward swinging arms to initiate the hinge. Thank you very much!

  • your wrong one in the thumbnail when i look it up looks exactly like pavels video right above it in the search function hahah
    is pavel wrong?

  • Would’ve been really good to see the swing action (with the kettlebell) in slow motion.
    And I like the fact that the video was short and to the point not any needless chatter.

  • Great demonstration. My coach from Strong First exactly show me swing like that, and I do same exercise everyone before I start my swing.

  • being doing weights and cardio and lost about 75lbs but now my weightloss has stopped and increasing the amount of cardio doesn’t seem to be working so i’ll certainly try incorporating this into my workouts

  • Curious if you lock the knees on the up swing? I’ve read or seen on some other video that you should not let the hips go over your sagittal center line, that you should put a brake on the hip after the initial jump movement…

    Basically your body should be in a straight line on the highest part of the movement, and not curved even slightly back.

  • BRILLIANT informative video. You’ve motivated me to start doing it, I have ironmaster quick lock version so I’ll start with the minimum and increase it gradually. Thank You!

  • Really enjoyed the episode with Cory, as well as this video. Currently kettlebells are all I use for resistance traing, so it was cool for you guys to include this.

  • Great video. I’ve been waking up with low back everyday for over a year. Walking and light stretching in the morning it would disappear completely, but would return the next morning and the pain would usually be my alarm clock. Started swinging the Kettlebell and within 1 week my low back pain is gone.

  • Hi Pat Flynn, I just start to swing recently. 15kg seems too much for me. I have tried to lower the weight down to 10kg. But I can not perform a perfect swing. Too heavy to perform a hip hinge.
    Do you have any pre-swing exercise/routine to help me get used to the swing? Like squat…

  • Totally disagree with this method! Watch Pavel! He likes to use his legs as well as his upper body and in my humble opinion using your legs can actually help cushion the back from strain and injury. Like they always say, lift with your legs, not your back!

  • I’ve been swinging KBs for a little while now and it never felt right. Going to go and try this immediately because I think I can see my problem now. Thank you!

  • Crockfiti just started using Kettleballs in the hopes of getting a jump start on getting back into shape.i love all of your videos.they are running while I am working out.thanks.you have a natural God glorifying physique.psalm 139

  • Thanks for these tips, Alex. Very helpful!! Definitely appreciate that you show the “wrong” movement and compare it to the correct technique.

  • Good one, Alex! Kettelbell swings totally work the hip flexors when done correctly! You would not be working out outside around here without a shirt on today unless you wanted to get frost bite! Midwest winters…ugh…