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ePublication of Australian Fitness Network

Backed by science, and developed with happy hearts, a new light weight, free movement workout delivers plenty of smiles as well as results.

“…And here are our dumbbell weights. They are incredibly dangerous, especially when you consider how fragile the human body is. Lift them up and down slowly and for heaven’s sake keep everything else still!”

Is the above statement:

A. Completely true
B. A little bit true
C. Utterly false
D. All of the above – but it depends.

The answer of course is D!

If you’re lifting to absolute failure with very high loads, make sure you know what you are doing (and why) and ensure your technique is superb, otherwise you could hurt yourself. If you are not lifting heavy weights, not working under high local muscle fatigue and not moving in a way that the complexity of the movement is beyond you, then rest assured: your body is remarkably resilient and there is an extraordinary array of exercise variations that can be performed safely, enjoyably and with a positive effect on your health and wellbeing.

Welcome to mSwing: light weight, free movement performed in groups with a smile! mSwing uses a single dumbbell and natural, flowing movements to provide a fun, challenging and effective workout in a group or individual exercise setting. Instructors and participants alike develop skill, strengthen muscle and mobilise their bodies in a way that makes them feel light, happy and free. The unique variety of movements in mSwing arc, sweep and flow through space and complement every other form of exercise.

The science

mSwing combines fascial science, vestibular science, neural mobility, and the physics of gravity and momentum. The configuration of fascia and the contractile componentry of muscle combine to allow significant load sharing, force transfer, energy storage and elastic release. The movements in mSwing take advantage of these qualities to allow a load to be safely handled through a wide variety of movement pathways. Movement of the head and changing the level and orientation of the body in mSwing stimulates the vestibular system in a way that improves movement precision, facilitates skill development, increases attention and improves balance reflexes and memory. The combination of rotations, unloaded and momentum-driven body positions safely mobilises the nervous system, improves joint compliance and disinhibits restrictive muscle tension.

The equipment

Dumbbells work best, but you can use anything you can hold onto and swing. For example, you could use weight plates, water bottles, sticks, garden gnomes, vegetables… or even nothing at all. The minimum load is nothing and the maximum load is 5kg.

What are the benefits?

mSwing will make your participants better movers because it:

  • improves cardiovascular fitness
  • improves muscle strength and elasticity
  • improves joint mobility
  • improves skill and co-ordination
  • is safe for all ages and fitness levels
  • is safe for pre- and post-natal exercise
  • is pelvic floor safe
  • is bone and joint safe.

Who can participate?

Anyone. The moves are adaptable to everyone in the same group, so every level is catered for. Everyone can work at their own pace, and they can choose the intensity that suits them best. In a nutshell, every participant will get a great workout.

What are the key movements?

There are three key mSwing moves:

  • Swings
  • Pivots
  • Rebounds.


  • Keep the swinging arm nice and loose. This allows you to work elastically and transfer force with minimal effort.
  • The legs track the path of the swinging arm in a pendular arc. This arc makes the path of a big smile – which is why mSwing is called the smiling movement!
  • When the dumbbell goes up, the legs straighten – when the dumbbell goes down, the legs bend.


  • Pivots ensure easy force transfer whenever a swing moves through the transverse plane.
  • In a pivot, the force travels with the weight, instead of getting caught in your back.
  • To pivot, simply allow the lower limbs to follow your pelvis.
  • The pivoting leg will unload naturally as you lift your heel and pivot off your toes (the same thing happens with your trailing leg at the end of a step in walking)
  • Whenever the trunk turns, there is a rotation. Whenever there is a rotation, there will be a pivot.


  • Rebounds occur when the load moves in a down-up or up-down path, as opposed to a pendular arc. The weight moves as it would in normal resistance training.
  • mSwing classes incorporate whole body movement. When the weight travels down, the legs bend a little to go down with it. This is the rebound action.
  • Rebounds allow gravity to be worked with. Rebounds also keep the movement safe for your back.

How can you teach mSwing?

Instructor certification for mSwing is via a one-day workshop covering mSwing theory, the movements, teaching and class design. Workshops are held throughout Australia and New Zealand, and for those unable to attend a workshop, an online certification is available. Once certified, there are no ongoing upgrades and no mandatory music: you’re good to go. There are no license fees for venues either – mSwing classes simply need a certified instructor. mSwing makes promotional material available to venues and instructors, free of charge. Visit for details.

Mark Davis, BAppSc (Physio), BEd (PhysEd) is a physiotherapist with an extensive background in gym-based rehabilitation and over 30 years’ experience in the fitness industry. A former master coach with the Australian Institute of Fitness, he has been involved with the preparation of thousands of fitness professionals.

Marietta Mehanni is an award winning presenter and Australian Fitness Network Ambassador with over 30 years’ teaching experience in both land- and water-based group exercise. She is also an instructor mentor, World Master Trainer and education coordinator for Gymstick International and Pelvic Floor Ambassador for Continence Foundation Australia.

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