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Become a better swinger | Kettlebell Swing Techniques

Luke Downing

Written by Luke Downing on February 19th 2016

The Kettlebell swing has become an iconic movement since kettlebells have become more popular in the mainstream fitness industry, Not only is it a popular exercise it is one of the most beneficial with this ballistic movement crossing multiple joints and working many muscles.

From MMA fighters and Powerlifters to the general public this movement has tons of uses and benefits but its important to get it right, Its also important to remember that there are tons of variations of this exercise so techniques may vary slightly but what Im talking to you about is the standard form of the kettlebell swing.

If you have attended a gym or if you follow fit pros on social media you will have seen this movement but I'm here to show you how to do it and more importantly how to do it correctly, A lot of coaches take this ballistic functional movement and turn it in to a squat and a front raise because thats what they’re familiar with, But we don't want that we want to swing so lets get stuck in to it,

Why Swing

Well if your looking for the most bang for your buck when it comes to the exercises you perform then look no further than the Kettlebell Swing, From improving posture, strengthening joints and muscles to melting fat this exercise does it all but I want to break this down and give you some benefits of the swing that I see as being the most important.

Strengthening the lower back - With lower back issues being one of the top problems people visit there doctors or hospitals it’s definitely a problem we need to address, Unlike many other posterior chain exercises the kettlebell swing offers us the chance to work and strengthen those muscles without putting to much load through the spine making this the perfect exercise for people looking to address their lower back problems. (When performed correctly)

Building lower body power - As mentioned before the swing is a ballistic movement meaning it is 1 big production of force accelerating the kettlebell upwards as opposite to lifting the kettlebell in the same fashion which would require a longer and lower force production (Think of a bodybuilders front raise for example) This makes the swing perfect for building power in the legs, hips and core which can translate to many other athletic movements such as sprinting, jumping and lifting.

Burning calories - The kettlebell swing burns a huge amount of calories in a short amount of time when used correctly, because of the amount of muscle and energy required to do this movement if you use this correctly as part of a HIIT workout you can melt some serious fat seriously fast.

Cardiovascular Conditioning - To most people the word cardio means to run, cycle, swim etc but that is not the case, you can work your cardio vascular system using pretty much any exercise but as mentioned in the previous point the kettlebell swing requires a lot of energy making it a perfect conditioning exercise, don't believe me? Try doing 20/30 seconds flat out and then rest for the same amount of time, repeat this for 6-8 round and I can assure you that you will feel that cardio vascular system working hard.

I could go on and on with the benefits of the kettlebell swing as there are so many, when performed correctly they really are a phenomenal exercise..

How to Swing

How you swing is really depended on you like most functional exercises you should make it functional to you, if you cannot accelerate the kettlebell to chest height with just your hips then work with in your range the key is to make sure that your not forcing out the reps, if your hips only propel the kettlebell to in line with your belly button then only work with in that range. Remember you can always improve this as you progress and become more efficient at this movement.


Key points of the Kettlebell Swing:

1. Hinge from hips - This is a posterior chain exercise so we want to activate the hamstrings and glutes to drive that force through the hips if your squatting your not able to do that,

2. Hips back and explode through - All of the power for this movement comes from your hips so the movement should be to push your butt back and then thrust it through to swing that kettlebell.

3. Squeeze glutes and core - To stop you from over swinging you should make sure your glutes and core are tight as your hips come through.

4. Stop kettlebell with body in good vertical position - At the top of the swing your hips should be inline and you should be in a good vertical posture… Shoulders back, Chest proud, core and glutes tight.

5. Use the momentum of the swing for the next swing - The kettlebell should follow the same plane back down through your hips as this happens your hips should hinge again to start the movement using the momentum from your previous swing to start the next one.

6. Swing from the hips don’t use arms and shoulders to force the rep - Only the power generated from your hips should be used to propel the kettlebell forwards, don’t push from the shoulders or arms as this will put extra pressure through your back, only swing to when your hips allow at first.

Improve your Swing

The key to improving your kettlebell swing technique is practice, most of the restrictions you have with in this movement will be improved the more you do it. Having said that there are a few exercises you can do to help develop the muscles needed to safely perform a better swing.

We want to strengthen the lower back, improve hip mobility and engage the core and glutes so below I have attached a couple of exercises that can be done as part of a dynamic warm to help work on these issues and improve your swing.

Single leg Hip Raises

Hip Circles

That is how you become a top swinger.

So thats it thanks for reading and I hope that these points help you develop a functional, injury free, lean body using the kettlebell swing, any questions you have get them over to me on any of my social media accounts and i’ll be happy to answer them for you.

Now go swing like its the 60’s