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5 Tips for the Best Kettlebell Swing

July 5, 2018

The Kettlebell Swing is one of the best yet arguably one of the most poorly performed exercises. When it is done properly, it should feel like a challenge to the gluts, core, and cardiovascular system. You should not feel this exercise in your low back. You should also not feel as if you are using your arms to raise the kettlebell. Below are 5 tips to help you perform this exercise properly and reap the benefits!

5 Tips for the Best Kettlebell Swing

1. Set-up is everthing. If you set up in a poor position, you can't expect to perform an exercise correctly. The kettlebell should be on the floor about a foot in front of you. When you pick it up, that is your first repetition. You should also sit it down safely in the position.

2. This is a hip hinge exercise, not a squat. To begin the swing, you should hinge at your hips more than bending at the knees. This is an exercise focused on gluteal power, and the hips should be the working joint. The bottom of the kettlebell should float above the knees as you hike it back behind you. You should use your hips (primarily the gluteus maximus) to pop the kettle bell up to float in front of you. Think of squeezing the gluts as you come up, but do not force hips forward as this will put stress on your low back.

3. Keep abdominals engaged. When you are setting up, before you move the kettlebell, you should engage your abdominals. They should stay engaged as this is also a great exercise for that region. Think of performing a quick exhale as the kettle bell comes up and keeping the rib cage down.

4. Keep shoulders packed. Don't mistake this for using the shoulders to raise the kettlebell. You should keep shoulders in a packed position, with shoulder blades hugged into the body. You can think of this as squeezing an orange in your armpits and that will set your should blades. This should occur in the set-up and remain that way. The kettle bell should feel weightless at the top and you should aim to bring it up in front of you, not overhead.

5. This is a power exercise. One thing that I see people do incorrectly with the swing is that they perform it too slow. What makes this a great exercise for glut power is the manipulation of speed. It should be performed quickly, one swing after another. You should feel your heart rate increasing and it should feel like a sprint or fast interval on a bike.

Proper Set-Up:

  • Kettlebell in front
  • Hips back and loaded
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Shoulders packed
  • Abdominals engaged

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Great stuff Jackie!


I love kettlebell swings!

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