The kettlebell swing is possibly one of the best exercises you can incorporate into a training routine – whether you’re an athlete or just trying to increase your fitness.
This is a really easy exercise to get right, if you follow some simple tips to keep your form spot on – you can use either one kettlebell or do a two handed swing using two if you want to make the exercise more challenging and use a bit of chalk on your hands to help grip the kettlebell nice and tight.
Benefits of The Kettlebell Swing
Practice makes perfect with any exercise and the kettlebell swing is no different – it’s addictive!
1) This exercise burns some serious calories – up to 15-20 per minute, whilst working your whole body from your legs to your arms, and even hits your abs.
2) It is a great exercise for building up your fitness level and strength as helps to raise your heart rate in a short amount of time.
3) Kettlebell swings are great method of interval training as you can try beat your previous record for the amount of repetitions you perform in a minute, or you can try keep going for as many reps as possible.
4) Improves posture and defines upper back and shoulder muscles (using overhead kettlebell swing.)
5) Great combination of cardio and strength training!
The Kettlebell Swing
✓ Begin the exercise by standing behind the kettlebell keeping your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
✓ Bend at the hips with the knees bent while keeping your back straight – throughout this movement, the power will be primarily from the hips and glutes, not the knees.
✓ You can use both hands to grip the kettlebell, or just one hand as in a one handed swing – hold the kettlebell with you an overhand grip. Lift the kettlebell off the ground and pull your forearm inwards towards your inner thigh maintaining a straight back. This is crucial to prevent any injuries during this exercise.
✓ Power through the hips, driving them forward keeping your chest up and the knees straight – this will push the kettlebell upwards through the air. Allow the kettlebell to pause at the top of the movement – either in line with the shoulders or holding the kettlebell overhead (only if light enough!)
✓ Keep the glutes squeezed tight and as the kettlebell returns towards the ground, hinge at the hips while bending the knees. Your forearm will touch your inner thigh again allowing the kettlebell to swing back under the hips again.
✓ When you wish to finish the swing, simply allow the kettlebell to swing forwards again without extending the hips and knees.
✓ Allow it to lose momentum and put it back on the ground in its original position.
✓ Ensure to keep spine straight and core tight throughout the movment.
✓ Repeat the movement again for as many repetitions as necessary.
Take home tips
✓ Focus on your form
A common mistake is to hunch your back. Keep your chest up and look ahead to keep your back straight. Make sure you use your hips to generate power and not your knees. Another common mistake is to squat down instead of swing. You should feel the exercise working your hamstrings and glutes.
If your form is spot on the kettlebell will feel weightless as it travels through the air, your arms and shoulders will simply control the direction it moves in. As you push your hips forward you will feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.
✓ Incorporate mobility drills into your routine
Include exercises such as hip thrusts and glute bridges in your routine. Improving mobility drills will help you reach full mobility and aid you in reaching full hip extension with the kettlebell swing.
✓ Using a heavier weight can help you use better form with this exercise.
If the weight is too light it is easy to let your form slip and not use hip extension through the movement.
✓ Make sure you use an adequate weight with the swing
As with all other exercises, you need to continuously challenge yourself as your body adapts to the training you place on it. You can make your workouts more challenging in a number of ways such as by increasing the reps or increasing the weight.
✓ Use progressive overload in your kettlebell training