Get the most out of Kettlebell Swings!

Written by Coryn Littler

January 2, 2020

Gym Exercises | Kettlebell Movements | Strength Exercises

Swing into action this year with Kettlebells. Kettlebells are the hottest piece of fitness equipment on the market and as a coach or athlete, it is imperative to have your technique down pat. The biggest tip is that it is all in the hips.

There are plenty of variations of kettlebell swings out there. Here is just one demonstration of a standard kettlebell swing (KBS) with full range with straight arms.

You can also do other exercises with kettlebells such as one arm rows, presses, snatches, cleans, etc.

Make sure that you have a tight back (keep shoulders back), tight glutes (spread the ground with your feet) and have your abs active and engaged.

Step 1: When you pick the kettlebell up, you are effectively doing a deadlift. Make sure you keep heels on the ground, a tight back and a neutral spine.

Dumbbell Swing


Step 2: Start of the swing. Load the glutes and hammies up with tension and bring elbows back towards your hips. You are now ready to start your hip thrust.

Dumbbell Swing


 Step 3: Make sure elbows are still connected to the hips at the drive phase. This is where the motion is (i.e. “all in the hips“.)

Dumbbell Swing


Step 4: At this stage, the kettlebell should have been driven largely from the momentum from the hip drive in step 3. Your deltoids (shoulder muscles) will come into play here, but think of your shoulders as more of a hinge joint for this exercise so the majority of power comes from the hip thrust in the previous step. Note: You can scale a kettlebell swing to a “Romanian Kettlebell Swing” by finishing at eye level.

Dumbbell Swing


Step 5: At this stage (hip extension point), keep weight balanced through the centre of your feet and use shoulders to control the weight over your head. Keep looking ahead and squeeze glutes when reaching full hip extension.

Dumbbell Swing


Step 6: To complete the swing, ensure everything is in line. Ankles, knees, hips, shoulders and wrists should all be in a straight line.

Dumbbell Swing

When bringing the weight back to the start position, make sure you stay active with a long back the entire time.

Be sure to start off light clients as you get technique correct to begin with.

Note: For specialty courses in kettlebells, be sure to check out the Australian Institute of Kettlebells

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Australian Institute of Kettlebell Training video

Remember to seek the advice of your fitness trainer, medical and/or allied health professionals, if you are new to exercise or have an injury or medical condition to consider.

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