kettlebells the swing image

The Kettlebell Swing

The Swing is the centre of the Kettlebell universe and is the foundation movement when it comes to kettlebell training.

Introduction to the kettlebell swing

The essential “Hip Hinge” movement will help strengthen your posterior chain (lower back, glutes and hamstrings) which is a must in today’s society as most of us spend a significant amount of time behind the desk at work or on the sofa at home.

What makes the kettlebell swing such an effective movement is not only just strengthening muscles in the body but your heart and lungs also feel the benefit. This is because of the ballistic (explosive power) element to the movement that benefits day to day life.

A good piece of advice when doing a kettlebell swing is to think of the back of your body as the bow in a bow and arrow, the hamstrings and the glutes are the bowstring. The more stretch you apply to the bowstring the further the arrow will fly, it is the same with the kettlebell swing.

Swing Standards

  1. Feet hip width apart and the back and neck are neutral.
  2. Push (hinge) your hips back keeping the shoulders packed.
  3. Take hold of the handle and lean back slightly loading your posterior chain.
  4. The feet are planted throughout and the knees track with the toes.
  5. The kettlebell handle stays above the knees during the backswing.
  6. At the top of the swing the head, the shoulders, the hips and knees extend fully and the spine is neutral.
  7. Biomechanical breathing match.
  8. The quads and the glute muscles visibly contract at the top of the swing.

A properly executed hinge will stretch the glutes and hamstrings to the maximum. More back swing equals more up swing. The hips are your power points.

The Hinge is the key to the Kettlebell Swing

Without a solid hinge movement your swing, clean or snatch cannot be mastered.

Starting with a bodyweight hinge is a great way of dialling in the movement before any weighted swing or deadlift take place.

Remember the swing is a hip hinge movement pattern and not a squat.

In Full Swing, The Movement:

Two handed kettlebell swing

two hand kettlebell swing image

One handed kettlebell swing

one hand kettlebell swing image

The swing as I mentioned earlier is the centre of the kettlebell universe and building solid foundations, like learning any new skill is paramount, you cannot fire a cannon from a canoe!

Take your time and master the swing, perform it in front of a mirror or video your movement so that you can watch your form and master the technique.

Good luck and happy swinging.

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This article was written by Jason Elliott.
You can read more of Jason’s articles and learn about his specialist areas and experiences using the link below.
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