What is a Kettlebell Swing?

The Kettlebell Swing is the cash cow of kettlebell training. It’s a proven model for building strength, and it’s the first movement you should learn when you start kettlebell training. The Kettlebell swing is a rhythmic hinge movement, where your hips, core, and legs supply power to forcefully swing a kettlebell along the sagittal plane. 

The Kettlebell Swing is a full-body exercise with an emphasis on the following muscle groups:

  • Core
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Legs

How to Do a Kettlebell Swing (Instructions):

Start with the kettlebell about 6-12 inches in front of you. Stand with your feet forward, placed a little more than shoulder width apart. As you inhale, “deadlift down” by bending at your hips, with your knees are slightly bent, until you are in a deadlift position with both hands on the kettlebell.
Hike the bell back between your legs as you inhale. Power up with your hips and core, and as you stand, exhale. Inhale on the way down, hinging with your hips, bending your knees slightly. Let the bell fall down and through your legs. Repeat.
To stop, when you at the bottom of the downswing, place the bell in front of you while you are still low to the ground.

Trainer Tips for the Kettlebell Swing: 

  • Progression (make harder)
    • Use a heavier weight. Scale up in 8kg increments (16kg, 24kg, 32kg, etc…)
    • Use only one hand (one-hand swing). 
    • As you swing the kettlebell up, go down into a squat, so that your arms are parallel to the ground while you are in a squatted position. Stand up slightly back into the downswing position. 
  • Regression (make easier)
    • Use a lighter weight.
    • Lower your repetition count. 
  • Application:
    • Do 10 swings every minute, for 10 minutes. When you are done with your 10 within the minute, rest, then at the top of the next minute, resume the cadence. 
      • You can also do this with a pair of dice. Roll a pair of dice, and whatever the sum is (i.e. “9”), do 10 swings every minute for a total of the sum of the dice. 
    • Perform 30-50 swings as a warm-up or cool-down as a part of your routine. 

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