Can we talk about the simple, yet complicated, Kettlebell Swing? This is one of the most beneficial movements that translates into true, functional and applied strength...when done correctly.
The kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement that trains your ability to maintain control with varying speeds and creates a strong foundation for generating power. And that power translates into...everything....from carrying heavy groceries, executing a golf swing, playing with your kids, surfing, thrusting your heavy suitcase into the overhead compartment, you name it.
- The entire posterior chain, but primarily,
- Reduces risk of injury
- Improves athletic performance in ALL activities
- Increases cardiovascular capacity
- Creates a strong foundation for force production
*Before attempting to Swing (hinging with power), you must first MASTER basic hip hinging (example: deadlift)
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart
- Begin with KB on the floor about a foot in front of you, making a triangle with feet and KB
- Hinge down and back with hips and reach forward for KB handles (aka horns). Holding onto KB, pack shoulders down and back and engage/brace core.
- Quickly pull KB up and towards your hips/inner thighs so that forearms connect with upper inner thighs as if the bell were to tap your bottom (yes that high), while maintaining a neutral spine and engaged core
- Immediately, thrust hips forward explosively to create momentum of the KB, keeping shoulders packed and core engaged. KB "float" height is determined by how much power you exert from your hips (*note: if the KB goes above shoulder height, you have lost the engagement in your core and shoulder complex and are using your shoulders to lift)
- Using control, decelerate the KB back down between legs, hinging from the hips again, and immediately repeat, without pause.
- Think "hinge, pop and float" rather than "squat and lift"
- Hinge at the hips and get hips waaaay BACK
- Use hip thrust to propel weight forward and up
- Maintain neutral spine and braced core throughout movement
- Keep shins vertical
- Keep chest open and shoulders back and packed
- Forearms should touch inner thighs at bottom of swing
- Drive hips forcefully, making KB "float" to shoulder height
- Form an upright plank with your body at the top of the swing
- This is an explosive lower body movement
AVOID/DON'T: (just drilling this in here...)
- Don't Squat
- Don't let KB go below knees at the bottom of movement, do not let weight pull you down
- Don't round or arch back at any point
- Don't raise KB above shoulder height by using shoulders (*it will feel heavy if you use arms and will feel light if you drive and exert power from your legs)
Note: It is extremely beneficial to learn this move IN PERSON, but if you don't have access to a professional, consider the above tips for perfecting your form.
*Start with a weight light enough/heavy enough that allows you to perform movement with proper form. What does that mean? Light enough that you are able to maintain proper form throughout execution, yet heavy enough that allows you to exert enough power and produce force.