The kettlebell swing is a fantastic exercise to strengthen your body and burn fat. It’s a multi-joint exercise, meaning there are lots of moving parts requiring many muscles to work at once. While your hips (glutes, specifically) are the primary drivers of this exercise, the swing develops tremendous power in what we call the Posterior Chain (back, butt, hamstrings) and -if done correctly- the Core (strong abs, here we come!). It also crushes your lungs and blasts your metabolism because it repeats so quickly.
How do you do this exercise safely and effectively?
We’ve got a step-by-step guide below:
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1. Place kettlebell slightly out in front of you. Sit with hips back, reach out for the kettlebell as you engage the lats (tuck shoulders into your back pocket).
2. Pull the kettlebell high into your groin. The handle of the kettlebell never goes below the knees. Keep it up in your groin. Keep a neutral neck – look at the horizon.
3. Snap the kettlebell up by squeezing the glutes. Don’t use your arms or your back. The hips (glutes) are the primary movers. Arms are straight (or slight bend at elbow) at top, weight goes about chest height, depending on power output. No need to go above. At the top: Glutes squeeze (snap) + Abs squeeze (engage). —> GAME CHANGER! Kettlebell should momentarily feel weightless at the top because arms aren’t being used to lift it up – just hips. Should feel challenging but graceful.
4. Don’t let the kettlebell just ‘drop’ and pull you down; keep control of the backswing. Set the weight down the same way you picked it up. Proper mechanics from start to finish. No hunching shoulders or back to pick kettlebell up or set it down.
5. Swing no higher than chest height. Extending past this forces the low back to pinch and can jam the shoulders.
6. It’s not a squat – it’s a hip hinge. The movement is more forward and back at the hips than it is up and down.
7. Squeeze abs and glutes to remain straight upright in your torso at the top. No leaning back. Consider adding a breath in on the lower and a forceful, quick breath out as the weight swings up. This will require the abs to engage.
Here’s a VIDEO of Jess performing a correct Kettlebell Swing (turn your tunes up!) 🙂