Updated: Apr 20
The kettlebell swing is such a great exercise! It has it all – power, strength, conditioning! However, it is also one of the most common exercises to see being performed wrong or with poor form. Take the time to learn it and practice it. Be sure that you can properly hip hinge and deadlift before jumping into the swing.
Your basic kettlebell swing set up should look something like this. So I’m not an artist, but it serves its purpose I think! 🙂
Shoulders above hips, with a neutral spine
Hips above knees
Feet approximately 12 inches from the kettlebell
Eyes on the horizon, looking straight ahead
Load up/sit back into your hamstrings
(Oh, and a smile because kettlebells are awesome!)
“Break the handle” of the kettlebell during set up. Hold onto the kettlebell and act as if you are trying to break the handle, turning your elbow pits out to the front. This will immediately engage your lats for a safe, strong swing.
If you are having trouble using your hips during the swing, try wrapping a short towel around the handle. Be sure to grab the towel closer to the bell (instead of at the very top) with a strong grip. This drill should take your arms out of the swing and allow you to understand how to use your hips more. Here’s Marge doing a towel swing, with a great lockout at the top.
If your swing looks pretty good but you aren’t hinging back far enough, have a partner hold a book or some sort of target behind you so you have something aim for with the bell. This will give you some immediate feedback on your hinging. Hinge deep so your hands and arms should are pointing back and not down at the bottom of the swing.
As with all strength exercises, practice makes perfect! Keep practicing and perfecting your movements to get the most out of your training!