Back to Basics: How to Perform the Kettlebell Swing

Back to basics: how to perform the kettlebell swing

The kettlebell swing is one of the most popular exercises among athletes. It’s very effective exercise because it strengthens all muscles in your body. You can use it for weightlifting or other sports activities such as soccer, basketball, volleyball and many others.

How to do the Kettlebell Swing?

In order to do the kettlebell swing properly, you need to learn proper form. If you don’t have any experience with this exercise then you should start from the beginning. You will get better results if you practice this exercise regularly. Here are some tips on how to do the kettlebell swing correctly:

Kettlebell swings should be done with slow speed (not fast) and not too much force when doing them.

You should keep your elbows close together while swinging the kettlebell. Keep your arms straight at the same time.

Your feet should stay on the ground throughout the whole movement. Don’t stand up during this exercise!

Keep your back straight and don’t let your shoulders slump down when performing this exercise. Your upper body must remain upright throughout the entire movement.

Breathe out when you swing the kettlebell forward and breathe in when you bring it back.

Don’t hold your breath at any time during this exercise.

Practice the basic form of kettlebell swing (without the kettlebell) several times before doing it with a kettlebell. This way you will learn how to do it properly and avoid injuries.

Back to Basics: How to Perform the Kettlebell Swing - GYM FIT WORKOUT

When doing the proper way, your arms shouldn’t be straight all the time. Your elbows should be slightly bent and only straighten at the very end of the movement.

How to Choose a Kettlebell?

The size of the kettlebell depends on your strength and goals. If you’re a beginner then you should use a light-weight kettlebell. Experienced athletes and people with more strength can use a heavier one.

There are several types of kettlebells:

Cast iron: These are the old-fashioned kettlebells. They are the cheapest type.

Plastic: These kettlebells are lighter than the cast iron kettlebells and cheaper as well. On the other hand, they are more dangerous to use because if you drop it on your feet then you can get hurt!

Rubber: These kettlebells are covered with a thick layer of rubber. They are the safest kettlebells on the market but they also expensive.

As you can see, there are many types of kettlebells on the market. If you are a beginner then you should buy a plastic or cast iron kettlebell. These types of kettlebells will do just fine for a beginner. If you think that 30 minutes of training with a light kettlebell is not enough then you should buy a heavier one. On the other hand, if you think that 30 minutes of training is too long then go for a lighter one.

What Muscles Does the Kettlebell Swing Workout Target?

The kettlebell swing is an Olympic lifting move that mainly works on your hamstrings, glutes, lower back and to some extent your core. It also engages the muscles of your arms and shoulders to a certain degree. As mentioned before, this exercise strengthens all your muscles and that’s why it’s used by many athletes.

What Other Benefits You Can Get From The Kettlebell Swing?

There are many benefits that one can get from the Kettlebell swing but the main ones are as follows:

Kettlebell training can relieve pains and problems caused by the sedentary lifestyle of most people nowadays.

It can help improve your bone strength, especially when used in combination with other types of exercises.

It can help you loose weight or at least prevent you from gaining extra pounds.

It can help increase your metabolism.

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It can give you more energy throughout the day.

It can improve your posture and make you sit, walk and stand taller.

When combined with other exercises, it can help you develop a strong and powerful body.

The kettlebell swing can also be used for rehabbing or warming-up before exercise. It can also be incorporated into other full-body routines to provide an extra challenge.

What are the Disadvantages?

Some of the potential problems that you may experience when doing this exercise are:

If you do not perform it correctly, then you can get an injury.

If you use too heavy a kettlebell then you may damage your muscles or hurt your back.

The Kettlebell Swing Workout Routine

As mentioned before, the routine is simple. It consists of just one move; you just need to execute it properly. Follow these steps:

Your stance should be wide enough to allow you to swing the kettlebell back and behind your body. When holding the kettlebell in front of your body, your arms should be straight but not locked. Your knees should also be slightly bent when holding it.

Now, bend your hips and push your butt back as you swing the kettlebell back and between your legs. Your arms should also be swung between your legs as far behind you as possible.

Swing the kettlebell up to about shoulder height and then thrust your hips forward so that the kettlebell goes forward and up over your head. As it goes up over your head, bend your arms so that your palms face forward when the kettlebell reaches its peak point of motion. Your knees should be bent deeply at this point.

Then, keeping the kettlebell raised, take a small step forward with your front foot and slide your back foot forward so that you are in a half lunge position. Allow the kettlebell to swing between your legs and then press it back between your legs as far as you can. Allow it to swing back up and over your head and then bring your hands back in front of you.

Back to Basics: How to Perform the Kettlebell Swing - gym fit workout

Repeat the procedure until you have completed your set.

What If You Are a Complete Beginner?

If you are a complete beginner, then start with a lighter kettlebell and master the motion with it before proceeding to a heavier weight. You can also perform this exercise with just your bodyweight. Although it will be more difficult and you may need to start with just one leg lift at first.

As you get stronger over time, you can then add the swing to the beginning and end of your routine. This is just one example of how you can incorporate it into your workout.

How Can You Make the Kettlebell Swing Workout More Difficult?

You can incorporate other exercises into your routine to make it more difficult. One very popular kettlebell exercise is called the “Kettlebell Swing to Lunge”. Here is how you do it:

As you bring the kettlebell between your legs in the backswing, allow it to swing forward and then drop down and do a lunge. Do the same when you bring the kettlebell back between your legs in the frontswing. In other words, you lunge forward each time the kettlebell swings between your legs.

When combined with the kettlebell swing, this makes for a very challenging full body exercise.

What Equipment Do You Need?

A kettlebell is the only piece of special equipment that you need to do this routine.

You can get a quality kettlebell rather inexpensively these days so there is really no reason not to own one. I suggest buying one that is in the 20-40 lb range to start with. This way you will get the feel of the motion before moving up to a heavier weight.

You can perform this routine indoors as well as outside. It does not require any special facilities or equipment.

Is This Just for Kettlebell Newbies?

Obviously if you have not done this before, you need to start slowly and work your way up to the more difficult exercises and routines. However, experienced kettlebell users can certainly benefit from this routine as well. You may find that certain parts of the routine are more challenging for you than others. Analyze your performance and pay particular attention to the harder ones. Deliberately try to improve upon them in your next workout. Then, try to add a couple of extra reps to each exercise during your next workout.

This is a great way to keep you from getting bored with your routine. Plus, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what your body is capable of doing if you push it just a little bit further each time.

Remember that this is just one suggested kettlebell routine. There are many other routines out there as well as a multitude of ways to combine exercises and come up with your own routines. The ones that use the most muscles and make you work the hardest are typically the best though.

For more advanced routines, I would suggest getting a book dedicated to kettlebell routines rather than trying to piecemeal one together from various sources.

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You can also try doing your own routines and exercises that aren’t in any book or routine at all. The only limitation is your imagination! So start coming up with some ideas of your own and before you know it, you’ll be in the best shape of your life!


Steve Holman

Kettlebell Exercise Guide

If you want to start working out with kettlebells you can download my “Kettlebell Exercise Guide” for FREE by clicking here.

It contains 20 of the most effective kettlebell exercises you can do.

Plus, you’ll see how each exercise is performed.

You’ll also get a list of the equipment you need for kettlebell training.

WARNING: The exercises and techniques described in this guide are for educational purposes only. The exercises and techniques in this guide are not without their dangers and may result in physical injury. Because of these dangers, you must follow the instructions carefully. You should consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. No one but your physician is qualified to assess your health and whether you are safe to perform the exercises described in this guide.

The information in this guide is not intended to replace professional medical advice and you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.

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Sources & references used in this article:

Sports Scientist Provides The Ultimate Guide to Working Out at Home by BT Basics, YGTAS Back –

The Basics of Sandbag Training by J Raether –

Official blog of the RKC kettlebell swing by M Beecroft, RKC Master, M Bos, A Du Cane, A Gala… –

Back to Basics: Nitty-Gritty Suggestions on Managing Emotional Content by A Belger –

Kettlebells for sport, strength and fitness by S Shetler – 2009 –

Kettlebells and clubbells by D Eddy – Fascia in Sport and Movement, 2015 –