Movement Monday – Kettlebell Swing

Movement Monday – Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing a movement when performed correctly is one of the most versatile movements we can perform in the gym. Often the kettlebell swing gets a bad reputation much like another hinge pattern movement we have discussed the deadlift. These exercises when performed correctly will help build a bullet proof back but if not learnt correctly and performed with poor technique can lead to severe injury. Below we are going to take you step by step through how to performa deadlift and show you why you should make this a staple exercise in your training routine.

The Kettlebell Swing Technique

First and foremost the kettlebell swing is a hip hinge pattern meaning it has similarities to a kettlebell Deadlift (id recommend being able to perform this before attempting a kettlebell swing) with the swing being a more ballistic movement.

  1. Getting your starting position is essential. Start with your feet around shoulder width apart and the kettlebell a reachable distance in front of you. 
  2. Pushing your hips back into a hinge position reach down grabbing the kettlebell. At this point we should feel our body weight evenly distributed throughout our feet. This is important because we want don’t want to have the weight pulling our centre of mass into the front of our feet.
  3. Keeping our knees pushed out (screwing your feet into the ground), arms straight squeezing your triceps, and breaking the horn of the kettlebell to maintain a neutral spine lift the kettlebell off the ground (see video one). Can you maintain neutral spine? If not don’t progress any further and keep practicing the breathing bracing, and level 1 movement shown in video one.
  4. Keeping your lats engaged allow the Kettlebell to swing dynamically back between your legs where your forearms will make contact with your inner thigh and then explosively extend (drive) your hips forward squeezing your glutes.
  5. We are now in the upright position, kettlebell out in front of you, knees and hips extended, and eyes gazing forward. From here we are ready to repeat the movement.
Video One – Kettlebell swing preparation
Video Two – How to Kettlebell Swing

Muscles Utilised During Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is known for being an exercise that targets the back of the legs but this exercise gives more value than just that. Muscles throughout our torso such as our internal obliques, external obliques, and rectus abdominis, and latissimus dorsi all work hard to create structure and protect our spine during the kettlebell swing. When our other muscles throughout our posterior chain (gluteal medius, gluteal maximus, rectus femoris, bicep femoris and erector spinae) are fit and firing this exercise is perfect to incorporate into both your strength based program or cardiovascular circuit.

Repetition Range For Kettlebell Swing

As previously mentioned this can be incorporated into any type workout, you can choose to use a rep range from 8 to 10 reps for strength based workouts or even add it to a cardiovascular (higher rep range, 15+) circuit or wod for time just be sure to pick an appropriate weight for your level of fitness and experience.

How To Incorporate Into Your Program

The kettlebell swing being a explosive based exercise has always been an exercise I like to program in the beginning of a program when energy levels are high and fatigue is low especially with entry level/beginner level clients. With more advanced clients this exercise can be incorporated safely into a high intensity workout where you are challenging both your strength and cardiovascular systems systematically.

Yours In Health & Fitness

Chris Dawson

(Head Coach)

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