Proper Kettlebell Swing Form: How To Properly Do Kettlebell Swings
Dateline: Proper Kettlebell Swing Form is vital for anyone who is serious about their fitness. In fact, learning how to properly do kettlebell swings can garner significant health benefits, including huge gains in core strength, hip strength and reduced lower back pain.
Sounds good right? Well yes, but only if you’re doing them correctly!
In fact, I’ve seen more botched kettlebell swings than any other exercise move.
Moreover, when kettlebell swings aren’t performed properly, your risk of injury skyrockets and their core strengthening benefits plummets.
Which is why I felt the need to write this “How To Properly Do Kettlebell Swings” tutorial for you.
The Kettlebell Swing: Proper Form
So let’s take a closer look at how to do a kettlebell swing with proper form and technique in five simple and easy steps.
Time needed: 1 minute
Here’s How To Properly Do Kettlebell Swings
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Clutch the kettlebell with both hands and let it hang gently in front of your body. Arms are extended straight. Chest is up and shoulders are back and down.
- Kettlebell Swing Start
Bend your knees slightly mimicking an “Athletic Readiness Position.” Brace your core by exhaling forcefully and then draw the abdominals into your spine.
- Hip Hinge Pattern
Begin the kettlebell swing with the hip hinge movement by distributing your weight into your heels and pushing your hips directly out behind you (like you’re hiking a football.) Maintain a flat back throughout. Contract your hips, glutes and hamstrings.
- Explode and Thrust
Forcefully exhale while snapping or thrusting the hips explosively forward. Use the momentum of the trusting movement to drive the kettlebell to chest height while arms are extended straight out in front of you.
- KB Swing Finish
As gravity pulls the weight towards the floor and back between the legs, maintain a tightly braced core, flat back and perfect hip hinge pattern. Once the kettlebell has fully descended, load the hips, glutes and hamstrings and thrust the kettlebell forward again. That will start rep two.
Here’s a visual of a Proper Kettlebell Form from Men’s Health which is perfectly executed by Master Instructor Pavel Tsatsouline of Strong First.
5 Tips To Master Proper Kettlebell Swing Form
Focus on these five tips to keep your form on point and master the Kettlebell Swing once and for all.
Optimize Grip, Posture and Shoulder Blade Retraction
While you should have a firm grip on the kettlebell, you also need to allow it to rotate in your hands. Posture is also extremely important. Keep your chest up and shoulders down. Your shoulder blades should be retracted and pulled back throughout the swing movement as well.
Learn To Brace Your Core & Breathe
Core bracing and diaphragmatic breathing is important while performing all resistance training exercises, but absolutely vital to safely and correctly performing kettlebell swings. Remember to brace the core by forcefully breathing out and eliminating all air, and then drawing the abdominals into the spine. Normal breathe can resume with the kettlebell swing breathing pattern being an exhale on the hip thrust forward and breathe as gravity pulls the kettlebell towards the floor.
Perfect The Hip Hinge Pattern
The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) when done properly represents a perfect hip hinge pattern. If you’re having trouble with proper kettlebell swing form, set the kettlebell aside and work on properly executing the Romanian Deadlift Exercise. Once mastered, RDL hip hinge pattern will directly crossover to proper kettlebell swing form, only with added hip thrust explosion.
Do Be Explosive—Learn To Thrust
Remember, your swings are only as good as your greatest thrust. One of the most crucial components of the KB Swing is being explosive. While in the learning phase you can start with a slow and less aggressive swing motion, but do learn to be quick and explosive in time.
Gravity: Let The Kettlebell Do The Work
All things that go up must come down—And the kettlebell is no different. Remember, you already executed the most difficult part of the kettlebell swing with the explosive, hip snapping action. Now let gravity dictate when the kettlebell will return to the floor and avoid “forcing” this phase of the swing. Instead, continue to brace your core and ready yourself for the next kettlebell hip thrust.
3 Common Kettlebell Swing Mistakes To Avoid
Pay close attention to these common kettlebell swing mistakes to avoid injury or looking like “that guy that does crazy swings” at the gym.
The kettlebell swing is a hip hinge pattern, not a squat. Do not bend the knees too much during this movement. Your knees can be slightly bent at the beginning of the movement and knee flexion (knee bend) can increase during the pattern, but never should the kettlebell swing mimic that of a squat.
Kettlebell swings are not front shoulder raises. While the shoulders are activated during this move, the kettlebell is raised in front of the body merely by the snapping and thrusting movement of the hip hinge pattern. If you feel your shoulders working too hard, focus on letting the hips do the work and allow the kettlebell to move without “muscling it” with the shoulders.
At the apex of Kettlebell Swing the back is extended and straight, and your body is standing tall without leaning back. Note: While back hyperextensions are amazing for strengthening the lower back, the kettlebell swing is not the time to be doing them. Focus on perfect posture to avoid hyperextension.
Not Sure Where To Include Kettlebell Swings In Your Workout? Grab The FREE Workout!
Certainly, executing proper kettlebell swing form can be a daunting task in the learning phase. And while the “risk versus reward” of kettlebell swings can weigh heavily on your mind at first, I can assure you it’s a safe and highly effective exercise when done correctly.
Remember, once you learn how to properly do kettlebell swings the “looming risk of lower back injury” will dissipate and you’ll soon reap the amazing health benefits from including them throughout your weekly routines.
So keep at it—And swing often!
Until next time,
Fitness Guy @body360fit
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