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How to Do a Kettlebell Swing? Tips, Technique, Correct Form, Benefits and Common Mistakes

A kettlebell swing is a full-body strengthening exercise. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
A kettlebell swing is a full-body strengthening exercise. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)

A kettlebell swing is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your upper and lower body.

It's an intermediate-level ballistic exercise that primarily helps strengthen and activate your posterior chain muscles. Sometimes referred to as a Russian kettlebell swing, this exercise also works on your hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, back, hips and core muscles. It's basically based on the motion of a deadlift and utilises and targets almost the entire muscle in your body.

As this is a high-intensity workout, it's important you perform it correctly using the correct technique.


How to Do Kettlebell Swing Correctly?

Instructions:

  • To start the exercise, stand upright with a kettlebell in front of you. Your feet should be at your shoulder width and your knees slightly bent.
  • Make sure your shoulders are over your hips, and your head and neck are in a neutral position.
  • Your chin should be properly tucked in during the entire movement.
  • Keeping your elbows slightly bent and engaging your shoulders and core, bend from your hips, and hold the kettlebell with both your hands. While doing that, your shoulders should come up higher than your hips, and your hips should be over your knees. Rotate your arms till your inner elbows start to face forward.
  • Your lower arm and the kettlebell should be between your thigh areas just above your knees. While engaging your hamstrings and glutes, swing the kettlebell between your legs by driving through your hips.
  • Allow your hips to move forward, and squeeze your glutes as you do the swinging movement. Your arms should be completely extended at this movement.
  • Continue the swings while keeping your torso straight to enable movement from your glutes and hips.
  • Don’t end the exercise by dropping the weight suddenly; instead, reduce your power with each swing, and safely put the kettlebell on the floor.
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Tips to Follow

When doing a kettlebell swing, remember to follow the following tips:

  • Always remember not to use your arms to lift the kettlebell and your quads to squat. Instead, hinge your hips backwards, and use your glutes, hips and hamstrings to swing and return to the initial position.
  • Keep your shoulders properly relaxed to prevent the kettlebell from ending around your ears.
  • To activate your glutes, drive through your hips, and keep your forearms attached to your hips. As your arms lift the weight, engage your glutes to avoid overextending your back.
  • Be sure to keep your head and neck neutral throughout the exercise.

Benefits of Kettlebell Swing

This exercise is primarily designed to target the back side of your body, namely the posterior chain. However, it also targets almost all the major muscles, including your hamstrings, glutes and core.

Additionally, it also works on the stabilising muscles of your back and shoulders. A kettlebell swing also benefits your deltoids and quads and is an excellent exercise option for developing strength and power. If you want to maximise your workout efficiency and your heart rate to pump up significantly, look no further than this exercise.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

To avoid strain and injury and to make the most out of this effective full-body exercise, avoid the following mistakes:

Moving your arms

One of the most common mistakes people make when doing this exercise is allowing their arms to undertake the swing motion. Always remember not to use your arms and shoulders, and instead lock them to control the swing. Engage your hamstrings and glutes to swing the weight while also using and extending your hips.

Not performing at a controlled pace

As this exercise engages several muscle groups at once, it's essential to perform each movement slowly and at a controlled pace. If you are not properly maintaining control, you are making your body prone to muscle strains and injuries.

Curving your back

To prevent strain in your lower back region, make sure to keep your spine absolutely straight and tall throughout the exercise. Do not bend, or arch your back. If you do so, it’s a sign you are not engaging your upper back, core and shoulders.


Takeaway

Using the right form and technique is very important when performing a kettlebell swing, as it helps prevent ligament tears and injuries. This is especially important if you already have an existing lower back, shoulder pain, or injuries.

Furthermore, make sure to avoid the common mistakes mentioned above, and practice this exercise correctly to see great results.

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Edited by Bhargav
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