Fix Your Kettle-Bell Swing

April 9, 2019

The Kettle-Bell swing is one of my favorite exercises to help develop and teach clients explosive power. During the KB swing, you’ll be using your hips as the primary muscle to “throw” the weight up towards the ceiling.

The KB swing has tremendous carry over to strengthen your Jumps, Deadlifts, Squats and Sprints but can also be used as a conditioning drill.

It is a also a great non-impact exercise to use in place of jumping.

Here is how to perform the KB Swing

 

There are key points to remember in the kettle-bell swing:

  • Hinge, don’t squat: The swing is a simple exercise but tends to be done wrong frequently.  It is not a squat, it is a powerful hip-hinge movement. That means that the hips go back (hinge), and the knees only bend slightly (they bend fully in a squat). Think about this position as a jump. If you try to jump forward as far as possible, the bottom position is the same position that you use at the bottom of the kettle-bell swing.
  • Be explosive with the hips, not the arms: The swing is a ballistic movement. If you think of a bullet fired out of a gun, it receives all of its power initially and then relies on momentum to hit its target. The same goes for the swing. The hips provide the explosive power throwing the kettle-bell up in the air and the arms are there just for the ride. Do not worry about how high the kettle-bell goes. Your goal is to let it float up once the hips have used up their power.
  • Protect the back: Do not let the kettle-bell pull the lower back into a bad position at the bottom of the swing. Keep everything tight from your shoulders, to your lats, chest and abdominals all the way to your quads and glutes.  Do not lose this tightness in any part of the movement.
  • Location on the downswing is important: Ensure the kettle-bell passes between your legs on your upper thighs.  If you’re a little intimate with the KB, you’re probably doing it right.  Wait until the last second to hinge back and let the kettle-bell go between your upper thighs. If you find your forearms hitting your lower thighs, you are putting too much strain on the lower back.
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