How to Do a Kettlebell Swing: Instructions, Form Tips and Benefits

If you want to learn how to do a kettlebell swing, the first thing to know is you probably shouldn’t copy the people you see doing it in the gym. Why? Because most people are doing it poorly and can injure themselves.

But you’re different. You’re going to use that little weight properly while burning fat and undoing much of the damage you’ve done by sitting at a desk all day.

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How to do a kettlebell swing

Find a kettlebell you’re confident you can swing and place it on the floor between your feet, which should be hip-width apart. Keep your shoulders back and chest up high – be proud. Now squat down to grab the handle in both hands with palms toward you. Then stand up with the kettlebell, keeping your shoulders back.

Now bend your knees a little, push your bottom out behind you and move your weight onto your heels as if you’re going to jump up. Then, in an explosive motion, swing the kettlebell up to chest height with arms extended using the power of your legs rather than trying to pull it up with your arms. When you reach that apex, tense your core and clench your behind.

Control the kettlebell as it descends. Put your weight back on the heels and hinge your hips as you allow it to swing between your legs. From here drive forward through heels and hips again for each rep. A set is comprised of 10-15 reps.

Don’t feel the need to show the gym how strong you are by picking up a heavy weight. Go light at first – perhaps a 16kg – to get the technique right.

The version we’ve described here is often known as the Russian kettlebell swing. The American one differs in that you let the weight swing all the way above your head, not shoulder height. Master the Russian one before trying to cross the Atlantic.

Benefits of a kettlebell swing

Explosive training moves such as this are ideal if you’re looking to lose fat, especially if you contract the muscles in your core and glutes as hard as possible. It’ll also encourage you to keep your shoulders in a healthier position rather than slump forward at a desk. Overall you’ll gain muscle endurance, solid glutes, more flexible hips and – if you work at it – a core of steel.

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