A step by step guide to performing a Kettlebell Swing – an excellent exercise for conditioning & strength. Trains the entire posterior chain of the body, great for fat loss, develops crazy cardio-respiratory endurance, strength-endurance & power-endurance. An absolute must for people who prefer to workout at home and a great addition in anyone’s workout regime.
Swing is the basic/foundational exercise for kettlebell training. One cannot progress to cleans, presses, jerks, snatches and long cycle without mastering the swing.
• Teaches explosive hip extension which is the basis of all sporting movements. Eg: jumping, kicking, sprinting etc.
• Develops work capacity/strength-endurance
• Teaches how to produce and reduce force (decelerate) by linking the upper & lower body.
A swing is a ballistic lift which involves fluid explosiveness and the bell moves back and forth like that of a pendulum through simultaneous flexion & extension of the hip & knee joint. The bell propels upwards through explosive hip extension and no there is no active involvement of the hands and shoulder muscles.
• Starting position : Feet shoulder apart, Hip & knee flexed (as in a deadlift), KB on the floor in front of the person,
Hands position : Overgrip and held with the finger flexors, lower back contracted.
• Back swing : From the starting position, bell is pulled backwards between the legs, developing the required momentum which is used to swing the bell upwards. Neck neutral. Hands and shoulders relaxed.
• Up swing : After the bell is swung backwards, it reaches a dead point from where it starts moving forward again. At that point, utilize ‘explosive’ simultaneous extension of the hip and knee joint to propel the bell upwards. The bell propels because of explosive hip & knee extension and there is no active contraction of the arms & shoulder muscles and are relaxed.
• Swing the bell to the chest level.
• Drop swing : From the chest level, where the bell’s momentum is over, the bell starts to drop freely under gravity. Allow the bell to fall freely, when the elbows touch the abdomen the torso is bent forward with simultaneous bending of the knees. This helps in preventing delaying fatigue of the trunk extensors and thereby prolonging the set.
• Repeat the same steps for the next upswing and subsequent reps.
• For heavy/maximal (below 10 RMs) loads, use diaphragmatic breathing. Inhale on downswing and exhale on upswing.
• For sub-maximal loads, use anatomical breathing. There will be two breathing cycles. Exhale (forcefully) once at the bottom of the downswing, then exhale (forcefully) once on the top of the upswing. Concentrate on forceful exhale and the inhale will follow automatically.
Variations : One-hand swing, hand to hand swing, crescent swings etc.
Founder, CEO and Master Coach
Ballistic Kettlebell Fitness Academy