Strength and speed coach Travis Hansen explains how to do a kettlebell swing…
Whatever your fitness goals, there is a place for the swing in your training regime. This full-body move engages all the muscles of your posterior chain, but also teaches the explosiveness you need to do everything from throwing a punch to jumping onto a box, making it one of the very best kettlebell exercises.
Here are some benefits of the kettlebell swing
1. The swing is great for fat loss, since it’s associated with a higher degree of calorie burn.
2. The kettlebell swing develops strength in the glutes, hamstrings and groin muscles.
3. Because of the high velocity of the movement and total-body nature, the kettlebell swing can be programmed very effectively for enhanced general health and conditioning purposes.
4. If you’re an athlete or devoted fitness enthusiast, the kettlebell has been shown to improve sporting performance.
5. The swing lends itself to improving speed and power through the hips, due to the unique design of the kettlebell. Because of the attached handle, you’re working with a longer lever or length of object, which will naturally cause a faster rotation from the hips.
Due to the intense nature of the exercise, though, it’s imperative that you dial in your technique in order to prevent injury and enhance performance…
How to do a kettlebell swing
1. Begin by establishing the proper stance: feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, with toes rotated out slightly. If you’re prone to hip tightness or you feel any impingement at the front of your hips, rotate your toes out a bit more. (Make sure your knees rotate out and track accordingly.)
2. Take the handle of the bell with a pronated grip (palms facing back towards you).
3. Brace your core. Take a deep breath, tighten your abs, and try not to lose too much air for the duration of the set to maintain greater core use and tension in all your muscles.
4. Keep a straight back, with chest and hips pushed out.
5. Begin the movement by ‘hinging’ your hips by driving them back towards the wall.
6. Immediately after you start your hinge, drop your shoulders while keeping your entire spine straight and bend your knees only slightly (30-45 degrees).
7. Next, move your hands between your legs and behind you to naturally encourage more hip hinge as you move your shoulders toward the ground further. Keep the tempo slow and controlled – speed can be added later.
8. Keep your eyes on the kettlebell as swings between your legs, then reverse the movement by snapping your hips and swinging the kettlebell back up to around chest height. The height of the kettlebell isn’t particularly important, though – don’t engage your arms to force it higher.
9. Squeeze your glutes as you return to standing, then immediately drop into the next swing.