How To Do A Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings are the best way to combine cardiovascular training and resistance training. When performing the workout, the heart rate increases since you are moving so fast, you will become stronger since you are working with weight.

The kettlebell swing is one of the most popular kettlebell workouts that far too many people perform incorrectly. Read on for step by step instructions on how to perform the kettlebell swing correctly.

kettlebell swing

The Russian Kettlebell Swing

Step 1: Positioning

Prior to picking up your kettlebell, it is important to set up correctly. Once you have chosen the proper weight, set the kettlebell in front of you slightly so that the kettlebell and your legs form three points of a triangle.

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart then draw the shoulders back while you keep the chest up. Engage the core and keep the back flat and hinge the hips back so that you are able to wrap both hands securely around the handle with your hands gently resting against the fingers.

Common Mistake: Once you grip your kettlebell, lower the upper body by hinging the hips backward as if you were performing a deadlift. It is common for beginners to lower themselves into a squat position and push through the quads rather than the glutes. You will still be working your muscles but unfortunately they are the wrong ones. You want the hinge to contract the hamstrings that you use for powering up the glutes for the second part of the kettlebell swing.

Step 2: The Backswing

Many people usually forget this step and begin with a dead hang before they swing up the kettlebell. However, doing so is not something you want to do since it is the backswing that engages and stretches the hamstrings thus providing the power to propel the swing forward. Therefore, treat it like a pendulum.

After you have got the grip, thrust backwards the weight ever so slightly while squeezing the glutes. Tilt your torso to around a 45-degree angle but ensure that you avoid rounding your back by keeping the chest up and finally start your upswing.

Common Mistake: If you want to avoid injury, it is important to get the 45-degere angle right. Very often people bring their chests nearly parallel to the floor but this is too far since it can hurt the lower back.

Step 3: The Upswing

As soon as you finish with the backswing, drive your hips forward while you squeeze the glutes at the top to propel the kettlebell up to eye level. If you are performing the American-style kettlebell swing, you can go above the head.

The final part is important considering that the whole point of the kettlebell swing is working out the muscles in the butt. Therefore, if you fail to give them a proper squeeze at the top, you will be missing the point.

Common Mistake: Many people try holding the weight at the top of the swing when it is at eye level meaning that they are using the shoulders and arms too much. The kettlebell swing is never about using the upper body to hold up weight rather it is about focusing on maintaining a fast and efficient pace with the hamstrings and glutes. Therefore, it is important to have a one-second pause at the top of the swing before you allow gravity to bring the weight back down to the starting position.


Kettlebell swings are a very popular and powerful kettlebell workout that unfortunately many people perform incorrectly. This article has provided step by step instructions on how to perform it correctly as well as some common mistakes. Follow the tips in this article to perform kettlebell swings correctly.

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