Form Friday: Kettlebell Swings


by Devin Sarno, NSCA-CPT

Exercise: (Russian) KettleBell Swings
Muscle Groups: Glutes, Hamstrings, Core
Importance: The Kettlebell Swing is a uniquely dynamic exercise that gets the whole body working and helps build strength and power while also providing a great cardiovascular workout. The Kettlebell Swing is a great exercise for helping to develop your posterior chain.
Proper Form:

  1. Start with a two-handed overhand grip on the kettlebell and set your feet about shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed out slightly
  2. Let the kettlebell fall between your legs and begin to hinge at the hips and bend your knees slightly
  3. Pull your shoulders back to engage the lats and maintain a neutral spine as the kettlebell reaches its farthest back point
  4. Your forearms should make contact with your upper thighs, and from that farthest point back you will proceed to extend explosively at the hips and knees to drive the kettlebell back through your legs and out in front of you
  5. As your hips reach full extension, the kettlebell should “float” out in front of you and feel almost weightless momentarily
  6. Then allow the kettlebell to begin to fall back between your legs and repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions

Progression/Regression: Cable Machine Pull-Through, Single Arm KB Swing, KB Snatch

  • Do NOT squat, this is a hip-hinge movement
  • Drive with your hips rather than pulling the kettlebell up with your arms; the height the kettlebell reaches is insignificant
  • Do not lean back at the top of the movement; drive your hips through until you reach an upright position

Sample Workout, Complete 5 Rounds:

  • 5 Single Arm Kettlebell Push Presses (each side)
  • 10 Goblet Squats
  • 15 Kettlebell Swings