KML Movement | How to: Kettlebell Swing
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How to: Kettlebell Swing

How to: Kettlebell Swing

How to: Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell! This bad boy can do some damage when it comes to training. I used to look at it over there in the corner and think, “What in the heck is that for?” Now I look at it and think, “Oh boy do my glutes always hurt after using that.” It’s not only for lower body movements, but it can target lower body (GLUTES) like crazy with the KB swing.


And this is a big but… it can only target the glutes like crazy if and only if you are focusing on how to do it and how to properly do it.  This is crucial in preventing injury because if you are doing this improperly and with heavier weight…. Bye bye back. I’m going to detail it out so you can do it, work those glutes, and stay injury free all at the same dang time!

Two words associated with the KB Swing: HIP HINGE. (same as RDL)

**CAUTION: If you have low back pain, herniated a disc, or have any issues with your back in general – PLEASE, PLEASE read this in detail and make sure this movement is done 100% correct. This can be detrimental for you and your back if not done properly.

How to set up:

1.     Stand up tall with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart with toes pointed slightly outward (Can be wider stance if you prefer that)

2.     Hold the KB in both hands with palms facing down and squeeze shoulder blades down and back to keep those shoulder blades in perfect positioning from the beginning

3.     Keep weight predominantly in heel, but also drive that big toe in the ground and focus on gripping the ground with your entire foot (Remember, stable foot = the foundation for stability)

4.     Keep SLIGHT bend in knee (Do NOT lock out knee). That slight bend will not change throughout the movement.

5.     Keep head in line with rest of spine as the movement progresses

How to complete:

1.     FIRST thing you want do is sink your butt back. We are bending at the HIPS (not the low back). Therefore, you need to think about touching your butt to the back wall behind you. By having weight back on your heels more this will be EASIER to do! It puts weight more in your glute/hamstrings.

2. Sink your butt back (Am I repeating myself yet? YES because this is SO important!)

3.     Allow the KB to also sink between legs and back as you bend at your hips to sink butt back. Allow the weight of the KB and the bending of your hips to move the KB and your arms

4.    Keep that back straight (NO BEND IN YOUR BACK AT ALL). No humpbacks on me! You can do this by bracing your core, keeping it tight, and squeezing your shoulder blades down and back. No hugging KB

5.     Remember – keep those knees at a soft bend. Do not bend them more as we go down (we are not squatting).

6.     Sink hips back until you feel tension in glute and hamstrings or bend hips as far as you can without letting low back take over

7.    As you sink your hips back, drive through your heels (and big toe) and squeeze your glute to drive KB up. Think about driving your hips through the wall in front of you.

8.    BREATH OUT HARD when you are trying to drive hips through and swing KB up

9.    Allow the momentum of your hip drive to carry the KB and your arms up when you ascend

10. As the KB swings up, allow your arms to go as high as the momentum takes it (usually shoulder height). Don’t try to overpower KB and do a front raise with it. You should not really feel this in your shoulders at all.

11. Allow that to transition into your next rep by letting the KB sink back between legs and repeat. Keep core braced so protecting your back

12. This should be a continuous swinging movement. NOT start and stop of each different rep.



·      Sink your butt back

·      Keep your head, back and chest straight (keep entire spine in a straight line – NO humpbacks and no bending your neck to look at yourself in the mirror)

·      Keep weight in heel/big toe (weight more predominantly in heel)

·      Keep slight bend in knee

·      SQUEEZE your glute to swing KB up

·      Don’t try to segment movement by driving hips through and then raising KB with arms. Allow your hips to drive the movement and arms just follow through with your hips

·      BREATH OUT hard and brace core on KB Swing drive

This is your HIP HINGE and will transition to your bigger lifts or just feeling that movement of bending at your hips awesomely! It will keep our back protected, but we just need to focus on the “how” and not just doing the set to do the set! If you don’t feel it in your glutes ask why! Am I gripping the ground with my feet? Is my weight predominantly on the back of my heel? Am I bending at my HIPS and not my back? Am I bracing my core to protect my back? Am I breathing out HARD on the KB drive up? SO many small questions, but answering those small questions will lead to HUGE improvements! Any questions please fire them at me! As always, train hard… but train smart too! J

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