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Kettlebell Swing – Strength And Endurance Training

Kettlebell swing, especially heavy kettlebell swing, is a powerful exercise that develops explosive strength and strengthens the muscles of the hips, back, and buttocks. It’s used by strength athletes, as it helps to develop the correct technique for moving the pelvis when squatting or lifting the bar. Swings are also used by athletes whose activity is associated with a large load on the muscles of the thighs.

Kettlebell exercises are also used in such disciplines as CrossFit. Kettlebell swings can be performed with each hand alternately, with interceptions, or holding the projectile with both hands.

Exercise technique

The exercise technique affects both the result and the safety of your joints, muscles, and spine.


Crossfit: kettlebell swinging with two hands

Let’s take a look at the correct swing exercise:

  • The feet are shoulder-width apart, the knees are slightly bent, the pelvis is laid back, the back is straight. The kettlebell is in front of you. The distance from it to the toe line is approximately equal to the length of the foot

  • Keeping your back straight, lift the kettlebell off the ground and swing back a little. At the bottom of the trajectory, your torso should be nearly parallel to the floor. Most of the movement you make is due to rotation in the hip joints. The knees bend and extend slightly, the back participates in the movement indirectly

  • When the kettlebell began to fall, it’s necessary to make a jerk and move it forward. At the beginning of the movement, shift your weight from your heels to the forefoot. Bend your knees and bring it forward a little. A sharp, powerful movement of the pelvis and contraction of the gluteal muscles accelerate the kettlebell. When the kettlebell flies up, the weight shifts back a little again

  • After reaching the top point (at shoulder level), lower the kettlebell into a repeated swing. If you are doing the exercise with one hand and you need to change it, the interception occurs after the kettlebell has passed the top point of the amplitude. There is no need to lift a weight above you. After reaching the dead center, lower the weight down

Important aspects:

  • The kettlebell moves along an arc path that passes at the knees level closer to the groin. The back is in the same position all the time. Bending or unbending the spine is not allowed! Move the pelvis forward at the beginning and is retract it at the end with a small amplitude

  • Throughout the movement, the muscles of the buttocks are tense. You can relax them slightly only when the kettlebell returns from the top point

  • The arms are straight. During the exercise, they hardly tense. The kettlebell swings are carried out mostly due to the explosive effort of the hips and buttocks

  • The neck is in line with the spine. In no case should you bend it and throw your head back when moving

The main purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the lower body. You’ll learn how to move your pelvis correctly. This is of great help with squats and deadlifts. Kettlebell swing will come in handy whether you prefer weightlifting, team sports, or CrossFit.

When working with heavy kettlebells, swing with both hands. This makes the load more evenly.


Many functional exercises with kettlebells migrated from weightlifting to crossfit

Benefits and contraindications

Due to their versatility and efficiency, kettlebell swings are very widespread. It’s no coincidence that exercise migrated from kettlebell lifting to Crossfit.

By regularly performing kettlebell swings, you’ll achieve the following results:

1Explosive strength development

2It strengthens the muscles of the thighs and buttocks. The muscles of the back, shoulders, hands, and the press also develop. In other words, all major muscle groups

3The correct technique of pelvic movement is developed for performing other strength exercises. For example, barbell squats and deadlifts

4The cardiovascular system is trained

I want to note that, despite all the benefits of exercise, it’s contraindicated in some conditions of the body. First of all, these are pain and discomfort in the lower back or pelvic area, problems with the joints of the hips, shoulders, or wrists, and various injuries.

“Beginners shouldn’t start their workouts by doing heavy swings. To get started, practice the movement with a small kettlebell under the guidance of an experienced instructor. After mastering the technique, you can increase the load.”

In addition to kettlebell swings, various training programs involve several other exercises with this equipment. Their combination allows you to develop strength and endurance. The kettlebell snatch and jerk is a more difficult exercise. It’s included in the competition program for kettlebell lifters. However, beginners shouldn’t be discouraged. CrossFit, for example, includes many simpler movements, such as the kettlebell press or deadlift. There is always room for training.

I'm a professional fitness instructor and nutritionist, runner, husband and father. I do my best in providing the right guidance when it comes to the grounds of sexual health, nutrition and common fitness.

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