Everything You Need To Know About A Kettlebell Swing

Everything You Need To Know About A Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell training is the latest trend in town that is taking the world of fitness by a storm. These simple exercises boost endurance, power and increase strength while reducing body fat. The kettlebell swing is probably the most important and popular kettlebell exercise.

However, due to its complexity, it is an exercise that many people are not able to master. The kettlebell swing features a deadlift movement pattern that targets almost every muscle in the body.

Woman Swinging Kettlebells

The kettlebell swing is great for people who have time to only perform one exercise because of their busy schedule. The kettlebell swing is a fine choice as it targets a variety of movements and is not difficult to perform once you get the hang of it.

Kettlebell Swing Overview

Wondering what the kettlebell swing is and whether it is really worth it or not? The kettlebell swing can be thought of as a pulling movement. This exercise targets the posterior chain as you accelerate and decelerate the bell. However, be warned not to swing too hard as the deceleration can lead to muscle soreness and make it difficult for you to walk for a couple of days.

This exercise features dynamic movement and utilizes more force which is why you should always read the guidelines and abide by safety measures. Once the kettlebell starts to descend from the top, gravity is likely to take a toll, causing a 16kg kettlebell to feel heavier towards the end of the swing.

Additionally, at the bottom of the swing when you are decelerating its load, your muscles will be forced to absorb the load, followed by a reverse swing movement. These intense movements are what make the kettlebell swing a superior exercise that is sure to have some great results.

What Muscles Do Kettlebell Swings Work

Wondering whether you should perform a kettlebell swing or not? A kettlebell swings works wonders on your hamstrings, glutes, core, hips and back. A kettlebell swing conditions your quads but not as much as lunges and squats. Kettle swings are especially beneficial for women, since it will not bulk up your legs.

Muscles Worked Out with Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell swings are great for shoulder stabilizers and will prevent your shoulder joint. The only muscle group the kettlebell does not target is the chest. However, the kettlebell swing helps maintain an upright position, improving your posture by pulling your shoulders back.

Benefits Of The Kettlebell Swing

After burpees, the kettlebell swing is regarded the king of muscle exercises. Everyone, starting from a professional bodybuilder to a casual fitness enthusiast, can benefit from a kettlebell swing. Here are some benefits of the kettlebell swing:

Decreased Body Fat

If you want to lose body fat and are dreaming of a leaner physique, perhaps kettlebell training is a good option for you. Kettlebell training incorporates a large number of high-intensity workouts that allow you to burn fat. While most weight loss programs seem like a drag and tend to get boring over time, kettlebell training is an exciting alternative to boring or ‘normal’ workout routines.

These workouts will help you stay motivated while boosting your metabolism.

Increased Aerobic Capacity

Moderate to high repetitions will give your heart and lungs the ideal workout, causing you to feel rejuvenated and alive. By the end of the workout session, your heart will feel like it is beating out of your chest. And, yes, that is a good thing!

Increased Anaerobic Capacity

Kettlebell swings can be an excellent addition to interval training. The constant acceleration of your heart rate during HIIT will certainly boost your anaerobic capacity.

Build Strength Quickly

Big strength comes from performing eccentric movements and workouts that a beginner might be too intimidated to try. Rest assured, kettlebell swings involve lengthening muscles under load, causing muscles to actively absorb the energy of every swing movement. These eccentric movements will make your muscles sore the next day but the results will be worth it.

Man Doing a Kettlebell Swing

Benefits Of Cardio

Want to reap the benefits of a cardio workout without running 100 meters? Well then perhaps, kettlebell swings are the perfect option for you. Performing kettlebell swings requires huge amounts of oxygen. This means it only takes between 30 to 60 seconds before your lungs and heart are pushed to their maximum capacity.

Rehabilitate Shoulders And Knees

The kettlebell swing pulls your shoulder joints apart during each movement. This means you really have to fight it to keep your joints in place, resulting in exceptional benefits for your stabilising muscles. The kettlebell can also be performed by people with a bad knee, allowing you to strengthen your legs and hips without lunging or performing squats.

Strength Without Bulk

Most women who work out have a common desire to build strength without achieving the bulky appearance of a bodybuilder. Well, rest assured because kettlebell training is not designed to increase muscle mass, rather it only increases strength without the heavy, bulky appearance.

Kettlebell exercises incorporate full body functional movements that target several muscle groups at the same time. Talk to your trainer about your special needs and they will be happy to design a workout routine that meets all your specified requirements.

How To Do A Kettlebell Swing

Now that you have learnt about the many benefits of performing a kettlebell swing, it is time you learn how to do a kettlebell swing. Follow these simple instructions:

  • Start by adopting a squat position. Stand with your feet around 6 to 12 inches outside shoulder width, with each side of your foot positioned slightly outward. Ensure your shoulders are pulled back. This will allow you to maintain a straight back throughout the swing.
  • Next, brush your arms on the inner thighs, extending your knees and hips while accelerating the kettlebell upwards. Remember to keep your arms straight while projecting the kettlebell up and away from the body.
  • ​Once the kettlebell is in the air, it should be above your head, slightly facing forward. Some people advise the kettlebell should be facing completely skyward, but it could cause you to lose control. Hence, position the bell slightly forward so that it falls in front of you and not behind you.
  • Absorb the weight of the kettlebell as you follow the same path back to the starting position. Ensure your arms remain straight the entire time. Repeat immediately.
Man doing a Kettlebell swing

Performing the swing and maintaining the correct posture can be difficult if you are newbie. Here are a couple of tips you should keep in mind:

  • Load the heels, not the toes
  • Try maintaining a flat back while performing the exercise
  • ​Keep the shoulders in their sockets while lifting your chest
  • ​Do not hinge at the lower back
  • ​Breathe in on the way up and out on the way down
  • Continue to stand tall throughout the exercise and squeeze your abs

How To Perform A One-Arm Kettlebell Swing

While performing a kettlebell swing, you can choose to use one hand or both. Swinging the bell with one hand requires you to put in extra effort and can be twice as much demanding for the shoulders. One-arm kettlebell swings help develop core muscles and target stabilising muscles as the shoulder is pulled out of the joint.

Man Doing a Single Arm Kettlebell Swing

Follow these simple steps to perform a one arm kettle swing:

  • Position the kettlebell between your feet and push your rear back.
  • Bend your knees and adopt the starting position.
  • Look straight ahead and ensure your back is completely flat. Now, it is time to swing the kettlebell with great force between your legs.
  • Quickly, reverse the direction, driving the kettlebell with your hips, moving the bell straight out.
  • Now, swing the kettlebell back between your legs and repeat the entire process. Don’t forget to switch your arms with each set.

How To Perform A Two-Arm Kettlebell Swing

A two-arm kettlebell swing is comparatively easier to perform and is great for beginners. Mastering this exercise will help you develop excellent strength and stamina that will come in handy when you perform advanced kettlebell exercises. Follow these simple steps:

  • Pick up a kettlebell using two hands and set your feet
  • Allow the kettlebell to fall between your legs
  • Look straight ahead and drive your hips
  • Repeat this process
Man Doing Two Arm Kettlebell Swing

Congratulations, you have just completed a two-handed kettlebell swing. One of the most notable benefits of performing a two-handed swing is that you can use a heavy kettlebell. Two-handed kettlebell swing offers low impact training that is also easy on the joints, making it a terrific vertical jumping exercise.


Hopefully, this helpful guide has provided you all the information you need about kettlebell swings. There is no better total body exercise than kettlebell swing.

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