Poor Form Fix: The Kettlebell Swing

For those of you who missed it, Tuesday I (finally) released the details for my up coming “Everything You Need To Know About Fat Loss” Seminar.  Knowing that fat loss is just about everyone’s physique goals (or at least one of their goals), I really think everyone can and will benefit from this seminar.  Be sure and go here for details as well as to register.

In the last several years, kettlebells have gained a lot of popularity, and for good reason.  They have a lot of versatility and are easily transported so that you can get a good training session in virtually anywhere.  

One of the more popular movements to use with a kettlebell is the swing.  However, as with most things that have tremendous benefit, they have some technical components that need to be learned to execute them properly, avoid getting injured and getting the most out of each rep.

This means that usually what happens is that people see something, think “I can do that”, go to the gym, grab a kettlebell and give it a go.  More often than not, what they wind up doing is a far cry from the original.

It usually winds up looking something like this:

You may be thinking to yourself, “that looked pretty good to me.”  And there is the problem.  Kettlebell swings have been so massively and poorly reproduced that what people recogonize as “correct” is actually very wrong and potentially dangerous.

The swing is designed to be an explosive movement for the hips.  Being explosive in the hips has a ton of benefit for athletes as well as the Average Joe in terms of lifting properly and avoiding injury in daily life.

If you watch the above video again, you’ll notice that the movement isn’t at all explosive, but rather a long laborious swing, and there is much more work being done in the back then the hips.

What a swing should look like is much more like this:


-At the bottom of the movement you should have minimal knee bend.  This is where most people screw it up.  They turn this into a squat and lose all potential for explosion.  The hips should be pushed back and you should feel good tension in your hamstrings.

-Think of “snapping” the weight up with your hips.  This isn’t a shoulder exercise where you’re pulling the weight up with your shoulders.  Think of throwing the kettlebell with the “snap” from your hips.

-Bring the kettlebell to roughly shoulder height.  Some people will tell you to bring it above your head, but I believe this reduces the explosiveness as well as the element of you controlling the weight and puts the weight in control of you.

-At the top of the movement you should have a great squeeze in your butt.  This is a good indicator of whether or not your finishing the movement with your hips or your back.

-On the way down, pull the kettlebell into your groin.  As Dan John says, “attack the zipper”.  You should literally pull the bell back into your zipper area aggressively.  If you let the weight simply fall back down, you lose all of your tension and your potential to be explosive on the following rep.  Remember, this isn’t a slow movement like the pendulum of a clock, this should be a quick, explosive and choppy movement.  It’s not art, it’s aggressive. (Admittedly, in my above video, I should be pulling the kettlebell down with more force.)

-Repeat the movement

I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping the movement in the hips.  As Dan John has also mentioned, if you feel this in your low back, it’s your fault-meaning you’re doing it wrong.

If anyone is interested in watching a 13:00 minute video on more in depth video, Dan John gives some instruction here that is well worth the watch.

Put these elements into practice, swing properly and enjoy the benefits of the Kettlebell Swing!

(Don’t forget to register for the Fat Loss Seminar!)


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