Single Arm Swings

Last week, we talked about the benefits of the kettlebell swing.  If you didn’t read it, check it out here>>

How can you make a great exercise even better?  Enter the single arm swing!

At First Capital Gym, we will progress our members to single arm swings once we feel their swings are up to par.  When someone learns to single arm swing proficiently, we can then teach them to clean……which leads to squats and pressing.  For short, the single arm swing is pretty important when it comes to learning other kettlebell skills.

If you’re not sure what a single arm swing should look like, here you go:

What’s the added benefit of doing single arm swings?

Personally, I like it because it’s challenging and it helps me out a lot with my hip strength & power and conditioning.  I also feel it’s a better core workout as well.  I’m not the only one that feels this way.  Pavel Tsastouline (founder of Strong First) said this when describing the single arm swing:

“Enter the one-arm swing. The bell not only pulls you forward, but it is determined to twist you as well. …An asymmetrical load seriously challenges the stabilizers and increases the recruitment of many muscles.

When I swung a 32kg kettlebell two-handed in Prof. Stuart McGill’s lab, my glutes fired up to 80% maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC). When I did it one-handed, the recruitment was up to 100%.

And the lat contraction jumped from 100% to 150%! In case you are wondering how it is possible to contract a muscle 150%, the max is isometric. In dynamic contractions higher values are possible - plyometrics are a case in point… Why would you do two-arm swings at all if the one-arm version is so great? 

Because two-arm swings generate more power, as proven on the force platform. With reduced stabilization demands, you can really let it rip. Hence, do both types of swings.”

 At First Capital Gym, we do both two handed and one handed swings for power development and conditioning.  Also, they’re great for burning calories and fat. 

If you’re looking to add kettlebell swings to your program, learn from the best kettlebell instructors in the area.  You can hit us up with an email at and we’ll get you swinging correctly!