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Top Exercise #2 – Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing comes in at #2 on our list for the most effective exercises.  The kettlebell swing checks a good many boxes as far as effectiveness.

  • Builds strength & power
  • Loosens the hips
  • Great conditioning tool
  • Burns calories
  • Easy on the joints

 

If I were to go back in time 10 years and talk to myself, I would have jumped on the RKC/Strong First kettlebell bandwagon!  Besides using the FMS, it has been the best decision we have ever made as far as our programming.

Whether you’re an athlete trying to make the team, a person trying to lose fat, or somebody just trying to get in shape, the kettlebell swing is perfect.

Like we mentioned before, besides building strength & power and a great fat loss tool, we like the kettlebell swing for being safe on the joints.  Countless amount of people have come to us with prior injuries sustained in running.  Common issues are problems with the ankles, knees, hips, and back.  These injuries take away from training and you’re goals.  If we can develop a good hip hinge (which usually takes no time at all), we can get you swinging pretty fast.

What’s also great about learning the swing, is that it leads to other effective exercises in the future like cleaning, squatting, pressing, and snatching.

 

For those that are new to swinging, it seems like a pretty aggressive exercise.  If you spend a little time learning a proper hip hinge or deadlift, there should be no problems.  We find that people have issues with swinging when they don’t spend the time learning the basics (or not getting screened).  The problems we see most of the time with new swingers are:

  • Bad set up
  • Squatting instead of hinging
  • Not keeping the shoulders packed
  • Letting the back go into extension at the top of the swing
  • Flexing the spine at during the descent
  • Coming up on the heels at the top

 

Here’s video showing some of the issues we see…..and just for the record, I’m using a 12kg bell during these videos and it hurt my back!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZWGRronpyU[/embedyt]

 

 

 

A good swing should consist of:

  • A good set up: shoulders above the hips, hips above the knees, and a well maintained spine
  • Hinging at the hips
  • Shoulders are packed and lats are engaged
  • Spine is maintained throughout the whole movement with no extension at the top
  • Feet are driven into the floor
  • Plank position at the top of the swing

 

Check out the video below and see what a swing should look like:

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZkiofBhHtuU[/embedyt]

 

Watch what happens when the same techniques are used at heavier bells.  In this example, Amber is using a 32kg bell and Sarah is using a 20 kg bell.  At their bodyweight, technique would be a must!

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn_jRgStGxg[/embedyt]

 

 

Again, when the kettlebell swing is done correctly, it is a phenomenal exercise.  If you’re going to add swinging or other kettlebell exercises to your exercise arsenal, find a quality instructor in your area and learn it correctly!