The Swing: The King of Kettlebell Training Movements
First things first…the kettlebell swing is a hinge movement, not a squat. This means that the move originates with the hips, not the knees. But it doesn’t stop there.
With a kettlebell swing, every muscle in your body is involved in every rep, with a specific emphasis on the entire posterior chain. A proper swing involves bending at the hips, not the knees, and using a strong contraction and thrust of the glutes to propel the kettlebell up. Then, your lats and abdominals take over to control the kettlebell as it transitions from the upswing to the downswing, and you start the process all over.
The kettlebell swing is in an elite class of exercises, along with the likes of the deadlift, and full cleans/snatches, that work your entire body in one movement. Some even say it is better and many prefer it because it is safer than using a bar with olympic lifts with all the benefits. It is an elite exercise also for it’s ability to burn faster than other exercises and it’s full body control.
As stated above it is a hinge movement and not a squat and improves the entire posterior change and also strengthening your core and balance. Learning the swing correctly is the most important thing because done right you gain all these benefits, done wrong and you at risk of injury. We see many pictures and videos online that show the swing and unfortunately incorrectly. All clients must start with beginner bells class or 1on1 sessions to learn and perfect this movement (even if you have past experience)
Why kettlebell swings are awesome
Everyone from bodybuilders to the most casual exerciser loves kettlebell swings for a reason: they rock.
Why? Because they’ll give you:
Increased power. To properly do a kettlebell swing, you’ll need to do a powerful hip thrust using your glutes and hamstring muscles. In traditional weight lifting, these muscles, along with your lower back, are known as your “power zone” since they’re involved in virtually all forms of lifting, running and jumping movements. Even low reps of kettlebell swings will increase your muscular power by a ton.
Better muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is your ability to generate sub maximal muscular contractions for extended periods of time. Doing moderate to high reps of kettlebell swings will put your muscular endurance through the roof.
Increased aerobic capacity. Moderate to high repetitions of kettlebell swings will give your heart and lungs an incredible workout. Anyone who’s ever tried the 25+ swings in a row or a class of 500 total swings will know that by the end, your lungs are dying and your heart feels like it’s going to beat out of your chest.
Increased anaerobic capacity. Kettlebells are a perfect match for interval train, and the constant acceleration of your breathing and heart rate during HIIT will no doubt boost your anaerobic capacity.
Full body training. Kettlebell swings activate a the crazy amount of muscles in a single exercise. In fact, kettlebell swings work everything from your core, to your shoulders, your quads, your hamstrings, your glutes (a.k.a. butt muscles), and your back. That’s a lot of muscles at once!
Basically, kettlebell swings are awesome.
Kettlebell swings may seem simple—just swing a heavy kettlebell, right? Wrong there’s more technique to it than that and why everyone starts off with individual instruction first! We see pictures, videos or new clients all the time that show incorrect swing movement. Kettlebells are extremely effective exercise done right but dangerous done wrong. Education is the key to health and wellness and the basis of our program!!