How to do a kettlebell swing

How to do a kettlebell swing - main image

Using the classic kettlebell swing in kettlebell swing training to help train your upper body strength and more

Performing kettlebell swings may look obvious on YouTube, but in reality, there’s a little bit more to kettlebell swing techniques. Not to mention you have a lot of kettlebell swing variations, like the Russian kettlebell swing, to account for too.

But why bother, really?

Kettlebell swings are a brilliant compound exercise that targets a range of muscles. From hip hinge movements, targeting your hip flexor, to a single-arm kettlebell swing that targets your delts, lats, forearms and more – there’s a lot you can get out of these exercises.

And the good news is, for those worried about strength and weight, you can easily benefit from lighter kettlebell swing techniques too.

In this post, we’ll look at how to perfect kettlebell swing movements, improve hip extension ranges and see what kettlebell swing muscles are being honed.

The two-handed swing

Forget about kettlebell swing alternatives for a second we’re focussing on the most classic iteration of this traditional exercise. Make sure to read the following instructions to also avoid common kettlebell swing mistakes.

  1. ”Stand with your back straight and feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a half-squat and pick up the kettlebell with both hands, so your palms are facing your body.
  2. Keep your core tight, and a slight bend in your knees as you straighten your legs pushing from the heels and explode through the hips and swing the kettlebell to chest height.  
  3. As you swing the kettlebell down between your legs, return to the half-squat position. That’s one rep.
  4. Complete the required amount of reps.”

Single arm swing

Now let’s take a look at this kettlebell exercise, the one-handed version of the exercise we just read up on. This exercise is fundamentally the same, but there are a few things to consider. Let’s go to Pure Gym again for another breakdown.

  1. ”Walk up to the kettlebell.
  2. Stand with feet hip-width apart. Half squat and grab hold of the kettlebell handle with one arm.
  3. Brace the core and hike back, allowing the kettlebell to swing back in between your legs, then squeeze the glutes and swing the kettlebell to chest height.
  4. When it reaches chest height, grab the kettlebell with the other arm, making sure you’ve got it, then let go the other hand. You may find you might need to practice a bit with timing at the start to get this right.
  5. Allow the kettlebell to swing back down between your legs, return to the half-squat position.
  6. Complete the required amount of reps.”


There you have it. A few classic exercises with the kettlebell. Make sure to check out some alternative swings here and here.


What makes a good kettlebell swing?

A great swing comes from even greater attention to form. Think about the kettlebell weight, hip hinge moment and range of motion, and you’ll be fine.

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