Form & Technique of the KB Swing
Kettlebell training is my favorite kind of training. I started training with kettlebells about four years ago after I suffered my first miscarriage. I needed a way to deal with the pain and working out always seemed to make me feel better. I stumbled upon Lauren Brooks’ Quick Fat Buring Kettlebell Workout video and was intrigued. I bought a 15lb. kettlebell and started training.
Lauren’s videos were great because she taught me the form and technique in her video. Form and technique are key to perform kettlebell training safely. After a year, I went on a search for a kettlebell gym in my area and found Buckeye Kettlebells. Dave, the owner, was awesome. He was impressed that I had learned proper form and technique off of Lauren’s videos. All he had to do was tweak my form a little bit, and I was on my fitness journey.
My journey began first with training to compete in the kettlebell sport. Dave worked up a program for me and in three short months, I competed in my first competition. I competed in the jerk, double jerk, and snatch.
The next goal was getting my KB certification. I trained with five amazing, strong women. It was one of the best (and toughest) experiences in my life. After 10 months of training, and 2 months before I was to get my certification, I found out that I was pregnant. With doctor’s clearance, I tested 10 weeks pregnant and received my level I certification.
Finally last July, I took a kettleball programming class where I learn from StrongFirst’s finest how to develop training programs for clients. I even got to meet the kettlebell guru himself, Pavel!
So here is my demonstration of the kettlebell swing. It is the foundation move for all kettlebell exercises. Although I am a trained, certified KB instructor, I advise consulting your physician before starting any new workout program, like kettlebell training. Be sure you are in a safe environment when training with kettlebells (i.e. no one is behind you, nothing is on the ground you can trip on, you are on a flat surface, etc.)
Step 1 – The Hip Hinge
Many people think the beginning of the kettlebell swing is a squat. That is incorrect. It is actually a hip hinge. In order to set up your stance correctly, make blades with your hands and place them where your leg and hip meet. Now, push your hips (knees are soft) back until you feel a slight pull in your hamstrings. Keep your chest lifted and your back straight (not rounded).
Step 2 – The Hike
Reach for the kettlebell and drag it back a little so that it is tilted on the ground (see photo above left). Next, hike the kettlebell through your legs with great force. The kettlebell should be high and your wrists should be hitting your ‘crouch’ area. Swinging the bell too low to the ground will round your back, causing major back strain.
Step 3 – Top of the Swing
As the kettlebell travels up, you want to keep it at eye level. You want to lock out your knees while contracting your glutes, quads, hamstrings and abs. Be sure to drive your heels into the ground and do not let your toes raise up – feet should be firmly planted to the ground. Letting out a tight breath (or psst sound) helps cushion the lower back.
I hope you pick up a kettlebell and love it as much as I do. Happy training!