Get In Full Swing – A Beginner’s Guide to Kettlebells

By Paul Katami March 26, 2014

Kettlebells have been around for centuries and are experiencing a major renaissance right now in the world of fitness. A kettlebell workout isn’t complete without one of the most iconic exercises associated with them: the swing. Unlike a traditional hand weight a kettlebell has a unique shape and unique exercise qualities to it and, with the swing, you actually use momentum which is often avoided in working with weights. The challenge is making sure your swing is done properly and with exceptional technique to make the move efficient and reduce the possibility of injury.

So what makes a swing right? Well let’s first explore common pitfalls seen when swings are done incorrectly.

1. Using a squat to swing is the most common mistake made with kettlebell swings (example below).  Shawn Johnson's The Body Department - Get In Full Swing

You want to make sure that you are in a modified squat position which is a hybrid of a squat and deadlift (example below).

Shawn Johnson's The Body Department - Get In Full Swing

In this position you are accessing the gluteals and the hamstrings and the mega power they have to make the swing perfect.

2. Working against momentum. We are control freaks when it comes to weights and that’s not a bad thing but with kettlebells it’s actually ok to let momentum in and use that to our advantage. A common mistake is trying to “lift” the bell like a front shoulder raise. A swing allows the shoulder and arms to be “lazy” in the exercise to allow the hamstrings and gluteals to fire into the hip dominant movement (example below). Shawn Johnson's The Body Department - Get In Full Swing

Swings can be one of the most efficient cardio, power and endurance exercises around and doing them correctly will make all the difference. You will increase strength, endurance, timing, stability and so much more while you torch calories.

Try this:
20/10 Kettlebell Swings Interval Split – 20 seconds of Kbell swings followed by 10 secs of rest
Complete 8 rounds

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