Dan John described the Kettlebell Swing best when he said, “The Swing is a fat-burning athlete builder.” -Dan John
The Swing is the unsung hero and here is why...
- Builds stronger healthier backs by developing your posterior chain; specifically your calves, hamstrings, glutes (that kettlebell booty), and lats and strengthening your core.
- Builds explosive power and helps to increase your overall power output.
- Supports metabolic conditioning; and can be specifically targeted for fat loss or programmed to target a specific energy system component for athletic development.
A lot of people fail to take advantage of the benefits of the Swing and mostly because of pour technique. I hear often, but it hurts my back, my quads burn out yet, the kettlebell deadlift and swing are two very common prescribed exercises for those recovering from back injury even with the elderly. When performed correctly, the kettlebell swing is one movement that builds strength and endurance or can burn fat, and you can do it anywhere!
So are you doing right?
Here are the StrongFirst guidelines for a solid KB Swing:
A neutral back. Your neck should be slightly extended or neutral on the bottom of your swing
- Your heels, toes, and the balls of your feet should remain planted and your knees should track your toes
- Your shoulders should be packed
- The handle of your kettlebell should pass above your knees during your backswing
- Your arms should be straight in the bottom position
- There is no forward knee movement (increasing ankle dorsiflexion) on the upswing
- Your body should form a straight line on the top of the swing; your hips and knees should extend full, and your spine should be neutral
- Your bio-mechanical breathing matches. Meaning you inhale on the eccentric (when you go down) and exhale on the concentric (when you come up)
- Your abs and glutes visibly contract at the top of your swing
- Your kettlebell floats momentarily on the top of your swing
This image belows show you the body position and how the KB Swing is a hinging motion similar to the deadlift. By engaging your core, lats and squeezing your glutes you will achieve the straight back at the top and not over arch your back and stop the bell going to high. *Please note the image below is not showing a neutral neck throughout which is a requirement to correct safe form.