The Kettlebell Swing - Holy City CrossFit

The Kettlebell Swing

By Sarah MacDonald | CrossFit

The kettlebell swing (or any kettlebell movement) is perfect when you need to get a quick and effective workout in. If it’s good enough for the Russians, it’s good enough for me!

Most kettlebell movements are compound (using more than one muscle at a time) therefore helping with OVERALL fitness, not just a small area. Great for travel workouts or an at-home WOD; kettlebells travel well and can be used for an array of different movements.

Today we are focusing on arguably the most popular kettlebell movement-the swing!

The Starting Position

Woman in gym setting up for a kettlebell swing

Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and the kettlebell on the floor between your feet. Wrap both hands around the horn (top) of the kettlebell.

Hinge at the hip and send hips back, keeping shins vertical and remembering to pinch those shoulder blades behind you. Stand using glutes and hamstrings, being careful not to let the lower back do the work.

The Back Swing

Woman in a gym holding a kettlebell

Pull the bell back through your legs, keeping your hips back and chest up.

*The “back swing” position is just a good morning, but with a kettlebell between your legs. Avoid hyper-extending your lower back and focus on sending the hips back and keeping your abs tight instead.

Get a few practice swings to below eye level to make sure proper form is engaged before going eye level (Russian Kbs) or overhead (American Kbs).

The Forward Hip Extension

Woman in gym doing a kettlebell swing

To bring the kettlebell from between your legs, simply pretend a VERY MEAN coach is whipping all their athletes’ backsides with towels.

You don’t want to get hit, do you?

Avoid the imaginary towel by squeezing your backside and catapulting the bell forward using the power of opening your hips.

Russian or American?

Russian Swing

Woman in gym doing a russian kettlebell swing

If performing a Russian Kettlebell Swing, simply bring the kettlebell to eye level and keep those abs tight as you bring the bell straight out in front of you.

American Swing

Woman in gym doing a russian kettelbell swing

For an American swing, the kettlebell will go directly overhead. A coach should be able to see your ear from the side of your extended arms.

Hips are fully opened here as well. I like to slightly bend my arms on the way up and the way down to move faster, but this is not an advanced technique that can take a bit of practice.

Remember: the key here is to not let our lower back do the work. Keep abs on and look straight ahead the entire time.

The kettlebell is a great tool for full-body, functional fitness and should not be overlooked.

Happy swinging!

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