If you’re looking to increase your strength, power, and aerobic fitness at the same time you may want to start using kettlebells in your training program (if you’re not already).
The kettlebell swing in particular when performed with the hip-hinge technique, is one of the best movements for training the posterior chain – think of training all the muscles on the backside of your body at the same time. When used properly kettlebells are a really great bang for your buck when it comes to time spent in the gym.
Like all movements we want to make sure our form is on point to ensure we are training safely and effectively.
Here are some tips for the perfect kettlebell swing!
The Set Up:
When setting up for the swing you want to start with the bell on the floor about a foot in front of you. Reach for the handle by hinging at the hip and hiking the bell backwards like you would a football.
1) The Swing is a Hip Hinge – Not a Squat
When performing the swing you should think about keeping your legs relatively straight – same as a straight legged deadlift (aka Romanian deadlift). The movement comes from a hinge at the hip – using the hamstrings and glutes to drive the bell forward through an aggressive hip thrust is key – not using the quads as you would in a squat.
2) Keep Your Back Flat
If you took a broom stick and stuck it to your back while performing the kettlebell swing you should be able to keep contact with the stick to the back of your head (cervical spine), your upper back (thoracic spine), and your lower back (lumbar spine) during the entire movement.
3) Zipper & Wrist Connect on the Back Swing
When you come to the bottom of the swing (when the bell is between the legs) you want to keep the bell nice and high – never let it drop below the knee. If the bell is too low this is not good for the lower back and a reason why people complain about feeling strain in the lower back while using kettlebells. If you think about connecting your wrist to where the zipper on your pants is located, your back swing will stay high and your back will stay safe.
Keeping these three tips in mind the next time you pick up a bell will have you swinging like a pro.
Swing on AYG’ers!