Kettlebell Swings: How to Perform the Perfect Kettlebell Swing

The right way to swing a kettlebell rotator

Why lift using a kettlebell? Exercises performed with kettlebells are a great way to shock your muscles into growth while improving power and explosiveness from the ground up. A survey of scientific literature (12 published peer reviewed articles) conducted by Bill Campell, PhD, CSCS found that kettlebells are both safe and effective in improving power and strength performance. Kettlebell exercises may also aid in injury rehabilitation since they allow for functional movements performed with resistance. For starters, try the kettlebell swing, a full body exercise designed to improve posture, build strength, and explosiveness. Think you’ve got the form down? Move on to the next exercises to see huge gains in your traditional lifts and athletic performance!

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1. Get set: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out, and knees slightly bent; look straight ahead. Hold a 16kg kettlebell (a good starter weight for men) between your legs using a twohanded, overhand grip.

2. Swing it: Keeping the arch in your lower back, bend your hips back until the kettlebell is between and behind your legs; squeeze your glutes to extend your hips and swing the weight up.

3. Bring it down: Let the weight swing back between your legs as you bend your hips and slightly bend your knees; if it hits you in the butt, you’re doing it right. Extend your hips and knees to reverse the momentum as you immediately begin the next rep.

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Rest as needed between sets and exercises.

1. Kettlebell Deadlift
Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Start with the kettlebell on the floor in front of you. Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly turned out. Squat down and pick up the kettlebell, then stand up and drive through your heels, keeping your chest up and back straight. Squeeze your butt at the top and return all the way back to the ground until the kettlebell lands at your feet.

2. Kettlebell Squat Thruster
Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Start with two kettlebells, one in each hand, in the rack position: that is, grip both firmly by the handles and pull fists to chin keeping elbows pointed straight down. The kettlebells will rest along on your outside forearm. Keeping your arms tucked in close to your body, squat down and explosively drive the kettlebells overhead as you stand. Bring back to the rack position and repeat.

3. Kettlebell One-Arm High Pull  
Sets: 3
Reps: 10 each side
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grab the kettlebell in front of you with your right hand and let it hang in front of your body, arm straight. Slightly bend your knees and use power from your legs and biceps to jerk the kettlebell rapidly up the middle of your body, leading with your elbow, until your hand is about eye level. Repeat.

4. Kettlebell One-Arm Clean
Sets: 3
Reps: 10 each side
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Grip the kettlebell handle loosely with your right hand. The handles should run parallel to your feet, not across your body, and your thumb should point forward. Drive up with your legs and hips as you pull the bell up the midline of your body into a standing position, keeping it close for better control. Keeping a loose grip on the handle throughout the movement, bring the kettlebell up to your shoulder and rotate your arm so the kettlebell turns from the inside to the outside of your body. Return to starting position.


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