Kettlebell sport swing is a squat!? Squat vs Hip Hinge

Are people squatting when performing the GS version of the kettlebell swing? Let’s answer that question by defining the squat and the hip hinge as a movement on it’s own outside of kettlebell sport.


Squat vs Hip Hinge

Does the hip hinge put more emphasis on the posterior chain muscles? Yes.

If your answer is no, please post below with the reasoning, feel free to do so for any of the following statements.


Does the squat put more emphasis on the anterior chain muscles? Yes.


Does the torso come more forward and down towards the ground in the hip hinge? Yes.


Does the torso stay more upright in the squat? Yes.


Does the hip hinge produce more resistance on the erector spinea due to the torso moving away from vertical? Yes.


Does the squat produce less resistance on the erector spinea due to the vertical angle of the torso? Yes.


Does moving the knees past the ankles produce more resistance on the quads? Yes.


Are the quadriceps part of the anterior chain muscles? Yes.


Does keeping the knees above the ankles produce more resistance on the gluteus? Yes.


Are the gluteus part of the posterior chain muscles? Yes.


hinge definition


A movable joint or mechanism on which a door, gate, or lid swings as it opens and closes or which connects linked objects.


With humans this is a movable joint that connects linked objects, i.e. the upper-body and lower-body.

Taking the most obvious example, a door, wall and hinge, the wall stays put, the hinge connects the wall to the door, the hinge allows the door to swing open and closed.

In our case the wall is the lower-body, hips are the hinge and our upper-body is the door. The purest form of a hip hinge would be where the legs remain straight and the upper-body comes down towards the ground. With added resistance we push our hips back to maintain a good centre of mass. Yes, the knees bend but they do not come forward.

A full squat is going down to the furthest point flexibility allows, a half squat is where the hips would meet the knees horizontally, a quarter squat is between standing upright and a half squat.

Behold the furthest squat part of a kettlebell sport swing.


Now tell me again how a kettlebell sport swing is not a (quarter) squat?

Have we got a definite answer now? No! People change the movement as they fatigue, some people lean more towards the hip hinge, and some more towards the squat. If you’re looking at the overall picture, GS will lean more towards the squat movement, taking out the resistance for the erector spinea, and using the more powerful muscles in the anterior chain muscles.

Holy headache batman, is it a squat, is it a hip hinge or is it a DIP?

Definition of a dip: put or let something down quickly. Yeah, although this could describe the coming down of the hips, what about the knees and hip movement which is not downwards?




How to hip hinge infographic


I made this silly awkward cringing long-winded video a long time ago to get the point across that a swing can be a squat, not just in GS but also in kettlebell training. Watch it, it’s funny.

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