The Hardstyle Kettlebell Swing is a phenomenal exercise and I think it should be a part of every training program. It addresses explosive power, the posterior chain, anaerobic conditioning, and even grip strength. So many awesome qualities!
It also sets the foundation for learning more advanced kettlebell movements like 1-Arm Swings, Cleans, and Snatches. Before you get to those more advanced movements you want to make sure that your 2-Hand Swing is dialed in and you can keep your form with heavy bells and high reps.
So, let’s dial in that form and avoid these common mistakes.
1. Poor Setup
There are several key things that you want to pay attention to here. How far away from the bell are you? If you’re too far from the bell, then you might shift too much weight forward and shrug your shoulders up to your ears reaching for the bell.
Ideally, you want to be sitting back with your shoulders pulled down and the kettlebell tilted toward you. Also, make sure that your hips are down below your shoulders. If your hips are too high, then you may not be able to generate a lot of power for your first rep… and the swing is all about power.
2. Arms Disconnected From Your Body and Hip Hinge Timing Is Off
This mistake can cause discomfort or even injury to your lower back, so let’s dial this one in!
Each time the kettlebell is swung between your legs, even from the initial hike, your arms should connect to your torso. Upper arms connect to your ribcage and forearms connect to your inner thighs. This will allow the hips to propel the bell forward creating much more power.
Once you’ve reached the top of the Swing you want to stay tall for as long as possible while the kettlebell is coming back down. Essentially, you will play chicken with the kettlebell.
If your hips leave too early while the bell is out in front of you, this can cause unnecessary stress on the lower back.
The hips push the arms forward, the arms push the hips back.
3. Using Your Arms to Shoulder Raise the Kettlebell
The Kettlebell Swing is an explosive hip hinge, not a shoulder raise or shrug. If the kettlebell is drooping at the top or your shoulders and neck are feeling it, then you’re using way too much upper body. The arms are simply a tether holding onto the bell, they shouldn’t do the heavy lifting. If you’re having issues with this, then use the Towel Swing Drill.
4. Not Fully Locking Out Your Hips or Knees at the Top
In order to fully express your power, you have to get a full extension from the hips and knees. This doesn’t mean hyperextending your knees, rather straightening your knees out by flexing your quads. You don’t want to leave your hips back either. You MUST contract your glutes hard at the top of the Swing to get maximum power and protect your lower back.
Check out this video to see how to address each problem.
Avoid these 4 mistakes in your Kettlebell Swing.
Posted by Ryan Jankowitz on Friday, August 28, 2020
I hope these tips help you master your swing because when you get it dialed in, it’s one of the best exercises you can do for your fitness.
Ryan Jankowitz, RKC II
Note: The views/opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and don’t necessarily align with those of Cavemantraining.