How to Swing a Kettlebell Correctly?

To answer the question “How to Swing a Kettlebell Correctly?” one first needs to ask “What are your goals?”. Without knowing the reason(s) to swing there are literally hundreds of ways that could be correct. So, let’s start by listing some of the goals:

  1. Overall strength
  2. Generic fitness
  3. Muscular endurance
  4. Cardiovascular endurance
  5. Flexibility
  6. Better kettlebell snatch
  7. Grip strength
  8. Mental endurance
  9. Better American swing
  10. Stronger back
  11. Improved posture
  12. Better kettlebell clean

Etcetera.

 

From there you can break it down into:

  1. Aerobic
  2. Anaerobic
  3. Strength
  4. Flexibility
  5. Endurance

 

The main kettlebell swing variations to work with and reach any of those goals are then:

  1. True hip hinge swing (stiff-legged)
  2. Hip hinge swing
  3. Squat swing
  4. Pendulum swing
  5. One arm swing
  6. Double arm swing

 

Don’t fret, if you’ve not been asked about your goals nor been explained that there are different goals and variations of the kettlebell swing, you might still know ‘a correct kettlebell swing variation’, but now is the time to decide whether that works toward YOUR goals or whether you even have any specific goals?

 

Let’s talk about a few differences that will immediately make it clear as to how variations dictate the goals:

 

1) Kettlebell Swings for Endurance

  • pendulum swing style
  • use a weight that challenges you but allows you to complete a set duration of time
  • remove resistance as much as possible with natural movement
  • high reps
  • relaxed pace

 

2) Kettlebell Swings for Strength

  • true hip hinge swing (stiff-legged)
  • hip hinge swing
  • squat swing
  • increase overall resistance
  • use a weight that is closer to your 1RM range
  • low reps
  • slow pace

 

3) Kettlebell Swings for Strength and Cardio

  • true hip hinge swing (stiff-legged)
  • hip hinge swing
  • squat swing
  • increase overall resistance
  • use a weight that is approx 60 to 80% of your 1RM
  • medium reps
  • medium to fast pace

 

The above is to quickly demonstrate clear differences, but there are plenty more attributes that should be covered and included in proper programming for your goals.

 

Someone that is kettlebell training for generic fitness usually does not want to dig deeper into what’s possible, and just swing a kettlebell. And there really is nothing wrong with that until they want to get measurable results from what they’re doing.

Someone that wants to get stronger as a result of swinging kettlebells starts to look at how they can get the most benefit from the movement, like for example, swinging heavy, fast, low reps, and resisting torque in every part of the body.

Someone that wants to improve their mental and muscular endurance as a result of swinging kettlebells starts to look at how they can remain under the bell for as long as possible while testing the mental limits.

Someone that wants to improve their flexibility and strength in the posterior chain as a result of swinging a kettlebell starts to focus more on getting a deeper hinge, creating thoracic rotation, isolating through stiff-legged swings and so on…

 

There is so much more to kettlebell swing variations that I’d like to share with you, but my objective with this article was to get across that it’s important to know what YOUR goals are, and that the swing you perform should be dictated by that, not by THE kettlebell swing that your trainer teaches just because that is the only one he/she knows.

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