The Kettlebell Swing Is Not a Hip Hinge

The kettlebell swing is not a hip hinge

There I said it. The kettlebell swing is not a Hardstyle swing. It is not a hip hinge. I’ll go even further and say that it is not a freestyle swing. It is not a sportstyle swing. It is not a squat.

A kettlebell swing is an exercise where the weight (kettlebell) moves back and forth or from side to side while on an axis. The name kettlebell swing does not define the movement with which the swing is performed.

 

A big problem in many kettlebell communities—one that hinders creativity and progression—is the assumptions that many make when someone asks “How is my kettlebell swing?”. Some will say “Squat a bit more!”, others will say “You need to hinge deeper and snap the hips!”, and some might even say “Stay more upright and push the hips forward!”. The poster should be specific and knowing what he/she wants to learn. Those answering should ask “What are your goals?” and base the answer on that.

Hips don’t always need to snap, especially when performing endurance swings. NB. Snap and extend are not the same thing.

Not being specific with naming creates issues in the fitness world like “Give me a deadlift!” when they want their client to perform a hip hinge. A deadlift used to commonly be performed with the hip hinge movement and therefore became synonymous with the name deadlift. Dead lift, really only means to lift a weight that is dead, it does not define the movement with which it is performed. The same goes for many other exercises.

In our online kettlebell courses and books, we put a lot of emphasis on technique, progression, but also correct naming. We started this many years ago, not without resistance I might add. A few other examples, push-up, just means to push yourself up, pull-up, just means to pull yourself up, and the list goes on. There is an exercise, which is the base, and then there are more specific exercise variations, what we perform are variations of an exercise. A few more kettlebell examples to get the point across.

 

Kettlebell Snatch

Some people will assume this exercise is performed with a swing while others will assume it is performed with a pull, in particular, pulling dead from the ground or from a hang. Swing-snatch, hang snatch, dead snatch are their appropriate names. We can get more specific and include the type of movement for the swing, for example, hip hinge swing-snatch, squat swing-snatch, pendulum swing-snatch. Snatch means to bring a weight from a lower position (below the hips) into an overhead position via one explosive and continuous movement.

Kettlebell Clean

Some people will assume this exercise is performed with a swing while others will assume it is performed with a pull, in particular, pulling dead from the ground or from a hang. Clean means to bring a weight from a lower position (below the hips) into a racking position via one explosive clean movement.

Kettlebell Press

Some people will assume it is a shoulder press, others will assume it is a floor press, then there are variables of whether it is a front press, side press, hybrid press, chest press or triceps press, and the list goes on.

Time-consuming?

Can proper exercise naming become time-consuming? Yes, it can. Is it always necessary? No, it is not. It all depends on the context. If the short version of the exercise name is always used in a class or public environment without ever explaining the naming convention then problems will be created where people will go out in the real world and might shout “That’s not a clean!” or “That’s not how you do a snatch!”, etc.

Lay a solid foundation for kettlebell training and enroll in our online 21-Days to Kettlebell Training for Beginners course, or if you have a keen interest to learn about all swing variations, enroll in our Master The Kettlebell Swing course, in which we demonstrate exactly the point this article makes.

Some other great kettlebell courses that will take you to a new level of kettlebell training, but not limited to, are:

Post in our group and ask for a discount voucher and mention this post.

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