We’re going to dive into one of my favorite exercises and an exercise with amazing carryover into many many many human movements and exercises… The Kettlebell Swing, the Russian army knife of exercise. When it comes to the kettlebell swing it is the best exercise for almost everyone- beginners to elite athletes, youngsters to the elders.
“ Kettlebell high-rep ballistic are the closest you can get to fighting without throwing a punch”. – A federal counterterrorist operator
“ The hip hinge is the most powerful movement a human can do. It’s the apex movement of an apex hunter”. – Dan John
A swing is not a squat, read that again. A SWING IS NOT A SQUAT. The kettlebell swing in a hip hinge dominant movement, such as the deadlift, clean, and snatch. The difference is the effences on the degree of flexion/bend in the knees compared to the hips
When properly doing a kettlebell swing you are fully engaged from the top of your head through the toes in your feet. Not only is it physically tasking but the mental fortitude it takes to accomplish multiple sets of clean reps is outstanding. It really is a game changer to boost power, strength, endurance and coordination for any workout program and any goal.
Now being that it is a posterior chain/ hip powered movement at the beginning you are going to feel a lot of hamstrings and a lot of glute work. But as you break it down and practice more you will notice more and more muscles activating and engaging as you get stronger and more powerful swings. Here’s the break down,
- Toes grip the floor, weight evenly spread through the foot.
- Hamstrings coiled and engaged ready to explode.
- Glutes stretched, generating force through your hinge.
- Hips rotating out/ screwing into the floor to build tension thru the feet, knees and hips
- Spine is neutral, held strong.
- Core is braced, holding the ribs down and locking in the torso.
- Lats locked down engaging the back and keeping shoulder blades packed.
- Shoulder externally rotated to open chest and to help with shoulder down/packed.
- Arms are actively holding the bell, soft grip to allow the bell to maneuver in your hand.
- Neck is long, head pulled back, ears over the shoulder to maintain a tall and long posture.
With reading all that, you can see how much of the body is working in tandem with just this one simple move. Don’t forget the increased heart rate from working this powerful explosive technique.
Time for your homework!
Before you start every workout you do for the rest of your life do five(5) sets x ten(10) reps of the hardstyle kettlebell swing. I promise you will only see positive progress when done properly.
References: 7+ Years of coaching and cueing proper movement mechanics and exercise.
Kettlebell Athletics Certification- Jason C. Brown
Simple & Sinister- Pavel Tsatsouline