The Kettlebell is versatile. You can use it for a farmers carry, progress your front squat from a single dumbbell, or perform a more complex exercise like the Kettlebell swing. Over the past 10 years, the Kettlebell has gained a tremendous amount of popularity. For good reason, it is a highly effective training tool.

Why Kettlebell Swings?

The Kettlebell Swing is an incredibly useful yet advanced exercise when done correctly can bring your training to a whole new level. You will develop explosive power from the lower body, and strength to your posterior chain, and burn a ton of calories with just one piece of equipment. The Kettlebell swing is also a great alternative to Olympic lifts if the athlete or coach doesn’t feel that comfortable or ready to teach.

Not Just For Athletes

The Kettlebell swing is not just for athletes. In fact, I use Kettlebell swings with my clients that are ready for the movement. Most people recognize that we lose strength naturally with age, but few realize that we lose power roughly 2.5 times more than the rate of strength. Power is the ability to move quickly and to produce force.

Muscles Worked

Full body with strong emphasis on gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and rectus abdominus.

Common Mistakes

  • Squatting the weight
  • Lifting the Kettlebell with the arms
  • Hyperextension of the back at the top of the movement
  • Hiking the Kettlebell too low (should be above the knees)
  • Kettlebell going above the shoulders at the top


Master the Progression

Kettlebell Swings are an advance exercise that should be only done after you have mastered a Kettlebell Deadlift. The Kettlebell Swing is NOT a squat and or a front raise but rather a hip hinge movement. Failure to be able to hip hinge properly will not only make this exercise not effective but also dangerous. Learn the basics. Have your clients learn the hip hinge, then the KB deadlift, and finally the KB Swing. One of the rules I follow with clients is to have them be able to deadlift a 32 KG (70 lb. Kettlebell for 5 reps). This exercise is not for everyone especially if someone can’t touch their toes or has certain movement restrictions or injuries.

Kettlebell Swings Improve With Practice

Like most things in life, to get good at anything you must practice. Practice from really good coaching will take this movement into a highly effective exercise. As a personal trainer, I suggest mastering this exercise and getting step by step instructions before ever attempting to have a client try this out. Put the time in, learn it, and add this exercise into your arsenal.

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Ian Nimblett

Ian Nimblett, CFSC, CSCS, NFPT-CPT and is a functional strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, and author. He is the founder and owner of Premier Fitness Group LLC in South Salem, NY, a world-class functional training facility that provides private, semi-private, and group training.