I know it seems like the easiest thing to do. You just swing the thing, right? Well, no. There are a lot of cues and mind to muscle connections you should be making because the 2 hand hold kettlebell swing is great for building explosive power, leg and glute strength, stamina, balance, and total body strength. When done correctly, it can be part of a great rehab program if you are recovering from injuries and cannot do a proper squat for whatever reason, or just a great addition to your fitness regimen in general. I LOVE them.
First thing to think about-pick the right weight. If you are new to the world of kettlebells, start light to perfect your form and work your way up a little at a time. I like to add about 50-100 heavy swings toward the end of my leg workouts as a burnout so to speak, as they gas my lungs and tax my muscles in a great way every time.
OK-so you have your kettlebell that you want to work with, great! Think of these physical cues first:
-kettlebell is on floor in front of you, you are standing up right behind it.
-with 2 hands; squat down; chest up eyes forward; grip the handles and stand straight up, squeezing your glutes and tightening your core while it hangs.
-with soft knees, shift your body weight into your heels-lower your rear end towards the back and do a forward fold AT YOUR HIPS with a straight back, like you are going into a deadlift.
-with THE POWER OF YOUR HIPS: EXPLODE with a hip SNAP until the momentum and power carries the KB forward in front of you and repeat. The kettlebell should stop at around eye level as the kettlebell is just coming along for the ride…repeat and go into swing city and keep that core tight while squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement every swing.
Sounds easy right? Well with practice you will find that it doesn’t get easier, your technique gets better.
-You use your arms to assist the kettlebell coming forward with your hip snap. WRONG. Your arms are there as just an assist in holding it-nothing more. When the kettlebell is in the air in front of you: THINK OF IT AS BEING WEIGHTLESS. There is a second in the movement when it weighs absolutely nothing, because it is being powered through the air with the power of your hipsnap and your glutes. This is why it is so effective in so many ways.
-Hunched back: you are just asking for an injury. If it is difficult for you to keep a straight back when you go into your forward hinge and going through your hip snap: you probably need to lighten the load.
Performing the perfect kettlebell swing places all the emphasis on the posterior chain—the major muscles on the backside of the body from the heels to the base of the neck, primarily the hamstrings, glutes, and low back. Think of the posterior chain as the body’s powerhouse. These muscles are big movers. And unlike little movers (like calves, biceps, triceps, and deltoids), the big movers are capable of moving big weight and burning massive amounts of calories. Win win all around and a great addition to your workout regimen!
Yes, I know there are many different types of swings, but this is the one I like to do, and is also the swing I train my clients to do for fitness.
As with everything, if you are at a gym and need more advice, don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for tips. Watch some videos online and practice, practice, practice. Always start light! Soon you’ll be a kettlebell swinging pro with great legs and glutes to prove it.