Kettlebell swings are excellent for sculpting your arms, shoulders, and legs, but they can be tricky to perform correctly.

Your hamstrings, lats, and shoulders will all get stronger thanks to the kettlebell swing, a total-body exercise. Avoid typical form faults like squatting instead of hingeing to get the most out of the motion. You can also swing the weight above your head using the American kettlebell swing. There are many workouts you can perform with a kettlebell, including the snatch, goblet squat, and farmer’s carry. The workout that works your entire body, the kettlebell swing, is the most popular.

Anyone can benefit from kettlebell swings, regardless of strength or fitness level. For novices or anyone working on their form, they can be toned back with lighter bells or made more difficult with bigger weights.

In particular, they’re your posterior chain’s great at working (i.e. your glutes, hamstrings, calves, lats, and shoulders). This is crucial for lower back pain sufferers since a robust posterior chain helps safeguard the spine.

Strength and conditioning instructor Reda Elmardi and company creator The Gym Goat both assert that by engaging the posterior chain muscles, you encase your spine in a protective shell. The danger of damage is decreased by being aware of how to use these muscles when moving.

The correct way to swing a kettlebell, the most frequent faults to avoid, and some insightful advice from strength experts are all included below.


Pete McCall claims that “heavier is preferable” since it drives you to employ greater form and technique.

This does not, however, include grabbing the heaviest kettlebell you can find. Pick something mild to start with and work your way up if a 20- or 30-pound kettlebell feels too heavy.

Here is a demonstration of a kettlebell swing:
1. Place your feet shoulder-width apart while standing.

2. Move your hips back and lift the weight off the ground with a slight bend in your knees. Position both hands with their palms down and their thumbs under the handle but above the fingers.

3. Keep your arms straight, bend your knees, and shift your hips back while keeping your feet firmly planted and your head straight ahead.
4. With your arms straight but relaxed, swing the kettlebell back and between your knees while hinging at the waist.

5. Next, push your hips forward and press your feet into the ground to generate momentum that will allow you to pull the bell back through your legs and up in front of your body.

6. Swing the weight indefinitely, keeping your arms out in front of you, until it is at least shoulder height.
7. With the kettlebell at the top of the swing in front of you, complete the rep by contracting your glutes and stabilizing your core.
8. As you tilt your hips and swing the kettlebell back between your knees, maintain a straight back and a tight core.

back pain and other wrist injuries due to poor technique and form.

The most frequent errors are shown below:

You squat (INSTEAD OF HINGING) The kettlebell swing is a hinge, not a squat, so keep that in mind if you remember nothing else about it. According to Elmardi, the momentum is started by pushing your hips back as you would when doing a hinge, not by dropping your butt back as you would when doing a squat.

2. YOUR ARMS STARTE THE MOVEMENT (INSTEAD OF YOUR HIPS) The force that causes the kettlebell to swing forward and back should come from your hips and glutes. It’s possible that you’re utilizing your arms and upper body to move the weight around rather than your lower body if your shoulders begin to tire before your hamstrings do.

Jake Harcoff, head strength coach and owner of AIM Athletic , advises that your arms should only serve to assist the weight as it flies overhead.

3. YOUR CENTER CORE MUSCLES ARE NOT COMPLETELY ENGAGED Your back shouldn’t hurt after performing kettlebell swings if you did them correctly. If it is, there’s a good possibility you’re not maintaining a tight core during the entire exercise.

Think on breathing in while the weight is between your knees and exhaling when it is at your shoulders or overhead, keeping your belly button up and in toward the spine to maintain a tight midline.

Variations in the kettlebell swing Both novice and expert lifters can perform the two basic forms of the kettlebell swing, each of which targets a distinct set of muscles and yields slightly different outcomes.

There is the Russian kettlebell swing, which builds strength, and the American kettlebell swing, which builds endurance. According to Harcoff, the setup and fundamental movement patterns are the same; the difference is in how high you lift the weight before letting it swing back between your knees.

This is how they differ:

Russian kettlebell swing: To stop the bell at shoulder height during a Russian kettlebell swing, you must have strong shoulders and a solid core. American kettlebell swing: In an American kettlebell swing, the weight is swung until it is over the head, at which time it is instantly turned around and brought back down in front of the body and in between the knees. For this variation to change directions mid-air, shoulders must be strong and stable. Both variations may be performed by anyone, although according to Elmardi, the American variation calls for more shoulder stability than the Russian variety, therefore people frequently need to use a smaller weight.

As a result, the Russian kettlebell swing is preferable for increasing strength and muscular mass, whilst the American kettlebell swing is often better for increasing endurance.

INSIDER’S KEY LESSON For people of all fitness levels and ages, kettlebell swings are a wonderful exercise as long as you’re using a weight you can lift easily. Your glutes, hamstrings, lats, shoulders, and calves are among the muscles along your posterior chain that are worked by this exercise.

But in order to prevent injuries and get the most out of the exercise, it’s crucial to use the correct kettlebell swing technique. Always keep in mind that the movement is a hinge and not a squat, and to start the motion with your hips rather than your arms.