Here are some key points of the kettlebell swing:
THE SET UP
Stand about a foot behind the kettlebell and hinge to grip the kettlebell. Tilt the kettlebell towards you so that it forms an extension of your arms and body. Keep your arms straight and relaxed. Engage the lats and pack your shoulders down to “connect” the arms and shoulders to the body. Keep your eyes focussed straight ahead.
HINGE, DON'T SQUAT
The swing is a simple exercise that is often done incorrectly. It is not a squat movement, but a hip-hinge movement. That means that the hips go back (hinge), and the knees only bend slightly (think maximal hip and minimal knee flexion).
BE EXPLOSIVE WITH THE HIPS, NOT THE ARMS
The swing is a ballistic movement. The hips provide the explosive power throwing the kettlebell forwards and up, the arms are just guides.
AIM FOR A HARD LOCKOUT
At the lockout, your body should stand tall in a straight line, imagine standing with your back against a wall. Your body is locked with tension, feet driven into the floor, knees fully extended, quads tensed, glutes squeezed hard, core braced as if accepting a punch.
Breathing is vital to proper form and all athletic activities. Correct breathing technique will protect the back. A forceful exhalation coinciding with the snap of the hips accomplishes this. This type of breathing is referred to as a biomechanical breathing match, done correctly, you exhale on the concentric phase (the upward swing) and inhale on the eccentric phase (downward part of the swing).
The kettlebell swing can benefit all, beginner to advanced. It is relatively simple to learn and it provides many benefits such as strength, speed, and explosiveness.
One of the most underrated features is how it builds the ‘fountain of youth’ - the glutes.
Strong glutes not only look good, but also protect our lower back from injury and and create a powerful hip extension, a key element of athletic ability.
Gareth Doody - RKC Instructor