Proper Kettlebell Swing Form Does Include a Squat Phase – Health News Today

When you’re looking to build strong, muscular legs and explosive power, the kettlebell swing can be one of your best bets. You only need one piece of equipment, and there aren’t a series of super technical steps you’ll have to master to perform the exercise safely, as is the case with Olympic lifts. But pulling off the move properly isn’t as easy as just picking up the bell and slinging it around with no care for your form.

Some people, especially those who come to the swing after years of learning athletic stances for sports or perfecting squat form in the weight room, will go with the their first inclination and break the move down into distinct phases to include a squat. That’s not productive, according to Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. He warns that the swing isn’t just two bodybuilding moves strung together (a squat and front raise), but rather one distinct exercise.

“The kettlebell swing is all about glute power and hip extension,” says Samuel. “And you don’t build any of that when you bend your knees and squat into your swing. The key motion in the kettlebell swing is, instead, the hip hinge: Butt going backwards, and hamstrings and glutes turning on to explode you forwards.”

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The key to the kettlebell swing is in your hips.

“Lead with this hip hinge,” Samuel continues. “If you feel your knees excessively bending, as if you’re doing a squat, then you’re taking emphasis off your hips. Just as badly, you’re going to need to use your shoulders to power the kettlebell upwards out of the swing, essentially pushing them through a “front raise”-type motion. Your shoulders aren’t meant to work through that motion with the weights you’ll wind up kettlebell swinging. If your swing looks like a squat, you’re doing it wrong.”

Don’t think that he means that you should eliminate your knee bend completely, though. You should also avoid taking on the swing straight-legged, which limits your hamstrings’ ability to work and kills the explosive potential of the exercise.

Instead, start with a slight knee bend and avoid squatting your butt down further, bending at the waist and hips instead. Then, emphasize squeezing your glutes to power that hip hinge as you swing the weight up.

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