Once you’re warmed up, you’re ready to try the kettlebell swing. Here’s how:
- Start with a light kettlebell so that you can perfect the form (think 6 to 10 kg).
- To set the weight up, make a triangle with the kettlebell and your feet, with your feet at the bottom of the triangle and the kettlebell about a foot in front of you at the top of the triangle.
- With a soft bend in your knees, hinge forward at your hips, push your butt back, and grab the handles with both hands.
- Tilt the bell on its side, handle toward your body. “This is called the hike position, because similarly to football, you are going to ‘hike’ the bell through your legs”.
- Hike the bell high up in your groin area (“Your wrists should touch high up in your inner thigh to keep a small arc—if it goes below the knees, the arc will be way too big and could cause some lower-back discomfort and an inefficient swing”) and thrust your hips forward aggressively. What does that mean, exactly? “At the top of the swing, you should be in a standing plank, looking straight ahead, elbows locked, core tight, quads and glutes contracted.”
- Once the bell reaches about chest height (and not above shoulder height), hinge forward at your hips and push your butt back again, letting the bell drop on its own as you do (you should not feel like you’re using your arms to lift anything). Let your eyes, head, and neck follow so that you don’t strain your neck.
- When you’re done with all of your reps, perform a back swing: Bring the bell through your legs but instead of thrusting your hips forward to bring it to shoulder level, safely place it back down and return back to the initial hike position.
Always remember that squeezing your glutes and quads is key to reap all of the benefits of a kettlebell swing. “A lot of folks blame kettlebell swings for giving them back pain, but it’s only because they are not aggressively standing up and squeezing the glutes and quads, which absorbs any lower-back impact”. If you’re really using your hips and glutes to thrust forward, you’ll get stronger with every swing.