Learn how to master the kettlebell swing.
Kettlebell swings are great exercise. There’s no doubt about it. But a word of caution – like most exercise, they need to be done with the right technique.
If not, you could risk an injury or not work the muscle groups you are intending to. Here are some great tips from Dragon Door Australia.
1. Wall Touch
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart facing away from a wall. Make sure you are about half the length of your thigh away from the wall.
- Take the blades of your hands – the part you’d karate chop someone with – and place them on the creases in your groin where your underpants sit.
- Push back your hips with the blades of your hands until your butt touches the wall.
- Now, this next bit is important – do not put any weight on the wall. Your butt should touch the wall but all the weight should be on your feet – not
leaning against the wall.
- Perform ten reps of this wall touch.
- Once you can do that, edge your feet away from the wall by about the length of your big toe and repeat the drill. You’ll notice you probably need to
bend your knees a little to actually touch the wall – that’s okay. But make sure the first body part that bends is your hips and not your knees.
- Perform another ten reps.
- Edge away from the wall a bit more – probably about half the length of your big toe by now and repeat. You’ll have to really work hard to push back
from the hips and not squat into it. Hips bend first, knees bend incidentally but they do bend. Check out this video for detailed explanation – Senior RKC Shaun Cairns.
The next step is to add a kettlebell, but perform this same action slowly. We used to say on the racetrack, “If you can’t do it slow, you’ll never
do it fast.” It applies here, too. You need to be able to keep that same hips-down-and-back position and maintain a flat back while you deadlift.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart again and place the kettlebell between your feet with the handle running across you and in line with the knuckles
of your big toes.
- Do the exact same thing you did with the wall touch, reaching down and back with the hips until you get to the kettlebell. Don’t just bend over and
reach for it. Make the movement at the hips get you to the point where your hands can grab the kettlebell handle.
- When you take hold of the kettlebell, you need to take the slack out of your body. To do this hold the kettlebell and pull yourself slightly towards
it, deliberately trying to shorten the space between the joints and compress yourself.
- Reverse the motion making sure to stand tall at the top. Shoulders should be down and back, making a big chest (as if you are proud to be working with
kettlebells, and you should be). Tense the glutes firmly, imagine drawing up the kneecaps to the groin while simultaneously pushing down into the
ground as hard as you can through the feet.
3. Power Swing
Now it’s time to get things swinging. But only a little to begin with. While the deadlift teaches you the mechanics of the swing it also creates in
a way a false position, as you will never need to go that low when swinging.
- For the pendulum swing, set up like for the deadlift except the kettlebell will be just in front of you – about the length of one of your feet away.
- Once you have lowered yourself to the bell, positioning the hips down and back, grab hold of the kettlebell and again take the slack out of your body.
Watch this video for an explanation by RKC Team Leader Andrea Chang.
- Now simply hike the bell back hard – force plate analysis of the swing shows far more force should be generated on the backswing than on the upswing
so don’t be shy. Make sure to keep the alignment of the body and not crumple as the weight of the bell pulls you back.
- Perform a single swing and return the bell to its starting position.
- Perform ten single reps.
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