Exercise Instruction, Exercise Tutorial, Gym Fitness

The Kettlebell Swing is a posterior chain exercise, meaning it works the majority of the muscle on the back of your body. These ones……

muscles

That’s a lot of muscles! Hence why the Kettlebell Swing is such an effective exercise for improving power and strength when executed correctly.

However there are 3 common errors that can increase the risk of injury and decrease the chance of seeing results.

  1. Using a squat pattern instead of a hinge pattern
  2. Not starting or finishing correctly
  3. Using too light a weight

In this short post I’ll explain these errors and share how to avoid them completely by tweeking technique or using props to help avoid them.

Part 1: Using a squat pattern instead of a hinge pattern

These 2 pictures illustrate the difference between the squat and hinge pattern:

Squat
Squat Pattern
Hinge
Hinge Pattern

The hinge pattern takes a little getting used to. This drill with  a straight bar is perfect to ensure you keep a neutral spine throughout the hinge. If you are squatting the kettlebell will swing low between the knees placing a lot of force on you lower back especially. Here’s how to know if you’re swingling too low……

Once you are happy with your hinge pattern, it’s time to start your swing.

Part 2: Not starting or finishing correctly

It’s vital to start correctly to generate enough power from the hips to swing the bell, and not be forced to lean back or lift with the shoulders to compensate for a lack of power at the beginning.

The finish is also vital to reduce strain on the lower back. Many people will simply stop swinging and let momentum slow. This can cause you to lose balance and the sense of “relaxing” as you’ve finished the swing can cause you to lose stability and increase risk of injury. Watch the video below to see how to start and finish the swing safely.

Part 3: Using too light a weight

Now that you understand the mechanics of a swing and how to execute it it’s time to choose an appropriate weight for it. The benefits of swing can only be felt and seen with a heavy load. Heavy is a relative term but, in short, you should aim to be able to complete no more than 12-15 swings before needing a break. In the video below I explain a simple way to choose a weight that applies to beginners mostly. Experienced lifters will just KNOW it’s too light.

Conclusion

Aim to complete 2 sets of 12-15 sets if you are a beginner, resting 60s between sets. Intermediate trainees can aim for 3 sets of 10-12 with 60s rest. Experienced trainees can challenge themselves to 4 sets of 8-10 reps with 60-90s rest. Try it out during your next workout and let me know how you get on!

Swing right. Swing heavy. Get a rock solid, powerful butt. Simple.

Thanks for reading!

Mark.

 

Mark Caulfield

Mark Caulfield PT Personal Trainer and Neuromuscular Physical Therapist based in Waterford, Ireland