The Perfect Kettlebell Swing

The Swing is the fundamental Kettlebell movement that strengthens the posterior muscle chain and paves the way for all the other lifts.  It has a massive carry over to general activity and therefore should form an essential part of one’s workout.


You can see the Perfect Kettlebell Swing in action by visiting my Youtube channel and watching the video:

Primary Muscles Worked:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Gluteal Muscles
  • Erector Spinae
  • Core

The Key is to start with a weight that is comfortable but that offers enough resistance where the whole body is required to swing it sufficiently overhead.  I would suggest the following:

Women:      8Kgs – 12Kgs                      Men:     12Kgs – 16Kgs

I am now going to explain the technique required for the perfect swing and then provide progression examples for those wishing to advance their Kettlebell armoury.

Performing The Exercise

Start Position

  • With both hands, firmly grab the handles of the Kettlebell with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Start of Kettlebell Swing 1

Kettlebell Swing Part 1










  • Lift up to standing tall position, switch on the glutes and keep the spine neutral.  Whilst keeping the arms long and shoulder relaxed, look forwards with the chest open.
Start of Kettlebell Swing 2

Kettlebell Swing Part 2











Lowering Phase

  • Start the swing by lowering the Kettlebell between the legs.
Kettlebell Lowering Phase 1

Kettlebell Swing Part 3











  • Push hips back, whilst also flexing the knees.  Continuing to flex at the hip, ultimately hiking the Kettlebell towards the buttocks.
Kettlebell Lowering Phase 2

Kettlebell Swing Part 4











Upward Phase

  • Drive through the heels whilst moving the hips forwards dynamically.
Kettlebell Upward Phase 1

Kettlebell Swing Part 5











  • As a result of the powerful dynamic hip thrust the Kettlebell will arc upwards.
Kettlebell Upward Phase 2

Kettlebell Swing Part 6











  • Keeping the arms relaxed as the Kettlebell arc height is a consequence of the hip thrust – at the top of the arc there will be some ‘hang time.’
  • Make sure the glutes are squeezed and the core braced.
Kettlebell Upward Phase 3

Kettlebell Swing Part 7











Downward Phase

  • Begin the downward phase by letting the Kettlebell naturally drop between the legs.
  • Push the hips back letting the Kettlebell swing between the legs.  Keep the chest open.
Kettlebell Downward Phase 1

Kettlebell Swing Part 8












The swing is an incredibly dynamic and explosive movement and can help provide much needed drive to many different sporting situations, giving you an edge over others.  Care however must be taken to ensure a neutral spine is maintained throughout the Kettlebell Swing. This will limit the stress on the ligaments and discs in the back.

‘Applying postural work to your kettlebell training will help you learn faster and will assist your development of strength, speed and stamina… When optima; (or at least, better) posture is achieved, the tonic muscles do their job to stabilise the body, allowing the phasic muscles to focus  on what they do best – lifting and moving the bell.’ (Caldwell, 2008)

The core should be activated throughout the Swing.  This is done by drawing your navel in towards your spine, without breathing in, and holding it in this position throughout the exercise.


Once you have mastered the technique of the two handed Kettlebell Swing you can incorporate the following alternatives to progress your training:

  • One Arm Swing
  • Double Swing
  • Walking Swing
  • Alternating Hand Swings

Now you’ve got the ingredients……go and cook up your perfect swing!




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