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by Idalis Velazquez
updated July 11, 2017

Improve your Kettlebell Swing

If you are looking for a low impact exercise to  target your glutes, hamstrings, legs, lower back and core, all by improving your overall conditioning, look no further than the  Kettlebell Swing!

The kettlebell swing is strength and  conditioning all in one. Your heart rate will rise, your glutes will get stronger and your will torch calories, boost your metabolism in a time-efficient way.  Add the Swing as part of your fitness regimen and you'll notice how your  mid-section gets  flatter and stronger and you improve your stamina.

The Swing is a not an easy move to master and like many exercises, it requires practice, consistency and patience.

These are 6 common mistakes that can get in the way of you getting the most  out of your Kettlebell Swing.  Visit my YouTube channel or watch  full video tutorial HERE!

#1 Doing a Squat - Remember, this is not a squat. It’s a hinge exercise. So explode and let the force from your hips carry the kettlebell forward.  If you aren’t feeling a stretch in your hamstrings as you perform each repetition, you are probably bending at the knees and squatting rather than hinging at the hips and activating your posterior chain. The goal is to bend at the hips as much as you can while keeping your knees minimally bend.

#2 Lifting KB With Your Arms - The swing is a lower body exercise. Use your arms to guide the kettlebell  and avoid raising it with your arms. Use the momentum of your hips to swing the kettlebell.

#3 Hyperextending The Back - During the swing you must maintain a neutral spine the entire time. If your back hurts, chances are you’re not bracing your core as you swing. Brace your core to avoid hyperextending the back and squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

#4 Bringing KB Overhead - This is called an American Swing. Very few people know how to safely perform this variation without hyperextending the back and properly activating  the lat muscles. This variation is not a shoulder friendly exercise and can add a lot of stress in your shoulders and spine. I recommend sticking to the traditional KB Swing, since is all you need to strengthen and target your posterior chain, core and improve your conditioning. There are safer exercises to strengthen and target your shoulders than the American Swing.

#5 Not Breathing -  Breathing correctly increases speed and force production throughout the movement. Because of the explosive nature and rhythmic movement of the Kettlebell Swing, it's  important to practice proper breathing. When hinging down, inhale and fill your midsection with air. Keep your core engaged! When extending your hips as you swing the bell,  powerfully exhale. Maintain this rhytmically breathing pattern throughout each repetition.  This will help you  increase your power output and improve your conditioning more efficiently.

 #6 Wearing The Wrong Shoes - It's best to perform Kettlebell swings bare feet to ensure your feet are rooted on the floor and  allow you to generate a greater force during the movement. Super-cushioned running shoes aren’t ideal for kettlebell training because they don’t allow for natural movements of the foot, ankle and lower leg ligaments. Shoes with cushioned heel provide an unstable environment that will make you raise  your heel off the ground and destabilizes your natural grip on the floor. You can also use training socks (these are my favorite training socks!) and minimalist shoes or classic converse sneakers .

You can start by practicing the hinge pattern with your own body weight before adding a Kettlebell.  Recommended weight:

  • Beginners -  10-15 lbs
  • Intermediate - 15-25 lbs
  • Advanced 25 - 40 lbs  or heavier.

Watch the Kettlebell Swing Mistakes to Avoid video here!   Apply these tips and swing your way to a stronger, leaner and healthier body!


Idalis Velazquez
Idalis is a wife, proud mom of three girls and an internationally recognized and trusted fitness & lifestyle expert. She is a Beachbody Super Trainer, a bilingual Fitness Influencer and Fitness and Wellness content creator for publications like Women’s Health Magazine, Men’s Health, GQ Magazine and others. She is also a Nordictrack and an iFit International trainer.

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