Let’s start by saying that the Kettlebell (KB) Swing is a comprehensive exercise that requires many components and a high level of skill mastery. This is NOT a starting point for most folks.
It’s crucial for you to first master these exercises prior to following the progressions in this post: hip hinge pattern, bridge, hip thrust, cable or band pull through and KB deadlift, to name a few.
Keep in mind that the KB Swing is a power-based exercise, where the motion should be coming from the hips to express force; NOT the arms. Avoid “squatting” your hinge. Let the ‘bell do the work!
Here is a 4-step process to mastering your KB Swing:
1. KB Swing Prep: Chop & Pop
The Chop & Pop is a great teaching tool that I learned from Artemis Scantalides at the StrongFirst user course that helps you to begin mastering the hip hinge needed for a solid KB Swing. Be sure to first practice the "slow" version prior to attempting the "fast" version.
Breaking this drill down into a slow version and fast version allows the athlete to understand the difference between the “chop” at the hip crease and the “pop” from the glutes/hips. Notice how in the fast version my hands ricochet off of my hips, which is to help mimic the speed necessary to produce power during your swing.
2. KB Hike
We want the athlete to understand how their hips move in space and gain body awareness. This serves as a great drill to teach weight-shifting in two ways: putting weight through the heel vs. through the forefoot, and the relationship between the opposing movement at the hips vs. the movement of the ‘bell.
3. KB Swing
I remember a great line from Dan John a long time ago in the ballpark of “the top of your swing should look like a standing plank”, which is exactly what the goal should be every single rep.
4. KB Dead Swing
Consider each rep here a “single”, which really allows you to hone in on sharpening your force production and swing technique.
Looking for more training tips to master your movements? Check us out for in-person training at our state-of-the-art facility in Salem, MA or look into our online training program.
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Matthew Ibrahim is the Co-Owner & Lead Performance Coach of TD Athletes Edge. He has been an invited guest speaker nationally in over 10 U.S. states, which was highlighted by his presentations at Google Headquarters and Stanford University, in addition to guest speaking internationally in Milan, Italy. His work has been featured in Men’s Fitness, STACK Media and The PTDC. Currently, he is completing his masters degree at Rocky Mountain University with a direct track into their PhD program. He is a big fan of interacting on Instagram and regularly posts about training, performance and recovery.
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