Strength and coordination are important aspects of the overall well-being of a person. Having core strength means improving the fine and gross motor skills and also boosting balance and stability, which in turn aids in coordination and refined movements. While there are many exercises to improve core conditioning and strength, the kettlebell swing is one of the versatile moves with many benefits if done correctly. Want to learn how to do the swings exercise with the right technique? Read below:
What is a Kettlebell Swing Exercise?
Kettlebell exercise is a ballistic or power training exercise involving jumping or throwing weights to increase power. The Kettlebell swing is called by various names; it is called double arm swing, Russian kettlebell swing, KB swing and swings exercise. It is similar to braid jumping and is done to train the posterior. The bell is moved anywhere from eye level to overhead in a pendulum motion using one or both hands. There are three main variations of this kettlebell swing workout which is the American swing, the Russian Swing and the Sport Style swing.
Benefits of the Kettlebell Swing Exercise
Including kettlebell swing workout in your exercise routine has the following benefits:
- Builds muscle mass: It is a weightlifting form that aids in building muscle mass. It is an aerobic activity that uses energy quickly and helps you build mass. The kettlebell exercise is ideal for powerlifting and weight lifting.
- It is a full-body exercise: A kettlebell exercise works on the entire posterior in one workout. It trains on the muscles of the upper and the lower body like the hamstring, glutes, deltoids, pecs and traps.
- Improves cardio fitness: A bell swing not only improves strength but also is great cardio. So it is a 2-in-1 exercise that improves heart health too.
- Reduces weight: If you are on a weight loss program, a kettlebell swing can burn fat and build muscle. It burns more calories than running a 6-minute mile.
- Easy on the back: While strengthening exercises can strain the back, a kettlebell is a low impact one. Not just that, it can also build mobility and strength on the back.
- Improves posture: A kettlebell swing helps to improve posture. This can help in other workouts as well as in daily activities. Doing a swing workout in proper form with the core engaged and spine straight makes for excellent posture.
How to do Kettlebell Swing Exercise in proper form
Proper form is the foundation of any kettlebell swing workout. So it is essential to learn it properly to get the benefits of kettlebell swing.
- Start the exercise by placing the kettlebell in front of your feet.
- Place the feet slightly wider than hip-width, with the toes slightly angled.
- Bend your knees, shoulders rolled back, core engaged, back straight without squatting, and the belly button is drawn towards the spine.
- Slightly move your torso forward and hips back as you reach towards the handle of the kettle. If your knees are bent, press your hips back so that the hip hinge is not lost.
- Inhale and hold the kettlebell firmly, roll the shoulders back, engage the glutes, core and hamstrings. Exhale and go to an upright position.
- Ensure that the hips are not extended and allow the bell to swing as high as it can, which is around shoulder height.
- Inhale and bring the kettle back to the floor.
- Continue this kettle swing exercise keeping the torso straight, use the glutes and hips to power the move.
- Do not end the KB swing workout suddenly or force the momentum to stop. Instead, reduce the power so that you can safely return the kettlebell to the ground.
The important thing to note is that you should not use your arms to lift the bell. Instead, you are using the power of your hips, glutes and hamstring. The hinge movement of the hip helps it to move forward and back. The arms are used for swinging motion alone, not for lowering or lifting the weight.
Common Mistakes in Kettlebell Swing Exercise
- Getting into a squat: The KB swing workout is mainly hip dominant, so you should not lower to a squat. Even though you slightly bend the knees, it is just for support. Bend your hips and not your knees when doing this.
- Do not use your arms: It is not a shoulder exercise, and the momentum has to come from the hips and not your shoulders. This Exercise for beginners should be done as a lower body exercise with arms used to control and not pull.
- Not engaging the core: A loose core stresses the spine, so it is essential to keep the core tight.
- Taking the kettle overhead: Unlike in a Russian Kettleball, the American Kettleball swing is raised overhead. But this should be avoided as it can lead to injury to the spine and shoulders.
- Not breathing: Not practising proper breathing is one of the major mistakes which leads to pain. Instead, exhale during the swing and inhale as you lower the kettlebell.
Precautions to take while doing a Kettlebell Exercise
- You can do kettlebell exercise as an exercise for beginners, provided you know the correct form. Using the right form is essential as that helps prevent injuries, especially if you have shoulder or back pain. Also, performing the KB swing wrongly can cause strain on the joints and lead to pain or, worse, cause injury.
- Try a kettlebell after practising strength training and holding a plank for 60 seconds.
- While doing the exercise, if you feel a sharp or shooting pain in any joints, stop it immediately. Instead of the KB swing workout, try others.
- Start slow and do it for a few reps until you feel confident and comfortable. Once you develop enough strength, you can slowly increase the reps.
There is a thin line between getting benefits of a kettlebell swing workout and injury. So it is best to follow the right form and posture to prevent injuries. Stick to a Russian kettlebell swing until you are ready for the American overhead swing. Meanwhile, it’s time to get started on the kettle swing exercise!