The first time you use a kettlebell is an interesting experience. It’s an awkward form of weight, essentially just a cannonball with a handle. When you lift the kettlebell, you quickly notice that it’s different from a dumbbell– more cumbersome, and difficult to manage. That explains part of the appeal to trainers – they love heavy, cumbersome objects!
At TS, one of the first movements you learn with the kettlebell is the swing. Though the squat and deadlift are taught early, the kettlebell swing is a foreign movement to most people. It’s a high-velocity exercise similar to jumping, but you’re swinging a heavy object.
A similar motion to the kettlebell swing would be swinging a bucket of water between your legs. You’ve probably tried swinging a bucket of water at some point in your life: the force of gravity keeps the water in the bucket as you swing to and fro. With the kettlebell swing, you’re creating an arc through the air with the bell.
The coaches at TS have a few helpful tips for mastering the swing to get the most out of the movement. Here are some helpful tips:
Keep the kettlebell above your knees
As you swing, the bell shouldn’t drop below your knees. If it does, it means you’re dropping too low as you swing.
Hit your butt with the bell
At the bottom of your swing, the kettlebell should be able to swing back and tap your butt. This ensures that you’re swinging the bell far enough behind you and that you’re swinging the bell high enough.
Lock your knees out at the top
At the top of the swing, your knees should be completely straight. Your body should have a tall posture, rather than slouching or keeping your knees bent.
Shoulders higher than hips
At the bottom of your swing, your shoulders shouldn’t drop below the level of your hips. If they do, it means you’re going too far down. This can cause excess strain on the lower back.
Use your hips
Even though the kettlebell swings up and down, think of this exercise as a horizontal movement. In other words, the power comes from your hips moving forward and back, not from moving your body up and down. The more you use your hips to swing the kettlebell forwards, the less you’ll feel the movement in your lower back.