Kettlebell Exercises: Conquering the Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell exercises are the perfect way to do a full body workout. If you are looking for the king of kettlebell exercises, look no further than the Kettlebell Swing. This simple yet highly effective exercise is an awesome way to improve muscular endurance and burn fat.

Personal trainers and Kettlebell Instructors Matt Lovett and Ross Gray from aps Fitness tell us how to conquer the Kettlebell Swing.

Kettlebell Swing Overview

Exercise Type: Strength Training

Skill Level: Beginner & Intermediate

Primary Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings, Abdominals, Lats, Quadriceps, Deltoids, Traps

Equipment: Kettlebell


Conquering the Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is great for building strength, power and endurance in the posterior chain (basically everything behind you). It can also be a great tool to use for conditioning workouts and there are numerous variations that will help build stability and co-ordination.

Although not a hugely advanced move, it’s certainly not just for beginners and there are a couple of things you’ll need to get good at before trying the swing.


Before attempting any type of swing the first thing you need to get familiar with is keeping a neutral spine in a bent over position.

Kettlebell Exercises: Conquering the Kettlebell Swing | Neutral Spine | aps Fitness | Linked Fitness

As you can see from the image above, you want to be bent at the hips and slightly at the knees so you are tipped over, but at the same time keeping your spine in a strong and neutral position.

When testing with a stick, it should touch the base of your spine, your upper back and the back of your head, while leaving natural curves in your low back and neck (be careful to not over extend either).

You should be able to hold this position for 60 seconds.Once you can do this, it’s time to move on to Pendulums and Deadlifts.

Building the Foundations with Pendulums and Deadlifts

Key Points:

  • Keep your neutral spine throughout the pendulum. The bigger the swing the more challenging it will be. Aim for 10-20 swings.
  • After that, move on to the Deadlift. Again we’re making sure to keep a neutral spine while lifting and returning the kettlebell to the floor.

Once you’re proficient at both of them, you can put them together in the Kettlebell Swing.

Performing the Kettlebell Swing

Key Points:

  • Start by using little swings and gradually gain some speed after a few reps.
  • Create all the movement by bending your hips (and knees a little), but keep your back in a neutral position. Don’t use your arms to swing the weight either.
  • Also make sure not to over extend the lower back at the top of the swing. Just stand up tall, no further.
  • When you’re done, let the swing come to a gradual stop before putting the kettlebell down.

Kettlebell Swing Progressions

After getting good at the swing you can move on to other progressions:

  • Single Arm Swings
  • Alternating Single Arm Swings
  • Single Arm Swing to Row

How to Incorporate the Kettlebell Swing into Your Workouts

The kettlebell swing is a fairly intense, big “bang for your buck ” exercise so it is best used in the main body of your workout.

If you’re using it to increase power and strength, look to work in the 4-6 rep range and focus on swinging as fast and explosively as you can. Once 6 reps is no longer challenging you can look to increase the weight.

For conditioning you should work in the 10-20 rep range. For stability and co-ordination progress to a harder variation rather than increasing the weight of the kettlebell.

Remember, as with all exercise, work to your own ability, look to move as well as you can and have fun!

Live healthy,


About Matt Lovett & Ross Gray

Personal Trainer Zone with Matt Lovett and Ross Gray | aps Fitness | Linked Fitness CommunityMatt has always had a keen interest in fitness. Since gaining a degree in Sports Management and becoming a Personal Trainer, Matt has built up a wealth of knowledge that he uses to help other people achieve their goals.

Ross enjoys a life dominated by sports. His passion lies in living a vibrant, healthy life through a holistic approach. He combines the knowledge gained from his degree in Sports Science with his personal and professional experience to help others discover their true potential.

Both Matt and Ross created aps Fitness in March 2011. Their mission is to help anyone who spires to change their lives through improving their health, body shape, athletic performance or all three.

After years of studying with top industry professionals, being personally mentored, self experience, and a lot of trial and error; Matt and Ross have created the aps Way which is a comprehensive approach to health and fitness designed to offer you a new way of life by focusing equally on your movement, nutrition and lifestyle needs.

To read more about more about Matt and Ross visit their website aps Fitness.

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