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Kettlebell Swing

Exercise / Back, Butt, Core, Glutes, Hamstrings, Hip Flexors

START WITH THE FINISH

There are two positions you need to become familiar and comfortable with if you want to maximize the significant benefits of the swing. It may sound backward, but the first position is the finish position. Here’s how you perform it:

  1. Stand with your feet placed outside your shoulders, either pointing straight ahead or turned slightly out, whichever is more comfortable to you.
  2. Clench your hands into loose fists. Hold your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground, with elbows locked and hands touching.
  3. Pull your shoulders down into your waist, away from your ears. You should feel some tightness under your armpits. Those are your lats. You may never have felt them like that before, but this sensation is crucial to the swing, so remember it.
  4. Tighten your abs like you’re bracing for a punch. Don’t bend forward, though. Just try to lock your ribcage to your pelvis.
  5. Finally, squeeze your glutes as tightly as you can, like you’re pinching a coin between your cheeks. Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders through your hips and knees down to your feet.
THE STARTING POSITION
  1. Set your feet in the same position they were for the finish position.
  2. While your eyes look forward—head up and chest out—push your hips back. Fold into your hips, keeping your weight over the middle of your foot, slightly toward your heels. As you do this, your knees will bend to some degree. This is OK, but if you do it correctly, you’ll feel your hamstrings, not your quads. Now hold that position.
  3. Think about performing a vertical jump. But instead of placing your arms outside your legs, move them between your legs. However—and this is crucial—keep the angle of your body steady. Only move your arms.
  4. Find your hamstrings, and by that, I mean feel them stretch. Remember, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The more stretch you can get on your hips and hamstrings, the more powerful your swing is going to be.
  5. Find this position repeatedly, at least 3-6 times, and just like the finish position, hold it about 6-10 seconds each time. When you do it correctly, you’ll feel it.