Kettlebell swings are one of those fitness moves that may look easy, but doing them properly is actually anything but a piece of cake. Because of how simple they seem, the form is easy to mess up, and when you’re doing it wrong you’re not getting the most out of the move. So we tapped trainer Roxie Jones to show us how to do a kettlebell swing the right way.
According to Jones, there are a few things that pretty much everyone messes up when it comes to kettlebell swings that cause them to miss out on the move’s full-body benefits, but thankfully they’re easy to spot. For example, rounding your back when you pick up the weight is a tell-tale sign that your core isn’t properly engaged. Similarly, resisting the momentum that carries your hips back (and keeps them still) means that you’re not utilizing your full power or range of motion. But the worst offense, says Jones, is bending your knees too far, which turns the move into a jumping squat instead of a swing.
Getting your form right starts before you even touch the kettlebell. Begin in a deadlift position with the kettlebell right between your ankle bones, and lift it like you’re “trying to break the handle in half,” says Jones. Start with a small momentum to get the movement going and focus on pushing your hips back, letting the kettlebell carry you. Engage your glutes and core, and let them do the work in propelling the iron forward. When you’re doing the move the right way, you’ll feel muscles firing in your glutes, hamstrings, and core. Plus, it will spike your heart rate for a double-whammy of cardio and strength training all in one fell swoop swing. Watch the video above for Jones’ full demonstration of how to do a kettlebell swing, and make sure you’re moving the right way.
Kettlebell swings aren’t the only move that’s easy to mess up. Here’s how to do a pushup the right way, and how to finally master your yoga sun salutation once and for all.