Kettlebell Swings – One Hand

Kettlebell Swings – The Benefits of One Hand

Kettlebell Swings using one hand is the natural progression on from the double handed swing. Swinging with one arm rather than 2 puts extra demands on the shoulder and also attempts to pull the body into rotation. Kettlebell Swings with one arm will develop your core muscles more intensely as well as developing your shoulder stabiliser muscles as the shoulder is pulled out of joint.

Kettlebell Swings – The Basics

The fundamentals of kettlebell swings with one hand are exactly the same as the 2 handed swing but many people find the exercise a little easier because there is more room to swing the bell between your legs. Also if you are guilty of muscling up the kettlebell with your shoulder muscles with two hands then the single handed kettlebell swings encourage you to use more of your hip drive to elevate the kettlebell.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings Progressions

It can be a big progression to go from two handed swings to kettlebell swings with one hand because effectively you are doubling the load on the shoulder. So please ensure that you progress slowly. If you are comfortably swinging a 16kg kettlebell with both hands and then wish to progress to a single handed swing then you may want to start with a 12kg first before moving onto the 16kg.

Some Kettlebell Swings Workouts:

Workout 1

  • One Arm Swing – 30 secs each side
  • Rest 30 secs
  • Repeat 3-6 rounds

Workout 2

  • One Arm Swing Left – 30 secs
  • Slingshot – 30 secs
  • One Arm Swing Right – 30 secs
  • Slingshot – 30 secs
  • Repeat 3-6 rounds

Workout 3

  • One Arm Swing – 15 secs each side
  • Rest 15 seconds
  • One Arm Swing – 30 secs each side
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • One Arm Swing – 45 secs each side
  • Rest 45 seconds
  • One Arm Swing – 60 secs each side

What’s Next

Once you have mastered Kettlebell Swings with one hand then you can move onto changing hands without stopping the swing. Learning to change hands mid swing ultimately means that you can continue to workout without stopping, this is excellent for keeping your heart rate up and developing a nice workout flow.

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  1. Douglas Cobb says

    Greg, while most people talking about how to do kettlebell swings online seem to be saying that when doing one-arm swings, the arms goes straight in front of your body, some people like Valery Fedorenko believe it is best to have your elbow bent towards the chest somewhat at the top of the swing. He says this makes the kettlebell “fly” better, and it helps prepare people to later on learn to do the snatch. What do you feel about this? Personally, I’ve been doing the one-arm swing as you suggest and demonstrate, but Fedorenko should know — maybe he’s just coming from a different perspective…..

    • says

      Hi Douglas, good question. The most important and effective part of the swing is the hip drive, this is what most people have trouble with. You are activating the largest muscles in your body, the glutes, along with the whole posterior chain. I tend to teach a straight arm because as soon as you mention a bending of the arm then the beginner starts to “muscle” the kettlebell rather than using their hips. Once you can swing well and effectively from your hips then whether you bend your arm at the top or not is up to you. The most important thing about the arm is keeping the shoulder back and in its socket purely because you don’t want to be putting a passive stretch through your soft tissue when it’s vulnerable.

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