Home / Learn Proper Kettlebell Swing Form and the Muscles Worked

Learn Proper Kettlebell Swing Form and the Muscles Worked

By Greg Brookes
Kettlebell Swing

The Kettlebell Swing is the most important kettlebell exercise of all but also the one that most people struggle to master.

Kettlebell swings are based on the deadlift movement pattern and hit almost every muscle in the body especially those of the posterior chain resulting in a stronger back and hips.

If you only had time to do one kettlebell exercise then kb swings would be a fine choice.

Below I have gone into great detail about how to get your kettlebell swing form correct so let’s get started:

Kettlebell swing form overview

Kettle bell Swings should be thought of as a pulling movement. It targets the posterior chain and essentially you are loading and de-loading the back of the body as you accelerate and decelerate the kettlebell.

Be warned the eccentric or deceleration part of kettlebell swings is what causes muscle soreness so you could be walking like John Wayne for a few days if you perform too many kb swings early on.

Kb swings are a dynamic movement. As the kettlebell descends from the top part of the movement gravity takes its toll and the overall weight of the kettlebell increases, so a 16kg kettlebell will feel much heavier at the bottom of the kettlebell swing.

Also at the bottom of the kettlebell swing you are decelerating its load and forcing the muscles to absorb and then reverse the swings momentum.  It is for this reason that you can get some truly amazing results without having to use a really heavy kettlebell for the Swing.

7 Kettlebell swing benefits

Over the last decade or so, kettlebell exercise has enjoyed a successful reintroduction into the fitness industry. This has been based around exercises that are ​predominantly ballistic, are technically relatively simple, and tend to involve the whole body​; exercise, the swing, provides an excellent example of this.” (Lake and Lauder 2012)

Here are 7 things that kettlebell swings are good for:

1 – Best Fat Loss Exercise

Kettlebell Swing for Fat Loss

If your main objective is fat loss then there are not many single exercises better than the kettlebell swing.

Kettle bell swings targets over 600 muscles in one go creating huge demands on energy consumption which in turn means more calories burnt.

Related: 5 Best Kettlebell Exercises for Fat Loss

2 – Super Cardio

Kettlebell Swing for Cardio

Want to feel like you have just sprinted a 100 metres without moving your feet? then this is the exercise for you.

Huge amounts of oxygen are required to fund the kettlebell swing movement so it only takes between 30 – 60 seconds before your heart and lungs are really working hard.

Performing kettlebell swings at a self-determined pace for 12 minutes, attempting to complete as many swings as possible during that time, maintained subjects’ HR and _ VO2 at an average of 87 and 65% of their respective maxima. Based on these observations, the “man-maker” kettlebell drill provided a metabolic challenge of sufficient intensity to increase _V O2max. ” (Farrar et al. 2010)

Related: 25 Kettlebell Cardio Workouts

3 – Get Strong Quickly

Kettlebell Swings for Strength

Big strength and conditioning gains come from eccentric movements which involve lengthening muscles under load.

The kb swing overloads 100’s of muscles eccentrically as you actively absorb the energy from every swing movement. Look out though, eccentric movements are what make your kettlebell swing muscles feel sore the next day!

4 – Rehabilitate Shoulders and Knees

Kettlebell Swings for Rehabilitation

The swing tries to pull the shoulder joints apart during the movement and as you fight to keep your joints in place your stabilising muscles get stronger.

If you suffer with bad knees then often the swing can be tolerated due to the lack of excessive bend at the knee meaning you can still strengthen the legs, hips and your cardio without needing to squat or lunge.

Related: Got Bad Knees? Here’s How to Exercise

5 – Develop Explosive Power

Kettlebell Swings for Power

Sports are all about power. The faster you can release stored energy the more powerful you can move. Kettle bell swings develops lots of explosive power through the hips and legs which is vital for most sports.

The results clearly demonstrated that kettlebell swing training provides a training stimulus sufficient to improve both maximum and explosive strength.” (Lake and Lauder 2012)

Related: Kettlebell workouts for athletes

6 – Exercise Anywhere

Kettlebell Swings for Anywhere

Unlike lots of other exercises you hardly need any room to perform the kb swing. Your feet will not move and the kettlebell will only extend slightly further than your hands so you could workout anywhere within a 6 foot square space.

7 – Only One Kettlebell Required

Only One Kettlebell Required

The kettle bell swing is a very diverse exercise. You can start with the two handed swing and as you out grow that movement instantly increase the intensity by using one hand.

When one arm swings are getting too easy you can add in the lateral swing for even more of a challenge. One kettlebell can last you a lifetime!

Related: Progress your workout without adding more weight

10 best kettlebell workouts

Kettlebell swing muscles worked

Let’s now look at what muscles kettlebell swings work.

Kettlebell swings work the muscles predominantly in the back of the body or posterior chain especially the glutes, hamstrings, hips, core and back. The shoulders, forearms and lat muscles are also used during the kettle bell swing.

You will get some conditioning through the quads but not as much as with squats or lunges, great for women because it will not bulk up the legs.

The shoulder stabilisers also get a lot of work as they try and prevent the shoulder joint from being pulled apart.

what muscles kettlebell swings work
Kettlebell swing muscles worked

The lower back should act in an isometric manner meaning that it should maintain a flat or neutral spine throughout the movement, the core muscles will help to maintain this position.

An excessively sore lower back is usually the result of too much flexion and extension of the lower back rather than the hips.

The only muscle group that does not get that much attention from the kettlebell swing is the chest.

However, this is not such a bad thing as the chest is often overworked by men resulting in rounded shoulders.

In fact kettle bell swings can help improve a chests appearance by producing a more upright posture and pulling the shoulders backwards.

Selecting the correct kettlebell swing starting weight

As mentioned, the kettlebell swing is a dynamic movement so caution needs to be exercised when selecting the right weight.

If you choose a weight that is too heavy then you risk overloading your kettlebell swing muscles, tendons and ligaments too quickly and risk injury.

However, if you start too light then the kettlebell won’t offer enough overload to your total body and thus won’t force any adaptation and therefore results.

Here are the kettlebell starter weights that I recommend:

  • Women – 8kg / 15lbs or for athletic women 12kg / 25lbs.
  • Men – 12kg / 25lbs or for athletic men 16kg / 35lbs.
best kettlebell starting weights

If you want to know more about the different types of kettlebells and the kettlebells that I recommend then please see my article below on selecting kettlebells:

Related: Complete Guide to Buying Kettlebells and 7 Types to Avoid

How to do kettlebell swings and avoid injury

Now that you know the huge benefits of the kettlebell swing and have selected the correct starting weight lets get started.

You need to start with a basic movement skill called the hip hinge:

1. Master the Hip Hinge

There are various different types of kettlebell swing (more on these later) but to begin with it is important that you master the basic hip hinge movement.

Briefly, the swing exercise is initiated by driving the (15), loading the hamstrings while maintaining correct alignment between the back of the head, and the C8 and sacral vertebrae, and “packing” the shoulder​ neutral shoulder girdle).

The motion is then powerfully reversed, with the aim of projecting the hip girdle, and, as such the kettlebell, forward. The kettlebell should be vertical displaced to between hip and shoulder height, depending on the mass of the kettlebell, and swing exercise should be continued until the perceived “crispness” of the movement begins to decline.​” (Lake and Lauder 2012)

The hip hinge is based on one of our fundamental movement patterns and involves bending or creasing at the hips and pushing the hips back.

Watch the tutorial video below which explains the importance of the hip hinge:

Once you are familiar with the hip hinge then you can move on to the kettlebell swing.

One of the most common causes of bad kettlebell swing technique is the hip hinge so don’t be too hasty and be sure to push those hips back.

2. Progress to the Two Handed Kettlebell Swing

Once you are comfortable with the hip hinge movement you can start with the easiest variation of the kettle bell swing, the two handed swing.

Watch the two handed kettlebell swing technique below:

13 Ways to improve your kettlebell swing form

1 – Get Your Feet In The Right Place

The feet should be placed at just a little wider than shoulder width apart. Toes should turn outwards at approx. 10 degrees. The toes should track along the same line as the shin and knees preventing unnecessary torque on the knee joint during each swing.

Weight should remain predominantly on the outside and middle to heel of the feet. This will ensure that you activate the back of the body and buttocks correctly.

Avoid Using the Toes At no point should your weight transfer to your toes.

To ensure that your weight distribution is correct you can practice a few kettlebell swings with your toes curled back towards you.

2 – Use Your Hips for Power

Your hips are the engine or powerhouse for the movement. You should crease at the hips with a flat back. Think about actively pushing your hips backwards and then driving them forwards.

Use Your Hips for the Swing The hip movement is forwards and backwards.

As you push your hips forwards you should actively clench your backside. The harder you clench the more power you will generate. Think about standing tall and stop at the vertical position, you don’t want to learn backwards past vertical.

Experts ‘hinge’ at the hips rather than squat (≈ 20 deg) greater hip flexion at the bottom of the swing and ≈15 deg less knee flexion on the descent) stand up straighter (≈ 10 deg more hip extension) and ‘swing’ the bell rather than ‘lift’ it (≈15 deg less shoulder flexion at the bottom and ≈ 20 deg less at the top)” (Meigh et al. 2019)

3 – Keep Your Back Flat

It is crucial that during your kettle swings you keep your lower back flat. There should be a straight line running from your tail right up to your shoulders, these are all the kettlebell swing muscles of the posterior chain. Keep your chest raised high as if being pulled up by your rib cage.

If you find that your back starts to bend at the bottom part of the kettlebell swing then push your hips further backwards and don’t lean so far forwards.

Hamstring Length for the Swing Your hamstrings will determine how far forwards you can go.

4 – Activate Those Abs

In terms of managing injury risk while training with the KB, it is important that the KB practitioner be coached to maintain the neutral lumbar curve while working with the KB. McGill (13) has also shown that conscious bracing of the abdominal wall during the swing will further stabilize the spine adding training tolerance” (Jonen et al.)

The core and abdominal muscles are worked hard during the kettlebell swing. Each time you drive your hips forwards your abs should contract to prevent the hips from going past the centre-line.

Active Abs at the top of the swing Imagine the top part of the kettlebell swing as an upright plank.

The abdominal muscles also help to guide you on the downward part of the swing preventing the kettlebell from swinging too deep between your legs.

5 – Don’t Use Your Shoulders

It is important to realise that during the swing the shoulders are used merely as a connection between arms and body. All the power should come from the hips.

Don't Use the Shoulder when you swing Don’t swing from the shoulders.

Try to relax the shoulders while at the same time using the upper back muscles to keep the shoulders joints in their sockets. The kettlebell will try to pull the arms forwards, it is your job to control the kettlebell and ensure that the shoulders are pulled back.

Kettle swings are particularly effective at rehabilitating shoulders because it strengthens and conditions connective tissue as the shoulder joint is constantly being pulled in and out of its socket. It also helps condition the upper back muscles used for stabilisation.

Pumping nutrients into the shoulder joint Swings create a nutritious pumping mechanism.

6 – What’s Your Head Doing?

The head needs to be positioned so that it creates a good alignment at the neck. I will often teach beginners just to focus on the horizon as a lifted chin at the downward part of the kettlebell swing will help to keep the back flat.

Careful with chin position during the swing Careful overextending the neck during the swing.

So once you are comfortable with keeping your back flat throughout the entire movement you should practice keeping your head and neck in alignment through the entire movement.

As the swing comes down you need to follow the movement with the head and end up looking just in front of your feet at the bottom part of the movement.

So you begin with eyes looking straight ahead and finish with eyes looking about 3-4 feet in front of you.

10 best kettlebell workouts

7 – Use The Correct Grip

During your kettle swings your grip should be relaxed and not too tight. Depending on the width of the kettlebell handle you are using you may be able to hold on with all fingers from both hands, this is the best option.

If you are using a narrow handled kettlebell like the competition kettlebells then you may only be able to hold on with 3 fingers from each hand and have the little finger outside the handle.

The swing challenges the grip more than many people realise. During the swing the kettlebell is constantly trying to get away from you and so good grip is required just to keep holding on. If you use a fatter gripped handle then your grip will be challenged even more!

8 – Get Your Swing Height & Depth Correct

Remember that the kettlebell swing comes from the hips and not the lower back or shoulders.

The forward bending movement should come from a crease at the hips and not a dipping of the knees. A good way to monitor this is to take the kettlebell only to the mid forearm on the inner thigh.

Keep the shoulders behind the toes The shoulders should not move forwards of your toes.

The top of the kettlebell swing can vary and will be dictated by the strength and power of your hips and posterior chain. The harder and faster you drive your hips forwards the higher the kettlebell will want to go.

swing to chest height Aim for chest height with the arms.

When beginning you will want to focus more on the snap of your hips than the height of the kettlebell. So a good hip snap but only a height of 45 degrees is a better start than using your shoulders to pull the kettlebell up the rest of the way.

9 – Use The Right Breathing Pattern

There are two different types of breathing that you can use with your swings depending on the kettlebell weight. When using a light kettlebell you should breathe out during the downward phase and in during the upward phase. This technique works inline with nature stimulating your extensor muscles as you straighten up and forces the air out as you fold forwards.

However, once the kettlebell gets heavier and more challenging you will find that your breathing changes. You will find that you brace your abs and hold your breath momentarily on the downward phase and breath out on the upward phase.

Use the correct swing breathing pattern The diaphragm is also being used as a core stabiliser.

As the weight increases your diaphragm steps in to help out your core muscles and stabilise your spine. As your diaphragm cannot both stabilise and breathe at the same time you hold your breath. You then need to breath out and then breath back in again all at the top of the kettlebell swing.

10 – Starting the Kettlebell Swing

There are two schools of thought with regards to starting the swing. First you can pick up the kettlebell and then start the swing momentum by nudging it off your thigh or secondly you can start the swing directly off the floor in front of you. Both methods have their advantages.

Nudging the kettlebell off the thigh ensures that you are already upright and the lower back is not comprised however it does entail a few small kettlebell swings to really get the momentum going.

Dragging the kettlebell off the floor, between your legs and into the swing feels more fluid but it can leave your back feeling a little more vulnerable during that first pulling movement as you are deeper than usual.

If you do opt for starting from the ground then start with the kettlebell 12 inches in front of your toes, load your hamstrings and entire posterior chain by putting your weight on your heels, brace your abs, pull back between your legs and then drive your hips forwards with everything you’ve got.

11 – Finishing the Kettlebell Swing

So you have started correctly and used perfect form throughout your swings. The last thing you want to do now is hurt yourself by finishing the swing badly.

Safely finish the kettlebell swing Return the kettlebell to just in front of the line of your feet.

Don’t attempt to twist your upper body and swing it to the side of your one foot.

During the last kettlebell swing repetition, decelerate its momentum as it swings between your legs and come to a steady stop in front of you, keeping your lower and upper back flat at all times.

12 – Master Your Swing Timing

Timing is everything when swinging the kettlebell. If your timing is off you will not generate the correct power through your hips and also “muscle” the kettlebell up more with your shoulders.

When the kettlebell is at its lowest point between your legs your hips should be the furthest back they can be. As you then drive your hips forwards to reverse the momentum your hips will fully lock out just before your arms reach their horizontal position with the floor.

Master the kettlebell swing timing The top of the swing is generated by the momentum of the kettlebell.

Remember that the kettlebell swing is only 2 movements: backwards and forwards. It is very common to see a 3rd bounce or rock at the bottom of the swing but this should be avoided. You can practice to the count of 1 backwards, 2 forwards.

Learn more: 5 Smart Ways to Supercharge Your Swing Workouts

13 – Generating More Power

As mentioned earlier, all the power for the kettlebell swing comes from the hips and posterior chain. If you want to generate the maximum amount of power then explode forwards with the hips and snap them to vertical.

Stand Tall at the top of the swing Stand tall at the top of the movement. 

Beginners should really practice this “snapping of the hips”. The harder you snap the more force you will generate and the more muscles and energy you will use.

Here’s a drill to help improve your kettlebell swing form and hip snap:

14 Common mistakes with your kettlebell swing form

1 – Rocking on the feet

Rocking the feet

Solution: Don’t get into a rocking routine when you swing, remember its 2 moves, backwards and forwards, nothing else. Keep those feet firmly planted.

2 – Too much weight on the toes

Too much weight on the toes

Solution: Get back on those heels to effectively activate the back of your body. Train in bare feet or flat shoes and curl your toes back to ensure that your toes aren’t being overused.

3 – Feet are too wide apart

Feet are too wide apart

Solution: If your stance is too wide you will lack power and reduce the amount of leverage you have through your hips and knees. Your feet should be just a little wider than shoulder width apart.

4 – Leaning too far backwards at the top

Leaning too far forwards

Practice standing tall and squeezing the glutes tight. Swinging the bell just to horizontal with the floor or reducing the weight may also help you to master this technique.

5 – Muscling the kettlebell up with the shoulders

Muscling up the kettlebell

Solution: Ensure that the complete kettlebell swing comes from the hip snap and not the shoulders. Relax your arms and work those hips. Tired shoulders are a sign that you are using them too much during the exercise.

6 – Hunching shoulders up by the ears

Hunching the shoulders up too high

Solution: Keep your shoulders low and as far away from your ears as possible. If you are getting sore upper back or neck muscles you are probably using your arms and shoulders too much.

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7 – Rounding the back

Rounding the back

Solution: The back must stay flat no matter what. If you find that you are getting a very sore back then re-address your technique starting at the hip hinge. The back muscles are used during the kettlebell swing but only as stabilisers and should not be the source of power.

8 – Flicking the kettlebell

Flicking the kettlebell

Solution: As the kettlebell reaches the transition period at the bottom between your legs ensure that the bell does not flick. The wrists should be kept straight to ensure a nice fluid movement.

9 – Hands above the kettlebell

Hands traveling above the kettlebell

Solution: At the top of the swing the wrists and kettlebell should be inline. The kettlebell should not hang below or rise above the wrists. If the kettlebell isn’t inline with the wrists then you are using your arms too much, use those hips.

10 – Pulling you forwards

Pulling you forwards

Solution: A common problem when your weight is not kept on the middle and heels of the feet. The kettlebell will pull you forwards and onto your toes. Sink back onto your heels and load your buttocks.

11 – Knees are too wide

Knees are too wide

Solution: Often the knees will want to splay outwards to allow for the kettlebell to swing between the legs. Ensure that your feet and shins are always inline at approx. 10 degrees and focus on pushing your hips back further rather than pushing the knees outwards.

12 – Forward shoulder lean

Forward shoulder lean

Solution: Do not lean further forward with your shoulders than the line of your toes. If you find this is happening sit further back on your heels and keep your chest up.

13 – Crooked neck alignment

Crooked neck alignment

Solution: Keeping your head up at the bottom part of the kettlebell swing can cause a jarring of the neck if you go too low. Practice moving the head as if an extension to the back. Change your vision to just in front of your toes at the bottom of the swing.

14 – Injuring your back picking up and putting down the kettlebell

Back injury when picking up the kettlebell

Solution: Don’t be lazy starting and finishing your swings this is the worst time to take your eye off your technique. Keep your back flat and use your hips to pick up and put down the bell.

7 Variations of the kettlebell swing

Here are 7 variations of kb swings starting with the easiest.

I’ve also added when you should progress from each variation onto the next.

1 – Two Handed Kettlebell Swing

two handed kettlebell swing

The first kb swing variation that you should learn.

The kettlebell is held with both hands so the total body works in a symmetrical forwards and backwards movement. For many people you may only ever need to use this one variation. Get great at it!

Progression: Don’t progress onto the one handed swing until you can comfortably swing the kettlebell with two hands for 60 seconds.

2 – One Handed Kettlebell Swing

one handed kettlebell swing

Swinging the kettlebell with one hand does two things: firstly it doubles the load on the one shoulder joint and secondly it pulls the upper body into rotation requiring more core stabilisation. The load still remains the same on the legs and hips.

“The study showed for the first time that 1-armed kettlebell swing induced greater activation of the contralateral side of the upper erector spinae than that of the ipsilateral side and greater than during 2-armed swing. Interestingly, however, the activation of the contralateral side of rectus abdominis was substantially lower than that of the ipsilateral side, and also during 2-armed swing. The lower erector spinae or external oblique was similarly activated on both sides during both swing exercises.” (Andersen et al. 2016)

Progression: Move onto the alternating swing once you can swing the kettlebell with one hand for 60 seconds.

Watch a video of the single arm kettlebell swing form below:

3 – Alternating Kettlebell Swing

alternating kettlebell swing

With the alternating swing the brain has to start working a little harder, you need to focus or you can miss and drop the kettlebell.

You can begin by changing hands every 5-10 swings and reduce it down to every single swing.

Progression: once you can alternate your swinging arm for 60 seconds then you are ready to try the stepping swing.

4 – Side Stepping Kettlebell Swing

side stepping kettlebell swing

The side stepping swing involves a short step sideways with every swing.

You will need lots of focus and a good swinging technique to perform this effectively and safely.

Progression: there are no specific requirements to move onto the walking swing because the movements are very different.

5 – Walking Kettlebell Swing

Great for training outside and to add an addition element to the regular two handed swing. Take a step forward during every swing.

How far forwards can you manage in one set of swings?

Progression: once you reach this point you are very comfortable with the swing and the next two variations can be completed when you feel ready.

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6 – Two Kettlebells Swing

Double Kettlebell Swing for Strength

Holding a kettlebell in each hand will double the load placed on your total body so be careful.

You are now performing a one handed swing but with a kettlebell in each hand.

You may want to reduce the kettlebell weight in each hand so the total weight is not double what you are used too.

7 – Lateral Kettlebell Swing

lateral kettlebell swing

The lateral swing is a technical move that must be performed with caution.

You must have good core strength and conditioning plus good hip mobility.

The kettlebell is taken across the upper body rather than between the legs so you also need to be careful not to hit the front knee.

Watch a video of the lateral swing form below:

Kettlebell swing weight progressions in 4 simple steps

As you continue practicing and working on the kettlebell swing you will get to a point where you need to increase the kettlebell weight.

I have found the following system very effective for knowing when to increase the weight safely:

Stage 1: Two Handed Kettlebell Swings – when you can swing for 60 seconds move to stage 2.

Stage 2: One Handed Kettlebell Swings – when you can swing for 60 seconds on each arm move to stage 3.

Stage 3: Increase the Weight – move from 12kg to 16kg or 16kg to 20kg or 24kg etc.

Stage 4: Start back at Stage 1.

Never be in a rush to increase the kettlebell weight. Yes it is important to keep adding load to challenge your total body but ultimately it’s the consistency of your training that is more important.

Stay injury free and take your time!


I hope you have enjoyed this kettlebell swing form guide and found it useful.

It has taken years of teaching and training with kettlebells to discover all these finer points so please save yourself some time and learn from my experience.

Remember to first master the hip hinge before moving on to two handed kb swings.

Once you can swing the kettlebell with two hands for 60 seconds then you can progress to the other variations of kettlebell swings.

There really is no better total body exercise than the kettlebell swing.

Get started today.

Go nice and steady and you’ll be falling in love with the results that short and simple kettlebell swing workouts can deliver.

Happy Swinging!

Do you love the Kettlebell Swing? Got questions? Let me know in the comments below…


Can you build muscle with kettlebell swings?

The kettlebell swing is not a muscle building exercise but it will add strength and condition to most of the muscles in your body especially the buttocks, hamstrings and back.

What are the benefits of kettlebell swings?

The kettlebell swing targets 100’s of muscles in one movement creating huge demands on energy consumption which in turn means more calories burnt. Kettlebell swings are therefore a great way to improve physical endurance, muscle strength and conditioning, cardiovascular functions, and increase lung efficiency.

Do kettlebell swings work your abs?

Yes, at the top position of the kettlebell swing the core has to work hard to control your pelvis and prevent you from overextending your hips.

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    1. James Avatar

      How many reps should you do?

    2. Anthony Avatar

      One thing that really helps me keep my back flat is waiting to hinge until the last possible moment. I’ve seen it described as “playing chicken with your man (or lady) parts”, and that’s a good description. I find that if I anticipate the hinge, my back tends to bend. The shorter and quicker (in duration) the hinge movement, the more likely I am to keep a nice flat back.

    3. Marjorie Avatar

      I love the movements and the advice you give. I enjoyed reading this article very much, very detailed and will put it to practice!
      I’m a beginner. Thanks!

    4. Tony DS Avatar
      Tony DS

      Hi Greg,
      What a great job!
      At 49, I decided to resume functional training after two years of Calisthenics and 6 months of injury.
      I was looking for a structured environment to start with Kettlebells. Hre, we can find beautiful and serious compilation work. A great thanks you for this precious sharing. On the other hand, I can not get the free booklet of 10 Best Kettelbell Workout, before paying for your other courses as excellent I guess … Ave you any idea ?
      Have a nice days !
      From France

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Thanks Tony, yes you can click the image on the right of this page to download my free kettlebell workouts.

      2. Eddie De Los Reyes Avatar
        Eddie De Los Reyes

        Excellent site, and comprehensive instructions! Many thanks from this kettlebell newbie 🙂

    5. Bill Avatar

      Mr. Brookes I hereby crown you The Kettlebell King. Excellent tutorials. You are very generous with your information and your time. Thank you.
      Now I will begin the New Year with a great exercise plan and routine.

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Thanks Bill, you are too kind.

    6. Adriano Avatar

      Hi Greg !

      I’ve been following this tutorial, which is quite good, indeed, but, have had some concerns :

      Have had a little (not strong) pain at the lower back. However the pain is alongside the vertebral column, not “inside” or in the middle of ti. I have herniated disc (not a big issue) and I know this pain from KB training is different.

      Could this pain be regarded to some muscles involved ? Maybe erector spinae or something like that ?

      Other than that I DO feel my glutes somewhat sore, as well as my hamstrings and this is a proof that I’m doing swings correctly, I guess…

      Ops, and another thing : I have a great difficulty on keeping my belly button tucked IN, mostly when the KB is on the lower back phase. Any hint for that ?

    7. José Adriano Baltieri Avatar
      José Adriano Baltieri

      Hi Greg !

      Live in Brazil and, even though there are many, many gyms (almost one per quarter – brazilians are very “body aesthetics oriented”) they’re mostly traditional weight lifting/treadmills ones. There are many Cross Fit boxes as well. On the other hand, there are almost no certified KB instructors. There are KBs here and there of course, but this is not mainstream yet.

      Your site/material is very nice indeed but, I miss, at least at first, to be “watched” by an experienced “kettlebeller”.

      I’m very, very concerned with good technique (as I also do Pilates, this is one of their concepts too : precision).

      Have you thought about, or know someone who, can offer a kind of online tuition ? Either by watching the student perform the exercises live/real time or , by reviewing recorded videos that are sent weekly via WhatsApp for instance ?

      Thanks in Advance !

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Great to hear from you Jose, yes I already offer this kind of service to those who purchase my kettlebell programs. If any of my students are unsure of their technique they send in a video and I send feedback via email. If there is anything that you want help with then just send me an email and I’ll be happy to help.

    8. Alison Avatar

      Just started this again as have been ill suffering from hyperthyroidism .I virtually ache everywhere ,have a bad back and knees which tend to come and gowns and feel like I’m fighting weight gain . Back and knees hurt today but I have done all beginner exercises ok.No doubt I’ll ache tomorrow! but not giving up . I have plantar fasciitis so my normal running , aerobics is out of the question thanks for these great exercises I know they’ll help.

    9. Richard Harper Avatar
      Richard Harper

      Great article!
      What would you advise as sets and reps for a distance runner who wants the benefits of strength, power and injury resilience but without the likelyhood of hypertrophy as I want to stay light and fast but powerful.

      Currently doing 2 sessions a week.

      Also what would be a great superset pairing? Pull-ups for total back workout?

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Sure Richard, take a look at this article on kettlebell training for runners.

    10. Kamen Kirilov Avatar
      Kamen Kirilov

      Hi Greg, I was taught that shoulders should not go in front of the knees. However your shoulders go quite a bit in front. Can you comment on that? Thanks!

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        I’m not sure why you would have been told this Kamen, it seem almost impossible to put the body into any deadlift position without the shoulders moving slightly in front the the vertical knee line. The upper body has to counterbalance the movement of the hips going backwards otherwise you would be off balance.

    11. JY Avatar

      Hi Greg, great page and instruction on kettleb exercises. Thank you for sharing.

      I just did the two hand swing (with 12kg; being female, 60kg, 162cm) for the first time and all I could do was 20 swings (with a short break halfway to shake everything out) and then my inner thighs/hamstrings felt like they were about to cramp hard, so I immediately stopped and kicked/shook my legs out lying on my back and stretching them out. Afterwards my inner thighs and hams were really sore (also today) like I had never done leg stuff before (not true).

      I know you said it’s normal for me to be sore but was wondering do you have any advice on how to cool down the leg muscles effectively to avoid injury right after swings? I was kicking and shaking them out like a dreaming dog in a bit of a panic as they were still kind of seizing up even as I was shaking/kicking/stretching and hoping “please please don’t let me have hurt myself”. I’m also a bit worried that they seized that much as I’m reasonably active and my legs/hips are quite strong (I ride 10ks to work and back each day, I do some aerobic exercises semi regularly involving different squats, I used to do kungfu and taichi which was all about a strong low stance and I still do stretches and kicks as warm up exercises for 10 mins and I can kick and hold, kick over my head no problem).

      I feel like I should be able to do more than 10×2 but I don’t want to strain myself and not be able to do anything at all for a while -_- any advice would be appreciated.

      Finally, can one do the lateral swing holding on with 2 hands, or does it have to be 2?

      Sorry for long post, I’d embed image of potato at end if I could, but alas. Thank you.

      1. George Locke Avatar
        George Locke

        You could use KB deadlifts as a cool-down (I have very poor hamstring mobility and use them as a loaded stretch late in my workout). Probably holding back from “max effort” would be safe as you get used to things.

        Also, I’d wait to try a lateral swing til you have a good feel for how the kettlebell’s momentum pulls on your torso.

      2. Greg Brookes Avatar

        JY, kettlebell swings have a very high loaded eccentric part to them during the down swing as you absorb and then reverse the load. Eccentric loading (or the lowering phase) has been shown to be the main course of delayed onset of muscular soreness (DOMS). My best advice would be to warm up with a lighter kettlebell or even practice without the kettlebell before moving up to the 12kg. Keep your reps short to start, sets of 10 and then add a few extra each day or 2. With time you will not feel the DOMS but still get all the benefits 🙂

      3. John Wilson Avatar
        John Wilson

        Hi Greg – thanks for comprehensive KB swing article! Is there any particular point you would emphasise re the swing – in avoiding lower back pain, which has long been something I have experienced on and off?

        Lower back pain not there at present but I want to be sure about not doing anything to trigger it!

        1. Greg Brookes Avatar

          Thanks John, I’ve listed some points above but a common problem is leaning backwards instead of using your hips and an incorrect alignment at your pelvis. You may also have a lower back issue that needs to be checked out. If it hurts when you bend forwards or backwards then swings are not for you.

      4. jeff croker Avatar
        jeff croker

        Did you mention breathing.
        In as you go down?

    12. Fred Fejes Avatar
      Fred Fejes


      I have been doing some basic kettelball exercises at the gym but am very happy to find your program as I like the structure.

      I am a 66 year old man who has been going to the gym for over 30 years (To keep in shape, etc. nothing special). However now I am having problems with rheumatoid arthritis. Because of the accompanying neuropathy, I had to cut out all cardio because of the pain in my feet. I like the cardio workout kettelballs give me.

      However the RA particularly affects my wrists. My doctor suggested I use wrist braces which I will do. However up to now I find that I have to adjust my grip to find the most comfortable for my wrists. Any suggestions?


      1. George Locke Avatar
        George Locke

        I wonder if lifting straps (the kind power lifters use for deadlifts) would work?

    13. Tommy Taylor Avatar
      Tommy Taylor

      Good job

      Is there an exercise that allows the kettle bell to go vertical or almost vertical?

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        I think you are referring to the Snatch Tommy

    14. Susan Avatar

      I discovered you and your acticles just a few days ago when I was surfing for information in kettlebell. I’m a NEW FAN of yours Greg! Great detailed explanation on execution and safety. Thank you so much!

    15. Arshiya Avatar

      Hi greg thanks for the article.i want to lose weight .can i do this workout daily or alternative days

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Hi Arshiya, yes you can use the workout daily and take rests when your body asks you for it, we are all different.

    16. Ali Avatar

      Hi. Great article. I’ve been using the hips to push my arms (that are dangling with a kettle bell ) forward into the swing. Is this the right thing to do?
      The kettle bell goes down between my legs and as it swings forward, I straighten and my hips/core meet my arms/wrists and generate a push that swings the kettle bell higher.

    17. Linda Avatar

      Enjoy your articles. Do you have a video for the double kb swing? Thanks for all the great info. Have some great music to swing to which made swinging for one mintue very doable.


      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Thanks Linda, no but the principle is the same, you may also need to turn both wrists inwards.

    18. Moshe Slamowicz Avatar
      Moshe Slamowicz

      great stuff , as usual !
      low back pain should merit a few newsletters – mine is ok
      but I would love to pass over good advice to patients
      ( I am a GP )

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Sounds like a great idea Moshe

    19. KLauzz Avatar

      This is a great break down for how to get each part right. I’ve seen lots of general “move from the hips” tips but this really explains it well. Thank you for all of your info!

    20. Miller Avatar

      Good stuff as usual!

      I’d add a little –
      re the KB in line at the top, I have seen some folk (and experimented myself) with not bringing the arms all the way up in line with the shoulders. When the supporting muscles are highly activated keeping the shoulder seated tight in its socket, there can be strain associated with driving the arms too high for some folk, a la the valid complaints of the “American” swing where the KB is brought all the way overhead.

      By allowing a slight bend in the elbow and not elevating the arm as high, the KB will rise just a tad higher than the hands. This variation has the added advantage of the upper arms traveling a shorter distance before remaking contact with the ribcage – the KB has less acceleration going into the deepest part of its lower arc even though the load was driven to the same height initially. This principle also helpful as loads increase.

      Have noted some folk with shoulder or even elbow issues will take to this variation more enthusiastically than the orthodox technique as you have demonstrated – which should be learned first in any event.


    21. Hank Avatar

      Just lost 45 lbs in 3 months and want to get back into shape like when I first met my wife. A friend of mine suggested we do the kettlebell challenge (at least 300 swings a day per month – 10,000), so I agreed. I used to be an athlete when younger, so focusing on my core first will help to get back to when I was lifting. Your video and text are tantamount to doing this correctly. Excellent complements to each other. Thank you so much for helping us in this way, Greg!

    22. Heather Avatar

      Great tips! I’m new to kettlebell swings, and want to make sure I’m doing them correctly to both maximize benefits, as well as prevent injuries. Really helpful article, which I will share with my 17-year-old daughter, who is eager to get started with this amazing exercise.

    23. Sebastian Avatar

      Great comprehensive article!

      In the breathing part the first breathing pattern found use in Kettlebell Sport i think. The guys go really heavy with this style. That way of breathing safe you energy. But if you just start its safer with lighter weights for sure. The latter breathing style is found in the “Hardstyle Community”. You can go faster with more tension. I think its more useful for beginners, even if it is at the beginning a little more difficult to learn.

      And you are absolutely right. The common mistake number 14 is very important. I believe, the most goes wrong in the start and end position of the swing. If you fix this point, good things happen.

      Again. Very good article. Definitely one of the better!

      Greetings, Sebastian

    24. hasan Avatar

      After reading this, I realized that I’ve made mistake on the swing, especially on single handed swing. Mistake no. 7, very sore feel on the lower back muscle.

    25. dawn Avatar

      Will this workout help me to tone my body has i am looking for a workout to help me with this

    26. R. Mwakamsha Avatar

      perfect way to instruct people, video & text – immediately available

      1. Greg Brookes Avatar

        Pleased you enjoyed it 🙂