Getting Into the Swing of Kettlebell Training

2 hand Swing start. SteveCotter

In an odd twist of fate, the very nature of the thing that keeps a person on the couch watching tv and lacking the motivation to start an exercise program is the same that will lead to success in kettlebell training.

It's called inertia.

The scientist Isaac Newton’s 1st Law of Motion describes ‘a body set in motion tends to stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an external force’.

This law of inertia is the fundamental principle of kettlebell training and the swing is the first technique because it teaches how to sustain inertia and build muscular and cardiovascular endurance. From the swing, all other kettlebell techniques progress and it’s one of the safest and most effective fat-burning exercises in existence.

The objective of the kettlebell swing is to keep it moving. By perfecting the movement mechanics and synchronizing body/mind with breath, you will establish a sustainable rhythm, which over the time of consistent practice, will enable you to perform increasing volume via time, repetitions and load. You will improve power, endurance, and strength.

What to Know About the Swing

Stand tall, pulled up from the roof of the head, ribcage and chest lifted, shoulders gently pulled back and down, muscles relaxed, eyes gazing forward, Feet are hip- to shoulder-width distance apart, toes pointing forward, body weight evenly distributed throughout both feet.

With the kettlebell on the ground in front of you, sit back with your hips and grab the handle with the fingers of both hands. Secure a finger “hook grip” by pressing the thumbs down over the ends of index and middle fingers on each hand. To increase endurance and reduce the risk of skin tears in the hands, avoid over-gripping with the palms.

From this start position, swing the kettlebell back between your legs like hiking a football. The arms immediately connect to the front body and stay glued there. As the kettlebell reaches its end point behind and starts to reverse forward, press the feet into the ground and extend knees and hips in an upward rolling wave. As the kettlebell reaches the top of the swing, the momentum carries the arms away from the body and you are in the tall standing position.

As it begins to drop into the downswing, keep the hips extended and the upper body leaning slightly back until the arms reconnect with the body. At that point, the arms and body are one functional unit as the hips sit back to absorb the backswing. Keep this forward and backward swinging pattern moving throughout the set.


Coordinate the breathing with the movement of the kettlebell by taking 2 breath cycles for every repetition. A breath cycle is one inhale and one exhale. Focus on strong exhales through the mouth, first as the kettlebell swings behind you and again as the kettlebell reaches the top of the movement. The inhales naturally follow the exhale, however, you focus only on strong exhales and let the inhales flow.

Set Goals

A good first milestone is to work up to 100 repetitions of swing in a single workout. Take weeks or months to do it, how fast is not important. You can start with sets of 5 or 10 reps with short rests between sets. Eventually, get to 100 reps in a single set. Then progress to a slightly heavier weight and repeat the process.