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Kettlebell Swing Technique – Don’t drive from the knee

There are many ways to swing a kettlebell.

This simple fact is the root of a great many online arguments.

The Hard Stylers vs the Kettlebell Sporters vs the Crossfitters

This post is not about any of that.

It’s a simple fault that takes the juice out of your swing no matter the school or style you prefer.

It is using the knees to swing with.

This sprang to mind watching a relatively new member to WG-Fit, a lad that is well trained and has come from a gym I have no hesitation in recommending.

This lad has a hip hinge, so he looks like he swings correctly, but he is missing full hip extension, instead he pops the knees backwards. He’s a keen cyclist who has an office job, so hip extension isn’t something he experiences very often, which is why the swing is a valuable drill for him. If done well.

It’s easier to show than explain, here’s a video, filmed in the changing rooms as the gym was banging and you’d never have heard me:

Like all things, as time passes certain teaching cues can and do get either miscommunicated or confused. Sometimes they are said so often they simply loose their effect.

So lets go over the fitness training style swing point by point.

1: Follow the bell back – feel the load go into the hamstrings, weight on the heels

2: Keep the chest high – the back needs to be straight, never flexed or over arched

3: Arms are on the body, upper arm is connected to the rib cage

4: Once the bell reaches the terminal point of the back swing, try to stand UP

5: The arms stay on the body as long as possible, only coming off the body as the bell brings them off

6: Tighten the Glutes and Abs simultaneously to fully extend the hip and prevent lumbar extension

7: Release the tightness as quickly as you engaged it, but stay tall until the arms reconnect to the rib cage

8: back to point 1

It’s simpler than it sounds. But always remember the motion is forwards and backwards, not up and down.

And don’t snap the knees back, instead stand tall and tighten the abs.

Happy swinging


Dave Hedges

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