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Kettlebell Swing Form Explained

The kettle bell swing is an excellent way to improve glute strength and power. In order to reap the full benefits of this exercise proper form and technique are a must. For an individual new to kettle bell swings it is important to go through proper progression, stressing form throughout instruction.

To begin the individual needs to be able to properly perform a hip hinge: begin with feet just outside shoulder width, push the hips back hinging at the hips with a slight bend in the knees. Do not allow the knees to track over the toes. Be sure to keep the back flat and chest up. Do not allow the individual to progress to the next phase without the ability to hip hinge, this will keep the back safe and strong though out the swing.

Once they have proven they can hip hinge you can progress to the pendulum swing: in the same position as the previous phase, with the kettle bell in both hands practice pulling the weight back and forth using the lats. On the third pass bring the kettle bell into a full swing (shoulder high), extending and driving through the hips and flexing the glute. The arms do not pull the weight up. The power comes from the glutes, the arms are meant to just hold the weight.

After being able to complete this phase you can progress to the full kettle bell swing: Instead of beginning with the pendulum swing the individual can start with the swing seen at the end of the last phase and repeat according to the sets and repetitions prescribed in the workout program. Do not allow regression into a squat swing, where the kettle bell swings below the knees, this puts more emphasis on the quadriceps, remember focus on the glutes!

Once the individual has mastered the two handed kettle bell swing, they should be able to progress into more advanced swings such as: single arm swings or single arm alternating swings.


  • Hinge hips - keeps back safe in a strong position- progresses to pendulum

  • Knee tracking

  • Flat back knees slightly bent

  • Pendulum phase pulling: the kettle bell back and forth using the lats in a bent over position

  • On the third swing go into the full kettle bell swing

  • Progress to regular swing- progress to single arm swing

  • Glutes drive the weight, while arms hold the weight

  • Do not regress to a squat swing allowing the weight to fall below the knees

  • Focus on glute power/strength and drive through the hips


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