Swing

The journey of a thousand miles, starts with one small step. Or swing.


Exercise No.1: The kettlebell swing.

The swing is the most fundamental exercise to learn when training with kettlebells as many other exercises use the same movements as the swing. The swing can be done with either one or two hands.

Works: the hamstrings, glutes, abdominals and lower back, the entire middle back and your upper back, including the trapezius muscles between your neck and shoulder.

Benefits:

+ Utilizes the posterior chain of muscles (hamstrings, glutes, core, lower back) often neglected with traditional weight training, but used in many sports that require sprinting, jumping and tackling movements

+ Provides a total-body workout that trains all of your muscles in a functional way

+ Teaches the body how to generate power from the hips and core.

+ High reps of the swing can be used as a cardio activity and can effectively burn fat

Directions:

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With your feet shoulder-width apart, stand with your back flat and knees bent with 70 percent of your weight on your heels. Grip the kettlebell with your palms facing you and lift it off the ground.

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Keeping your back flat, hike the bell behind your hips with your arms and swing the bell forward by fully extending your hips and knees so that you are standing up straight.

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Your arms do nothing more than hold onto the bell, so let your legs and hips do the work.

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As the bell free falls back down, let the kettlebell pass through your legs as high as possible to keep the bell's arc tight and prevent unecessary pulling on your lower back. Widen your stance so that your groin won't get hit by the bell.To make the swing an aerobic activity, breath in when the bell is up and breath out with the bell is down. Do the opposite to make the swing an anaerobic activity.

k-bell Common mistakes: The most common mistake people make when performing the swing is using mostly your arms to "swing" the bell and not your hips.

The power of the swing comes from the hips fulling extending and locking out -- your arms are doing nothing more than holding onto the bell's handle as it falls behind your hips.

Raising the kettlebell with your arms to swing it is not a swing, it is a raise as your arms are doing all of the work.