Perfecting The One-Arm Kettlebell Swing

Burn Fat, Build Muscle, and Increase Stamina With Kettlebell Exercises

Chances are you have a friend who works out with kettlebells or have at least heard about kettlebell exercises.  Kettlebells are increasingly popular and can be incorporated into any fitness regimen, as they help burn fat, build muscle, increase stamina, etc.  Kettlebell movements are actually a lot of fun, and you can do them at home.

Toned Female

The most basic kettlebell movement is the swing, which can be done with one or two arms.  The swing exercises the glutes, thighs, hips, hamstrings, shoulders, and back – all with one repeated fluid movement.

If you are brand new to kettlebells, start with two arms.  Once you’ve mastered that, move on to the one-arm swing using the following method:

  1. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and lower yourself into a squat position (knees bent, back straight, butt out, chest open, head forward).  Put the bell on the ground a few inches behind your feet.  This will help you start with some momentum.
  2. Grab the kettlebell with one hand and stand up quickly and powerfully, tightening your core and snapping your hips.  The power comes from your lower body, not your arms or shoulders.  Your arms simply hold the bell, so keep them straight but relaxed.
  3. Keeping your arms loose and core locked, let the bell swing back down between your legs.  Make sure it swings behind your legs, just under your groin.  It’s okay if it’s a few inches or even a foot off the ground.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, increasing the bell’s arc until it is swinging out to forehead level.
  5. To finish, decrease your arc until you can gently place the kettlebell back on the ground.  Never drop the kettlebell!
  6. Do three to five sets of 20 reps, or go to failure.

Tips & Warnings:

  • You may use your free arm for balance or follow the kettlebell in its arc.  This will be helpful for switching hands at the bottom of the swing, eventually.
  • Make sure you are not arching your back.  This is primarily a lower body workout, and the power should come from your glutes and hips.
  • You must snap your hips BEFORE the kettlebell reaches its maximum height.  This snapping motion should provide the force that pushes the bell up and out to the end of its arc.
  • Be careful not to overdo it at the beginning.  It might not feel hard, but I can guarantee that you will feel it in your back and legs he next day!
  • Pay attention to form.  Watch videos and use light kettlebells until you’ve perfected your technique.