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How High Kettlebell Swing

Not that I couldn't swing higher or I would lack power, I just sort of won't let the bell go any further up. It's a common fault to let the hips break too early, and it seems quite obvious to me, the higher you drop the bell from, the better timing you need... ?

author
Daniel Brown
• Sunday, 01 November, 2020
• 9 min read
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Does the size of the bell or other things have an effect on the suggested height of the swing, or should you always aim for a chest high no matter what? Does the size of the bell or other things have an effect on the suggested height of the swing, or should you always aim for a chest high no matter what?

Controlling the duration of the exertion during timed swing days could be a part of sinister pursuit sessions. I think in a regular SAS practice with talk-test-regulated-rest-periods, the goal should be shoulder height with good form, all the time.

This would be in accordance with power development, and I believe is part of what makes 8 kg jumps realistic. Not that I couldn't swing higher or I would lack power, I just sort of won't let the bell go any further up.

It's a common fault to let the hips break too early, and it seems quite obvious to me, the higher you drop the bell from, the better timing you need... ? Does the size of the bell or other things have an effect on the suggested height of the swing, or should you always aim for a chest high no matter what?

Moving up is instructive, and will uncover deficiencies in your technique that may have been masked previously. Just because the weight gets heavier, it doesn't justify using some kind of fast grind to push the bell from the hips.

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I'd encourage anyone to work with an instructor because there are a lot of subtleties that aren't always evident by reading or watching videos. I recall when I could only swing a 24 kg one handed to just above waist height, when I did Simple and Sinister a few years ago, and how difficult it was to move from 16 to 24 kg.

I took a break for other programs, and am in a round 2 of SAS, reaching Timeless Simple a few months ago. Now, in aiming to reach Timed Simple, I followed the 2.0 version of the SAS program which is working in the higher weight in your practice (for me the 28 kg) and doing your “timed test Fridays” with a swing weight lower (20 kg for myself) I'm in the middle of a reload period at the moment however so working back up to 24 kg.

I can pop that 28 kg quite easily to shoulder height 2 handed for 10 reps, so I don't think it is necessarily hip power. It takes patience and time, but I think any bell weight can be held to a chest high standard (within a certain percentage of one's body weight) given enough work at it, and like other posters above have said, don't settle for less.

Not that I couldn't swing higher or I would lack power, I just sort of won't let the bell go any further up. It's a common fault to let the hips break too early, and it seems quite obvious to me, the higher you drop the bell from, the better timing you need... ?

Does the size of the bell or other things have an effect on the suggested height of the swing, or should you always aim for a chest high no matter what? When you see people moving very heavy bells or core blasters, they never get their arms level.

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I used to do heavy swings with more of bend at the elbow when floating the bell, as you mention the timing is more demanding the further the upper arms get from your rib cage. It probably feels better because it is wedged tight to your trunk for a greater % of the total movement.

You will also reach a point where it will require more and more leg drive vs hinge to get the bell up to collarbone level, so check your goals when selecting weight. It probably feels better because it is wedged tight to your trunk for a greater % of the total movement.

If you want to learn how to do a kettlebellswing, the first thing to know is you probably shouldn’t copy the people you see doing it in the gym. “The most common mistake you see is excessive knee bend and no hip drive.

Ideally, your forearm should stay connected to your body until you drive your hips.” The kettlebellswing is one of your best gym weapons for high -intensity intervals as a “finisher” at the end of a weights' workout to improve cardiovascular fitness and torch fat.

Subjects were tested for their half-squat one-rep max and their best vertical jump, then assigned a training plan of twice-weekly 12-minute kettlebellswing sessions of 30 seconds’ work, 30 seconds’ rest, or the same amount of jump squat training, which has already been shown to increase power output. The kettlebellswing will also encourage you to keep your shoulders in a healthier position rather than slump forward at a desk.

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Overall you’ll gain muscle endurance, solid glutes, more flexible hips and — if you work at it — a core of steel. Bending slightly at the knees but hinging mainly at the hips, grasp the kettle bell and pull it back between your legs to create momentum.

Drive your hips forwards and straighten your back to send the kettle bell up to shoulder height. “Don’t make the common mistake of using the upper body too much to get the weight moving,” says kettle bell king Mike Mahler.

“This limits what you can lift and how many reps you can do, and makes you far more likely to develop back issues. Put your entire body into each rep and keep the bell close to your body until the hip drive begins, and then use the hip power to swing the bell to shoulder level.”

The American one differs in that you let the weight swing all the way above your head, not shoulder height. Aim to keep your forearms attached to your hips until you reach neutral then, as your arms come up, squeeze your glutes to prevent overextending your lower back.

This is a posterior chain movement (the muscles on the back of your body), not a quads exercise. “Change hands at the highest point of the swing, where the kettle bell is weightless.

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You could be forgiven for thinking that people just do it to look flashy but it’s a good test of your co-ordination, timing and control of the kettle bell.” Ten-minute fat-torcher Perform as many swings as you can in 60 seconds, using the form pointers above, and record the number of reps you complete.

Aim to beat your total rep score every time you attempt the challenge. The kettlebellswing is a core training staple that can help to build total body strength and power, but are you sure you're even doing the exercise correctly?

For this explosive movement, you shouldn't settle for anything other than perfect form—especially because it's such a simple, essential exercise that should serve as one of the centerpieces of your training plan. Let Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.

Before you pick up a weight and start waving it around, take note that it's extremely important to pay attention the movement here. The way that you start your swing position is essential, as is your body's posture throughout—so let's break down everything you need to know.

If you do those things right (and because we increasingly sit so much, we occasionally do it wrong), you’re squeezing your glutes and your lower body is driving your ability to stand up. This action is crucial to moving and standing correctly, and critical to improving your athleticism (and your squat and dead lift movements).

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This doesn’t just miss the point of a kettlebellswing (hip extension) but it’s dangerous for your shoulders, too. You end up trying to finish the swing with your shoulders, placing your rotator cuff tendons in a compromised position.

The height of the kettle bell is strictly a function of how aggressively you straighten your legs and squeeze your glutes. Ex says: The American kettlebellswing has you swinging to a wildly high target (overhead) and that’s problem one.

Problem two: if your shoulder mobility isn’t ideal; you'll compensate by arching through the lower back. Swing Cues Ex says: Your upper body isn’t the driver of the kettlebellswing ; it’s only a lever.

You absolutely must maintain the stiffness through your torso over the life of your swing set. Ex says: This is a lower body move, and your arms shouldn’t be anything more than a lever for the bell.

If you explosively and powerfully stand up, and really exaggerate that glute squeeze, your torso will naturally pop up and the bell will translate forward. Ex says: Critical in the kettlebellswing is not letting your lower back drive the movement.

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Brett Williams, NASA Brett Williams, a fitness editor at Men's Health, is a NASM-CPT certified trainer and former pro football player and tech reporter who splits his workout time between strength and conditioning training, martial arts, and running. Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. With that common misconception out of the way, let’s clear up another, because it’s not just the name of this old school-turned-trendy exercise tool that trips people up.

The preeminent kettle bell exercise —the two-handed swing —has been known to leave gym-goers of all ages and ability levels scratching their heads, wondering, “You mean I don’t use my arms to swing this thing?” When performed correctly, kettle bell swings build total-body strength, power, and balance, while improving cardiovascular stamina, all with one piece of equipment.

If that sounds too good to be true, maybe it’s because you’ve never swung a kettle bell with pinpoint precision. With this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn to use your legs (and hips, glutes, and core) to perform the perfect kettlebellswing.

As it turns out, dancing the salsa and swinging a kettle bell have a lot in common. But they do share a coaching cue that makes every movement possible: It’s all in the hips.

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The swing begins to take shape when the kettle bell is added into the mix. With loose arms and a light grip, the kettle bell is swung from inside the quads up to the chest, just before eye level—in the Russian version anyway (more on this later).

To the untrained eye, the swing appears to be a feat of upper-body strength: Simply squat and then stand up while pulling with the arms. Performing the perfect kettlebellswing places all the emphasis on the posterior chain—the major muscles on the backside of the body from the heels to the base of the neck, primarily the hamstrings, glutes, and low back.

And unlike the little movers (calves, biceps, triceps, and deltoid), the big movers are capable of moving big weight and burning massive amounts of calories. But the good news is its a piece of fitness equipment that actually lives up to the hype.

Consider this: A study seeking to analyze the effectiveness of kettle bell exercise concluded that “kettle bells provide a much higher-intensity workout than standard weight-training routines and offer superior results in a short amount of time.” The same study went on to say that the benefits of kettle bell training extend beyond strength and stamina by helping people “burn calories, lose weight, and enhance their functional performance capabilities.”

Keep arms long and loose while squeezing shoulders blades together and engaging your core. Soften knees, shift body weight into heels, and lower butt back and down toward the wall behind you.

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Driving through heels, explode through hips to send weight swinging upward from quads. Achieving this finish position requires you to snap your hips through, contracting your core while squeezing glutes.

As the kettle bell begins to descend, let the weight do the work as you ready your body for the next rep. Shift weight back into heels while hinging at the hips and loading both the hamstrings and glutes.

Receive the weight, allowing the kettle bell to ride back between legs. As it makes the transition from backward to forward, drive through the heels and hips to repeat.

There’s nothing like an arms race to create animosity among nations (or in this case, coaches and their respective exercise communities). Instead of stopping at eye level, the American swing finishes with the arms and kettle bell overhead.

Our expert Chris Finn, certified personal trainer at Life Time at Sky and Strongest level-two kettle bell instructor, never recommends the American swing due to the risk of injury to your shoulders. That said, the decision on where to pledge your allegiance should be based on personal ability level and safety.

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Paying close attention to a proper swing will ensure a successful—not to mention injury-free—workout. Start and finish the swing by loading, firing, and hinging at the hips.

Related Videos

Sources
1 www.strongfirst.com - https://www.strongfirst.com/community/threads/height-of-the-kettlebell-swing.18466/
2 www.coachmag.co.uk - https://www.coachmag.co.uk/kettlebell-exercises/1730/how-to-do-a-kettlebell-swing
3 www.menshealth.com - https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a28439541/kettlebell-swing-form/
4 greatist.com - https://greatist.com/move/how-to-do-the-perfect-kettlebell-swing