Kettlebell Swing How High

James Lee
• Thursday, 12 November, 2020
• 6 min read

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.

kettlebell swings should agatsu swing crossfit fitness
(Source: www.pinterest.com)


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. The swing begins to take shape when the kettle bell is added into the mix.

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. 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.

swing kettlebell away perform keep achiever simple
(Source: www.highachieverdiet.com)

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.

Start and finish the swing by loading, firing, and hinging at the hips. That being said, the number of people fit and skilled enough to perform 25+ high -quality swings in a set without losing technique is very small relative to the number of people swinging kettle bells, so this question is really only valid in the context of a skilled kettlebeller.

Naturally, once a person has 10,000 or so swings under their belt, they are going to become significantly stronger and much more efficient than they are today. Dedicated kettlebellers will need to raise their “standard weight” to 24-32 kg or more with time, although the same reps and math will apply.

kettlebell swing onnit exercise swings form hip russian hand proper squat exercises kettlebells training kettle hinge fitness tips workout kb
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

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.

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.

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.

kettlebell pull snatch swing
(Source: www.youtube.com)

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.

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.

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.

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