The hip hinge is a fundamental movement pattern that is used for all dead lift based exercises. Whenever you pick up a heavy object off of the floor you should be using the dead lift movement pattern.
The weight of the hips going backwards is counterbalanced with the upper body leaning forwards. It is important that if you feel your hamstrings at full stretch that you stop because otherwise your lower back will round and threaten the integrity of your lumbar spine.
Chest up Weight back on the heels to load the hamstrings Push the hips backwards Core tight to maintain a neutral spine Drive the hips forwards and stand tall Squeeze glutes at the top Don’t overextend or lean backwards Below I’ve listed a collection of kettle bell hip hinge exercises for you to practice starting with the easiest and progressing to the most challenging.
The kettlebellgood morning is an excellent beginner standing hip hinge exercise. Personal trainers teaching this exercise to their clients can place a broomstick vertically down the spine to monitor correct alignment during the forward bend.
The kettle bell can be held against the chest with both hands before advancing to the behind the head movement as shown in the image above. The kettle bell single arm dead lift exercise is a fundamental movement that everyone should master.
Nothing is more natural than picking up a weight from the floor, learning to use your legs and hips and NOT your lower back is the goal. When lifting a weight from the floor it is your hip and leg extension that should do all the work with your lower back staying flat.
Bracing your core muscles while lifting is what stabilizes the spine and reinforces the flat back position. At the top of the movement squeeze your buttocks tightly together and do not lean backwards.
Workout : As the dead lift is our strongest movement pattern you should be able to lift some heavy kettle bells with this exercise. Your back should remain flat and your core muscles braced to support your spine.
Adding the rowing part of the movement challenges your core control as your upper body is pulled downwards and the lower back tries to round. Resist the downward pull on your upper body by bracing your core muscles tight.
As with all these hip hinge exercises the buttocks and legs are what do all the heavy lifting with the core muscles being used to stabilize the back and spine. The kettle bell swing is the ultimate full body dynamic hip hinge exercise.
You will strengthen your legs, buttocks, hips, core, back, and arms as well as pushing your cardiovascular system with the kettle bell swing. The core muscles are braced tightly to stabilize the spine and body weight is kept on the heels and mid-foot.
Pull the kettle bell back towards the body by keeping the arm horizontal and the wrist tight. Care should be taken so that the kettle bell does not flop over and hit you in the face when you first start practicing this exercise.
The kettle bell high pull is a fast and dynamic exercise so it raises the heart rate very quickly. At the top of the movement punch your hand through the handle to prevent it from banging your wrist.
To return the ketlebell to the bottom position throw the kettle bell out over the back of the hand and absorb the weight with your hips on the way down. Using a single leg hip hinge movement enables you to sort out any imbalances that you may have between right and left sides of the body.
The single leg dead lift exercise conditions the cross body sling system that connect the hip to the opposite shoulder. Those who play lots of sports or require powerful rotational strength will heavily benefit from practicing this exercise.
Workout : Begin by practicing the movement without a kettle bell and reaching forwards with both hands to touch a wall. Once you have perfected these prerequisite exercises then the single leg kettle bell clean should naturally fall into place.
Keep your chest up and core braced throughout the movement as you drive your hips forwards to pop up the kettle bell. Again this single leg exercise is excellent for sports and for balancing out the left and right sides of the body.
The hip hinge is the movement used when performing all dead lift based exercises. You can perform a hip hinge workout by using any of the above exercises starting at the beginning with the easiest and progressing to the more advanced.
Keeping your back flat and core braced push your hips backwards loading your hamstrings and heels. The weight of the hips going backwards is counterbalanced with the upper body leaning forwards.
Position your feet a little wider than shoulder width, push your hips backwards and allow your hands to drop towards the floor. Grab the kettle bell and stand by driving your hips forwards and squeezing your buttocks.
In today’s world we spend the majority of our days doing things in front of us with terrible posture. Cubicles) for hours at a time not moving and making the front of our body even tighter.
If You’re Not Doing The Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life! This overuse of the muscles on the front side of our bodies is called “anterior dominance” and it is plaguing our society.
Anterior dominance results in imbalances in our muscles causing us to move and perform at sub-optimal levels. And because of our terrible posture — because our anterior muscles are shortened and tight pulling us forward — we give the illusion of being weak and unconfident as opposed to standing erect with our chins up.
It’s no wonder that we’re generally unhealthy compared to previous generations that didn’t live a convenience lifestyle in this information age. And there is one exercise — that if you incorporate it into your daily routine — can easily combat the ill effects of anterior dominance and the Western Lifestyle.
FrequencyExercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest up to 7x per week strength training high intensity varies by workout varies by workout Once labelled “hard core”, kettle bells are now popping up in every gym, garage and backyard because of their portability and reputation for fast results. Go into any gym and you’ll see inexperienced exercisers turning a swing into a front squat and shoulder raise exercise further tightening our hips, quads, chest and shoulders and just adding to the anterior dominance issue that I told you about above.
A hip hinge — like a dead lift movement — forces you to use those posterior chain muscles to move the kettle bell. It will allow you to loosen your tight hips and strengthen your butt so that you’ll develop the rear end of an athlete.
It will bulletproof your low back by creating an armored brace around your midsection, and it will get rid of that paunchy gut. “If You’re Not Doing The Hard style Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life!”
As opposed to starting your set of swings from the standing position like how you see most amateurs do it, the hike pass allows you to overstretch your lats — a powerful muscle in your upper body with a direct relationship with your glutes — and get more “juice” out of your swing. Push your hips back keeping your butt high and bend your knees slightly.
Always making sure your shoulders stay above the level of your hips, “hike pass” the kettle bell through your knees by contracting your lats. When you push your hips back keeping your butt high and your shins vertical, you are hinging.
This is good because most people today are hip flexor and quad dominant (your anterior muscles), so learning how to load and use your posterior chain creates a natural balance between front and back that will help in preventing knee and hip issues. Imagine that you are growing roots through your feet and grab the ground with your entire foot.
Getting proper instruction from an expert so that you can MASTER THE KETTLEBELL SWING is the best thing that you can do for your training regardless of your goal. If you want to build strength, kettle bell swings will forge a grip of steel and will add pounds to your dead lift & squat.
If you want to boost your athleticism, kettle bell swings will make you more powerful and add height to your jump and shave seconds off your sprints. If you want to pack on muscle, swinging a heavy kettle bell will build an intimidating upper back & set of shoulders.
And if you want to shed body fat, swings will incinerate blubber like butter melting in an iron pan. A goal that keeps cropping up with my clients is glute development because people want big, round butts.
Sitting on your glutes for extended periods causes the brain to forget how to activate them. You should be able to flex each cheek as easily as you can tap your big toe while your hamstrings remain completely relaxed.
Sitting in chairs for extended periods, for years on end, pulls the pelvis into a posterior tilt. This means that in normal posture, the tail bone is a little tucked under and the lower back is flatter than optimal.
People with this posture type almost always have an underdeveloped butt because when the pelvis is in this position the hamstrings will always cheat the glutes out of a job. Optimally, the neck should flex first (to look at the object you’re picking up, say), then the hips, then the mid-back (thoracic spine) and only then, if the everyday task demands it would the lower back go into noticeable flexion×.
When the lower back is first to flex, for the many times per day that you bend over, excessive compression of the lumbar disks is caused. The glutes are required for locomotive activities such as running, but the overactive hamstrings become the prime movers therefore become very partial to injury.
Before I’m criticized for suggesting that we’re supposed to bend like stiff robots, I want to clarify that all joints of the spine and hips flex a little to initiate all everyday bending or hinging patterns. Whereas, for optimal safe movement, most of the flexion should come from the hips and thoracic spine, first.
In a training environment (with exercises such as dead lifts and swings) flexing from the lower back first leads to disc damage. When a lower back flexes and rotates that’s like the perfect storm for lumbar disc injury.
Let’s use our time in the gym to make us better at real life and relearn good, strong movement and lifting patterns. Medium threshold: moderate load, slightly more complex pattern (such as lunges)
Here’s an excerpt from a tongue-in-cheek section within a strength coaching manual I once wrote for a well-known fitness education company: “The posterior chain is meant to work synergistically and in unison with the other ten (or so) myocardial lines.
Teaching one chain of fascia to work hard while the rest remain dormant is a violation of common sense. Isolating the lower back, glutes and hamstrings while the feet are strapped in causes a neurological misfiring and a detriment to human movement.
Patterning multiple reps of lumbar flexion eccentrically controlled by the lower back, especially for the chair-bound masses could very well lead to bulging disks in the future. If the world changes and there’s suddenly a daily requirement for everyday people to hang over the side of a boat with a friend holding their feet and repeatedly pick penguins out of the water, our opinion on the functionality of the God will stay the same.
Hold the kettle bell by the horns and rest your wrists on your pelvis so the hips (glutes) do the work. The lower back is made up mostly of tonic, stability muscles that like to hold gentle isometric (same length) contractions all day long.
They hold the vulnerable lower back in place while the powerful hips drive movement. If these are asked to lengthen and shorten to create movement for the entire body injury tends to occur.
Glutes, on the other hand, are physic prime mover muscles that like to produce powerful contractions for very short periods. Because that’s the pattern they’ve taught their nervous system by spending too long in a chair.
Inhale: break the knee and drive the butt back, keeping the tail bone high Exhale: return to the top position, squeeze the glutes and stand tall
This is the great white shark of exercises—it’s at the top of the food chain and doesn’t need to evolve. In order for the glutes to be the main driver during a hip hinge (as opposed to the hamstrings), the knees must flex to approximately 20-25 degrees.
The pendulum swing also involves rotating at the bottom then scooping the knees forward. This sends the kettle bell in an upward trajectory (required for the sport) and makes torso rotation, quads and hamstrings the main drivers for the movement, instead of the glutes.
Inhale: break knees and drive butt back while keeping pelvic floor engaged. The kettle bell only floats as far as the power of your hips drives it—which should be between belt and chest level.
Aside from loosely hooking the kettle bell, the arm and shoulder plays no part in the upswing. At the top of every swing, stand as tall as can be and clench your butt, quads and hamstrings hard.
The snatch is a swing, but the kettle bell ends in the overhead position instead of floating to chest height. The most common problems with peoples’ snatches are: hip hinge too shallow, rotation is allowed, lack of shoulder ability to own the overhead position, hook-grip too weak to catch the falling kettle bell.
It doesn’t take many glute swings, even with a light load, to make your butt feel like it’s about to explode. The glute swing is one of the hardest of all exercises to perform safely because the risk of the swinger’s lower back flexing is so high.
Lumbar flexion not only makes this dangerous, but ineffective because the lower back and hamstrings become the main drivers instead of the glutes. During hinge exercises where torso rotation is involved it’s critical for the lumbar spine to remain in a sagittal neutral position.
When the lumbar spine flexes, these articular processes drift apart and rotation is allowed to occur. Super simple and accessible, provided there’s a basic level of hip mobility in place.
A high-value exercise that develops stable shoulders, a mobile mid-back, a strong torso as well as working the glutes and patterning a good hip hinge. Plantar flexing the back ankle allows more range of motion for the hip therefore gets into the glute more.
The fact that the other hip is extended helps keep an optimal pelvic posture for hitting the glute. Exhale: keeping your body upright, drive your front heel down without using the back foot for help.
Firing up the glutes reciprocally inhibits the hip flexors, which are usually super tight on most people. In today’s article we’ll cover more than just how to do a Russian kettle bell swing.
Read the entire post or skip ahead using the table of contents below. The Russian kettle bell swing is a great low impact exercise that strengthens many muscles and does not put a ton of stress on the joints.
Because of the hip hinging movement pattern in the exercise you’ll be able to train the glutes and hamstrings. From there, the shoulders, back (mostly lats) are used to help bring the kettle bell to chest height.
Because kettle bell swings may elicit cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and metabolic responses sufficient for improvements in strength, aerobic power, and overall physical fitness. The Russian kettle bell swing can be used for strength and cardiovascular health.
In one study conducted researchers compared thirty minutes of kettle bell swings and dead lifts to walking on a treadmill at a slight incline. The kettle bell workout and treadmill cardio had similar VO2, blood pressure, and calorie burn markers, but the kettle bell workout had a higher rate of perceived exertion (it felt harder) and heart rate.
What this tells us is that kettle bell workouts (and swings) could be a good method for cardiovascular training. The results of one study compared the effects of weight lifting and kettle bell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition.
Results showed that short-term weightlifting and kettle bell training were effective in increasing strength and power. However, the gains in strength using weightlifting movements were greater than that during kettle bell training.
Just keep in mind that to build strength in the Russian kettle bell swing you need progressive overload. This is totally normal and is creatively called “beginner gains.” Almost anything you do is progressive overload at this point and your body responds very quickly to it.
Grab the kettle bell with both hands and stand up using proper dead lift form. Begin to push your hips back while maintaining a flat torso.
Use the hips and glutes to thrust forward and drive the kettle bell up Maintain relaxed arms as you are doing this. As the kettle bell approaches chest height keep the shoulders from shrugging to the ears.
Knees and hips will lock out as the bell reaches chest to chin height. To hip hinge start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart.
Shift your weight to the heels and push your hips back. Continue driving the hips back until your torso is parallel with the ground.
Reverse the movement and stand up by contracting you glutes and pushing your hips forward. Below are a couple of exercises and progressions to help level up your hip hinge game.
The American kettle bell swing takes a longer period of time to complete which can inhibit power output. If you have healthy shoulders, good range of motion, and don’t have heavy enough kettle bells at home or where you train.
The American kettle bell swing can be a good option. One argument for the American kettle bell swing is that you get a greater range of motion.
Russian swings allow me to use heavier weight and are easier for me to maintain my form, so I do those. As mentioned earlier kettle bell swings are low impact on the joints.
But one of the greatest benefits of the Russian kettle bell swing is that it can strengthen many muscles in the core and posterior chain. Some studies are even showing that regular kettle bell training can help reduce pain in the neck, shoulders, and back as well.
Photo: Jewell Chiropractic Kettle bell swings can also be a great way to burn some calories. Kettle bell swings are simple in theory but can be more difficult in practice.
Because high reps are often used in kettle bell swings the rounded spine can be troublesome. This is typically because the weight is too heavy and it may feel like the legs are needed to get enough power to get the kettle bell up.
Second, it could just be a matter of misunderstanding form, it might feel like you need to let the kettle bell get away to get it up. Continue practicing dead lift form, work on keeping your shoulders back and down, and use mini reps to help get comfortable using the hip hinge.
Below are a few commons questions I’ve received from coaching clients about kettle bell swings. When you hear 1 Food used to describe a kettle bell that means it weight 36.11 pounds.
Focus on form first as a way to decrease risk of injury as you start swinging it at higher volumes and more often. A few practice reps every couple of days is a great place to start.
Once form, strength, and conditioning is built up the reps can vary depending on the individual. Kettle bell swings uses calories but your best bet is to use your diet for fat loss.
Beginners will experience rapid results while those that have been training for a while will see much slower progression. Fat loss comes down to creating a consistent calorie deficit over time.
It depends on if you’re creating a consistent calorie deficit over time and reduce your body fat levels enough to be “ripped.” If you’d like to learn more about kettle bell specific training here are some great resources for that.
Mancini, Rodrigo Luiz et al. Kettle bell Exercise as an Alternative to Improve Aerobic Power and Muscle Strength.” Journal of human kinetics vol. Chan M, McGinnis MJ, Koch S, et al. Cardiopulmonary Demand of 16-kg Kettle bell Snatches in Simulated Gregory Sport.
Otto WH 3rd, Co burn Jr, Brown LE, Spearing BA. Effects of weightlifting vs. kettle bell training on vertical jump, strength, and body composition.
APA Thomas, James F.; Larson, Kurtis L.; Hollander, Daniel B.; Kramer, Robert R. Comparison of Two-Hand Kettle bell Exercise and Graded Treadmill Walking: Effectiveness as a Stimulus for Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2014 — Volume 28 — Issue 4 — p 998-1006doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000345 Jay K, Frisco D, Hansen K, et al. Kettle bell training for musculoskeletal and cardiovascular health: a randomized controlled trial.