Leg Training – Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings are an explosive glute and hamstring isolation exercise. They are a good way to finish off your posterior chain or leg workout.

Muscles Used for this Exercised

Exercise Classification:

Exercise Technique

  • Equipment: Kettlebell
  • Stance/Foot Position: Take a relatively wide stance outside shoulder width to allow the kettlebell and your arms swing down between your thighs.
    • Hand Position: Grip the kettlebell with both hands pronated (overhand).
    • Pick up the kettlebell and stand letting it hang down in front of you.
  • Rotating downward at your hips, lower your upper body until you get a full stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Contract your hamstrings to pull your upper body back up explosively letting the kettlebell swing out in front of you.
  • Squeeze your glutes hard at the end of the rep driving your hips forward powerfully to lock out.
  • As the kettlebell comes back down, rotate at the hips bringing your upper body down again, and letting the kettlebell swing between your thighs.
  • On each repetition swing the kettlebell up to about shoulder height using the momentum created by driving your hips forward with your glutes and hamstrings. You should not need to use your delts or arms to swing the kettlebell.
  • Hinging for kettlebell swings is at your hips:
    • Keep your back flat, don’t bend forward at your lower back flexing your lumbar spine.
    • Keep knee flexion to a minimum.

Strength Standard

  • Keep the weight moderate to light for this exercise. Use a weight you can perform between 12 – 20 repetitions with a full range of motion and correct form.

Common Mistakes

  • Don’t squat down as you lower the kettlebell. Minimize the flexion of your knees; bending your knees too greatly will reduce the tension on your hamstrings limiting the effectiveness of the exercise.
  • Don’t use your arms and shoulders to swing the kettlebell up. If you need to use them to raise it, you’re not driving hard enough with your glutes and hamstrings.


  • Dumbbell Swings: If your gym doesn’t have kettlebells try using a dumbbell. Grip the dumbbell in both hands by one of the weight heads.
  • Pull Throughs


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