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Accompanied by a short slow-mo video, this article talks step by step about how to a kettlebell swing correctly.
For a number of reasons, mainly developing the hip drive movement, kettlebell swings are GREAT for BJJ.....if you do them correctly. Read on to find out how.
Sounds simple, although make sure that your set up and form is correct right from the start, in other words start as you mean to go on.
- Don't wear shoes. Seriously.....any shoe with a cushioned heal is going to throw your whole body out of line. Barefoot is best.
- Set you feet just wider than shoulder width apart, standing directly above the kettlebell. Toes pointing forward.
- Start by hinging at the hip, do not bend the knees first, then push your glutes (arse) backwards to initiate the downward movement
- Keep looking straight ahead and squat until you can grip with both hands
- Rotate elbows into the ribs once you've gripped the kettlebell
Starting the kettlebell swing
Get this right and you will have consistent form throughout your kettlebell swing
- Start to straighten your legs without leaning your upper body forward or backward
- As you come up, swing the kettlebell back between your legs
- Keep looking forward
- As your arms touch your legs, swing the kettlebell forward without standing up any further
- Keep your arms soft, although your grip tight
- Leave the kettlebell travel forward as far it can, without moving your upper body
- Pull the kettlebell back and leave it swing all the way back between your legs
- Now the kettlebell has momentum
- As the kettlebell swings forwards again, stand up forcefully by driving your heels into the floor
During the kettlebell swing
Now you've got the kettlebell swinging, you need to control it as it swings forward with speed
- Squeeze your glutes (arse) really tightly and snap your hips forward and squeeze your stomach as you stand up straight
- Keep your shoulders back as you allow the kettlebell to travel with its own momentum
- Remember soft arms and tight grip, do not lift the kettlebell with you arms
- Look straight ahead and keep your chin tucked. Breath out sharply at the top of the movement
- You may have a very, very slight backward lean, although you should have a straight line down through your head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. Do not arch your back
- As the kettlebell swings downward, hinge at the hip and push your glutes backwards
- Keep your core tightly engaged, don't allow the kettlebell to pull you forward
- As the kettlebell swings backward, really focus on hinging at the hip, do not consciously bend your knees, allow them to bend of their own accord. This loads the hamstrings and glutes rather than the quads
- Breath in through the nose as you come down
- Keep looking forward, allow the kettlebell to travel under it's own momentum
- As your arms hit your legs, start the movement again by driving down through your heels
Finishing the kettlebell swing
After you've done your required number of reps it's not a case of just stopping. While some people advocate a hard stop at the end, I find this is not always feasible for beginners as it can risk injury, plus you may be working at home where you can't put the kettlebell down quickly.
My preference is at the start of the last swing, allow the kettlebell to swing backwards as normal, although do not drive up through your heels to start the movement again. Still using the same technique for controlling the kettlebell, allow it swing a few times, moving your hips accordingly until it loses its momentum and you sit your hips backwards again, look straight forward and place the kettlebell down on the floor. You will see this demonstrated in the video.