The Russian Kettlebell swing is a great exercise which is often performed wrong, so we thought we’d do a post on it.

We’ve found that most people don’t know which muscles they’re trying to work when performing this exercise. The kettlebell swing is a glute and hamstring exercise! Here’s a video of the kettlebell swing:

There’s a few ways to start this movement. If you’re a beginner, I’d recommend deadlifting the kettlebell from the floor, then knocking if off your knee to get some movement in it. If you’re more experienced, you can start with the kettlebell just in front of you and pull it backwards straight into the movement.

The kettlebell swing is a glute and hamstring exercise

As you’ll notice, this movement is based around the hip hinge. The shoulder blades are pulled in tight, the arms are passive and all the drive comes from the hips. With the Russian Kettlebell swing, we’re focusing on extending the hips and squeezing the glutes. I like to que my clients to thrust the kettlebell away as hard as they can. If you’re arms are passive, the kettlebell will travel in a nice arc motion.

Once you’ve nailed this part, a variation could be American Kettlebell Swings.

Key points:
  • Use the hip hinge, not the squat
  • Be explosive with the hip drive
  • Keep your core engaged and keep your back in a neutral position (don’t over-extend at the top)
  • Ensure your arms are passive – it’s not a front raise
  • Start light and make sure you’re performing correct technique