Kettlebell Training - Kettlebell Swing - The Kettlebell Swing is a great posterior chain exercise, which means it will work the muscles on the back of the body, in this case, predominantly the hamstrings and our glutes. We're also using the erectors and the lower back as stabilising muscles as well. In order to perform the swing correctly, there are a few steps to go through in order for someone to perform it safely and correctly. The first thing to do is the basic plank - this makes sure that someone is able to activate their core and support their spine. To begin, support yourself on the ground with your elbows and feet on the floor. Hnads should be out in front with the eyes slightly in front of the hands. Brace the core and make sure you've got a straight line from the ankles, through the hips up into the shoulders. Make sure you are contracting through the midsection which includes the abdominals, the lower abs, the transverse abdominus and the obliques at the side and even the lower back erectors. One way to do that is to pull the navel towards the spine.
Progress from the plank to the non-weighted squat to help people learn how to activate the glutes. If someone cannot do the squat, they shouldn't be progressing to a deadlift or the swing. With the basic bodyweight squat, ensure your feet are shoulder width apart, keeping our knees in line with our toes. Keep your eyes forward and your posture nice and tall, once again making sure the core is nice and stabilised. Then squat down as if you're sitting, raising your hands out in front of you to act as a counterbalance.
The next progression is to add a little bit of weight to the movement. Position the Kettlebell between the heels so you know where it is because you don't want to look down to pick up the weights to avoid any back injuries. As the Kettlebell Swing is a hip dominant movement and not a knee dominant movement, it's more a deadlift than a squat. The next logical progression then is to do a deadlift. Ensure you have slightly less bend in the knees and more in the hips. The torso should come forward whilst keeping your chest nice and tall with the chin slightly up in order to keep a neutral spine with no rounding of the lower back. The final progression is the Dead Swing. With this exercise, the Kettlebell starts a little bit behind the feet so that when it comes up, it will naturally swing forward. Once you can perform one Dead Swing, you can progress to a more continuous swinging motion, swinging the Kettlebell between our legs and driving back up contracting the glutes as you do so.
Bring the bell just up to shoulder height, there's no need to bring it any higher. What you are looking for at the top of the movement is a sense of weightlessness so that once you get confident you can actually move your hands away and it will just gloat. That way, when you progress onto single arm swings, you can move onto alternating arm swings which will help activate the posterior part of the shoulders. The Kettlebell swing is one of the first exercise you learn and a lot of the other ballistic exercises are a progression of the swing. The Kettlebell Swing works primarily the posterior or back side of the body including the hamstrings, glutes and lower back and are great for office workers who are often in a flexed position stretching out and thus weakening their hamstrings and glute.
Nick Jones - World Bodybuilding Champion & Andrew Boyle - Founder of the Australian Kettlebell League