The 3 Things That Make Kettlebell Swings Look Like Doodie

Have you ever seen someone perform kettlebell swings and you instinctively give them the sour lemon face? I

know I have. Maybe a few too many times. And then I realize what I’m doing and stop immediately. Haha! But to be honest, the kettlebell swing is an advanced movement that can be really challenging for a lot of people. 

Here are three things that might be making your kettlebell swing look like doodoo. 

1. You’re allowing the kettlebell to fall too close to the floor in your back swing. 

As you hike the kettlebell between your legs, bring it as close as you can to your hips. Allowing the kettlebell to drop more towards the floor would put more shear on your lower back, and in addition it makes it more challenging to propel the bell up with your hips. It should look like a deadlift pattern, NOT a squat! 

Here is what this mistake might look like:

2. You’re extending your hips too far forward (and leaning back). 

In an effort to feel like they’re “locking out their hips,” a lot of new lifters extend past the point of alignment and end up hyperextending their lower backs. This would put a lot of pressure on your lumbar spine, as well as disengage your glutes. Instead, as the kettlebell is in free flight, keep your core tight and imagine there is a wall in front of you that you don’t want to break through with your bell. 

Here is what the mistake might look like:

3. You’re bringing the kettlebell too high and using too much upper body to do so. 

The kettlebell swing is predominantly a lower body movement. Yes, you are still using your core to prevent hyperextension and holding onto the kettlebell requires you to use a ton of forearm and upper back strength. But trying to hike the kettlebell up past free flight (which would be where you feel the bell float on its own) could lead to shoulder impingement, and energy exertion that is not necessary. You almost make it into a front raise rather than a swing. To get the most out of this exercise, imagine your arms are like ropes, propel the bell with powerful hips and feel it float somewhere between bellybutton and shoulder level.

Here is what it might look like:

If you stay clear of these 3 mistakes, I guarantee your kettlebell swing won’t be eliciting many sour lemon faces. Thanks for reading and at the bottom of this you can view what a proper kettlebell swing should look like. 

Have a great weekend!