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How to: Kettlebell swings

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  March 13, 2013 08:12 AM

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RyanHealy100.jpgRyan Healy is a personal trainer for the Lynch/van Otterloo (LVO) YMCA in Marblehead. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and earned her BS in Exercise Sports Science from Elon University. Find more posts by her in conjunction with the LVO YMCA at She can be reached at

Remember; please consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.

If you’re looking for a great exercise that develops your conditioning, revs up your metabolism, and increases the strength in your posterior chain, core, and shoulders; then the kettlebell swing has got you covered! While this one exercise undoubtedly has all these benefits, there is a certain amount of technique and body awareness required. Here are some basic tips to get you swinging with the best of them!

What it should look like

How to look like this
• Place the kettlebell about a foot in front of you to begin, then sit back the hips behind you while maintaining a flat back
• Pack the shoulders down while squeezing the muscles under your armpits as you swing the kettlebell back towards the groin
• Powerfully snap the hips forward by squeezing the glutes, and contract the quads to extend at the hip and knee joint
• The kettlebell should raise up to somewhere around shoulder level not because you’re trying to lift it up with the arms, but because of the momentum created from the hip thrust
• If you feel like you’re still lifting with the arms, choose a heavier weight that forces you to use the strength in your hamstrings and glutes to create momentum
• Keep abs braced as you push the hips forward
• The movement should look like a hip hinge, with the kettlebell moving forward and back, instead of a squatting motion, moving up and down

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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