The kettle bell swing

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Thought kettlebells were a new gym craze? Well, the Russian army have been using them for years, and they could revolutionise your workouts

Not long ago kettlebells were somewhat of an oddity in the gym.

But these days, almost every health club has a set of them – some even run classes focused on them. But, even though they’re now commonplace in gyms, people often get the basic moves very wrong, says Richard.

A favourite move when it comes to the kettlebell is the swing. ‘It forms the base for all your kettlebell training, so before you try different moves, your swing has to be on point,’ says Richard. Honing in on your swing technique could really pay off. ‘If you get it right, you can go heavy and use the swing in your strength workouts to target your hamstrings, glutes and core,’ adds Richard. ‘Or you could reduce the weight, increase the reps and use the swing in your conditioning workouts.’ It’s important to remember that the movement mainly
targets the lower body. ‘You’re not pulling the kettlebell up with your shoulders – instead, you’re creating a force that does the work for you,’ Richard explains.

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Classic kettlebell swing

Areas trained: Bottom, hamstrings, core, back

Technique

In a standing position, grip the kettlebell handle in an overhand grip and pull back your shoulder blades. The kettlebell will be just below your waistline.

Put your weight back into your heels and then drop and pivot your hips backwards. Keeping your back flat at all times, move your weight forward, thrusting your hips back into a strong standing position. The speed and power of this movement should bring the kettlebell up to chest height, with your arms stretched out in front of you.

This is where your core kicks in to control the swing back under you, with the kettlebell passing through your legs, before hitting the
next repetition.

Once you have this mastered, build up your weights. For strength training and to create some lean gains, you can and should go heavy
on sets of swings between 6 to 10 reps. Get confident and then put down that 8kg plastic kettlebell. Get some chalk and swing heavy!

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