Are you making this kettlebell swing mistake?

The kettlebell swing is an awesome exercise! It fires up your posterior chain, helps groove your hinge pattern and teaches you how to translate explosive force with your hips, but.. can you even start it right?

Why Should You Care?

The setup will make or break you! If you stand directly above your kettlebell than you have no way to generate momentum to go into your first swing. You will have to use your low back and "muscle it" just to make it to 90 degrees, and if you're doing an american swing... Yikes! Don't worry, we can do better.

Oh, you don't care about mechanics because you're a beast? Then this will also help make sure you don't no-rep your first swing! So read on!

The setup 

Address your kettlebell so it is approx one foot in front of your feet.

HINGE forward (NOT SQUAT) and take a strong grip... stronger than that!  Now tip the kettlebell toward you.

Next, externally rotate your hands like you are "bending the handle" and contract your lats like you are "squeezing a pencil" in your armpit between your tricep and the side of  your upper back.

If you are in the correct position you should feel tension building from your strong grip, through your lats, into your hamstrings, and down to the ground. This should feel much like your deadlift setup. Take out the slack!

Take a big belly breath like you are pushing out against your weight belt (if you were wearing one), hold that tension and begin your swing like you are "hiking a football between your legs" or "sweeping the ground with the bell" 


Not only will this help you get the most out of your swing but it will also help you protect your low back and put a lot of those mechanical forces from initiating our swing into our hips where they belong! 

Let's recap:

  • Place the bell approx one foot in front of your feet
  • Hinge forward and take a strong grip
  • Externally rotate your hands and contract lats
  • Continue building tension
  • Belly breath and "hike the football"
  • Dominate your workout!

For another great explanation of how to start your kettlebell swing see my colleague's blog from Infinity Sports Rehab HERE.

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Victory Spine and Sport is a sports chiropractic clinic located in Camas, Washington close to Vancouver Washington. Dr. Henry blends chiropractic, sports medicine and physical therapy to provide our patients with a unique, active approach to chiropractic that our patients deserve.